Here are a few albums I've been pretty excited about lately.
José González- In Our Nature
I came across José González via a random Youtube video. He's an Argentine-born Swedish artist who I would describe as a 21st Century Nick Drake. In Our Nature is the 2007 follow-up to his 2003 debut, Veneer (which I have not yet listened to), and is composed almost exclusively of him singing and playing classical guitar. It is a bit somber in mood (as description I typically prefer rather than avoid), but it is brightened up by a slight Latin flair. Check out one of his songs from the album, "In Our Nature," below.
Alabama Shakes- Boys & Girls
The Alabama Shakes have been getting a lot of press lately. They've been making the late night talk show rounds and were even featured in the latest issue of Garden & Gun. They have been all over Twitter and almost all of the shows on their current tour are sold out. It's all for good reason, however. The band is from Athens, Alabama, which isn't typically considered to be a hotbed of music. However, their music has a throwback sound, and is a combination of blues, gospel, and Southern rock. It's great music for the spring and upcoming summer, and is great for driving down the road with the windows down. Right now you can get the MP3 album for only $5 on Amazon.com. Check out an in-studio version of the first song on the album, "Hold On," below. If you can't get into this song, well, I have no other advice for you.
M. Ward- A Wasteland Companion
I'll admit, I haven't listened to this album yet, though I am downloading it (legally) as I type. However, M. Ward is one of my favorite artists and I've been excited about this album for a while. It's Ward's first album since 2009's Hold Time, which I loved. If you're not familiar with M. Ward, just know that he his the "Him" part of Zooey Deschanel's She & Him albums. M. Ward's music has an interesting quality in that while it has evolved over the past thirteen years, it all has a similar, and fairly timeless, sound. From what I heard of the album so far, A Wasteland Companion is no exception. Ward is an excellent songwriter and even better guitar player. If you like good music, chances are you like this album. And like the Alabama Shakes' album, it's only $5 on Amazon.com right now. Check out the video for "The First Time I Ran Away," from the new album, below.