Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Our Final Year-End Post


2019 In Review

By Henry Lipput

My year-end review this time around is not so much a "best-of" or a countdown as it is a list of favorites, the music I've been listening to and enjoying in 2019, the albums, EPs, singles, a compilation, and a reissue / live album. I've listened to nearly 50 albums in 2019 and have reviewed many of them for CoolDad Music. I've chosen 12 of them as my favorites.

Thanks again to CoolDad for, six years on, allowing me to continue to be part of the team and write about music. 

I've also put together a Spotify playlist with my favorite songs from my favorite 2019 releases. If you like what you hear or what I've written about, buy a download or a CD to support indie music.



ALBUMS

The Pearlfishers, Love & Other Hopeless Things. This is an absolutely wonderful album full of gorgeous pop tunes with echoes of the work of Burt Bacharach, Laura Nyro, and Jimmy Webb. The title song is inspired by Cilla Black and "You Can Take Me There" is a pop treasure. If I had to choose a very most favorite album of 2019 it would be this one. I liked it so much that I bought the vinyl. (Marina Records)

Bill Pritchard, Midland Lullabies. You could call it supper-club pop or a recital at a local town hall but whatever name you give to Bill Pritchard's latest collection of songs, you'll have to agree that Midland Lullabies is a brilliant album. Following 2016's splendid Mother Town Hall, Pritchard has upped his game by stripping down his sound to just voice, piano, and the occasional strings. (Tapete Records)

Armstrong, Under Blue Skies. Armstrong is Julian Pitt, and Under Blue Skies was originally self-released in very limited quantities on CDr. The Beautiful Music label and Country Mile Records decided to give the album a proper release and added demos and otherwise lost tracks. The album is a true find and the songs on Under Blue Skies are, as The Chills once said of one of their own tunes, heavenly pop hits. (The Beautiful Music / Country Mile Records)

David Mead, Cobra Pumps. Since I've been a long-time fan of David Mead's music (since 1999), you can imagine how excited I was to learn that he had released the excellent Cobra Pumps, his first solo album since 2011's very fine Dudes. The new album is, as expected, full of top pop tunes but there's also more than a little funk on songs like "Poster Child," and the gorgeous "Hopalong" is reminiscent of his superb Indiana album from 2004. Cobra Pumps is a welcome addition to his marvelous body of work. (DavidMead.com for CD and vinyl and digital vendors for downloads)

Fallon Cush, Stranger Things Have Happened. Stranger Things Have Happened is this Australian band's third release in three years and they never sounded better. Led by lead singer, songwriter, producer, and guitarist Steve Smith, the current lineup includes a core group that played on 2018's Morning and toured Australia to support that album. You can hear it in the interplay of the musicians on Stranger Things Have Happened. (Bandcamp)

Empty City Squares, 337. John Fotiadis is an architect by day and a one-man rock-and-roll machine any time he can fit it in. 337 is full of Squeeze-like hooks and crisp guitar solos as good as Glenn Tilbrook's (Fotiadis's bass playing is right up there too). He uses instruments that aren't new or unique but add flavor to his songs like the electric organ on "Sometimes You Need To Look Back (When You Look Ahead)" (think the Ray Charles classic "What'd I Say") and the harmonica in the rocking "It's Your Day." And the closing moments of "Talk About The Weather" may remind you of "The End" on Abbey Road. (Bandamp)

Robert Forster, Inferno. Inferno is Australian singer-songwriter Robert Forster's first solo album in four years and his third since 2008's The Evangelist which followed the untimely death of Forster's bandmate and Go-Betweens co-founder Grant McLennan. Forster has described Inferno as a "performance record" and you can hear the give-and-take between Foster and the other musicians and a new-found looseness in his voice. The title song, "Inferno (Brisbane in Summer)," was an early warning sign of what's happening in Australia right now. (Tapete Records)

The Magic Es, Dark Star. Since The Magic Es released their terrific debut album It Goes On in 2017 they've released six excellent singles. The Magic Es are Pete Thompson on vocals and guitars, Jasper Stainthorpe on bass, and Stuart Catchpole on drums and background vocals. Over the course of the last two years, they have become a tighter, more focused group and they continue to be the best British rock and roll band since the Gallagher Brothers. Dead Star is ten songs of pure power-chord delight. (wearemagic.uk)

Gretchen's Wheel, Moth to Lamplight: A Nada Surf Tribute. Lindsay Murray, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (she plays everything except the drums) provides intelligent covers of Nada Surf songs like "Killian's Red" (from Let Go) and "See These Bones" (from Lucky). But she's accomplished something of a musical mind-meld on a few of the early Nada Surf songs I'm not familiar with. This connection is so strong that there were times when I could forget that it was a Nada Surf song and think I was listening to a brand-new song by Gretchen's Wheel. (Futureman Records / Bandcamp)

RW Hedges. The Hills Are Old Songs. Hedges and his writing partner Luca Nieri have produced a suite of songs that imagine the American West of 1877. The songs are both quiet and melodic like the lovely "Haven't Seen Her In A While" and "Girl In The Story." "Down To Venezuela" adds a little more of a pop vibe to the album. Hedges is a self-described lover of songs from the Golden Age of Broadway (Rodgers and Hart and Rodgers and Hammerstein are touchstones), so it's not surprising that the songs on The Hills Are Old Songs could by the basis of a future stage production. (Wonderful Sound)

Chris Stamey, New Songs For The 20th Century. Chris Stamey, with his remarkable new album, returns us to a world in which John F. Kennedy is in the White House, the British Invasion has yet to happen, and the New York Mets are having their first regular season. Stamey is an indie rock pioneer having been in the legendary dbs, worked with the great Alex Chilton, and released more than a few well-received solo albums. But from a young age, Stamey has kept his ears open to the popular music and show tunes of the 30's, 40's, and 50's. His knowledge and love of this music resonates throughout his new collection.( Omnivore Recordings)

Mekons, Deserted. Mekons started out in 1977 as a punk band that didn't know how to play their instruments. Along the way, they created the Americana genre with their 1985 Fear and Whiskey album and mixed rock and roll with politics on albums like 1989's The Mekons Rock'N'Roll. Deserted is much like that album and includes three long-time vocalists: original members Jon Langford ("Lawrence Of California")and Tom Greenhalgh ("How Many Stars")and the golden-voiced and Mekons secret weapon Sally Timms who joined up in the 1980s ("After The Rain"). I saw the band last summer at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and they were just fabulous and rocked out big time. (Bloodshot Records)

EPs

Super 8, Head Sounds the EP. Last year, SUPER 8 released three amazing albums; and, this year, we've had the Backers & Maracas compilation and the singles "Love Like Ours," "Days Like These," "Island Girl," and "TIMEBOMB (featuring Lisa Mycols)." Head Sounds the EP has five songs including the Graceland-influenced "Bones," a wonderful cover of "Across The Universe," and he sings about his dealings with the music industry on "I Just Wanna Be Me." (Bandcamp)

The Memory Fades, She Loves The Birds. Stephen Maughan is the musical mastermind behind the British band The Memory Fades. They released two-and-half EPs last year my favorite being She Loves The Birds (the half is a remix of songs from their Space Pilot EP). One of the songs on the Space Pilot EP, "listening to the marychain," is a clue to the delightful shoegaze sound that Maughan and company are producing. (Sunday Records / Bandcamp)

Annie Booth, Spectral.  Annie Booth is a singer-songwriter from Edinburgh, Scotland. Her EP, Spectral, is a wonderful collection of songs that, especially on "Still," sound more than a little like Joni Mitchell's Blue. I first heard her "Magic 8" song on the "Postcards From The Underground" internet radio show. I was taken with Booth's songs and her quiet, spare arrangements and immediately went to Bandcamp and pre-ordered the EP. (Scottish Fiction / Last Night From Glasgow / Bandcamp)

