#17: Jolie Holland – Escondido (Anti-) – If the nu-Americana written about in this issue needs a promo CD, there’d be few better choices than Escondido. While it’s easy to imagine the sounds of Holland’s second album floating from your grandma’s old phonograph, there’s little nostalgia here. Instead she digs through the dusty attic of American folk, blues and jazz, costuming her unique creations in pleasingly familiar forms.
#3: Tom Waits – Real Gone (Anti-) – Quirky. Experimental. Hip. Poetic. Cinematic. Thoughtful. Thought-provoking. It’s one thing to deliver one or more of these qualities; it’s quite another to consistently deliver them all consistently for 31 years. On Real Gone, Waits brings the wood once again. Percussively driven, along the lines of Bone Machine, Real Gone delivers another batch of vibrant songs and performances that make for yet another essential album.