I recommend the new Sonic Youth and the Rush DVDs (if you're a fan). Beyond that, I haven't heard much of this stuff. I'm intrigued by a few things though....
Busta Rhymes The Big Bang (Aftermath) – Supposedly a more mature and solid record than his recent stuff. On Dre’s label with guests like Q-Tip, Stevie Wonder and Rick James.
Cloudland Canyon Requiems der Natur 2002-2004 (Tee Pee Records) – This one’s for the adventurous types. He’s the guitarist in the Panthers and the press release mentions Tortoise, Mahavishnu and field recordings. Hard for me to describe it any differently. Not so much songs, as sound experiments.
Couch Figur 5 (Morr Music) – Munich based experimental rock band. Influenced by Krautrock and post-rock.
Final Fantasy He Poos Clouds (Tomlab) – This record’s not for everybody (look at the title) but if you like idiosyncratic, baroque indie pop then give it a listen. In addition to string quartets, Owen Pallett also enjoys videogames (look at the name of the band) and Dungeons and Dragons (track down the press release). He hopes that after you listen to the album you’ll never entertain thoughts of suicide again. Does indie cred impress you? Pitchfork gave this album an 8.0/10 and Pallett has toured with the Arcade Fire. Appearing live at the Echo on 8/12. Download “Song Song Song”
The Futureheads News and Tributes (Vagrant) – British post-punk band releases their second album. Most critics are giving it solid reviews. They say that the band draws from a wider range of influences on this record which makes it a little less punchy, but ultimately more interesting. Appearing live at the Fonda on 6/19.
The Handsome Family Last Days of Winter (Carrot Top) – Husband and wife duo that plays traditional or alt country music.
Hot Chip The Warning (DFA/Astralwerks) – Hipsters love this South London based electronic dance-pop band. Critics are giving the band’s second album solid reviews. They praise the wide range of influences (not every electro band lists Robert Wyatt as their number one influence) and are even throwing out some New Order comparisons. Appearing live at the Troubadour on 8/2.
Hypatia Lake …And We Shall Call Him Joseph (Sad Robot) – Indie group that gets Flaming Lips, Grandaddy and Kevin Shields comparisons. Download “Fishies vs Lines”
Mr. Lif Mo’ Mega (Definitive Jux) – Backpack rapper. Appearing live at the Knitting Factory on 7/23.
Pink Mountain Pink Mountain (Frenetic) – Experimental rock music with Sam Coomes (Quasi) at the front. Download “Circling the 7th Planet” Guaranteed to give me a headache.
Priestess Hello Master (Red Ink) – Remastered and remixed first album from the Montreal heavy stoner rockers. Appearing live at Spaceland on Thursday. I’ve seen them twice this year and I recommend checking them out if you’re into heavy music (they get compared to Motorhead a lot). Download “Talk to Her”
The Replacements Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was? – The Best of the Replacements (Rhino) – A well-chosen 20-track retrospective (actually 18 classics and two new songs) from one of the great American college rock bands of the 1980s. If you’re too young to have caught them the first time around (or own all this stuff on vinyl) then pick it up. If you’ve already got it all on CD, then make your own best of.
Rush Replay (Mercury) – Don’t even front and pretend you’re too cool for Rush. This is a three DVD / one CD box set of vintage stuff. The DVDs feature live performances from the Exit Stage Left, Grace Under Pressure and A Show of Hands tours. The CD is the Grace Under Pressure Tour soundtrack. All your favorite songs are represented (some of them multiples times): “Tom Sawyer,” “Red Barchetta,” “Spirit of the Radio,” “Freewill,” “Closer to the Heart,” etc. There are also great shots of the crowd, occasional voiceovers with the band talking about the songs and some awesome screen images of cars and wizards.
Six Organs of Admittance Sun Awakens (Drag City) – Ben Chasny’s in Comets on Fire and Current 93. Critics dig his guitar playing quite a bit (and some throw around the John Fahey influence). Download “Attar”
Sonic Youth Rather Ripped (Geffen) – Sonic Youth are back with their best record in over a decade. Jim O’Rourke’s no longer with the band (after two albums) and what’s left is a more radio friendly version of the band. The album’s still full of Thurston Moore’s characteristic guitar work, but there’s also an abundance of focused three to four minute songs. A few critics wish there was more jamming, but most are very happy with the record. Over twenty-five years into their career, they’re still making inspired records. Recommended. They’ll be opening for Pearl Jam at the Forum on July 9th and 10th and also playing a special show for people who bought the album at indie record stores on July 8th (location TBA).
Regina Spektor Begin to Hope (Sire) – Some people are excusing her of selling out and lament the lack of piano while others think she’s just evolving.
Thee Emergency Can You Dig It (Blue Disguise) – Seattle garage rock band. Appearing live at the Scene on 6/28. Download “Sweat Sex”