The Lists: Top 50 Songs of 2009

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 01-12-2010

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Finally, my first post of the new decade. After my ski trip, I was backed up with work, and I’ve had a lot of photos to edit. And for the second year in a row, the task of making my lists sort of drained the free-form fun out of what I do here. I’m ready to start finding new music as well as posting about some older stuff that had a hand in me starting this blog in the first place.

Truth be told, I wanted a little extra time to refine this list as it is quite large. So without further adieu, my Top 50 Songs of 2009:

50. Sunflower Rain – Ryan Adams
49. Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine [purchase]
48. You Never Know – Wilco [purchase]
47. Sailor Song – First Aid Kit [purchase]
46. Ship Come In – Jonny Burke [purchase]
45. Give Me Time – Dawes [purchase]
44. – Brendan Benson [purchase]
43. Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear [purchase]
42. Goodbye Hollywood – JET [purchase]
41. Cry - Slaid Cleaves [purchase]
40. Don’t Come Calling – Stephanie Briggs [purchase]
39. Orion & Dog – Sea Wolf [purchase]
38. Boots Boy – Langhorne Slim [purchase]
37. Brother John - Middle Distance Runner [purchase]
36. The Guitar – Guy Clark [purchase]
35. In These Arms - The Swell Season [purchase]
34. Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare – Matt & Kim [purchase]
33. Cooperstown - The Felice Brothers [purchase]
32. Bells of Harlem – Dave Rawlings Machine [purchase]
31. Eager For Your Love – Tristen [purchase]
30. Nikorette – Conor Oberst & The MVB [purchase]
29. Champion Angel – The Low Anthem [purchase]
28. Lisztomania - Phoenix [purchase]
27. Heartbroken, In Disrepair – Dan Auerbach [purchase]
26. Round Here – Middle Distance Runner [purchase]
25. Ten Women – Conor Oberst & The MVB [purchase]
24. Hurtin’ You – Ben Kweller [purchase]
23. Smith Hill – Deer Tick [purchase]
22. Tell Me True - Sarah Jarosz [purchase]
21. Cage The Songbird – The Low Anthem [purchase]
20. Ten Thousand Words – The Avett Brothers [purchase]
19. The Traitor – Sea Wolf [purchase]
18. Funeral Singers - Califone [purchase]
17. Day Is Done – Ryan Bingham [purchase]
16. Everyday - Vetiver [purchase]
15. White Limo – The Felice Brothers [purchase]
14. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap [purchase]
13. A Thousand Men – Joe Pug [purchase]
12. Far And Wide - The Roadside Graves [purchase]
11. Easy - Deer Tick [purchase]
10. Mama’s Eyes – Justin Townes Earle [purchase]
9. The Big Surprise - The Felice Brothers [purchase]
8. Speak of Trouble – Great Bloomers [purchase]
7. Laundry Room (live version) – The Avett Brothers [purchase]
6. Gunslinger - The Medders [purchase]
5. Take It In - Wye Oak [purchase]
4. I Got The Reason – Conor Oberst & The MVB [purchase]
3. Ticket Taker – The Low Anthem
2. Honeymoon – Bombadil

1. Ruby - Dave Rawlings Machine [purchase]

Ruby, let down your golden hair
When I’m standing at the bottom of your stairs
Ruby, I can see your TV on
But the people there, they flicker and they’re gone
So let down your golden hair for me tonight
Let down your golden hair for me to climb
Just like an old-time telegraph man
I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your head’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you

Ruby, you ain’t lonely yet
With your crystal and your Russian cigarette
Ruby, haven’t you heard before?
Working is the finest tower when it hasn’t got a door
So let down your golden hair for me to climb
Let down your golden hair for me tonight
Just like an old-time telegraph man
I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your bed’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you, Ruby

I’m that old-time telegraph man
And I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your world’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you

I’m that old-time telegraph man
And I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your world’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you

Contest: Free Felice Brothers Download!

Posted by Payton | Posted in contest, free music | Posted on 12-18-2009

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‘Tis the season of giving. And although I haven’t let loose any holiday music just yet, I though I’d join the spirit of the season with the first-ever This Mornin’ I Am Born Again Contest/Giveaway!

