Some good ones that slipped through the cracks this year
* Ani DiFranco – Red Letter Year (rock)
This is the best sounding record she’s done in years, scrapping the neo-folk for a texturally interesting rock album. She brings out everything but the kitchen sink – electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums and various percussion plus strings, piano, organ, bells and some electronics. It all melds together brilliantly, and for once the music turns as many heads as the lyrics.
Listen to Ani Difranco “Emancipated”
* Otis Taylor – Recapturing the Banjo (blues)
Hear tracks at Otis Taylor’s MySpace Page
Why skimp on one of the world’s great instruments? Upload any song, and you can tell the program how much cowbell to add to it. I uploaded the first thing I could find on my hard drive (Radiohead’s “Bodysnatchers”), and a bunch of extra cowbell sure didn’t hurt. This is a site you just have to try.
Surf to http://morecowbell.dj
Carla Bruni – Comme Si De Rien N’Etait (folk)
Imagine this: Michelle Obama decides to make a record. It’s actually good. Very good. And she wrote all the songs. And some of them are in Spanish. That’s roughly the feat that Bruni accomplishes here, and it’s why I continue to be ga-ga for
And can I just say that despite
Listen to Carla Bruni “Tu Es Ma Came”
Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile – Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile (jazz)
Virtuosic picking with ex-Nickle Creek mandolinist Thile alongside the renowned newgrass bassist. All acoustic with just the two instrumentalists, it’s an imaginative collaboration that busts genres – elements of classical, jazz, and bluegrass all sit side by side.
Listen to Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile – “Cassandra’s Waltz”
Sars Flannery –
A sly, nonchalant vocal style and an ear for pop songcraft make Flannery stand out. Spot-on production also lifts this above the crowd, each song embellished with a taylor-made sound that sharpens the mood while lifting up the guitar and vocals.
Listen to Sars Flannery here
Flobots – Fight With Tools (rap)
Soundtrack for the revolution. File under hip hop, but closer to spoken word with an often inventive musical background to ease it down. Politically intense. Thanks to James for the tip on this band.
Listen to Flobots “Rise”