My Morning Jacket - Circuital
Depending on your point of view My Morning Jacket is a band that dares you to either love them or hate them. Their output to date has run the gamut of what you could like in a band. They've done jam-rock, they've done classic rock, they've done electronica-ish songs. Hell, they've even done their best Prince impression. Fans of the band are going to love the new album (maybe..many didn't take to well to the bands 2008 effort, Evil Urges) and non fans who hear it are going to try and figure out what this whole MMJ thing is all about. Either way My Morning Jacket is going to keep powering forth and doing exactly and only what they feel like doing, which is why no matter how silly some of the output can be, they'll always get our respect here. Oh, and Jim James is a freaking MONSTER singer...so there's that.
Death Cab For Cutie - Codes and Keys
Ben Gibbard and the gang are back this week for another round of emotionally charged rock. Full disclosure, I'm not the world's biggest DCFC fan, but on Codes and Keys the band continues to grow in their sound as well as their songwriting, threatening to make fans out of even the most ardent doubters (me). Stranger things have happened. Regardless, if you are already a fan then you don't need me to say anything more about the record. You've already heard it streaming at NPR and you've already bought your tickets to their pretty-much-sold-out tour, so they are obviously doing something really, really right.
Eddie Vedder - Ukelele Songs
This record has every reason in the world to fail. First off, ukelele? The use of this instruement is a ridiculous and growing and unless your are tUnE-YarDs or Buke and Gass, who both use the diminutive instrument to create a sound that is more or less independant of the instrument, you might as well throw a kazoo into the mix, because it's just as ridiculous an instrument choice. Second? Well there isn't really a second. It's just that damn ukelele thing. Anyways, fad or no, Vedder somehow makes it work COMPLETELY on this, his first solo album. Sure, the majority of the draw is his instantly recognizeable baritone, but by pairing it with such a simple instrument, the songs on this record come of as strangely endearing, if not wholly comforting. Make no mistake, this is a detour straight into the world of adult contemporary, but in typical Vedder fashion it never feels anything less then sincere, and as such will probably one of the most played records of the Summer.