Amazon is doing its best to help keep us listening to music during the recession with good cheap music. Here is a rundown of some of the best this month...
For only $5 bucks you can get some good new music:
A New Tide by Gomez. If you have never heard Gomez, a quirky banjo loving British pop band with good hooky sensibilities that is for fans of DMB, Damien Rice and Swell Season, listen to this. It is not as quirky as older albums or as perfectly accessible as How We Operate, but it is still a very good album, especially for $5. It will make my year end "best of" list. Listen to the song Airstream Driver here.
Grand by Matt & Kim. Fun pop, kinda like a Violent Femmes for today's college students, but not as dirty. It is slight, but good for listening to at a party or with the kids, especially the incandescent single Daylight.
There is also stuff by Jason Isbell (formerly of Drive By Truckers), Daft Punk, Interpol, Benn Lee, The Verve and the great Bob Mould (of Husker Du).
And some classic stuff:
Cyndi Lauper's True Colors from 1986 with the gems True Colors, which holds up well all these years later (though not as well as Time After Time) and What's Going On. If that does not cure your 80s Jones, surely Cuts Like a Knife from Bryan Adams before we realized he was not that good will do it. If that doesn't do it WHAM! will.
If you liked college rock from the 80s, you might remember the dBs a solid band with a great songwriter, Chris Stamey. Chris and Peter Holsapple have gotten back together on Here and Now to capture the old dBs magic. They have not, but it is still pretty good for fans of alt country meets Elvis Costello.
Another alt country album on the list is Ben Kweller's latest Changing Horses. He is very talented, but I think he misses the mark on this album. I would stick with Bonnie "Prince" Billy for good country, but it is pretty good for a poppy country album reminding me of 70s Nashville, just before it went to pot.
Of course, the best of the 80s bunch is Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man. This album is a top 3 in his catalog, lyrically stunning. The music is not strong (too much cheesy 80s synths), but Everybody Knows is his best song besides Hallelujah and it even includes I'm Your Man, First We Take Manhattan, Ain't No Cure for Love and Tower of Song. $5 for an album with 5 classics and one of the best songs ever. Do not stop yourself from buying this album!
Moving on to the 90s we have Parachutes the debut from Coldplay, back when we thought they were gonna be some amalgam of Radiohead and U2 and right before they gave us the one great album of their lives, Rush of Blood to the Head and headed down the road of mediocrity and Applebee's quality rock. Anyway, it is a good album, worth $5.
Also, I would never buy a mix of Beach Boys songs, opting for whole albums, but they have one for $5.
The best of the bunch not including Mr. Cohen is Diamond and Dogs, a good David Bowie album but not up there with Let's Dance, Ziggy Stardust or Low. CCR even has one $5 album, but I am not a huge CCR fan, so you would need to judge.
For those that want to torture Music Snobs, I guess you could lay down $5 for an overblown soundtrack to a horrible move with gloriously bad acting, Ghost.