CDs | Michele Ulsohn

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cd-darker.jpgDarker My Love | 2 (Dangerbird)







Darker My Love | 2 (Dangerbird)

Like their fellow San Franciscans Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, these guys further explore the unchartered territory of their minor chord-filled psychedelic Brit-pop influences. Songs eight and nine, "All the Hurry & Wait," which goes right into "Waves," are worth the price of the disc all by themselves. I was thrilled to see that a Filter magazine writer included this CD on her best-of-the-year list.

Everything Is Energy | s/t (The Nest)

This band is the latest musical project of Chris Shinn, the amazingly talented lead vocalist and songwriter for the sadly under-the-radar band Unified Theory who, back in 1999, rose from the ashes of Blind Melon's demise. This is one of those discs that sounds better each and every time it's played, and hopefully is the first of many (or at least a few) future releases by this particular project.

Low Vs. Diamond | s/t (Epic)

This quintet is essentially a less pretentious, West Coast version of the Strokes. The disc's first (and sadly, only) single "Heart Attack," with its highly addictive "kiss the way we were goodbye" chorus, makes for a great post-break-up and starting-to-feel-good-about-it song. Liking this creative collection of well-produced songs requires very little effort.

REM | Accelerate (Warner Bros.)

Although their past few releases have been considerably less than stellar, REM have completely redeemed themselves on this record, which pretty much covers all the bases of the legendary band's various songwriting styles. Michael Stipe, whose vocals are somehow still just as strong as they were 25 years ago, is back at the top of his game again, reestablishing his rightful place as one of the greatest pop/rock songwriters out there.

Supreme Beings of Leisure | 11i (Rykodisc)

Discovering this duo on cable TV's electronic music channel was one of the highlights of my year, musically-speaking. The combination of Geri Soriano-Lightwood's smooth-as-silk vocals with Ramin Sakurai's music programming wizardry should completely seduce any fan of similarly styled groups like Zero 7 and Morcheeba. The disc's attention-grabbing single "Mirror" is definitely one of my favorite songs of the year.

Honorable Mentions:

Mogwai | Mr.Beast (Matador)

Ryan Adams | Cardinology (Lost Highway)

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