Alanis Morissette - Havoc and Bright Lights
I've been struggling to get into Alanis Morissette's work since her first grown-up album, Jagged Little Pill (you all know that one). It was the perfect anger album and fifth-grade Joy absolutely loved it! I got back into it in college, but have had trouble getting into anything she's released since. The angst was great, but once she found peace, she also got a little...well, boring. I still give her a chance with every album, though. Something about her makes me really want to like her and the music that she puts out. So, here's her fifth chance, but she'll really have infinite opportunities.
Art Garfunkel - The Singer
I'll be honest, I've never actually listened to Garfunkel's solo work. I have been a big fan of Simon and Garfunkel, but in knowing that Paul Simon was the primary songwriter, singer and guitar-player (except, most notably, on "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), I never saw there being a much reward in continuing with Garfunkel's solo work over his partner's. Once again, I tend to be a late-comer to these things, but I'm letting this be my entry to Art's solo work. It has the potential to be rewarding, with two CDs totaling 34 songs. Granted, this is a compilation/re-recording of many of his past songs and there are at least seven Simon and Garfunkel tracks here...maybe it's the best possible starting point!
Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits
Oh...my...god, this is the most amazing coming-together of musicians. Britt Daniel from Spoon and Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs (along with Sam Brown from about a million other projects). I love it when these things happen and I love it even more when it works. It's sounds like Spoon, it sounds like Wolf Parade, it even sounds a little bit like the Handsome Furs. I don't know if these guys are just really good at working together or if it's just a match made in heaven, I just know that I love it (and I love you, Britt Daniel...call me!)
Listen: "My Love Is Real"
Poor Moon - Poor Moon
We've already had one great Fleet Foxes off-shoot this year with J. Tillman's debut as Father John Misty (his first since leaving his post as the band's drummer). Whereas he wavered a bit from the sound of his band, this side-project, boasting two members of Fleet Foxes, promises to be a bit closer to the main band's sound. It's missing the epic harmonies, but comes off as a bit more upbeat.
Wild Nothing - Nocturne
Hype can be a dangerous thing, and Jack Tatum got a lot of it when he released his debut album, Gemini, two years ago. Honestly, I think (and many of you may disagree) that hype can often be worth it. The struggle, though, is to follow it up with something of equal or higher value (it can be slightly lower...but then people will just use it as a reason to complain). Hype puts artists in an unenviable position of needing to live up, but, from what I've heard so far, he has done at least that!