This is what happens: a review item shows up at Chez Saleski and I live with it for a while. I listen to it in the car, at work, and at home on the stereo and the iPod. At some point, an idea strikes me and I reach for the pad and pencil. Sometimes it's obvious from the first listen that the music needs to be written about. Other albums do nothing for me and are ignored.
This year, a third category has emerged: recordings that really made an impression, yet were left on the table because solid review angles refused to materialize. Very annoying, is what it is.
Well, as Christmas approached, I figured that it was time to liberate these poor things from Saleski's Island of Misfit Musical Toys. Actually, that label is a little unfair — since I couldn't figure out what to do with them, it seems that I am the misfit.
In any event, if you're looking for last minutes gift ideas (and are lucky enough to be anywhere near a decent store), check out my pile of musical misfits.
Talib Kweli - Eardrum
Homogenized commercial radio is genre-deaf when it comes to implementing the bean-counter rules. Because of this, interesting music is filtered out across all genres. Talib Kwelia puts out some great hip-hop that avoids those clichéd elements that make so much of gangsta and krunk so boring. Eardrum features some pretty cool guests too, including KRS-One, Justin Timberlake, and Norah Jones.
Johnathan Rice - Further North
At first, I thought Rice was too close to Jacob Dylan in songwriting approach. "We're All Stuck Out In The Desert" does sound a little like The Wallflowers. Wrong! Subsequent listens revealed some great songwriting that finds the intersection between rock, folk and alt.country. Really great stuff.