Thursday, December 30, 2010

WYMA (John's) Top 20 of 2010: As Usual With Me, Guitars Rule...

I'm going to post my top 20 of 2010 (click to follow link to MySpace Playlist). When I do these things, it's always difficult to make the final cuts. The "Top 10" sort of makes itself. It's the records that I just put in the cd player and leave in there. If there's something on the record I tend to skip, it probably won't be in my Top 10. There are probably records in 10-20 that meet that criteria, too... This year, Broken Bells and Drive-by Truckers would probably fit that description. It's all pretty subjective, is what I guess I'm trying to say. I welcome, indeed I invite, your comments and your personal lists of favorites. Try to post them in the "comments" section. If that doesn't work send me an email and I'll try to create a post with all the submissions I get.

I'm posting links to the official websites (or Myspace pages if the artist doesn't appear to have an official site). If you can't find these discs in a local store (check the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) and Alliance of Independent Music Stores (AIMS) links -- also available on the sidebar to the right), try to buy them via the artists' website... seems like the right way to thank all these acts for all this great music they gave us in 2010.

1. Los Lobos - Tin Can Trust. This was my favorite album of 2010. Los Lobos has been making great American rock music for about 30 years, and they usually make my top 20 list, but I don't recall the last time they had my top record. It's about time, probably. David Hidalgo is as good a soul vocalist as we have nowadays, and every song is well-written and played, but what made this record jump to the top of my list is the lead guitar interplay on songs like "Bridges Burning", a composition by Cesar Rosas and Jerry Garcia's old writing partner Robert Hunter. Los Lobos Website

2. Jim Lauderdale - Patchwork River. Speaking of Robert Hunter, this is the second wonderful collection of Americana sketches by Lauderdale and Robert Hunter. Jim Lauderdale is a musical treasure in every way: as a writer, collaborator (in addition to Hunter, he's recorded two full albums with Ralph Stanley and various other acts through the years) and a great bluegrass and straight country singer. Jim Lauderdale Website

3. Retribution Gospel Choir - 2. Here's another one with great guitar playing throughout, and some moments that truly approach Crazy Horse in intensity. Alan Sparhawk (of Low) is the leader of this band, and he obviously wanted an outlet for his rock guitar tendencies. Retribution Gospel Choir Website

4. Robert Pollard - We All Got Out of the Army. The best Pollard disc of the year was released in February and it confirms his preeminence in at least three of the four P's: pop, prog and psych, with echos of some of the best GbV power pop records and precursors like David Bowie ("Faster to Babylon"). Robert Pollard Website

5. Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3 - Northern Aggression. I've always enjoyed the wild guitar playing on Wynn's work with Miracle 3, but he's channelling Verlaine and Lloyd on some of the songs here. I'm not kidding... this is an incredible rock record. Steve Wynn Website

6. Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse - Dark Night of the Soul. This is really an amazing piece of work, and I look forward to seeing the visual part of the project... just as an album, Dark Night is in my top 5. RIP Mark Linkous... he was really one of my favorites, year after year. Dark Night of the Soul Website

7. Henry Clay People - Somewhere On the Golden Coast. Only two P's (punk and pop), but a lot of fun. "Working Part Time" is so good, I don't mind them remaking a song from their first album ("This Ain't a Scene"). Probably not too many people ever got hold of that one anyway... Henry Clay People Website

8. Black Keys - Brothers. Starting from the same heavy blues base as their previous records, they expand into some soul and psych, and do it very well, as usual. Black Keys Website

9. Citay - Dream Get Together. Great, great guitar work on this record. This band makes psychedelic rock with a level of acoustic and electric guitar interplay you don't hear very often. Citay Website

10. Boston Spaceships - Our Cubehouse Still Rocks. Robert Pollard's second entry in my personal Top Ten. This, like the other Boston Spaceships discs, is very catchy and enjoyable while offering enough Pollard quirkiness to keep it interesting. Favorite song title: "John the Dwarf Wants to Become An Angel". Maybe my favorite song, too. Boston Spaceships Website

11. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker. Australian rock band, heavy on the psychedelic content, with great guitars and long songs. Tame Impala Website

12. Broken Bells - Broken Bells. Getting away from guitar-based rock just a bit, this record combined the writing and singing of James Mercer (Shins) with the backdrop of some more impeccable Dangermouse playing and production. Broken Bells Website

13. Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo. Spent the first couple of weeks I had this record trying to put two and two together regarding its influences: Shins, Wilco? Certainly I'd recommend it to anyone who's enjoyed the direction of the last couple of Wilco records. Avi Buffalo Website

