Thursday, March 31, 2005

Ray's Vast Basement

I've always loved the name of this SF based band. Primarily the work of Jon Bernson but he's also helped by SF all star Jesse Denatale among others. The album is On The Banks Of The Time and is a melange of mellow pop, jazz, and alt-country. The band has always been striving to create a myth around their music. There's often a narrative story line running through songs, the CD's contain booklets, there's a cast of characters. It's more than an album, much more like a project with a literary spin to it. There's a kinship here to Dylan, John Prine and the story first aesthetic. If you live in the SF Bay Area you can catch them live every Saturday in April at the Shelton Theater @ 533 Sutter St.

This is well thought out, vibrant music.

2 Songs from 2000's On The Banks Of The Time:

Letter From Earth

Swan Of Vancouver

2 songs from 2003's By A River Burning Blue:

With Your Stone


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Magnolia Electric Co...

I've made no secret of my love for Jason Molina's songwriting. I think he's got the stuff of an american classic. Despite his critics insistence that he's regurgitating Neil Young or writing overly simple songs that rely on simple chord changes and one note solos, I think there's genius in what he does simply because he's so aware of the songwriting legacy from which he comes, pays it it's due and still comes out sounding originally American. I've posted about Molina's dissolving of Songs:Ohia and his subsequent project as Magnolia Electric Co. I did a review of their live album Trials And Errors for Stylus Magazine. I've been anticipating their first studio album What Comes After The Blues eagerly and the April 5th release date is looming before us.

I think Molina is making a strong mark on American music, whether you define that from the perspective of indie rock, classic rock, or whatever. I'll be so bold as to rank him high up on my list of best currently working American songwriters, which goes something like this (no particular order btw):

John Darnielle (Mountain Goats)
Colin Meloy (Decemberists)
Jason Molina
Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel)
William Sheff (Okkervil River, Shearwater)
Archer Prewitt
Jim James (My Morning Jacket)
Jeff Tweedy (Wilco. Did I need to write that?)

Who competes on this list? Chris Martin? Thom York? Both English and not as good anyway. Springsteen, Mellencamp, Jackson Brown? This list competes with those three during their best years which are all behind them anyway. Then we get into the untouchables: Bacharach, Dylan, Newman, Costello (English). I think there's potential for any one of my list to reach the heights of these classics.

I think I've strayed far from the subject matter of my original post. But anyway...

The good folks at Secretly Canadian give us a couple songs from What Comes After The Blues:

The Dark Don't Hide It

Leave The City

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

No Address...

So it was recently pointed out to me that I've been harping in these pages about my age a little too much. Oh well, when you're feeling it you're feeling it. Not much I can do about that, but I suppose I can refrain from singing the woe-be-gone tunes of those over thirty. It's really not all that bad. I think it's become more of a schtick with me than anything. I'm still as enthusiastic about the music I find as I've ever been and, frankly, my basketball game's never been better.

Today I let you in on a dirty little secret. I have a terrible sweet tooth for unambitious pop rock music. I think it all started with my collegiate obsession with Dramarama which, of course, is musically about as deep as a child's wading pool but so damn catchy. Ever since then I've always hid my secret love of loud guitar hooks, catchy choruses and pogo drum beats from my fellow indie rock purists. Well, if ever there was a band ripe for what I call "influence pointing" it's No Address. They appear to be a bunch of pretty boys who wear their Nirvana riffs on their sleeves and practiced rock posturing stuffed in their pants, but they've written a couple of catchy songs and I'm apt to give them credit for that. I've now exposed my bruised inner pop loser to the masses, I feel liberated and a bit ill at the same time.

The album comes out on April 26th it's called Time Doesn't Notice and is sure to be all over TRL and MTV2, it's calculated, sure, but it's also a bit fun.