SINGLES

The Hangabouts, "Who Wants Cilla?" / "Mrs. Greene." The Hangabouts are a great power pop collective from the Detroit area. "Who Wants Cilla?" is both a musical question as well as the answer in a love-letter and tribute to this former coat-check girl at the Cavern Club who later had a career as a singer of ballads. "Mrs. Greene" is a country-rock throwback with it's Carl Perkins-like guitar solo. The song is also reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson." (Futureman Records / Big Stir Records / Bandcamp)

Close Lobsters, "All Compasses Go Wild." Close Lobsters released two albums and a bunch of singles in the 80's but not much was heard from the band until two EPs came out about six years ago (one in 2014 and the other in 2016). (To be honest I didn't discover Close Lobsters until a year or so ago when Wally Salem of The Beautiful Music tweeted a song from one of the EPs. Thank you, Wally.) "All Compasses Go Wild" is the first single from their new album Post Neo Anti: Arte Povera in the Forest of Symbols coming out in February 2020. They continue to mix politics and Rickenbackers, and it continues to be an amazing sound. (Shelflife / Bandcamp)

Teenage Fanclub, "Everything Is Falling Apart." Teenage Fanclub have been giving us great pop music for close to 30 years. There were questions circulating on social media about the future of the band after Gerald Love, the bass player and one-third of the writers, left the group. But Norman Blake stepped up with this track and, it's classic Fanny material. (Merge Records)

COMPILATION / BEST-OF

the black watch, 31 Years of Obscurity: The Best of the black watch: 1988-2019. I keep asking myself "How did I miss this?" The title of this career-spanning compilation shows that I'm not the only one who missed out on some terrific music over the years. 31 Years of Obscurity contains twenty two first-rate tracks selected from the band's full-length CDs and LPs as well as EPs and singles. And because the songs on the album aren't in chronological order you get the sense that the black watch have been consistently amazing throughout their career. However, this outstanding anthology of tunes by the black watch will hopefully bring loads of new fans to the band. (ATOM Records)

REISSUE / LIVE ALBUM

The Replacements, Dead Man's Pop. If you ever wondered why The Replacements' 1989 album Don't Tell A Soul didn't rock out as much as their previous release, the great Pleased To Meet Me, it was the mix. Matt Wallace, the producer of Don't Tell A Soul, wasn't allowed by the record company to mix the album; the result sanded off the band's rough edges for a more glossy, radio-friendly sound. Wallace was brought back to mix the album the way he and Paul Westerberg wanted it to sound, and we now have Dead Man's Pop with new sounds to check out like the banjo on "Talent Show." The box set includes the new mix on vinyl and CD, a CD of outtakes and unreleased material, and two CDs of a most excellent Replacements concert from 1989 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

What's Going On: 1/23, 1/24, 1/25 & 1/26, 2020

Somebody has a birthday this weekend.

It's Winter

My least favorite time of year is that time between the holidays and MLB Spring Training. We're deep into it now.

Anyway...

Beauty and kqhyt kqhyt are at APYC on Friday night. Also on Friday, Lenny Lashley, Chris Skel, Erotic Novels, and Doug Zambon are at The Saint. Puppyboy, Magic Ghrelin, Fence, and Aspirin Damage are at Asbury Park Brewery. Lowlight head to Ortlieb's in Philly for a show with Alright Junior and Morning River Band. On Saturday, Hot Blood, Nervous Triggers, latewaves, and more play a benefit show in the basement at Bond. Wyldlife are at FM in Jersey City with The Vansaders and more. Bob Mould plays a sold out show in South Orange. G. Love and Special Sauce are at The Stone Pony on Sunday.

Add to that CoolDaughter 2's Ramones cover show at The Downtown on Saturday afternoon and it looks like a fun weekend.

Stay warm. Don't drink and drive.

