NINEBULLETS.NET's VERSION OF THE BEST 10 ALBUMS OF 2008:

I made this list of albums 2 weeks ago and I’ve reordered it once or twice each day since. At some point during that 2 week span, each album was placed at the number one position and I am so torn as I prepare to actually type this that I contemplated not picking a single top album at all, but where’s the fun in that? Any of the top 6 could have easily been the number 1 album, but in the end I went with my gut and selected the album that I kept coming back to. So, here is my list for the top 10 albums of 2008. If you’re interested in an honorable mention list, just head over to the essential listening list (hurry, cause it’ll be reset soon).

11. John Mellencamp – Life, Death, Love and Freedom

Okay, I know I said I wasn’t gonna do an honorable mention list, but I decided to mention this one anyway. Every time I tell people it’s an awesome album they roll their eyes at me. In my original piece about the album I said, “Maybe it’s his age. Maybe it was the backlash from the last album. Who knows what it was and really, who cares? The point is, it seems that on Life, Death, Love, And Freedom Mellencamp has put aside chasing commercial success and decided to pursue the goal of putting together a complete album of strong tracks from beginning to end and, outside of “My Sweet Love”, I must say he succeeded.” Time with the album has not lessened my enthusiasm at all.

John Mellencamp – If I Die Sudden

10. Grayson Capps – Rott N’ Roll

I am so glad I now know who Grayson Capps is. His 2007 effort, Songbones, was my introduction and this year’s effort, Rott N’ Roll, was a great follow-up. From my original piece on the album, “I find myself drawn to the drunks, whores and vagabonds that haunt Grayson’s songs. They’re like old friends you keep up with via letters in the mail, and with a new album comes new updates.”

Grayson Capps – Back to the Country

09. The Whipsaws – 60 Watt Avenue

Man, if I was gonna choose a “rock and roll” album of the year, this album from a little band in Anchorage would win going away. From my original post about the album, “The Whipsaws are a rock and roll band from Anchorage, Alaska. There’s no shortage of people who will refer to them as an alt.country act based on their country debut, Ten Day Bender, but 60 Watt Avenue is a rock and roll album sans a subgenre hyphen. Sounding like an early version of the Drive-by Truckers without that early Trucker twang, they have released a great bar room rocker of an album.”

The Whipsaws – 60 Watt

08. Black Diamond Heavies – A Touch of Someone Else’s Class

These guys are one of my favorite bands in the “punk blues” movement. This year I finally got to see them live (twice), plus they graced us with a new album. From my original piece on the album, “The Black Diamond Heavies are not for the uninitiated…Nay, the Black Diamond Heavies are for people who are ready to feel sin and salvation through the low end of a B3, with a tumbler full of whiskey and John Wesley Myers’ growl as a drinking partner. I’d been kicking around various ways to describe BDH’s sound and then I saw it spelled out perfectly on a CMJ review of Someone Else’s Class as such, “humid tone over heated tunes.”

The Black Diamond Heavies – Bidin’ My Time

07. Possessed By Paul James – Cold and Blind

Easily the wife’s favorite album of the year, she even tried to convince me that it need to be mine or sex would be withheld. Needless to say, I am gonna be a little tense for a while. In all seriousness, though, seeing Possessed By Paul James was surely my favorite show of the year. As I said in my original piece on the album, Cold and Blind features Konrad incorporating fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, stomp box, the occasional diddly boe, grunts, hollers and a kind honesty that you rarely hear, but once you do, cannot deny.” and seeing him live makes you realize just how genuine that is.

Possessed By Paul James – Take Off Your Mask

06. Tim Barry – Manchester

I am really late to it, but the more I listen to him the more I wanna be the one driving the Tim Barry bandwagon. The pure brutal honesty of Tim’s songs is the draw. This is from my original piece on the album, “Tim Barry isn’t really the type of music you toss on for background music and it grabs you. Tim’s music wants you to sit down and listen to it. Hear the lyrics and feel them. If you do that you’ll know what I’ve recently learned: That Tim Barry and his new album are essential listening.”

