Jan 092013
 

16.Cory Branan – Mutt

It seems like every review of Mutt talks about there being this style, then this style, then another, and what they never say is that every song on Mutt is incredibly well written.  Every song on Mutt is incredibly well written, I said it twice to make up for other’s neglect.

Badman

15.The Sparklers – Crying At The Low Bar

The review of this album generated a good bit of positive feedback.  I was surprised people liked it as much as they did.  It’s a really good record and because of the reaction I ended up listening to it more than I probably would have otherwise.  Thanks y’all.

Weren’t For Bars

14. Justin Townes Earle- Nothing Can Change The Way You Feel About Me Now

This record has grown on me over the course of the year.  Earle has talent and he’s not afraid to mix things up.  I don’t think this record has as much Memphis on it as most people do but it’s damn fine nonetheless.

Movin’ On

13. David Wax Museum – Knock Knock Get Up

The songwriting seemed to take a bit of a backseat on this release, compared to the two previous DWM records, but the sounds and the rhythms are top notch.  The band has seemed to receive a ton of recognition from this record and I’m confident they deserve every word written.

A Dog In This Fight

12. Todd Snider – Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

One of the nice things on this record is that because Todd plays a lot of electric guitar his bitter venom on a couple of songs is more deadly than usual.  It’s a rough record by design and I’d march up the pyramids with Todd if he told me to.

In Between Jobs

11.Dinero – Sheep

I’m listening to this record as I type this, for the gazillionth time, and it’s still strange and beautiful and kind of makes me feel the way last year’s Cave Singers record made me feel.  Word is there is a shortish LP coming from Dinero coming in the early part of 2013.

Daddy’s Money

10.Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Live In Alabama

Yes it’s a live record and without any new originals but it’s so damn good.  I feel like I just wrote the review of this record a week ago so I don’t have any new thoughts.  Just listen to it and find the video from their appearance on Letterman, old David was pretty pumped up it.

Heart On A String

9.John Fullbright – From The Ground Up

The more I listen to this record the more I dig it.  Fullbright is young to be composing music the way he is.  He isn’t afraid to be understated and restrained but there’s plenty of punch on this Grammy nominated album.

Me Wanting You

8.4H Royalty – Where UFOs Go To Die

Their sophomore effort is such a huge step up from album one and word from the 4H Royalty headquarters in Byers CO is that another record is nearly finished and songs are being written for the follow up to that one.  When listening to UFOs pay attention to the subject matter, nobody is writing songs about the kinds of things these guys are writing about.

Virtues, Spices, & Liquor

7.Andrew Combs – Worried Man

Another debut album on my list.  His four song EP was such a teaser and Worried Man lived up.  Combs is another one of those songwriter who is compared to Guy Clarke but he’s better than all the others being compared to Clarke.  I truly hope he’s a prolific writer and that this album has found enough success that more albums come on a yearly basis.  If they do I suspect Andrew Combs will be on my best of list for years to come.

Take It From Me

6.Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

I firmly believe that these kids can make a record that can be much higher on my list.  They are so damn good already, hopefully all the success they’ve had helps them make a great record, and not the other way around.  I’m ready for whatever’s next.

Heartbreaker

5.Lucero – Women & Work

Women & Work is Lucero’s most danceable record.  It’s just fun, damn it.  It’ll never be my favorite release from them but it’s the best album they’ve made for dancing with women instead of moaning about them.

It May Be Too Late

4.Patterson Hood – Heat Lightening Rumbles In The Distance

Long gone are Patterson’s days of writing brash in your face rockers.  He’s developed into a literary rocker unafraid to present his work in calm and understated recordings.  I dig it so much because my listening preferences have happened to shift with his output.  God, I need to own this vinyl.

Better Than The Truth

3.American Aquarium – Burn.Flicker.Die

I often think of AA as the little band that could.  When I first saw them The Bible & The Bottle was fresh out and three studio albums later they’ve put out their best yet.  Does Jason Isbell turning the knobs help?  Probably, but more importantly the band has gotten tighter and tighter as the years have passed and BJ’s songwriting gets more and more consistent.  Most likely you’ve heard about AA but if you haven’t picked up Burn.Flicker.Die you’re late to the party so drink fast.

