It’s a little better out there this week than the last couple, but we’re still biding our time while we await the imminent monster that is next week. Consider this an appetizer:


It’s not always the case, frighteningly enough, but this year’s annual single-disc roundup of tunes that are vying for the Recording Academy’s highest honors, Grammy Nominees 2010, plays like a mixtape of the year’s strongest, most fascinating music. (Imagine that!) True, you have to sit through the likes of Black Eyed Peas and Beyonce, as well, not to mention subpar material from the typically dependable U2, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, and Kelly Clarkson, but I say any album which can wrangle aural diamonds from Kings of Leon (the staggering “Use Somebody”), The Fray (“You Found Me,” putting Isaac Slade’s scary-good vocals on a riveting piano-based pedestal), Lady Antebellum (the revelatory “I Run to You”), and Dave Matthews Band (“You and Me,” a sweet fare-thee-well to a fallen comrade-in-arms) onto the very same slice of musical real estate is mighty fine by me.


Also noteworthy this week:


  • I had no idea she had amassed enough hits to even qualify for such, but here comes that annoying redneck gal Gretchen Wilson with a collection of Greatest Hits.

  • They’re still bubbling just under the big time, but look out for acclaimed band Spoon, back with their latest record, Transference.

  • And finally, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Starbucks has released its annual collection of covers of famed love songs. This year’s edition, entitled Sweetheart 2010, features the likes of The Avett Brothers, the aforementioned Spoon, Sherry Ann’s beloved Jose Gonzalez, and contains a heartfelt rendition of Paul Davis’ ’70s classic “I Go Crazy”
    by that stout up-and-comer Diane Birch.


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