I drove to Washington, D.C., and back over the weekend, which allowed me to listen to plenty of albums in their entirety. Here's a list of what I spun along with my thoughts on each CD.

Columbus to Washington:

Spanish Prisoners - Songs to Forget In preparation for writing about Leo Maymind's band this week, I put in his eight-song debut to kick off my drive. I exhausted most of what I have to say in the feature, which appears Thursday in advance of the release show Friday at the Basement, but I'll add this: the songs stick with you a lot longer than you might expect. Bravo, Leo.

Summer 2007 Visit Mix I was visiting my friend Lindsey, and it's been a while since I gave her some new music. On the way I took a listen to this collection, which includes Ghostface, Bone Thugs feat. Akon, Spoon, LCD Soundsystem and more.

Sword Heaven - Entrance There's something indescribable about watching this band perform live, but I'm not sold on the recordings yet. I feel the same way about Lambsbread. The maniacal drumming, the merciless guitar squalls-their combined audio-visual experience is so thrilling, but the records always seem to confirm my worst suspicions about noise. I'm starting to think I like my noise strictly in person.

Silversun Pickups - Carnavas This is another one I listened to so I could write about it in this week's paper. I hadn't been that impressed with Silversun in my previous encounters, but listening to this album a couple times over the weekend grew it on me a little. Only a little, though. I don't think I would pop this in voluntarily.

The Whiles - Sleeper's Wake I loved this when it came out, and I still love it. I hope they become superstars. There's no reason every sensitive, socially inept undergrad shouldn't be putting these songs on mix CDs for the girl in freshman comp.

Fly.Union Records - Kill Fly U This flegling local rap collective Fly.Union contacted me last month and invited me to a listening party for their new compilation in the upstairs lounge at the Drexel Gateway. The invite-only event started out as a networking meeting then moved into the evening's listening portion, complete with commentary from the various rappers on the disc. I couldn't really hear the music, but I admired the ambition of the event and its large turnout-at least 100 people. As for my listen in the car, I noted three things: (1)They are REALLY trying to brand their songs with the phrase "Fly-dot-U, where dreams come true." Not sure I'm feeling it. (2)The beats are decent, but they're kind of samey-all understated and brownish. I'd like to see a little more pizzazz. (3)Now that I could hear them, the lyrics were actually pretty good. I have a feeling I should let these songs sink in some more before I say anything else.

Pharoahe Monch - Desire This is one of those albums you'll be hearing about all year from the heads in your life, and for good reason-it's nothing short of sick. As has been cited about a million places elsewhere, Monch spits with the bravado of a platinum-selling star while espousing some of the most revolutionary lyrics this side of Immortal Technique. His stuff plays to the mainstream and the underground simultaneously, and if he hadn't just gone eight years without releasing an album, I would be shocked he isn't a bigger star. There's no reason the title shouldn't be a smash hit-it's short, sweet and full of soul power. Plus the last song is a 13-minute opus that plays out like Monch's take on "Trapped in the Closet," and who doesn't want to hear that?

After the jump, the other half of the trip...

I drove to Washington, D.C., and back over the weekend, which allowed me to listen to plenty of albums in their entirety. Here's a list of what I spun along with my thoughts on each CD.

Columbus to Washington:

Spanish Prisoners - Songs to Forget In preparation for writing about Leo Maymind's band this week, I put in his eight-song debut to kick off my drive. I exhausted most of what I have to say in the feature, which appears Thursday in advance of the release show Friday at the Basement, but I'll add this: the songs stick with you a lot longer than you might expect. Bravo, Leo.

Summer 2007 Visit Mix I was visiting my friend Lindsey, and it's been a while since I gave her some new music. On the way I took a listen to this collection, which includes Ghostface, Bone Thugs feat. Akon, Spoon, LCD Soundsystem and more.

Sword Heaven - Entrance There's something indescribable about watching this band perform live, but I'm not sold on the recordings yet. I feel the same way about Lambsbread. The maniacal drumming, the merciless guitar squalls—their combined audio-visual experience is so thrilling, but the records always seem to confirm my worst suspicions about noise. I'm starting to think I like my noise strictly in person.

