Here is my list of favorite releases from this past year (in order):
1) The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
2) Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 - Olé! Tarantula
3) Bob Dylan - Modern Times
4) Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
5) The Elected - Sun, Sun, Sun
6) Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
7) Goldfrapp - Supernature
8) Home Video - No Certain Night or Morning
9) Paul Weller - Catch-Flame! (Live at The Alexandra Palace)
10) Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
11) Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
12) Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
13) Artic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
14) Raconteurs - Broken Toy Soldiers
15) Neil Young - Living With War
The Crane Wife came out of nowhere & flew into my cd player, my computer… my mind- residing there like thickening concrete. I am unable to get their songs out of my head. The Island…, with its 70’s prog riffs & nautical tone is the class of the album. Five tracks later, Shankill Butchers lays you bare as a sort of goodnight story gone horribly wrong. Then you’ve got their indie fans crying foul as they jumped to a major label only to be rewarded with their most acclaimed album to date. Buy this album today as The Decemberists are for real!
Olé! Tarantula was not an album I ever wanted to purchase. I’ve had this hatred- yes hatred, for Robyn Hitchcock since I first heard him shriek “So You Think You’re in Love” many years ago. Hated that whiny song and figured his music past, present and future must be just like that. Therefore, I never understood why so many people liked him or his early claim to fame as the principle force in The Soft Boys. Yeah, I’ve likely missed out on some good music. This year, Olé! Tarantula kept popping up online,in magazine articles and by word of mouth. I finally got to hear a bit of it and promptly purchased it at Tower Records when they were liquidating all their stock (RIP). There is not a song on this album I do not like. Brilliant!
Other worthy releases this year:
U.N.K.L.E. - Self Defence (Never, Never, Land - Reconstructed and Bonus Beats - 4 Disc Set)
Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops
Tool - 10,000 Days
Andy Partridge - Fuzzy Warbles #7, 8
Pinback - Nautical Antiques (A Selection of Rarities from 1998 - 2001)
Revolver Reloaded (From Mojo Magazine)
Q Covered: The Eighties (From Q Magazine)
Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris - All the Roadrunning
Morrissey - Ringleader of the Tormentors
The Beatles - LOVE <----------------- Really, REALLY GOOD!
Guilty Pleasure of the year:
The Rudy Van Gelder reissues for Blue Note Records. Not sure how many are in this series (he’s also re-mastered RVG Editions for Prestige), but every one I’ve gotten this year is fantastic!
These three are especially outstanding:
Joe Henderson - Page One
Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage
Bud Powell - Time Waits
Disappointment of the year:
The Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics
Beck - The Information
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
I had such high hopes for these four albums and all four failed to keep my attention for very long. I was most hopeful for the new Beck album, but it seems he is floundering in genre-hell and has no idea what to do with his work much less the packaging and presentation of his cd… and speaking of packaging--
what was with the shite packaging on Tool’s - 10,000 Days (What the hell were they thinking?)
Debut of the year:
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
With the exception of a horrible cover of Gone Daddy Gone by the Violent Femme’s, this album rocks!
Reissue of note that I enjoyed:
The Cure - The Head on the Door (Deluxe Edition)
In the top 5 of their best records and the gateway album at the beginning of their world-wide introduction/mid to late 80’s domination. The live tracks on the second disc are inspiring and very chilling if you’ve ever had the chance to see The Cure live.
Label of note:
Yep Roc Records
Some of my favorite albums from the past 2 or 3 years are on Yep Roc.
Trend I wish would go away:
Bemoaning the faltering status of the music industry by the very industry that is destroying itself.
If those jackasses would just drop prices for cd’s, a lot of those problems would start to fade away. People like to shop in music stores. Tower Records was always packed when I went in to browse and shop & my local indie store is always busy with customers. Yes downloading is here to stay and yes it has hurt business but people will gladly pay $8.99 to 11.99 for a new disc. Those are fair prices to pay and I do it all the time.
Dropping prices won’t fix all the problems the major labels have and there are numerous other talking points/tangents to discuss on this matter, but it would be a start.
Hope you enjoyed my list.
Feedback is hoped for and encouraged.