Tim Barry – This November

05. Drag The River – You Can’t Live This Way

Any album from here on out could have easily been my album of the year depending on what time of what day I was writing the piece. Before this album was released the band “kind of” split up, and when I wrote my original piece on the album we all thought it was their final release. As a result I wrote the following, “Regardless of what is going on with the band, though, the fact is that they have a new album in stores tomorrow and if it really is their final release, it’s a fucking shame. Passing on the ‘almost all drinking songs’ formula, You Can’t Live This Way is easily the most mature effort of their catalog. It seems like the guys were/are finally beginning to fully realize themselves as songwriters and as a band, and to cut that short is a pity.” They are supposed to have another album coming out this year and they are playing here in Tampa in 2 weeks, so I’m thinking the rumors of their demise may have been a little overstated.

Drag the River – Br00tal

04. Justin Townes Earl – The Good Life

I knew this album was destined for my top 10 list the moment I heard it. Sad thing is, hearing it almost never happened. As I said in my original piece, “I’m not sure what I was expecting from Justin’s Bloodshot debut, The Good Life, but it wasn’t much. I don’t know why, either. I had never heard anything from his debut EP, Yuma, but when it came down to it I was only giving The Good Life a courtesy listen. Regardless of what I was expecting, what I got was one of the best albums so far this year.”

Justin Townes Earle – Who Am I To Say

03. Two Cow Garage – Speaking in Cursive

Easily the best album in their career, I was totally hoping to hear it on satellite radio by now and it very well may have found it’s way onto XM had Sirius not come along and ruined it. It’s hard for a band that you already adore to continually meet your ever-expanding expectations, but Two Cow has managed to do it time and time again. The very fact that this album isn’t #1 on my list is a testament to how good this year’s releases were. Nonetheless, this album is a must listen for anyone who frequents this site. As I said in my original piece on the album, The amount of ground that this band has covered from The Wall Against Our Back to III to Speaking In Cursive is more than many bands cover in their entire career. The maturity level of their musicianship and Micah’s songwriting is night and day over that 3 album span. There really is no unbiased way for me to talk about this album, I just love it too damned much. I mean, it’s not just Essential Listening, it’s album of the year candidate.”

Two Cow Garage – Bastards and Bridesmaids

02. Left Lane Cruiser – Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table

It was so hard for me not to make this the album of the year. So very difficult…the album was everything I was hoping for from their label debut. There ain’t a track on it that I ever hit skip on it and there ain’t a mood I’ve found that the album ain’t perfect for. I could gush about this album for 400 words, but I think I summed it up in my original piece about the album, “Joe and Brenn headed into Painesville, Ohio’s Suma Studios, a studio full of reel to reels and vinyl cutting machines, and emerged with a blues-fueled, rock-driven cd on the verge of a whiskey rage. This is a must add to the Essential Listening list and currently my favorite cd of this young year. You like this site? You’ll love this disc…

Left Lane Cruiser – Amy’s In The Kitchen

drum roll please…………………………………

01. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Cipher

I dunno what it is but there is something about this album. It’s infectious. As I said in my original piece about the album, “SCAC writes big songs, I don’t really know how else to describe it. They aren’t heavy, they aren’t loud, and they’re rarely disposable. They are often labeled as “gothic country” due to the intermingling of Old Testament and apocalyptic religion with bad relationships, alcohol, and murder. If nothing else, SCAC is, IMO, one of the best bands in America that hardly any one’s heard of, and they just released what might be the best album of the year in Cipher.” Turns out, IMO, it is the album of the year. If I listen to it on Monday I’ll still be singing the songs on Saturday. It’s vintage Slim and Munly and that’s hard to beat…and in 2008 nothing else did.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Introduction to the Power of Braces ~ Arms
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Magalina Hagalina Boom Boom

That’s it. The album you’re thinking should have been on my list probably would have been had I made it 15 albums long. Let’s hope 2009 is as musically awesome as 2008 was. Speaking of 2009, I’ll see y’all then.

