Monday, October 6, 2008

5 albums you haven't heard this year (and need to...immediately)

Just stopping by to drop some musical knowledge on you. These albums have all been nominated (by me) to the "album of the year" category for the imaginary music awards show that takes place in my head every December 31st. Celebrity appearances abound. Dress appropriately.

Questions of my sanity and/or social life aside, let's start things off with "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?" by Amanda Palmer (naturally), of Dresden Dolls fame. Palmer's vocals on this album are incredible, and the addition of orchestral instrumentation by producer Ben Folds adds a great touch. You can kind of tell Palmer's a self-taught piano player, but in a good way - she's raw without being sloppy. Check out "Astronaut" below.

Up next is The Flashbulb's "Soundtrack to a Vacant Life." The Flashbulb is the brainchild of the prolific Benn Jordan, who likely put out three albums before you ate breakfast this morning. This album is a welcome departure from his previous style of electronica - he grooves so hard on some of these cuts that you're going to get sore ankles tapping your feet so much. Check out the Eden-like "FORBIDDEN TRACKS" below.

If you want to hear a fusing of hip-hop and classical done right, look no further than Black Violin's new self-titled album. It's done right because neither genre outshines the other - they tastefully share the spotlight. And I promise there's no way you'll catch all the sampling and quoting they do from both genres the first time around. The rapping on a couple of the tracks is pretty embarassing, but easily forgiven - they were violin players first, after all. Here's "Brandenburg."

For you metalheads out there (don't be ashamed, we all love leather pants), check out Cynic's new album "Traced In Air." It's not technically out yet, but I know that won't stop you Internet Jack Sparrows. Here's their story: this band releases a fantastic album in 1993 ("Focus"), breaks up for 15 years, then reunites and comes out with another essential album like a day hasn't gone by. Unbelievable. These guys can flat out play their instruments, too. Proof: "Evolutionary Sleeper."

Finally we have "It's Not Me, It's You" by post-rockers pg.lost. If you're a post-rock fan, you pretty much know what to expect with this one, but damn it if this isn't some beautiful music. They do enough differently to keep things interesting, and some of the melodies are so haunting they'll be bouncing around your head for days (unless you happen to hear some Miley Cyrus or something, then God help you). Here's "Yes I Am."

Hopefully you found something here worth looking into. If not, my only advice is to be careful on the stairs, oldie, because you're a broken hip away from assisted living. Seriously, new music rules.

Did you find this helpful? Was this a colossal waste of an hour? Ever want to see something like this again? Wish I had written the entire thing in the form of questions? Let me know in the commments.

-Brian D.

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