Your EV National Music Coordinator has some music selections to share
there are some great releases out there since the end of last year. I will mention them here and hope to give full reviews of 1 or 2 in the next few days. Some of my favorites I am recommending include:
AC Newman's Get Guilty. AC is the leader of The New Pornographers and a pop music songwriting genius. While not the absolute perfection of the last TNP release, this has some of the best Cars/ Cheap Trick/ ELO influenced music around. He is smart, funny, poignant and as sweet as Orange Blossom Honey. His solo albums are not as lushly arranged as his TNP stuff and are not as consistent, but who cares. This is still better than 90% of the stuff out there and will be in my year-end Top 10.
Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion. I have never gotten into these guys, but they finally realize their potential on this album. They are becoming one of the more interesting semi-experimental bands around, finally creating the synergy fans of the individual parts have been expecting (guys like Panda Bear). This is smart, dense and danceable music.
Blind Pilot's 3 Rounds and a Sound. Another group of bearded Northwesterners making pretty melodies with acoustic guitars, but less precious and more interesting than Fleet Foxes. This falls square into the sensitive guy rock of Iron and Wine, but a bit poppier and more accessible. I dare you to not like the song One Red Thread.
The Airborne Toxic Event's The Airborne Toxic Event. Smart lyrics and music straddling the fence between Ted Leo and The National or Interpol. If you can imagine 80's era Washington, D.C. punk bands channeling a John Hughes teen flick soundtrack (preferably Pretty in Pink) with modern production, you can imagine what this album sounds like. It is fresh.
One album getting lots of press that is not doing it for me is:
Anthony and the Johnsons' The Crying Light. I have nothing against operatic transgendered musicians, but the hype is as over-the-top as Anthony's persona. It is quite solid and usually interesting, but not transcendent. He reminds me of bandwagon albums in the past that left me a little flat (e.g. Joanna Newsom and Joan as Police Woman).