This is a new monthly feature recently introduced. You can stream all the albums mentioned here for free at this Spotify link, which I keep updated.
Best Album of the Month:
Jeff the Brotherhood - Hypnotic Nights
Wanna be able to play something poolside this summer that your one or other two friends with good taste in rock music will dig alongside all the others who consider Weezer way out on the edge? Look no further.
Best of the Rest:
Foxygen - Take the Kids Off Broadway
A weird little discovery that is actually quiet epic with its 6-minute songs that shift frequently musically from Pink Floyd to Neutral Milk Hotel and other innumerable acts. The band is able to remain completely original, and even includes a vocalist who sometimes sounds more like Mick Jagger than anyone not in The Rolling Stones.
JJAMZ - Suicide Pact
Please don't hate me for suggesting you should listen to an album like this. Call it my guilty summer alternative to Carly Rae Jepsen. It's super catchy, and perhaps not even disposable!
Soul Asylum - Delayed Reaction
I loved this Minneapolis band in the 90s (two of my favorite concerts were their And the Horse They Rode In On shows in St. Louis and at the University of Missouri), and this is a return to form. Half of the album recalls Soul Asylum's more rowdy early days and the rest hints at the poppier side from their "Runaway Train" mainstream era.
Lee Ranaldo - Between the Times and the Tides
Sonic Youth's guitar player shows why his main band is so good. It's not all Thurston Moore after all. This solo LP is laced with great riffs and CBGB New York attitude in the vocals throughout. He was also great in concert last month opening for Wilco.
Beachwood Sparks - The Tarnished Gold
Has it really been 10 years since these sun-drenched beach bums released anything? This is drippingly and soothingly, simply, beautiful. It makes me want to sit in a hammock and just listen every time.
Donnie & Joe Emerson - Dreamin' Wild
These two kid brothers recorded this in their basement back when classic rock was still classic. If you can get past the ridiculously cheesy cover art of them rockin' out in leisure suits, it's very groovy rock n' roll.