So I think I'm going to do this once a month or so, just to remind myself about what I was liking a few weeks ago and how it compares to what I'm liking now...also I'd love to hear what everyone else is into early on in 2012, if there's anyone out there anymore. Anyway, here are my favorite records through January.
Shearwater, Animal Joy (Sub Pop)...way out in front, more visceral than you'd imagine Shearwater could be, but also incredibly fragile, spiritual, delicate. I've got a PopMatters feature in the works on this (by which I mean, it's all done and god knows when they'll decide to run it...June would be about par for the course).
Sharon Van Etten, Tramp, (Jagjaguwar)...wrote about this one for Dusted, an almost ideal consolidation of her beautifully vulnerable, spare debut and her lusher, guttier Epic.
Damien Jurado, Maraqopa, (Secretly Canadian)...Jurado's second collaboration with producer Richard Smith is warmer and more immediate than Saint Bartlett, marginally more rocking, but still has a core of unknowability and mystery...the songs sort of glow in the dark. (I've got a slightly more coherent review in the pipe at Dusted on this.)
The Twilight Sad, No One Can Ever Know (Fat Cat)...Just finished my review of this one, and kind of too exhausted to try to find another way to say that this one is chillier, dryer, more rhythmically intense than previous outings, but with a really intriguing overlay of synthesizers.
Mark Lanegan Band, Blues Funeral (4AD)...I've barely started on this, but what can you say...that voice...chills. (also, did you ever think you'd hear gated snare on a Lanegan record? Me neither.)