Panopticon, the band that is actually just Austin Lunn, gained attention with Kentucky, where Lunn merged his love of Appalachian folk music with his love of black metal and produced an amalagam of the two, creating one of the most distinctive and interesting black metal albums ever. A couple albums down the road from his breakthrough, and he was still playing both of his loves. The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness is a double album, and unlike Kentucky, it's more two halves rather than a melding of the two styles. There's a midpoint in the double album where it switches from the black metal to the folk. Lunn is an expert at both, so as long as you're OK with both styles, it's a great record. This, uh, is from the black metal half.
PJ Harvey, "The Letter"
Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea piled up ton of positive critical press when it was released, winning awards and showing up on a ton of best-of lists for the year. As a result, it might have been easy to come back with another record in the same vein to keep rolling. But PJ Harvey has always been restless, and Uh Huh Her actually seems to draw from across her career to that point to pull different kinds of songs in. I actually like it quite a bit better than the previous one, despite the prevailing opinion.
Unrest should really be the name of a hardcore punk band, not a hyperactive pop band. Alas. Mark Robinson's band was the premiere band for his label Teenbeat, and was a darling of the underground in the late 80s/early 90s. Imperial F.F.R.R. is their best and most consistent album, with the fucking around on some of their other records largely absent from it.
The Chemical Brothers, "Setting Sun"
Still kind of messing with me that the Chemical Brothers were huge there for a little while. Richly deserved, mind you! Just surprising.
The Temptations, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" is one of the iconic Motown tunes, one which was first recorded by Marvin Gaye for his 1968 record In The Groove. Just a year later, the Temptations put their own spin on the tune, providing a pretty different take on it.