Staff Picks: That’s What She Said

Yippee! We got some more kick-butt albums for you to try out. But you don’t have to take my word for it. These picks are compliments of Alyssa, and she sells each one, hard. (Hard enough to consider a career as a car salesman?…you be the judge.)

Pickin’ Up The Pieces – Fitz and The Tantrums
First, don’t hate – forgive them for the fact that their song was used on a Desperate Housewives promo. Second, be warned – this album is addicting. Don’t look for a deeper meaning in the lyrics (aside from some purposeful angst over unrequited love and heartbreak), but definitely look for a really good time. Your calves will hurt from tapping your toes and before you know it, your palms will too, because try as you may, you won’t be able to suppress the urge to drum them on whatever surface is nearest: desk, steering wheel, thighs. Solid album with plenty of handclaps and tambourine.

Mariachi El Bronx (II) – Mariachi El Bronx
Everything changes when you realize that these guys are a punk band (The Bronx) that moonlights as a mariachi band. (Seriously.) Even if you’re lukewarm (or downright frozen) about mariachi music, give this a whirl. Some parts of the album remind me of Los Lobos’ earlier music (à la Kiko), and that’s no crime. Although, Mariachi El Bronx tends to have more variety genre-wise as they move quite fluently from straight-up norteno to bolero to acoustic ballads. The entire album is solid and my initial hesitation at the word “mariachi” melted away as each track passed. Folks, I’m into it. Quite possibly my most favorite find of the year so far.

Road to Ensenada – Lyle Lovett
Is it because I’ve seen this guy in concert twice within three weeks and that he puts on an incredible live show? Maybe. But probably it’s more so that Lyle Lovett knows what the hell time it is. If I had a better music vocabulary, I would describe how incredible of a songwriter he is and what exactly he does with his guitar and how the simplicity of the drums, his voice and a guitar make you want to cry, laugh and dance all in one fell swoop. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, stop wasting time and just listen to this album.

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