This is Part 2 of a list of my favorite sounding CDs of late, in no particular order. My preference is for realistic-sounding recordings, recordings that allow the band to sound "live." And sure, I still like a lot of recordings that are heavily processed, but I wouldn't by any stretch use them to "test" the naturalness of a speaker.
The first half of the top 10 CD list appeared in the previous Audiophiliac.
Savage Aural Hotbed, "Wreckquiem"
Talk about heavy metal, Savage Aural Hotbed is a (mostly) industrial percussion group. They rhythmically hit, scrape, or smash pipes, barrels, tenor and baritone snorkelhorns, electric power tools, and drums. I love SAH records for their dense textures and searing dynamics and this new one will give your system an aerobic workout while dazzling your ears with its mesmerizing charms.
Rosanne Cash, "10 Song Demo"
OK, this one's from 1996, but it's withstood the test of time. True to the title, it's just Cash accompanied by a small group of players, Production is minimal, so if your system is good enough the music can sound very, very real. The music's a perfect 10.
Gerald Clayton, "Two-Shade"
Clayton's nimble piano trio delivers hard-driving pieces and explosive improvisations that'll push your hi-fi to the limit. The piano, bass, and drums balance is, musically and sonically, as good as it gets. It may be Clayton's trio, but it's a band of equals. The stereo image is set back, behind the plane of my speakers, so it doesn't have the claustrophobic, up close perspective of most contemporary jazz recordings. … Read more