Silversun Pickups - Carnavas This is another one I listened to so I could write about it in this week's paper. I hadn't been that impressed with Silversun in my previous encounters, but listening to this album a couple times over the weekend grew it on me a little. Only a little, though. I don't think I would pop this in voluntarily.

The Whiles - Sleeper's Wake I loved this when it came out, and I still love it. I hope they become superstars. There's no reason every sensitive, socially inept undergrad shouldn't be putting these songs on mix CDs for the girl in freshman comp.

Fly.Union Records - Kill Fly U This flegling local rap collective Fly.Union contacted me last month and invited me to a listening party for their new compilation in the upstairs lounge at the Drexel Gateway. The invite-only event started out as a networking meeting then moved into the evening's listening portion, complete with commentary from the various rappers on the disc. I couldn't really hear the music, but I admired the ambition of the event and its large turnout—at least 100 people. As for my listen in the car, I noted three things: (1)They are REALLY trying to brand their songs with the phrase "Fly-dot-U, where dreams come true." Not sure I'm feeling it. (2)The beats are decent, but they're kind of samey—all understated and brownish. I'd like to see a little more pizzazz. (3)Now that I could hear them, the lyrics were actually pretty good. I have a feeling I should let these songs sink in some more before I say anything else.

Pharoahe Monch - Desire This is one of those albums you'll be hearing about all year from the heads in your life, and for good reason—it's nothing short of sick. As has been cited about a million places elsewhere, Monch spits with the bravado of a platinum-selling star while espousing some of the most revolutionary lyrics this side of Immortal Technique. His stuff plays to the mainstream and the underground simultaneously, and if he hadn't just gone eight years without releasing an album, I would be shocked he isn't a bigger star. There's no reason the title shouldn't be a smash hit—it's short, sweet and full of soul power. Plus the last song is a 13-minute opus that plays out like Monch's take on "Trapped in the Closet," and who doesn't want to hear that?

After the jump, the other half of the trip...

Washington to Columbus:

Pharoahe Monch - Desire Yep, listened to it again to kick off my return voyage. It's so good!

Liars - Liars The first track tricked me a little bit. This new Liars record isn't as shapeless and experimental as Drum's Not Dead, but it's not the return to rock suggested by "Plaster Casts of Everything" either. It didn't exactly hold my attention. I think I might be the only person alive who liked their witch album better than these last two.

The Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die When I mentioned to John Ross last year that I didn't own this, he said "Don't tell anybody!" in a smug, condescending fashion. It's not like I haven't heard half the songs off it in various contexts over the years. Then last week I mentioned that I still don't own it, and he trotted out the same line. (What a douche!) So anyway, I finally listened to it in its entirety, and it certainly rules, but you already knew that.

Dolby F---ers - Dolby F---ers I said my piece on this last week. It's still awesome.

St. Vincent - Marry Me I enjoy many of Annie Clark's songs as isolated entities—I even put "Now, Now" on a bunch of recent mix CDs for friends—but piled up on one another, they made for my least satisfying listen of the trip. She's kind of like an indie Alanis Morissette or even Vanessa Carlton, and, yeah, I wouldn't want to listen to more than one song at a time by those ladies either. I would be kind of psyched to see St. Vincent on the second stage of an indie rock Lilith Fair headlined by Cat Power and Feist, though.

Figurines - Skeleton This is one of those records that would have made my best of 2006 list if I had only made more of an effort to hear it in time. It's a close cousin with Built to Spill's early twee stuff, but it's more tightly wound than that stuff. It boils down to extremely memorable melodies and riffs played in a unique fashion, and what more can you ask for from pop rock?

LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver I saved this for twilight just to find out if I still liked it as much as I did a few months ago. Yep. I'm still waiting to hear something else this year as physically and emotionally moving as Sound of Silver, and if I don't find anything else, well, one will be enough.