1. Low - C'mon (Sub Pop Records)
2. Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys ( Polydor)
3. Paul Simon - So Beautiful Or So What (Concord Music Group)
4. EELS with Strings - Live at Town Hall (Vagrant Records)
5. DeVotchKa - 100 Lovers (ANTI)
6. The Lonely Wild - Dead End 45 record (self release)
7. Low - Trust (Krank Records)
8. Duniven - I Need To Try For Her (self release)
9. Cody the Band - Cody the Band EP (self release)
10. Pepper Rabbit - Beauregard (Kanine Records)
The first three albums on this list took over and hogged the spotlight. Low has got to be among the albums of the year. I was lucky enough to be at Spaceland last December when they introduced this album, C'mon, in order and complete. I remember thinking at the time that this was going to be an incredible album...and I was right. I've loved past Low releases, like The Great Destroyer, but this is probably their most accessible record yet and maybe their most beautiful ever. I'll detail individual songs later, but let me just say "I'm Nothing But Heart" has the cumulative power of "Give Peace A Chance" by John Lennon or "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison and yet achieves a beauty all it's own. Maybe my favorite song of the year. And I play it endlessly.
Elbow are already one of my favorite bands, but the new album, Build A Rocket Boys, is challenging. The first song, "The Birds", is one of the most bombastic, perfect Elbow song I've ever heard and the rest of the album can't help but be a disappointment. It struggles and struggles but can't ever quite come up to the level of the first song. But an inferior Elbow album can match the best of many other bands, so I'll be content. It's just that their last two albums have been so brilliant.
The new Paul Simon record is surprisingly energetic and sprightly, and coupled with the opportunity to see him live, I went through something of a Paul Simon resurgence over the past few weeks. His new material slips easily into his prolific catalog of songs.
After that, there's the Low album Trust, which I hadn't owned until I picked it up on this week and although it sounds sparer that later albums, it's still a charmer. And to get ready for the show with Cody the Band, I spun their terrific early EP a few times. Very nice.