Tag Archives: The Big To-Do

2010 Year In Review: Music You Should Have Been Listening To!

Well, 2010 was quite the year!  Everyone got a little older but ladies, you don’t look it!  In spite of continued political divide, the yet to rebound economy, and little oil spill in the Gulf, 2010 was a pretty great year in music.  Not for the industry as a whole (canceled tours, decline in both digital and CD sales, etc…), but in terms of the output from various artists it was a pretty fine year.  Hell, the Beatles finally capitulated to the masses and released their catalog on iTunes!  Back the Brinks truck up boys, we are cashing in!

Here is my annual review of what I thought, and thereby, was good in the world of music in 2010.  If it did not make the list, it means I did not get a chance to listen to it, or it sucked.  It is entirely possible that some music got by me this year.  It is more likely that the music I did not listen to was not listenable and therefore sucked.

In all seriousness, this is a compilation of 50 albums that were released in 2010 that got a lot of play in the many places where I listen to music.  All of these albums I own and were in heavy rotation throughout the year.  These are by no means the only albums released or that I purchased in 2010 but the ones I found myself digging a little more than some of the others.

The albums listed below are in no particular order of greatness but are all great in their own unique musical way!  See, look at that, I’m being mindful of the feelings of the artists that will never read this blog and perpetuating the “everyone is a winner”, feel good schlock that has helped raise and create a whole generation of entitled whiners and, I digress.

So sit back and peruse the gentle musing of what made my musical pants go crazy this year.

Artist Album My Annotations
The Black Keys Brother This album and all of their other albums rock.  This band consists of 2 white dudes from Ohio who sound like a symphony of veteran bluesman that caught wind of some funk.  Pure greatness!
Arcade Fire The Suburbs Nice way to come back from a 3 year break!  This album and this band is what is right with music today. Sprawling music, musicians that actually play instruments, and have something meaningful to say!
Jamey Johnson The Guitar Songs Jamey tried the clean cut “new” country way and realized that it was not going to work for him.  So, he followed the Johnny Cash 101 course and gave in to vice and temptation, grew a crazy beard and wrote about his life.  This double disc is pretty aggressive for this relative newcomer but he pulls it off and we are better for it.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Mojo Great new disc from the Heartbreakers and another great album from start –finish for Tommy Boy.  After 30 years I am amazed that he can still bring it like he does.  Petty has a way of always taking me back to the halcyon days of high school.  Props to the folks from 75115!
Drive-By Truckers The Big To-Do I love DBT and this album is no exception.  While Jason Isbell is missed, they are able to carry one and make some damn fine music.  The stories that they create are usually good for a laugh or two until you realize that most of them come from real life events. 
Fistful of Mercy Fistful of Mercy The musical triumvirate of Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur, and Dhani Harrison.  Great harmonies and acoustic instrumentation. 
Bruce Springsteen The Promise This 2 disc set is the lost tracks to the Darkness on the Edge of Town session.  That period was pretty prolific for the Boss and it is funny how 30+ years later the music is still relevant.  Hats off to you Bruce and the E Street Boys.
Eminem Recovery Dropped off the face of musical earth and did a death spiral and realized that he had more music to make.  While not as aggressive and misogynistic as his earlier work, Recovery shows that he still has skills.
The Dead Weather Sea of Cowards Jack White is pure greatness and this sophomore effort from one of his many side projects does not disappoint. 
The National High Violet Not exactly a “pick me up” kind of band but the drama and melancholy is balanced by the somber vocals and tight instrumentation. 
Band of Horses Infinite Arms Indie music darlings come back with a full group for their third album.  Their sound is familiar but they do explore some new lyrical territory. 
Neil Young Le Noise Neil Young and his eclectic ways paired + Daniel Lanois production expertise = genius. 
Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown These guys make consistently good music.  It is unfortunate that their previous release was embraced by the masses and oversaturated the airwaves.
 Kid Rock Born Free Say what you will about the Kid, but when he stays close to the classic rock of our youth, he makes entertaining music.
Joe Purdy 4th of July The best indie act out there today.  Releases all of his material on his own with no major label support, gets little or no radio play, and tours in places that hold 200-300 people.  He is amazing. 
Joe Purdy This American See above
The Gaslight Anthem American Slang New Jersey band channeling the musical spirit of Springsteen with a little punk rock spin.  Further proof that good things come from the Garden State!
Spoon Transference Spoon continues to make moody not quite pop music.  This is their 7th album and is a great showcase of their formidable musical chops.
Gorillaz Plastic Beach Cartoon characters that get the likes of DeLa Soul, Snoop Dogg, and Lou Reed to guest on their album.  What more can I say?
MGMT Congratulations The sophomore album from the trippy, somewhat psychedelic duo.  As good as their stellar debut and clearly shows that these boys have some skills.
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Despite the petulant attitude, knack for opening mouth and inserting foot, Kanye knows how to mix and mingle the tracks, samples and artists.   Not sure I like liking him but hard to ignore.
Robert Plant Band of Joy Golden Rock god pays go pre-Zeppelin days and does some pretty sweet covers of American music such as Townes Van Zandt, Low, and Los Lobos.
John Mellencamp No Better Than This This live mono recording of his latest was done in various parts of the country such as a Georgia church, San Antonio hotel room, and a Memphis recording studio.  Mr. Happy Go Lucky strikes again!
Broken Bells Broken Bells James Mercer (The Shins) and super producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley) team up for an awesome debut album.  Hopefully they will find time to make more music.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Beat the Devil’s Tattoo Cool, scary band name with cool scary album name.  I’ve been a fan for years and like how they have evolved.
Marc Cohn Listening Booth:1970 Great covers of 70’s song.  Nice to see him back in the booth.
Josh Ritter So Runs The World Away Quite the word smith.  Sparse musical compositions are the foundation for the subterranean concepts of the album.
Flobots Survival Story Rock-Rap with the instrumentation of a viola!  Politically charged lyrics with deft delivery and did I mention the viola? 
The Rescues Let Loose The Horses Four part harmonies that flawlessly flow throughout the album.  Lingering, soothing lyrics that are both exploratory and meaningful.  Great debut album.
Jack Johnson To The Sea Feel good music in the laid back Jack Johnson style.  Not breaking new ground which is not necessarily a bad thing. 
Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise 4th studio album for the whiskey soaked and smoky voiced troubadour and this time he is backed by a true, professional band.  This album, like all the rest is best when his dulcet tone has room to breathe.
Mumford & Sons Sigh No More Further proof that harmonies were all the rage in 2010.  This London quartet’s debut album is closer to folk than just about anything on this list.  Not sure how the English captured Americana but more power to them.
The New Pornographers Together The large Canadian bands 5th album is a nice blend of vocals and instrumentation.  Will Sheff of Okervil River, Zach Condon of Beirut, and some Dap Kings (the horn players) all make appearances on the album.
The Black Crowes Croweology The Crowes version of “Best of” with 2 discs worth of tracks.  Nice acoustic versions of their catalog.  This is the last release before their next breakup/hiatus.  Damn sibling rivalries!
LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening The 3rd and reportedly final album from the dance/rock kings. 
Of Montreal False Priests An eclectic blend of funk, synth, and sing along chorus.  Lyrically odd at times, the songs seem to be better crafted then some of their other work.
Sleigh Bells Treats Drums, guitars, and a little hip hop are hard to beat.  This band is not easy to define but certainly fun.
Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Song of Chico Dusty One half of the rap duo OutKast, Big Boi shows his considerable skills on his solo album.  Solo album is a loose term considering that T.I., Gucci Mane, George Clinton, Jamie Foxx, B.o.B, and Too Short are just a few of the folks that appear on the album.
The Hold Steady Heaven Is Whenever Not as commercially known as some of the other bands on this list but just as good, if not better than some.  Think heartland rock with Brooklyn attitude.
Eels Tomorrow Morning The 2nd of their albums to be released in 2010, this one is a little more upbeat.  The addition of keyboards and strings is a nice touch.  It seems that E might have just a glimmer of happiness in his life.
Weezer Hurley With co-writers like Ryan Adams, Mac Davis, and Linda Perry, this album twists and turns in many musical directions.  All of them good!
Vampire Weekend Contra Sophomore album for the Paul Simon channeling group is not a drastic departure from their first.  The formula works. 
Ozomatli Fire Away As diverse as band as there is, these LA boys mix in the rap, Spanish horns, and a bit of Ska to completely blow you away. 
Street Sweeper Social Club The Ghetto Blaster EP Tom Morello of Rage fame and Boot Riley release this angry, politically driven EP.  Not so angry that they can’t cover LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out and MIA’s Paper Planes. 
The Avett Brothers Live Volume 3 This album was recorded in 2009 shortly after the major label debut.  It covers several great tracks from their previous indie label albums.  This is a band best served live.  Might make my Top 10 Live Album List.
Joe Pug The Messenger Great acoustic folk music.  Lyrically sound and great from start to finish.  He is one of the great finds of 2010 for me.
Jakob Dylan Woman + Country The still Wallflowerless Dylan’s 2nd solo album is as solid as anything he has ever done.  Neko Case also appears on the album.
Matt Costa Mobile Chateau Jack Johnson’s protégé’s third release is a mixed bag of upbeat tempos and California pop with a helping of soulful piano and surprising depth.
Elton John and Leon Russell The Union Clash of the aging titans!  Hard to believe that after 40 years of divergent paths, these two make an album that leaves you wondering why it did not happen sooner.
Reckless Kelly Somewhere In Time This album is a 12 track homage to the band’s early mentor and Americana singer/songwriter Pinto Bennett.

2010 Mid Year Review: Albums You Should Have Bought!

Well, here we are, six months in to 2010.  Musically it has been a pretty solid half a year.  Today I will list a few of the albums that you should have picked up thus far this year.

The albums are listed in no particular order.

2010 Mid-Year Review: Albums You Should Have Bought

Artist Album
Massive Attack Heligoland
The Black Keys Brothers
Gary Allan Get Off On the Pain
John Butler Trio April Uprising
Spoon Transference
She & Him Volume Two
Vampire Weekend Contra
Drive-By Truckers The Big To-Do
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Beat the Devil’s Tattoo
The New Pornographers Together
Jack Johnson To The Sea
The Gaslight Anthem American Slang
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Mojo
Band of Horses Infinite Arms
Flobots Survival Story
The Dead Weather Sea of Cowards
The National High Violet
Minus the Bear Omni

 Great music awaits!


Drive-By Truckers

Today, let us rejoice in the three axe attack of Drive-By Truckers. 

Drive-By Truckers Discography and best song per album:

  • Gangstabilly (1998)
    • Late for Church
  • Pizza Deliverance (1999)
    • Nine Bullets
  • Alabama Ass Whuppin  (Live 2000)
    • The Living Bubba
  • Southern Rock Opera (2002)
    • Shut Up and Get On the Plane
  • Decoration Day (2003)
    • Decoration Day
  • The Dirty South (2004)
    • Carl Perkin’s Cadillac
  • A Blessing and a Curse (2006)
    • Gravity’s Gone
  • Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (2008)
    • Self Destructive Zones
  • Live from Austin, TX (2009)
    • A Ghost To Most
  • The Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities (2009)
    • The Great Car Dealer War
  • The Big To-Do (2010)
    • The Wig He Made Her Wear

Top 3 Drive-By Trucker Albums:

  1. Brighter Than Creations Dark
  2. A Blessing and a Curse
  3. Decoration day

Top 10 Drive-By Trucker Songs:

  1. Gravity’s Gone
  2. Self Destructive Zones
  3. Decoration Day
  4. Outfit
  5. A Ghost To Most
  6. Nine Bullets
  7. Cottonseed
  8. The Righteous Path
  9. Monument Valley
  10. Carl Perkin’s Cadillac

As a little bonus, I will add another category that involves lyrically genius.

Drive-By Truckers Genius Lyrics:

  • The hippies rode a wave putting smiles on faces, that the devil wouldn’t even put a shoe
    Caught between a generation dying from its habits, and another thinking rock and roll was new
    Till the pawn shops were packed like a backstage party, hanging full of pointy ugly cheap guitars
    And the young’uns all turned to karaoke, hanging all their wishes upon disregarded stars

 

  • Reverend Bob is pointin’ his finger Mom and Dad follow every last word
    All this hollerin’ makes me wonder does a whispered prayer get heard?
    Reverend Bob is preachin’ out thunder fire and brimstone pouring down
    Me, I’m wondering what’s for dinner waitin’ for 12 o’clock to come round
    Everybody’s got their own Heaven They all find it their own way
    I am an angel

 

  • Those little demons ain’t the reasons for the bruises on your soul you’ve been neglecting
    You’ll never lose your mind as long as your heart always reminds you where you left it
    And don’t ever let them make you feel like saying what you want is unbecoming
    If you were supposed to watch your mouth all the time I doubt your eyes would be above
    it

 

  • It’s all about where you put the horizon said the Great John Ford to the young man rising
    You got to frame it just right and have some luck of course and it helps to have a tall man sitting on the horse
    Tell them just enough to still leave them some mystery a grasp of the ironic nature of history
    A man turns his back on the comforts of home the Monument Valley to ride off alone

 

  • Stop that dope smokin! stop that masturbation!
    Take the Lord into your heart and stop that fornication.
    We’re building us an army, gonna knock out Satan.
    Visa or Mastercard, our operator’s waiting.
    Too much sex, too little Jesus.”

Read, review, and respond.

 Great music awaits!


The Drive-By Truckers The Big To-Do!

The Big To-Do is the highly anticipated, recently released album by Drive-By Truckers.  The album is solid and Trucker fans will not be disappointed.  However, there were a few surprise on this album that seem a bit of a departure from their previous work.

The absence of Mike Cooley was the first thing I noticed when I listened to the album.  Mike Cooley covers lead vocals on three songs and is sorely missed on the album.  This is not a shot at the album but merely noted in deference to the greatness of Cooley’s calm, self assured vocals and considerable songwriting skills.  His voice is as recognizable as Hood’s but is diametrically opposed in cadence, timbre, and texture.  He contributes three songs and on Birthday Boy, he is a layer or two behind the music.  Not the norm for his work and a little disappointing for all of the Cooley fans out there.

This is the first release since the departure of guitarist Jason Isbell.  While the Trucker’s still have their three axe attack, John Neff does not contribute at the level of Jason Isbell.  In addition to being one of three guitarists, Isbell was a strong contributor to the songwriting; he wrote and sang quite a few of the stand out songs from their catalog in the 00’s.  Musically they are still exceptionally tight but just not breaking new ground with this album.

Shonna Tucker, the Trucker’s bassist, contributes two solid tracks.  Her playing has always been extremely competent.  This is her second album where she contributes lead vocals for tracks that she wrote.  I think that Tucker’s contributions are an exceptional high light of the album.  Her songs tend to be bathed a bit with a stylized country sound.  You can almost picture her in a small, local bar singing to the swaying, two stepping couples after last call.

This album is heavy on Patterson Hood’s musical and vocal offerings.  Of the thirteen tracks, he wrote the lyrics and covers lead vocals on seven.  I am a huge Patterson Hood fan and I find his satirical writing style to be a refreshing escape from some of the worn out topics of other current musical acts.

Stand out Tracks:

  • The Wig He Made Her Wear
  • The Fourth Night of My Drinking
  • Eyes Like Glue
  • You Got Another
  • Drag the Lake Charlie

 Great music awaits!