Over on my other blog...you know, the one on the social networking site that's like so two years ago...I've been doing a mostly monthly entry on my current favorites, musically that is. This, of course, gives a bit of a sneak peak at a lot of stuff that will wind up on my year-end list, but I'm not as guarded with that information as I once was. That said, don't EVER ask me a specific question like, "...so, what's going to make your top ten this year". That could even get you banned from year-end compilation status.
I'm kidding...about the banning part, that is. I'm not arrogant enough to think that's some sort of punishment. Although I guess if you care enough to ask the question, maybe it is.
This year, I'm taking a slightly different approach. No ranked top 5 lists or anything like that. I'm just going to throw a few recommendations out there every month or so. Keep in mind that, although I'm calling them recommendations, they're really just lists of what I like (and sometimes what I don't), not some critical appraisal or something.
Who knows?...maybe my format will change as the year goes on, but here it is, the first installment of Frequent Spins for 2008.
Cat Power - Jukebox
A lot of folks don't like the turn towards soulfulness and slicker production she's taken with her last two albums, in contrast to the spareness of You Are Free, but there's definitely some good stuff here.
Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
Not a major change in direction for the best modern shit-kicking southern rock band going. Still, the addition of Shonna Tucker as part-time vocalist is a nice twist, as we all now how much I adore female singers of the countryish variety.
Kate Nash - Made of Bricks
I hear a bit of an English Regina Spektor here, but sometimes her voice reminds me of Bjork. I need to retire this one early, though, as I'm sensing it may have the potential to get a little annoying.
Tyler Ramsey - A Long Dream About Swimming Across the Sea
The Band of Horses guitarist delivers a simple affair that highlights his fine guitar playing and vocals that occasionally remind me of Mark Kozelek. Others have made Neil Young comparisons. But, of course, he's not quite as good as either of those guys.
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Some are calling this a hybrid of Graceland-esque afro-beats and indie pop. I don't feel qualified to make that comparison, but I'll accept it and add two of my own, to play the "name three bands/artists they remind you of" game: Paul Simon, The Police, The Walkmen.
The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead
Shelby Lynne - Just a Little Lovin'
Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus!
Times New Viking - Rip it Off
Black Mountain - In the Future
The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
I created these lists on the last day of January, as they're all releases from January 2008. In the almost week and a half since, I've really enjoyed a few more listens to the new Shelby Lynne (no relation to Jeff). It's a tribute to Dusty Springfield, and apparently she was inspired to make the album at the suggestion of Barry Manilow. Lynne's interpretations generally offer a more minimalist take to the songs than Springfield's versions, so it's really well done, in my opinion. I'll bump this one up to my list of January '08 recommendations.
Sort of a funny side note...in my other blog, I called Kate Nash a female Regina Spektor. This was not intended as a jab at Spektor's femininity. I meant to say an English Regina Spektor.
Oh, and lastly, February is already shaping up to be a great month...so stay tuned.