I try to buy vinyl as much as possible. I’ve basically stopped buying CD’s unless I’ve just got to have a hard copy and it’s the only option available. These days, with most new vinyl purchases (and many re-issues) you get a code to download the album in high-quality mp3’s. Thing is… I’m an impatient person. More often than not, by the time I get to the record store or the vinyl arrives in the mail, I’ve already found a way to get my hands on the digital tracks. So, lucky for you, I have a stack of unused (hopefully still valid) download codes just waiting to be redeemed.

Up for grabs tonight is #16 on my Top 20 Albums of 2009The Felice Brothers’ Yonder Is The Clock.
Here’s what you gotta do:

Which Felice Brothers song contains a ‘pop’ in the audio, allegedly due to a nearby lightning strike while recording in the rain? (mentioned before on this blog)

Congrats to Scott, who sent in the correct answer, ‘Hey, Hey Revolver.’

Comment with the answer and your email (or email me if you like that better).
First correct answer wins the download code.

The Lists: Top 20 Albums of 2009 (11-20)

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 12-16-2009

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Here it is folks! Expanded for 2009, my
Top 20 Albums of the Year – Part I.

20. Wye Oak – The Knot

Merge, 7.21.2009
It’s a loud, alt-rock album kept country with a heavy dose of steel guitar. Wye Oak is Jenn Wasner (guitar, vocals) and Andy Stack (drums, vocals). If being signed to Merge Records isn’t enough, the beauty of The Knot, their sophomore album, should help bring some attention going into the next decade.

Wye Oak – For Prayer

19. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
Nonesuch, 6.26.2009
The boldly titled seventh album from alt-country mainstay Wilco did not disappoint. Jeff Tweedy continues to provide welcoming melodies and infectious guitar licks overlain with his unmistakably heavyhearted vocals. Each time I listen, I find a new favorite track. In fact, as I write this, I already wish I would have placed it higher in this list.

Wilco – I’ll Fight

18. Slaid Cleaves - Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away

Music Road, 4.21.2009
Folk storyman Slaid Cleaves may not pump out albums, but for our patience we get carefully crafted song showcases that continually impress. While Everything You Love doesn’t have a ‘Broke Down,’ there remain 11 songs filled with first-person experience that only Slaid could recount with such ease and grace.

Slaid Cleaves – Black T-Shirt

17. Stephanie Briggs – Birds Barely Know Us

Smith Entertainment, 3.31.2009
It’s strange that out of all the Texas acts I used to follow, a female, Stephanie Briggs, would bring an album that follows the general direction to which my musical tastes have shifted. What’s not so strange is that running around with the likes of Cody Canada, Stephanie learned how to use a guitar the right way. Calling New Braunfels, TX home, Stephanie (guitar, vocals) and husband Matthew (percussion, vocals) offer a freshly energetic album with an indie-edge.

Stephanie Briggs – Private Parts

16. The Felice Brothers – Yonder Is The Clock

Team Love, 4.7.2009
Since 2007’s Tonight At The Arizona, each of The Felice Brothers‘ albums have become slightly less enjoyable – mainly due to too much album-filler. But just as I passed through Yonder Is The Clock to check inventory, I remembered just how good the good ones are. Ian Felice can strike my fancy just as easily with a raucous barn-burner as he can with a plaintive dirge. Read my original review.

The Felice Brothers – Boy From Lawrence County

15. Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses – Roadhouse Sun
Lost Highway, 6.2.2009
Another product of the Texas Music scene, Ryan Bingham emerged with the basics only to build upon them to gain national success. I’ll admit, if I hadn’t found this album for $3.99 on Amazon, I most-likely wouldn’t have given it a shot this year. Sure glad I did – Roadhouse Sun is a dustblown disc expertly arranged with the fullest sound to come from Ryan yet.

Ryan Bingham – Change Is

14. Great Bloomers - Speak of Trouble
Maple Music Recordings, 4.21.2009
The Great Bloomers came out of nowhere (actually Canada) and brought us an easy choice for a top 20 list. Lowell Sostomi and crew offer piano-fueled, guitar-aided, harmony-highlighted folk-pop that oozes optimism. Listed first in their ‘influence’ column are The Beach Boys, and nowhere does that ‘influence’ ring truer than when they institute deft 4-part harmonies. Speak of Trouble jauntily guides you though 11 tracks of unique arrangements and sticky melodies.

