10. Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple
Solid second record from MC/vocalist Cee-Lo and DJ Danger Mouse. I love the way this group blends beats and songwriting. Cee-Lo's vocals get stronger as well.
dig: "Blind Mary", "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?"
9. Del The Funky Homosapien The Eleventh Hour
Not much to say about this one, just a good hip-hop record from legendary Oakland underground MC Del. Best rap record of the year.
dig: "Raw Sewage", "Situations"
8. Jenny Scheinman Crossing The Field, Jenny Scheinman
I'm cheating with this one because while Scheinman simultaneously released both records they are quite different from each other. 'Crossing ...' is the violinist's collection of original compositions featuring a fantastic band and string arrangements. She is one of the most unique composers and soloists in jazz and it shows with this record. At the other end of the spectrum, her eponymous release features not her violin but her voice. It is a collection of Americana featuring traditional folk tunes, songs by Lucinda Williams and Tom Waits among others, and originals. Her voice recalls Carly Simon and while not the most gifted singer around the honesty in her voice lends itself well to these songs.
dig: Crossing The Field "I Heart Eye Patch", "That's Delight"
Jenny Scheinman"I Was Young When I Left Home", "King of Hearts"
7. Pat Metheney Day Trip, Tokyo Day Trip EP
I've been waiting for this supergroup of Metheny, Christian McBride, and Antonio Sanchez to record for a couple of years now and they've finally delivered. Metheny has a very specific and unique composing style and the players augment his tunes wonderfully; great solos, great group interaction. The Live EP is even more dynamic than the LP.
dig: Day Trip "Calvin's Keys", "Let's Move"
Tokyo Day Trip "Back Arm and Blackcharge"
6. She & Him Volume 1
Most of us cringe when we hear about actresses turning to singing but Zooey Deschanel did it splendidly. She sings (reminding me of Neko Case at times) and wrote all of the songs but country/folk producer M. Ward really shines throughout the record. Its a blend of 60's pop, country tunes, and melodic folk ... a really fun album that landed them at #1 on Paste's year-end list. I can't wait for Volume 2.
dig: "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?", "I Was Made for You"
The murder rate peaks when the temperature does.
4 weeks ago