from Department of Eagles' Archive 2003-2006
Liner notes: Ethereal grace and toe-tapping energy intertwine on this anxious rocker.
Behind the music: NYU roommates Daniel Rossen and Fred Nicolaus launched their musical partnership in the early '00s. Though Rossen later joined the similar-sounding (and better-known) Grizzly Bear, they've continued to collaborate.
Check it out if you like: Wistful deceased folkies Elliott Smith and Nick Drake, Brian Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks, and similar head-in-the-clouds types.
from the Love Language's Libraries
Liner notes: "Our hearts were beating like hummingbirds that night," sighs Stuart McLamb on this epic Morrissey-meets-Phil-Spector ballad.
Behind the music: North Carolina native McLamb launched the Love Language as a one-man studio project in the wake of romantic desperation and alcoholic excess. With its swooning melodies and soaring arrangements, this sophomore album is more polished than his debut, but just as charming.
Check it out if you like: Stylish rock-and-roll crooners in the tradition of Roy Orbison and Bryan Ferry.
"18 Hours (Of Love)"
from K-X-P's K-X-P
Liner notes: A raucous drums-bass-synthesizer trio from Helsinki, K-X-P stages a thrilling collision of dance, trance, and rockabilly on the most accessible track from its intriguing debut.
Behind the music: Former leader of the bands Op:L Bastards and the Lefthanded, Timo Kaukolampi has covered the rent by collaborating with Norwegian disco chanteuse Annie.
Check it out if you like: LCD Soundsystem, Suicide, Kraftwerk, and other synth junkies who refuse to follow the rules.
"Your Night Is Wide Open"
from Tracy Bonham's Masts of Manhatta
ENGINE ROOM RECORDINGS
Liner notes: Bonham blends her elegant violin and soothing voice on this breathtaking love song, declaring, "'til we are daisies I am yours for good."
Behind the music: Bonham made a mainstream splash with her 1996 album The Burdens of Being Upright and hit single "Mother Mother" but has charted an unpredictable path since, playing with everyone from Aerosmith to the Eels to the Blue Man Group.
Check it out if you like: Women like Shawn Colvin and Sheryl Crow, who balance the confessional and the commercial.