Take care and Be Safe (cause I need your traffic next year)

Bryan Childs (Autopsy IV)
email, myspace, twitter

OKAY! I know I said I wasn’t gonna do an honorable mentions list but I do wanna list the bands that were on the short list that I mentioned at the beginning of the post. All of these bands made music this that you should look into but were left off my final 10 list for some reason or another: Bean Pickers Union – Potlach, Ben Nichols – Last Pale Light In The West, Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creations Dark, The Black Keys – Attack & Release, Those Poor Bastards – Satan Is Watching, Old Crow Medicine Show – Tennessee Pusher, The Steeldrivers – The Steeldrivers

TOP TRACKS OF 2008:

Today I’d like to address my list of the Top 10 Songs of 2008. Much like what will become my 2008 Top Albums list, this one is in constant flux. However, unlike the Top Albums list, my top 5 songs are always my top 5, so let’s take a look at what I think the best songs of the year were:

10. Grayson Capps – Ike (I am a complete sucker for story songs and this is an especially awesome one.)

09. Possessed By Paul James – Ferris Wheel (This was the first PPJ song to really grab me. Much like the artist himself, it’s simple but powerful)

08. Ben Nichols – Toadvine (Easily the standout track on Ben’s solo debut based on the novel, Blood Meridian)

07. The Whipsaws – Jessie Jane (This song is 100% pure rock and roll. I wish my local bar jukebox had it so I could drunk sing the chorus)

06. Left Lane Cruiser – Big Mama (Really, I could have picked any song off LLC’s Alive Records debut and been happy with it. It’s finding bands like LLC that keep me jazzed on doing 9b)

05. The Black Diamond Heavies – Smoothe It Out (First, the song is awesome. Second, I think it perfectly captures everything that is BDH…funky, sexy and raw as a fresh blister…if this song don’t make you bob your head and tap your feet you better be a fucking paraplegic)

04. Drive-By Truckers – Daddy Needs A Drink (IMO, probably one of the prettiest and saddest songs of the year. Also, the lead off track in my own personal life’s soundtrack)

03. Two Cow Garage – Swingset Assassin (I first heard this song on a demo Micah and his Dad did together. I always hoped it would end up a 2CG song. Great lyrics about coming of age through music. One of the three best songs Two Cow has ever done)

02. Justin Townes Earl – Lone Pine Hill (Just an awesome song lyrically, musically. I love this song. I could seriously listen to it 15 times in a row and not get tired of it…Just ask my workmates.)

01. Tim Barry – “222” (This song kills me. It was killing me before I even knew the backstory. Upon learning that…jesus effing christ. “222” was written about one of Tim’s best friends, Travis Conner, who passed at the beginning of this year. The honest emotion and purity of lyrics present in all of Tim’s music is especially moving in this tribute. It is my second most listened to song this year and I’ve only had the album since November)

There you go. The top 10 songs of 2008 per Autopsy IV and ninebullets.net.
As an added bonus I went through the ninebullets.net Essential Listening of 2008 List and grabbed a song from each album and am making that file available for download. But be warned, it checks in at 46 tracks and 156 megabytes of pure awesome.

Hope some of y’all enjoy it.

ninebullets.net Essential Listening of 2008 Compilation (.zip file)

2008 BEST OF: BEST LOCAL RELEASE:

Well, the rest of this year will basically be the same thing everyone else is doing, year end recaps. I figured I’d start the recap with a little local flair. The best album to come out this year locally basically boiled down to a sprint between Have Gun Will Travel and Will Quinlan’s albums. Both are polished and ready for mass consumption. In the end I can’t really pick “a winner” between these two albums. So. For 2008 the best local release will be shared.

Will Quinlan & The Diviners – Navasota (original 9b article)
and
Have Gun Will Travel – Casting Shadows Tall As Giants (original 9b article)

Check out both of these albums. I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do.