14. Beach Fossils - Beach Fossils. Primitive guitar rock with partially-obscured vocals and catchy tunes. Lo-fi heaven, pretty much. Beach Fossils Myspace

15. Drive-by Truckers - The Big To-Do. DBT continue to rock hard and break your heart, sometimes at the same time. Usually at the same time. Drive-By Truckers Website

16. Steve Mason - Boys Outside. Slick Northern Soul meets high quality prog rock with electronic leanings. Mason and the members of the Aliens are former members of Beta Band, and it's one of those breakups, like Uncle Tupelo's, that yields at least two good new acts. Steve Mason Website

17. Best Coast - Crazy for You. Yeah, it sounds like the songs are all about the same stuff, but so what? This is the kind of catchy pop/rock you just find yourself enjoying and forgetting... and that's not a bad thing. Best Coast Website

18. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - I Learned the Hard Way. From horn-driven funk to sweet soul music, this band can do it all and Sharon Jones is one of the strongest bandleaders working today. Seriously, what is not to love about this band? Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Website

19. Ty Segall - Melted. More surf rock-inspired lo-fi fun. I applaud the rise of this stuff... twisted step-grandchildren of Dick Dale? Ty Segall Myspace

20. Budos Band - Budos Band III. It's not new ground they're plowing, but somehow they keep their music sounding fresh (at least to me). The horns and the beat are the highlights, but I like the keyboards and guitars as well. If you liked old funk outfits like the Meters and the stuff uncovered by Egon on The Funky 16 Corners, definitely give these folks a try. They're making this excellent classic funk RIGHT NOW.Budos Band Website

Honorable Mentions (I really liked these a lot, and hated to leave them off a "Best of" list, so consider them #20 A through K)
Neil Young - Le Noise
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Cee-Lo Green - The Ladykiller
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Robert Pollard - Moses on a Snail
Wild Nothing - Gemini
Dum Dum Girls - I Will Be
Centro-matic - Eyas
(To clarify, this is on Honorable Mentions only because it's an EP of outtakes - a full Centro-Matic album is due out in early 2011)
High Dials - Anthems for Doomed Youth
Radio Dept - Clinging to a Scheme
A Viberatto - A
Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Rush to Relax
Fresh & Onlys - Play it Strange

2009 Releases I discovered in 2010:

The Mantles - The Mantles
Bear in Heaven - Beast Rest Forth Mouth
Desolation Wildnerness - New Universe

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Paste Magazine Top 50 Albums of 2010

Is it just me or does their top 5 seem, sort of, "music critic generic"? Who am I to say, I'm not even able to tell you why I like most of the stuff I like... There's definitely some good writing in here, and they definitely survey a wide variety and large quantity of material to come up with their final lists.

Top 5:

1. LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening
2. Janell Monae, The ArchAndroid
3. Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
4. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
5. Titus Andronicus, The Monitor

Link: Paste Top 50 Albums of 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

No Depression 2010 Poll Results: Readers' Poll and ND Blogger Favorites

Here are the final results of the various No Depression magazine polls.

Top Five in readers' poll:

1. Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues
2. Alejandro Escovedo - Street Songs of Love
3. Peter Wolf - Midnight Souvenirs
4. Drive By Truckers – The Big To Do
5. John Mellencamp – No Better Than This

Explanations and lists at this link:

LINK: No Depression Polls

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Indie Surfer Top 10 of 2010

Indie Surfer is a blog I discovered this year. I think I came across it via Google Reader, and am glad it showed up. I've discovered several worthwhile new acts through posts on Indie Surfer, and am happy to post the link in the "Music Info Sites" sidebar to the right...

Top Five from their site:

1. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
2. Titus Adronicus - The Monitor
3. Wolf Parade - EXPO 86
4. The Black Keys - Brothers
5. The National - High Violet

Here is a link to their top 10: Indie Surfer Top 10 of 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bucketfull of Brains Top 10 (or so)

Brought to my attention by the great JD... thanks, and you're right this is well-written and tasteful.

Top Five:

John Grant: Queen of Denmark
Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3: Northern Aggression
Black Mountain: Wildnerness Heart
Colorama: Box
Roky Erikson with Okkervil River: True Love Cast Out All Evil

LINK: Bucketfull of Brains Top 10 of 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Grimey's Staff Picks for 2010

Great folks at Grimey's, and they have helped me discover so much great music over the last dozen or so years... As with all such lists, it's fun to see who you're in line with, then look for other records on that person's list that you might not know about but want to check out.

