Dierks Bentley, “Up on the Ridge.” Del McCoury singing high tenor on U2's “Pride (in the Name of Love)” backed by the Punch Brothers imitating Edge's delay effect on acoustic instruments. 'Nuff said.
Jonsi, “Go.” The colorful, wondrous innocence of childhood wrapped in a dozen layers of smart orchestration.
Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin More, “Dear Companion.” A warm, folk-crooning duet album, inside a luscious Yim Yames acoustic symphony.
Slow Club, “Yeah So.” Witty folk-rock duo from Sheffield, England, proving that pop songs sound catchier (and cuter) with a British accent.
Tim O'Brien, “Chicken & Egg.” Fiddler's Green with more rasp and dirt. Tim's voice digs deeper and higher than ever.
Van Dyke Parks, “Song Cycle.” Just as hip, challenging and lovable today as 1968.
Punch Brothers, “Antifogmatic.” Larger, friendlier, poppier entry points than their last one, but still enthralling in its sophistication.
Tallest Man on Earth, “The Wild Hunt.” A lovely and controlled recklessness to this Swedish take on early Dylan.
Josh Ritter, “So Runs the World Away.” Continuing to carve his own lyrical landscape, Josh sounds smarter, bigger, and much more than a singer-songwriter.
The National, “High Violet.” Moody, melodic, and utterly addicting. I'd be lying if I said I've listened to anything half as much in the past month. Well, except maybe Mumford & Sons...