5. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords (April 21)
These two won Album of the Year, Best Group, and Best Breakthrough Band in their home country New Zealand's Music Awards. Their style has been classified as "Folk Parody Duo" as it is mostly written and performed by only two guys, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie. I'd say the album is great anyway, but you would really love it if you also saw their HBO series.
4. Weezer - The Red Album (June 3)
This is different than their other albums in the sense that Rivers doesn't do all the songwriting and there's lead vocals from all of the band members. Brian Bell wrote and sang "Thought I Knew", Scott Shriner co-wrote and sang "Cold Dark World" and Pat Wilson wrote and sang "Automatic". If you are a hardcore blue-album Weezer fan I'd say you won't really like this change, but I love it. As usual the album ends with a bang, my favorite "The Angel and the One".
3. The Roots - Rising Down (April 29)
A lot of the repeat appearances from Game Theory like Malik B. and Dice Raw, and new emcees like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Styles P and Saigon. ?uestlove called this album their "most incendiary, political album of our career to date". They also use more keyboards and synthesizers, giving it a more electric feel. Favorites are "Rising Down" and "The Show".
2. Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak (Nov 24)
Electro tracks with tribal drums. He uses the 808 on every track. If you're looking for regular old Kanye, you're in for a surprise. But if you're looking for some real, broken, cold shit then this is for you. I mean you can feel his pain. I'd say "Welcome to Heartbreak" and "Heartless" are the best, but everyone seems to relate to different tracks. And they definitely get stuck in your head.
1. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (Jan 29)
The band is influenced by both African popular music and Western classical music, describing their genre of music as "Upper West Side Soweto". Bassist Chris Baio said "on some level there’s some punk, there’s some Afro-pop, some classical, some new wave." I don't know what that means, but it makes for some great indie rock. The guys met while attending Columbia University and then self-produced their first album after graduation while working full-time jobs. My favorites are "M79" and "A-Punk".