The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
This album does not blow me away. However, I will say it is a good album. It lacks something that Boys and Girls had, which is hard to pinpoint. Off the top of my brain, I would say its lacking the catchy guitar riffs that thrusted Boys and Girls to its pedestal. Honestly, it may just be that Boys and Girls is so dang good that it cannot be matched. There are some quality songs though: "Lord, I'm Discouraged" (the three note piano riff is quite pleasing) "Sequestered in Memphis" (love it love it) "Constructive Summer" (stirs up the nostalgia that Boys and Girls did of high school) "Stay Positive" (gotta love the woh-ah-oh sing-a-longs).
Spiritualized - Songs in A&E
"Soul on Fire" hooked me upon first listen. Kind of has a wacky, Ween or Flaming Lips feel with more straight-faced melodies. The album truly has some fantastic songs. Dude sounds kind of similar the Drivin' and Cryin' singer. See also: "Baby, I'm Just a Fool," and Sitting on a Fire," and the aforementioned.
Bonnie Prince Billy - Lie Down in the Light
Really the album I have been waiting on BPB to make. Folky tunes with harmonies are his forte'. Although a couple of tracks are slow, LDitL is not nearly as slow as his previous works. With that said, I don't mean this is a rocking album; I just mean some of his works I literally have trouble listening to it is so slow. It is almost an alt-country album. Focus on: "Easy Does It" and "Where is the Puzzle."
MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
One of the few psych rock bands I actually dig. In a completely different way that Spiritualized does, MGMT reminds me of Ween and Flaming Lips. Check out the tele-tubby-esque "Time to Pretend" & 70's funk-induced "Electric Feel"
The Avett Brothers - The Second Gleam
I guess in slamgrass "Gleam" means "stripped down." GII is definitely not a rocker, however, it does have some gems such as "The Greatest Sum" (both versions) and "St. Joseph's"
Wild Sweet Orange - We Have Cause to Be Uneasy
Obviously, I just recently purchased this ditty and am loving it so far. I love the radio-friendly "Ten Dead Dogs" contrasted with the Bright Eyes emo-esque "Sour Milk." The Harley-engined guitar riff in "House of Regret" with get you to head nodding as soon as they rumble in the track. Jeff Mangum comes back from the psych ward and influences "Night's Terrors." Did I fail to mention the banjo beauty in "Atlas to Follow." Very diverse yet concise album that never bores but keeps you on the toes.