Saturday Nights

2.McDougall – A Few Towns More

I heard about this record in the Nine Bullet offices for a while before I listened to it.  Holy shit I’m glad I did.  This record is what Nine Bullets is all about.  Here’s a guy making phenomenal music that not enough people know about.  It’s not that the whole world knows about him now, but if it wasn’t for Nine Bullets I wouldn’t know about him.  Do yourself a favor.

Ask That Pretty Girl To Be My Wife

1.Spirit Family Reunion – No Separation

Their first full length is rugged but uplifting. Their songs are delivered with such fervor and unrestrained joy.  If you still believe music can make a bad day good then check out their Tiny Desk Concert. I love it, love it, love it.

I Am Following The Sound

Dec 272011
 

11. William Elliot Whitmore-Field Songs:  Songs about working and struggling and grasping to the only piece of fucking dirt that yours and some SOB trying to cheat you out of it.  Thanks WEW.  I’m taking bullshit handyman work over the winter just so I can afford to eat Burger King and drink a couple of Miller High Lifes every once in a while, so I’m a disciple of these songs.  I wonder what the farmers in Iowa do in the wintertime to survive.  Is the suicide rate higher then?  He’s singing about surviving here, that’s what you sing about when you know it’s not a guaranteed kind of thing.

10.  David Wax Museum-Everything Is Saved:  I’m writing this two and a half days before Christmas and I’m 2000 miles away from anyone I share blood with.  That and other real life bullshit is why “The Least That I Can Do” is my favorite song of the year.

9.  Hayes Carll-KMAG YO-YO: Hayes Carll is a goddamn wiseass but he’s my kind of wiseass.  I’d bet we drink for the same reasons.  It’s safe to say his year’s gone better than mine because this record isn’t as full of downtrodden and broken spirit as much of his earlier work.  Good for him.

8.  Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Here We Rest:  It’s entirely possible that two years from now this will be my favorite album from 2011.  It’s cozy, like snuggling up with an old dog cozy.  My dog is only two and a half so I’m not talking about snuggling with him.  I’m talking about breaking into your house while you’re away and snuggling with your dog.  I’ve done it.  If you don’t believe me ask your dog.

7.  Lauderdale-Moving On:  I’m probably the same age as the fellas in Lauderdale but they kinda feel like a little brother.  Like I’ve been away from home for a while and when I got back my little brother was drinking beer, not in an obnoxious drooling all over yourself and pissing people off kind of drunk, but the let’s go wander around kind of drunk.  I can tell my little brother’s been introduced to whiskey and I wish I’d been the one to pour his first.

6.  The Head & The Heart-Self Titled:  My favorite debut of the year.  This is a good mood, riding down the road with the windows down kind of record.  It’s 9 degrees outside right now and I would call my mood good so if you’re one of those well-off fucks with a fancy phone pull it out and make some notation to listen to this record on your Spring Break trip with all your friends.  It’ll sound amazing then.

5.  The Low Anthem-Smart Flesh:  I’d like to be all snarky and smug in this paragraph but the truth is I basically fell in love with Josie Adams when I saw The Low Anthem earlier this year in Denver.  She’s the band’s secret weapon.  If you read this Josie please don’t write, I don’t want to find out you’re not as badass as I imagine you to be.  There’s a blog about one of the band members making some kind of giant moth sculpture.  I wish they would hurry up and finish with that project so they can make another record.

4.  Drive-By Truckers-Go Go Boots:  You ready to fight?  This is the best truckers record in a long time and some folks have gotten so used to sub-par outputs that they don’t notice when a great fucking album shows up.  They finally found the sound they were looking for since they wrapped The Dirty South.  Stop your bitching about it not being Decoration Day.  It’s their 9th studio album and when the cannon of DBT songs is complied “I Do Believe,” “Used To Me A Cop,” “Everybody Needs Love,” “Pulaski,” and “Mercy Buckets” will all be included.  MB being one of the five best songs Hood has ever written.  Disagree?  I’d be ok with punching you in the mouth.