Top Five by Mike "Grimey" Grimes, co-owner (and the only staff member who ranked his records):

1. Black Keys 'Brothers'
2. Metallica 'Live At Grimey's'
3. Avi Buffalo
4. Beach House 'Teen Dream'
5. Silver Seas 'Chateau Revenge'

LINK: Grimey's Staff 2010 Picks

Did your local independent record store publish their staff's 2010 picks? Please tell me about it in the comments. I think keeping these folks in business is one of the best things we can do for the future of independent music and musicians.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Metacritic Listing of Critics' Top Tens with Links...

Metacritic scans reviews of music, movies, TV shows, games, etc and assigns a relative score to the reviews that don't give scores, and translates scores (like three out of five stars) to a 1-100 scale, then collects them and gives an average on that scale.

This link is to the individual critics' top tens. The bias is toward "published" critics (i.e., newspaper and recognized media outlets) so there is definitely more representation of big records like Kanye West, but maybe all these people really like that record that much and listen to it all the time. Maybe.

The scorecard which indicates what most of these people liked the most:

1. Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
2. Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
3. LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening
4. Janell Monae: The ArchAndroid
5. The National: High Violet

My best use of these things is usually to try to find someone who likes what I like, and see if there's anything on their list I haven't heard yet. Enjoy, explore and feel free to discuss...

LINK: Music Critic 2010 Top Ten Lists

All Music Loves 2010: Reviewers' 2010 Lists

Have usually found at least a few reviewers I could get in sync with (Erlewine was one of them, but his 2010 list is kinda... interesting). There's probably something for everybody, but like the best of these kinds of things, they are combinations of longtime favorites and "Hey look at this cool thing I heard this year!" that I like on year end lists...

Here is the overall list, I suppose a compendium or distillation of all the individual lists:

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Beach House – Teen Dream
Best Coast – Crazy for You
Betty and the Werewolves – Teatime Favourites
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (II)
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Rush to Relax
Field Music – Field Music (Measure)
Glasser – Ring
Grass Widow – Past Time
Happy Birthday – Happy Birthday
Harlem – Hippies
Zach Hill – Face Tat
How to Dress Well – Love Remains
Kisses – The Heart of the Nightlife
LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
Liars – Sisterworld
The LimiƱanas – The LimiƱanas
LoneLady – Nerve Up
Magic Kids – Memphis
Male Bonding – Nothing Hurts
MGMT – Congratulations
Mi Ami – Steal Your Face
The Morning Benders – Big Echo
Octopus Project – Hexadecagon
Of Montreal – False Priest
Perfume Genius – Learning
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
The Radio Dept. – Clinging to a Scheme
Reporter – Time Incredible
Frankie Rose and the Outs – Frankie Rose and the Outs
The School – Loveless Unbeliever
School of Seven Bells – Disconnect from Desire
The Secret History – The World That Never Was
The Soft Pack – The Soft Pack
Sleigh Bells – Treats
Spoon – Transference
Marnie Stern – Marnie Stern
The Strange Boys – Be Brave
Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
Twin Shadow – Forget
Vampire Weekend – Contra
The Walkmen – Lisbon

And here's the link to the blog entry containing all the individual reviewers' lists.

LINK: AllMusic Loves 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

KEXP DJ's Top 10 Lists

Discovered a lot of good new stuff listening to their "Music That Matters" and Song of the Day podcasts, and see a lot of familiar names on these lists. Funny how popular Tame Impala's Innerspeaker is with these folks and the folks at KCRW, but it didn't appear on the magazine lists...

LINK: KEXP DJ Top 10's

KCRW DJ's 2010 Top 10 Lists

KCRW has some good podcasts, and their DJ's have some interesting year end lists. Follow the link to see the individual lists...j

I don't see an overall Top 10 or 20, but if there is one, surely Black Keys, Arcade Fire and Tame Impala will be on it. I really like what I've heard of that Tame Impala disc, too...

LINK: KCRW DJ 2010 Top 20 Lists

MAGNET Magazine Top 20 of 2010

Magnet does a nice job with indie and power pop (note the inclusion of Superchunk and Teenage Fanclub, hardly critics' darlings at this late date, but still popular with music fans like the Magnet staff for their tuneful, consistent approach to rock music). I have a weakness for them because they'll still include something by the Fading Captain on their year end list (this year it's the Boston Spaceships' Our Cubehouse Still Rocks).

