So this week we’ll do our Mid-Year review fer ya; but before we get there, here are five long-players that you’ll play for a long time:

My Morning Jacket – “Evil Urges”: Still their latest full-length release, “Evil Urges” is (so far) the apex of Jim James’ alt-country effort. But without the country touches. Plain and simple, it’s rock, pure rock, and destined to be a classic years from now.

The Flaming Lips – “The Soft Bulletin”: Already considered a classic by any self-respecting indie mag, the trio’s taken beautiful orchestration and pop to such heights that it’s… well, dizzying. You’ll find gorgeous textures, emotional depth, and “What Is the Light,” which is beautiful for its sheer simplicity. It took us a few spins to really get it, but each spin afterward only gets better.

TV On the Radio – “Dear Science”: We never really “loved” TVotR until “Dear Science” came out. In fact, we held something of a grudge ever since a live concert (one jerk fan, one broken guitar string). But this album make us take it back and love them again, and this is why: pure blissful disco-dance happiness. It’s a great addition to your low-range collection, those albums you put on in your tricked-out Impala, and it’s still got enough depth and color for you to put it on your regular stereo. Excellent lyrics, driving beats, and sheer inventiveness make this recent release stand out.

Wilco – “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”: Every time we write up a review we try to reference this gem. But there’s a good reason: Jeff Tweedy is in top form here (despite what everyone says about his current releases), and as poignant as he’s likely to ever be. The lyrics here are so shattering and unique, that we could write an essay about them; but of course, it always comes down to the music. Distortion and an untuned toy piano make this a little harder to get into, but again, we’ve been playing this one for almost 8-9 years.

Iron & Wine – “The Creek Drank the Cradle”: Sam Beam’s first release is still our favorite. That’s not to say “Our Endless Numbered Days” or “The Shepherd’s Dog” are lax, uninventive, or boring; our preference is still for those bare-bones, man-and-guitar folk that made him the go-to indie poet. And as much as we like Conor Oberst, we still feel “Creek Drank the Cradle” accomplishes all that without really trying. It’s simple, mature, understated, and 110% truthful; the only drawback is that it’s deceptively easy to skip over. So just don’t.

I know, we’re tingling with excitement, too; see you later this week,

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