Tag Archives: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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!


Tune In Tuesday: 6/29/10

Welcome back for yet another installment of Tune In Tuesday

Music’s connectivity varies by person but I believe that there is some resonating emotional cord that is struck when we are truly touched by the music.  While I appreciate the complexity of the instrumentation, I tend to gravitate to the lyrical aspect of music.  While this is not always etched in granite, it holds about 90% of the time.

Today I am going to go back a few years and highlight some albums that are indelibly etched in my fabric for various and sundry reasons.

Under the Table and Dreaming

Dave Matthews Band

This was the first studio album from Dave and the band and was a really musically liberating sound.  The combination of guitar, bass, violin, saxophone and drums just sounded so fresh in the early 90’s.  The vibe from the music was so upbeat that you couldn’t help but move while listening to it. 

This album was in heavy rotation during college and began a twenty year relationship with the band.  I’ve seen them live several times and own all their studio albums as well as the majority of the live albums. 

Key Tracks: The Best of What’s Around, Typical Situation, Jimi Thing, Ants Marching, What Would You Say

Singles (Soundtrack)

Various Artists

This is the best soundtrack to come out in the 90’s and may very well be the greatest soundtrack of all times.  I realize that is a really bold claim and I’m ok with that.  I’m a rebel!

This album captured Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins on one album before they reached the collective conscience of the country.  The album went platinum and really caught the buzz of the Seattle grunge scene.  In addition to the great songs from the soon to be huge bands, there were several key tracks from stalwart Seattle bands such as Mudhoney and Mother Love Bone.

Key Tracks: Drown, Chloe Dance/Crown of Thorns, State of Love and Trust, Breath, Birth Ritual, Would

And Justice for All

Metallica

This was my heavy metal musical baptism and bible in the latter part of my high school years.  I was really into classic rock and when this album came out I could not get enough.  The guttural growls of James Hetfield, the relentless drumming of Lars, and just the all out anger of the sound was so intoxicating.  As a recalcitrant teen, this was my anthem.  As I’ve gotten older, I have learned to appreciate the level of skill that they possess as a band of musician and how they helped define the genre.

Key Tracks:  Dyers Eve, One, The Shortest Straw, Blackened

Green

R.E.M.

Green was R.E.M.’s sixth album but was their major label debut.  This album was also the debut of Peter Buck’s mandolin which would help define the band’s sound on subsequent albums.  The album had such a different sound from their previous albums.  Stipe’s singing is more deliberate and clear and the lyrics run a range of emotions. 

Key Tracks:  Stand, You Are the Everything, World Leader Pretend, Orange Crush, I Remember California

Full Moon fever

Tom Petty

This was Petty’s first venture into solo territory even though he had collaborations with his Heartbreakers and a Wilbury or two.  The album has a cleaner almost crisp sound compared to some of the earlier Heartbreakers albums.  Helmed by Jeff Lynne (Traveling Wilbury’s, Electric Light Orchestra) the album is solid with no real weak tracks. 

Key Tracks: Runnin Down a Dream, Free Fallin’, Love Is a Long Road, I Won’t Back Down,

Joshua Tree

U2

This is my all time favorite U2 album.  They had not quite blown up into the biggest rock band in the world but were well on their way.  Each track is unyielding in musical bliss and twenty plus years later, it plays like a greatest hits album.  The album is sonically heavier than their previous albums and is their foray into the influence of the blues. 

Key Tracks: With Or Without You, Running To Stand Still, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Trip Through Your Wires

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 6/22/10

Welcome back to another installment of Tune In Tuesday.  Today’s six albums are pretty diverse in regards to musical genre and over all style but have the commonality of not sucking at all. 

Mojo

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

This is Mr. Petty’s first studio album in eight and is well worth the wait.  The tunes are refreshingly reflective of the bands thirty plus years in the business. The songs have an air of fun and a cohesive quality that have always been a trademark of the Heartbreakers.  Heavy on the sweet southern rock sound, the songs have a classic vibe that sounds fresh yet familiar.  Petty’s voice is in fine form with the light, nasally, southern drawl, Campbell’s guitar playing is as tight as ever, and Trench’s ability to tickle the ivory brings it all together.  The album reminds you why Petty is so great and why he can take eight years off and come back just as relevant to the music scene.

Key Tracks: Running Man’s Bible, Something Good Coming, Takin’ My Time

American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem

This is the third album for the New Jersey band and a pretty dramatic departure for the heartland punk rockers.  It seems that the urgency and tension of the first two albums has dissipated and allowed them to grow as a band.  Obviously influenced by Springsteen, American Slang is a more mature sound for the band and allows them to better connect to their audience as well as bring new folks into the fold.  Don’t get me wrong, the band still rocks and a few songs have the speed and antagonism of their previous two albums.

Key Tracks: Bring It On, American Slang, Orphans

Fly Between Falls

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO)

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) is the hippie, trippy, California band that brings the good time vibe to everything they play.  The band was formed by high school buddies Zach Gill, Steve Adams, Dan Lebowitz.  They all share vocal responsibilities and play a variety of instruments. 

Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006.

This album is just plain fun.  Each song is up tempo and quirky yet sucks you in a little deeper each time you listen. 

