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* Favorite Vocal Albums of 2010 *

29th Dec 10 (Wed) 7 comments

Disclaimer: No, I haven’t heard all 8,000+albums released this year. I’ve heard about 120 of them, which makes me at least 98.5% likely to be wrong. I make no claims to objectivity. These albums are my favorites from 2010. You might think that the one you’ve heard that I haven’t heard is the best album of 2010. And you might be right. And, I while I generally agree with John Roderick about Year-End Lists, I still find it quite fun to compile my own.

I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my third year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. For that reason, the favorite vocal albums list goes first this go ’round. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, SpaceBook & MyFace pages, yadda yadda yadda. A lot of these also made it on to my 2010 Mix CD.

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Honorable Mentions: Finger Eleven‘s Life Turns Electric, Gnashing of Teeth‘s Walking the Appian Way, Kaki King‘s Junior, Kim Taylor‘s Little Miracle (out late Dec ’09 digitally), and That1Guy & the Magic Pipe‘s Packs A Wallop!

The WeepiesBe My Thrill (Nettwerk) :: Lush singer-songwriter husband/wife duo from Northern California. Syrup-y sweet & poppy, but regardless of my penchant normally against those types of things – The Weepies do it up right. A superb piece of well-crafted pop.
Chali 2NaFish Market Part 2 (Decon) :: Another great solo outing from my favorite rapper from Jurassic 5. This is Chali’s 3rd solo album, and while the sound and vibe hasn’t changed much – his consistency is most what I like about him. Hard hitting, booming voice, witting lyricism, and generally moving into more positive territory (he’s not a “bitches and hoes”-type of rapper).
Caedmon’s CallRaising the Dead (INO) :: I’ve been a fan of Caedmon’s Call for going on fifteen years. I’ve stuck with them through some (personal opinion) lackluster lyricism after the departure of my favorite Caedmon’s songwriter – Derek Webb. He came back to produce and be in the band for this one; and quite frankly, I think this is their best record since 40 Acres. Lyrically, it still has a religious bent; but being in a minority of “non-Christian Caedmon’s Call fans,” I still didn’t find it cringe-worthy like most “contemporary Christian music.”
RedbirdLive at Café Carpe (Signature Sounds) :: Peter Mulvey, Jeffrey Foucault, Kris Delmhorst and David “Goody” Goodrich put out a great studio album of covers and originals in 2003. At the recent Mulvey/Foucault live shows this fall, they announced this new release. This new release is the live equivalent of the debut seven years ago (but different material) – a great mix of covers of people that influenced them, as well as a few of their own originals. Vocal duties split between Mulvey, Foucault & Delmhorst. I hope they are able to tour behind this in 2011.
Ty TaborSomething’s Coming (Molken) :: I’m a big fan of King’s X. As a trio, they put out a wall of sound, and a big component of their brilliance is Ty Tabor’s stellar guitar-work. His solo work also features his Beatles-esque vocals on top of his southern-grungy-rock sound. 2010 also saw the release of Ty’s Trip Magnet side solo project, Jelly Jam’s Additives bonus material, and the studio time with Jelly Jam (with John Myung & Rod Morgenstein) for their upcoming 3rd record. Whew, he’s been busy.
Ben Folds & Nick HornbyLonely Avenue (Nonesuch) :: I’m ambivalent about Ben Folds. I never know if I’ll like it; so I put off getting it. Then I get it and love it. This record was a collaboration between Ben and author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, etc). The lyrics are a little jumpier to me (Nick’s style versus Ben’s style), but it still feels very much like a Ben Folds record. They also feature a bonus song (iTunes version) with “video song” heroes Pomplamoose.
Jeanne CherhalCharade (Barclay FR) :: I first heard Jeanne Cherhal when we picked up her second album (Douze fois par an) when in Toulouse, France, for my MBA program in 2004. Only available in France, I’ve managed to get her albums via Amazon.fr (good thing the buttons are in roughly the same spot). I still don’t know what she’s saying, but I dig her style.
S (Jenn Ghetto)I’m Not As Good At It As You (Own Records) :: Carissa’s Wierd [sic] front woman promised this 3rd ‘S’ record back in… oh, 2007?? It was worth the wait. Haunting lyrics and vocals, simple yet complex acoustic guitar (that hearkens back to Elliott Smith). Bright emo and depressing pop music. Carissa’s Wierd also put out a retrospective (with a couple new tunes) and a small handful of West coast dates. Who knows – maybe they’ll get active again in the near future? I could dig it…
Greydon SquareThe Kardashev Scale (self) :: A little more mature in lyricism compared to The CPT Theorem. Perhaps it’s due to putting some of the ‘Rational Response Squad’ fighting behind him. Greydon, the foremost atheist rapper, made his 3rd record into what I think to be his most consistent. It’s solid, smart and superlative-worthy.
Damien JuradoSaint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian) :: I got into Damien Jurado via the Seattle-based melancholy, indie singer-songwriter scene (i.e.- Pedro the Lion / David Bazan). While similar in general geography and friendship, Damien strikes me as more of a pure “songwriter” when compared to David’s social critique set to music. Saint Bartlett fits well into Damien’s oeuvre. At a show this past February (6 months before the album came out), I hardly knew any of the songs but felt as though I did. That’s a testament to his craft.
