CHARLES HALE'S 10 RECORDS THAT MADE 2011 TOLERABLE, ETC.

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 

GILLIAN WELCH / DAVID WAX MUSEUM / THE HEAD & THE HEART

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