My Top 50 of the Year - #30-21

30. Dustin Kensrue - Please Come Home
Another album that came out of nowhere for me. Great country influenced pop rock songs with anthems about love and blood. Don't let preconceived notions stop you from checking into this one.

29. American Catastrophe - Excerpts From The Broken Bone Choir
This album first came out in 2006 but I didn't do a list then, and it was re-released on Oxblood Records this year, so I have to give it some love this year. It's dark, dank and kinda shoegazing, but man, Shaun Hamontree can howl.
Broken Bone Choir

28. New Amsterdams - At the Foot of My Rival
The best New Ams record to have come out in a while.
Revenge (Live)

27. Lavender Diamond - Imagine Our Love
Beautiful, carried by Becky Stark's incredible voice, didn't sound any better this year.
Open Your Heart

26. The Nightwatchman - One Man Revolution
Tom Morello gets even MORE political (I wasn't sure that could happen) from behind his acoustic and his microphone. The lyrics are intense and worthy of being studied.
One Man Revolution on youtube

25. Erin McKeown - Sing You Sinners /Lafayette
Erin delivered an album of stadards with kickin' horn arrangements and great playing from the band, and then turns around and gives us a great live album of (mainly) old favorites from her catalog and throws the horn section on there too. The version of "Blackbirds" on Lafayette is epic.

24. Sondre Lerche - Phantom Punch/Dan in Real Life OST
Sondre managed to draw heavily from his influences while still producing a sound that is very Sondre. His heartfelt deliver matched with some really interesting guitar playing and a great duet with Regina Spektor on the Dan In Real Life OST.
Phantom Punch on youtube
Also, check out a killer live show from Sondre over at

23. Sara Bareilles - Little Voice
I first realized the power behind Sara's voice when I saw a youtube video of her playing solo behind her keyboard opening for someone who doesn't matter with the typical opening band chatter drowning her out. However, she then hit the amazing climax of the song "Gravity" and every stopped what they were doing and gave her a standing ovation. You could hear a pin drop during the last of the song. Every song is like that on this album.
Love Song on youtube

22. Fourth Of July - Fourth of July on the Plains
The Hangauer boys have sharp wits, sharp tongues and sharp instruments. Not knives or anything...
Can't Sleep

21. Queens Of The Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
This album is sleazy, grimy, dirty and joyous. A couple of songs that grate on the ears after a while keep this album from being top 10 material, but "Make it Wit Chu" is a contender for song of the year.
Make it Wit Chu on youtube


My Top 50 of the Year - #40-31

Here's the next cluster. Somehow I ended up with three pop albums from Lawrence, KS in a row, but they all are very deserving.

40. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
I didn't much like this album at first, but it really grew on me...
Phantom Limb

39. They Might Be Giants - The Else
The last couple of records by the boys just didn't have the same feel to them as before, but they struck back hard with this one. Learn some history and how much the working world sucks.
The Mesopotamians

38. Eisley - Combinations
Not quite as striking as "Room Noises", but still very melodramatic and sweeping.
Invasion on youtube

37. Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War
By far the slightest in their catalog, but when you have a catalog this great, it really isn't a bad thing.
The Night Starts Here

36. Nicole Atkins - Neptune City
Filled with symphonies, slick (but not too slick) production and Stevie Nicks-esque vocals, Neptune City is another album that came out of nowhere for me.
Party's Over

35. Rivers Cuomo - Alone
This is the Rivers I love.
Superfriend onyoutube

34. The Terrible Twos - If You Ever See an Owl...
We didn't have cool kids albums like this when I was a kid - instead of Matt Pryor, I got Alvin and the Chipmunks. I got jipped. The clean melodies make this album great no matter how old you are.
When I Get to Eleven

33. Tanner Walle - The Future of Tape
One of the best produced albums of the year, clever pop music isn't dead - it's just hiding in Lawrence Kansas.

32. Dri - Smoke Rings
Slinky and sexy music from Adrienne Verhoven, produced by the cream of the Lawrence crop. This here by ends the Lawrence mini-section.
You Know I Tried

31. Dropkick Murphys - The Meanest Of Times
As blistering as anything the Murphys have put out to date. And get ahold of all the bonus tracks if you can - there's some killer covers in there.
Famous for Nothing on youtube

My Top 50 of the Year - #50-41

Well, due to the snow, I had a bit of an accident on the highway this morning while heading to work. So I got that cleaned up and came straight back home. I'm glad to have the day here, because I put my finishing touches on my top albums of th year list and here's the beginning. I don't wanna upload anything for this one so mp3 links only where available - youtube links everywhere else.

50. Bettye Lavette - The Scene of the Crime
Bettye's voice has never sounded better and the music (done by the Drive-By Truckers) resonated a bit more with me this time around.
Talking Old Soldiers

49. White Stripes - Icky Thump
A big rebound from the mess of the last record, and it proves that the Stripes may be at their best when they're at their quirkiest.

