Heavy metal – Ugh, right? Well, the good stuff, such as Led Zeppelin, gets defined as classic rock instead of metal. I dislike "metal-as-we-know-it," but nonetheless I am struck by Mastodon’s Leviathan. Metal’s dirty little secret is just how much it can resemble free jazz. Add to the mix a retelling of America’s greatest novel (Moby Dick), a feel for the apocalyptic, a tasteful switch to the acoustic, and you have an album to come back to. Even the eggheads at The New York Times pushed this one.
Post-1965 Country music – You can argue about that date, but New Jersey boys aren’t going to like Garth Brooks or Shania Twain. Shelby Lynne, on the other hand, is the best of Loretta Lynn and Dusty Springfield rolled into one, only circa 2005. I am Shelby Lynne is the breakthrough album and probably her best work. Identity Crisis is a worthy follow-up, and the excellent Suit Yourself just came out this week.