11. The Dead Weather – Sea Of Cowards
How much music is floating around Jack White’s head? Sea of Cowards is the second album in two years by his third band. While The Dead Weather’s first album was an intriguing attempt at rock-blues, this one comes alive with its 70’s-style production. It’s dirty blues throughout with lots of echo, reverb and a female singer (Alison Mosshart of The Kills) doing her best Grace Slick. Sea of Cowards is like tuning into the classic rock station broadcasting out of White’s mind.
Favorite songs: “Hustle and Cuss,” “I’m Mad,” “Old Mary”
(See official video for “Die By The Drop” here.)
10. David Byrne & Fatboy Slim – Here Lies Love
A 22-track song cycle about the life of Imelda Marcos sung by the majority of highly respected female vocalists as written by David Byrne? Yes, please. Byrne’s past experience with world beats really pays off here, and with Fatboy Slim co-writing most of the songs, he has found the perfect collaborator. Here Lies Love may be a little long but there is plenty of gorgeous melodies and angelic voice work to keep any unitary presidential constitutional republic happy.
Favorite songs: “Here Lies Love” with Florence Welsh (yes, THAT Florence), “Ladies in Blue” with Theresa Andersson, “Men Will Do Anything” with Alice Russell, “Why Don’t You Love Me?” with Cyndi Lauper & Tori Amos
9. Sleigh Bells – Treats
Sleigh Bells made a huge splash last year at several music festivals and with music connoisseurs. One of those music lovers sent me a few demo tracks. They were strange. It was like listening to punk cheerleaders. High-school-chant melodies back with fuzzed out guitars and over-modulated beats. They were awesomely intense and their debut doesn’t disappoint. Easily the most experimental of the albums on this list, Treats is just that: little tidbits for the discerning palette.
Favorite songs: “Tell ‘Em,” “Riot Rhythm,” “Infinity Guitars,” “Run The Heart”