Jim Newell

Jeff Mangum

Live at Jittery Joe's

In 1998, Neutral Milk Hotel released, in my opinion, the defining album of the '90s, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. The band's only release our lonely ears have heard since is Jittery Joe's, recorded live by their enigmatic leader, Jeff Mangum, in 1997, and released in 2001. To the relative indifference of a wee Athens, GA crowd, Mangum trudges through classic tunes from the group's debut, On Avery Island, and the then-unreleased Aeroplane. Raw and unrehearsed, Jittery Joe's sound is tragically representative of the band's natural, uninhibited beauty that remains so essential to the indie rock canon.

Eugenia Salvo

The Veils

The Runaway Found

The following two statements are going to sound like insults, but in fact they're compliments. Lead singer Finn Andrews' voice sounds like Dave Matthews, if Dave Matthews was in a lot of pain. And a couple of the melodies on Runaway Found sound very similar to some early Spanish stuff by one Mr. Enrique Iglesias. Still not an insult, I swear. The voice is actually really cool, and the Enrique sound-alikes? Well, they're catchy as hell and completely unnoticeable to anyone who isn't me. Diggin' it yet? Well, damn it. You should. Seriously the Veils are awesome. Seriously.

Alex Koppelman

Talib Kweli

The Beautiful Struggle

Since his debut, Talib Kweli has been an underground MC on the verge of making it. Now, riding the success of "Get By," plus buzz from The Beautiful Mixtape, he's poised to finally make it. Judging by a leaked early version of the album, Kweli didn't let the opportunity go by. Collaborations with producers Kanye West, Just Blaze and the Neptunes, plus appearances from Common, Mary J. Blige, Anthony Hamilton and others help Kweli make an album with mainstream appeal without forsaking his musical and lyrical intelligence. Beautiful Struggle drops September 28.


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