Stephen Malkmus – Real Emotional Trash
S.M.’s most adventurous album in terms of flat out shredding. Malkmus’ guitar playing on this gem is nothing short of impressive. 10 strong songs riddled with classic Malkmus humor and laced with interesting characters. Malkmus’ stellar guitar work threads the album together like a self indulgent Quicksilver Messenger Service album. I reviewed the album track by track months ago and it can be found below.
Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell
A newer band with only a couple EPs floating around. TPC is making some of the most exciting music I’ve heard in a while. Only one song on the 11-track album breaks the 3-minute mark and it just scathes it. The songs are fast, incredibly wordy and ten times as catchy. The guitar hooks will stick with you for hours and track 2, In A Cave, will have you singing for days following a single listen. There is no excess on this album whatsoever and the dynamics of the album are strong. The quieter songs fall exactly where they should and the climaxes exactly where they should. This album clocks around 33 minutes total and will have you hitting the repeat all button on your media player.
She & Him – Volume One
Folk/Indie Rock anyone? She & Him is composed of Zooey Deschanel, yes the actress, and respected folk rocker M. Ward. Together they make up She & Him and have managed to pump out Volume One, which is hopefully the first of many volumes to come. Their debut album is carried by Deschanel’s unmistakable charm and M. Ward’s beautifully melodic guitar work. The two sing together on a couple songs and their voices fit quite nicely together. Deschanel’s lyrical themes center around mostly lost and/or the pursuit of love and are sung in such a manner you’ll feel as though you’re in some cheap motel in the 50’s. She & Him also plug through a couple of covers including an amazing rendition of ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me.’ If you’re into the whole indie/folk/rock scene then check this album out soon.
The Black Keys – Attack And Release
The B. Keys are about ready to jump from the shadow of White Stripes comparisons, and by about ready, I mean, they’re WAY beyond White Stripes comparisons (and I love The White Stripes). The Keys most recent release showcases the Ohio two pieces ability to fuse garage rock and blues in an interesting and powerful way. The result is garage blues rock? Whatever it is, its damn good. Strange Times is a great rock track while Psychotic Girl illustrates they know the importance of dynamics. Still the opening track suggests that the listener might be in for more than a mere garage rock extravaganza. Check this album out, its one of the better ones out their right now.
The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
The sound of Jack White wailing on his poor guitar is unmistakable. His hooks are some of the hookiest in the biz. The White Stripes’ Icky Thump showed a more sophisticated side of Jack White that had started to emerge on Get Behind Me Satan. Consolers of the Lonely is simply White’s current abilities and interests being indulged by a full band. This album is much more than Icky Thump with a full band, don’t get me wrong now, but Jack White has shown through this album that The Raconteurs are also HIS band, and not as much of a collaborative effort as their first album suggested. While the first Raconteurs release had vocal styling of other members, Jack White is the featured vocalist on nearly every song. I say this like it’s a bad thing…Ha. Consolers… is a great rock album and not much more. But that’s all a good rock album SHOULD be..just rock.
Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
A long album title and some hip-hop to make it worth your time to read. If you’re looking for a solid hip-hop release this year, this is it. Slug’s lyrics are exceptionally strong throughout the majority of the album. There are a couple of low points, but really they aren’t worth mentioning. When Life Gives you Lemons… is a much more relaxed album than Slug’s most recent work. It actually follows right in line with Sad Clown Bad Summer 9, Atmosphere’s most recent EP release. Both of these records showcase a more a style that not only flows extremely well but is typically an easy listening experience. Ant’s beats are solid and Slug’s raps are as good as ever. This album is definitely near the top of my albums this year.
[Other Great Listens]
My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
A good listen. The album starts strong mixing elements of Wilco and Kings Of Leon. Track 2 is my personal favorite, Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 1 while the third track, Highly Suspicious is easily my least favorite. This album is an appropriate follow up to the phenomenal ‘Z,’ but not nearly as good. This being said, I wouldn’t say My Morning Jacket is moving in the wrong direction. This album relies on the bands southern roots while never fully embracing that sound, whether that’s a good or bad thing, you decide.
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes are a newer act and with their newness they bring originality. They are a group of youngsters playing their way through an interesting and country/folk riddled indie rock expedition and the end result is nothing short of awesome. The music made by this group is something I look forward to for years to come. I’m a huge fan of the expansive and genre mixing they utilize especially on the third track, Ragged Wood.
Albert Hammond Jr. – ¿Cómo Te Llama?
The Strokes guitarist second venture into solo stardom is a fun and fast paced pop record that will rattle around in your head for days. Albert’s first solo album, Yours To Keep, was great. It was a quick album of light and fun songs with hooks that will have you playing the songs on repeat. If you like either of his albums and haven’t heard the other, definitely fix that, as it is a problem. Great driving music, party music or just plain sunny day music.
So ha, already fulfilled my promise, kinda. I’m planning on a bit of expansion. There are a couple albums passing through my ear cavities presently that I’m digging, so expect a part2/future releases of 08 thread a bit later on.