Key Tracks:  Girl I Wanna Lay You Down, Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song), Barbeque

I and Love and You

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers are the folksy, rocking, alt/country with a tinge of bluegrass band from North Carolina.  With such a diverse pedigree, is it any wonder the Rick Rubin took notice, signed them to his label, and produced their major label debut “I and Love and You”?

The album is sonically rich with harmonies provided by Scott and Seth.  The melodies are tight and the musical arrangement has a certain level of complication but not in an overly dramatic fashion.

Key Tracks:  Ten Thousand Words, Kick Drum Heart, January Wedding

One Fast Move Or I’m Gone

Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard

Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service) teamed up to write and record an album for the documentary “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s “Big Sur”

With Kerouac’s connection to jazz, both Farrar and Gibbard seem to be an odd choice to write and represent the spirit of Jack.  However, given the tragic nature of the book and Kerouac’s immersion into the depths of alcoholism and debilitating depression, Farrar with his naturally dour vocal styling and proclivity to writing deep emotionally damaged lyrics was a competent selection, while Gibbard seemed an awkward fit with his more melodic voice and previous synth heavy work with The Postal Service. 

Given the inspiration for the album it is no surprise that musically, the album is steeped in Americana with acoustic, electric, & steel guitar, lap & pedal steel, harmonica, piano, and percussions.  A majority of the lyrics were taken from Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur” and Jack gets writing credit on all of the songs except Gibbard’s lyrical contribution on the title track.

The irony of this project is that as dark and damaged as Kerouac was; the album is hopeful with a vulnerable beauty etched in the music and lyrics.

Key Tracks: California Zephyr, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, Big Sur, San Francisco

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion is the musical collaboration and eponymous debut EP of acid tongue, fire and brimstone, anti politico Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) and drummer Jon Theodore (Mars Volta). 

The overall vibe on the EP is not an exodus sonically or lyrically for either musician.  The lyrics are politically and emotionally charged, the music is in your face antagonistic, and the overall delivery is the equivalent of a sledgehammer.  Bombastic drums and hypnotic keyboards bolster the fiery vocal release of de la Rocha.  The album has urgency to it in both the spirit of the music and the delivery of the lyrics. 

While the five songs seem to play quickly, what the album lacks in length, it more than makes up for with the strength of each song.  It also brings the realization the potency of de la Rocha’s delivery and the void that has existed musically since the disbanding of Rage Against the Machine.

Key Tracks: All 5 Songs!

 Great music awaits!


Tom Petty & His Musical Greatness

Ok, I realize it has been a few days since I have posted a blog.  This is due to a number of factors that all involve time or lack thereof.  But, it is Monday and I am ready to wax musically for another day.

During my brief hiatus, I’ve given some consideration to the blog and the overall format.  I’ve decided to shake it up a bit and only post two times per week about a particular artist’s relevance and history and the other days will be a more interactive process of ranking artist’s best albums and top songs.  Over the past few months I’ve noticed that my incendiary lists seem to illicit more of a response from you, the sweet, gentle reader. 

Today’s blog will spotlight the complete and best work of one Mr. Thomas Earl Petty and his amazing band The Heartbreakers. 

Tom Petty (Solo & The Heartbreakers) Discography & Best Song From Each Album:

Note: No song selection will be made from live albums or anthologies.

  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1976)
    • Breakdown
  • Official Live Leg  (1977)
  • You’re Gonna Get It (1978)
    • Listen To Her Heart
  • Damn the Torpedoes (1979)
    • Louisiana Rain
  • Hard Promises (1981)
    • The Waiting
  • Long After Dark (1982)
    • Straight Into Darkness
  • Southern Accents (1985)
    • Rebels
  • Pack Up the Plantation (1985 Live)
  • Let Me Up (I’ve had Enough) (1987)
    • It’ll All Work Out
  • Full Moon Fever (1989 Solo)
    • Runnin’ Down a Dream
  • Into The Great Wide Open (1991)
    • Learning To Fly
  • Greatest Hits (1993)
    • Mary Jane’s Last Dance
  • Wildflowers (1994 Solo)
    • It’s Good To Be King
  • Playback (1995)
  • Songs and Music from “She’s the One” (1996)
    • Angel Dream No. 2
  • Echo (1999)
    • Free Girl Now
  • Anthology: Through the Years (2000)
  • The Last DJ (2002)
    • Money Becomes King
  • Highway Companion (2006 Solo)
    • Square One
  • The Live Anthology (2009)
  • Mojo (Set to release in Spring 2010)

Top 5 Tom Petty Albums:

  1. Damn the Torpedoes
  2. Hard Promises
  3. Southern Accents
  4. Full Moon Fever
  5. Highway Companion

Top 10 Tom Petty Songs:

  1. Angel Dream No. 2
  2. It’ll All Work Out
  3. Breakdown
  4. Louisiana Rain
  5. Straight Into Darkness
  6. Rebels
  7. Southern Accents
  8. The Waiting
  9. Even The Losers
  10. American Girl

So, there you have it, my list of Tom Petty greatness.  Given his extensive catalog and thirty plus years in the business, I allowed five albums and ten songs.  Future artists might warrant less.

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!