ClogsThe Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton (Brassland) :: I first saw Clogs at MusicNow 2007 (in Cincinnati). Padma Newsome and Bryce Dessner (of The National) know how to make some interesting chamber pop. The album (as with the live premiere in 2007) features Sufjan Stevens and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond). It’s quite a lush record – as the title suggests.
Sufjan StevensAll Delighted People (Asthmatic Kitty) :: Two albums in 2010, Sufjan’s 50+ minute “EP” hit us first. Beautiful and haunting in “The Owl and the Tanager” and primarily experimental and adventurous throughout, especially compared to his older material. Originally only released online via bandcamp, the EP saw physical form (CD & vinyl) earlier this month. I’m bummed Sufjan nixed future “State” albums, but I’m still glad with his 2010 output.
George HrabTrebuchet (self) :: George Hrab creates one of my favorite podcasts ever… the Geologic Podcast. It’s not about geology. It’s about science, skepticism, and his general life as a musician from Bethlehem, PA. He is both humorous and intelligent, and he puts out great albums as well. Trebuchet is his 6th studio album, and it features some great instrumental songs as well as some witty numbers fitting his skeptical, atheistic viewpoint. One of my favorite songs on it is “A Small Comfort,” which is about the death of his dog Oscar. I also give George some kudos for kicking off his album with the Christopher Hitchens’ inspired “God Is Not Great” (an atheist pop song). Bravo!
Damien & Drake JuradoHoquiam (St. Ives) :: Short and sweet and beautiful. My only gripe with this record… well, it wasn’t made available on CD, and the vinyl didn’t include a free download code for the mp3’s. Industry standard practice aside, the Jurado brothers put out some fantastic music. I borrowed a vinyl-to-mp3 device from my friend; so I could enjoy it on my iPod as well. So, my gripes have been abated.
ElleryThis Isn’t Over Yet (Set Adrift) :: Ellery is one of my favorite things in Cincinnati… I miss being able to see them multiple times a year (sad face). Husband/wife duo of Justin & Tasha Golden craft singer-songwriter pop songs… usually layered nicely on their albums with the help of producer, knob-twiddler Ric Hordinski (of Over the Rhine fame). This album, they switched it up with Malcolm Burn at the helm (Daniel Lanois / Bob Dylan / Iggy Pop / Kaki King / Emmylou Harris / etc).
Nellie McKayHome Sweet Mobile Home (Verve) :: Nellie McKay’s move to Verve (instead of Sony) has been good for her. They seem to give her free reign to put out Doris Day cover albums one year and an album of originals the next. HSMH is a return to the quirky, diverse collection of songs that drove me to fall in love with her. The album is full of Nellie’s modern piano jazz-pop, ukulele ditties, and even a pro-animal reggae tune. The album has grown on me nicely, and I’m looking forward to more Nellie in the near future. She seems to be in a period of prolificity as of late. This is greatly welcomed.
JónsiGo (XL) :: Sigur Rós-frontman’s debut solo album was going to be an acoustic affair, and then it turned into a lushly produced, Rós-ian opus with a multimedia firestorm of a tour (two U.S. legs with stunning stage design by 59 Productions). Jónsi is superbly brilliant and and ambivalently hyper-sensitively shy individual (ex. his abrupt cancellation of in-store performance tour) and boisterous-acting performer (ex. his magnificent stageshow). This album makes me excited for more solo work in the future, but I hope his day job with Sigur Rós is not on hold for too much longer.
Sarah Kirkland Snider & Shara WordenPenelope (New Amsterdam) :: Chamber pop featuring Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) is a theme this year (see #10). Quite frankly, I think Shara Worden has one of the best voices in indie rock. Period. Sarah Kirkland Snider is a new musical force for me… she originally wrote Penelope as music for a theater piece and then debuted it as a song cycle with Signal in May 2009. When Shara came aboard, Sarah revised and expanded the songs yet again, tailoring them to Shara’s talents and arranging them for a 25-person orchestra of strings, harp, percussion, drums, electric guitar and bass, and electronics (with sound design by Michael Hammond). It is gorgeous.
Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty) :: His second album of the year, The Age of Adz is a odd musical assembly. At first I didn’t know what to think of it, then I started to like it, and then after seeing him live – I truly loved the album. For those previously familiar with Sufjan, this album may not fit easily in with his prior albums – but I think if you have an open mind and a desire to explore, you may very well fall in love with this record as well.
Mike PattonMondo Cane (Ipecac) :: Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantômas, et cetera is known for more boisterous, left of center fare. With Mondo Cane, he classes up the joint that is Ipecac Records. Mondo Cane, named after the film, is Mike’s homage to 50s Italian pop songs. He croons some classic Italian songs with the backing of the Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini conducted by Aldo Sisillo. The artwork, in both CD digipack and vinyl, is stupendous. This is a magnificent record – both aurally and visually.