THURSDAY (1/23)

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Take Today / What Is Broken / Nobody From Jersey, 5:30pm, $10-$12

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): Seamstress / Charlie Sztyk / Soulminer, 8pm, $8

Headroom Bar & Social (Jersey City): Debra Devi / J Hacha de Zola / Gerry Rosenthal Trio, 7pm, $5-$10

House of Independents (Asbury): Save Asbury's Waterfront Benefit: Marc Ribler & Friends Performing CSNY, 7:30pm, $30

Meatlocker (Montclair): Open Mic, 8pm

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): Vanwho / Moon Hollow, 8pm

Triumph Brewing (Red Bank): The Wright Trio, 6pm

Zone One at Elsewhere (Brooklyn): Cheerleader / Lover / Colatura, 8pm, $15

FRIDAY (1/24)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): VX / Meganow / Chucky Hugh / Joe Pearson, 9pm

Asbury Lanes (Asbury): Brian Kirk & The Jirks, 8pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Puppyboy / Magic Ghrelin / Fence / Aspirin Damage, 7:30pm, $10

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Beauty / kqhyt kqhyt, 9pm

Ask (Ask): The Planet You / Old Joy / The Reflectory / Picnic, 8pm

Ask (Ask): ManDancing / String Machine / Nematode, 7pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Don Jamieson, 6:30pm, $13-$15

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Big Tom and The Guns, 9pm

The Clubhouse (Toms River): Tricia Marshall Solo / Citrus / Steve. / Premiums / Sunday Evening Drive, 7pm, $5

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): Tula Vera / Junkanoo / Nerve Damage / Sonoa, 7:30pm, $8

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): I Get Wild (Talking Heads covers), 11pm

House of Independents (Asbury): Emo Night Brooklyn, 9pm, $15

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Sandy Mack, 9:30pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Fuck Off Cancer! Benefit ft. KC Slater / Nikki Nailbomb / Chalk & The Beige Americans / Collider, 9pm, $7

Muchmore's (Brooklyn): The Hell Yeah Babies / Foxanne / Elaine Rasnake, 8:30pm, $10

Ortlieb's (Philly): Lowlight / Alright Junior / Morning River Band, 8pm, $10

Pino's (Highland Park): Concert to Benefit Affordable Housing, 5:30pm

The Saint (Asbury): Lenny Lashley of Darkbuster / Chris Skel / Erotic Novels / Doug Zambon, 7:30pm, $10-$13

Stone Pony (Asbury): Decade / The Billsby Brothers, 7pm, $17-$20

Wonder Bar (Asbury Park): The Color Fred / Fate's Got A Driver / Lost In Society, 7pm, $15-$17

SATURDAY (1/25)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Virago, 9pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Hundreds Of Au / Fuck It I Quit / Joan Of Narc / File 108, 8pm

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): BaBabes / The Six Overs, 9:30pm

Baby's All Right (Brooklyn): Kal Marks / Maneka / A Deer A Horse, 7pm, $10

Bond St. Basement (Asbury): Hot Blood / latewaves / Jack Terricloth / Taste The Butane / Nervous Triggers, 7pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Malibu / Flourish / Don't Panic / Haven / Gravity Centered / Sunsets From Jupiter, 5:30pm, $12-$15

The Clubhouse (Toms River): The Flukes / Michael Cappetto / The Fusions / Demilli Osanti, 7pm, $5

Cobra Club (Brooklyn): Ritual Boys Club / Pocket Protector / Treads, 9pm, $10

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): Wyldlife / The Vansaders / Wombat In Combat, Crüelty, 7pm, $12

Gentle Giant Brewery (Pearl River, NY): Tron The Archer / The Racer / Scary Hour / The Dives, 7:30pm

House of Independents (Asbury): LOD 20: Steve Forbert & The New Renditions, 2pm, $25-$60

House of Independents (Asbury): 90s Dance Party, 10pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Atlantic City Expressway, 9:30pm

Meatlocker (Montclair): Wifekisser / Pique / Egg / Hudson, 8:30pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Time Out Timmy / The Damn Long Hairs / The Looms / Hateful Scarecrows, 8pm, $5

The Saint (Asbury): HALO Presents Nothing But 80s and New Wave Dance, 7:30pm

South Orange Performing Arts Center (South Orange): Bob Mould Solo Electric, 8pm, SOLD OUT

Stone Pony (Asbury): Whiskey Crossing / Steve Alexander Band / Brian St John Band / The Brendan Higgins Band, 7pm, $13-$15

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Brooklyn Brewery Afterparty w Soulshine, 10:30pm

