Jim O’Rourke – Insignificance

After a prolific career as a noise/improvisational/experimental guitarist and a few forays into folk and chamber pop, Jim O’Rourke surprised his audience with an album closer to straightforward rock than his audience could have ever expected of him. Yet underneath it’s catchy, cheery, and polished exterior, his lyrics are full of humorously bitter resentment. Like his debut singer/songwriter album Eureka, Insignificance is full of the meticulous and lush arrangements that Jim would become known for.

Do Make Say Think – Goodbye Enemy Airship, The Landlord is Dead

“Recorded in an old wooden barn, this second album is swaddled in twilight autumnal ambiance. While the record is bookended by the band’s awesome psych-rock explosions, much of the material here shows increased referencing of jazz influences (modal horns, brushed percussion) and a more organic deployment of micro-electronics. Raw and polished, visceral and cerebral, the band combines rock and jazz traditions of space music with the ‘instrumental’ potentials of mixing room to present a true gem of a record.” (Press Release)

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Yanqui U.X.O.

Godspeed’s last album before their 10 year hiatus was produced by the legendary Steve Albini, resulting in what might be their heaviest and most direct album to date. Coming off the heels of September 11th, Yanqui U.X.O. seems to be a reaction against the ramped up military-industrial complex and its promotion of fear and xenophobia, as well as protesting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The back cover even goes as far as connecting each major record label to some type of weapons manufacturer. 

Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Co

“Sometimes it’s hard doing anything”. Somehow Jason Molina knows how to perfectly express what depression feels like without ever succumbing to hopelessness. His music has been a friend and a voice of encouragement when I need it most, reminding me to persist and not beat myself up when I feel unproductive or lazy or unmotivated. “The real truth about it is no one gets it right. The real truth about it is we’re all supposed to try”

Jason Molina: Pyramid Electric Co.

A sparse, weary solo album from a songwriter that’s meant a lot to me the last couple years. Unlike his work with Songs: Ohia or Magnolia Electric Co, this record is void of guest musicians or overdubs, leaving his words truly alone, with nothing but a damp bed of reverbed guitar or mournful, sustained piano chords supporting them.

Omar Rodriguez-López: Xenophanes

This album is full of energetic, psych-prog maximalism that occasionally settles down into (relatively) slowed down, spacious grooves. I recommend this to fans of The Mars Volta or anyone looking for a manic blend of psych, prog, fusion, punk and latin influences.