I listen to more music than your average teenage outcast, and the reward is finding superior albums that stand the test of time. In this playlist series I hope to highlight 15 new-ish albums that have made it to the elite top-tier of my collection.
Check out the select tracks, full albums and mini-reviews below.
1. "Don't Make Me A Target" - Spoon
I had high expectations for the new Spoon album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga,and not only did the band meet them, but they exceeded them. Thisrecord is 10 tracks of perfectly crafted pop bliss and is in therunning for the best of 2007.
2. "The Wildfire (If It Was True)" - Mando Diao
Although Ode To Ochrasy is arguably not as stunning as the band's 2004 effort Hurricane Bar, it's still a fine pop record with some of the biggest hooks Mando Diao has penned to date.
3. "I'm Impressed" - They Might Be Giants As good as Flood you say? Well, the jury is still out on that, but The Else is the most consistent and witty record TMBG have produced in quite some time. A winner for fans and newcomers alike.
4. "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time" - Jarvis CockerPulp front-man Jarvis Cocker delivers the goods with this solo effort simply titled Jarvis. The first single "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time" is about as tasty as a British indie pop song can be.
5. "Advice For Young Mothers To Be" - The VeilsThecathartic Finn Andrews is the son of XTC's Barry Andrews. His band'snewest record is a shimmering example of just how good new music canbe. Don't miss The Veils, and be certain to pick up a copy of Nux Vomica.
6. "Green Gloves" - The NationalThe National bring it down a notch on their latest release Boxer. The toned-down feeling works better than the band's slightly more uptempo record Alligator, which was a fine album, but Boxer is a masterpiece.
7. "Dad's Gonna Kill Me" - Richard ThompsonSweetWarrior is, without a doubt, Thompson's best effort in over a decade,and may be the best of his career. The sly anti-war ballad "Dad's GonnaKill Me" is but one sparkling gem in this treasure chest of sound.
8. "A Better Man" - Nick LoweNick Lowe is reveling in his old(er) age and his new album At My Age shines with a maturity and wisdom that will last eons longer than any group of 20-something punks making music today.
9. "Accident & Emergency" - Patrick WolfSpeaking of 20-something punks. Patrick Wolf threw a left hook with The Magic Position, a record that breaks barriers and will make the "best of" lists of more than a few top-line bloggers.
10. "Volcano" - Up The EmpireFor my proverbial out-of-the-blue selection, I'm going with Up The Empire's Light Rides The Super Major. This record has the melodic spirit of Bad Religion, but is delivered with Iggy Pop power.
11. "Always On The Telephone" - The Ladybug TransistorStrongsong-craft and consistent styling is the foundation upon which thenewest Ladybug Transistor album is built. Excellent production andmemorable songs are tied together with just enough psychedelia to keepyou in the zone.
12. "Underground For Dummies" - Sage FrancisVegetarian lyric-smith Sage Francis returns with another album that fully showcases his wit and skill on the mic. Human Death Dance continues Sage's blending of the line between granola backpacker and street gun-packer.
13. "Bricks Crumble" - DalekNewark's own MC Dälek with the help of producer Oktopus pair infectious underground beats and skilled lyricism. In February 2007 they gave us Abandoned Language, and on July 24, 2007 they drop a package of rarities called Deadverse Massive Vol. 1.
14. "Familj" - DungenDungen is one of those bands that you either get, or you don't. If you're one of the lucky ones who "get it" Tio Bitar is simply a must-own record. It's a sweeping and enthralling soundscape that you can't turn off.
15. "Almost Ready" - Dinosaur Jr.A new Dinosaur Jr. album? There's no way they still have it after so much time, right? Wrong. Beyond finds the band as if they never missed a step, and not only continued their art, but improved upon it.