1 song:

Lasting Words

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Prayers And Tears of Digby Sellers...

yeah, I know the name is quite a mouthful, but don't let it detract from your appreciation of The Prayers And Tears of Digby Sellers. I've been listening to a whole lot of The Mountain Goats lately because I'm reviewing their new album The Sunset Tree for Popmatters. During my immersion in all things John Darnielle I noticed this oddly named band touring with the Mountain Goats. A little research led me to believe that The Prayers And Tears of Digby Sellers is the real deal. Actually the brainchild of one Perry Wright and a revolving cast of Raleigh-Durham North Carolina musicians, Wright has garnered some comparisons to Conor Oberst but all the press i've read seems to qualify that comparison with phrases like "more mature", "grown up" and I'd add "without the swollen noggin'". This is twisted pop music in the vein of Shearwater, Okkervil River and Minus Story. Songs tend to build towards confused peaks before dissolving under their own weight, reconfiguring their trajectory and rising up again. The songs that I've heard are excellent. If Mr. Darnielle and Wright are going to be in your town, catch them and let me know because it doesn't seem like they're going to get West for awhile.

2 songs from The Mother of Love Emulates the Shapes of Cynthia (he likes long titles):

Concerning Lessons Learned From Aliens

Cannot Eat Better not Sleep

Scroll down on their MP3 page, lots of cool songs to check out.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Full White Drag....

This is a bit out of the realm of what I usually listen to, but not that far.Full White Drag is from Canada and plays what I've always called post punk. They remind me of the days when I was obsessed with bands like Knapsack, The Jealous Sound, Pond, and more recently Audio Learning Center. Full White Drag plays it loud, angular and rhythmic. It's probably that I'm getting old that I don't crank up bands like this as much anymore but every now and then I get an itch for LOUD. Today FWD is doing me just right. It's cranking in the background at work giving me the head bobs (minus whiteman's over bite, thank you very much). Word is that the band is amazing live so check and see if they're going to be near you and let me know how it was. I'm curious if anyone caught them at SXSW? They got 2 albums out, I'm posting from their current 5 song EP Everything Will FAll On One Night.

Enjoy and have a good Easter. I'll be taking my daughter to her grandmothers house where we will explain to her the signifigance of celebrating the brutal bloddy death of a very nice man by hiding hardboiled eggs, eating chocolate, eating small chickens made of marshmallow, and fooling her into believing that a swift wise rabbit sneaks around the house at night carrying a basket filled with the above things.

Great St. Clair

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Another SF band that makes excellent music. Loquat plays a kind of dreamy brand of pop the echoes Saint Etienne, a little Stereolab, you know a little dance a little melody. Originally the band was just two people and they did a kind of trip-hop thing before adding a guitarist, real live drummer , bassist, and keyboardist. The resulting sound is a sweet blend of electronic and acoustic elements that cops from some classic 80's new wave beats but still sounds very "now". Kylee Swenson has a lovely voice as well. Their new album is called It's Yours To Keep and is available on SF's own ever present Jack Pine Social Club. The album comes out in April.

2 from the forthcoming It's Yours To Keep:

Take It Back

Slow, Fast, Wait & See

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Okkervil River (again)....

I just love these guys and I saw them with the Decemberists last night. Great show, in fact I don't think I've enjoyed a show so much in a while. Black Sheep Boy, the new one from Okkervil River, comes out April 5th and is not to be missed. Seriously, here are a few thoughts on last night show:

So last night I went to see a show. One band I really wanted to see. The other band I had long ago decided was an overhyped exercise in self-indulgence. Playing at San Francisco's Bimbos 365 Club (which often makes you feel like you've stepped through a trap door in time and ended up watching a rock show in the ballroom of that creepy hotel in The Shining) were The Decemberists and Okkervil River. I was very much looking forward to seeing Okkervil, their unreleased album Black Sheep Boy is all that can be right with indie-rock: heartfelt, sincere, passionate, melodic, odd. I had high expectations for how they would reinterpret these songs in a live setting. I wasn't disappointed. Will Sheff and crew turned even their most maudlin moments on album into wide open sonic revelry. The band clearly loved their music and threw themselves into it with abandon. Their excellence forced me to buy a T-Shirt, the last time I did that was when I saw Whiskeytown in 1996(?).