Great Bloomers – Admit Defeat

13. Brendan Benson – My Old, Familiar Friend
ATO, 8.18.2009
This is Brendan Benson’s fourth solo album, but remains the only one I’ve heard. I was first introduced to Brendan when he joined forces with Jack White in The Raconteurs. When I heard My Old, Familiar Friend, it was quickly evident how much of Consolers was influenced by Brendan. If you like the pop melodies and smooth vocals from The Raconteurs, Brendan Benson comes highly recommended. First order of business for 2010: check out Benson’s back catalog.

Brendan Benson – Garbage Day

12. The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You
Sony/American, 9.29.2009
Just two short years after The Avett Brothers topped my list of albums, it seems they are already the clichéd choice. Good news for them, but as you’ll remember from my original review, (sorta) bad news for me. Their meteoric rise from obscurity landed them in the studio with Rick Rubin for 2009’s I And Love And You. His polished touch on the album created a different sound that initially rubbed some of us the wrong way. From the small sampling of reviews I found that weren’t fawning over the disc, one common theme emerged: This album will grow on you. While in its second listening round, the album hit me in a different way. Once I got over the production choices, all that was left were the songs. And they were good.

The Avett Brothers – And It Spread

11. These United States – Everything Touches Everything
United Interests, 9.1.2009
Reigning Best Album champs These United States released their third disc in just two years. Last year’s Crimes was my choice for Best Album last year, but interestingly enough, I couldn’t find a song from it to include in my Best Songs list. The same approach was taken with 2009’s Everything Touches Everything, in which Jesse Elliot crafted a cohesive album. None of the songs were written with a single in mind, but rather each was written as an equally important element to the disc. Maybe it’s not quite as good as Crimes (due mainly to the fact that its opener was a stellar, thematic lead-in), but still an immense joy to listen to – and that’s all that matters.

These United States – I’m Gonna Assemble A City

Continue to Part II (Albums 1-10)….
2009’s Top 5 EP’s
2009’s Best Videos

Refresh your memory with last year’s lists:
Top EPs
Top Songs
Top Albums, pt 1
Top Albums, pt 2

The Big Surprise Tour: Nashville, TN

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show | Posted on 08-13-2009

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Checkin’ in from the hotel in Nashville before I head down to the banks of the Cumberland to enjoy night 1 of my Big Surprise Tour double-feature. I feel like I’ve already been on vacation for a week, but have yet to experience the real reason for the trip. We’ve been in Music City for 3 nights now – checked out Lower Broadway, the uber-tourist, live music strip in downtown Nashville, as well as some other, less-cheesy areas of the city. We caught an amazing show from The Low Anthem in a quaint, little brick joint known as The Basement. I will put up a full review of the show complete with photos when I get the time.

The venue couldn’t be more in the heart of Nashville. Riverfront Park is a grass lawn overlooking a stage/barge docked in the Cumberland River. The area backs up to the corner of First St and Broadway. The backstage area not only consists of the river and various bridges, but the Titans’ LP Field also serves as a scenic backdrop.

The bands are no-doubt in full stride by this point in the tour, having had numerous stops from New Hampshire on down to Tennessese, and the last stop tomorrow night in Knoxville promises to be a blowout of a finale. Full reviews/photos to follow.

The Felice Brothers – The Big Surprise
buy Yonder Is The Clock (2009)

"Take me to another place. Take me to another land…"

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show | Posted on 08-07-2009

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Arrested Development – Tennessee

That song steps a little out of my normal genre realm, but how can you not love it? As I searched my library for ‘Tennessee,’ it was the first result. Immediately, I was taken back to raiding my sister’s CD collection when I tired of my own crappy, country cassettes.

“A game of HORSESHOES!”

Tomorrow (in spite of being warned that Tennessee sucks in the summer), I head east to catch two instances of the Big Surprise Tour. If you don’t know, it’s pretty much the best folk lineup in this young century. Old Crow Medicine Show headlines an August-long set of dates with help from The Felice Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, and the spectacular duo of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. Yeah.

The showcase is said to feature all acts “shar[ing] the stage, taking part in each other’s songs, resurrecting old standards, and playing newly written collaborative material as they go.” Ketch Secor says of the lineup: “If there is a ‘scene’ around the music we play, these artists make up the better part of it.” I couldn’t agree more.

We’re making a road-trip out of it, taking our time getting there, and spending a few days in Nashville before catching the last two dates of the tour in Music City and Knoxville.

