The Antlers
Formerly a solo project, the trio The Antlers, fronted by Peter Silberman released Hospice in 2009. Getting through Hospice isn’t an easy task as almost every song deals with being shuffled off this mortal coil in one way or another. If you can get through the heavy subject matter though, you’ll find fantastic resolute songs with the right amount of whispery vocals and crashing instrumentals that make confessional song writing seem like a new thing again.

The xx
If the name doesn’t say it already, the first time you hear the sweet harmonies of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sun you’ll realize that The xx is lovers rock. Whether or not they’re actually lovers I’m not sure, but their self titled release (falling into my new favorite genre name: dream pop) is nothing short of amazing. It has the feeling of listening in on a couple in private, put to crawling bass line and poignant guitars. Their first single “Crystalized” is where your mouse should be heading towards.

DJ Quik and Kurupt
Quik and Kurupt are two So Cal artists who put out probably the second best hip hop album of 2009 behind the fantastic new Raekwon album. The new release BlaQKout could probably be described as party music, but it’s more subtle than the club bangers that term brings to mind. Quik is unassuming with the microphone. You get the sense you’re listening to two dudes hanging out, not condescending to you. Give a listen to “Hey Playa! (Moroccan Blues)” cause it’s the catchiest song I’ve heard probably since Wale dropped “Chillin.”