Top 20 instrumental albums coming up later this week…

My Other Favorites of 2010 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Kevin MooreShine

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2010 mix

18th Dec 10 (Sat) 2 comments

Time for this years mix CD… check out 2009’s over here.  No major theme this time like prior mixes… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2010).

The following songs were put on the mix CD from lossless sources where possible and for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music). Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels. If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able. The artists’ Webpage, MyFace & Spacebook (whether official or not), and Amazon links are available for each song below. I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

If you want one of these mix CDs, message me (see my “About” page).

PDF front liner is available HERE (designed to print double-sided).

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01 Mike PattonIl Cielo In Una Stanza” from Mondo Cane

Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantômas, et cetera is known for more boisterous, left of center fare.  With Mondo Cane, he classes up the joint that is Ipecac Records.  Mondo Cane, named after the film, is Mike’s homage to 50s Italian pop songs.  He croons some classic Italian songs with the backing of the Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini conducted by Aldo Sisillo.  The artwork, in both CD digipack and vinyl, is stupendous.  This is a magnificent record – both aurally and visually.  It’ll rank near the top of my upcoming year-end lists…

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02 Charlotte Gainsbourg & BeckIRM” from IRM

IRM came out in late November 2009 – which was after I had done last year’s mix; so I’m sneaking it into this year’s mix.  Beck collaborated with singer/actress Charlotte on the whole album (outside of one song).  It’s a nice poppy-electronic mix… some French tunes as well (her father is French musical legend Serge Gainsbourg).  The album and track were inspired by her head trauma in 2007 (“IRM” is the French acronym synonymous with what we call an “MRI machine” in the US).  My favorite part may be that the IRM delivers rhythmic support to the track.

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03 ElleryPieces (live)” original from This Isn’t Over Yet

This version is from Ellery’s live album that preceded their wonderful 2nd studio album that hit this year.  Ellery is one of my favorite things in Cincinnati… I miss being able to see them multiple times a year (sad face).  Husband/wife duo of Justin & Tasha Golden craft singer-songwriter pop songs… usually layered nicely on their albums with the help of producer, knob-twiddler Ric Hordinski (of Over the Rhine fame).  This album is with Malcolm Burn at the helm (Daniel Lanois / Bob Dylan / Iggy Pop / Kaki King / Emmylou Harris / etc).

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04 Comic WowNice Chaps” from Library Catalog Music Series: Music for Mysteries of Mind Space and Time

Asthmatic Kitty’s Library Catalog Music Series (LCMS) is much more hit than miss.  There have been a couple albums that didn’t interest me for multiple listens, but Comic Wow’s settled nicely from the get go.  LCMS (as a series) is made up of instrumental albums designed for possible use in films and television, background sounds for home or office.  Per the P.R., “Comic Wow are sonic illustrators, alchemists, designers, dilettantes’, poets, teachers, Socialists, and outdoorsmen whose advocacy of affordable colored cod pieces helped influence the look of thirty-third century America.”  Whatever you call it, I like it.

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05 Holy FuckRed Lights” from Latin

Despite what you think of their choice of band name, these Toronto band continue to put out great, groove-infused live electronic music that is both experimental and a poppy-force in the indie rock movement.  Latin, their third full length album, grabbed me immediately when it came out this past May… and it’s #1 with a bullet as far as instrumental albums go in 2010.  To top it off, they swung through Oregon twice this year (both excellent shows), and they put out quite possibly the cutest video for the raddest song (“Red Lights” – click the kitty to the right).  The video now has over 1,000,000 views on the YouTubes.  Only 900,000 views are from me.

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06 Damien JuradoBeacon Hill” from Saint Bartlett

I got into Damien Jurado via the Seattle-based melancholy, indie singer-songwriter scene (i.e.- Pedro the Lion / David Bazan).  While similar in general geography and friendship, Damien strikes me as more of a pure “songwriter” when compared to David’s social critique set to music.  Saint Bartlett fits well into Damien’s oeuvre.  At a show this past February (6 months before the album came out), I hardly knew any of the songs but felt as though I did.  That’s a testament to his craft.

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07 Jeanne CherhalCertains Animaux” from Charade

I first heard Jeanne Cherhal when we picked up her second album (Douze fois par an) when in Toulouse, France, for my MBA program in 2004.  Only available in France, I’ve managed to get her albums via Amazon.fr (good thing the buttons are in roughly the same spot).  I still don’t know what she’s saying, but I dig her style.

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08 Nellie McKayThe Portal” from Home Sweet Mobile Home

Nellie McKay’s move to Verve (instead of Sony) has been good for her.  They seem to give her free reign to put out Doris Day cover albums one year and an album of originals the next.  HSMH is a return to the quirky, diverse collection of songs that drove me to fall in love with her.  “The Portal” is one of the mellower tunes from the album… the rest of the album is full of Nellie’s modern piano jazz-pop, ukulele ditties, and even a pro-animal reggae tune.  The album has grown on me nicely, and I’m looking forward to more Nellie in the near future.  She seems to be in a period of prolificity as of late.  This is greatly welcomed.

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09 PusciferThe Humbling River (Duet Mix)” from C is for… EP

When Tool / A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan isn’t rocking with those bands (both had touring activity this year), he’s usually tending to his grapes or noodling around on some mildly offensive, but well-crafted music with his other side-project Puscifer.  The C is for… EP actually came out last year, but since it was digital only at that stage and since the 2010 CD & vinyl releases contained a touch of new material – it fits the criteria for this year’s compilation.  He also put out new mixes / remixes for the Blood Into Wine documentary (about the Arizona wine scene).  That record is called Sounds Into Blood Into Wine.  As I type this, I actually got a call from my local Eugene Oregon wine/beer shop (16tons).  They have my Caduceus/Merkin order in stock… so, coincidentally, I’ll be dropping some major coin on some of Maynard’s wine very shortly… glug glug.

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10 Haftor Medbøe GroupPneumatic” from A Box of Monkeys EP

This is another record that came out in late 2009… but I got it in 2010 and iTunes recognized it as 2010 (plus it was too late to be stricken from the CD mix rolls, as I liked it too much).  The track faatures some nice guitar-based jazz, and the EP also features some songs with vocals that aren’t too unlike Björk or Under Byen (also known as “a-OK with me”).  It’s a delightful EP that put Haftor on my radar… for good.

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11 Sufjan StevensFutile Devices” from The Age of Adz

The first Sufjan track that made its way onto this 2010 compilation comes from his second release from 2010.  The Age of Adz is a odd musical assembly.  At first I didn’t know what to think of it, then I started to like it, and then after seeing him live – I truly loved the album.  This song is actually one of the songs that I fell in love with right away.  For those not familiar with Sufjan, this track fits better with some of his earlier work and not so much with Adz as a whole.  But I think if you have an open mind and a desire to explore, you may very well fall in love with this record as well.