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings ft. OCMS – Odds n’ Ends

Gillian Welch &David Rawlings – I Want To Sing That Rock and Roll (live)
buy Time (The Revelator) (2001)

Old Crow Medicine Show – Fall On My Knees (live)
buy OCMS Live (2003)

The Felice Brothers – Hey, Hey Revolver (live)

Justin Townes Earle – Chitlin’ Cooking Time In Cheatham County (live)

Links, News, and Videos for April…

Posted by Payton | Posted in links and news, videos | Posted on 04-13-2009

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The beginning of the year is generally a slow time for music news. Bands are working to prepare the year’s album, keeping much of the details in-house. But with spring comes new beginnings. Summer releases are beginning to take shape, festivals are gearing up, and tours are being booked. I’ve recently shared news on a new Deer Tick album, Samantha Crain’s new one, and I’ve reviewed The Felice Brothers’ 2009 effort.

Leftover are some news snippets that didn’t warrant a full post, so here goes:

First, Band Breakups:

  • Simone Felice came forward on a MySpace bulletin to announce that he will be leaving the fraternal group to form another band, The Duke & The King. The new group has been signed to Loose Records and put out their debut single ‘If You Ever Get Famous’ in the UK in March. They plan to release an 7″ EP here in The States in May.
  • Austin electric-folk group The Dedringers have taken a mutual hiatus to form two new bands. Sean Faires recorded a few songs as a solo-show (here) before he began playing with some new folks in a band called The Happen-Ins. Jonny Burke, the other half of The Dedringers, has a solo MySpace page with a couple songs up as well. Both groups have been playing in and around the Austin area – often together.

    Sean Faires – The Kids Don’t Dance
  • The Everybodyfields’ Sam Quinn has started a side-project entitled Sam Quinn & Japan Ten. Check out their MySpce page for a couple tracks. Here’s a sweet video:

    Not to be outdone, the stunningly gorgeous Jill Andrews of the Everybodyfields has created a solo MySpace and Website. No Songs posted yet, but in an update she says she has been recording and plans for a 2009 solo release.

New Album News:

  • Our old friends Bombadil released the details on their new album. The North Carolina folk group have put together another stunning album of inventive, albeit very busy, folk-pop. Here’s a small doc on the making of the new one, Tarpits and Canyonlands, due out July 7, 2009. The song playing, ‘Honeymoon,’ is available for download beneath. With more than five distinctive melodies in this one song, I don’t know how they’re gonna have any left over for the rest of the album, but I have faith.

    Bombadil – Honeymoon

  • Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band have finished recording their second album together. Outer South (Merge Records) is due out May 5th, but on Wednesday (April 15th), the band will release “One of My Kind” – a documentary of the complete history of this young band. Check out Conor and band performing ‘Nikorette’ on Conan a while back and then download another tune from the upcoming album.

    Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band – Ten Women

    Pre-order Outer South on either CD or Vinyl.

And last, but certainly not least:

Yonder Is The Clock….

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release, album review | Posted on 04-07-2009

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I said at some point in the past that 2008 was the breakout year for The Felice Brothers. Now, I can’t quite say that they have broken into nationwide stardom by any account, but within the circle of the music world I run in, they’ve jumped quite a few rungs. The biggest test of a new(ish) band recently elevated in notoriety is keeping up with the Joneses. Can they match, or better yet surpass, the clout of their ‘breakout album?’ Long story short – The Felices are way cooler than the Joneses.

I’ve been spinning an early copy of Yonder Is The Clock (2009, Team Love) for the last few weeks and the simple fact that I’ve continued to listen is testament enough. The Felice Brothers’ new disc (which, by my count, is their fifth album) delivers on all levels. Sure, the album contains as many skippable tracks (they can become rather stagnant at times) as any of their previous efforts, but that has yet to make a single one any less enjoyable. The new one borrows equally from each of their earlier collections but matures in all the categories that really count.

The songwriting – and vocals for that matter – falls mainly on the shoulders of Ian Felice. His ability to create characters that perfectly fit his whiskey-graveled, heart-broken yet optimistic howl is the band’s strongest attribute. Here, Ian shows progress in his lyrics as well as his melodic awareness. Also showing much improvement on Yonder… is the instrumentation of the rest of the gang. Simone’s unorthodox percussion is sharper than ever, helping to push the songs through unique arrangements and single-handedly driving the handful of groovy breakdowns present on the new album. James’ tasteful accordion brings more of a zydeco ambiance, rather than the polka-feel it previously added.

