Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, "Before Today"
A recent Village Voice profile has confirmed our suspicions—Ariel Pink is a pretty creepy dude. He also makes infectious pop music that sounds strange on first listen but permanently sticks in your head. Hall & Oates come to mind, but with more of a Frank Zappa sense of humor and weird factor. His latest and most polished record shows off a full range of AM gold—from sappy keyboard ballads to prom anthems to New Wave rockers. Creepy never sounded so good.
Janelle Monae, "The ArchAndroid"
This is probably the most wildly ambitious R&B album we've heard in a while. Allegedly it's part of a larger series of songs about space travel or somesuch, though we haven't really got caught up in the story line. Instead we are obsessed with the futuristic soul music and the way that Janelle can adapt her voice to suit any song, including a beautiful folk song mid-album. In a just world, she would do a huge stadium tour of the U.S. and turn this album into the biggest production anyone has ever seen.
Real Estate, "Live on the Radio"
As we've said before, we're huge advocates for listening to music on vinyl. Not only does it sound great, the format lends itself to listening to full albums and forces us to pay more attention to music than we normally do in this digital age. With that in mind, we recommend this vinyl-only live album from Real Estate (but if you insist on listening only via iPod, we're sure you can find it digitally somewhere on the internet). Consisting mostly of live versions of songs from their first album, this record confirms why Real Estate is one of our favorite new bands and perfect summer beach music.