Caleb Followill, Kings of Leon
Anglophile-rock enthusiasts have always favored male voices that can soar anthemically over the fray. Thing is, the UK-first mega-success of Caleb Followill’s Nashville family band Kings of Leon can seem like a real headscratcher at first, if only because the music he and his kin make is so bloody ’Mur’can. But the Followills have learned a thing or two about their foster fan base, and they’ve finally hit paydirt at home with their fourth album, Only by the Night (RCA), wherein all sorts of synthy tricks are deployed in their relentless effort to reach the punter at the very back of the footie stadium. The result, especially on worldwide smashes like “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire” and barnburner “Notion,” sounds not unlike, ohhhh, Steve Perry channeling Ronnie Van Zant while fronting the Killers. Whether you take that as a harbinger of doom is irrelevant — it’s evident that this pond-crossing spit swapping is here to stay.
2_Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie)
3_Chris Martin (Coldplay)