‘Big Surprise’ is a one of the boys’ slower tunes that works well. Whether it’s the sporadic yet commanding rhythm of the drum kit or Ian’s foreboding lyrics, the song serves as a perfect intro. It pleads the listener to sit and thoughtfully take the album in. The brothers used this same ploy at the show I caught in Austin, opening with the song on an unlit stage.

To come through on his lyrical and emotional promise, Ian leads track two to the other side of the tempo spectrum. ‘Penn Station’ is easily one of the standout tracks, recalling the allure of ‘Frankie’s Gun.’ The song sounds like an impromptu performance played at the party celebrating the narrator’s resurrection. Never a writer to shy away from the theme of death, Ian also brings us ‘Chicken Wire,’ a lively blues progression with an infectious melody. He seems to almost enjoy the inevitability of his eventual resting place on the ocean floor.

To be honest, much of the middle of the disc borders on sappy, ‘Ambulance Man’ taking the elevator to the basement and ‘Sailor Song’ finding a dark closet once there. The love ballad ‘Katie Dear’ offers light solace, aided by a well-chosen horn solo. But things are thrown back in the fast lane with ‘Run Chicken Run.’ Barn-stomping fiddle, zydeco accordion, and chorale backups paint a picture of the dreadful fate of a low-man in the underbelly of NYC boroughs. Simone Felice takes the lead for a surprisingly peaceful ditty in ‘All When We Were Young.’ ‘Boy From Lawrence County,’ dripping with desperation, reminds me of ‘Rockefeller Druglaw Blues’ – simple acoustic guitar overlayed with accordion. This is where The Felice Brothers shine, albeit not overly obvious.

If you had any question as to how the band plays live, ‘Memphis Flu’ is your ticket to a packed barroom with The Felice Brothers. It may not always stay under control, or even be coherent, but it sure is fun. Track 12 of 13 is the ultimate treasure on the album. ‘Cooperstown’ is simple, elegant, and perfectly written. A Neal Young-esque upper-range acoustic lick intercedes verses that effortlessly tie the lessons the great American pastime into life experiences.

The Felice Brothers have created yet another essential element to any Americana collection – even if it’s a portrait of a dusky, backwoods America.

The Big Surprise

Purchase Yonder Is The ClockCD/Vinyl/MP3

New Felice Brothers Track…

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release, traditional | Posted on 02-10-2009

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FYI – Head over to SPIN’s website to stream one of the tracks from the forthcoming Felice Brothers’ Yonder Is The Clock.

‘Penn Station’ out-energizes anything from last year’s album and has the feel of the final track on Tonight at the Arizona – a raucous live version of ‘Take This Hammer.’

The rest of the track names definitely keep things interesting – especially #7 ‘Katie Dear.’ I haven’t known The Felice Brothers to do too many traditional songs, but if they were going to try one out, this tune (aka Silver Dagger) takes the cake. Here are some previous versions of the song:

Old Crow Medicine Show – The Silver Dagger
from Eutaw (2001)
The Cheiftains with Gillian & Dave – Katie Dear
from Down the Old Plank Road (2002)
Joan Baez – The Silver Dagger
from Bowery Songs (2005)

Still no pre-order links available yet, but I will keep you posted. And as I said, the album will also be pressed on vinyl with a release date set for April 7th. Check out more early ‘09 releases.

Early ‘09 Release Forecast….

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 02-04-2009

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I figured the best way to get back in the groove of posting was to begin with a little Album Release Forecast. I’ve had this in mind for a while, but kept putting it off because so many of the expected releases I know of don’t have much substantiating evidence. Thanks to MySpace for keeping me in the loop with most of these bands’ happenings, but as you can see, there are many details still left to be determined.

February 2009

Dan Auerbach ~ Keep It Hid (2/10/09)

Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach has decided to step away from his rhythm-making partner for a solo album. The tracks I’ve heard show a style more geared toward the vocals – which are quite smooth – but still as groovy as anything from The Keys.

1. Trouble Weighs a Ton
2. I Want Some More
3. Heartbroken, in Disrepair
4. Because I Should
5. Whispered Words
6. Real Desire
7. When the Night Comes
8. Mean Monsoon
9. Keep It Hid
10. My Last Mistake

Pre-order the Cd/LP here.