For The Decemberists my plan was to cross my arms and stand in the back of the room with an stoic smirk passing judgement on each song that featured a sailor or a whale. I would be a mad king handing down execution sentences to random members of my court. I was determined to not enjoy Colin Meloy, determined to make my accusations of swarmy holier than thou over-rated indie rock songwriter du jour stick. By the third song I was tapping my fucking foot! Then my wife leans over and whispers in my ear, "These guys sound like a cross between Supertramp and They Might Be Giants". I guess that innocent observation from someone untainted by listening to hundreds of CDs composed entirely by some kid from (enter hip town of the moment) who has been proclaimed to be the second coming of (pick one: Dylan, Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, Springsteen) flipped a switched inside my stoney critics heart. Meloy was enjoying the show. He was smart and funny. He clearly had a kinship with his fans and was flattered by their attention. All of his semi-gothic tales of maritime excess or piracy on the high seas or broken hearts weren't delivered with a smirk but with a heartfelt love for the characters he had created. The band was uniformly excellent, laughing, playing with swagger.

It's been a really long time since a band won me over, forced me to rethink my critical opinion (something I fear I'm less and less willing to do as I get older, gotta keep that in check), and generally charmed my socks off. Good on you, Colin.

2 Songs from Black Sheep Boy:

For Real


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Anders Parker...

I did a post about Anders Parker a while back regarding his excellent album Tell It To The Dust. That album was a testament to the fact that alt-country still had some kick left in it. Filled with folky balladry and some hard rocking it was a great listen. Anders released today an EP of songs that didn't make the cut for Tell It To The Dust. Evidently most of these songs were a little to loud and hard and didn't seem to fit. So here they are on Wounded Astronaut, five songs where he turns the guitar up loud and 1 a bit more along the pensive lines. When Parker really gets going the sound reminds of mid career Husker Du and Soul Asylum when they were good.

Here's 1 from Wounded Astronaut:

Fast And True

Monday, March 21, 2005

Morning Spy...

I like the local bands. The bay area has such a thriving and, of late, overlooked music scene that I should really being doing my part to let everyone know how much quality stuff is going on around here. To that end I bring you a few tracks by SF band Morning Spy. These guys are putting out quality pop music that touches on everything from the awkwardly named dream pop to folk to alt-countryish excursions to swirling psyche rock. Their album The Silver Age was released in Febraury on Keep Recordings all the work was pretty much done here in SF at Tiny Telephone Studios. Vocalis Jon Rooney's voice sounds a lot like David Berman of The Silver Jews and, now that I think of it, the production style (particularly the way the guitars sound) is also very reminiscent of The Silver Jews.

This is record is chock full of good tunes and while I get the feeling that this isn't necessarily the record that's going to put this band on the proverbial map, there's so much potential and talent here that it deserves repeated listening.

2 from The Silver Age:

Voices And Vigils

Princess Vancouver

Friday, March 18, 2005

Sam Prekop...

Prekop gained a certain degree of indie fame as one of the main singer songwriters in the band Sea And Cake, which also includes the beloved Archer Prewitt. Prekop has just recently released his latest solo album entitled Who's Your New Professor and predictably it's a fine collection of jazz inflected pop songs. Unlike his Sea And Cake counterpart Archer Prewitt Prekop's compostions tend to be less in the vein of classic string and horn accented pop and more touching on themes of free flowing jazz lines rooted in a pop context. A song like "Dot Eye" closes with about a minute and a half of guitar noodling, "Neighbor to Neighbor" is a short 1:35 of piano, trumpet and light percussion.

Prekop's pedigree as a songwriter is pretty impecable so if you're apt to be put off by my references to his more jazz stylings don't be. His songwriting is accessible and light. Who's Your New Professor is a fine addition to Prekop's catalog.

2 from Who's Your New Professor:

C + F


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Blonde Redhead...

I only wish I could say that I was on the original bandwagon that paraded around the indie rock infield shouting through a bullhorn that people must hear Blonde Redhead, but I wasn't so I can't. I'm late to this party. That certainly doesn't diminish my love of their cd Misery Is A Butterfly. For once all the hyperbolic praise from the critics was pretty right on (which reminds me, you know I like Arcade Fire's Funeral even loved it at times but it hasn't had the legs that I though it would)). Misery Is A Butterfly may well be one of those records where a band gets everything right. I understand that early efforts by the band were noisy, cacaphonic affairs. You wouldn't know it here. This album is focused, melodic, interesting, varied. Beggars Group has scored another one when you take into consideration how crazy I am for The National.

Swirling, psychedlic keys and guitars, haunting female vocals, very much what we've come to expect from a 4AD band. delicious.

