Bob Dylan - Together Through Life (2009)
Well, he certainly has that swamp boogie/old man blues thing going. He may not be the most relevant performer today, but he is an artist with a vision. I really enjoyed his latest.
Pete Yorn - Back & Forth (2009)
Pete has always had a way with melodies and arrangements. Sometimes I'm not sure about his lyrics, but that is always overshadowed by the pure joy of listening to his CDs. Another good one for Pete.
Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (2009)
This time Elvis moves into the bluegrass world and conquers it. So what's new? He brings his art to every genre and we are all better for it. Loved this CD a lot... Maybe not as much as his rockers, but still a great listen.
Nils Lofgrin - The Loner (2009)
Nils does Neal (Young that is) and you can't help but enjoy it. This is a laid back enjoyable spin, with Nils picking his favorites, not necessarily the biggest hits. His guitar work is, as always, exquisite, and his vocals generally convey the pain and joy that Neal first brought to the songs; but in Nils own style.Gary Jules - Bird (2009)
Another beautiful CD form Gary. If you haven't gotten past his great remake of "Mad World", do yourself a favor and check out any one of his excellent CDs. http://www.garyjules.com/
Death Cab For Cutie - The Open Door EP (2009)
I believe these were leftover songs from the last CD, "Narrow Stairs". I loved that CD and love these 5 new songs. Although they are very similar in feel to that last CD, they easily stand on their own. Another half a dozen songs and you have an excellent CD.
Bat for Lashes - Two Suns (2009)
I bought this CD because people kept comparing it to the music of Kate Bush. And... she may well be the heir to that thrown. This is a heavily percussion driven band with Natasha Kahn leading the way using her unique voice that can only be compared to Kate. You're either going to love this CD or hate it, but you won't be able to ignore it.
Gomez - A New Tide (2009)
How come you don't know who Gomez is? Great melodies. Great rhythms. Vocals that are unique yet feel oh so familiar. Intelligent arrangements. Did I mention great melodies. I love Gomez. You should too.
The Smithereens - Play Tommy (2009)
I picked this up, just because... I had to. How unusual is this going to be? Can they make it work? I just had to listen. Is this going to be a train wreck or wonderful surprise? Well, it was the later; especially when you can hear the Smithereens coming through. Played with expertise (the drumming is potent and hard to ignore), they do a nice job of recreating the original. It was a fun listen.
Various Artists - The 2009 Believer Music Issue (2009)
Pick up this magazine, while it is still available, and you get this really cool compilation of music. I bought it for the Sam Phillips song, but enjoyed almost every song. And there are some really good music articles in the magazine as well.