1. Hail Mary Mallon – Bestiary
This is the second collaboration album from the two-man poet team of Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic. Unlike the more popular collaborative rap record this year, RTJ2, this record’s beats are merely background tempo markers that leave room for Aesop’s booming voice and Sonic’s clever retorts.
Standout Track: “Jonathan”
2. Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy
It’s been 8 years since Rice’s last LP, and 12 years since his debut/magnum opus O. Releasing an album on the backside of a crazy flurry of folk/singer-songwriter releases helmed by Mumford and Sons and the Once Broadway production reminds the listener of what kind of simplicity can be reached when artists spend less time shouting chorus and more time arranging songs. Like his other records, this once is beautiful and intricate without being showy.
Standout Track: “I Don’t Want to Change You”
3. Big K.R.I.T. – Cadallactica
Southern Rapper (with emphasis on Southern) Big K.R.I.T has been pumping out trunk-bumping southern rap for a few years now and his second official LP does nothing to dissuade his fans from looking for another southern king. K.R.I.T does excel at storytelling and paints clear pictures of his narratives and the beats ooze southern rap front-to-back. Plus, any LP that has E-40 on a track is instantly worthy of a listen.
Standout Track: “Saturdays = Celebration”
4. Exit Verse – Exit Verse
I know next to nothing about Exit Verse; It seems to be a band of folks who were formerly in other bands, none of with which I am familiar. The garage rock group is filled with clear guitar chord progressions and a mix that sounds endearingly low in production value. It is simple and sweet and occasionally the tunes get catchy.
Standout Track: “Pull Out the Nails”
Music Video of the Month: