By far the coolest thing about this little side project is that people send us albums months before they come out. For a music dork that is a huge plus. Here are some of upcoming albums I've been chewing over.
1. Freelance Whales, "Weathervanes": I have a feeling a lot of people will be talking about this band next year. These guys from NYC just got signed to Frenchkiss.
2. Phantogram, "Eyelid Movies": The incongruity of gritty, hip-hop-influenced electro-pop made in Saratoga, New York is just one reason to love this band.
3. Spoon, "Transference": Like everything this band has done since I bought their first album in 1995, this one is fantastic. Looser and darker than I expected, but great.
4. Rogue Wave, "Permalight": I suspect the disco turn the band is taking here will be controversial – especially the title track. That said, there are some huge winners on this album.
5. Frightened Rabbit, "The Winter of Mixed Drinks": Another heart-on-sleeve, swing-for-the-fences effort from these Scots. I'm a fan, but worry about the band slipping into maudlin territory at times.
6. Shout Out Louds, "Work": Have always liked these Swedes. Last album was a bit of a let-down, but this new one feels simultaneously more serious and also accessable.
7. Surfer Blood, "Astro Coast": Best of the new crop of surf rock bands. Love the "Watery, Domestic" guitar sounds.