Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer – She certainly has a unique voice and sound. She’s sounds like a weary, slightly pissed off piano-bar musician. Think of Billy Joel’s iconic Piano Man, but not lame. Someone you’d actually want to have a conversation with and not ignore.
Peter Bjorn and John – Seaside Rock– Coming from the “we really don’t care what you expect from us” school, PB&J (not to be confused with the PBJ (Peanut Butter and Jelly)) decided not to offer the expected followup to their breakthrough album Writer’s Block. Instead, they put out an experimental, instrumental album with only vague hints of vocals (barring sampled voices and the like). This thing conjures up images of sitting on a bizarro beach in the Bahamas. All said, it’s not a bad album but don’t expect ridiculously catchy melodies to be stuck in your head.
Pia Fraus – After Summer– Pia Fraus is out to prove that the country of Estonia is not some culturally barren wasteland on the Baltic sea. And they succeed. This album tends toward the shogazer genre. Other than the requisite overdriven guitar, you get some keyboard twinkling and guitar arpeggios along with the standard shoegaze beats and rhythms underpinning the whole affair. For shoegaze fanatics, I think this is a must get. Otherwise, it’s a nice album that reaches its goals satisfyingly.
Plus/Minus – Xs on Your Eyes – Generally quiet and laid back music. The good thing here is that the songs have such a nice sound that it sort of pulls you in. There is a subtle, underlying emotion that makes you think that there is more going on that what really is. Nice album. Not essential but a pleasant listen.