48. Thurston Moore - Trees Outside The Academy
Only a small departure for a man who didn't really need one. Most of the tunes woulda worked with the band, but kudos to Thurston.
Trees Outside the Academy

47. This is My Condition - Get Loose/This Mission
One album of one man freakouts, and another of two man freakouts. Both are a blast to turn up as loud as you can and scare your neighbors with.
This Mission from This Mission

46. Tim Armstrong - A Poet's Life
This album is a blast of good summery fun from yer favorite Rancid frontman. There isn't much more fun that you can have with an album this year.
Into Action

45. Bright Eyes - Cassadaga
I think the slicker production than before turned me off a bit, but I'll eat my shoe if "Four Winds" isn't one of Conor's finest songs yet.
Four Winds

44. Norah Jones - Not Too Late
Norah seemed to show us more about Norah and less about the writers and musicians around us on this album, and I liked. You don't expect edgy from Norah, you just expect to relax and enjoy.
Thinking About You at youtube

43. Miranda Lambert - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
I kept seeing this pop up on other peoples lists and thus gave it a try, and whaddya know, its actually quite good. If it didn't slip into dobro-laden ballads as much it would have rated much higher, but the spurned and angry Miranda is a load of fun.
Gunpowder and Lead at youtube

42. Maria Taylor - Lynn Teeter Flower
This one may be on the list just because I listened to it last night, but Maria's sound continued to expand this year and grew more upbeat and spacier. I never thought I'd put Maria on the list higher than Bright Eyes...
A Good Start

41. The Frames - The Cost
Maybe it's just my love for the new breed of Irish troubadours, but I think I could listen to Glen Hansard sing the phone book and fall in love with it, but that's not necessary - this album is lyrically quite personal and wonderful.
Falling Slowly


My Big Announcement

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have a pretty big announcement - this weekend I went to visit my girlfriend and I proposed - and she said yes.

When I went to go see the Flaming Lips earlier this year I gave her a show call during "Do You Realize??", so I thought it was fitting that she had been singing the song all morning long.

So this one is for you, babe.

The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize??


Allen Toussaint vs. Andrew Bird

The other day I was sitting in my car listening to the last part of Allen Toussaint's incredible 1970 album, "From a Whisper to a Scream", which closes with the incredible tempo-changing instrumental track "Pickles". At nearly two minutes in I heard something that caught my ear.

I know that melody...where do I know it from?

Then it hit me - it sounds just like the intro to the album version of "A nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" by Andrew Bird. I went home and compared the two and they sound just alike to me.

Please tell me I'm not crazy. Here's the songs. Listen to the intro of Bird's tune compared to the section at 1:50 into "Pickles". Lemme know what you think!

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Andrew Bird - A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left Via andrewbird.net

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Allen Toussaint - Pickles

And in case you're not familiar with Toussaint's work, you should be.

Allen at Wikipedia
Allen at Allmusic.com


His Name Is Alive - Xmmer

I've been randomly thumbing thru various top albums lists for this year, and one name I've been surprised to see so sparsely is the band His Name Is Alive.

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They put out what will most likely, when the dust settles, be a top ten album for me, "Xmmer." It does everything you could possibly want an album to do. It shimmys, it rocks, it mellows, it jives...it does everything but bring you waffles in the morning. If you don't like the song below from the album, listen to the album anyways. There WILL be something there that you will like.

From Xmmer:
Go To Hell Mountain

And then also, HNIA released a tribute to jazz saxaphonist Marion Brown that should currently be flying above your head on the way to my mailbox. Here's a track from that one too:
Bismillahi 'Rrahmani 'Rrahim (Via Pitchfork)

Official link:
His Name Is Alive Homepage

ALSO, speaking of waffles, I've been looking to find my way into a great site to get some food...



Apparently I've been gone for a really long time. It wasn't planned...it just happened. But I think I'm ready to come back. I think the blog will have a different vibe to it now but it's still me. And just in time for lists!

And here's a song to grow on:
Jason Anderson - O, Jac! (Just Right Click and Save As...it seems that trying to open it in-browser isn't working...)

Jason Anderson has been knocking me on my butt lately. Despite the fact that this track is significantly mellower than the rest, it still gets your head moving to the beat when the drums come in. And with Jason, it's all 'bout getting you moving.

So now let's get this blog moving...


Cover and Compare - San Diego Serenade

My favorite song on my favorite Tom Waits album is "San Diego Serenade" off "The Heart of Saturday Night". I like my Waits a bit folkier and at his most expressive. This song finds both. Waits pressed to the piano and pouring his heart out speaks to me far more than the more recent incarnations we've seen. "I never felt my heart strings/until I nearly went insane" What a line! And on his first solo album, singer song-writer Arthur Dodge (who can usually be found fronting the Horsefeathers) chose to close with the tune.

Dodge's version steps away from the piano and instead moves to a solo guitar rendition, but he still carries quite a bit of the feeling with it.

Tom Waits - San Diego Serenade

Arthur Dodge - San Diego Serenade

And by the way, the entire Arthur Dodge record, "The Perfect Face" is quite stellar and is worth giving a listen. Here's two more songs off the record via Lawrence.com:
Wet Paint
Million Dollar Muse

Arthur Dodge's Official Site