Ryan Adams ~ Extra Cheese – Valentines Day EP (2/10/09)

Looks like Lost Highway is gonna suck everything they can out of their contract with Ryan. This rehashing of old love songs from Ryan will only appease those people that actually enjoyed Cardinology. It will only be available through iTunes ($3.99). Stay tuned here and I may just post these tracks before it comes out.

1. Two
. Blossom
3. Answering Bell

4. Evergreen

5. My Love For You is Real

6. Desire

7. Hey There, Mrs. Lovely

March 2009

Justin Townes Earle ~ Midnight At The Movies (3/3/09)

Dropping in March is the new one from JTE. had the pleasure of hearing this album early and wrote up a little review. There will also be a limited edition vinyl version of Midnight At The Movies. Here’s the song that I mentioned hearing (and adoring) at his show back in December made available on the Bloodshot Records website.

1. Midnight at the Movies
2. What I Mean To You
3. They Killed John Henry

4. Mama’s Eyes

5. Dirty Rag

6. Can’t Hardly Wait

7. Black Eyed Suzy

8. Poor Fool

9. Halfway to Jackson

10. Someday I’ll Be Forgiven For This

11. Walk Out

12. Here We Go Again

The Roadside Graves ~ My Son’s Home

Folk outfit The Roadside Graves’ new one is scheduled for a Spring Release on their new label Autumn Tone Records. Although no release date or tracklist has been divulged, more info can be found here.

My Son’s Home(Demo)
Far & Wide

April 2009

The Felice Brothers ~ Yonder Is The Clock (4/7/09)

Hoping to make 2009 as big a year as ‘08 was for them, The Felice Brothers have a new album scheduled for a spring release as well as a slew of tour dates – including some with Old Crow Medicine Show. I’m planning on attending the New Orleans show on February 13th. Here’s the tracklist for their upcoming album which will also be available on vinyl:

1. The Big Surprise
2. Penn Station
3. Buried In Ice
4. Chicken Wire
5. Ambulance Man
6. Sailor Song

7. Katie Dear
8. Run Chicken Run
9. All When We Were Youn
10. Boy from Lawrence County

11. Memphis Flu

12. Cooperstown

13. Rise and Shine

Slaid Cleaves ~ Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away (4/14/09)

Slaid’s last album was released in 2006 and was a covers compilation. I, therefore, have extremely high hopes for the songs that will make up this new one.

1. Cry
2. Hard to Believe
3. Beyond Love
4. Green Mountains and Me
5. Run Jolee Run
6. Dreams
7. Black T Shirt
8. Tumbleweed Stew
9. Twistin’
10. Beautiful Thing
11. Temporary

Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers ~ Songs In The Night (4/28/09)

Samantha’s first full-length album is one of my most anticipated releases to be mentioned yet. Likewise, she’s gaining quite the critical buzz around the net. From the mixture of songs I heard at this show and the ones she did for Daytrotter (which is more than half), Songs In The Night should be a stellar debut.

1. Rising Sun
2. Songs in the Night
3. Long Division
4. Get the Fever Out
5. Bananafish Revolution
6. Scissor Tales
7. Devils In Boston
8. Bullfight (Change Your Mind)
9. Calm Down
10. You Never Know
11. The Dam Song

Other Notes:

Reigning This Mornin’… album champion These United States stated briefly in a MySpace bulletin that they have a new album in the works – no details or release date though.

The Avett Brothers have mentioned that their next full-length release on American (Columbia) Records, produced by Rick Rubin, will see a Summer Release.

Bombadil told us that their next album for Ramseur Records will be produced by Scott Solter.

The Fleet Foxes mentioned today that they have begun preparations for recording their next album – in a rented house in Port Townsend, WA.

Ramsuer Records has reported that The Everybodyfields hope to get a new album out “later this year.”

Band of Horses have not given out an album title or release date, but I’ve heard that they have done some recording at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama as well as Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC.

It’s been six years since the last Gillian Welch album, but rumor still has it that there is one due this year.

Top Albums of 2008 (Part II)….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album review, best of 2008, lists | Posted on 12-28-2008

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5. The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
3/25/08 ~ Third Man/Warner Bros.

i’ve always been a little wary of Jack White. His first effort with The Raconteurs swayed me a bit, but Consolers of the Lonely has sealed the deal. Much like what Caitlin Cary does for Ryan Adams, i believe Brendan Benson has a calming effect on Jack, keeping his crazy side in check. With each turn taken during the album, i am continually impressed with the musical decisions of this superband. Consolers reached just far enough into the folk realm to get me interested in the first place, and acquiring the album made visible the allure that has surrounded Jack White since the beginning.

