This Cambridge-based electro-act enjoyed the highest chart success of its career with “Gossamer,” the band’s second release for Columbia Records. Passion Pit is the brainchild of lead vocalist and keyboardist Michael Angelakos, whose steady leadership and songwriting expertise has enabled the album to properly present the band’s dream-pop influenced alternative sound to a larger audience than ever. Following up a headlining tour with Muse in 2010, Passion Pit is clearly poised to turn an important corner in 2013, with an army of newly won fans eagerly clamoring at its creative heels.
Boys Like Girls
Although this Andover-based act actually formed back in 2005, 2012 was a notable year for Boys Like Girls fans, for the melodic pop/rock act announced its return to the scene after a brief, year-long hiatus. Musically, the band straddles a fine line between ’90s alternative rock and the emo stylings of Jimmy Eat World, Fall Out Boy, Dashboard Confessional and touring mates in Good Charlotte – perhaps appealing more to a teen and pre-teen audience than to those whose tastes have a matured a bit beyond the band’s trend-focused rock. Still, with the band’s post-hiatus full length “Crazy World,” freshly released this December, just might be the year where Boys Like Girls finally grows up.
Heavy Blanket is the latest project of the prolific Amherst native J. Mascis, an instrumental affair with a focus on heavy psychedelia and free-form, blues-influenced jam sessions. Mascis, who first attracted the ears of punk and hardcore fans in the early ’80s with “Deep Wound” before devolving to the indie hipster crowd with Dinosaur Jr. and the stoner/doom influenced act Witch, is joined here by some old high school pals in his shenanigans. They’re tuning in and dropping out to the tune of Ash Ra Tempel, Hawkwind and Bloodrock. Released by Outer Battery Records in 2012, “Heavy Blanket” is bound to rattle some bones and bang the heads of those seeking to trip out to the almighty riff.
The humble-yet-mighty synthesizer certainly received a workout in 2012, with many popular acts — from Katy Perry and Lady Gaga to the successfully brooding and urban “Miami Vice” inspired soundtrack to the movie “Drive” — reaching for a retro vibe with their latest records. That said, it isn’t surprising yet another synth-pop duo achieved success in 2012, namely the Berklee graduates Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan of Karmin. The Brookline-born group has seen its music grace such high-profile gigs as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show, “”Good Morning America” and even the NBA Finals.
The sound of Young London is bright, airy and cheerful; a bubbly and boisterous brand of party pop that flies straight in the face of the band’s former incarnation as And Then There Were None, a Christian metalcore act that eventually came to embrace danceable beats over furious riffs. The band dropped its debut early this year on Tooth and Nail Records, a label well regarded by faith-based metal and rock fans. While some of the band’s old fans may scratch their heads at such a blatant, Euro-influenced dance record being released on the usually heavy Tooth and Nail, the success of Young London’s early singles “Call My Name (Tonight),” “Celebrity” and “Let Me Go,” not to mention well-received covers of Third Eye Blind and The Buggles, should ensure the group reaches plenty of ears in 2013.
George Pacheco has been writing professionally about arts and entertainment for over a decade. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, George currently resides in a humble New England home with his wife, cat and massive music and film collection. His work can be found at Examiner.com.