The Stone Roses - Second Coming Rehearsal Sessions: This is exactly what it says it is; a studio session for the Second Coming album. Now, let me start off by saying that I'm not a hater of that album (which is notoriously hated and on almost every "Worst Second Album" list I've ever seen.) I actually love it. And this bootleg really shows the greatness of it stripped bare without all the production that went into the final mix.
Babyshambles - Whitechapel Demonstrations: These sessions are brilliant. The low key acoustic, unstructured nature of the sessions really fits what this band is all about. In these moments, you can really hear why so many people (myself included) hail Pete Dorhety as one of the great musical figures of out time despite all his downfalls. It's music like this that makes us root for him. A lot of unrelased tracks on here.
Theo Bard - Listen Carefully EP: This is a leftover from the London Rough Trade trip. This four song ep from London singer/songwriter is very well down. His view of the world definitely falls in line with mine. Just good folk music. Favorite line: "Raised on video games and footballer's names" is just a great line that really captures that idea of marketed childhood and the way we learn to obsess about things that in the grand scheme of life are rather unimportant.
Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions - Through the Devil Softly: So, I've been in love with Hope's voice since I first heard Mazzy Star back in 1993, so I might be biased, BUT this is a great album. Though I liked her first solo effort a few years back, it did feel like it was lacking a little of the Mazzy Star magic. This isn't. It stands proudly alongside the catalog.
Arctic Monkeys - Humbug: Again, another warning here, I love the Monkeys. I love Alex's slightly pissed off view of the world, because it's not just reactionary, it's very thought out and accurate. As a writer, he sees through the hypocrisy of the world and has a very clever way of putting it out there. That said, this album is a little different. Some the edge is taken off and replaced with more complicated musical arrangements. I read in an interview that the title comes from English slang for a lollipop and that they called it that because you had to suck on this one for awhile. Several listens in, I'm taking them up on that challenge. I feel I still have a little more time before I fully appreciate it. Kudos to them for not taking the easy way out.
Samantha Crain - Daytrotter Sessions: I saw Samantha in concert last weekend and had never heard her before. I was blown away. I haven't been that blown away by a new voice in a while. Listening to her sing was hypnotic. Hailing from Oklahoma, she sings that dust bowl kind of folk, but in her hands it's damned eerie and beautiful. I wanted to buy her two CDs at the show, but alas, no one was working her stand. I still plan on buying them both, but in the meantime, checked out her daytrotter.com session (FREE downloads folks...check it out, it's a great site to preview artists you might not know). I was happy that my two favorite songs she played are both included here.
Portugal. The Man - The Satanic Satanist: My love affair with this Alaska band continues with their new release (also released as the Majestic Majesty for those who have Satan issues...but beware the Majesty has one song less...there's always incentive for the dark side). Having made my 10 best for last year, this one is a leading candidate for this years too. Sing-along and experimental, low-fi and new disco, prog and folk...they are all over the place, but it always works and always flows and it's a hell of a ride...buy the ticket.
The Kinks - The Great Lost Kinks Album: A compilation of unreleased Kinks songs from their best era of the '60s (sorry to those 70's Kinks fans, but I can't get into those albums at all). I was a little unsure that there would be anything that amazing on here seeing as how I have both E.P. box sets...but I was wrong. This indeed lives up to it's title.
Edgar Broughton Band - Sing Brother Sing: I discovered this band last winter and had never heard a band that had the Trout Mask Replica sound before them. I have two other albums by them, but they both feel a little uneven. This is the first one that really came together from start to finish for me. A must have for any fan of that Captain Beefheart vibe.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request: The beauty of Anton Newcombe's music is that it's not revival, though listening to an album, you find yourself constantly hearing The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Stones, etc...but it's that you're hearing those bands and so much more. He's not imitating, he's evolving. This is one of the classic Jonestown albums and I'm sorry I waited this long to get it. Put it on, let the sun shine, and just listen.
Judas Priest - Screaming for Vengeance: Thanks to my friend Marc for introducing this album to me. I'd never shown any interest Judas Priest. I've of course heard all the praise heaped on them by other bands, but knew very little besides "Breakin' the Law". Well, I was missing out. When Marc put this vinyl on, I was hooked from the first song and had to pick up the album the very next day. It's just heart pounding, perfect British speed metal.
Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden: So the above got me curious about this album. Iron Maiden had always been the exact same situation as Judas Priest. So I had this laying around for awhile but hadn't yet listened to it. I put it on and was very surprised. It wasn't at all what I expected. It really sounds like a transition from 70's Black Sabbath to 80's metal...and it's amazing. A lot more prog elements that I expected and more beautiful vocals than I expected. A great album, period.
Now that I'm at the end, I've noticed there's a lot of devil on this list. It's pure chance, I promise you ;) I will try to counter with a lot of spiritual next week.