Yesterday was about disappointing records: albums that I was excited about and had high hopes for but was disappointed in. Today's list is the opposite: albums I hadn't reckoned on that really stood out. and surprised me in how much I liked them. So here goes!
Weather Systems by Anathema - Anathema are a British band that used to do doom metal but as they got older they decided to forego that and move more progressive. I saw the two brothers Cavanagh that lead the band open as an acoustic act for Blackfield last year. They put on a great show; I got their latest record which I thought was pretty good. This one, however, is just fantastic. Very melodic, very memorable, very acoustic and piano-based and string-y but propelled along by a great rhythm section and well chosen bursts of electric guitar. The brothers trade vocals and are augmented by a lady singing some of the time. The record is about dying, about the fear that engenders and the ultimate hope that something lays beyond for us. A really touching and beautiful record and has a great chance to be my favorite of the year.
Go Fly A Kite by Ben Kweller - I once saw a teenage Ben Kweller open for Jeff Tweedy, starting his set with a sort of cover of "Ice Ice Baby." Since then Ben has grown up and become a pretty good power-popper. This record is finally the realization of his talents. Very catchy and with great songs.
United We Stand by BRAD - Stone Gossard's sort of side project already had a blog write-up a month or so ago. It's a very 90s sounding record and I still mean that in a good way.
Leaving Atlanta by Gentleman Jesse - I think I read about this on some website. Gave the samples a listen and thought they were good. Here's a record I just keep coming back to. Very Nick Lowe sounding, Elvis Costello, REM-y from back when Peter Buck played Rickenbackers. All the songs move...I don't recall there being a ballad on the record.
Tomorrow I will finish this exercise with my initial top 10 of the year. Will your favorite be there!?! One way to find out!