We’re getting ready to face a “blizaster” here in Chicago for the next few days so my Boo and I made sure the fridge was stocked with plenty of booze and wine this morning. Oh, and there’s some food too. I wonder if anyone will deliver. For anyone else who might get caught in the storm, make sure you’ve got plenty of blankets, a few good books and of course, some great music. This week seems to be especially good for those of us who enjoy the high-energy hipster scene (myself included).
MEN — Talk About Body (IAMSOUND Records)
No one should be surprised that my top spot this week goes to the electro-dance art collective of JD Samson, Michael O’Neill and Ginger Brooks Takahashi. Their debut album has been a long time in the making and its end result is a party for my ears and a danceathon for my soul.
The Go! Team — Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries)
A mixture of funk, psychedelic hip-hop and indie rock, these kids know how to bring the party to the people. A few years ago they played at Pitchfork Music Festival and one of my old bosses told me her young children absolutely loved this band because they just made them want to dance. There’s really almost nothing better.
Tristen — Charlatans at the Garden Gate (American Myth Recordings)
Tristen’s sound is a bit twangy, a little nod back to the ‘60s girl groups and all indie-rock goodness with a soft, sweet and gravelly voice. All three of the tracks being played on her Myspace page are great – but I think “Baby Drugs,” for me, is the standout. In a great turn of events, I was able to download the song for free in exchange for a tweet and an email – which I was more than happy to do. Also, it turns out one of Tristen’s bandmates is a reader of AfterEllen.com and a big ol’ gay. She assures me that the singer is a huge fan of the gays and is a really nice person, which makes me even happier to enjoy her music.
Garfunkel and Oates — All Over Your Face (Garfunkel and Oates)
If you’re a fan of pop culture laughing your ass off this is a must-have for your music collection. Some standout tracks? All of them. But seriously, “Gay Boyfriend”, “Pregnant Women Are Smug” and “This Party Took a Turn for the Douche” will live in my heart forever.
The Civil Wars — Barton Hollow (sensibility music LLC)
Wow, I didn’t know what to expect from this group but I am actually a bit blown away. The indie roots-duo is saturated in blues and reminds me a bit of the Alison Krauss – Robert Plant masterpiece, Raising Sand. The voices of John Paul White and Joy Williams compliment each other so gracefully – it’s impossible not to enjoy this album.
Vanity Theft — Get What You Came For (Vigilante Music/Adamant Records)
I feel like I’ve been giving Vanity Theft a lot of love for the last month or so – and rightfully so. They are pop rock done right (and done while really good looking). Lead singer, Alicia Grodecki, reminds me of Emma Stone when she was still a redhead. Hello sex appeal? Table for one. For Sick of Sarah fans, here is your new favorite.
The JaneDear Girls — The JaneDear Girls (Reprise)
Produced by John Rich of Big & Rich fame (“Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy”) these girls are primed for a country-pop crossover career similar to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. They do the obligatory country song about an old lover’s new girlfriend not getting dirty, not shooting guns and not eating red meat as though this was a bad thing – which makes me wonder if country-loving lesbians have the same thoughts. Does it matter to you if a girl you’re dating doesn’t eat red meat or shoot guns? Back to the music: As far as country melodies go, their sound is as tangible as it gets to a non-country ear.
Honorable Mentions: Ivan & Alyosha (if you haven’t checked out their song, “Easy to Love” please do it right now), Bobby Long, David Lowery, Ricky Martin, Matisyahu, Marcus Miller, Nathan Moore, Gurf Morlix, Lazarus A.D., Little Comets, Noisear, Red, Tiger Riot, The Young International, Saliva, Jonsi and Egyptian Hip Hop.