- James Vincent McMorrow. Irish folk musician James released his debut this year to huge acclaim and has rarely been out of my stereo for long. Heavy hints to folk artists such as Bon Iver, Iron & Wine and Paul Simon litter this gorgeous record. Alongside Cathy Davey, it is the essential Irish release for 2010 so far and will take something very special to top it.
- Ariel Pink. Now this is one I'm rather ashamed of. How I managed to miss out on the works of the magnificent Ariel Pink for the last eight years or so is mind-boggling, though I have fallen in love with new record Before Today. Psychedelic, upbeat - ideal for this gorgeous summer weather.
- The Middle East. This low key Australian band slipped under the radar when they released their album The Recordings of the Middle East in 2008 but have luckily reformed due to a wave of hysteria caused by a number of American blogs stumbling across the work. A shortened EP version has since been rereleased and it retains the albums highlights, from the Sufjan Stevens-esque Blood to the subtle and haunting The Darkest Side. Unmissable.
- The Tallest Man on Earth. I was initially very sceptical about the Swedish folk singer due to the throngs of Dylan comparisons, though what lay in wait was a simply stunning release. With some of the most beautiful imagery I have ever encountered, The Wild Hunt offers new and hidden treasures on each listen and is well worth checking out.
- Kowalski. The OTHER new band from Bangor. While Two Door Cinema Club may have gotten the attention, it is Kowalski who are worth catching. Infectious rhythms, catchy hooks and shimmering pop sounds. Fantastic.
- Tanlines. Continuing the adoration of infectious sounds, these guys will get you moving. Think a blend of Yeasayer's new appreciation for dancable tunes with African drumming and TV on the Radio... Just check it out. It's easier.
- Gayngs. The hotly tipped Jagjaguwar act have released their debut Relayted to glowing reviews. Upon hearing their first track I referred to it as "Massive Attack if Justin Vernon was on vocals", only to discover that it was in fact Mr. Vernon (though only on that particular track!). Sexy, dancy... Prince in his prime really from these guys.
- Peter Wolf Crier. My favourite new act from this year. Subtle and gorgeous, it is exactly the type of work we have come to expect from Jagjaguwar and the American mid-west. Glorious.
Have I missed anyone? Please let me know!