I gave a friend at work some music. I said I regretted I couldn't give her a little reference to everything I handed her, so I opened up an excel spreadsheet of an export of the albums I gave her, and wrote quick mini-reviews of all the albums I gave her. It only took me about a half an hour off and on, but I liked the result:
|Suzanne Vega||99.9F||Suzanne Vega, back in the day, did a somewhat industrial music inspired
album. Blood Makes Noise was the famous song, but
I prefer the heartbreaking In Liverpool.
|Yeasayer||All Hour Cymbals||Saw these guys live. They are going to be big, I think. The first 4
songs on the album are my favorites. They did
2080 on Conan O'Brien and Conan was impressed. The rocking harmonies are
even better live.
|Brenda Belcher||Another Autumn Day||My friend Brenda Belcher and her sweet, amazing songs. They're better
with her storytelling about each song, but even
without these songs are awesome.
|Outkast||Aquemini||Among the best hip hop albums ever. Easygoing, deals with social issues,
has some fantastic and sexy raps. This is the
pinnacle of their career.
|Suzanne Vega||Beauty & Crime||The newest Vega… not her best but it has some amazing songs. Anniversary
and Ludlow Street are my favorites.
|Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf||Big Shots||This will be the only Charizma rap album ever, cause Charizma got shot.
His rap totally inspires me to rap though. It's
friendly, sweet and smart. I LOVE methods, ice cream truck, and apple juice
break, but it's all good.
|Camera Obscura||Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi||A mellower Camera Obscura album.|
|Neko Case||Blacklisted||Possibly the most pop-friendly Neko Case album. Deep Red Bells, I Missed
the Point, Lady Pilot are probably my favorites.
|Brett Dennen||Brett Dennen||Just started getting into this. Cool jazzy vocals.|
|My Brightest Diamond||Bring Me The Workhorse||This lady sings backup for Sufjan. Her own band is much darker and
|Nick Drake||Bryter Layter||You listen to this album and realize how much it must have influenced
"The Sea and Cake". This makes you
realize how ahead of his time Nick Drake really was. I only got into this
album recently and I was really impressed.
|Neko Case||Canadian Amp||A little known EP. "In California" is one of her most amazing
songs and well worth the price of admission.
|Michelle Shocked||Captain Swing||Possibly Michelle's definitive work. A bunch of songs I love to memorize
|The Black Keys||Chulahoma: The Songs Of Junior Kimbrough (EP)||One of the best parts of the album is Junior's widow Mildred, leaving a
touching message on their answering machine.
|Erin McKeown||Distillation||Erin McKeown's scrappy early work. Blackbirds is one of her most kickass
|M. Ward||Duet for Guitars #2||Mellow re-release of early M. Ward recordings.|
|The Avett Brothers||Emotionalism||Some amazing bluegrass inspired music. These guys are coming to town.
The first 4 songs or so are some of the best.
|M. Ward||End of Amnesia||M. Ward album I'm not that familiar with.|
|Bon Iver||For Emma, Forever Ago||I don't have to tell you about Bon Iver. You're already kicking yourself
you missed the chance to see him live.
|Neko Case||Fox Confessor Brings The Flood||Case's most recent masterwork. Where to start? Maybe the intensity of
Hold On, Hold on, or the cryptic power of The
|Grizzly Bear||Friend||Grizzly Bear's EP of remixes is maybe more like their live experience
than their LP. Lovely stuff. I saw them open for
Feist and they were a pleasant surprise.
|Neko Case & Her Boyfriends||Furnace Room Lullaby||The album that first broke Neko Case, and probably still the best.
Pretty much wall-to-wall amazing. The mellow
classics are Porchlght and No Need to Cry. South Tacoma Way is the emotional
powerhouse. Everything is good.
|Jeff Buckley||Grace||The main Jeff Buckley.|
|Hercules and Love Affair||Hercules and Love Affair||This is one of the hottest cuts of the year left. This is the best
modern disco I could have hoped for, sung by a
|Of Montreal||Icons, Abstract Thee [EP]||The companion EP to Hissing Fauna. It's got some sweeter, more personal
|Radiohead||In Rainbows||Probably the first Radiohead I've really loved. 15 Step, Nude and
Reckoner are the songs that consistently blow me
|Joanna Newsom||Joanna Newsom & The Ys Street Band||The only new song Joanna has done since Ys is Colleen.|
|Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators||Keep Reachin' Up (universal pub)||Just starting to get into this. I like it.|
|Jesca Hoop||Kismet||Never heard of Jesca Hoop before until a friend gave me this album.
