Top-Five Albums of 2012: #2 The Lumineers' "The Lumineers"

This year ushered in a whole new wave of music that I opened myself up to. True, this indie-folk scene is on the rise--thanks mostly in part to Mumford & Sons--but I wasn't aware of it, really, until my writing counterpart introduced me to this band, starting with "Stubborn Love."

The lyrics alone drew me in, as I love the simple honesty and truth that permeate the majority of their songs. And if they aren't sharing insight into life and love, they know how to create a fun song that makes you want to be in some dark and dingy dive bar, sipping a whiskey, ready to sing and dance along to each and every song. Tracks like "Classy Girls," "Dead Sea," and "Ho Hey" are more than lively enough to push you from your seat, want to grab the nearest person, and start dancing, regardless of where you are.

On the flipside, their quieter songs like "Slow It Down" and "Charlie Boy" and especially "Morning Song" might not make you want to move, but they make you feel, which is equally important.

I think that it's the fact that this band knows how to navigate the upbeat with the down, and the lead singer Wesely Schultz's voice is the perfect amount of scratchy and tremulous that works in both styles. And really, the whole album is an excellent balance between the faster and slower tracks. This is a band that knows the importance of moving through emotions, giving some downtime to relax from all the up, up, up.

It'd be easy for folks to compare this band to Mumford & Sons, or say that they're ripoffs or whatever, but you'd be doing yourself and the band a huge disservice. The Lumineers are very much their own, with their own sound, and as I said before, the lyrics alone make this band worth your time. Seriously, if you're into the growing indie folk scene and haven't heard of these guys, go, buy their album. It's a good idea; I swear.

BONUS BAND: Though in this case, it will be bands. To carry along with the "lesser known" indie folk bands, you should also do yourself a favor and track down The Head and the Heart's self-titled album, and Shovels and Rope's "O Be Joyful." Both are most excellent and well worth your time. In particular, check out Head and Heart's "Rivers and Roads" and Shovels and Rope's "Circus." If those don't suck you in, well, then I guess the indie folk scene just isn't for you.