2 from Misery Is A Butterfly:


Misery Is A Butterfly

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Okay: Low Road...

Alright, the second disc from Okay. See yesterday's post for relevant info regarding the man (Marty Anderson) behind Okay. The more I listen to these two discs the more impressed I am. I keep coming back to the feeling that if Dan Bejar in the guise of Destroyer can get his ass kissed for making a lush pop record like Your Blues, than Okay should be getting hyped as an easy top 10 finisher for album(s) of the year. I think it's that good. The more I'm able to understand Anderson's lyrics the more that I understand that these records are about politics as viewed from his unique home bound perspective. He's asking all kinds of questions: in his position what contribution can he make to the dialogue in the country? Does his infirmity make him any less a citizen? His voice any less passionate, resolute, honest? I'll stop gushing about my current obsession and let you listen to a couple more songs. Remember album is released end of this month, you can get it here.

2 songs from Okay's Low Road:


Holy War

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Okay: High Road....

Okay is the moniker of one Marty Anderson who resides here in the SF Bay Area in the city of Fremont. I often make fun of Fremont as the arm pit of the bay area, but I may have to rethink my smartassedness as Okay is some damn fine music. To be released on Absolutely Kosher Records Okay is putting out 2 CD's this March one called Low Road the other called High Road. Both are available HERE.

The interesting or tragic or different thing about Marty Anderson is that he's homebound. Here's the story in brief:

"Marty has a chronic stomach disorder, a rare strain of a not uncommon (yet no less unfortunate) disease which confounds his physicians and keeps him somewhat confined to his home and hooked-up to an I.V. almost daily. The disease (a rare form of Crohn’s) had been under some control in the past, but during what would become Dilute’s last tour in late 2001, things took a turn for the worse. Utterly housebound in his Oakland apartment and destined to packup his home studio and move back into his parent’s home in Fremont, Marty set to work on his new solo effort in 2002." (Tag Team Media)

You would expect the resulting music to be a maudlin affair, perhaps even veering into self-pity. But instead Anderson has crafted 2 immensely accessible sets of pop songs populated by heartfelt musings on both what's going on inside his room and what is going on in a world he's now divorced from. I'm still getting my head wrapped around the total of 22 songs between the two discs. I'm still processing the music having just recently received the discs, but my initial reaction is to be impressed. Anderson has a reedy nasal voice that would probably be annoying in most cases, but becomes more and more an integral element of the songs with each listen. The problem with knowing about Anderson's sickness is the tendency to read infirmity into the lyrics of every song, and while I'm sure that his illness is a preoccupation I don't think Anderson intends it to overwhelm the experience of the songs. This is really strong material.

Tomorrow I'll have a song or two from Low Road.

Today 2 songs from High Road:



Monday, March 14, 2005

Sonny Smith...

Here's yet another singer songwriter operating here in the SF Bay Area. If memory serves correct, Sonny Smith is a resident of Oakland, and from there he pens narratives of broken hearts and slight skewed souls. Sonny's voice reminds me of Vic Chestnutt (that's a compliment as far as I'm concerned) and his lyrical prowess reminds me of David Berman of the Silver Jews. I think this post follows the Catalpa Boys very well as Sonny Smith also pens mellow, folk based songs.

Pay attention to the lyrics with this one. He's a very good writer and able to turn a phrase in a clever way. Sonny's record is released on Jackpine Social Club who've been fighting the good fight for local SF bands for quite awhile. Support Sonny and Jack Pine Social Club by purchasing his desk direct from theirf website.

Lots of interesting music coming up this week. Enjoy Sonny Smith.

2 from his record This Is My Story, This Is My Song:

Way To Go

Life In Flames

Friday, March 11, 2005

Catalpa Boys...

Man, I love it when friends do great things. Starting with the boys in Our Lady of the Highway who are in the studio finishing the follow up to their excellent About Leaving, I've always loved it when friends have a vision and carry it out to success. In this regard I bring you today the Catalpa Boys. They are composed of my friend and one time business partner Josh Housh and his brother. Clearly mining the country folk territory mined by other brother teams like the Stanley Brothers and the Louvin Brothers (maybe toss the Cash Brothers in there), the Catalpa Boys play earnest acoustic music filled with old time imagery and sweet harmonies. Sure it's mellow, but sometimes that's just what you need. Perfect music for louning around in this beautiful northern california weather and drinking beer.