Will Quinlan & The Diviners – Remember The Beatitudes
Will Quinlan & The Diviners – The Thieving Life

Have Gun Will Travel – Blessing and a Curse
Have Gun Will Travel – Come, All Ye Sinners

Buy Navasota, Buy Casting Shadows Tall As Giants

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS: SOMEONE ELSES SONGS

Hey guys. Autopsy checking in from puppy hell with a pretty cool little compilation today. This comp first came across the DBT Mailing list a couple of months back. I knew I wanted to post it but I wanted to get some form of permission from the original compiler. Over the past few months I’ve tried in vain to track down the person who put this together in the first place but I’ve had no success. So, to whoever you are, thanks for your efforts.

Here is a collection of various live covers the Truckers have performed over time. Rumor has it there is a sequel to this comp being curated by another DBT Mailing List subscriber. If that comes to pass I hope to post it for y’all as well.

Enjoy.

Drive-By Truckers: Someone Elses Songs
(CD Covers)

  1. Country Jam
  2. Even The Losers (Tom Petty)
  3. Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding)
  4. Fox On The Run (Osborne Brothers)
  5. Give My Love To Rose (Johnny Cash)
  6. Moonlight Mile (The Rolling Stones)
  7. Let Me Roll It (Wings)
  8. Keep On Smilin’ (Wet Willie)
  9. Play It All Night Long (Warren Zevon)
  10. Eighteen (Alice Cooper)
  11. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Van Halen)
  12. Buttholeville/State Trooper (Bruce Springsteen)
  13. Rock Jam

GUEST POST: MARC BROUSSARD

Note from Autopsy IV: I am out this weekend babysitting my new puppy so I’ve lined up a whole slew of guest writers for the week. I hope y’all enjoy them and the music they bring to our attention as much as I am. I’ll be back early next week.

Today’s post comes from Ariel Schwartz. Ariel Schwartz hails from many places, but currently lives in NYC (Wash Heights) and is currently working towards a bachelors of science in the field of Electrical Engineering at Columbia U. He also authors the music blog http://troubledsoulsunite.blogspot.com/ in his not so spare time.

Marc Broussard is one of a class of young talented (white) bluesmen that popped up in the past ten years. Joining the ranks of Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa, and Derek Trucks, Marc is one of a class of students of the guitar who are trying to bring this genre back to the mainstream.

Yet, while Lang and Bonamassa seem to be pure students of the blues (Trucks will be excluded, because his blues playing is defined by the already set style of the Allman Brothers Band), Marc manages to take his influences, and know when to use them, and when to abuse them.

Exhibit A would have to be his most famous, track- Home. The thumping beat of the song is something that seems like it would be more at home as the into to a rap track, than to a delta blues cut. Yet, Broussard is able to combine the two genres; taking his blues influences, and giving them more of a beat and a rhythm than most others.

To show how he can both hop-up the blues, but can also sing with that same soul as the rest of them, here are two versions of the song Home; the cut from the record, and a live acoustic version of the song.

So whether you like your blues cooked with a little more rhythm, or you like it old school and au natural, check out both of these track- they’re bound to leave you pleased feeling satisfied.

Home
Home (Acoustic)

Marc Broussard’s Official Site, Buy Marc Broussard’s music

GUEST POST: THE GRAVEYARD NIGHTMARES & THE RUNAWAY SONS

Note from Autopsy IV: I am out this weekend babysitting my new puppy so I’ve lined up a whole slew of guest writers for the week. I hope y’all enjoy them and the music they bring to our attention as much as I am. I’ll be back early next week.

Today’s post comes from the owner of dumbwhore (i can only imagine the google search hit’s I am gonna get from that).

The Graveyard Nightmares are a band that I got to see a few times live a few years ago. They’re broken up now, sadly, but their myspace is still alive. Jon and Josh are a couple of mop-headed twins that have a great stage presence while they play bass and guitar. TJ is this little fucker from the IRS who really works the crowd with the microphone. This dude is fucking rock and roll and knows it. Dave is a cornball guitarist who crushes as well.

