Earlimart: Treble & Tremble
For its third release, California band Earlimart leaves the shadow of the Pixies to venture into a pop-rock rich in melodies and arrangements, in the tradition of the 60's California music scene.
Echo & The Bunnymen: What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?
While their last album Evergreen marked a not totally convincing return of the Bunnymen, What are You Going To Do With Your Life? emerges as the true comeback of the group whose compositions are better than ever.
Editors: In This Light & on This Evening
The Editors are back with an album that takes them in a new direction; a move which isn't that surprising if you think about it, as they seem to closely follow the path established by their heroes.
Eisley: Room Noises
Whether they gently rock or play ballads, the young fellows from Eisley always manage to create beautiful melodies and luxurious arrangements.
Elefant: Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid
One of the latest imports from the NYC indie scene, Elefant isn't terribly original but their dark dream-pop is very listenable.
Lauren Ellis: Feels like Family
On her second album, singer/songwriter Lauren Ellis delivers a collection of very personal songs, whose themes range from a breakup to her ill mother, a friend who committed suicide and even an instrumental ode to her Hawaiian guitar.
Jonathan Elias: American River
While many spoken world albums habitate the realm of wannabe beatniks without the gift of singing or songwriting talent, Jonathan Elias's American River raises the bar and features Johnny & Roseanne Cash.
Concept album (Heavy, ambiant, experimentations) resulting from the collaboration of Mike Patton, Buzz Osborne of the Melvins, Trevor Dunn of Mr.Bungle and Dave Lombardo of Slayer.
Femmes de Paris: Femmes de Paris
If you're looking for a kitschy soundtrack to make your wine and cheese parties sizzle, Femmes de Paris will undoubtedly bring a fun and breezy French touch sure to make your guests exclaim "Oh mon Dieu".
Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters
Without being revolutionary, however, Dave Gahan surprises with Paper Monsters, a naïve, tormented and much more convincing work than Depeche Mode's last album Exciter.
Gordon Gano: Hitting the Ground
In Gano's first solo efforta soundtrack to an obscure 1996 filmhis songwriting slides from country to rock to lounge, but he let's his buddies do most of the singing, which is an alternately frustrating and perfect choice.
An artistic project combining of such diverse talents as the singer from Blur, a graphic designer and Dan the Automator, Gorillaz proves to be a fresh and inventive musical patchwork.
Grandaddy's third effort is an opus where life's confines can both fence you in and set you free.
Macy Gray: On How Life Is
Finally, an album to be excited about. While most pop and R&B is too formulaic to even mention, Gray breaks the mundane with her authentic, introspective debut On How Life Is. She more than proves her talent as a singer and songwriter. Emotion spills over every song, and you can’t help but dig her music.
Halfahalo: The Thrashing Floor
Halfahalo plays a balancing game familiar to Queens of the Stone Age fans: mix stark guitar riffs, then choruses of pounding drums and overdriven guitars with a good singer.
John Hammond: Wicked Grin Wicked Grin is the album you would run in to save if your house were burning down. Everything you need is on this record. It's that good. It's called music. John Hammond covers several Tom Waits songs on Wicked Grin, but that's not explaining enough.
Hot Hot Heat: Make Up the Breakdown
They come from a northern land, British Columbia, and they have shown me Canadian music doesn't stink these days. Hot Hot Heat remind me of when XTC still rocked, way back in their early New Wave days.
Billy Idol: Devil's Playground
Believe it or not but it's been 12 years since Billy Idol's last album of new material, the underrated electro-fueled Cyberpunk, which left some of his die-hard rockin' fans confused.
Imaginary Maps: Imaginary Maps
Through this collection of songs, the best accomplishment of Imaginary Maps is the actual creation of the sense of space, the making of a personal geography.
Incognito: Bees + Things + Flowers
Incognito's Bees + Things + Flowers, is an album built on smooth vibes, sexy melodies and strong production values, led by a series of soulful female vocalists.
Innocence Mission: Befriended
The Innocence Mission are the antithesis to the rock personae that usually send the Critical Machine in raving mode: a middle-aged Christian couple whose qualities are simplicity, purity and beauty.
Interpol: Turn On the Bright Lights
Take every great dark band from the '80s and throw them into a blender and out will spit the critics' newest wunderkinds, Interpol.
New York trio Ivy's lyrical and musical influences shine through ten well-executed covers highlighting the sweet and melancholy vocals of French singer Dominique Durand, backed by jangly guitars.
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Honey's Dead Honey's Dead is my favorite Jesus & Mary Chain album, probably because it's the darkest, the most dangerous and extreme, pushing the boundaries of their sound.
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Automatic Automatic established a new direction for The Jesus & Mary Chain, this time fully embracing electronic in their rock.
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Darklands
Following their striking debut and an avalanche of fuzz which launched the shoegazer movement, Darklands probably remains the Jesus & Mary Chain's best album.
Jet: Get Born
With their American debut Get Born, the Aussie quartet Jet poses an interesting dilemma for rock purists everywhere.
Scarlett Johansson: Anywhere I Lay My Head
Neither an abysmal failure nor a stunning success, Scarlett Johansson's debut album of ten Tom Waits songs is audacious, risky and, unfortunately, far too overproduced to feel truly authentic.
Lake Trout: Not Them, You
Lake Trout's songs are still sophisticated, beautiful and menacing, building complex moods that tend to envelop the listener.
Lake Trout: Another One Lost
A sophisticated band whose influences range from Radiohead to prog-rock and psychedelic with a slight taste for electronica & industrial.
Liars: They Were Wrong, So We Drowned
If the husband-and-wife creative core of Sonic Youth wrote "Bull in the Heather" into an album, it might be this.
Liars Academy: Demons
It's a simple mixture, really: Good harmonies, driving drums, a thrumming bass and a guitar or two.
The Likwit Junkies: The Likwit Junkies
If I needed to illustrate why I usually stay away from hip hop productions, except from grandmasters such as Outkast, Snoop Dog, Cypress Hill and Eminem, among others, there wouldn't be a better example than this album from the Likwit Junkies.
Luke: La Vie Presque
With their melodious light pop and weightlessness of voice, French band Luke offers a very polished first album with La Vie Presque, a work of surprising maturity equal to their English counterparts.
David Lynch & John Neff: Bluebob
A journey deep into an America halfway between desolation and dreams, Bluebob is a rough disc forged in greasy industrial blues and also the new project of a multidisciplinary artist, a painter turned director by the name of David Lynch.