There were many great records this year which made for some agonizing decisions when it came to compiling my Top Ten favorites of the year. Why I agonize I have no idea – it’s not going to save or ruin any lives by naming my faves! Actually, it’s pretty silly but I like silly stuff to do like this. I hope you like reading silly stuff too! Here are my top ten albums of the year plus a couple of honorable mentions and artists to watch out for:
10. Gabe Dixon Band – Self-titled release – sounds like early Elton John, piano-driven pop, well crafted tunes.
9. Brooks Ritter – The Horse Fell Lame – I about fell lame when I heard this guy’s voice. I love it. My favorite local release this year.
8. Rogue Wave – Asleep At Heaven’s Gate – Alt-group from San Francisco. Several gems on this album including “Chicago X12” and “Lake Michigan”.
7. Donavon Frankenreiter – Pass It Around – Surfer/musician jam-band jack johnson g. love rises above all the comparisons this time around with a multi-layered and wonderful record. Mariachi Horns on “Your Heart” deserves a Grammy for brilliance.
6. Thievery Corporation – Radio Retaliation – chill out grooves and political messages go together well on this inventive and interesting record.
5. The Swell Season – Once– The brilliant soundtrack to the film I never saw but fell in love with the record and the music of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. I swear I’ll see it soon!
4. Calexico – Carried To Dust – Each song is different from the next with some gorgeous moments that really stood out for me on this album. Plus it transports me to the Southwest and I like that!
3. Michael Franti & Spearhead – All Rebel Rockers – It could have been in part the timing of this album as the election was drawing near when it came out. It got me fired up and managed to stay positive at the same time. Just like Michael does!
2. Fleet Foxes – S/T – I love the harmonies, the songwriting, the daringness to sound like MMJ at a Chamber Pop Festival. I loved this record.
1. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago – this wasn’t even on my radar until we featured it for Album of The Week. It slayed me from start to finish with it’s beauty and haunting melodies. This became my favorite record of the year!
Now, a few honorable mentions and artists to watch would be Duffy – Rockferry – retro pop like Dusty Springfield; Adele – 19 – great voice and grooves; Sharon Little – Perfect Time For A Breakdown -she got my attention opening for Plant and Krauss; Kings of Leon – Only By The Night – great rock album; The Black Keys – Attack & Release – psychedelic awesomeness; Bela Fleck – Jingle All The Way – favorite holiday album in a long while, esp. the Tuvan throat singer Ondar who sings “Jingle Bells”.