Wale & 9th Wonder - Back to the Feature: Wale's back with another mixtape before the new album drops this summer. The D.C. rapper has relocated to my old town of Philly and the change seems to suit him. This is tight from beginning to end. His previous efforts (all stellar) have all had some weak links. Not here. 9th Wonder is on top of his game on this one. Guest appearances by the Roots and Jean Grae hit the mark. And as always, Wale's flow is impeccable.
Perkalaba - Chydro: New album by the Ukrainian gypsy folk rock outfit is a good listen. Similar slightly to GoGo Bordello, but with more of a folk angle than a punk angle.
Bowerbirds - Upper Air: The second album from North Carolina folk outfit. I was disappointed by the first album. I heard the first single and loved it. Searched out the album, and it was kind of boring. This one though, they found the delicate intricacies of their sound. It has a Elvis Perkins meets Fleet Foxes sound.
Angus & Julia Stone - Hollywood ep: A very enjoyable male/female singer songwriter duo. It's one of those sunny Sunday morning albums. Every collection needs a bunch of those.
Two Dark Birds - Two Dark Birds: Part of the '70 singer songwriter/ Cat Stevens revival, this album does it as good as anyone. Very similar to Langhorn Slim, which in my mind, ain't a bad thing.
Portugal. The Man - Church Mouth: The 2007 album from one of the bands quickly moving up my "favorites" list. There's just such a great blend of sound on their work that really symbolizes the sound of the first decade in the 2000's. It's vast, it's manic at times, sing along calm at others, and always good.
Amadine - Leave Out the Sad Parts: This ep from a band hailing from Sweden doesn't fall from the sound of other Scandinavian bands that I've loved of the past few years (Peter Murphy's Carver Combo, Dexter Jone's Circus Orchestra, Alamo Race Tracks, etc). There a gloom, grey atmosphere over the sound that is music to my ears.
F.J. McMahon - Spirit of the Golden Juice: This folk album from 1969 was a great find. A friend gave me a mix of a bunch of hippy freak folk and there was one F.J. track on it. I searched this out, his only album. It's a great lo-fi, downer, hippy freak folk album. Reminded me a ton of Jackson C. Frank's album (which is one of my favorites.)
Songs: Ohia - The Lioness: I know it seems like there's a Songs:Ohia album on each of these lists (and there will be future Jason Molina/ Magnolia Electric Co. albums to come) but that's only because they belong here. The Neil Young of our time.
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: My love affair with early-to-mid '70's Elton continues. I picked up this double album on vinyl for $3 a few weeks ago and it was worth it. Not nearly as good as Madman Across the Water, but this one is also worth adding to the collection.