Saturday, December 31, 2005

Top 10 Music

As I mentioned in my emailer, there really weren't too many new albums I got that knocked my socks off. I got some live Bob Schneider shows and some live Wilco shows that dominated my CD player. I also somehow stumbled onto DONOVAN and simply can't get enough of the guy. He's an underappreciated genius. However...there were a few things....maybe even ten...I liked alot this year.

1. BRIGHT EYES I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
This album is soooo good. I thought it was from 2004 I listened to it so much this year. "Bright Eyes" is really just a guy (pictured above) named Conor Oberst. I kept seeing his male waif photo everywhere and avoided him because I hate trendy "emo" guys. Then I got some of his songs on a sampler, got the CD and firmly vowed to quit judging waify emo guys forevermore. The album is fairly stripped down acoustic stuff...with some horns and other nice, subtle toned instruments. It's a really great record. Go get it now.

2. DWIGHT YOAKAM Blame The Vein
I'm admittedly a huge DY fan but this album was kind of a return to form. He has a new producer/guitarist onboard (Keith Gattis) and the guy has really brought Dwight back to life. This album isn't all twangy country, there's some real lively rock and some hillarious psychedelic stuff too. A good, fun album.

3. FIVE A.M. This Morphine Life
Yeah, I manage em, so what. If anything, I should be sick of their songs...but this is a great album. Trent has become an extremely solid songwriter and the rest of the band seems to have plugged in to a genuine "sound." The guys were always kind of all over the map (and that was great) but this is a defined rock album with powerful lyrics and great musicianship. I wish it had gone over better...but there's still time. Go buy you a copy at:

4. RODNEY CROWELL The Outsider
I'm a big Rodney Crowell fan and an even bigger fan of his guitarist Will Kimbrough. Will is, quite simply, the man. He was in Todd Sniders band forever and has been with Rodney for a few years. Well, Rodney seems to have finally figured out he has a RIPPING guitarist and he lets Will tear it up on this album. Some of the songs are a little "on the nose" lyrically, but there's alot of heart on this one. And Will Kimbrough is a God.

5. JAMES MCMURTRY Childish Things
Here's where the list starts to take a turn. I didn't really go crazy for the rest of these, but I liked em alot. McMurtry's album is interesting and insightful and fairly angry. He's got a real dry delivery. In fact, his delivery is so dry, I can only get through the entire album in spurts. But still, he's saying alot of things that need to be said about the current state of affairs in the U.S. and he's a great songwriter.

6. GWEN STEFANI Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
I can't help it, I love Gweny Gwen Gwen. This album is totally lame, but the pop songs on it are rad. Especially "Holla Back Girl." If I hear a cheeseball pop song on the radio and it's catchy, and doesn't drive me insane.....I generally buy the album. That's what happened with Pink. This album isn't a work of genius, but it's fun. I also like Kelly Clarkson but can't be seen buying her stuff. Someone hook me up!

7. OLD 97'S Alive and Wired
I usually don't put live albums on a top 10 list, but I love the Old 97's and this album captures their live show really well. It's like a greatest hits album for a band with no mainstream "hits." If you've always wanted to check out the Old 97's, this album is a nice intro.

8. Calexico and Iron and Wine In the Reins
I really dig Calexico and never got the hype with Iron and Wine, but this album seems like a nice pairing for the two. Iron and Wine's vocals are quiet and interesting and Calexico adds a great Southwestern flava to the music. It's only like, 6 songs....but there's a few songs on here that simply rule.

9. WILCO Kicking Television: Live in Chicago
My favorite band does a live album....and it's so-so. Of course I love all the songs and the new lineup is pretty amazing....but this album is kind of a snooze. Plus, I have other live recordings of shows that are better. They also mixed the crowd noise in a really weird can really hear the applause and singing from the crowd. That takes me out of it because when you're at a show, you can't hear the crowd clear as day. Still, Wilco rules.

10. Ryan Adams Jacksonville City Nights
In typical RA fashion, there's some GREAT songs on here and some "dude, why is this on here" songs. My love/hate relationship with Ryan will always burn brightly. However, this album sounds alot like his first band Whiskeytown...and that's a good thing. He also has 2 other albums out this year (one of which is a double album for Chrissakes) but I've only heard one of them...and didn't dig it that much.

So there ya go. Movies are next but maybe not until tomorrow. I'll start compiling and see what happens. Stay tuned true believers...

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