SUNDAY (1/26)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Mack Sunday Jam, 4pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Stallion Valor / Lumber Jack City / Good Day Sir / more, 5:30pm, $12-$15

The Clubhouse (Toms River): Highwind Music Video Shoot, 3pm

The Clubhouse (Toms River): Swamp City Rockers / Think Machine / Alton / Only Sibling, 7pm, $5

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): The Big Easy / Teenage Halloween / TOP Nachos / Joan of Narc, 6pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Peter & Geoffrey Myers, 1pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Excelsis Tenebrae / Exovoid / Thin / Disfathom, 8pm, $5

Stone Pony (Asbury): G. Love & Special Sauce, 6pm, $32.50-$35

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Cosmic Jerry Band, 3pm, $5

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Oh, Hey! New Songs from Heart Bones, Waxahatchee, and Wye Oak


...And They're All Stopping Nearby

So, wedged in with going to swim meets, obsessing on CoolDaughter 1's college search, not taking pictures at shows, and catching up on movies I missed over the last couple of years (Hereditary and The Lighthouse are both bonkers and truly amazing), I've been trying to keep up with new music coming down the 'pike. Here's some stuff.

Heart Bones, "Don't Read the Comments"

Heart Bones is a collaboration between Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit) and Sean Tillmann (aka Har Mar Superstar). Each is a lay-it-all-on-the-line performer, and the combination of their powers produces infectious pop that draws inspiration from influences as varied as doo wop and electronica. "Don't Read the Comments," the second single from the duo's forthcoming Hot Dish (February 21st), is good advice in an age when people anonymously tear each other apart. The song encourages ignoring toxicity and hanging onto your self-worth.

I've seen a few Heart Bones live performances at this point, and I have to say that the experiences have been full of community and life-affirming energy. That's why I'm happy to say that Little Dickman Records and I have Heart Bones coming to The Saint in Asbury Park on Saturday, March 7th, along with our bestest besties in Dentist and Lowlight. Grab tix and come on out.



Heart Bones on tour:

2/14 - St Paul MN -- Turf Club (SOLD OUT)
2/28 - Milwaukee WI -- The Cooperage
2/29 - Moline IL -- Rust Belt
3/1 - Chicago IL -- Empty Bottle
3/3 - Columbus OH -- Rumba
3/4 - Brooklyn NY -- Knitting Factory 
3/5 - Philadelphia PA -- Johnny Brendas
3/6 - Millersville PA -- Phantom Power
3/7 - Asbury Park NJ -- The Saint
3/8 - Boston MA -- Great Scott
3/10 - Baltimore MD -- Metro Gallery
3/11 - Carrboro NC -- Cats Cradle Backroom
3/12 - Atlanta GA -- The Earl
3/15 - Houston TX -- White Oak Music Hall
4/4 - Fargo ND -- The Hall
4/5 - Omaha NE -- The Reverb
4/6 - Kansas City MO -- Record Bar
4/7 - Denver CO -- Globe Hall
4/8 - Salt Lake City UT -- Urban Lounge
4/10 - Seattle WA -- The Sunset
4/11 - Portland OR -- Jack London Revue
4/12 - San Francisco CA -- The Chapel
4/13 - Palm Springs CA -- The Alibi
4/14 - Los Angeles CA -- The Echo
4/15 - San Diego CA -- Soda Bar
4/16 - Phoenix AZ -- Valley Bar
4/17 - Marfa TX -- Lost Horse Saloon
4/18 - San Antonio TX -- Paper Tiger

Waxahatchee, "Fire"

As unbelievable as this is to me, Katie Crutchfield has been making music as Waxahatchee since before there ever was a CoolDad Music. Waxahatchee has been a big favorite around here since 2012's American Weekend, and Crutchfield has evolved with each successive release. "Fire" features Crutchfield's heartbreaking Alabama lilt and soul-baring songwriting. Crutchfield calls the song a "personal pep talk" about loving herself unconditionally despite past mistakes and regrets. Sonically, the song peels back some of the more rocking sounds of 2017's Out in the Storm in favor of a softer, Americana vibe.

