I usually refer to this column as an exercise in soul death because I rarely find anything in the singles or albums chart I like and it's hard to make time to talk about music that should be prosecuted for aggravating assault but I do it as a service to you. My humble servitude and long suffering is being rewarded this week because not one but two of the albums on this week's charts are deserving of their lofty perch atop the iTunes Music Store Charts.
Let us begin with the glorious High Violet from our good friends The National. I steadfastly refuse to proclaim an album the best of the year in May but High Violet makes it awfully tempting. I've been listening to it for several weeks now and heard it performed in its entirety in Knoxville at the Big Ears Festival. High Violet is an elegant record of depth and sophistication, beautifully capturing and evoking mood, time, and place. Ignore the buzz; this record is more important than the hype surrounding it.
Following in the footsteps of High Violet is Sea of Cowards, the second album from Jack White's The Dead Weather. Horehound, their first, didn't move me. I listened to it once, maybe twice and couldn't find a single reason to come back to it. I nearly didn't bother with Cowards because of that but gave White the benefit of the doubt and I'm glad I did. The Dead Weather is still Jack's third most interesting band but he has a stronger presence this time out and the album is all the better for it. I'll always be more interested in The White Stripes and Raconteurs but The Dead Weather has my attention.
One final note before I turn the charts over to you: also in the Top 10 Albums is an EP from Keane. If you'd like to know more about it, check out BC Editor Donald Gibson's interview with Keane frontman Tom Chaplin.