WU LYF, "Go Tell Fire to the Mountain"
This may be a new UK band that has the press over there going crazy, but don't let that deter you. Here's what you need to know: They make tight anthemic '90s-style indie-rock and have an incomprehensible singer. Their album was recorded in an abandoned church. They're from Manchester and they're probably a little drunk. Their name stands for World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation. You'll like it.
araabMUZIK, "Electronic Dream"
I've pretty much played my Rick Ross and Kanye West albums to death, so my need for new grandiose thug beats was getting pretty serious. Then araabMUZIK came to the rescue with an all instrumental hip-hop album full of trance and dance music samples juxtaposed against slow and crisp drum-machine beats. It may seem like an unusual combination, but as tracks like Justin Timberlake's "My Love" have shown us, the two go together beautifully (and sound better than actual trance music, in my opinion). This is music to drive slow to, to roll down your windows and nod along to, and to feel like you're driving a Maybach instead of a Prius.
Thurston Moore, "Demolished Thoughts"
If you live in New York and are under 55, this is a Sonic Youth-related album and your city citizenship requires you to purchase it, no questions asked. For everyone else, this is another great solo album from one of the most important musicians of the past 30 years. It has been billed as an acoustic album, and while Thurston stays away from amplified noise on this release, the sound comes closer to a slightly more restrained and tuneful SY album than an actual folk record. The songs are fantastic and the arrangements suit them (the producer is some guy named Beck Hansen; he has a promising career in front of him). As on his last album, violinist Samara Lubelski really stands out. Her clear violin tone is the perfect counterpoint to Thurston's weary voice.