In this first edition of a new feature here, the Weekly Music Round-Up, where I will share a song from some of what’s new in music and give the album a mini-review three sentences in length, I will start by sharing my two favorite releases of the week whose albums I reviewed here: The Killers and Ryan Bingham.

The Killers :: Battle Born

Runaways :: The Killers

Larger than life stories tucked within each lyrical refrain. An album full of songs I want to hear played live. No surprises here, just consistent fabulous music.

Ryan Bingham :: Tomorrowland

Heart of Rhythm :: Ryan Bingham

A refreshingly raw and raucous album full of real rock and roll music. This album is soulful, explosive and addictive. Heavy play in my car this week, so many of the songs inspire mini-movies in my mind.

Aimee Mann :: Charmer

Charmer :: Aimee Mann

Uncharacteristically upbeat, but characteristically lyrically rich, this album is overflowing with stories told in such melodically lovely songs. I am beyond excited to get to see and review her live next month. This album continues my long-standing love affair with Aimee’s music.

Dinosaur Jr. :: I Bet On the Sky

Pierce the Morning Rain :: Dinosaur Jr.

Oh my stars, how I have missed you, Dinosaur Jr. This was a week of the return of bands I love in the form of new music, and this one makes me ecstatic; I love it so much, already. Pierce the Morning Rain and What Was That? were on constant repeat this morning whilst I drank my morning coffee.

P!nk :: The Truth About Love

Walk of Shame :: P!nk

A little dirty sexy love and a lot of contagiously catchy pop, with a few moments of vulnerable love and heartbreak. I have always dug P!nk’s strong female persona and her open sexuality, though I do cringe at the repeated use of the word “slut”. Fun and surprising guest musicians, such as Lily Allen, Eminem and Nate Ruess, from Fun.

Skunk Anansie :: Black Traffic

I Believed In You :: Skunk Anansie

I always come to Skunk Anansie hoping for another Secretly, a song that remains one of my all-time favorites since first hearing it in the film Cruel Intentions. This album is not exactly that, but it is made up of songs that have grabbed my attention and have me hitting repeat, especially with the song I Believed In You. I am quite taken with the bonus track, Don’t Leave Behind a Lie, as well.

Grizzly Bear :: Shields

A Simple Answer :: Grizzly Bear

Sonically mesmerizing, jangly at times, ethereal at other times. This is another grower album to me, though I already have a musical crush on A Simple Answer. At times the album is a bit too all over the place for a one-sitting (or driving) full listen, but that may change on repeated playing.

Nelly Furtado :: Spirit Indestructible

Big Hoops (Bigger the Better) :: Nelly Furtado

Surprisingly delightful. This album feels more natural to me than her big hits album, mixing dance, world, and rhythm together. I especially enjoy hearing the tones and accents in her voice, in what sounds less produced than that past album, as well.

Ben Folds Five :: The Sound of the Life of the Mind

Do It Anyway :: Ben Folds Five

Thirteen years was worth the wait for this eclectic gem of a reunited threesome. With Ben always around I had nearly forgotten how much I love the music these three make together. Bittersweet and bitter, jaded and joyful, the collision of opposite emotion tucked inside of a sometimes 70’s easy listening feel, sometimes cabaret theatrics feel, makes this a all-around joy to hear.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion :: Meat & Bone

Hey, Jon Spencer, where you been? This is a feel good, turn it the hell up, let your body rock kind of album. I am loving it, especially the song Bag of Bones (“Don’t gotta be Halloween to scream and wail”).

Jim Noir :: Jimmy’s Show

Tea :: Jim Noir

There is something very Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band about this album, that feeling mixed with a heavy dose of The Kinks, and a side order of Robyn Hitchcock. Eclectic nearing odd, and melodic, this album has definitely gotten my attention. Fishes and Dishes and Tea are my current favorites.

Band of Horses :: Mirage Rock

Knock, Knock :: Band of Horses

This album has not grabbed hold of me in the way the first two did, but I am holding out hoping it is a grower. There is something missing from this album, something hard to define exactly, but I know how it made me feel: wispy, dreamy, and blue in that unrequited love kind of way. There are still hints of it, but this is an overall departure that I am still not completely sure of.

Danko Jones :: Rock and Roll is Black and Blue

Just a Beautiful Day :: Danko Jones

Hard and heavy in the best way, this album is a throw back reminder of some of the rock bands I loved in the late eighties. It reminds me of smoky clubs in Hollywood on a Saturday night, a line of cars cruising by outside, visible by the queue winding around the building, all waiting to get inside. Final song at the end of the album is my now-favorite, a blend of rock and Misfits brand of punk, with the gospel singer layer adding an odd, but effective, juxtaposition to a song questioning belief in god.

The Gathering :: Disclosure

Meltdown :: The Gathering

New band discovery for me and one I am really sinking my hearing into. This reminds me of some of the bands I loved when I was deep into the goth and death rock scene. Long songs that traverse so much emotional landscape, they feel like mood shifts or the rise and fall of being high, especially the song Meltdown.

The Helio Sequence :: Negotiations

October :: The Helio Sequence

Sub Pop releases tend to just get me, and get to me, and this album does both. Lush and gorgeous, these feel like songs I want to hear whilst falling in love. There is something here that reminds me of James Laid album.

How to Dress Well :: Total Loss

Cold Nites :: How to Dress Well

Another gorgeously lush sounding album, though a little too sleepy at times, for me. Cold Nites is something special though, a stand out in its sonic complexity and overlay of sounds. World I Need You, Won’t Be Without You is also a very stunning and interesting track that I keep returning to.

The Presets :: Pacifica

Youth in Trouble :: The Presets

On the other side of feeling comes the new album from The Presets, a fabulous and frenetic collection of beats meant to dance to. The slow climb of sound in Youth in Trouble feels like sex, the climaxes feel explosive, and are impossible not to move to (you may even want to let out a scream). Fast Seconds is another pulsing number that gets the heart racing and the body moving.

Rachel Sermanni :: Under Mountains

So beautiful, this album, especially the song Eggshells, are fitting into this part of me that is writing a story full of emotion and survival and feeling. I love songs that open me up and make me feel, even if it brings tears, which this album does, at times.

Sandi Thom :: Flesh & Blood

Help Me :: Sandi Thom

Alt-Country with a dose of folk and soul makes up the songs in this album. You can hear the Black Crowes influence in this (produced by BC’s Rich Robinson). Help Me is my favorite track off this one, so far, as I love the rawness and power within it.

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