MusicJanuary 19, 2012 at 5:49 am

We’ve Seen the Future

And there's a lot more stank, weird dudes, gangster hipster girls (and hopefully less LMFAO-ing)

Album’s We’re Excited About

The Shins: After a long hiatus, the Shins come into 2012 with a new lineup, but frontman James Mercer remains at the helm, so expect more of the band’s signature brand of indie pop.
Franz Ferdinand: The critically–acclaimed UK rockers, responsible for alt–rock classics like “Take Me Out,” are back, releasing their fourth album this year.
OutKast: Hip-hop icons Andre 3000 and Big Boi re-unite after a six–year hiatus — and we can’t wait for a return to the duo’s legendary, innovative and downright funky sound.
Phoenix: The French indie rockers, buoyed by the smash success of 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, will hopefully gift us with another fantastic, addictive album.
The xx: The band that launched a thousand make–outs returns with what should be another offering of their sexy, unique style of indie R&B and soul.
Bloc Party: The British alternative band known for their infectious, punk-inspired rock sound will release an album this year after a four–year break.

What We Want to See More of

Cool collabs: 2011 saw fantastic collaborations among a diverse array of musicians. We’re hoping that projects like Radiohead’s King of Limbs remix album (featuring awesome DJs like SBTRKT and Flying Lotus) flourish this year.
Weird guys rapping: Rap today is dominated by eccentrics: Kanye, Tyler the Creator, Lil B (responsible for the gem “I’m Gay”). The genre’s reached a new level of weirdness, and it’s awesome.
Innovative genres: Bands are no longer content to color inside the lines, so to speak, and we wholeheartedly approve. 2012 should feature more acts like The Weeknd and tUnE-yArDs, who aren’t afraid to mix and match musical styles.
Good rock bands: In today’s music world of a million rock sub–genres, it’s nice to see musicians just playing good ol’ fashioned rock music. We’re hoping bands like the Black Keys, the Kills and Foo Fighters keep on doing their thing.

What We Want to See Less of

Bad Top 40 dance music: It’s not that we don’t like Top 40 pop smashes -— we’re suckers for Britney and Gaga. But some of 2011’s biggest dance hits (looking at you, LMFAO) just flat–out sucked. Hopefully, good taste and good beats will prevail in 2012.
Bad comebacks: It’s great when artists we love return to the scene. But it sucks when they don’t make good music. The returns of the Strokes and Lil Wayne left much to be desired — let’s hope the new year is kind to our favorite returning acts.

One Artist to Watch

Lana Del Rey
Dubbed the “gangster Nancy Sinatra,” Lana Del Rey has been making a name for herself with her provocative brand of soulful croons. Her first single “Video Games” went viral last year, dividing her following between lovestruck fans and eye-rolling haters. Now, LDR has a steady stream of new tracks leaking on the internet in anticipation for her debut album. While critics may worry about the “authenticity” of her sexy aesthetic, one thing’s for sure: people won’t stop talking about LDR. Look out for her album, Born to Die, which drops next month.

Other Artists for 2012

Frank Ocean: Member of the bizarre rap collective OFWGKTA, this talented hip–hop artist has distinguished himself with his thoughtful, R&B-influenced mixtapes — and all without the help of a record label. Swag.
Childish Gambino: Last year, the wordsmith and former Community star followed up his amateur mixtapes with his debut album Camp, full of smart, hard–hitting rhymes. We can only expect more great things.
Tennis: Sunshiny and playful in the same vein of Best Coast and Summer Camp, this band will make you want to frolic around the beach with their danceable lo–fi tunes.

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