November and December are usually reserved for movie talk, because this is when every studio pushes their best films just in time for the Academy Awards.
While this is certainly true in 2008 (think "Slumdog Millionaire," "Changeling," "Milk," "Frost/Nixon," "Gran Torino"), I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about all the great music that has emerged recently. I already covered Paul McCartney's latest offering in my last post, but here's some other music you should check out, too:
"Welcome to Mali," by Amadou & Mariam: The best album of the year according to critics. If you're going to give anything outside of your comfort zone a chance this year, please let it be this. Written by an African husband and wife duo who met at a school for the blind, it's simply sensational. Bluesy guitars, mesmerizing voices, great dance beats, powerful crescendos and a uniqueness that raises it above everything else in 2008. Click here for their song "Ce n'est pas bon."
"Day & Age" by The Killers: I am an unabashed Killers fan. But even critics agree their latest outing, the band's third LP, is their best album yet. Good old-fashioned rock and roll, with a dash of electronica and a pinch of experimentalism. Singer/songwriter Brandow Flowers' is still as sentimental as ever -- he was definitely a Bruce Springsteen fan -- but I think it's incredibly endearing: No band enjoys playing music more than The Killers. Click here for their new song "This is Your Life."
"Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House 1968" by Neil Young: Released as part of the "Archive Series" of rare recordings from the early days of Young's career, this album features songs from two gigs in Ann Arbor, Mich., just before the release of his debut solo album. Very interesting CD. Showcases a goofy, tentative, insightful storyteller who seems both relieved and scared to be away from his band, Buffalo Springfield. Great snapshot of a legend in transition. Click here for the song "Sugar Mountain."
"We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed" by Los Campesinos!: Messy, catchy, beautiful prog-pop. The exclamation point at the end of the band's name says it all. This second LP from the Welsh indie-rockers is full of energy, with so many guitars, violins, glockenspiels and time signatures, you can't yawn or you'll miss something. Click here for the title track "We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed."