Tag Archives: The Hold Steady

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.

You should listening to The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady is the Brooklyn based bar band that formed in 2003.  Their musical styling is more narrative and conceptual than most current bands.  Lyrically intense, crunchy, riffing guitars paired with cigarette and whiskey vocals are the calling cards of The Hold Steady.

Their debut album, Almost Killed Me, was released in 2004 and was the shot across the bow that made the critics musical pants go crazy.  In 2005 they released their sophomore album Separation Sunday.  The Hold Steady made the cover of the Village Voice and began to draw comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Husker-Du. 

The Hold Steady Discography:

  • Almost Killed Me (2004)
  • The Virgin Digital Session EP (2005)
  • Separation Sunday (2005)
  • Boys and Girls in America (2006)
  • Live At Lollapalooza (2006)
  • Stuck Between Stations EP (2007)
  • Live at Fingerprints (2007)
  • Stay Positive (2008)
  • A Positive Rage (Live 2009)
  • Heaven Is Whenever (2010)

2006 saw the release of Boys and Girls in America and more critical success as they were named Band of the Year by Blender and Rolling Stone ranked the album #8 on their Best albums of 2006.

The band has been fortunate to open and tour with a diverse line up of bands such as The Dave Matthews Band, The Rolling Stones, King of Leon, Counting Crows, and Drive-By Truckers.  The band released Stay Positive in 2008 which saw a slight departure from their previous efforts and had some guest appearances by J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Ben Nichols (Lucero), Emilyn Brodsky and Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices).

Top 5 The Hold Steady Songs:

  1. Stuck Between Stations (Boys and Girls In America)
  2. Lord, I’m Discouraged (Stay Positive)
  3. Sequestered in Memphis (Stay Positive)
  4. The Swish (Almost Killed Me)
  5. Stevie Nix (Separation Sunday)

This past Tuesday saw the release of Heaven is Whenever which is their fifth studio album.  I’ve only had it a few days and have been impressed with what I have heard thus far.

Check out The Hold Steady at www.theholdstedy.com.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfrPQUSzVHY

www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3GXOcy2mcs&feature=related

Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: Numbers

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday, where I will WOW you with my whimsical list of wonderful music which is brought to you by the wonder of the World Wide Web. 

Today’s topic is Numbers:

Song:             One

Artist:              U2

Album:            Achtung Baby

Song:              16 Days

Artist:              Whiskeytown

Album:            Strangers Almanac

Song:              Seven Nation Army

Artist:              The White Stripes

Album:            Elephant

Song:              Angel Dream (No. 2)

Artist:              Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Album:            She’s the One

Song:              Say Hello 2 Heaven

Artist:              Temple of the Dog

Album:            Temple of the Dog

Song:              40 Oz. To Freedom

Artist:              Sublime

Album:            40 Oz. To Freedom

Song:              Seven Bridges Road

Artist:              Steve Young (Popularly covered by the Eagles)

Album:            Rock Salt & Nails

Song:              One for the Cutters

Artist:              the Hold Steady

Album:            Stay Positive

Song:              99 Problems

Artist:              Jay-Z

Album:            The Black Album

Song:              Dash 7

Artist:              Wilco

Album:            A.M.

Song:              Nine Bullets

Artists:            Drive-By Truckers

Album:            Pizza Deliverance

Song:              Little One

Artist:              Elliott Smith

Album:            From A Basement On the Hill

Song:              60 Feet Tall

Artist:              Dead Weather

Album:            Horehound

Song:              9 Crimes

Artist:              Damien Rice

Album:            9

Song:              40 Dogs

Artist:              Bob Schneider

Album:            Lovely Creatures

Song:              One Road to Freedom

Artist:              Ben Harper

Album:            Fight for Your Mind

Song:              1000 Bpm

Artist:              Beck

Album:            The Information

Song:              One Last Dance

Artist:              Badly Drawn Boy

Album:            Born in the U.K.

Song:              Ten Thousand Words

Artist:              The Avett Brothers

Album:            I and Love and You

 Song:              17

Artist:              Cross Canadian Ragweed

Album:            The Purple Album

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!


25 Albums (since 2000) you should own

Greetings music lovers,

 Today’s blog is a monthly continuation of 25 albums you should own and has the following parameters:

  • Album must have been recorded/released in or after to 2000
  • No duplication of artist
  • No live albums or greatest hits (kind of an all encompassing copout to include either)
  • Listing of my favorite track from said album (This is not so much a parameter but a mere bonus for your reading pleasure)

 Twenty Five albums you should own! (In no particular order):

Artist Album Song
State Radio Us Against The Crown Camilo
Amos Lee Last Days At the Lodge What’s Been Going On
Brett Dennen So Much More Ain’t No Reason
The Black Crowes Before the Frost Appaloosa
Bob Dylan Modern Times Thunder on the Mountain
Beck The Information Strange Apparition
Ben Harper & The Relentless 7 White Lies for Dark Times Faithfully Remain
Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago Flume
Corrine Bailey Rae Corrine Bailey Rae Seasons Change
Eddie Vedder Into the Wild Society
Erin Ivey The 11th Floor Chocolate
Foo Fighters In Your Honor Another Round
The Hold Steady Stay Positive Lord, I’m Discouraged
James McMurtry Childish Things We Can’t Make It Here
Josh Ritter The Animal Years Girl In the War
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Show Your Bones Warrior
Zac Brown Band The Foundation Highway 20 Ride
William Fitzsimmons Until When We Are Ghosts Passion Play
Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance
TV On the Radio Dear Science Halfway Home
Tom Petty Highway Companion Square One
Spoon Transference Nobody Gets Me But You
Slaid Cleaves Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away Beautiful Thing
Serj Tankian Elect the Dead Money
Rilo Kiley Under the Blacklight Silver Lining
Ray LaMontagne Trouble Jolene

 So, there you have it, another list of musical bliss.  Take your time, check them out and let me know what you think.

 Great music awaits!