"Fire" is the lead single from Waxahatchee's Saint Cloud, which is due from Merge on March 27th. Waxahatchee will be at Philly's Union Transfer on April 14th, and at Elsewhere in Brooklyn for two nights on April 18th & 19th.



Waxahatchee on tour:

4/10 - Detroit, MI -- Jam Handy *
4/11 - Pittsburgh, PA -- Rex Theater *
4/14 - Philadelphia, PA -- Union Transfer *
4/15 - Holyoke, MA -- Gateway City Arts *
4/16 - Boston, MA -- Royale
4/17 - Providence, RI -- Columbus Theatre *
4/18 - Brooklyn, NY -- Elsewhere ^
4/19 - Brooklyn, NY -- Elsewhere ~
4/23 - Washington, DC -- 9:30 Club *
4/24 - Saxapahaw, NC -- Haw River Ballroom *
4/25 - Nashville, TN -- Mercy Lounge *
4/26 - Atlanta, GA -- Terminal West *
4/27 - Birmingham, AL -- Saturn *
4/29 - Baton Rouge, LA -- Mid City Ballroom *
4/30 - Houston, TX -- The Satellite *
5/1 - Dallas, TX -- Sons of Hermann Hall *
5/2 - Austin, TX -- Scholz Garten *
5/4 - Tucson, AZ -- Club Congress +
5/7 - Pioneertown, CA -- Pappy and Harriet's +
5/8 - Los Angeles, CA -- First Congregational Church of LA +
5/9 - San Francisco, CA -- The Castro Theatre
5/10 - Sonoma, CA -- Gundlach Bundschu Winery +
5/12 - Portland, OR -- The Old Church +
5/13 - Portland, OR -- Aladdin Theater +
5/14 - Vancouver, BC -- Christ Church Cathedral +
5/15 - Seattle, WA -- The Neptune Theatre +
5/20 - Maquoketa, IA -- Codfish Hollow Barn
5/21 - Minneapolis, MN -- Fine Line Music Cafe *
5/22 - Madison, WI -- Majestic Theatre *

* w/ Ohmme
^ w/ Radiator Hospital
~ w/ Bonny Doon & Shamir
+ w/ Mirah

Wye Oak, "Fear of Heights"

The North Carolina via Baltimore duo of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have come a long way from the 90s-infused indie folk of 2011's Civilian that initially drew me to Wye Oak. On "Fear of Heights," their collaboration is expansive and dreamlike. Wasner's voice and guitar work are still centerpieces, but side projects like Wasner's Flock Of Dimes and Stack's Joyero have clearly helped to stretch Wye Oak's sound into new directions.

Wasner says the song "likens the deepening of a relationship to the feeling of ascending to the top of a very tall place" with all of the exhilaration and fear that entails.

"Fear of Heights" is available now to stream / download, and Wye Oak will be at Music Hall of Williamsburg on March 4th.



Wye Oak on tour:

2/27 - Asheville, NC -- The Mothlight
2/28 - Durham, NC -- Baldwin Auditorium
2/29 - Philadelphia, PA -- Johnny Brenda’s [SOLD OUT]
3/1 - Baltimore, MD -- 2640 Space [SOLD OUT]
3/3 - Cambridge, MA -- The Sinclair
3/4 - Brooklyn, NY -- Music Hall of Williamsburg
3/5 - Richmond, VA -- The Broadberry
3/20 - Seattle, WA -- The Crocodile
3/21 - Portland, OR -- Aladdin Theater
3/23 - San Francisco, CA -- The Independent
3/24 - Los Angeles, CA -- Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
3/25 - Los Angeles, CA -- Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Guest List: Biff is Back!

Biff Swenson of Yawn Mower, Earth Telephone, Grasser

Decade's End (Alphabetical)

By Biff Swenson

[Biff returns with a run-down of his favorite albums of the 2010s.]

This past decade has been a wild one. For me, for you, for this country, for the entire planet. Lots of things have changed and are still changing rapidly. Needing music to be an escape is one thing that will never change. Having art to score the soundtrack of our lives is essential to coping with the hard times, and even more important to elevate the good times. There are a lot changes sonically every decade, so it's fun to look back at how musical shifts happen. The artists that define a generation, the albums that pivot where music is heading, the songs that capture what's essential for the time in which they exist.

