1. Jose Gonzalez, Veneer
This breakthrough release from the Swedish troubadour is a spacey blend of Mark Kozelek and Nick Drake. Spanish jazz gets a lesson in Americana folk. And, did I mention he’s Swedish?
2. Cat Power, The Greatest
The indie-folk darling enlists some Memphis session men for an LP of tender, yet chunky, anthems. The rhythm is thicker, but the emotion is as raw as ever.
3. Sia, Colour the Small One
The Zero 7 vocalist delivers on the anticipation of her Six Feet Under finale single with this beautifully trippy dose of R&B-inspired melody.
4. We Are Scientists, With Love and Squalor
Yes, they may be just the latest in a long line of punk/dance acts, but this “buzz” band has one thing most of the others don’t: a sense of humor.
5. The Standard, Albatross
Like the sound of Grant Lee Phillips fronting The Tindersticks, this band’s latest is a dark and sweet collection of murder ballads. Perfect for dusk, or dawn.
1. “Nth Degree” by Morningwood
(Pop, fuzz, dance, rock. A punk anthem as cool as Kim Deal.)
2. “White Limousine” by Duncan Sheik
(The one song on his new record that most resembles the kind of pop songwriting he does best. It’s barely “Barely Breathing,” but still splendid.)
3. “Grillz” by Nelly featuring Paul Wall, Ali, & Gipp
(Nelly’s ode to his expensive teeth will hopefully forever change what we now consider “dentist chair music.”)
4. “Check On It” by Beyonce featuring Slim Thug
(This song might be just about the only reason to look forward to the new Pink Panther film. And I love me some Steve Martin.)