Not necessarily in any order:
Silian Rail – each/other. Emotive post rock with monster drummer and cool guitar technique. Post rock is often a let down but this is post rock at its best. Hypnotizing, rapturous, brooding and smart as hell.
Field Music – Plumb. Nominated for the Mercury Prize in the UK, this record is pop mastery in the XTC vein and is full of catchy complexity. Led to discovering the rest of their catalog, which is all as good as this.
Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain. Exquisitely produced, this is alt-country at its best, with tracks written by Robyn Hitchcock, Vic Chesnutt and other luminaries, all belted out by Hogan with her signature style.
Cataldo – Prison Boxing. Local record here, officially came out in 2011, but only got turned on to it in 2012. Really pretty tracks and deceptively interesting song writing.
Matt Slocum – After The Storm. Heard him at Tula’s during Earshot Jazz and this CD has been in constant rotation in the car. Imminently tasteful.
Can’t stop listening to this record. In fact, have gone and retroactively bought all the Field Music out there and am hooked. Their early work holds up and their last record, Measure, is amazing. Don’t know how these guys were not on my radar so long. They embody the avant pop aesthetic written about before on this blog. At once compositionally intricate and melodically seductive. Crazy time signatures that lock into hypnotic grooves. And the production is money. Drum sounds are tight; guitar sounds are glorious. Can’t recommend this band enough. Keep playing their records and discovering something new. Ranges of emotion plus weird “field music” moments of recorded sounds in the streets. Mixed with orchestral moments. Love em. Hoping desperately for a US tour.