Tuesday, June 30, 2009

VIRAL VIDEO: Pogo Poppins!!?

Another Exciting Episode of Viral Video

Australia's Pogo with something wild!

Spend a Few Minutes checking out all these
previous RSL Viral Video selections:

We are not Amused!

The RSL YouTube Page!

Golden Bloom's Hot New Release - Fan the Flames

Experimental Release Format

The best thing to do with a tiger, I can assure you - is to catch it by it's tail. The cat in this case are Golden Bloom and the subject matter (the tail, so to speak) is the band's incredible full-length album to be released on August 18th. Easily one of the best records I have heard this summer, I don't need to keep this one under wraps until Fan the Flames emerges. Nine Music magazines and websites (including Ryan's Smashing Life) will unveil a track each week until the record hits stores. That's nearly three months of exposure and a lot of free entertainment for fans. We give this one a Grade A for the release format and the duration of time it should win Golden Bloom in the sun.

Set for an August 18 Release

Fan the Flames mp3s are getting a serialized release!

Fan the Flames tracklisting
with Release Date & Location:

(live now!)

Doomsday Devices (Ruby Isle Remix)
(live now!)

Fan the Flames
(live July 3rd)

She Leaves Me Poetry
(live July 10th)

The Fight at the End of the Tunnel
(live July 17th)

"Dead Petals
Ryan's Smashing Life
(live July 24th)

If You Believe
(live July 31st)

"The Mountainside Says
(live Aug 7th)

Theme For an Adventure at Sea
(live Aug 14th)

"This is the Summer of Golden Bloom," says Magnet Magazine. We would certainly have to agree. An instrumental chameleon, front man Shawn Fogel is as comfortable on piano, bass guitar and tenor sax as on keyboard, harmonica, and drums. He demonstrates his talents by playing all the instruments on Fan the Flames while recording with Ryan Ball at The Gearbox and produced by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Mates of State). Selecting an unorthodox approach, Fogel then went on to work with producers Roger Greenawalt (Ben Kweller), and Dylan Magierek (Mark Kozelek) to lend an ear to the pop-centric melodies of the other tracks on the album.

Hands on the Wheel - Shawn Fogel

Fogel's immensely talented touring band includes Deleon frontman Dan Saks, Ryan Ball, bassist for famed Pink Floyd tribute band the Machine, Brooklyn guitar ace Jeff Patlingrao, Guster sideman Josh Cohen, and music journalist Michael Azerrad. (We have followed author Azerrad's career closely - he was also a producer on the About A Son movie about Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.) From start-to-finish, this is one band and a music project you should be checking out for yourself this summer. We expect very big things from Golden Bloom.

Golden Bloom
Web / Myspace

Monday, June 29, 2009

Heartbreak & Harmonies - The Motels

Going out Tonight!
The Motels and Casey Desmond 6/29
The Scene: The Middle East in Cambridge

New Wave + Like New Again - Arriving in Boston tonight are Eighties new-wave pioneers, The Motels - responsible for “Suddenly Last Summer” and “Only the Lonely” which won the band an American Music Award in 1982. This isn't exactly the same Martha Davis-led band we remember however... Leaving behind LA (and Capital Records) four years ago, Davis headed to Portland, OR - where she found the indie music hotbed to be much to her liking. A career invigoration, of sorts, took place. Davis has made her own contribution to the Portland music scene in the form of the studio/artist retreat she runs from her 72-acre farm in the Oregon countryside. Influencing, motivating and collaborating with a new generation of gifted musicians bring Davis great joy. The new incarnation of The Motels is drawn from this very pool of talent, young musicians.

The Motels Tonight!

vintage Martha Davis

The album Clean Modern and Reasonable, issued in September 2007, was the first release under the banner "The Motels" in 22 years. The album contains acoustic versions of past hits, B-sides and Martha Davis solo material including new takes on "Take The L", "Only the Lonely" and "Suddenly Last Summer". In April 2008 The Motels released two new albums on the same day, This and Beautiful Life, the latter taking the listener on a dark journey through Martha's life.

Do not miss this opportunity to see a new wave pioneer with her new, talented band.

The Motels featuring Martha Davis
Web / Myspace

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Better Than Ezra - Live at the Paradise

Photographic Evidence
by Sooz

The Paradise Rock Club - 6/20/2009

ON A BOSTON STAGE: Better Than Ezra were in town last week, touring behind the release of their new album Paper Empire. The new album signals a coming of age and an evolved sound for Better Than Ezra. (Paper Empire was co-produced by BTE singer Kevin Griffin along with Warren Huart whose credits include Augustana, Hot Hot Heat, The Fray and Korn.) We are glad to say we were there for shots and to capture the crowd reaction ... Photos by Sooz.

