. . . that you may not be hearing about from everyone else, but you need to hear them – you OWE it to yourself:
Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid: Possibly the year’s best album – that’s right, NUMBER ONE – and hardly anyone is talking about it, which is a crime. Take the drama of Coldplay and the power of U2 (which is what Coldplay always wants but misses the mark) and the creativity of Radiohead, and you’re a long way to finding what I love about this band. I don’t really feel like blabbing on and on about this, but you can check out one of my favorites from the new album, One Day Like This on YouTube. (Really stupid idea to block embedding, Universal.)
Calexico – Carried To Dust: I am super-proud to call Calexico one of Arizona’s own. I am constantly amazed at the beauty of the music this band produces when so little of what comes out of Arizona is worth much note (Gin Blossoms? Sorry, no.) They don’t sound like anyone else (save for maybe Giant Sand, from whom they spawned long ago,) and once you’ve heard them, all you can ever say is that they sound like Calexico. They truly are unique, and even when they stumble a little, as they did with Garden Ruins, where they excised a lot of the “exico” from their sound and emphasized more of the “Cal,” they still turned out a wonderful piece of work. They’ve fused to two halves of the name back together with Carried To Dust, however, and produced another “lost in the desert”/”driving into oblivion” soundtrack that is already setting itself up to be a favorite. NPR just did a fascinating two-part piece on the guys – if you like what you hear, you will not be disappointed with their albums, either.