Top Five:

1. Beach House: Teen Dream
2. Arcade Fire: Suburbs
3. The National: High Violet
4. Broken Bells: Broken Bells
5. Superchunk: Majesty Shredding

LINK: MAGNET Magazine Top 20 of 2010

Crawdaddy Magazine: Top 50 of 2010

Crawdaddy, the venerable music magazine, has apparently revived itself online. This looks like a great source of information and reviews, and it's connected with Wolfgang's Vault and the amazing session site Daytrotter.

All in all, a very good list although I must admit I just don't "get" The National:

Top five:

1. The National: High Violet
2. Future Islands: In Evening Air
3. Beach House: Teen Dream
4. Arcade Fire: Suburbs
5. Beach Fossils: Beach Fossils

Link: Crawdaddy Top 50 of 2010

NPR Listeners' Poll: Top 100 of 2010

NPR's All Songs Considered Poll is a huge affair, encompassing tens of thousands of votes and every genre (but clearly tending toward indie or college rock). Top five:

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
Black Keys: Brothers
The National: High Violet
Mumford & Son: Sigh No More
Broken Bells: Broken Bells

Here's a link to the list, with one song per disc available for listen, of the final top 100:

LINK: NPR Listeners' Top 100

And here's a link to their total year end coverage, which gets into the critics' lists and various genres:

LINK: NPR All Songs Considered 2010 Year End Coverage

No Depression 2010 Readers' Poll

One of the things I like about year end polls is discovering discs I might have overlooked. The No Depression poll always yields an interesting list. No Depression has always billed itself as the magazine for "Alt Country (Whatever That Is)", so the readership tends toward folk-based music and has always really favored certain artists: Peter Case, Alejandro Escovedo, Dave Gleason for example... but the readers also have varied tastes, so you'll see a Teenage Fanclub, Guided by Voices, or other tuneful pop/rock from time to time.

You can vote if you want, just have to sign up for an account. You can log in with your Google or Facebook accounts if you want. They've been through the initial submission round. This list consists of everything that got more than three mentions in that round.

LINK: No Depression Readers Poll

Monday, December 20, 2010

They Are Coming to Nashville... GbV, "My Kind of Soldier"

Yes, GbV is coming to Nashville on their (fortunately extended) Reunion Tour: January 14. Thank you, Bob!

...maybe Beatle Bob will make the trek from St. Louis...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Retribution Gospel Choir: "Your Bird" from RGC 2

I'm slowly but surely putting together a top 20 list, and this may top the list. It's at worst top 5... an amazing record. Using "Crazy Horse-like" as an adjective is the surest way to get me to check out some music, if it is for you as well, then check this thing out. Maybe the best guitars I have heard on a record this year.

Website: Retribution Gospel Choir

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Centro-matic: "Patience for the Ride"

From Fort Recovery:

Will recently did a guest editor spot with (looks like they stopped publishing, but there's a lot of good stuff on their website):
Will Johnson Guest Editor on Magnet Magazine and they also have a Q&A with him: Will Johnson Q&A at Magnet Magazine.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Frankie Rose and the Outs: "Candy"

From the self-titled album released in September... this is real good, it's going on my lo-fi garage pop playlist with Best Coast, Mantles, Ty Segall, Wavves, Beach Fossils...

Website: Frankie Rose Myspace

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grass Widow: "Fried Egg"

Nice punk and pop with harmony vocals. Album is Past Time, apparently came out in late summer...

Website: Grass Widow on killrockstars

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tame Impala: "Solitude is Bliss" from Innerspeaker

Good psych rock from Australian band Tame Impala. Currently on tour in the Western US (website link below).

Daytrotter session: Tame Impala on Daytrotter

Band website: Tame Impala

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bear in Heaven: "You Do You"

Got this on a recommendation, like it very much. Here's a live clip of a song from their most recent disc, Beast Rest Forth Mouth. Recommended. A double disc with remixes was recently released, you should be able to find it at your local music store or at the website below...

Website: Bear in Heaven

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Citay: "Careful With That Hat" from Dream Get Together

One of the best things I heard in 2010, from one of the best albums... They're really putting a lot of good things together: psychedelic, yeah, but with some great melody. And the guitars: rhythm, lead, it's all very good.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Old Stuff Friday: The Band - "King Harvest" and "Long Black Veil"

Great footage, great songs... Makes me wonder how much more great unreleased Band material there might be, even beyond the 2005 box set A Musical History...

