Minus the Bear - Omni: I can’t recommend Omni highly enough. This was number three last year, but in retrospect, it might have beaten out Imogen Heap and The Flaming Lips given time.
Metric - Fantasies: Fantasies has a few really great songs, and a few flawed good ones. Even the flawed ones are catchy, though – like mind control.
Don Caballero - American Don: Of their early period, this is one Don Caballero's more focused albums. It is still a pretty dense listen, though, that may take some concentration to really crack.
Zorch - Demo: I think that Zorch, as a band, are still in the formative stages, but I like where they are headed. This EP has a couple of real winners on it.
Ratatat - Classics: Its good, but I don’t think it’s quite good as LP3 and LP4. It stalled my Ratatat jag for the time being.
Budos Band III: Every time I get III in the player, I feel like I should listen to it more often. The Budos Band simmers and simmers.
Mouse on the Keys - Sezzions: This EP has some fantastic piano playing and engaging compositions. The opening track Saigo no Bansan is compact and powerful.
Battles EP B/C EP: Although its unnecessary 2 disc format is a little irritating, I really dig what Battles was doing here. I will be bringing it back soon, I think.
Minus the Bear - Highly Refined Pirates: This was Minus the Bear's first album, and the difference in quality between this an Omni is huge. Whatever they have going now, it was not yet happening on this release – I was pretty disappointed, despite its math-rock leanings.
Budos Band II: If you like III, you will probably like this one, too. II is only slightly less refined, but still kicks out the jams.
Toe - The Book about My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety: At times, Toe's love for the jazz aesthetic peeks through their moody, rainy-day double guitar interplay. Fans of Tortoise and Rumah Sakit should take equal notice.
LITE - Illuminate/Turns Red EPs: One of the few bands that seem to approximate the rhythmic approach of King Crimson, but with a little more straight-ahead take. LITE is cacophonous, precise, sublime, and one of my current favorites.
The Psychedelic Aliens – Psycho African Beat: If you crossed Jimi Hendrix with Carlos Santana and took out all of the guitar histrionics, you might get close. The story about the original release of these tracks and how they came to be released on this CD is interesting and well-told in the liner notes.
Passion Pit - Manners: Superficially, it seems like fans of Miike Snow may get into this. Unfortunately, there is not that much substance, and the double-tracked falsetto vocals begin to grate after about fifteen seconds.
Mike Watt - The Secondman's Middle Stand: Although I received this album several years ago, it took me seeing him in his element as a live act to appreciate it. I like the idea of this album, but I think that Mike Watt is harder to understand if you remove his voice form his body.
Philip Selway - Familial: This acoustic-ish offering from Radiohead's drummer returns from January. Sounds like what would happen if Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree made a tribute album to Greg Lake and produced it with the exquisite moodiness of Beck's "Mutations."
Powderfinger - Dream Days at the Hotel Existence: This CD will probably never top Odyssey Number Five, but I think that it does have some merit. There are a couple of really great tracks surrounded by some more....lifeless contributions.
There were a few other things here and there, but this is what went through the car changer this month. Upcoming releases look really interesting in the upcoming month – TV on the Radio, Elbow, and the Foo Fighters to name a few. First up this month will be the new Radiohead release.