Neko Case Middle Cyclone
This has got to be the album of the year for anyone who isn’t beyond hope both morally and musically. Her previous album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is at least as good. I am not sure how else to say it, but this woman is an artist. We need more like her.

The Avett Brothers Emotionalism
I first heard of the Avett Brothers several years ago when they played the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend that performance, being firmly screwed to the grass in front of Old Crow Medicine Show. But the positive buzz never left my mind and when I got the chance to scoop up this album I grabbed it. Good for me, because it’s flat good awesome. Their new album is I and Love and You and it’ll make many top 10 lists this year.

Tegan and Sara So Jealous
So. Twin sisters from Calgary. A more observant expat would have picked this up some time ago, but better late than never. The music is halfway between folk and pop and garage rock. Daddy likes.

Noisettes Wild Young Hearts
Not only is the music great, but if you caught their performance on Letterman you’d be traveling the country to see them live. The killer single is Never Forget You.

Pearl Jam Backspacer
It’s 2009 and Pearl Jam sounds great! From the optimism (what?) of The Fixer to the unrequited romanticism of Force of Nature and Johnny Guitar, it’s all good. Backspacer is on heavy rotation in my car and it’s caused me to go back into the catalog and listen to Vs. and Vitalogy for the first time in years.

Green Day 21st Century Breakdown
Right. So it’s not American Idiot and it is a bit of a concept album. Which is pretty odd from a punk outfit. And then again are these guys punks any more, or are they “arena punks,” or what? Know what I think? Who frakkin’ cares, the music is good, they are ambitious, and good for them. Hey, I picked up Insomniac this year too and it’s fantastic.

The Flaming Sideburns Back To The Grave
Is all the best garage rock coming out of the Nordic countries or what? Because these guys, The Hellacopters, The Raveonettes, Hawaii Mud Bombers… seriously!

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