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(I have some new picks to add, and will do so shortly.)
I guess I am currently a sucker for reasonably poetic lyrics set to pop style melodies. Challengers by the New Pornographers is a lovely album, full of plaintive vocals and catchy hooks. I only wish I could sing like Niko Case. For the record, I am less enamored with other albums by The New Pornographers.

I stumbled across Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus (2005) by Cloud Cult after hearing them do a Seattle studio version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Pretty introverted lyrics, lots of mixed in electric and mechanical and digital sound, which is hard to sing by oneself in the bathtub. For a chilling and amusing example of how sound can be digitally edited to create a virtual voice, listen to Prez George saying things I don’t believe Prez George has ever said, in “State of the Union” on Aurora Borealis.

Duke Ellington’s recently released Piano in the Foreground is a sampling of the Duke’s brilliant musical reach. He fluidly blends all manner of riffs and traditions, including stride piano, minimalist chords, and the blues, to name a few. In one piece his piano is orchestral, in the next pure and private solo keyboard. What a master.