5. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis “White Lunar”- A double cd featuring some of their soundtrack themes to films as diverse as “The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford” and the little-seen documentary “The Girls of Phnom Penh”, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis deliver a knockout collection. Their musical expansiveness is breathtaking, creating timeless pieces of music that feel completely antique one moment then wholly modern the next. The real gems here, though, are the tracks from “The Vaults”… pieces that feel alive with the spontaneity of two guys who enjoy making music.
4. Do Make Say Think “Other Truths”-I have to thank Bob at Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind for turning me on to this band. Jamming instrumental is a weakness of mine. Just look no further than my enduring love for Texas band Explosions In the Sky. When its done right, this style of post-rock can be very elevating, and Do Make Say Think routinely elevate.
3. The Antlers “Hospice”- Coming out of relative obscurity, The Antlers (Peter Silberman, Michael Lerner and Darby Cicci) “Hospice” is a sweeping and moving album that tells a distinctly sad story. In essence, a 10 song lament for having to watch someone die of cancer, “Hospice” soars with hope in certain moments before crashing back into sadness. It’s a bold move, and one that floods the listener with various moods. Not for the faint of heart, but “Hospice” leaves us with the hope that all the angst has been washed away with this album. If nothing else, ignore the lyrics and wallow in the beautiful tempo of their sound.
2. Beirut “March of the Zapotec/RealPeople”-A schizophrenic album to say the least. The first half, titled March of the Zapotec, highlights the brass and Eastern European style of Beirut. It's the last few songs that combine to make Beirut's latest a wonder to behold. The shift into a more synthetic/electronica sound, reminiscent of the tortured vocals of say Thom Yorke, abruptly pushes the band into an adventurous area of new exploration. Released way back in January of '09, this is the cd that got worn out in my player.
1. The Mars Volta "Octahedron"-Very similar to the latest Pearl Jam album, The Mars Volta have churned out a very focused and tight collection of songs. Sure, the guitar lashings and freak-out jams are still present in some places, but overall, their latest is a revelation that they don't need a 13 minute King Crimson like jam to satisfy. By honing their sound, The Mars Volta have created a marvelous addendum to their ever evolving career.