They were, from the outside, a very clean band along the substance abuse/straight edge lines. And I enjoyed watching them perform because their crowd would go fucking supernova. I’d never seen The Braveheart before. For that matter, I’d never even heard of one the most awesome innovations on moshing that I’ve ever seen. Sure, who hasn’t been in the pit, whirling and stomping and shoving and grunting and you know, fucking shit up. But The Braveheart is a play on the movie Braveheart and TJ would split the crowd up and have them line up against the walls. Then they’d rush the other side on command just fucking slaughter them. I saw people flipping in mid-air and not of their own volition. It was brilliant.

Since then, some of the members have grouped back together as The Runaway Sons. Don’t get them confused with a band with much older members called simply Runaway Son. It looks like Jon, Josh and TJ made it, picked up a drummer and another guitarist. The sound is similar but a little bit harder. I’d be surprised if the straight edge didn’t go to the side as they became 21 and alcohol was easier and more standard in their peer groups. The booze and this shitty life will put a little spine in you as move on in this world and I think the sound reflects that.

Jerk and Gyrate is a pretty standard rock song, by which I simply mean that it rocks and I like it. TJ seems to be strongest when he attempts 80’s style of singing with the expectation of a band member or the crowd responding back to him with the chorus.

Graveyard Rock N Roll will probably always be my most favorite song of theirs. The MP3 doesn’t do it justice as when the band has the crowd at 11 they can really set them on fire with this number.

Look, unless you see video of them, you just won’t get their impact. How often do you see a band with this much energy fucking tearing a place down right next to the pinball machines?

The Graveyard Nightmares – Graveyard Rock N’ Roll
The Runaway Sons – Kathleen Turner Overdrive

Graveyard Nightmares Myspace, The Runaway Sons Myspace

SoAngelicate's Indie Corner- Elbow's The Seldom Seen Kid

Note from Autopsy IV: I am out this weekend babysitting my new puppy so I’ve lined up a whole slew of guest writers for the week. I hope y’all enjoy them and the music they bring to our attention as much as I am. I’ll be back early next week.

This is undoubtedly one of my favorite albums of the year.  It’s the fourth album from this British band and even if you don’t think you’ve heard them before, you’ve probably at least heard bits of them, as according to their wiki their music has been in commercials for the game Left 4 Dead, the British drama series The Devil’s Whore, the trailer for the Coen Brothers’ film Burn After Reading, a rally driving segment on Top Gear and trails for Rallysport on Dave.  And even though they haven’t gotten a ton of press in the US, they also won the Mercury Prize for The Seldom Seen Kid, which is a pretty big deal…in Britain.

All I know is that regardless of how little fanfare they’ve received this side of the water, this album is fucking brilliant.  It’s hard to say what the standout tracks are since I love them all so much, so here’s some thoughts on a handful of the songs.  “Weather to Fly” has chilled out percussion, entrancing vocals and mellow horns.  I love this song.  A lot.  The aforementioned “Grounds for Divorce” is a pounding, rhythmic song with a chorus that’s got kind of a call and response feel and reminds me of Peter Gabriel a bit, both in the music and also Guy Garvey’s voice.  “The Bones of You” and “Starlings” are just unnecessarily gorgeous, with lyrics that make me want to simultaneously swoon and smack my boyfriend for not saying things like this about me. And I can’t even begin to explain how much I love “On a Day Like This” but every time it plays I become an optimist for 6 minutes and 34 seconds.

The album is full of nigh perfect music, imo, peppered with soothing strings and blasts of brass from the dozen or so additional musicians brought in to play violin, viola, coronet, flugel and other orchestral instruments.  Some of the songs are dreamy and slow, some are trippy and swimmy, some are a little harder and all have these amazing lyrics that just floor me.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not just a chick album, I just happen to have a soft spot for love songs and this has some great ones, real panty removers.  The best I can do to compare them with other music would be that there are flavors of Peter Gabriel, Radiohead (who are apparently huge fans), Verve, Travis and Keane, but they are so much more than the sum of these comparisons.

