Here are some notes on things I have recently purchased or otherwise obtained.
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane, At Carnegie Hall - a 48-year-old vault scraping that flat-out smokes every new jazz album I've heard this year. Sad, kinda.
Sunn O))), Black One - their last two, the twin White discs, made me worry that the robed 'n' bearded ones had gone hippie. They've returned to form with this ultra-dark slab. Crank it up loud enough to scare away every trick-or-treater for a ten-block radius.
Earth, Hex: Or, Printing In The Infernal Method - pretty good in an ambient-death-country kinda way, but most reviews are too nostalgia-sodden to admit that it just doesn't pack the same flesh-melting power as the old stuff.
Disturbed, Ten Thousand Fists - smart guys making arena metal for the 2000s. They're still ripping off KMFDM, the singer still reverts to chimpery when he's not wailing like a cantor, but there are genuinely stirring choruses here, and guitar solos too, which was always the missing ingredient in their sound. Believe, from 2002, is still their best album, but this one's very solid.
Natalia y la Forquetina, Casa - petite art-pop girl goes "rock" (less turntables, more guitars, production by a member of Café Tacuba instead of by some studio hacks). Just as much fun as the debut, but maybe a little more aggressive. Fuck yer reggaeton - "Ser Humano" is my Spanish-language single of the year.
Various Artists, Total 1-6 - ultra-cyborgy German techno. Yeah, I'm late to the party on this; bought Vol. 6 on the basis of a rare cogent 'n' convincing Pitchfork review, and loved it so much I sprung for Vols. 1-5 less than a month later, when some money arrived.
Aphex Twin, Analord - the whole series, on 3 CD-Rs, from a writer buddy. It's acid; if you liked that sound in the late 80s, or if like me (an electronic-music-ignorant metalhead) you recently discovered it via the Soul Jazz Can You Jack? compilation and dug it and wished you hadn't missed out back then, you'll like these tracks. He should make a nice official 3-CD set out of 'em.
Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde - after watching big chunks of that two-night PBS thing, I had a friend mail me burns of these two albums, which I'd never heard end to end before. I never need to listen to "Desolation Row" again as long as I live, but other than that H61R pretty much smokes. I even like it better than the live 1966 discs, which I've had for a couple of years (I only ever play the electric one) - the studio album is more ramshackle, like Tom Waits trying to rave up. BOB is a little less of-a-piece, but also pretty good. This Dylan guy - overrated, yeah, but he's got his moments.