The Very Hush Hush Mourir C'est Facile (Sao Bento Music)
As you struggle up through sleep, out of a sad dream you can't remember, you might hear the static-muffled sounds of "Forever," the first track on the debut of The Very Hush Hush. The melodious delirium continues, but the pace increases as drum(s)/machines kick in and distorted vocals urgently begin telling you something just beyond your grasp. Created by two classically trained pianists living in a haunted house, the album is spookily familiar ... a good thing. Put some albums by The Faint and Sigúr Rós in the blender and listen as you fall asleep. It'd sound like this.
Okkervil River Black Sheep Boy (Jagjaguwar)
If you haven't heard infectious Okkervil River yet, you should stop reading this right now and go buy their album. They've been touring with The Decemberists lately, a fact which will hopefully earn them more widespread recognition. Their sound is wistful, melancholic alt.country with dark undercurrents, coupled with lyrics that tell heartbreaking, whimsical and sometimes very creepy stories. Songs build from deceptively simple guitar strumming into epic explosions of emotions and instruments. This, their fourth full length, is their most complex album yet. There is nothing not to love.
The Bacon Brothers White Knuckles (Forosoco Records)
This is the fifth album by actor-cum-musician Kevin Bacon, his brother Michael and four other guys (who must be mad that their names aren't in the band's name). Although the release date is Oct. 25, 2005, it could just as well be Oct. 25, 1984. Many of the whiny yet husky-voiced, over-produced songs could have been on the Footloose soundtrack. There is nothing inventive here. Kevin Bacon says, "We've been chipping away at the fact that most people think we're gonna suck." Keep trying Kev—this album just confirms how much The Bacon Brothers suck.