Lullaby For The Working Class
I might be partially biased because I met them, but this is one of the better albums that you probably didn't hear this last year. With their all-acoustic and laid-back recording approach, they have a very unique sound that is very refreshing compared to most of the slick, overproduced albums that have come out lately. This is not to say that the production is sloppy, or even lo-fi sounding, but there is definitely a different feel to their production.
Another difference in their sound is the choice of instrumentation that the ever-changing group from Lincoln, Nebraska uses. Without running through an entire list, just some of them include an acoustic guitar, a stand-up bass, a glockenspiel, a banjo, a violin, a viola, and chimes. Without any amplification, the feel is somewhat folky, although much more complex. The songs on the album are intricately wound with different instrumentation and singer Ted Stevens emotive voice sings out lyrics of almost surreal visions and contemplations. It's the perfect accompanyment to a lazy weekend afternoon, when the last rays of sun are fading and the night breeze is beginning to blow.