The Decemberists, "Summersong"
I've talked a little about the Four Album theory, which is that some great metal bands (Metallica, Krallice, Mastodon) will push things as far as they can with their sound over four albums, before taking off in a different direction. It's half-baked, yes, but it's a theory anyway.
But in thinking about it, these aren't the only Four Album bands. The Decemberists, for instance, pushed their increasingly elaborate folk-rock storytelling thing further and further over the course of their first four albums, culminating in The Crane Wife, which is really kind of a concept record that stands as the final record of that approach. While The Hazards of Love is maybe more ambitious, it kind of seeks a more prog direction without as much of the folk stuff, so to my ears, represents the same kind of stylistic break as those metal bands.
Silver Scooter, "Crash"
Hmm. 2001 record here, which I have no recollection of either acquiring, listening to, or hearing about. I do feel like that period is an era where I started to kind of lose touch of things, so I guess I'm not that surprised. It's OK?
Of Montreal, "A Dreary Day of Daydreaming of You"
As I've mentioned before, I'm not really against pretension. It can lead to a lot of interesting work, and getting over being bothered by pretension helped me enjoy some pretty fun stuff. That said, I really, really tried to like Of Montreal, this album especially. I listened to it a bunch, hoping it would click. But no, it just irritates me. I wasn't able to get past it.
Yeah, see, Destroyer often is pretty pretentious! But good! Good example, shuffle!
Grant Hart, "Nobody Rides For Free"
When Hüsker Dü exploded, both songwriters went their own way, both with other bands and as solo artists. While I like Bob Mould's post-Hüsker Dü work better than Grant Hart's work, he's still an excellent songwriter and has a bunch of good stuff. In a lot of ways, this record reminds me of Mould's Sugar, a record that pulls in a lot of pop sensibility to his songs.