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12 AutorYnoOverture Automatique” from Pastrami Bagel Social Club

I am fans of some of the other Jewish rock acts on John Zorn’s Tzadik label: like Eyal Maoz’s Edom, Jon Madof’s Rashanim, and Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom.  The description for this AutorYno debut from Tzadik was “a wild klezmer/rock fusion by this crazed band of Paris-born punk rockers… AutorYno hits with a hardedged sound and an exciting musical imagination. Full of youthful energy, massive guitar and centered by a powerful beat, they present eleven instrumentals that combine the power of rock with a taste of Jewish tradition.”  Regardless of Tzadik’s usual/expected hyperbole, I couldn’t not get it.  I’m glad I did, and I will say that it will rank high amongst my instrumental finds in 2010.

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13 Glen PhillipsThe Innocent” from Tornillo

The voice of Toad the Wet Sprocket has been putting out some fantastic albums since his first solo album (2000’s Abulum).  Tornillo was recorded in 2003 with David Garza, but was shelved / lost.  Many of the songs were re-recorded and put out on 2005’s Winter Pays For Summer (a favorite of mine).  Regardless of some of the songs making their way out to the fans, there are still some never-before-released gems on here.  Glen put it out about a month ago via his bandcamp page.  $7.  A total steal.

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14 Beats AntiqueEgyptic” from Blind Threshold

I got to see Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique twice this year… once with Beats Antique during Eugene Celebration, and once with the Indigo Bellydance troupe as part of their Le Serpent Rouge tour.  She had a knee in a brace during Eugene Celebration; so she lended her stage presence to additional percussion instead of dance – which was unfortunate.  Beats Antique is a bellydance-friendly, electronic and live instrument band from the Bay Area.  Elements of Balkan music and tribal-fusion dance music.  “Egyptic” is indicative of their infectuous sound.

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15 The WeepiesEmpty Your Hands” from Be My Thrill

Syrupy singer-songwriter pop is not my bailiwick, but I do find myself drawn to it on occasion.  I guess even my CD collection needs a “rom-com” soundtrack every now and again.  The Weepies write well-crafted songs about love and life.  It’s hard to say anything bad about them.

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16 JónsiKolniður” from Go

Sigur Rós-frontman’s debut solo album was going to be an acoustic affair, and then it turned into a lushly produced, Rós-ian opus with a multimedia firestorm of a tour (two U.S. legs with stunning stage design by 59 Productions).  Jónsi is superbly brilliant and and ambivalently hyper-sensitively shy individual (ex. his abrupt cancelation of in-store performance tour) and boisterous-acting performer (ex. his magnificent stageshow).  This album makes me excited for more solo work in the future, but I hope his day job with Sigur Rós is not on hold for too much longer.

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17 George HrabHai Yookito ‘Ya” from Trebuchet

George Hrab creates one of my favorite podcasts ever… the Geologic Podcast.  It’s not about geology.  It’s about science, skepticism, and his general life as a musician from Bethlehem, PA.  He is both humorous and intelligent, and he puts out great albums as well.  Trebuchet is his 6th studio album, and it features some great instrumental songs as well as some witty numbers fitting his skeptical, atheistic viewpoint.  One of my favorite songs on it is “A Small Comfort,” which is about the death of his dog Oscar.  I’d put it on a mix CD, but it honestly makes me cry everytime I hear it.  I also give George some kudos for kicking off his album with the Christopher Hitchens’ inspired “God Is Not Great” (an atheist pop song).  Bravo!

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18 Kaki KingFalling Day” from Junior

Kaki King is a guitar phenom, and this is her second album in a row that seems to be moving more towards turning into a more vocal, indie rock songstress.  It’s still full of her amazing guitarwork, but brings in a whistful lyricism.  I’m still getting used to her “vocal legs,” but I like what I hear so far.

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19 John Zorn’s The Dreamers Hashul” from Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 14 (Ipos)

Let’s just put this out there now… with thirteen albums and a DVD out in 2010, John Zorn might seem to have more misses than hits.  Well, I don’t think there’s been a more consistent set of songs than his Masada songs, and there hasn’t been a more consistently great series than the Masada Book Two series (Zorn’s Masada songs covered by others).  The Dreamers is a supergroup, too: Marc Ribot, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn and Jamie Saft – pillars in the adventurous, downtown NYC scene.

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20 Sufjan StevensThe Owl and the Tanager” from All Delighted People EP

This is my favorite song from Sufjan’s 50+ minute “EP” from earlier this year.  Beautiful and haunting, and again, not as characteristic of the rest of the EP, which seems more experimental and adventurous compared to “Owl” or his older material.  Originally only released online via bandcamp, the EP saw physical form (CD & vinyl) earlier this month.  I’m looking forward to spinning the vinyl when it hits my front porch.

