Five Albums You Should Be Listening to Right Now: Nerve Edition

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Five Albums You Should Be Listening to Right Now: Nerve Edition

Ever wondered what the Nerve office sounds like? Other than the screaming, that is.

The Nerve office is home to two bass players, several guitarists, a former piano child-prodigy, and a host of other assorted music nerds. So this week, we conspired to assemble our first-ever in-house Five Albums — it’s populated entirely with picks from our devoted staff. Enjoy this little glimpse into our office jukebox.

1. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, Scandalous (2011)

With the opening horn line of “Ballad of Jimmy Tanks,” Scandalous announces Black Joe Lewis’ intent to compromise the structural integrity of your home with his raging Texas boogie. And he makes good on the threat — Scandalous keeps the energy high throughout, thanks to thudding bass, dirty horns, and Lewis’ indignant shout, pushed through microphones on the edge of exploding. Scandalous sounds like James Brown signed to Chess Records: it's a combination of blues and funk that integrates both forms without sounding contrived.  — Alex Heigl

Listen: “Booty City”


2. Joel Plaskett Emergency, Ashtray Rock (2007)

This is more an album you should have been listening to four years ago, but since odds are you weren’t, check it out now. With echoes of Tom Petty and The Replacements, Joel Plaskett tells a story of high-school love and loss. On other concept albums, hooks lose out to elaborate stories, but Plaskett manages to keep his clever lyrics balanced with consistently great melodies. A wounded valentine for the ages, Ashtray Rock might be the best Cameron Crowe movie never made. — Peter Smith

Listen: “Face of the Earth”


3. The R’s, De Fauna Et Flora (2010)

Channeling The Shins by way of Talking Heads, The R’s second LP De Fauna Et Flora delivers thirteen off-kilter power-pop gems. From the bouncy garage doo-wop of “Rodolfo” to the dreamy stroll of “On Our Minds” to the tribal yet hummable pulse of “Call of the Ice,” these varied songs are united by a devotion to taut rhythms, catchy sing-along choruses, and a playfulness that you don’t find often in American indie rock these days. It’s all so intoxicating that you can easily overlook the questionable apostrophe in the band name.  — Mike DiBenedetto

Listen: “On Our Minds”


4. Jamie Woon, Mirrorwriting (2011)

Listening to Jamie Woon helps me rewind back to the glory days of 2001, when Craig David ruled the airwaves with his garage beats. Mirrorwriting has been on constant repeat for me of late, with special mention being paid to the nocturnally-inspired “Night Air” (which boasts Burial as producer) and “Spirits.” While the dubstep scene is getting overexposed — thank you James Blake, The XX, and SBTRKT — Woon's soothing, moody take on the dubstep sound is definitely worth a listen. — Marina Cukeric

Listen: “Night Air”


5. Jamie XX & Gil Scott-Heron, We’re New Here (2011)

Jamie Smith of the XX remixed the late, great, jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron’s last album “I’m New Here” in its entirety, and to great effect. The recalcitrant dirtiness of Smith's electroclash sounds is a logical accompaniment to Gil’s bleak subject matter and gruff vocals, and it’s a treat to hear Jamie deftly match Gil’s tone in “NY Is Killing Me.” “I’ll Take Care of You” is transformed into a barely recognizable but crisp dance track punctuated by a heavily-processed guitar. The album is something both pensive and spontaneous, despondent and celebratory, much like Heron himself. — Garrett Carey

Listen: “I’ll Take Care of You”