Website for A Musical History:

Website for the Band and individual members' projects:

Jimi Hendrix: "Bold as Love", Instrumental from 1967

There's a new compilation of unreleased Hendrix material, West Coast Seattle Boy. I didn't realize there was a box set, just got the single cd, it has a nice home recording of "Tears of Rage" and some other good moments... but this is actually from the box set Jimi Hendrix Experience, the purple box set that came out several years ago... and is one of the most amazing things I have ever heard.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Retribution Gospel Choir: "Hide it Away"

Features Alan Sparhawk of Low, but this definitely rocks more than anything I've heard from Low... They're on Sub Pop, and their second album, Retribution Gospel Choir 2, came out in January 2010.

Website: Retribution Gospel Choir

Dry and Heavy: "Less is More"

If someone told you there was such a thing as Japanese dub, what would you think? Well, you don't have to wonder any more... Of course, Dry and Heavy is the name of an album by the great Burning Spear.

Discovered this about 10 years ago, have enjoyed it ever since. There are live videos of them playing Hawaiian rock festivals, but apparently they aren't recording anymore... at least not as a group.

If you like reggae or dub, highly recommended.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The High Dials: "The Holy Ground" and Anthems for Doomed Youth

This video is to a song from their previous disc War of the Wakening Phantoms, which was very high on psych content and terrific. This is a real good band...

They've got a new disc out: Anthems for Doomed Youth. Just heard a track and look forward to getting this one. On Rainbow Quartz, great psych/power pop label.

Here's a preview track off the new disc, from their website:

What You Call Love Is A Lie by The High Dials


Monday, November 22, 2010

Wow and Flutter: "The Puget Sound"

Heard this on KEXP, and I have to say that it is new to me even though it appears they've been around quite a while. Even if I had heard this band before, they did not make the proper impression... so I've got some good music to discover, apparently. New album is Equilibrio!

Website: Wow and Flutter

KEXP Song of the Day Feature: Wow and Flutter: "The Puget Sound" Live on KEXP

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Black Mountain: "Stormy High" and "The Hair Song"

Live video from "" posted at Youtube. Their latest record is Wilderness Heart... second video is a song from that record, which came out in September.

Stormy High:

The Hair Song:

I like this band. What's that "They're trying to sound like Led Zeppelin"? More bands should try to sound like Led Zeppelin.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Old Stuff Friday: I Like Guitars

Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, solos... I really enjoy good guitar playing. Hope you like these, too. But if you dislike solos, you might want to look away:

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child

Funkadelic: Maggot Brain

Grateful Dead: Cumberland Blues

Stevie Ray Vaughn: Little Wing


Allman Brothers: In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Whipping Post, Southbound

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Island: "Blackout Summer"

San Diego band... their sound is not original, but it IS time-tested. Little bit of Jesus & Mary Chain, little bit of Feelies... good stuff. Plus they're on In the Red records (home of good garage/noise-rock bands like The Reigning Sound, Dirt Bombs, Vivian Girls, etc).

Last album is Blackout Summer, here's a live video of the title track:

Website: Christmas Island

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oranger: "Target You By Feel" and "Mike Love, Not War"

I wish this band was still recording... if anyone has any news about Oranger or its members, please spill it.

"Mike Love, Not War" is the first song I ever heard by Oranger... something led me to pick up the disc Doorway to Norway, most likely a review in Pop Culture Press.

Guided by Voices: "Titus and the Strident Wet Nurse"

From a 2001 show...

Also recommended, stonedcomedianringo's YouTube channel: stonedcomedianringo

The Soft Pack: "C'mon"

San Diego indie rock/punk band, looks like this came out early in 2010. What I've heard I like, and the folks at Grimey's all appear to like it a lot...


Website: The Soft Pack Official Website

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sharon Van Etten: "One Day"

Static video with lyrics in the comments. She's got a striking sound, but none of the live videos did justice to it, I thought...

Here's a live in-studio performance from KEXP...

KEXP 90.3 FM - Live Performance: Sharon Van Etten on 11/10/2010

Website: Sharon Van Etten

Friday, November 12, 2010

Old Stuff Friday: More Cowbell Edition (aka The King Size Electric Institute)

I got a fever, and the only prescription...

Tito Puente, "Oye Como Va"

Chambers Brothers, "Time Has Come Today"


Wilco, "Casino Queen"

Guided by Voices, "Rhine Jive Click"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jeff the Brotherhood: "Heavy Days"

Couple of brothers from Nashville, getting some good press all over the place these days. Here are a couple of videos from

Acoustic, at home (love the throwback Sounds cap):

Live, plugged in:

These guys rock pretty hard. One of Nashville's finest rock acts.