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Let me know what you think…

unfortunately missing (due to space or flow limitations, or that I simply didn’t get them in the mail yet): Kevin Moore’s Shine, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl)’s Acoustic Sessions, Mogwai’s Special Moves/Burning, Zero 7’s Record… and John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio Ipsissimus, because I didn’t want to scare you.  Oh well, those may make it on my “favorite albums” of 2010 list.

~Dan – np: Radiohead101010 (aka OK Computer & In Rainbows cross-fade mix)

for more on the Radiohead cross-fade mix, check out Puddlegum

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

ha’fway 2010

4th Jul 10 (Sun) Leave a comment

Happy 234th birthday, United States!

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So, here are my faves of the first half of 2010… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end:

Artist Album (label)

  1. Holy FuckLatin (Young Turks)
  2. JónsiGo (XL)
  3. Mike PattonMondo Cane (Ipecac)
  4. ElleryThis Isn’t Over Yet (Set Adrift)
  5. Charlie HunterGentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid (Spire Artist Media)
  6. George HrabTrebuchet (Geologic)
  7. Damien JuradoSaint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian)
  8. AutorYnoPastrami Bagel Social Club (Tzadik)
  9. Clogs (with Shara Worden & Sufjan Stevens) – The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton (Brassland)
  10. Tin HatForeign Legion (BAG Production)
  11. The Dreamers play John Zorn‘s Masada Book Two: Ipos, Book of Angels, Vol. 14 (Tzadik)
  12. Charlotte Gainsbourg & BeckIRM (Elektra)
  13. Kaki KingJunior (Rounder)
  14. Jeanne CherhalCharade (Barclay)
  15. Loose GripLooking Glass (Fabrikant)

I didn’t get a few that already came out this year (yet)… the new Chali 2Na, David Cross, Hiromi, Johnny Cash, Beak>, et cetera; but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.

The 2nd half of 2010 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… a few more from John Zorn, Nellie McKay (in the fall), Over the Rhine‘s new one (or maybe that’s early 2011), Zero 7‘s new one, Secret Chiefs 3 Book of Souls (maybe), a new Sufjan Stevens (just speculating, I know he’s working on one), Ani DiFranco always has something coming out, Dave Douglas’ Spark of Being (Trilogy), probably something from one of Mike Patton‘s other bands, and I’m sure another dozen or more that I’ll dig from Tzadik.

Favorite concerts of 2010 (so far):

  • Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy – PDX Jazz Fest, Portland, Feb 28th
  • Tegan & Sara – Keller Auditorium, Portland, Apr 8th
  • Jónsi – Roseland Theater, Portland, Apr 13th
  • Kaki King – CD World, Eugene, May 16th
  • Holy Fuck – Mississippi Studios, Portland, June 6th
  • Zappa Plays Zappa – McDonald Theatre, Eugene, June 12th
  • Pink Martini – Oregon Bach Festival, Eugene, June 26th(click pictures below for review links)

~Dan – np: MelvinsThe Bride Screamed Murder

Ellery :: This Isn’t Over Yet

13th Apr 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

Ellery‘s newest album, This Isn’t Over Yet, finally has a release date… June 15th.

1. Where It’s Going (streaming)

2. Happy

3. Oh No

4. What I Need

5. Pieces

6. Lay Your Head Down

7. Blame Me

8. Christopher

9. Someone To Say It To

10. All

11. Ways To Go

If you didn’t do the Ellery Stimulus Package last year, you can pre-order either the digital or the CD version over at Bandcamp.

~Dan – np: Jeanne CherhalCharade

2010 anticipated albums

30th Dec 09 (Wed) Leave a comment

So, the year end and decade end recaps are in process (the monkeys I ordered are in the back room typing away) … I needed something to fill the gap… here are some artists who are expecting to release new material in 2010, all of which I’m looking forward to…