RSL Album: BTE at the Dise

photos by Sooz

Better Than Ezra
Web / Myspace

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Caught on Film: the Matt King Rock Growl

Mike Epstein photo

STORY BEHIND THE SHOT: "Best Picture of Me Ever Taken," said an enthusiastic Matthew King of Boston rock rockers The Lights Out. "I need a copy of that picture... I have got to show that to some people!" Those were King's remarks Thursday - when he got his first look at the raw but righteous image. We have to agree. We are digging the photo's energy and emotion and (of course) King's choice of t-shirts.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Epstein (Boston Band Crush and The Motion Sick) took the photo from the audience at TT the Bears on May 29th. It's now a special rock moment locked in time.

Myspace / Facebook / Web

Maximo Park’s “Quicken the Heart”

Maximo Park - Quicken the Heart

by Nick Parker

Maximo Park's Paul Smith

The Stage is Set: Rarely has there been so much controversy about an album in the RSL writer’s team than about this one. Long-standing friendships have ended, bitter words have been thrown, violence has ensued, lawyers have been called… well, a few of us have sent some sarcastic emails to each other at least. I must give credit for his wit to one other writer on the team, who is otherwise a big fan of the band, for snarkily renaming today's music target: “Minimo Park” after hearing this album.

How can I defend Maximo Park from ‘vicious’ attacks like this? Well, in all seriousness, “Quicken the Heart,” the band’s third album, is possibly the best new music I have heard in the last six months. (editor's note: the band is featured on RSL's Best of New Music (A-Z) Album List)

Why I like it so much: “Quicken the Heart” harkens back to a lot of older music, particularly from the 80s. It’s an album that is heavy with vintage synths and clean guitar hooks. The pacing of the songs too, has something about it that makes you feel like you’re watching a band who aren’t aware that they could play harder with a drum machine, and so achieve every ounce of energy they produce by simply throwing themselves at their instruments. Having seen them live (and they will be back at Paradise on 20th Sept, so you can too!), I can imagine them doing just that as they play these tracks.

PAUL SMITH is AN ALL-STAR: This band has a star performer though, who lifts them from just good melodies and interesting hooks, to something really remarkable. Singer Paul Smith writes songs of love and romance that seem vintage like the rest of the band. I would hold Smith’s lyrical abilities up against anyone writing today though. He then sings these fantastic, emotive lines with a voice that sounds so desperately strained that even those with a heart of stone begin to wilt under the pressure. There is so much sadness in this music, but so much celebration of life too: of affairs loved but now over (“Tanned”), of brief, beautiful moments held between lovers (“Questing, not Coasting”), and of the excitement of fledgling relationships (“I Haven’t Seen Her in Ages”).

This is probably not the best album this band has produced, but, like a new summer romance, I can see nothing but the beauty of my current love.

Web / Myspace

Friday, June 26, 2009

We Were There: Local Natives at TTs

On Further Review
by Nick Parker

The Scene:
TT the Bears - 6/10/2009

This was my second time seeing The Local Natives this year, and this really is a story of two acts… The first show was a set on a frigid night in February. We fought our way through snow banks and freezing rain to experience these guys - and they ended up thawing us out with their sunny, Californian music. They played, not surprisingly given the weather, to a small but animated group of fans and converts. It was a good show, like a secret that only the few of us, who had put in the effort to get there, were allowed to share with them.

When it was over, we each felt like we had seen a band on the way up, playing complex multi-harmony melodies with several lead singers, switching off between instruments and at times having a member sing, play keys and a small second drum kit, all at the same time!

As I had hoped on that night though, things are on the up and up now for The Local Natives. This second time around, they were a quite different band. They still played much of the same set, from their single “Airplanes” to their excellent cover of Talking Heads’ “Warning Sign,” but this time there was a new buzz around them in the busy TTs audience. With a close to capacity crowd the band seemed to have a new level of command over their material – not just tighter in their performance, but more ready to take up the challenge of bigger shows, and, I feel convinced, more success to come. It is deserved, so I wish them the best of luck.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NOT Michael Jackson

I think it's been a very long time since I have personally considered Michael Jackson, dead today at 50, a mover and shaker in the music industry. But, as a breakthrough artist of epic proportions (and perhaps as equally in his oddities and excesses) his legacy can be found all around us in the world of music. It's better to remember the good times:

NEW TRACK: Released 6/26/09
The Lost Fingers - Billie Jean

Invitation to an RSL CD Listening Party!

