Here's what I've been listening to the last two weeks or so...
Clem Snide/The Meat of Life - This album made was in a Heavy Rotation just over a year ago, after it first came out. A recommendation of one of their earlier albums by Stephen Thompson on Pop Culture Happy Hour sent me back to this one. These songs are literate folk pop explorations of sublime despair...or something like that. Highlights include "Walmart Parking Lot," "I Got High," and "The Great Barrier Reef."
Middle Brother/Middle Brother - This is a group featuring the leads in the bands Dawes, Delta Spirit, and Deer Tick. They each bring a set of songs to the table but collaborate on them with beautiful harmonies and great guitars. I'll have more to say when I get around to reviewing the whole album in my 2011 run-through, which I still plan to do.
The Shins/Wincing the Night Away - This is an album that makes me think of spring, in part because I think it came out in the spring of 2007 (a quick check show it came out in late Jan. of that year but I'm sure I played it for a few months). The other part is the sunny melodies and instrumentation found throughout. I think it's an ambitious set of songs and there's not a weak link in the bunch. Hope we get a new one from them by the end of the year..
Sloan/Action Pact - Fans of the band tend to look down on this album and when I first got it, I would have agreed with them. The more I listened, however, the more I liked it and it's something I return to from time to time. The songs veer more towards rock than power pop, maybe, but they are good songs. Is it my favorite Sloan album? No, but that doesn't mean it should be dismissed.
Spoon/A Series of Sneaks - My friend Trevor made a comment about "Advance Cassette" on Twitter a few weeks back and it was enough to send me into this album once again. That song is excellent, one of Spoon's best, but there are others to enjoy here as well - "Metal Detektor," "Metal School," and "Reservations," for starters. My version also tacks on the two "Lafitte" tracks, which are also quite good.
Teenage Fanclub/Bandwagonesque - I turned 40 a month ago and have been thinking about 1991 quite a bit. That year was a big one for me musically and it's also half of my life ago. I didn't have this album when it came out, which is a shame. I would have loved it then as much as I love it now. Come for one of the best album openers ever in "The Concept" and stay for the power pop goodness.
Yuck/Yuck - Speaking of the 90s, this album celebrates the best of the decade's music in one package. They're a little bit Teenage Fanclub and a little bit Dinosaur Jr. and a little bit Smashing Pumpkins (in the good way). Here's the key, though, good songs. Highly recommended and a more in depth review coming at some point.