3.  Brown Bird-Salt For Salt:  Everything that needs to be said can be understood by noticing that dude is wearing a Mastodon T-shirt in this video.

2.  Cave Singers-No Witch:  This record still freaks me the fuck out.  There was something about procreating to it in my review and I’m still not sure where that notion comes from but maybe The Cave Singers are aliens or ancient warriors from the Garden of Eden.  Seriously, what are the sounds on this record that spook me, how did they make them?  Why does he have to howl while he sings?  Is there possession involved?

1. Glossary-Long Live All Of Us: Has any band in our little neck of the music landscape released three successive records as badass as Glossary’s last three since the SRO, DD, TDS trilogy?  I think not.  There are literary quality lyrics about sinning and quests for redemption.  Buy the damn record and help the little band that could move from the bars to the clubs.  This record makes me wanna dance.  Do you wanna dance? 

Most Disapointing Record:  My Morning Jacket-Circutial

Favorite Book: Donald Ray Pollack-The Devil All The Time (but I read a bunch of books, here’s the whole list)

Favorite Shows: Langhorne Slim/Pineross, Proud Larrys.  The Low Anthem, Larimer Lounge.

Favorite UFC fight:  Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua 

Nov 292011
 

Good afternoon and thank you for reading.  You have many choices to make for your web reading and I’m thankful that you chose to spend these next few minutes with me.  Blah, blah, blah…

I’m as big a fan of three guitar and a life of crime or the old sad songs as anyone around nine bullets but sometimes I need something a little different. Maybe it’s a Sunday morning where I just don’t want to get out of bed or a Tuesday evening when work has been too much and I’m exhausted and want nothing more than to sit on the couch and sink in.  These three records are for those kinds of times.

There are common threads between these albums,  male/female harmonies, unique instrumentation, literary quality lyrics, and most importantly Essential Listening status.  Enjoy.

There’s a damn good chance you’ve heard Gillian Welch before.  There’s also a chance you’ve heard her latest album The Harrow & The Harvest, it’s been out for several months.  But if you haven’t here’s your chance to correct your wrong.  There isn’t anything groundbreaking on TH&TH, it sounds like Gillian Welch, which means it’s comfortable, calming, and awesome.  When I heard Gillian and David interviewed on NPR I heard them call it 10 different kinds of sad.  The only complaint I have is that they could have made it 12 or 13 kinds of sad.  It’s Essential Listening, silly.

Gillian Welch – The Way It Goes
Gillian Welch – Dark Turn Of Mind

Gillian Welch’s Official Site, Gillian Welch on facebook, Gillian Welch on Spotify, Buy The Harrow & The Harvest

The David Wax Museum is a three piece band.  Two years ago they turned a bunch of heads at the Newport Folk Festival and went from small time in the New England scene to big time across the US and Europe.  I’m talking big time by folk band standards. Everything is Saved is filled with enthusiasm and infectious attitude, two things you wouldn’t normally say about a folk band. There are also moments that can only be described as gorgeous.  Listen and don’t be afraid to dance a little.  Listen to “Born With A Broken Heart” and” The Least That I Can Do” and tell me it’s not Essential Listening.

The David Wax Museum – Born With A Broken Heart
The David Wax Museum – The Least That I Can Do

David Wax Museum’s Official Site, David Wax Museum on facebook, The David Wax Museum on Spotify,  buy Everything Is Saved

The self titled album by The Head & The Heart is my favorite debut of 2011. I don’t generally listen to pop music and calling what The Head & The Heart do pop music is almost unfair but I don’t know what else to call it.  It’s not like the pop of Katy Perry or the indie pop of whoever sings that song about pumped up kicks.  Their album has an earnestness and depth that most musicians their age are shying away from.  Every song is catchy as hell and when I first found this album I was guilty of playing it twice back to back.  It might not be everyone on Nine Bullets cup of tea but to me it is Essential Listening.

The Head & The Heart – Ghosts
The Head & The Heart – Heaven Go Easy On Me

The Head & The Heart’s Official Site, The Head & The Heart on Facebook, The Head & The Heart on Spotify, Buy The Head and The Heart