These United States - A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden. We're good friends with these guys from D.C., but that has nothing to do with my year-long obsession with this disc. The trippiest folk album I've ever heard.
Dr. Dog - Fate. I noticed that this album got some weird review-website/blog negativity, which seems totally baffling to us. "The Breeze," the album's opening track, is probably my favorite song on any album of theirs -- The melted-tape effect on the acoustic guitar in the beginning of the song reduces me to a heap of sentimental mush. In a good way.
Pretty & Nice - Get Young. The guitar on this album is obscene. Nasty. Think angular, early XTC meets angular, early Of Montreal and you'll get a sense of where they're coming from. We're good friends with these guys, but once again, that has no relation to the album's excellence. Piranha has got to be the best song I've heard all year.
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line. We've played some shows with these guys/girls, and the record epitomizes everything we love about them. A beautiful and sad album with great songwriting and arrangements. It ends up being played in our tour van constantly.
WHY? - Alopecia. I love pretty much everything Yoni Wolf puts out, but this album is probably his best, most mature album yet. The second track, "Good Friday," is one of the darkest break-up songs ever written, and the album just gets darker from there. Jewish-anxiety-hip-hop at its finest.
Champollion - Champ: A Space Opera. We recently met the producer/brainchild behind this album at his studio in Brooklyn and he passed off a copy of the disc. I'm a bit of a nerd for outer-space-related things, so this album really whets my appetite for space-dork-rock-opera. Oh yeah, and the songs are excellent too, of course.
Wale - Mixtape About Nothing. Listen to "The Kramer." Enough said.