Artists we Like: Pezzettino
Boston Album Release
CD Listening Party!

The Scene: River Gods

Margaret Stutt is Pezzettino

photographs by Sean Hafferty

COME HAVE FUN WITH US! - On Tuesday, June 30th the RSL Music Blog will sponsor a very special and free CD listening party over at River Gods for the thoroughly engaging Pezzettino. Margaret Stutt was trained in classical piano at the local convent until the age of twelve, she picked up the accordion for the first time little over a year ago. Since the release of her solo debut album, Because I Have No Control in 2008, Pezzettino has been on the road. On Tuesday, 6/30 we help celebrate the release of Pezzettino's second album, Lion. Stutt is busy writing and recording the third release, Lamb, set for release in late 2009.

from the new album Lion:
Pezzettino - Parsite

Influences on Pezzettino's Lion include: Yann Tiersen, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Tchaikovsky, Bach, The Avett Brothers, Bjork, The Cranberries, Erykah Badu, Juliana Hatfield, Ben Folds, Sheryl Crow, and Billie Holiday.

WE CAN'T WAIT: Pezzettino! is gaining a reputation for her genre-bending style that touches on Indie Rock, Classical, and Celtic Folk. "It's a bit like me showing up for a date with messy hair and skinned knees after jumping from a moving car."


RIVER GODS 6/30/09

Free to Attend!
- Copies of Lion will be on sale -
Everyone who attends can win an copy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


NEW MUSIC/Going out Tonight!
by Nikhil Gupta
The Scene: TT the Bears

The Anatomy of a Three-person Band: Russell Marsden (guitar & vocals), Emma Richardson (bass & vocals), and Matt Hayward (drums) have produce an intricately layered and stylistically far-reaching album. Band of Skull’s debut release, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, proves to listeners that three musicians can hold their own. Luckily, you can see this band from London for yourself tonight in town!

Tonite: Band of Skulls plays with Day Sleeper & Hundred Years War.

Band of Skulls - Blood
File Removed By Request

What Can’t Band of Skulls Do? Two songs into Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, Band of Skulls prove their garage-rock chops with “Light of the Morning” and “Death By Diamonds and Pearls.” Then in their single, “I Know What I Am,” Marsden and Richardson take turns with the vocals before their voices combine to give the song an entirely different feel: it’s then that the listener realizes that what they are is a band that can do a lot of different things in a single song and come up with fresh and surprising results. In “I Know What I Am” it’s the way they combine an 80’s sounding chorus with pulsing garage-rock riffs (ones that force us to begin mentioning Band of Skulls in the same sentence with the White Stripes and the Von Bondies). In “Hollywood Bowl” it’s their recipe of one part arena rock and one part 60’s crooning. The bluesy guitars in “Blood” turn red hot at just the right moment—just when we can’t take the smoldering anymore—and then delve into heavy-metal distortions. This is a band that knows each individual member and its collective identity well, and we’re the luckier for it.

Letting Their Emotions Stay Complicated: Surely, part of what makes the different elements of Baby Darling Doll Face Honey feel organic is the shared songwriting between all three members of the band. For the listener, what makes the diverse genres in these tracks especially interesting is the way the album accumulates them in order to show more and more points of connection between various styles. Once the album gives us some raw and vulnerable moments in the standout song “Fires” and the country-esque “Honesty,” these feelings stick around and sound equally at home in the thick ending to “Dull Gold Heart” and the relative quiet vocal harmonies in “Cold Fame.” All of this makes sense in an album that, even at its punkiest or poppiest moments, never veers towards anything like teenage angst. While we may feel that frustration even as adults, it’s always wrapped up with other things. Band of Skulls have put out an album as complex as those intertwined emotions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Andrew Bird & Calexico at the Pavilion

Andrew Bird with Calexico - Friday 6/19/09
SCENE: Boston's Bank of America Pavilion
by Ryan Spaulding & Sean Hafferty

Photography in this piece by Sean Hafferty

Friday marked the second occasion in just a few short months that I have witnessed the exacting, musical magic of Andrew Bird up close on a Boston stage. Tall, thin and precise - Bird cuts an easily identifiable silhouette up on stage. Behind him, several sound projection devices and instruments that easily eclipse his size. Weight, in anything other than performance, really never comes to bare at a Andrew Bird show. It's all about creative genius. Bird is very much like an intricate toymaker up on stage and his customers are awed by his musical concoctions.

