1) Asher Roth – Asleep in the Bread Aisle: Newcomer to the hip-hop game Asher Roth clearly has a good thing going for him, with his wannabe Eminem style (which he himself discusses on the strangely poignant track “As I Em”) and his lyrical celebration of gettin’ blazed and fuckin’ girls, but never does the album feel too terribly vulgar or over-the-top. No, it’s not the nextLiquid Swords or Fishscale, or even The Marshall Mathers LP, but for what it’s worth, it’s as promising and tongue-in-cheek fun (displayed by the entirety of the song “Bad Day”) as his maestro and mentor’s debut.
2) The Decemberists The Hazards Of Love: Why exactly did I not listen to this album when it came out? While it’s not as instantly accessible as previous albums Picaresque and The Crane Wife, it displays the bands versatility and hyper-literary and dramatic prowess. The Floyd-ian grooves of The Crane Wife‘s “The Island 1: Come & See” or “The Perfect Crime #2” are still ever-so-present in songs like “Won’t Want For Love (Margaret In the Taiga)” and “The Rake’s Song,” the latter showing that Colin Meloy has certainly not lost his talent for wordplay (“I was wedded and it whetted my thirst/Until her womb start spilling out babies/Only then did I reckon my curse”).
But the rock spectacale doesn’t stop at The Decemberists as they are; it wraps in Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden, who steals the show by becoming an absolute fireball, so very far removed from her role in My Brightest Diamond that it’s mindblowing to think about the fact that it’s the same person. Lord knows where The Decemberists are going next, but with an album like this, I can’t think of a better band to blindly follow.
3) Dan Deacon – Bromst: Dan Deacon is fucking weird. This is evident in songs like “Ohio” (“We’re talking paper forks now!/We’re talking bacon cuts now!/We’re talking turkey talk, and talking turkey walk and every small town!”) from Twacky Cats, or the meth trip on legs of Spiderman Of The Rings single “The Crystal Cat” (“I’m gonna get my bathing suit on/gonna get my base face on/gonna get my hat out of loan”). However, in the two years between Spiderman Of The Rings and Bromst, Dan Deacon has found solace in silence in a studio buried deep in the serenity of Montana, and in that space he recorded what may turn out to be his magnum opus. Bromst is a slow building, almost heartbreaking-ly beautiful masterwork of sonic bliss, the companion piece to a portrait not only to the dance of life, but to the all-night dance party that is life itself.
Deacon has demonstrated that he’s more than just a balding, tubby guy who makes strange music to scream along to with this record. He’s proven that he’s capable of something much, much more special than the world’s best sing-along (“Wham City”): he’s capable of capturing the spirit of celebration, and all in one hour.