She's kinda Regina Spectory, in a good way.
Dreams in the Hollow, Seed of Wonder and Intelligentactile 101 are the good
|Feist||Let It Die||The album that really broke Fiest. One of my favorite albums. I wore a
groove in it right when The Reminder came out.
|Camera Obscura||Let's Get Out Of This Country||My favorite Camera Obscura album… thank god they learned how to rock a
little. The first two songs and the last three
are my favorites on the album but I've come to love Dory Previn too for some
|Nick Drake||Made To Love Magic||This was the first Nick Drake I heard and I still love the orchestral
backing on some of these songs. Made to love
Magic made quite an impression on me.
|Beck||Midnite Vultures||This was Beck's hilarious take on R&B. The mostly silly Debra is a
|Battles||Mirrored||What is it? Metal? Prog? Noise? It's brilliant.|
|Feist||Monarch (Lay Down Your Jeweled Head)||Actually the first Feist solo album. I don't even know if it's in
release anymore. Not as masterful as her later
stuff… less distinctive. But, Monarch and The Mast are pretty impressive.
|Erykah Badu||New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War||Haven't heard it yet but I've heard it's good.|
|Jens Lekman||Night Falls Over Kortedala||The album that made me love Jens. The best of it is just so amazing.
I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You, Postcard
to Nina, Kanske Ar…, and the Opposite of Hellelujia is the way to go.
|Beck||One Foot in the Grave||My favorite Beck album, released right around the time of loser and
Stereopathic Soulmanure. It's sort of a tribute
to American old time music. It has original songs and covers, and is
probably the most wholehearted album of his ever. Erika likes this album and
that made a real impression on me. A hidden gem.
|Feist||Open Season: Remixes And Collabs||Remixes mostly of Let it Die tracks. Some great stuff on here.
Including a cover of a Peaches song, who Feist
used to tour with under the moniker 'Baby Bitch'. I think she used to
operate a sock puppet onstage or something.
|M. Ward||Post-War||Just a hell of an album. M. Ward is one of the classics. This has songs
I want to learn and sing to my grandkids or
|Robert Plant/Alison Krauss||Raising Sand||I wasn't impressed by the idea of this album, but in execution it was a
|Sunset Rubdown||Random Spirit Lover||Heard part of a cut from this as the intro to an NPR show, which was a
surprise. Strange, exuberant rock.
|Born Ruffians||Red, Yellow & Blue||I have mixed feelings about this album. I love Little Garcon though.|
|The Black Keys||Rubber Factory||I think this is my favorite Black Keys album.|
|The National||Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers||A little known The National album. Slipping Husband and the amazing 90
Mile Water Wall are my favorites.
|Michelle Shocked||Short Sharp Shocked||The other essential Michelle Shocked. There's some serious classics in
|Erin McKeown||Sing You Sinners||Erin McKeown, out of the blue, comes out with an album of all 1920's
hits. Rhode Island and Viper are my favorites
|DJ Gyngyvytus||Skeet Spirit: A Crunk Tribute To Radiohead||A crunk tribute to Radiohead. What else is there to day?|
|Suzanne Vega||Songs In Red And Gray||Not the strongest modern Vega, but there's SERIOUS gems. When I saw her
live she told people they could shout up songs
they wanted to hear stories about. I asked her about Harbor Song. She
stammered for awhile and finally refused. It was very strange.
|Outkast||Southernplayalistic adillacmuzik||The debut Outkast album and possibly my favorite. This was the true
genesis of all the southern rapping. Dre and Big
Boi come at you with mellow, smart raps and show themselves off as some of
the smoothest motherfuckers on the planet. On this and Aquemeni there's some
of the coolest little skits in rap music.
