1. Let England Shake, PJ Harvey
The Skinny: Recorded at a church in Dorset, Let England Shake shows that Polly Jean Harvey hasn’t lost a step. Harvey wrote the words before she wrote the music, doing research into historical events like the Gallipoli campaign and more contemporary conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The record marks her first use of saxophone in the studio.
Why You Should Own It: Harvey taught herself how to sing all over again to create the dark, introspective tone of the record.
How to Sound Cool/Smart Talking About it: “It sounds like if The Doors and The Velvet Underground collaborated on a concept album about For Whom The Bell Tolls.”