Website: Jeff the Brotherhood Myspace

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shellshag: "Resilient Bastard"

Sounds good, sounds real good. Found via Indie Surferblog...

Here's the video:


Guided by Voices: "Game of Pricks"

Live in Detroit, 10/30/10 on the current GBV Classic Lineup Reunion Tour. Striped pants and all...


Buddy Guy: Living Proof

Buddy's got a new album out: Living Proof, and what I've heard so far sounds great... here are two videos:

"Best Damn Fool," live in 2009:

"Stay Around a Little While," with BB King (from the new album):


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vox Von Braun: "Julia"

Pretty good rock band from Netherlands. Of the four P's, they hit on three (psych, pop, punk). Currently playing with Teenage Fanclub and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club over there later in November, that should help them with exposure... anyone who likes those two better-known bands should give these folks at try. This song is from their album Something Ain't Wrong, and I heard them on an old KEXP podcast.

Website: Vox Von Braun Myspace

Friday, November 5, 2010

Old Stuff Friday: Friends of Tom Dowd

One of the greatest documentaries ever made is Tom Dowd and the Language of Music. Tom's career in music is truly amazing. From the Wikipedia biographical entry:

"Dowd took a job at a classical music recording studio until he obtained employment at Atlantic Records. His first hit was Eileen Barton's "If I Knew You Were Comin', I'd Baked a Cake." He soon became a top recording engineer there and recorded popular artists such as Ray Charles, The Drifters, The Coasters, Ruth Brown and Bobby Darin, including Darin's famous rendition of Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht's "Mack the Knife". He captured jazz masterpieces by John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. It was Dowd's idea to cut Ray Charles' recording of "What'd I Say" into two parts and release them as the A-side and B-side of the same single record.

Dowd worked as an engineer and producer from the 1940s until the beginning of the 21st century. He recorded albums by many artists including Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Derek and the Dominos, Rod Stewart, Wishbone Ash, Cream, Lulu, Chicago, The Allman Brothers Band, Joe Bonamassa, The J. Geils Band, Meat Loaf, Sonny & Cher, The Rascals, Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, Kenny Loggins, James Gang, Dusty Springfield, Eddie Harris, Charles Mingus, Herbie Mann, Booker T. and the MGs, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Joe Castro.[3] Dowd received a Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime achievements in February 2002."

A few of Tom's musical colleagues:

John Coltrane: Naima

Ruth Brown: Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean

Ray Charles: What'd I Say?

Allman Brothers: Whipping Post

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Free Bird

Website: Tom Dowd and the Language of Music

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gregg Allman: "Come and Go Blues"

Very excited about the forthcoming album Low Country Blues, due out mid January 2011... T Bone Burnett went through a huge stack of old blues songs, and he and Gregg selected an album's worth. Especially excited to hear Gregg cover Skip James. I was reminded of this, one of my favorite Allman Bros. songs:

I could listen to them all day.

Website: Gregg Allman

Radio Dept: Heaven's On Fire

From their 2010 release Clinging to a Scheme.

Website: The Radio Dept

Monday, November 1, 2010

Walking Concert: "Audrey"

Singer/songwriter for this band is Walter Schreifels, who used to be in Rival Schools and Quicksand. This is a real good song from a real good album, Run To Be Born, released in 2004. Check it out...

Walter's blog is pretty well-written, if you like that sort of thing: Walter Schreifels Blog

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Old 97's: "Big Brown Eyes"

If you get a chance to see Old 97's or Rhett Miller live, I highly recommend it. Great command and enthusiasm, not to mention a ton of talent.

I don't know why they're not better known...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Old Stuff Friday, Reggae Edition: Abyssinians, Congos, Bunny Wailer

Maybe something new for you, or something you haven't heard in a while... enjoy.

Abyssinians: Satta Massagana

The Congos: Solid Foundation

Bunny Wailer: Blackheart Man

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Feelies: "Higher Ground"

From their album Only Life. They made four albums. Every one of them is a gem and well worth seeking out. They reunited in recently, having played a few shows in 2007 through 2010. Glenn Mercer released a very good solo album in 2007, too.

Website: Night of the Living Feelies

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mogwai: Burning/Special Moves

Here's a video teaser of "Batcat" from the concert dvd Burning. This came out in August along with the 2x cd live set Special Moves.