Bird is touring behind "Noble Beast" (RSL Best of 2009 selection), his fifth album - marking his largest crossover success to date in his career. Much of my admiration for Bird isn't actually due to what or how he plays (his guitar, violin and xylophone playing - and his whistling are all just amazing) - but it is the fact that he is bringing something new to the masses that I respect the most. It is the fusion between instrumental rock and indie that wins me over. It's a creative platform that Bird and Beirut's Zach Condon (and very few others) stand on.

The stage performance was graced, notably, through the drums of Martin Dosh. Dosh played a cool but enthusiastic set with Bird and it was his pacing that helped set the tone whenever he was on stage. Bird seemed most appreciative. We were also thoroughly impressed with Bird's use of a loop pedal on Friday night. Outside of David Ford, Bird is the best musician I have seen use this effect this smoothly, effortlessly and without flaw. Very special to see all that sound and noise come out of one person!

RSL Live Photo Album
by Sean Hafferty


The very fact that Andrew Bird was paired with talented alt-country/exploratory sound technicians Calexico was reason alone to celebrate. Calexico have developed a latin-influenced quality to their music that's not common in these parts. This was a rare opportunity for the audiences in Boston. And the band played it up. This was their sendoff show as Calexico are now on a long string of dates throughout Europe.

Intermingled between songs of lament and love, Calexico exorcised their own demons . Capable of the same soft, ethereal qualities in their magic that have made Andrew Bird hfamous, these Arizona sons can also tear the roof off - and they do. This can make Calexico a bit more accessible than Andrew Bird due to his intricacies. Tonight everything was just right on all accounts; a damn good time.

RSL Live Photo Album
by Sean Hafferty


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Best of Album List (A-Z) from the First Half 2009


RSL Album Buyer's Guide - 2009 Volume I

Welcome! You have just found one of the most exhaustive and well-considered lists of quality, new music available in 2009. We don't promise to have everything that's out there but what is comes in one easy-to-digest package!

Read on below: there's an mp3 or video from each of the 33 best music projects RSL has come across in 2009. Ultimately, this A-Z shopping list (we have great confidence that any and all of these belong in your permanent collection) is a reflection of our own personal tastes. (Accordingly - there are some rather prominent omissions from this list - and we stand firmly by these selections. We didn't always agree - so there are some debated entries here!)

Enjoy the fruits of our labor & invest in the artist material. We all need to support the works of musicians and artists whose work we enjoy. With that in mind, here are the 2009 Volume I album recommendations from Ryan's Smashing Life....

Andrew Bird - Noble Beast

"Maestro Andrew Bird has proven himself yet again on Noble Beast. And what he does is make beautiful sound arrangements framed in his witty, poetic lyrics. Bird has found his place amongst the leaders in classic instrument fusion with independent rock. Noble Beast is a beautiful album," - Ryan.

Bitter Tears - Jam Tarts in the Jakehouse

"The Bitter Tears are not your standard indie rock. They use many instruments, well placed harmonies and a variety of sonic flavors to engage and entertain. Imagine a rock version of Beirut or an updated Squirrel Nut Zippers with a little Cracker," - Sean.

Black Gold - Rush

"One of my favorite live shows of the year was Black Gold at the Middle East. A powerful and succinct touring bed Black Gold are led by the dynamic duo of Eric Ronick (credits include: Ambulance Ltd and Panic at the Disco) and Than Luu (credits include: M Ward, Shushshush and Rachel Yamagata). Their performance proved to be both analog and totally electric. Than Luu was the best drummer I saw all year long," - Ryan.

Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

"Highly orchestrated with lots of reverb, My Maudlin Career still has a sweet simplicity that just sucks you in and keeps you bopping in your chair," - Sean.

Chairlift - Does You Inspire You?

"This band was one of my constant companions on the road in 2009 - I don't listen daily, but I always end up coming back. A complete pick me up... In Does You Inspire You listeners get the full tradition of good pop music: creative, jetty songcraft, unusual, quirky presentations and no fear of simplicity. Give Chairlift a listen." - Ryan.

Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid

"Deep dirty blues with a dash of Southern Rock. Now, toss in a couple slow tunes to keep you on your toes and Dan Auerbach has put together one hell of an album," - Sean. "Sean and I were lucky enough to both be at the Dan Auerbach show at the Paradise here in Boston. The man has a spirit about him - an eye-opening show! - Ryan

Decemberists - Hazards of Love

"The Decemberists infuse their traditional British-inspired folk(tale) sound with, of all, things, metal riffs that can tear through this 17-song album at break-neck speed. There are still moments of soft beauty, but the album's strongest when Meloy's slightly sinister vocals are finally accompanied by the hard and jagged guitar work--not to mention the guest vocals from totally badass Shara Worden," - Nikhil.

Doves - Kingdom of Rust

"Doves have been away from the studio, and from Boston, for a few years now, but they returned with a very strong album last month. They play great mood music, and Kingdom of Rust is the dark horse candidate for best album of the first half of the year," - Nick.

Great Northern - Show Me Where the Light Is

"I asked the others at RSL if they only had three albums to put on the list who would be on it. Remind Me Where the Light Is was one of my three. Great Northern was a very good band that got better and more passionate this year. (Read our full review, here.) This is must-have stuff," - Ryan.

Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown

"I wrestled with nominating Green Day, I mean its Green Day. But seriously, the intensity and variety of the songs on this CD make it a definite best for the first half of 2009," - Sean.

Heartless Bastards - The Mountain

HB's Erika Wennerstrom

"Heartless Bastard's CD release party at Great Scott's was a highpoint of this year's live shows. The album too, is a great mix of blues and rock behind Erika Wennerstrom's unique vocal tone," - Nick. "The aching passion behind this album comes through in lyrics and in tone. Rarely does introspection produce results that rock so hard," - Nikhil. "One of my three best records of the year for sure - and possibly the best. Heartless Bastards are one of the best live bands in the country," - Ryan.

Hands and Knees - Et Tu, Fluffy?

The Hands and Knees debut is absolutely one of the best records of '09. Et Tu Fluffy takes on a modern indie/alt-country dance with Hot Little Item, a swirling, slowly climbing homage to a girl that I swear to god could have come from Roy Orbison." - Ryan.

Ian Adams - Stay Up Late

"A new release this month, Ian Adams' Stay Up Late is an incredible album of howling ballads and character stories. Adams is a 15-year veteran of the Boston Music scene, having played most notably with Rock City Crimewave, but finds himself here the subject of a rock and roll baptism. This is the sound of an unraveling soul - Highly Recommend!" - Ryan.

Ida Maria - Fortress Round My Heart

"A total surprise, Ida Maria's debut LP is fun, moving, and invigorating. Her singing sounds like it comes from deep inside, and this blends perfectly with the band's punk sound," - Nikhil.

Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications

Steve Albini's angry production puts a fresh stamp on Cocker's music here. "Further complications" is a bitter pill of sarcasm and wit in equal measure. Cocker’s best work in years," - Nick. "I love this album a lot." - Ryan.

Logan 5 and the Runners - Featurette

"Sharp, punctuated drum driven forward by keys and rythmic bass only to be chopped up by electric guitars - this is the key to success on Featurette, the debut from Logan 5 and the Runners. I am further fueled by frontman David Berndt's voice which seems it was pretty much made for smoky lounge rooms and dark epiphanies," - Ryan.

Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing

"Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra are on their way to big things, and we can only applaud their efforts. "Mean Everything to Nothing," with its high point. Be Sure to check out the video for "Pride," (full version) - the highlight of the album and its deep rock roots. I love it," - Nick.

Matt & Kim - Grand

"I named Grand the First Must-Have album to be released in 2009 and I stand by those words! Another band that has turned the page and gone on to do some remarkable stuff, Matt & Kim are just wicked on this indie pop record with punk undertones. Highly Recommend." - Ryan.

Maximo Park - Quicken the Heart

" Maximo Park write twenty-first century songs of love and romance. This, their third album, keeps up their tradition of (great) old-fashioned songwriting. Add to this their on-stage energy, which left us breathless when they played in Boston last year, and this album should win over many when they come back to Boston and play the Paradise in September," - Nick.

MEandJOANCOLLINS - Love. Trust. Faith. Lust.

"Storytelling come with relative ease between bombastic rock performances from MEandJOANCOLLINS. You must add Love. Trust. Faith. Lust. to your collection - one of the best new albums of the year!" - Ryan.

