Looks like it’s time for another spellbinding edition of the Rob Gordon Shuffle! Are you excited? I’m excited. Mp3s are Yousendits this week.
1. Ben Folds – Songs For Silverman
After the disappointing Rocking The Suburbs and three hit-and-miss EPs, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ben. Silverman is the best entry yet into his solo catalog. It’s clean and clear and (thank God) not overproduced like his last album. He’s playing with a band now, and they sound great – especially the basslines, which are incredibly fluid. I don’t know how many “classic” Ben songs are on here, if any, but I love Ben and I already love this album.
2. Ryan Adams – Love Is Hell
I was listening to The O.C.: Mix 4 the other day, and one of the tracks made want to listen to “Avalanche.” These two EPs might be the most mature, musically impressive works of his whole career. I’m a die-hard Ryan fan, but the instrumentation and arrangements on these songs are a big step up from a lot of his catalog. Haunting and powerful.
3. The National – Alligator (Download “Baby We’ll Be Fine“)
I wasn’t really a fan of Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, but this album just hits you differently. Interpol, if they were an alt.country band.
4. Edan – Beauty And The Beat (Download “Funky Voltron“)
Hip-hop album of the year!!!!!!11. The CMG staff has been all over this one, so I gave it a shot. It destroys me with with gargantuan 60s psychadelic rock samples and sick flows that name-check artists I’m still only barely aware of. This will be the album I mention for the rest of the year when I try to fake being knowledgable about underground hip-hop.
5. Summer At Shatter Creek – All The Answers
The first SASC album was really weird and great. It changes at random from section to section, there are electric guitars, the fidelity changes back and forth, the lyrics are clever and heartfelt – a nice mix of songwriting and studio experimentation. This album is boring, bland indie-folk. It sounds like the second For Stars album, which, for those keeping score at home, sucks as well. The moral of the story is, pick up their self-titled debut and be happy.
The Rob Gordon Shuffle is a weekly Sunday rundown of fascinating songs and albums without any particular regard to genre or timeliness. It is absolutely not a top 5.