And a live video of "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" from a 2009 concert in Rome:


Monday, October 25, 2010

Eddy Current Suppression Ring: "Rush to Relax"

That's the name of their 2010 release and this song. Australian punk band with a real good sound.

Australian punks... remember the Saints?

Eddy Current Suppression Ring Website

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Viberatto: A

Led by Jimmy Goodman, and featuring Garth Hudson (yes, THAT Garth Hudson) and Tony Levin (yes, THAT Tony Levin) as well as Jane Scarpantoni on cello (check out her credits on and Ross Rice on keyboards...

Self-described as "beautiful instrumental chamber rock music", it's a great sound and highly recommended.

A Viberatto A :: Preview by King of Beasts Records

Friday, October 22, 2010

Old Stuff Friday: Midnight Special Tribute

I don't necessarily remember all of these. My mom wouldn't always let me stay up past midnight when I was 12... I think these dvd's might be fun to own.

Steely Dan: "Reeling In the Years"

Al Green: "Let's Stay Together"

Cheap Trick: "Surrender"

Midnight Special DVDs on

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Albert Hammond Jr.: "Postal Blowfish"

Albert Hammond paying tribute to GbV, one of the Strokes' musical heroes... this sounds pretty good!


White Stripes: "Little Cream Soda"

Looked up this video because I wanted to see how he played it on guitar... pretty cool.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Matthew Ryan: "The Wilderness"

Thanks for the suggestion, Slotts. Looks like Matthew released an electric and acoustic version of his latest disc, Dear Lover. I assume this is from the former, and there are plenty of videos made to songs from the latter, both on youtube and his website.


Bryan Ferry: Olympia

Due out October 26, here is the promotional video for "Shameless":

You can listen now at

This sounds fantastic, really reminds me of Roxy Music's "second heyday" from Manifesto through Avalon. According to the website, he's got Brian Eno on board.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Old Stuff Friday: Some Country Stuff... Dwight Yoakam, Jim Lauderdale/Ralph Stanley, Merle Haggard

Hard to find good quality videos of Dwight because WEA apparently makes people take them down. You can find them on his website, though... This is "Gone" from the disc of that name. Just a fantastic record. If you ever get a chance to see him live, you must not miss it.


Jim Lauderdale/Ralph Stanley: "She's Looking at Me"

Jim's done two excellent albums with Ralph and two with Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia's longtime songwriting partner. His latest album (co-written with Hunter) is Patchwork River. It's highly recommended to fans of country, roots music and the Dead... to anyone, really.


Merle Haggard: "Mama Tried"

Of course this is one of the greatest country songs ever, but Merle's done some good records in the last 5-10 years... well worth checking out.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beach Fossils: "Vacation"

Well, I never get tired of this sound... it worked in the 70's (Flaming Groovies), the 80's (REM, Feelies), and it works today. The crazy drummer is an interesting addition... I really like their record.

Band website:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mclusky: "She Will Only Bring You Happiness"

Mclusky, this is six or so years old but well worth resurrecting. Wish they were still together. Had a falling out with the old singer, I suppose?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Solomon Burke, RIP: "None of Us Are Free"

Using the word "great" to describe Solomon Burke makes you realize how misused the word is when used to describe lesser figures. He was an amazing talent and personality.

I have my friend JD to thank for helping me discover both Burke and Joe Henry, who produced his comeback album Don't Give Up On Me, from which comes this song: "None of Us Are Free":

The record consists of songs written by other artists who admired Burke's work (Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison: a pretty amazing cast in and of itself) and performed by Burke. It is very, very highly recommended.

Here's a nice Rolling Stone retrospective from earlier this year:

Earth: "Plague of Angels"

This is new to me... but I can tell he's been around for a while, albeit with a lengthy hiatus from about 1996 through 2005. Maybe that explains why I'm just now getting around to finding out about them. Discovered by way of All Songs Considered, when I was looking to find out more about the Sunn 0))) and Boris collaboration that was touted on a recent podcast. Some of the best things are discovered in a roundabout way, eh?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Steve Mason: "Am I Just a Man"

This album has really grown on me... Boys Outside is the name. This is not my favorite song, but it's pretty good. Earlier I posted the video for "Lost and Found", which might be my favorite song on the record...


Monday, October 4, 2010

Polvo: "Beggars Bowl"

Live clip. I gave these guys a listen a few years ago, but I don't recall them sounding like this... amazing guitars.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Centro-matic: "Call the Legion In Tonight"

One of their best... hopefully a full band tour will be coming along soon.