Check them out for yourself and see why this album is Essential Listening for me.

Elbow- On a Day Like This
Elbow- Grounds For Divorce
Elbow- The Bones of You

And as a bonus, here’s the boys covering Amy Winehouse from an appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge

Elbow- Back to Black

Elbow on myspace, buy The Seldom Seen Kid on iTunes

GUEST WRITER: NINJA GUN – RESTLESS RUBES

Note from Autopsy IV: I am out this weekend babysitting my new puppy so I’ve lined up a whole slew of guest writers for the week. I hope y’all enjoy them and the music they bring to our attention as much as I am. I’ll be back early next week.

Today’s guest writer is Michael Dauphin. He’s the editor of Dude’s Magazine and also contributes to punknews.org a site I frequent and since you come around this site, you should too.

Ninja Gun hails from Valdosta, Georgia. That’s a few hours south of Athens (home of the Drive-By Truckers) and about an hour north of Gainesville, Florida (home of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers). In fact, Ninja Gun’s sound falls somewhere in between those respective artists as well. Their newest album, Restless Rubes, twinkles and shines like Petty’s unmistakable twangy pop, and opens up and rocks with similar honesty and passion that fans of the Truckers hold so dear.

The lyrical content on Restless Rubes tends to focus on dealing with socio-political ideals of The South. The listener can almost picture singer/guitarist, J. Coody, coming up with ideas for songs and finding lyrical (and internal) inspiration by analyzing the balance between his work as an aspiring rock n’roll road warrior and his other job, working on his father’s peanut farm.

Bottom line: Restless Rubes is power-pop, southern rock affair that has the potential to win over punks, hipsters, and straight-forward rock n’rollers. Don’t waste time figuring out where (or if) you fall in those categories—just give it a listen.

Ninja Gun – Restless Rubes
Ninja Gun – 8 Miles Out
Ninja Gun – Permanent Press

Ninja Gun’s Official Site, Buy Restless Rubes

TAKING A WEEK OFF:

Well, I am about to leave work to pick up our new dog, Oscar. As anyone whos has ever had one can attest…puppies are a royal pain in the ass and require constant supervision. So, I’ve decided to take next week off from ninebullets so we can all get used to one another without me trying to find time to work on pieces for the site. I’ve lined up some guest posters for the week and I’ll see y’all on the 22nd.

Wish me luck.

Take it easy,
Autopsy IV
ninebullets.net

THE FORTUNATE SONS – THE FORTUNATE SONS

These guys just bowled me over from the opening track.

The Fortunate Sons come out of Glasgow, Scotland and feature Sam West (vocals), Calum McCann (guitar), Michael Law (percussion), Graham McGeoch (Violin) and Cameron Maxwell and Duncan Lyall sharing bass duties. The band got together in 2005 and have been making a name for themselves around Glasgow ever since, with this year seeing the release of their self-titled debut album.

I was listening to this album the other day at the gym trying to formulate what I was gonna write about it and I kept coming back to comparing them to another band. The real bitch about that is that it’s a band that very few people have even heard of. The Fortunate Sons sound is basically a mix of country and blues with touches of soul and gospel thrown in for depth. They really remind me of a now-defunct (?) band call Raging Slab.

Think The Black Crowes with richer tones and more soul.

No matter how you slice it, The Fortunate Sons debut album is Essential Listening and I look forward to hearing more from these guys.

The Fortunate Sons – All I Need
The Fortunate Sons – Say Nothing
The Fortunate Sons – Slave Chain

The Fortunate Sons on myspace, The Fortunate Sons debut cd can be purchased on iTunes

Here is some Raging Slab for those interested:

Raging Slab – Lynne
Raging Slab – Weatherman
Raging Slab – Don’t Worry About The Bomb