1. The Black Kids - Partie Traumatic -- a young East Coast alterna-cute outfit made of two black siblings and three of their white friends. None of them are too cool for school, but they are angsty to the nth degree. Plus... the singer is too frickin' awesome -- think Kele Okereke from Bloc Party* -- but a lot more cute and precocious. Like many black fronted alternative acts, apparently they're insanely more popular in the U.K. than they are over here. Sigh.
If you just want to sample try in this order: "I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You"** and "I'm Making Eyes At You." Warning: You may be bowled over with how charming both songs are.
2. !Forward, Russia! - Life Processes -- they're not out of Russia, but out of England. And funnily enough, the lead singer also reminds me of Kele Okereke from Bloc Party-- if he were on the straight brink of suicide. Amazing lyricism, but I actually wouldn't recommend listening to the entire album straight through, as it all becomes a little too much after awhile. Sample lyric from my favorite song, "Breaking Standing":
When it weighs too much
think of it as seven times the weight
it cost too much
but don't come to me for aid
See the annoyingly overwrought, yet somehow still boring video here.
3. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - "Buriedfed" -- Black Bob Dylan -- even more impressive because I don't really like Dylan all that much, but I love this song. Most of his debut album is pretty strong, but apparently he's happy and mentally healthy now, so I suspect that the next one will suck. Hard. Ah well...
4. Nas f/ Keri Hilson - "Hero" - somehow all the N-word contro had made me forget just what an amazing rapper this man is. Plus, I've been watching Keri Hilson work it behind-the-scenes as a writer for a while now. And I find her very exciting. Totally worth the download. Also, whatever side of the N-word as album name debate you stand on, try not to have a moment of breathless pause when he delivers this line about the record company forcing him to change the name of his album to Untitled:
Nas the only true rebel since the beginning... Still in musical prison... in jail for the flow... Try telling Bob Dylan, Bruce, or Billy Joel... They can't sing what's in their soul... So untitled it is"5. Fucked Up - "Year of the Pig (Japan Edit)" - Yeah, as a matter of fact, I am in a weird mood today! How did you know?
And just barely missing the Top 5:
Tricky - "Council Estate" - Despite the hours that I've logged watching British movies and TV shows, I never did figure out the dealy with council housing. I think it's supposed to be like affordable housing over here, but not quite the projects. And unfortunately, I don't have the attention span to really read the Wikipedia explanation, but maybe you can get through it.
You might remember Tricky as the bandmate who broke Lyn's heart on "Girlfriends" -- back when it was still good (and on the air). He's kind of got this intriguing so-ugly-he's-beautiful thing going on. Anyway, though he's made tons of money as a world-and-critically-acclaimed artist, apparently he still represents for The Councils ( mayhap b/c it's more lucrative than representing for the mansions). Check him keeping it real in the video below:
*If you don't know who Bloc Party is, slap yourself. Then slap me for being friends with you. That's awful. Get thee to an I-Tunes store and download "Hunting For Witches" yesterday.
**YES! I'm aware that The Black Kids Video for this song is super-cute. Don't worry, I'll post it tomorrow.