First and foremost, the Brand New demos that leaked near the end of last month are truly excellent. I know I didn't elaborate much in my initial post (complete text: "Leaked Brand New demos = holy shit."), but that initial opinion has not faded after 30+ listens. Obviously, a handful of unnamed demos doesn't have the same deliberate order as an album, but it's so much better than nothing at all. Almost three years have passed since Deja Entendu, and it's just great to hear something new from one of my favorite bands. The current rumor is that these tracks are the ones that didn't make the upcoming album... if that's true, we're in for something truly amazing later this year.
My opinion of the Matchbook Romance album changed quite a bit from my initial impression. While the lyrics aren't earth-shattering, they are improved over the band's previous work. More importantly, the instrumentation is on a totally different level than Stories and Alibis. Matchbook Romance are well on their way to becoming the emo version of Muse. Voices is my pick for the second great album of the year.
Which leads to my pick for the third great album of the year: the self-titled debut by Be Your Own PET. Set to release at the end of March, the disc is a manic collection of fifteen tracks about sex, kittens, and adventuring. Wait, what? Imagine the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with an eighteen-year-old blonde for a singer, and you've got the idea. The songs are fast, rough, and sexy as hell. I can't get enough of it.
I bought the Arctic Monkeys album, which I enjoy quite a bit. I doubt it'll end up being one of my favorite albums of the year, but it's definitely something that'll get some decent play. I also decided to pick up the Yellowcard album. I originally had no plans to purchase it, but I figured it was worth my $9.99. It'll get enough play to justify that price, though I certainly wouldn't have bought it for full price.
Thanks to my old buddy Parky, I've been listening to a couple of excellent live sets from David Ford, former singer of Easyworld. I've got the UK release of his album, which I ordered in early January. He just announced plans to release it here next month, so I'm going to treat it as a 2006 release, even though the UK one came out late last year. I didn't hear it until this year, so it will be in consideration for my various lists.
I found three of Lupe Fiasco's mixtapes the other day, and have since been listening to those quite a bit. Lupe impressed me mightily on Kanye West's "Touch the Sky," so these mixtapes are only serving to further build up the hype. His album is set to release later this spring. Also, I've been digging the leaked promotional tracks from Gnarls Barkley, a collaboration between DJ Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo Green. Single "Crazy" is irresistible... you'll hear it soon, I promise. Their album drops in early May.
I'm dying for the new Taking Back Sunday album to leak. The single is more of the same, but I'm not complaining. A clip of another track, "Spin," has me even more excited, so I've been prowling the net looking for a leak to no avail. C'mon! Three new Saves the Day tracks leaked, and while they're better than anything off of In Reverie, they don't quite match the quality of their first three albums. Still, I'm looking forward to the finished product.
I've got the new October Fall and Secret Machines discs in transit. Impressions on those another time, perhaps.