There were so many good albums this year that I couldn’t make the decision to rank them, and I know that’s not the most important decision anyway, so this year’s best-of list is in groups with no internal order. This is the art I spent my cherished/wasted time consuming this year. Hope everybody’s upcoming year is full of growth.

Albums, Best of the Best:

Albums, Rest of the Best:

EPs, 7″s, Demos:

Reissues, Lost Albums

  • Tony FlaminioThe Grim Repair – from the head of the Failures’ Union, reissue of 2003 cd-R
  • Karen Dalton – 1966 – haunting voice and banjo recorded over porches and kitchen tables at her cabin in Boulder CO
  • Michael Hurley – Back Home with Drifting Woods – unreleased 1964 sessions from the freak folker and gorgeous yodeler
  • Jawbreaker – Bivouac – the glory

  • Padgett Powell – You & Me – nothing has to be as shitty as everything is; read this for energy
Reasons to Stay Alive Next Year
  • Drag the River, Lenny Lashley, Billy Bragg, Sebadoh,Tin Armor, and Failures’ Union full-lengths. Freakwater playing shows again.
Stay free,



If you can’t tell by the title of this collection, Joel Plaskett is Canadian and awesome. He’s the rock’roll offspring of Tom Petty and Paul McCartney—the one that lives in the garage, not even in the room above the garage, just in the garage, with the old radio and the antifreeze. And it’s a garage in Canada, so think how cold it must be.

Emergencys is 20 tracks spanning Plaskett’s work with his band the Emergency, which he formed after disbanding the hard-rocking Thrush Hermit. Plaskett has run an ambitious and creative solo career, including a concept album set in his old high school as well as a 27-song triple album. So it’s to be expected that a few of the songs included here aim for something interesting and end up somewhere else. But most of them hit that twangy power pop sweet spot. This collection is the perfect place to start sorting through his work; you can hear Plaskett becoming a better songwriter over this decade’s-worth of dirty rock and eventually you’ll get to the part where Plaskett gets rescued from that Canadian garage by his uncle Paul Westerberg.

One of the most apt lyrics to make it into any career-spanning compilation: “Just because we love you does not mean we miss you.

Joel Plaskett – Make A Little Noise
Joel Plaskett – Nothing More To Say
Joel Plaskett – When I Go

Joel Plaskett’s Official Site, Joel Plaskett on Facebook, Buy Emergencys