Top 15 Indie Albums, Early 2012

So far women are ruling the indie world in 2012, from Sleigh Bells' Alexis Krauss and her tattooed metal-cheerleader charm to Sharon Van Etten and her unabashed lovesick fury to electro-experimenters Grimes and Frankie Rose, sister folkies First Aid Kit, and the enigmatic Lana Del Rey. Alongside the girls' club are solid debuts and sophomore efforts from bands like U.K. duo Big Deal (if you like the xx, you must hear these guys), global psych-pop trio Young Magic, poignant troubadour Perfume Genius and the Queen-loving fun. The ol' vets -- like Shearwater, Guided by Voices and Lambchop -- are also getting their say, and proving why they're still very much relevant.

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