What are the best concept albums in the last 10 years?

Speaperboxxx/The Love Below by Outkast

Splitting arguably the world's most popular rap group in half to produce two distinct concept album masterpieces rolled together in one package… that takes some guts and ambition. Kanye's been trying to replicate this success ever since. After hitting stores in 2003, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below went 11x platinum in the U.S.

If I like Passion Pit, which other bands should I check out?

Two bands that aren't new but that recently released new albums are:

Phoenix – Passion Pit toured with them this fall, so they must think there is some kind of synergy there.  Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is a fantastic album.

Junior Boys – I have a friend in LA who got really into Junior Boys and Passion Pit around the same time this summer.  They released a new album Begone Dull Care earlier this year.

What are some album and artist recommendations for a jazz beginner?

Don't forget the great jazz singers — Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. They each have great 'best-of' anthologies.

Coltrane's ballads were absolutely amazing. Blue Train and Ballads are great albums to check out.

PS, lala.com is great for discovering what you like since you can listen to almost any track once for free.

What songs have the same meter of many of Emily Dickinson's poems?

"Because I could not stop for Death" is written in what is called common metre: a four-line stanza with syllables of 8, 6, 8, 6, and with all lines in iambic feet (unstressed/stressed). A good many hymns, e.g., "Amazing Grace," are written in this meter. As has often been pointed out, the hymns that Dickinson grew up hearing were probably the stimulus for her rhythms.

Who are the best local bands to see live in the Bay Area?

The jazzmafia.com is a collection of extremely talented bands, each playing their own fusion of jazz, funk, and hip hop.

The Jazz Mafia Symphony is a massive ensemble featuring
* 3 rappers
* several R&B singers
* full brass section: trumpets, trombones, horns
* large winds section: saxes, flutes, clarinets
* a string section
* full rhythm section with at least two drummers, often a DJ

The Shotgun Wedding Quintet is a smaller hip hop group with one rapper, a bass/trombone player, sax/keys, drums, and often a guest (to fill out the quintet).