Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009: A look back at the music from t...

2009: A look back at the music from this year

I don't do top ten lists, not for the year and not for the decade. I used to think that it only mattered what I was into during a given year, and then I realized how limiting that was. I then went around saying that it was what I was still listening to 10 years later that was the real deal-- but really if I liked something for a short period of time, and it gave me joy and then kinda dropped off, is that really a failure? I don't know.

anyway, this is what caught my ear in 2009

Neko Case, what can I say about Neko that I haven't already? She's got that voice and the presence. Her intelligence and passion are evident in her music and she is simply one of the people out there in the culture that makes me happy to be alive. Oh and I want to buy her a cup of tea and pick her brain in the worst way.

Jet Black Berries
I just wrote about these guys and their new album Here, the only thing that I have to add is that I didn't imagine how it would re-energize my Rock and Roll muscles at during these last months of 2009.

Devil Makes Three
It's blue grass with an edge? or something like it. Devil Makes Three just had the energy and drive of punk mixed with a 30s feel and rural music.

The Thermals
I've been a fan of these guys for a couple of years and was glad to not only hear this new album, but to see them live this past year.

These guys are from Flint, MI-- and they carry on the sound and spirit of country music legend Waylon Jennings. I look forward to more from the band.
Classic 30s crooner Powell started and sang in a bunch of those Busby Berkeley musicals, The Gold Diggers of 1933 was the of the films, but later entries like Dames, Footlight Parade and Gold Diggers of 1935 had some of the better music.
There is an intersection of punk and country music that I am drawn too. I think it's that the stories they tell are coming from the same place, a darkness, a Noir mood that screams things are not right and that 'you're fucked'. There is also a confluence of energy, anger, rage, confusion and dark humor that often seeps into the lyrics and music. Miss Derringer is somewhere in that fog of roots-punk-noir and on their Winter Hill record they explore world of 30s gangsters and their crimes.

Black Moth Super Rainbow
Do you remember the 70s low budget creepy TV show In Search Of? If that shows was going to be remade these guys would have to score it. I'm not a big fan of electronic music, but there is something about this band and it's sound that I dig.

Drivin n Cryin
One of my all time favorite bands are back with a great hard rock album filled with hooks and a righteous anger about the state of the working men and women of the USA.

Top 25 most played Tracks I added to my iTunes in 2009
People Got A Lotta Nerve by Neko Case from Middle Cyclone
This Tornado Loves You by
Neko Case from Middle Cyclone
Just Like Honey by Headless Heroes from The Silence Of Love
AMONG THE SURVIVORS by The Latebirds from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
They Call Me Hopeless Destroyer by Brimstone Howl from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
Hard Times In America by Willie Nile from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
The Plank by The Devil Makes Three from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
Detroit City by Drivin 'n' Cryin from Whatever happened to the Great American Bubble Factory
Welcome to my World by Jet Black Berries from 2009 EP
Gloom Doom Buttercups by Kittens Ablaze from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
Death By Desire by Miss Derringer from Winter Hill
One Horse Down by Baskery from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
Up And Down by The Chesterfield Kings from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
Working Man's Blues by The Devil Makes Three from Do Wrong Right
Polar Nettles by Neko Case from Middle Cyclone
What Stephanie Wants by T.S.O.L from Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Free Downloads
Forever Heavy by Black Moth Super Rainbow from Dandelion Gum
Wrong Hill by The Earps from Here Come The Earps
He's Dead, She's Alive by Iggy Pop from Préliminaires
Angry at the Sun by The Lost Brothers from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
Now We Can See by The Thermals Now from We Can See 7"
White As Diamonds by Alela Diane from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
Honeymoon Hotel by Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler & Chorus from Lullaby Of Broadway: The Best Of Busby Berkeley At Warner Bros. (Disc 1)
Trouble by The Dirt Drifters from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists
My Best Friend's Hot by The Dollyrots from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists

It's not only the end of the year but the end of the decade, and a lot of media outlets are buzzing with their best of the decade lists. I just wanted to give a nod to a couple of albums that really stayed with me through the 2000s.

Thee Ultra Bimboos- Bimboo Wizard
Why didn't these women make it to the mainstream? maybe because they didn't want to. Four attractive Finnish women who rock, but have enough pop in their sound to appeal to the mainstream audiences. Forget The Donnas, Thee Ultra Bimboos were the real thing, and their final album Bimboo Wizard was easily my favorite from the last decade

Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands- Snake in the Radio
Former drummer for the Screaming Tress, Pickerel headed into the Alt Country sound, which seems to be the place that all former punk rockers who still have something to say end up sooner or later. Snake in the Radio has a dark undercurrent of Gothic lament. If you like Lee Hazelwood or Johnny Cash, it's an album that you should check out. The follow up Cody's Dream is similar, bu explored more rock, jazz and blues.
Speaking of The Screaming Trees, former singer Mark Lanegan has kept busy with many projects during the decade. Records with Greg Dulli from the Afgan Whigs and Isabella Campbell from Belle & Sebastian have gotten the most press, but it was his album bubble gum that I liked the best. It just show cased his voice and range, the songs ranged from folk/country ballads to strait alt rockers. As with the Screaming Trees final album Dust, Bubble Gum is a forgotten gem of a record from the decade it was released in, and I have high hopes that it's going to continue to find an audience years after hitting the shelves.
The Hellacopters- By the Grace of God & Head Off
Few bands have meant as much to my life in the last decade as The Hellacoptes did. I had the good fortune to become acquainted with a couple of the guys in the band and the Nordic Garage Rock Scene that they helped to build in the late 90s and into the 2000s. As with Thee Ultra Bimboos they managed to get little attention in the USA while inferior bands playing similar music had hits and became underground rock heroes. The 'Copters embodied a spirit of inclusion as they explored the sonic pallet of punk, soul, metal, hard rock, alt rock and carried the banner of Hi Energy around the world. Like so many of the bands that they were inspired by, and often covered in tribute, they are the kind of band that kids a hundred years from now will be discovering. By The Grace of God was their most accessible record, and I got to see them a couple of times when they were touring for it in Sweden and Norway in 2002. Head Off, their final record is a collection of covers of bands that they know, and many of whom played around Sweden with them when they were starting out.

The Forbidden Dimension- A Cool Sound Outta Hell
What can I say, the Forbidden Dimension is one of the bands that really can do no wrong in my book. They put out three albums in the 90s and only one in the 2000s-- but it was worth the wait. Sure it's not the same sound that they had a decade earlier, but lead singer Jaxxxon Phibes and his little audio comic books always work their way under my skin, each in their own time and moment.

For all the bands I have mentioned I have included links where you can find more info. If you are interested in hearing any of their music, I would suggest popping on over to youtube and looking for their videos.

thoughts? comments? bands/artists/ records from 2009 or from the decade that you thought should have gotten more attention?

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Dick Powell was a surprise.