Of course, it's not that tough to figure out what I like and don't like, but being a bona fide music dork, I'm a sucker for a nice list.
- Tim Hecker: Harmony in Ultraviolet -- Out of everything I've heard from the library's collection, I don't think there's any other album that I come back to more than this one. As I said in my original review, it's a tough listen that won't sit well with most people, but if you open up and give it a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised.
- Classic Railroad Songs from Smithsonian Folkways -- There is a wealth of incredible music and history waiting out there, and I've just begun to discover it. This, like most albums from Smithsonian Folkways, is a must-hear for anyone who deeply cares about music.
- Blackalicious: The Craft -- It's a great album, in every sense of the word. I've been listening to it since 2005, and I'm still not tired of it.
- Josh Ritter: Hello Starling -- This little blog is actually teaching me to listen to music in a new way. Sure, a clever bassline that snakes through some self-loathing Britpop gem still gets my heart all a'flutter, but I notice simple songs with brilliant lyrics more than I used to. And lyrically, Josh Ritter is about as good as gets for this year's crop of EPFL checkouts.
- Teitur: Stay Under the Stars -- I only gave this one a 3 out of 5, but the first song and his cover of "Great Balls of Fire" refuse to leave my mind. He found something dark and lonely in "Great Balls of Fire," something that most of us never knew was there.
- Marah: 20,000 Streets Under the Sky -- It reminds me of why I started my other blog, and why it's such a shame that I've been neglecting it. It's one of the best albums I've ever heard about city life.
- Brandi Carlile: Brandi Carlile -- I only gave her debut album 3.5 library cards, but I don't know if there's another artist I heard this year who has more potential than Brandi Carlile. I'm excited to watch and listen as her career unfolds.
- My Chemical Romance: The Black Parade -- It's nice when a good but unexceptional band stretches themselves in all the right ways. I don't think anyone who heard MCR's previous albums could have predicted The Black Parade. It's an excellent album that proves these guys are far more talented than any of their peers.
- Mika: Life in Cartoon Motion -- I understand that the album is pop fluff, but it's charming and infectuous pop fluff that's made from some substantial stuff. Mika seems to have a genuine talent and love for music.
- Tanya Donnely: This Hungry Life -- "Little Wing" just might be the best song I heard all year.
Here are a few other year-end lists that you might want to check out:
Rock and Roll Meandering Nonsense
Layla's Classic Rock
Bill and Dave from Rock of Ages