|Big Boi||Speakerboxxx||Speaks for itself.|
|Outkast||Stankonia||The album that made OutKast famous. Probably the last album I really got
into but Miss Jackson was probably the first song
of theirs I heard. I like "We love deez hoes" and of course the
completely psychic "Bombs over Baghdad".
|Fleet Foxes||Sun Giant||I am SO waiting impatiently for the Fleet Foxes EP and going to see them
on April 18th. I am in love with this EP and
listen to it almost every day. I start at Mykonos and listen to the last 2
songs, then I start over and listen to it again from the beginning. Ep's are
|Zap Mama||Supermoon||Didn't expect an album this sophisticated out of her. This one is my
favorite I think.
|Beirut||The Flying Club Cup||I guess they're really getting serious. One of the best albums of 2007.
One I'll be drinking to for years to come.
|Outkast||The Love Below||Got huge and for good reason. Hey Ya is one of the best pop songs of all
time. I love the hilarious Dracula's Wedding
(with Kelis!) and Valentine's Day might be my favorite. Oh wait, I like the
ending rap, A Life in the Day a hell of a lot.
|Joanna Newsom||The Milk-Eyed Mender||Joanna Newsom's older songs, just her and a harp. Man that girl can rock
a turn of phrase, and if you can deal with the
shrillness of her voice, there is a LOT to love here. The Book of Right-On
is a good entry point. If you can possibly stomach it, it's worth it to feel
the lyrical richness of these songs.
|Bettye Lavette||the Scene of the Crime||Old school, baby.|
|Iron & Wine||The Shepherd's Dog||Just, wow. I never liked him before but boy did he win me over. One of
the most amazing albums of its kind ever. Way to
nail it. Beautiful songs beginning to end. There isn't one weak moment.
|Okkervil River||The Stage Names||Kinda whiney voice, but this album is surprisingly good. Plus One and A
Girl in Port is a good mellow starting point.
Unless it's Kicks, and You Can't Take the Hand are the rocking songs. Great,
great lyrics and songs that really grow on you. Suzanne is kind of a stinker
for me but everything else is good
|Neko Case||The Tigers Have Spoken.||Her live album. She does not ever use auto-tune and this is her real
live vocal recording. Plenty of total gems on
here. John the Baptist, and I love the Loretta Lynn cover "Rated
|Neko Case & Her Boyfriends||The Virginian||The first Neko Case, before she got famous. The most countrified. I
love High on Cruel, and Thanks a Lot.
|Portishead||Third||10 years later and they make an amazing album that actually breaks new
ground. Sort of like a little metal in their Trip
Hop or something. A worthwhile and kind of challenging album.
|M. Ward||Transistor Radio||The newest album only barely misses the greatness of Post War.|
|Vampire Weekend||Vampire Weekend||My god I'm sick of talking about them, but the album is pop perfection.
I've listened to it 300 times already.
|Edie Brickell||Volcano||Edie Brickell's last solo thang is one of my secret favorites. Every
song is wonderful to me. Cool mellow jazzy guitar
and the best of her songwriting. Smoking, sexy songs.
|Thao||We Brave Bee Stings and All||Just getting into this. Who can hate a lady who has a band called The
Get Down Stay Down. This album is a pleasure.
|Erin McKeown||We Will Become Like Birds||Mellow mid-career album. Not my favorite but I LOVE Beautful I Guess.
I'm a sucker for that kind of percussion.
|Marvin Gaye||What's Going On (Deluxe Edition)||The classic.|
|Joanna Newsom||Ys||One of the most amazing albums to be released this decade and I am NOT
kidding about that. Emily and Only Skin are
possibly my favorites but there's not a dull moment. She sings lyrics in
almost every second of her 10 minute songs, and what lyrics they are.
Emily, I saw you last night, by the river. I dreamed you were skipping
little stones across the surface of the water, frowning at the angle where
they were lost and slipped under forever. Like a mud-clud, mica-spangled,
like the sky'd been breathing on a mirror."
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