The short version:
Brazilian Girls—Talk to la Bomb: 6/10
Delerium—Nuages du Monde: 8/10
Amon Tobin—Foley Room: 8/10
Air—Pocket Symphony: 9/10
Thanks to all of the painting, packing, and so forth, I've had plenty of time to explore some new CDs, several more worthwhile purchases. In fact, these four are pretty unusual in that I like every track on all four CDs enough to add it to my main playlist.
First is the sophomore Brazilian Girls CD, Talk to la Bomb. I really liked the first Brazilian Girls CD; it was an unexpected gem oozing with cool. Unfortunately, some of the magic is lost here. None of the best songs here—Jique, Last Call, and Sexy Asshole—are as great as the best songs from their previous album, such as Homme, Corner Store, and Long. It's a decent CD, but not great. Fans of the previous Brazilian Girls album should still check it out, but you might be disappointed. I think that the All Music Guide review is right on the money—it sounds like a collection of B-sides from the first album.
Next up is Nuages du Monde (Clouds of the World) by one of my favorites, Delerium. This is a great CD, but their last album was an absolutely phenomenal 10/10, so it's tough to properly set expectations. There are plenty of great tracks on this disc, even though it just doesn't match Chimera in quality. My favorites here are Lost and Found (featuring Jaël), Tectonic Shift, and Lumenis (featuring Isabel Bayrakdarian of Lord of the Rings fame), all great. Delerium does the weird "world music plus pop plus electronica" genre best, and it's definitely worth picking this one up.
After that was Amon Tobin's latest, Foley Room. I've been waiting for this one for a while, and it's another good one. But, you should be seeing a theme here—I hold Amon Tobin to incredibly high standards, and this just isn't as great as his previous work. This disc contains some of Amon Tobin's weirdest, most "noisy" tracks, in definite contrast with his last album Chaos Theory, which was much more cinematic and melodic. That's not a fault, but overall the album just isn't as fun to listen to as Chaos Theory or his older stuff. But, as I said, it's still good, and it's worth checking out keepers such as Always, Bloodstone (featuring the Kronos Quartet), and Esther's.
Finally, I've saved the best for last. I've been wanting to check out the French band Air for a long time now, and I finally got around to ordering their most famous CD, Moon Safari, from which I'd already heard a few tracks, and Pocket Symphony, their latest CD. I'll be buying more soon—this is an excellent album. I'd still classify it as electronic, especially given their other work, but it's still very natural and warm-sounding, with lots of real instruments and sounds. This disc sounds a lot like Zero 7, even if my favorites don't quite show it—Space Maker (:30 sample), Once upon a Time (:30 sample), and Napalm Love (:30 sample). Definitely worth a listen.
The first single from the upcoming Linkin Park album is out, What I've Done. It's a new, softer, even more pop-friendly Linkin Park. (The screaming has been replaced with regular yelling.) That should be fun. (May 15)