Annuals | Be He Me
At the time of Be He Me's release, the Annuals had been declared the latest Internet-bred indie rock sensation, hence hype-fueled comparisons to the Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, etc. The actual similarity? Well, it's that us-versus-them, fists held aloft, DIY spastic/drastic thing -- this music is urgent, earnest and cute. The difference? A little less Talking Heads, a little more Pink Floyd, a little less Muppets, a little more Fraggle Rock (no, we're not sure what that means). Comparisons aside, this is another record of delightfully shambolic orchestral indie rock from the fringes. Jon Pareles from the NYTimes wrote about the band's "joyful eccentricity that could make anyone believe the album's closing assurance, "We'll have it all. We ooh, we can." - GK
One Track Recommendation "Father"

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Primus | They Can't All Be Zingers
Maybe they can't all be zingers, but when it comes to the music of Primus, you can bet they are all wacko alt rock ragers. Led by ace of bass Les Claypool, the influential trio has been funking, punking and spelunking for well over two decades. This greatest hits set begins with Primus' earlier, harder stuff and closes with more recent fare, produced when they started buying into the hype surrounding their weirdness. Some nuggets are left off, unfortunately; this collection could have easily spanned two discs. At least you get "John the Fisherman" and "Tommy the Cat" and of course, "Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver" in all it's glory. - JZ

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Cold War Kids | Robbers and Cowards
CWK have been building buzz all year, especially around SF. Finally, an album to listen to, and it's one of those records, you know the more you listen to it, the more you like it. These songs are retro, yet modern, and the songwriting is mature, yet fresh. Robbers & Cowards kicks off with a wicked one-two punch of "We Used to Vacation" and then "Hang Me Up To Dry" - but it's not front loaded, the "Hospital Beds" and "Saint John" are just as catchy, showcasing the emotional lyrical style of Nathan Willett. Even the font and feel of the album cover and booklet exudes authenticity. A buzz band to stick around? We'll see, but this album is a likely candidate for the end of year top picks list. Give it a listen. Repeat. - TK

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The Album Leaf | Into the Blue Again
If for some strange reason you've been listening to raging death metal all day and require the complete and total antithesis to prevent you from killing someone, well we've got an Album Leaf record for you. For his third LP, main man Jimmy LaValle throws some formerly absent vocals onto a few tracks, although for the most part it's business as usual: lithe, languid instrumentals, 72-degree post-rock relaxation music with enough indie smarts to make it more than just the musical equivalent of those videos of fish. How can you not like the track "Always For You"?

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