I was listening to One Mississippi the other day and that album is still just awesome, but it's always hard to listen to a new Brendan Benson and hold it to that standard. They're all generally pretty good, they're just not that good. I'm liking some of the lighter pop and stuff with strings on it on this though, it's a surprisingly good fit after he did more rock-oriented stuff on the last couple Raconteurs albums.
2. Zaytoven - Zaytown II
Being a production nerd it's always hard to me to really get into a rapper's catalog until I get a handle on what beats they sound best on or what producers they use the most, so in a way right now I'm more into Zaytoven's beats than I am Gucci Mane's rhymes, even though they obviously work together really well. There's a nice variety here of Gucci, OJ, other ATL swag rappers like J. Money (er J. Futuristic), and some people you wouldn't really expect to hear on Zaytoven tracks that sound good like Project Pat or Jagged Edge. Basically this whole thing sounds dope, except for that Rocko song that sounds like "Make The Trap Say Ay," which just reminds me that Zaytoven produced that song and then I start to hate him a little. It's also kinda depressing to hear Jody Breeze for the first time in years and he's all AutoTuned up.
3. Cale Parks - To Swift Mars EP
Over the years I've seen Cale Parks play live a few times in different contexts, on drums with Joan of Arc and Cex, and then last year solo opening a Ted Leo show last year (although I managed to not mention him in the review, since I didn't see his whole set and I dunno, didn't think of anything to say). Never checked out his records until this EP showed up on eMusic, though, and it's really nice, kind of synth and percussion-heavy singer-songwriter stuff that I tend to love on aesthetic level even if the songs and the vocals aren't anything real great.
4. Beatallica - Masterful Mystery Tour
I remember about 5 years ago being in the Sidebar and hearing these guys and thinking it was hilarious how much work they put into sounding like Metallica and doing a spot-on James Hetfield impression while merging their songs with Beatles tunes. And it's probably one of those things that shouldn't still be funny after the first time, but I continue to be entertained by how well they combine songs to come up with stuff like "Got To Get You Trapped Under Ice" or "Hero of the Day Tripper." Sometimes the strain of a young band on an indie budget trying to replicate Metallica's sound shows, though, "Fuel On The Hill" is pretty ragged. My brother made this goofy Beatallica Guitar Hero video that apparently one of the members of the band saw and enjoyed, too, so that's kinda cool.
5. Shonen Knife - Super Group
I remember being a teenager and hearing about cool bands repping for Shonen Knife and finding a cassette of Pretty Little Baka Guy and being pretty entertained by it, but really hadn't given them a thought in ages until they just put a new record out. Definitely not quite as bubbly and fun as the '80s stuff, but the cover of "Jet" is pretty great.