2 songs from the Catalpa Boys self-title debut:

No Word

Stained Glass. I'm pretty sure Josh is playing the saw on this one.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

South San Gabriel...

South San Gabriel as many of you may know, is a side project for Centro-matic's Will Johnson. It has been asked of me many times when talking about Will Johnson, just what the difference is between this enigmatic and prolific songwriter's various projects. As near as I can figure it goes like this: Centro-matic is Johnson' straight up rock project, loud and fuzzy and loose. His solo work is quiet and introspective, reserved and melancholy. South San Gabriel is more of a collective experience, Johnson brings a concept to a loose knit community of musicians who then contribute their unique abilities to the recording process. I personally like all three of Johnson's incarnations.

The last South San Gabriel record Welcome Convalesence was a uniformly excellent record, so I greeted The Carlton Chronicles:Not Until The Operations' Through with the same expectation. I have to admit I was a bit put off by the fact that the entire song cycle is about a cat, and a dying cat at that. However once you start listening to the songs you realize that the songs aren't just about cats, they're about "big" issues as channeled through a cat. I know it sounds odd, but somehow it works. I suppose simply put sickness (and the perceived justice or injustice that comes with randomness of it) is just as difficult to explicate in cats as it is in people.

1 song from The Carlton Chronicles:Not Until The Operations Through:

I Am Six Pounds of Dynamite

Be sure to cruise over to Songs Illinois for 3 more songs from South San Gabriel.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The National...

A pleasant surprise. Kind of out of left field for me, since I had never heard of The National when I received their new CD Alligator to review for Junk Media. Alligator currently ranks as one of my favorite rock records of this young year. The lead singer has a deep baritone that reminds me very much of Brett Sparks of The Handsome Family, a deep rich baritone that commands as much presence as any of the instruments. Lyrically The National write slice of life vignettes full of intimate details (I love the line, "didn't anybody tell you/how to gracefully disappear in a room?"). Musically the band is hard to pin down and, frankly, I spent too much time listening to the CD trying to decide who their influences/predecessors are instead of just enjoying the CD. At first I felt the Joy Division/Interpol tip, then shrugged it off as not being nearly as bleak. Most of the shoe gazer references failed. Finally I just gave up, put the rock critic to rest, and enjoyed the record. Alligator will be released in April.

2 from Alligator:


All The Wine

Monday, March 07, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Man, what a beautiful day in Northern California. Just a tease of spring, i'm sure we've got some days of rain yet, but still. I've been listening to some good stuff: the new South San Gabrielle, new record from The National and a couple of others. But I'm going to save those for later this week. Today it's all about the visual. I've included some links to a number of cool videos to look at. It's amazing how much innovative and/or cool stuff is going on outside of mainstream MTV and VH1. Not only are the videos cool but the songs are pretty great. Check out Antville for a collection of lots and lots of videos. It's kinda like a video blog. Some of the links are predictably large so be patient.

Bloc Party - Helicopter

Basement Jaxx - Oh My Gosh (you'll need Realplayer, but the video's great)

Fischerspooner - Just Let Go

Go! Team - Ladyflash

The Streets - Blinded By The Light

The Arcade Fire - Wake Up

Also if you're in the SF Bay Area there are some killer shows coming up. Make the scene if you can, these'll be good. Tell 'em Bars & Guitars sent you and you'll get nothing but a strange look.

Bloc Party plays Popscene @ 330 Ritch. I think it's safe to say that you'll never see this band at such in intimate venue again. Ever. Unless you're stinkin' rich.

Check April 30th and you'll Magnolia Electric Co. playing with Court and Spark. This will be fine. Already got the tix.

Scroll down and note the upcoming Decemberists/Okkervil River Show. I got my tix for this one too.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Knife And Fork...

Man, talk about a band with a pedigree. Knife And Fork include the Hall sisters formerly of San Francisco's fabulous Ovarian Trolley. In addition to the sisters we have the talented Eric Drew Feldman playing most of the instruments. Feldman has played with Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, Snakefinger, The Residents, Pixies, Frank Black, PJ Harvey as well as producing for Sparklehourse and Polyphonic Spree.

