I’ve picked up a few albums in the last few months, and I think they’re worth listening to.
(In no particular order:)
Over the Rhine, Trumpet Child–not my favorite OtR by far, but there are some good songs, especially the title song. “If A Song Could Be President” is catchy, but it makes them sound like a bunch of hippies strumming their guitars on the White House lawn. As if political naiveté was a virtue. Also, most of the songs seem to lack substance and range from the superficial to the barely-scratching-the-surface.
Maybe the best of the bunch: Josh Ritter, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter–the songs on here are as stick-in-your-head as “Golden Age of Radio” and “Me and Jiggs.” Get. It. Now.
Jeremy Enigk, World Waits–this has been out for a while, but it’s very good. Especially if you liked Return of the Frog Queen. A little more orchestration than that one, though. I’d say somewhere in between his solo stuff and SDRE.
Project 86, Rival Factions–very different than usual P86, but it’s great nonetheless. Sort of anthemic–think 80s (not hair bands) or a hardcore Killers. The cover art is unique. I especially like “Evil (Chorus of Resistance” and “Sanctuary Hum.”
The Chariot, The Fiancée–oh, I like it! Nice concept and more listenable than the previous album. I actually have this one on my iPod.
Norma Jean, Redeemer–best one for them yet, in my mind.
Regarding the last two: there are some things that should be said for which screaming and metal are the best medium.
I think these are all in my top ten for the year, even if I was a little disappointed with OtR. I want more Good Dog Bad Dog, Films for Radio, and OHIO and less Drunkard’s Prayer and Snow Angels. But that’s just me. Obviously, they can make whatever kind of music they want.