While of late I have been obsessed in equal parts with stoner rock and the first ten Chicago records (don’t ask), I’ve also been wired into some fine new sounds outside those two poles. It’ll all change by year end, but as of now, here be my faves:
1. Foo Fighters: Wasting Light. Their best record by such a wide margin, it’s almost like we’ve been listening to a different band for the last 15 years.
2. Peter Bradley Adams: Between Us. Adams’ way with a melody and touching lyric gets me where I live. I live in a soft, 800-threadcount blanket.
3. Orchid: Capricorn. Stoner rock obsessions start with stuff like this. Brutal, visceral, wholly satisfying stuff like this.
4. The Felice Brothers: Celebration, Florida. The eccentric beauty of this deeply weird album is intoxicating, like getting a contact high at a party thrown by your nerdy second cousin.
5. Monotonix: Not Yet. Blast after blast of pure rock and roll goodness. My neck hurts from nodding in time.
6. Moving Mountains: Waves. The coolest thing to happen to Purchase, NY since Mariano Rivera moved there. Great slabs of dynamic sound that crush the listener without hurting at all.
7. The Grates: Secret Rituals. Modern rock of such a high caliber, it should be weaponized.
8. Fountains of Wayne: Sky Full of Holes. The first couple spins through the new FoW suggest a return to form after a disappointing previous record and long wait between.
9. Journey: Eclipse. Journey makes a progressive, layered, largely uncommercial record—an arena rock masterpiece. In other news, cold front moves through Hell.
10. Decemberists: The King is Dead. We asked for shorter songs; Meloy gives us shorter songs. We asked for a drop-dead awesome single; Meloy gives us one in “Down by the Water.” Next, we’re going to ask Meloy for a million dollars and a pony.
Honorable mention (translation: like ’em, but haven’t listened to ’em enough yet): The Antlers: Burst Apart; Lucinda Williams: Blessed; Black Country Communion: II; Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: Here We Rest; Jayhawks: Mockingbird Time; Karma to Burn: V.
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