· Ryan Adams Heartbreaker
Ryan Adams is my guy. Just ask anyone I've made a mix for in the last five years. In my opinion, Heartbreaker is a perfect album — honest, heart-wrenching songs that I will never be sick of.
· The Shins Oh, Inverted World
This is my favorite "Indie Rock" album in recent memory. Beautiful, sunny, reverb-y songs that will stick in your head for days. If you want just a taste, the Garden State soundtrack includes two of the best songs from the album ("Caring is Creepy" and "New Slang"). Natalie Portman says that "New Slang" will change your life. I agree with Natalie Portman.
· The Newbees Songs from a dilapidated apartment
Jeff, Misty, Chris and Tim are among the nicest, most talented musicians in the area. They write truly infectious Pop songs with a wonderful sense of humor — plus, Misty plays a mean cowbell.
· Iron & Wine The Creek Drank the Cradle
This album dominates my iTunes Top 25 Most Played Smartlist. As long as I'm admitting to being a geek, here are the keywords I entered into the comment field: lo-fi, backporch, quiet, sincere and somber. If you are looking for a local with a similar style, I suggest you check out For Algernon (Jason Wells). And no, I'm not just saying that because he plays keys for the Minni-Thins.
· Old 97's Too Far To Care
I finally caught these guys live at the Southgate House a couple of months ago, after five-plus years of heavy listening. They blew me away, far exceeding my lofty expectations. Too Far to Care, which contains the classic tracks "Timebomb" and "Barrier Reef," is a great introduction to an amazing AltCountry/Pop band.
THE MINNI-THINS (minnithins.com) play the BRINK:2005 festival at the Southgate House on Friday and at The Comet on Saturday with Montgomery Greene.