Old Enough

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]

4. The Felice Brothers – The Felice Brothers
3/4/08 ~ Team Love

Although they’ve been releasing music since 2006, i feel like 2008 was the breakout year for The Felice Brothers. i first posted about them back in February and, aside from Ryan Adams, they have been one of the most prevalent bands here at This Mornin’… An apt follow-up to last year’s Tonight At The Arizona, their self-titled album from this year is a raucous ride through backwoods country-side making stops in old-time barrooms and dirty roadside oases. ‘Frankie’s Gun’ took top honors in my Best Songs List without much of a fight. If i didn’t feel the need to spread the accolades around, songs like ‘Wonderful Life’, ‘Greatest Show’, ‘Take This Bread’, and ‘Love Me Tenderly’ could have also made the list. Moreover, i got to see the brothers live a short while back, and it only further instilled my appreciation for this authentic, super-talented band.

Love Me Tenderly

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]

3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
6/3/08 ~ Sub Pop

An album sure to be on many top lists, Fleet Foxes self-titled debut deserves every bit of praise coming its way. Sub Pop has proved once again that the sounds coming from the rainy Northwest are well worth paying attention to. The Foxes have self-described themselves as ‘baroque-pop,’ and as much as i’ve tried, i haven’t found a better description. With a lack of desire for conventional song structure and soaring vocals, The Fleet Foxes have managed to come off as classical while retaining what the appeal of the indie sound. Their chamber-music is at once peaceful and deeply inspiring. The fact that a 22-year old Robin Pecknold had the sage vision to put together a band of their caliber gives me tremendous hope for this young generation and their music.

Your Protector

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]

2. Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst
8/5/08 ~ Merge Records

Conor and his Mystic Valley Band took refuge in a secluded part of central Mexico to record the first album to bear the name of this Omaha alt-rocker. As you well know, Conor has a slew of releases under the moniker Bright Eyes as well as a ton of side projects. Conor Oberst is the most focused and accessible album that he has recorded. Shedding much of the cult-like stigma that hindered his 2007 Bright Eyes album as well as most of the peculiar and erratic tendencies from his adolescent career, Conor has solidified his place as the Best American Songwriter under 30. ‘Souled Out’ reached #7 on my Best Songs List, which is an obvious injustice to the rest of the album. i truly can’t skip one song on the disc, and that includes the 50 second horn-blowing track from Ruben the Mexican. Conor and band headlined the above-mentioned show i attended in Austin. Read what i said about Conor Oberst back in my September Album Round-up.


Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl /mp3][iTunes]

1. These United States – Crimes
9/23/08 ~ United Interests

These United States’ second album of 2008 was immediately put in the running for the top spot when i first picked it up back in September. Read my original impression. Following A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden (whew…), Jesse Elliot put together a group of musicians and booked some studio time with an obvious vision in mind. What came out of the sessions was the Best Album of 2008. If you refer back to the preamble in Part I of this post, i talk a bit about the concept of an album – it being a complete work and not simply a neat packaging of songs. You’ll notice no cuts from Crimes were on my Best Songs List. Crimes reads like a story, a narrative that wouldn’t be complete without each element intact. The track-breaks flow seamlessly like chapters, with each song relating to the others through the common theme of the innate sinful nature of the human being. Crimes is jangly and loud for the most part, heavy on the background vocals and community instruments. Even the songs that begin at a crawl build and evolve back into an all-inclusive, welcoming sing-along. To have an album feel cohesive but still manage to continually engage the listener, one vital element is necessary: Dynamic. Crimes is unmatched in its layer quantity and progressive feel. And that’s just the sound of the album. Jesse Elliot fills each song with witty phrasing that begs you to listen intently. He’ll take a well-known saying and cleverly alter a word or two so that it will catch your ear no matter what other activity you’re engaged in. His slightly arrogant, but overly friendly delivery has the effect of a beloved author – one that you know is much smarter than you yet is still very relatable. Pick up this one, don’t simply download a track. Play it from beginning to end, and i promise it will leave you wanting more.

Old John Chapman Takes a Good Long Walk

Purchase: [Amazon][Direct][iTunes]


Be sure to read my Top 10 Songs of 2008.