The Decemberists- The Crane Wife- So, title track is awesome. They’re still the Decemberists, though. I can’t decide if I think they’re the Heroes of the 2010’s, or if they still make music too long and whiny. I guess they need some filler to make stuff like the Shankill Butchers stand out more.
Basement Jaxx- Scars- You know, it’s pretty fun, and easily digestible, and there are a lot of guest stars and stuff. It’s practically a compilation. Varied, interesting tunes, pop through and through.
Movits!- Appelknyckarjazz- I don’t get it. There’s the novelty factor, but after that I don’t really want to listen to it. I guess I’m incapable of really enjoying non-English music? (ugh.)
Owl City- Ocean Eyes- After the first listen, my friend Greg was making fun of it, and I said “oh shut up, you know it’s just the Postal Service prequel that never existed.” And then I promptly ate my words a couple listens later. Like turned to mild dislike turned to cavities. His lyrics are so bad. But unlike YACHT, I don’t even want to like the character he’s trying to be. I mean, maybe if he grew up a little bit he could make some really inspiring music! (and/or, y’know, become Ben Gibbard.) But somehow, that never happens, does it?
Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix- okay, counterexample. A couple albums ago (Alphabetical) I thought they made sappy lame music, and now they make this solid pop gem. In a league with, say, Peter, Bjorn, and John’s Writer’s Block. Best Alternative Album? Grammies are irrelevant, but this is not a terrible choice.
Belle and Sebastian- interruption. “Everything in its right place” just came on. Chills! Even a decade later! Okay, end interruption. Belle and Sebastian- the Life Pursuit- How do they still make such catchy, achingly pretty tunes? Maybe that Owl City guy should take songwriting lessons from Stuart Murdoch. For about twelve years.
Mika- Life in Cartoon Motion- Finally got this album. So good. I wanted to hate it for so long (because metacritic did!) but it is very _____, and eventually I usually come around to liking things that are very _____, for any value of ____. Burningman memories don’t hurt. Care to stop being all cool and we can put on this album and dance around like fools?
Mika- The Boy Who Knew Too Much- so it’s longer and not as consistently great. I mean, sophomore slump the way Arcade Fire did, where your first album is such a zinger it’s hard to repeat.
Soul Coughing- Irresistible Bliss- this was fun to rediscover. Cool like a poetry reading.
Talking Heads- Speaking in Tongues- I didn’t know they made another album as good as Remain in Light! Also, I feel like the Talking Heads rival the Beatles in “number of songs you have to have a passing knowledge of, in order to get pop culture references to this band.” For example, Burning Down the House, Girlfriend is Better, and This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody). They’re all stellar.
Bobby Birdman- New Moods- singer plus loops. Catchy pop (featuring his beautifully rich voice! think Jens Lekman). Probably produced for twelve dollars. Love this guy. Another dude I would go see in concert anytime.
Nosaj Thing- Drift- relaxy technoey squelchy goodness.
Orkestar Zirkonium- s/t- see Movits!. I want to like them very much; they are nice background music, and it sounds like you are not in the United States of A.
My Dear Disco- Dancethink- I’m getting tired of writing about music again but I wanted to shout out to these folks, because I really like this debut album. Do you know Tally Hall? They are also from Ann Arbor, and they also make colorful all-over-the-place music, a little amateurish but quite good. Throw in a dash of Portugal The Man, and video game music, particularly of the Final Fantasy and Sonic varieties.
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