Spoon Gimme Fiction (Merge Records )
Dear Spoon, I fell in love with you when I heard 2000's Girls Can Tell, but lost the feeling with Kill The Moonlight. It's not that it was a bad album; it just wasn't the same Spoon that I thought I knew. Now that you've put out Gimme Fiction, with its pulsating and sometimes explosive percussion, cleverly orchestrated guitars and exquisite lyricism, I love you more than ever.
Doves Some Cities (Capitol)
On the third release from this British trio, the lucky listener is taken on a tour of some rainy United Kingdom countyside and into industrial Manchester [Doves' hometown]. With incredible falls and lifts in volume and tempo, not to mention the brilliant composition, this album is a sort of conceptual/emotional excursion. Innately British (I'm thinking The Verve and Slowdive, but more optimistic), Some Cities, is ethereal, lush, big, and dare I say, one of the best rock releases of the year.
Engelbert Humperdinck Let There Be Love (Hip-O)
Hey playboy, want to do a fun experiment when you're having a nice romantic evening at home with your lady friend? Throw Engelbert Humperdinck's new album, Let There Be Love, onto the turntable (or into the CD player). If your lady has a well-honed sense of humor (or questionable taste), I hypothesize that you will get lucky. Here "the king of romance" gives us 14 new Vegas-style recordings, originals as well as covers such as "Just The Two Of Us," and "Stand By Me." File this under "so bad it's awesome."