Goblin Cock Bagged and Boarded (Absolutely Kosher Records)
Metal: The debaucherous, demonic, fist-pumping, parent-scaring glory of it all sometimes makes me want to explode with a "F**k yeah!" Or a high-kick. Or both, which is what happened when I heard Goblin Cock. With the liner notes written in rune, skull and cauldron imagery and song titles like "Kegrah the Dragon Killer," you'd think this is a joke. But I'm almost certain it isn't. The mixture is of the Black Sabbath-era, sludgy desert rock and something very un-metal. And what's that? Oh, the mastermind behind this is Rob Crow of Heavy Vegetable, Thingy, Team Sleep and ... Pinback. High-kick!
The Rosebuds Birds Make Good Neighbors (Merge)
The North Carolina band founded in 2001 and consisting of a rural-living married couple and rotating friends, despite a couple garage rock-sounding duds on their last EP, have written some of my favorite pop songs of the last few years. The new album is so fantastic that if we had an incremental rating system I'd give it four-and-a-half out of five stars. (And so would Ed McMahon).
Guided By Voices Propeller (Scat Records)
I tend to apply blew my mind to things that didn't really blow my mind, but when used to describe what was originally Robert Pollard's hobby, Guided By Voices, and this rerelease of 1992's Propeller (and while we're at it, last year's alleged swan song, Half Smiles of the Decomposed), "blew my mind" is sort of an understatement. Perhaps some will take that as an overstatement, but I can't get over the band's perfect lo-fi four-track recordings that encompass the expansive sounds of psychedelic pop, prog-rock, post-punk and on a more basic level, like the indie-rock era they came from, the Sebadoh, Pavement, Mudhoney-saturated '90s.