A few words about what does and doesn’t get reviewed on this blog. If you’re going to regularly review music, there’s nothing more exciting than loving an album. Therefore, any record that, by my own highly subjective standards, deserves an A- or better will get reviewed. So will a strong B+. And since the second most exciting thing about reviewing music is hating something, you’ll get some outright pans from time to time too. Of course, most albums aren’t deserving of love or hate, and these in-betweens, for the most part, won’t get reviewed here. There are exceptions, of course; formerly great or currently overrated artists doing B- work are often worth the blog inches. But one more Brooklyn band named after an animal whose album I’d give a B? You’ve got better things to read. The same goes for C-grade music I would roll my eyes at but that does not actively offend me. In short: if something doesn’t elicit a strong response in me, I won’t review it. Still, lots of music that doesn’t grab me might grab you. Likewise, just because I don’t totally hate something doesn’t mean I won’t try to steer you away from it. To that end, I’m putting together this list, as I will periodically, of albums I think might be worth your time (Consider), and others I’m quite sure are not (Avoid). They are in descending order of my own affection/admiration for them, and the albums in the Consider column include tracks worth previewing, though if you need to preview Adele you probably haven’t walked into a Starbucks this year.
Drive-By Truckers: Go-Go Boots (“Ray’s Automatic Weapon,” “Used To Be a Cop,” “The Thanksgiving Filter”)
Steve Earle: I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive (“The Gulf of Mexico,” “Meet Me in the Alleyway”)
Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues
New York Dolls: Dancing Backward in High Heels
Anna Calvi: Anna Calvi
Wild Beasts: Smother