So there have been a couple of albums to come out this year that are extensively hyped, but actually live up to it. I'm just going to list them here with a sentence or two. Go read the thousands of other reviews out there if you don't trust me.
Sparklehorse & Dangermouse & David Lynch
Dark Night of the Soul
This album is by two of my favorite musicians and one of my favorite directors, how can it be bad? Well after all the hype I was worried, but it turned out incredible. Absolutely incredible. Featuring a cast of indie and rock vocalists (including David Lynch, Iggy Pop, and others) singing over music by Sparklehorse and Dangermouse, this album does not take a wrong step anywhere.
North America/South America (N.A.S.A.)
The Spirit of Apollo
Five years in the making, and being hyped the ENTIRE time, I had very low hopes for this album, but knew I wanted to hear Tom Waits on a hip-hop album. Well it didn't grab me right away, but I seem to keep playing it. I took the words of the producers to heart when they said it would be SA beats and NA emcees, and I want more of a South American feel to the album. It feels like SA music influenced by NA. It's good, but I just can't help feeling it could have been so much more. Here's hoping for another N.A.S.A. album.
Mama, I'm Swollen
It took two and a half years, but Cursive finally came out with another album. As far as I'm concerned, Burst & Bloom and The Ugly Organ are two of the best albums ever - they are members of the Immortals. Because of this, I place unfair expectations on Cursive albums. This is a great album. Great. And anything further would just be unfair to what is a fantastic, addictive, and long overdue album.
Bat for Lashes
Question: How the hell do you follow up an album as great as Fur & Gold? Answer: Make an album so utterly seductive that I can't help but be sucked in. It's pretty, it's poppy, it's sensual, it's complex, and I love it. Above all, Natasha Khan just confirmed the suspicion I've had since her last album: She is one of the best composers/songwriters out there. Period.