Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now: Lydia Simmons

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Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now

Great new records chosen by Lydia Simmons, founder and editor of Sunset in the Rearview.

Every week, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: Lydia Simmons, founder and editor of Sunset in the Rearview, a hip-hop and indie-rock blog that was voted Best Music Blog of 2010 in a poll of 200 music bloggers.

1. James Vincent McMorrow, Early in the Morning

Whether I'm in the best or worst of moods, Early in the Morning always seems to fit perfectly. My ears melt when I hear his whispery voice; my heart melts when I digest the lyrics. Pathetic, but true. He swept me off my feet with this album.

Listen: "We Don't Eat"



2. Perfume Genius, Learning

This was my favorite album of 2010. Singer Mike Hadreas' voice is filled with gut-wrenching emotion, in part because the powerful songs on this album are all based on true stories from his life.

Listen: "Mr. Peterson"



3. Alexander, Alexander

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have claimed a pretty secure spot as one of my favorite groups of all time. When I heard that lead singer and performer extraordinaire, Alex Ebert, had released a solo album, I jumped to buy it. I'm still playing this record on repeat. The song included here, "A Million Years," reminds me a bit of Paul Simon, and it takes a lot for me to compare somebody to the legend that is Paul Simon. 

Listen: "A Million Years"



4. K'Naan, Troubador

A fallback album that I can't ever seem to separate myself from. You know, I used to think I wasn't a music snob, but these days I'm pretty sure I'm among the worst of them. The second K'Naan's "Waving Flag" gained popularity among the masses (and I mean international masses — it was the theme song for the World Cup!), instead of being happy for his success, I felt bitter about everybody else discovering my secret obsession. Terribly selfish, I know. I'm interested in his socially conscious subject matter, and of course it never hurts that the music itself is amazing.

Listen: "Take A Minute"



5. Sufjan Stevens, Illinois

You've already listened to it, I know, but listen to it again. Now, if you're not one for bold statements, cover your eyes. You still there? Okay, cool. Sufjan Stevens might be the greatest experimental musician of our day. Boom. I said it, and I'm ready to defend it. This album, though not his latest, is one I return to time and again if I'm in need of creative inspiration, a boost of happiness, a burst of sadness, or an incredible wave of triumph. If you can't tell, I'm a sucker for storytelling that can rattle your bones. Sufjan just might be sitting atop the throne of that category. He covered all the emotional bases, and six years after the album's release date, it's still on constant rotation for me. 

Listen: "Chicago"