The Album Leaf‘s A Chorus of Storytellers, My Brightest Diamond‘s Shark Remixes box set, Go from Jónsi Birgisson of Sigur Rós, French singer Jeanne Cherhal‘s Charade, George Hrab‘s Trebuchet, 12 new albums from John Zorn, Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane and hopefully Crudo (if they’re both not put off due to Faith No More reunion touring), Derek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 1 (and he’s even recording with Caedmon’s Call for a 2010 release or two), guitar phenom Kaki King, maybe the Secret Chiefs 3 will finally release Book of Souls (it’s their “Chinese Democracy”), Eisley & Perma (a side project with Sherri from Eisley), Ellery from Cincinnati, Ty Tabor of King’s X, A.N.M. featuring Doug Pinnick of King’s X and Jimi Hazel of 24-7 Spyz, Ken Andrew and Co’s Digital Noise Academy, Trent Reznor’s just announced new Nine Inch Nails album, Silverchair are working on one, Radiohead are hitting the studio (maybe something out by year’s end), and… Ani DiFranco – I mean, it’s inevitable… right?

Plus many more great albums due out in 2010, I’m sure.

~Dan – np: Skerik / Dead Kenny G’sBewildered Herd

Ric Hordinski – Notes from the Monastery

14th Dec 09 (Mon) 4 comments

So, I’ve gotta tell you about a fantastic new collection of previously unreleased songs from Ric Hordinski‘s monastery studio… Notes from the Monastery.  It ships December 18th, and with the pre-order you get an immediate 320kbps mp3 download of it.  It has new songs by Ric Hordinski (aka Monk), Over the Rhine, Ellery, singer-songwriters Kim Taylor and Sarah Masen, a great new instrumental piece by guitarist Phil Keaggy, et cetera…

http://richordinski.portmerch.com/stores/product.php?productid=17109

Track Listing:

  1. With Me Tonight (Ellery)
  2. I Used to Know (Sarah Masen)
  3. Hard Times (Over the Rhine)
  4. Rabbit (Harrod and Funck)
  5. Clover (Kim Taylor)
  6. Always Right (David Wilcox)
  7. Hopscotch (Phil Keaggy)
  8. Bella Luna (2K9) (Venus Hum)
  9. Yesu Bhajan (Aradhna)
  10. Villainous Company (Ric Hordinski)
    MP3 Bonus Track:  Flown Free (Over the Rhine)

I’ve been a fan of Ric Hordinski for a long time.  Ric (pronounced “Rich”) was a founding member of Cincinnati band Over the Rhine.  When he left Over the Rhine, he went on to make some gorgeous music via his creative outlet called MONK.  The mostly instrumental affairs hit the spot on a great fall or winter day – sipping your favorite warm beverage and chillin’ with loved ones (or a loved pup). :)  Ric has moved lately to more of a producer / studio expert… and the above songs are unique glimpses of his varied studio work (all previously unreleased by the artists).

I’d highly recommend the above Notes from the Monastery… and check out some of Ric’s other work (all kind of harder to find now except the more recent ones: The Silent of Everything Yearned For and When I Consider How My Light Is Spent).  Anyway, here is his key discography in reverse order…

(easier to find)

(harder to find)

If you can dig up the O -EP- on eBay, I’d also recommend it.  I got it hot off the presses… and I ain’t lettin’ mine go. :)  Oh, and yeah, searching for Ric’s Monk CDs on eBay is really difficult due to a certain Thelonious Sphere Monk who may have released a few albums.  Just a few… happy hunting!!

Anyway, I get hundreds of records a year, and I don’t specifically blog about all of them (this is more of a news and concert reviews blog).  That should clue you in that this new Ric Hordinski compilation is a special one… go get it.

~Dan – np: RAZR13 w/ Doug PinnickRAZR 13

Ellery – Down, Down, Down EP

25th Nov 09 (Wed) Leave a comment

My favorite husband-and-wife songwriting duo from Cincinnati is at it again… the holiday EP Down, Down, Down from Ellery is out.  This time it’s pay what you want (min $4).  Available for streaming at bandcamp, too.  I generally abhor Christmas music, but this one is pretty darn good.  The first two songs are brand new originals, the 3rd song is from their holiday EP a couple years ago, and then they do two classics…

http://ellery.bandcamp.com/album/down-down-down-a-holiday-ep

Down, Down, Down
Going Gone
December Days
O Come Emmanuel
Silent Night (instrumental)

They also have a streaming only sample from their forthcoming album… “Blame Me“…

Find out more about this great band…

http://www.ellerymusic.com/

http://www.myspace.com/ellerymusic

~Dan – np: The FramesThe Roads Outgrown

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