I'm not a musician because I chose to be. Being a musician is all-consuming. It's my church, my aggression. It's my best friend, and it can be humbling. There would be no me without music. It defines me. The below list is just a small fraction of what has overtaken my being on a daily basis for the past ten years. I'm aware that I might be missing some key albums from the past decade, but this a list of the shit that I connected with more so than anything. If you happen to read through my list and find something new to you that you dig, I'd love to hear about it. If you read through and find that I missed something that clearly fits into this list, PLEASE send me a link so I can dive in. I appreciate anyone of you who reads this! We are part of a dwindling group of aging people who are constantly on the hunt for new and exciting music, and I'm always grateful for the platform Jim gives to our local scene to continue growing and evolving as listeners and participators of audible art. Happy new year! Happy new decade! Keep up the search


Algernon Cadwallader, Parrot Flies

alt-J, An Awesome Wave

Anderson .Paak, Malibu

Anderson .Paak, Oxnard

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

Bad Books, II

Big Sean, Finally Famous

Blood Orange, Cupid Deluxe

Blood Orange, Negro Swan

Bon Iver, 22, A Million

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver, i,i

Born Ruffians, Birthmarks

BROCKHAMPTON, GINGER

BROCKHAMPTON, iridescence

BROCKHAMPTON, Saturation Trilogy

Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox

Childish Gambino, "Awaken, My Love!"

Childish Gambino, Because the Internet

Daft Punk, Random Access Memory

D’Angelo, Black Messiah

David Bazan, Strange Negotiations

Death Cab For Cutie, Codes and Keys

Death From Above 1979, The Physical World

Dentist, Night Swimming

Dirty Projectors, Dirty Projectors

Dirty Projectors, Lamp Lit Prose

Dogs On Acid, Dogs On Acid

Drake, Nothing Was The Same

Drake, Take Care

Drug Church, Cheer

Father John Misty, Fear Fun

Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear

Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues

Foster The People, Torches

Foxing, Nearer My God

Frank Ocean, Blonde

Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE

The Front Bottoms, Back On Top

The Front Bottoms, Talon Of The Hawk

Future Isalnds, Singles

Girls, Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Goldlink, And After That, We Didn’t Talk

Hop Along, Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Hop Along, Get Disowned

Hop Along, Painted Shut

IDLES, Joy as an Act of Resistance.

Jay Som, Everybody Works

Jay Som, Anak Ko

Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience

Kanye West, The Life Of Pablo

Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.

Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly

LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening

Local Natives, Gorilla Manor

Mac Miller, Swimming

Maps & Atlases, Beware And Be Grateful

Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s, Rot Gut, Domestic

mewithoutYou, Pale Horses

mewithoutYou, Ten Stories

mewithoutYou, [untitled]

Mike Krol, I Hate Jazz

Mike Krol, Power Chords

Modern Baseball, Holy Ghost

Ovens, Ovens

Owen, Ghost Town

Pedro The Lion, Phoenix

Pharrell Williams, G I R L

Pusha T, DAYTONA

Real Estate, Atlas

Real Estate, In Mind

Sheer Mag, Compilation (I,II,&III)

The Shins, Port Of Marrow

Snowing, I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted

Spoon, They Want My Soul

The Strokes, Angles

The Strokes, Comedown Machine

St. Vincent, Strange Mercy

Tame Impala, Currents

Tame Impala, Lonerism

Thin Lips, Riff Hard

Thundercat, Drunk

Tierra Whack, Whack World

Tokyo Police Club, Champ

Tony Molina, Dissed and Dismissed

Toro Y Moi, Causers of This

TV On The Radio, Seeds

Tyler, The Creator, Flower Boy

Tyler, The Creator, IGOR

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, II

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love

Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride

Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City

Warm Soda, Symbolic Dream

The Weeknd, Trilogy

Weezer, Everything Will Be Alright In The End

Weezer, Weezer (White Album)

Well Wisher, This is Fine