I would like to think I do a pretty good job of covering as much music as possible, and given the chance to digest a ton of music its obvious that I’ll miss some of the fantastic releases that a year has. These are some of them that are sticking out to me, ones that I’ve only recently gone back and listened to and realized what a god awful fool I was for not mentioning them more.
Black Joe Lewis – Scandalous
Black Joe Lewis – She’s So Scandalous
Soul rock & roll without comparison, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears are doing something that seems nobody else is doing these days. Combining the efforts of James Brown and Sly & the Family Stone with gritty, ballsy rock & roll. What comes out is one of the funnest records you can listen to. This is basically a sex party record. Songs about getting your ham glazed or dirty women abound on an album so perfectly named. Favorites include: Booty City, She’s So Scandalous, Mustang Ranch.
Buy > Scandalous
The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
The War on Drugs – Come to the City
Ambient Folk rock didn’t sound any better than on this album. It feels like a lengthy roadtrip, without stops, just slow constant auditory change. The album is a blurred pastiche of Springsteen with songs that have similarities to the Boss. You can hear it as a slight influence, though that is about as far as it goes. This is a solid album made up of a linear set of songs. There aren’t real catchy tunes, it all amalgamates into a beautiful piece of work that transports the listener. Favorites include: Come to The City, I Was There, Baby Missiles.
Buy > Slave Ambient
Cass McCombs – Humor Risk
Cass McCombs – The Same Thing
McCombs’ second LP of the year strikes a chord thats a bit more upbeat, a bit more listener friendly. This album feels a bit more like a traditional rock environment, but still inhabits some of McCombs dire connection with dark, wry humor. Its one of those albums that exists to make you unwrap it. At surface level, its one thing, but as you dig a little deeper you see the dark hilarity of McCombs’ writing. Its one that I came to really enjoy, but it took a while. Favorites include: Love Thine Enemy, The Same Thing, The Living Word.
Buy > Humor Risk
Ponderosa – Moonlight Revival
Ponderosa – Old Gin Road
A band that I’m not finding enough people talking about. I’ve had their Moonlight Revival EP sitting around in my library for a year or two now; but this year they went back in and re-recorded and added new tunes to an already awesome set of songs. Singer Kalen Nash’s voice is perfect for their americana roots rock sound, its a bit dusty, gritty, fiery, and boot-stomping fantastic. Favorites include: Old Gin Road, Hold On You, Little Runaway.
Buy > Actor-Caster
Felice Brothers – Celebration, Florida
The Felice Brothers – Fire at the Pageant
Felice Brothers combine folk elements into a haunting version of Americana. The songs are a bit dark, expansive and can be quite lush and beautiful, but they feel almost torn with sadness on each song. The album is quite strange how it changes tempos, combines organic folk instruments with drum machines and loops, and menacing songs about the banal small town news. Its definitely a different direction for indie-folk, but one that should be heralded for being unconventional. Favorites include: Fire at the Pageant, Honda Civic, Ponzi.
Buy > Celebration, Florida