Knife And Fork have been playing here and there, most recently at San Francisco's Noisepop music festival. The record Miserycord was released in October of last year and is available for purchase. This is very dramatic music. Full of pounding ryhthms, swirling melodies and an everything but the kitchen sink mentality as far as the density of the music goes. Through it all Laurie Hall's voice rides the songs, sometimes in complete control of the proceedings and at other times careening off like a surfer hurtling down the face of a wave.

2 from Miserycord by Knife And Fork:



Thursday, March 03, 2005

Josh Rouse...

Man, I'm conflicted on this one. Josh Rouse has made a beautful record with the release of Nashville. It's really quite wonderful. It's not rewrting rock, in fact it's very locked into a long and honorable pop tradtion, but every record we listen to doesn't have to be the next great step in the continuing evolution of the rock opera. This record is simply 10 exceptional guitar based songs. My confliction is that I really think Rouse is a little too well known for me to blog about. I've always tried to make Bars & Guitars about the little guy. The struggling indie. The guy holed up in his room wrtiing wonderful songs that never see the light of day. Or something like that. Am I incorrect in assuming that pretty much everyone who reads Bars & Guitars already knows about Rouse, has already digested and loved 1972?. Maybe i'm wrong but I feel like posting songs from this record is asking for a cease and desist order. But I guess I'm going to roll the dice in the hope that there are those out there who haven't heard Rouse and really need to.

If you loved 1972 and are put off by the twangy implications of the name Nashville, fear not. Rouse has successfully combined the country introspection of Under Cold Blue Stars with the AM pop love of 1972. It's seamless and fun. If you like the songs please assuage my guilt by purchasing this suckah.

2 songs from Josh Rouse's recently released Nashville:

Winter In The Hamptons


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Summer At Shatter Creek...

Summer At Shatter Creek is a tricky one to figure out. Not that I'm staying up at night trying to figure them out (or him out, I think). There's an interesting mix of acoustic and electronic noises going on here, and as cliched as that sounds I think there's something basically good here. I think I like it because the non organic elements are much more subdued, not overbearing, not insistent that they be acknowledged as cool.

Near as I can tell Summer At Shatter Creek is a one man band, the one man being one Craig Gurwich. Gurwich is one of those hole up in the bedroom types, recording thngs at his home and getting pasty from the lack of sunlight (I made that part up.) I found these songs on the Summer At website and at Badman Recording Co.. There's a new record coming out at the end of this month and I've been told that the buzz is very good. The lead song here "Ever Changing Mood" is from the new album All The Answers, the others from earlier releases. All The Answers is available now for purchase on the Badman Recording Co. site.

Here's some Summer At Shatter Creek:

Ever Changing Mood

Home For The Holidays

My Neighbor's Having a Seizure


You know on second thought I'm going to back away from my earlier statement about these songs containing electronic elements. I think it's more that Summer At Shatter Creek uses alot of overdubs and effects creating an otherworldly illusion of space in the songs.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Live Pernice Brothers...

I'm a huge Pernice Brothers fan. Have been since the days of the amazing Scud Mountain Boys. Joe Pernice is well due for a new album. I imagine it's on the horizon but I haven't heard much buzz in the old grapevine. So to get my fix I recently ordered their live album which comes with a DVD documentary and some music videos. Good Stuff. Purchase Pernice Brothers - Nobody's Watching here. The most enjoyable thing about the record (released last year incidentally) is there's some live versions of Scud Mountain Boys songs.

Please to be enjoying two songs from Nobody's Watching:

Grudge Fuck (live)

Flaming Wreck (live)

The best I've heard thus far in 2005:

Archer Prewitt - Wilderness

Andrew Bird - & The Mysterious Production of Eggs

Magnolia Electric Co. - Trials And Errors

Josh Rouse - Nashville

M Ward - Transistor Radio

Iron & Wine - Woman King EP

Things on the horizon that will most likely kick arse:

Okkervill River - Black Sheep Boy
Silver Jews - new album in the fall
M.I.A. - Arular
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (this is a really great record. If you've already downloaded it, please buy it when it comes out)
Magnoia Electric Co. - new album in April?