- Baroness- The Blue Album
- Jay Reatard- Watch Me Fall
- Us – Brother Ali
- Poetry of the Deed – Frank Turner
Pearl Jam- Backspacer
Pearl Jam is one of the few rock bands to get better with age. I put their last two albums in the same league as Ten not quite as good but close. Eddie Vedder’s voice is the Sinatra of Rock and Roll, getting much better with age.
Please listen to The Fixer, Just Breathe, Supersonic and Speed of Sound
Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus
This was the soundtrack for every North American luxury car automaker. And after listening to an interview they could give a fuck. Sell out? That concept is gone in the digital age.
Please listen to 1901, Lisztomania,
… and you will know us by the trail of Dead - The Century of Self
This is their best album since the excellent Source Codes. The Century of Self is aggressive, confident and melds Celtic strings into the indie mix. I also dig the dueling vocals but the real star is Conrad Keely who is about as entertaining a front man as you can get in indie rock.
Please listen to The Giant’s Causeway/The Far Pavilion, Isis Unveiled and Ascending
Lee Fields and the Expressions – My World
My World was easily the biggest surprise of the year. Lee Evans is soulful, silky, sexy and serious. The expressions are tight with their slick original neo-soul sound. This disc has it all even if you aren’t down with the funk. Even if Lee Fields has been around for 20 plus years I still dig it.
Please listen to Do you love me (Like You Say You Do), Money is King, Ladies and Honey Dove
Anti Pop Consortium - Flourescent Black
Stellar. Hip-hop and electronic that Rodney Smith would love. Creative sampling and excellent unconventional lyrics. 21st hip hop, for real.
Please listen to New Jack Exterminator, Lay me Down and Shine
Mastodon- Crack the Skye
The Mastodon show was easily the best show I saw this year. They are super fast, aggressive and the 80s speed metal changeups remind me of the pit. This concept album tames their vocals merging the true dirty south with Tsarist Russia.
Please listen to Oblivion, Divinations and the Last Baron
Slayer- World Painted Blood
I am one of the few writers who actually liked Slayer’s last album but do believe this album is even better. It is in some ways the exceptionally tardy follow up to Season in the Abyss. Dave Lombardo brings the beats to match the ferocious guitars of King and Hanneman with some electronic effects thrown in. Tom Arraya’s vocals are turned up and as gripping as ever as he attacks corrupt government, the petrol wars, societal decay and religion et al. It is really amazing that these guys are still on top after killing it for decades.
Please listen to World Painted Blood, Hate Worldwide, Americon, Playing with Dolls
Them Crooked Vultures- Them Crooked Vultures
Forming a super group is usually bad idea. For every Cream there is Asia or the Damn Yankees or the Westside Connection or Zwan, who are probably weren’t a super group but fucking sucked. Them Crooked Vultures don’t suck. It would be almost impossible when you have; Dave Grohl, greatest living rock drummer. Josh Homme, great guitarist. John Paul Jones, one of the greatest bass players. This album is tight, fun and bouncy and one of the year’s best.
Please listen to Gunman, Dead End Friends, Mind Eraser, Scumbag Blues, Elephants,
Black Crowes- Before the Frost/Until the Freeze
I still can’t believe how good this album is. The Crowes have been pumping out quality material for decades but nothing caught my ear like this. Chris Robinson simply kills it on every song. He’s actually gotten better after being dumped by Kurt Russell’s daughter, unlike A-Rod. Rich Robinson does his best Ron Wood circa the Faces. They even rip off the Disco Stones and I love it!
Please listen to I ain’t hiding, Been a long time (Waiting on Love) Make Glad, Kept my Soul, What is Home and Houston Don’t Dream about me
Future of the Left – Travels with Myself and Another
Out of McLuskey Does Dallas’ coffin comes the Future of the Left and they are angry. Andy Falkous is in fine form with acerbic and antagonistic lyrics with enough of a bop to keep your head bumping. This is angry pop music at its best.
Please listen to Arming Eritrea, Chin Music, Throwing Bricks at Trains, I am Civil Service, Land of My Formers,.
Raekwan- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt 2
Corey Woods aka Raekwan never gets the publicity of his fellow Wu-Tang Clan members, Method Man or ODB but he has carved up a genre bending career. This career bookended with Only Built for Cuban Linx parts 1 and 2. This is the album of the year. Top shelf beats provided by Alchemist, Pete Rock, Dre and clan mate Inspectah Deck. Raekwan’s rhymes are solid and he is joined by Ghostface on some of the best tracks.
Please listen to House of Flying Daggers, Black Mozart, Gihad, New Wu and Penitentiary