Metric - Fantasies

Jenny Lewis photo

"With a bit of a Tegan and Sara flavor, Metric delivers rock electronica that is upbeat without being dancy. Luscious vocals and sweet beats makes you want to hit the road and drive fast (always obey the speed limit people)." - Sean.

Neal Casal - Roots + Wings

Matthieu Zazzo photo

"Neal Casal has made his name by proving to the be the very bedrock of the Cardinals. Now he's out on his own. Roots + Wings is an absolutely amazing album - an unexpected treat out of the world of country," - Ryan.

Neko Case - Middle Cyclone

"As her music continues to be increasingly difficult to identify in terms of genre, Neko's Middle Cyclone brings together alt-country, folk, power-pop, and rock. The result is an album that is entirely original and surprising throughout. The vocals here are, as always, hauntingly beautiful and lend a startling strength to each song," - Nikhil.

Passion Pit - Manners

"Boston's own Passion Pit put the bounce back in indie music, and every track reels you in with its catchy mix of electronic music and guitar riffs," - Nikhil. "I have to admit - I have come to love this album despite some minor nagging flaws that bugged me at first. (Not all the intros work well and some of the tracks sound a little enclosed or rushed despite their tone...) But what's here was better than 95% of everybody else's releases this year. One of the most promising band's we've ever heard. If they can jump a few small hurdles, the sky's the limit." - Ryan

Peter, Bjorn and John - Living Thing

"Living Thing really spoke to me this year. I like the fact that PB&J draw from a wide array of influences to achieve their sound. Tons of experimentation and an upbeat live show all lead to one of those 'best of' type years. This one's a winner," - Ryan.

Sam Roberts - Love At The End of The World

"A touch of twang, a dash of psychedelia, a bunch of really good songs and at least three great ones. Oh Maria, this one's for you," - Sean.

Speck Mountain - Some Sweet Relief

"A bit more subtle, but every part as beautiful and unfolding as our other selections, Some Sweet Relief proved to be one of my favorite albums of the year. Speck Mountain have proved themselves on this one; Highly Recommended!" - Ryan

Super Furry Animals - Dark Days / Light Years

"How can you resist an album that features the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand doing a rap, in German? SFA show us once again they really are on a different planet. It's not just funny though - there are lots of SFA's signature harmonies, which make this one of the most beautiful albums of the year so far." - Nick.

The Tragically Hip - We Are The Same

"Vocally, this is The Hip's most complex album, and the songs all push the line between soniforous beauty and guitar-driven outbursts that will rock you out of your seat," - Nikhil. "I am still getting into this album, but love what I've heard. Re-joined the Hip's legion of fans follow's Nik's huge piece that ran earlier this year," - Ryan.

Travels - The Hot Summer

"Anar Badalov (of Baltimore faves Metal Hearts) and Mona Elliott (of Boston's beloved Victory at Sea) are back at it again and the results never sounded better! This creative couple - known as Travels, have released their second remarkable album and it's their best work to date!" - Ryan.

Various Artists - Dark Was the Night Compilation

"This is easily, hands down the best album of the year. (This is where I get to take the role of petty dictator. Last year I restricted our 'Best of Lists' to not include complilations, greatest hits and cover albums -- and our writers complied. I opened it up his year so this album could be included in our list!) A couple of really creative guys from The National put together this Aids benefit CD featuring a 'who's who' of talent. If you don't own it, put it on your music shopping list immediately," - Ryan.

Wild Light - Adult Nights

Ryan Russell photo

"The word, 'Zeitgeist' refers to 'the spirit of the time' that something comes in. I am fairly convinced Wild Light's time is here and they are partially making it their own - and that their success is also due to something greater than themselves... It's impossible to not hear this NH band with Boston-ties and fall in love with their album. (Is California on My Mind a song of the year candidate?) Adult Nights is a spiraling staircase skyward - one step away from utter brilliance at all times," - Ryan.

Wooden Birds - Magnolia

"This is the new project from Andrew Kenny of the American Analog Set. The negative space on this record is just fantastic. Quiet and careful, it's full of lo-fi beauty that uses every note with incredible purpose and effect," - Nikhil.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz

"The album has an amazing arc, and Karen O makes you want to dance and lash out at the same time," - Nikhil. " A disco turn for what is still the best band out of New York of the last decade. Some have doubted this new direction, but I loved "It's Blitz" for it's swagger and it's fun. One of the best albums of this half of the year," - Nick.