Will Johnson: "Just to Know What You've Been Dreaming"

Man, can he sing... as much as I love the feedback-drenched crunch rock and non-sequitirs of Centro-matic, I don't think there's anyone's acoustic music I enjoy as much as Will Johnson's. He has really written some beautiful music.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Citay: "Dream Get Together"

Like guitar rock? You'll probably like this... San Francisco band, heard this on All Songs Considered.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Reunion Will Be Televised... Robert Pollard: "Subspace Biographies"

GbV Classic Lineup Reunion Tour starts this week...

Thanks to Youtube poster "bfsgbv"... this is an impromptu performance from a GbV mini-reunion at Pollard's 50th birthday party in 2007.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Garage Rock Discoveries: Ty Segall and Explode Into Colors

Thanks to KEXP... specifically the podcast "Music That Matters" #183 from January 2010 that I just got around to listening to.

Ty Segall sxsw 2010 from Boston Phoenix on Vimeo.

Another one from the same source...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Old Stuff Friday: Prog Rock Edition

Jethro Tull, "Bouree"... from my favorite Jethro Tull album, Stand Up

Traffic, "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys"... hard to name a favorite Traffic album, they were all so good.

Pink Floyd, "Welcome to the Machine"... is this the pinnacle of prog rock?

Yes, "Yours Is No Disgrace"... or maybe this is.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Neil Young: "Walk With Me" from Le Noise

Neil Young called in Daniel Lanois to produce his new album. Together they settled on a solo album, but not acoustic...

Another one you can get at, streaming live:

Story at WSJ Online:

Deerhunter: "Don't Cry" from Halcyon Digest

You can hear the whole thing at I like this song and what I've heard of the album so far...

Monday, September 20, 2010

John Prine/Jim James: "All the Best"

From the Newport Folk Festival, July 2010. Originally heard on NPR's All Songs Considered...

Brad: "Without Regret"

I had no idea who these guys were... but I really like this song. Heard it on KEXP...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Old Stuff Friday: All 70's, All Hair

Hope you like hair with your music...

Tom Petty & Heartbreakers: "Listen to Her Heart"... the first song of theirs I remember hearing, still one of my favorites and you gotta love that Byrds sound:

Earth Wind & Fire: "September"

Boston, "More Than a Feeling"

Don't like Boston? Well, then I guess you won't put any Boston videos on your blog...

Lynyrd Skynyrd: "Call Me the Breeze"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Karl Blau: "Dark Sedan"

I like this guy's music. Heard a song on a KEXP podcast and it grew on me over a couple of listens... I can't imagine it's everyone's cup of tea, but it's good prog-rock and he's clearly having a lot of fun with it.

Mogwai: Special Moves

They've released a live cd and announced they're signing with Sub Pop in the US, working on a new studio album for 2011. Special Moves available at their website:

And here's a video for "Travel is Dangerous"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Black Keys: "Your Touch"

This video reminds me of one of my favorite, scariest music videos... watch the Black Keys first:

Then take a look at this one:

(sorry I couldn't find a better quality video...)

The Asteroid #4: "Here We Go"

I'm a sucker for psych/pop. In case you couldn't tell... Seems like I had this song at one time, maybe it was on a Rainbow Quartz comp disc. Rainbow Quartz is a really good label, a pretty dependable source of psychedelic guitar pop.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Centro-matic/South San Gabriel: Eyas

New EP, available at "Buy the whole set" link takes you to the Centro-matic web store. If you're unfamiliar with them, I'd recommend starting with Love You Just the Same and All The Falsest Hearts Can Try. But it's all great.

Centro-matic + South San Gabriel: Eyas EP by Centro-matic

Friday, September 10, 2010

Old Stuff Friday: Blues Edition

Saving the best for last...

Sonny Boy Williamson, "Keep It To Yourself"

Led Zeppelin, "Bring It On Home"

Jimi Hendrix, "Red House"

Howlin' Wolf, "Smokestack Lightning"

Sam Phillips, on his first meeting with Howlin' Wolf, was bowled over. "When I heard him, I said, 'This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies'. He was about six foot six, with the biggest feet I've ever seen on a human being. Big Foot Chester is one name they used to call him. He would sit there with those feet planted wide apart, playing nothing but the French harp, and I tell you, the greatest show you could see today would be Chester Burnett doing one of those sessions in my studio. God, what would it be worth to see the fervor in that man's face when he sang. His eyes would light up and you'd see the veins on his neck, and buddy, there was nothing on his mind but that song. He sang with his damn soul."