Obligatory Best of Songs (and albums) 2010

I know I’ve been procrastinating the blog and the sharing of music that really does bring me pleasure. Why do I not do it then? Well, I’m a very good procrastinator, and… well that’s all I got at the moment. This year, as with last, some of my favorite finds have been unearthed by tracking down the tunes to the TV show Chuck. I always look forward to that show, if for the music alone. Actually recently the soundtrack has outshone the plot by quite a few kilowatts.

Caveat: You’ll notice my “best of” mixes have nothing to do with actual “best” albums/songs, but rather what I liked best or rather what I like at this very moment better than the others. This is completely arbitrary to my personal taste and preference.

Here are some of my favorite songs that were released last year.

The Happiest Lamb|Audra Mae
In My Sleep|Austin Hartley-Leonard & Kendall Jane Meade
On My Way Back Home|Band of Horses
Howlin’ For You|The Black Keys
Beat The Devil’s Tattoo|Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Crossfire|Brandon Flowers
The Ghost Inside|Broken Bells
Jackie Wants A Black Eye|Dr. Dog
I Like The Way This Is Going|Eels
The Diamond Church Street Choir|The Gaslight Anthem
Big Wave|Jenny and Johnny
Change Of Time|Josh Ritter
I Will Live On Islands|Josh Rouse
Think I’ll Go Inside|Joshua Radin
Little Lovin’|Lissie
Witchcraft|Matt Costa
Starting|Matt Pond PA
Congratulations|MGMT
Precious Stone|Pete Yorn
Beg, Steal Or Borrow|Ray LaMontagne
Solitary Gun|Rogue Wave
I Can’t Get Enough|Rooney
Thieves|She & Him
King Of Spain|The Tallest Man On Earth
Holiday|Vampire Weekend

You can download the entire mix by clicking – HERE. (As with last years mix – it doesn’t fit on a standard CD-R, I was too lazy to whittle it down (again) and I couldn’t delete a couple songs, so if you want to fit it, you’ll have to pick a couple to remove before burning, if you still use those archaic discs.)

I usually don’t list my favorite albums, but without thinking terribly hard about it – off the top of my head the ones that stand out to me in the last year are (in no particular order):

Infinite Arms|Band of Horses
So Runs The World Away|Josh Ritter
Tomorrow Morning|Eels
American Slang|Gaslight Anthem
Brothers|The Black Keys
Broken Bells|Broken Bells
American VI: Ain’t No Grave|Johnny Cash
The Grand Theatre Volume One|Old 97’s
Downtown Church|Patty Griffin
Contra|Vampire Weekend

Happy New Year. (better late than…)

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The Great Salt Lake

I know, I know, trite apology for the lack of blogging here, I am really out of the habit. I do occasionally mull around the idea of sharing some new song/artist with the Universe by way of the inter-webs, but rarely does the idea linger past the light-bulb stage. I went to the Band of Horses show this week in Salt Lake City on my birthday. It was sort of my present to myself and I have to say that I am often told that I can pick the right present for a person, and I’m no exception to that guideline (if I do say so myself.) I’ve blogged before about how much I enjoy this band and seeing them live was just great. The group sauntered onto the stage to the classic Joe Walsh tune that was played at my High School quite often. The story goes that when they were attempting to name said school that it was considered calling it ‘Rocky Mountain High,” which is both awesome and horrible all at the same time, but while they didn’t end up naming it after the great John Denver, “Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh became a bit of an unofficial theme to play at pep rally’s when it was first built, and still was when I was there (along with Thunderstruck by AC/DC, back in my day, as we were the Thunderbirds.)
The band started out the night with the Great Salt Lake and it really got the crowd going singing along in the city that bears the name of the lake, especially when frontman Ben Bridwell paused before singing (along with the crowd) “the Great Salt Lake” and ensuring that the entire audience should sing said something along the lines of “this is the only time we get to play the song tonight.” The set list was really a wise choice from beginning to end, including a cover of J.J. Cale’s Thirteen Days after which Bridwell told the crowd to go listen to more of Cale’s music. I do have to say that the strange song selections began at the encore, I really wouldn’t have guessed that those were the songs they would have played during the show at all, let alone as the encore (apart from Our Swords,) and I would have walked away thinking they had played every great song of theirs I had expected and even wished they’d play – except for the fact that at some point during the encore some guy behind me mentioned the need to hear Detlef Schrempf and only then did I realize what I was missing. Overall it was a great concert and it reminded me how much fun it is to share the experience of great music with others. I was also reminded how old I’m getting and how not fun it is to stand up through two opening acts and then the headliner, I have to remember that the cool kids show up late not just for appearances.

Rocky Mountain WayJoe Walsh
The Great Salt LakeBand of Horses
Thirteen DaysJ.J. Cale
Detlef SchrempfBand of Horses

Band of Horses Covers…

I’ve written about Band of Horses before and I’ll probably write about them again. I was made aware recently of a cover version of the tune “the Funeral” on some new secretly scripted “unscripted” fake reality show on MTV (I don’t think that channel has played a video since the mid 90’s, but I really wouldn’t know as I haven’t tuned in since the early 90’s). The cover by the titular chick Liz, “My Life As Liz” – is not bad and I’ve posted the version from the show, though there is some annoying talking during one bit. You can view the episode over HERE. This song was covered by Serena Ryder a Juno Award Winning Singer/Songwriter and currently is winning in a “Spinner” battle between her cover and the original – you can click over HERE and vote for yourself which you think wins that battle. And I’ve just learned that Cee-Lo Green (half of the group Gnarls Barkley) has covered another track by the Horse-filled Band as well, or should I say also, because it’s really not done well – but you make the call, which cover do you prefer?

The Funeral (Band of Horses)|Serena Ryder & The Beauties
No Ones Gonna Love You (Band of Horses)|Cee-Lo Green
The Funeral (Band of Horses)|Liz Lee as My Life As Liz

There’s always a flip-side to every coin and as others are covering tunes by Band of Horses, the band themselves are covering tracks by other artists.

Can’t Hardly Wait (Replacements)|Band of Horses
Plans (Grizzly Bear)|Band of Horses
The End’s Not Near (The New Year)|Band of Horses

Compliments of Band of Horses

New video from the new Band of Horses album out next month (5/18). I’ve enjoyed very much the first two albums from this Seattle band, more so than almost any other band of late. This is their first release on the Columbia label after their first two were put out on the indie Sub Pop label. From what I’ve heard so far it is a bit more of a rocking sound than their previous ones, but this group I enjoy the progression, though I hope there is some space left on the new album for some time to slow down and have those almost ethereal voice moments that I’ve grown to love from the group. Here are a few tracks that I love, there are many many more that you should track down and listen to on your own – and don’t forget to get out there and purchase the new album.

(2007 Cease to Begin)
Detlef Schrempf|Band of Horses

(2007 KCRW Sessions)
Our Swords|Band of Horses

(2006 Everything All The Time)
The Great Salt Lake|Band of Horses