Happy New Year. So much for this making its way out into the world before 2011, but hey… we get busy, especially at the end of the year! Ah well.
2010 has some fantastic albums to show for it… but for me the year will go in the books more for the discovery of some fabulous new bands and a better understanding and deeper musical appreciation of some older ones. Some of it may not be new, just new for me, and perhaps new for you. So take time to stop and smell the music.
Keep your eyes and ears open towards the end of January /Early February when my blog at Marc’s Muse will be devoted almost entirely to My Tunes – The Albums Project… I will listen to a randomly chosen album every single day, and blog about it. Not as a critic, but as a person wanting to share great music, and delve into the dialogue that great, musical discussions create. The idea is to show the impact music has on so many elements of our lives and how similar we all are, despite differences in taste, background and current life situations.
Trashcan Sinatras. To be fair, I have had this band on my radar long before 2010, but this is the year I first saw them live and totally and fully embraced them. If you listen to me or actually read anything I post or write on the net, you’ll know that Trashcan Sinatras have moved into my all-time favorite band list. Seeing them live at McCabes and studying up before the show won me over in a big way. Love this band so much! And they did put out a brand new and fantastic album in 2010… In the Music!!! They are touring the US in February and March, so please do yourself a favor and go see them.
Thirteen Senses. Although their new album won’t come out until 2011, this is one of my ultimate favorite new band discoveries. Visit their My Space page to get a taste… You will not want to stop listening. They are often compared to Coldplay, but I find their music even lusher and prettier and they a band I think I shall like for long time to come. Discover this masterful pop band for their amazing lyrics and gorgeous sounds. Their new album Crystal Sounds drops in February, and the title track is phenomenal!!!
The Clientele. God Save the Clientele is one of the most beautiful and lush albums you will ever hear. Not new, but amazing. I want to eat this album!!!
The Rifles. I describe them as British Punk Pop. No Love Lost and The Great Escape are both fantastic. They have great lyrics, catchy tunes and are just pure fun. I’m sure you have heard at least a few of their tunes. They are another band I’ll be into for a while.
The way I found them was searching in iTunes for another band, The Pigeon Detectives. This is a great way to find new music. Some reviews are really thoughtful and full of information… and this one was along the lines of, “if you like this band, you’ll LOVE so and so.”
Guess what… I do now LOVE so and so!!! Go iTunes! Amazon reviews are pretty good, too!
The Pigeon Detectives. I have to thank Little Steven and his Underground Garage for this one. Plus, his Coolest Songs in the World series is a delight. Emergency is all I have been able to track down so far, but I love it.
As you read through this list, a few things will become very clear… First off, I have a strong love for British Pop and Punk… Second, the fantastic radio station KCRW has opened up many of these musical doors for me… So thanks KCRW 89.9 and The Sound 100.3… and a whole lot of stuff on the web (iTunes and Amazon music reviews) but especially thanks to my brother Dan and my great friends (Yeah you, Rob… and Alan and EK…) who are wonderful sharers of music.
Just listening and going out to live shows and talking to friends is what music is all about.
Arcade Fire. Look, thanks to KCRW I have been all over this band for a while… but The Suburbs is astounding.
The Black Keys. Another KCRW donation to me! At least I think this is where I first heard them. Their new Brothers album just rocks… hard! Two guys and roomful of bluesy, blistering tunes!
Mumford and Sons. This one comes from a friend of my brother’s. They are getting so much attention now and deservedly so. Sigh No More.
Anais Mitchell. Hadestown is a folk opera and while I think I heard it on KCRW it really sunk into my soul as I was wandering the music area of a local Barnes and Noble. I love having music around me all the time. I mean, that can be a perfect night… a cup of coffee and wandering around the local record store or music section of your local bookstore. Mmmm!
Bruce Springsteen. The new box set The Promise was a lot of bread, but the movie is great, the CD is great and the remastered Darkness is a revelation… Once again, the Boss leads the way. It is pretty amazing how his “cast offs” are some of the best music you will EVER hear.
Band of Horses – Infinite Arms. Yes, this made a lot of Top 10 lists. No, I am not just jumping on the band wagon. Have liked these guys for a while thanks to KCRW. This beautiful, moody country rock with lots of sweeping melodies makes for a perfect Sunday. Or Saturday…
Local Natives – Gorilla Manor. Thanks again, KCRW. Local boys make good… really good. Love these guys, and have heard only good things about them! iTunes describes them as a mix of Vampire Weekend and Fleet Foxes. Dang it! That is exactly how I would set them up. And I do love both of those bands.
The National – High Violet is their 2010 entry, but Boxer and Alligator are both great, too. My brother will try to claim this band, but I know I started listening before he mentioned them. Either way, it’s good to be on the same page. These guys fit into so many styles. Haunting Bon Iver like melodies… feedback… moody melodies of yearning… and yes, damn you iTunes… I do hear Joy Division.
Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
This band gets a special shout out as they are from my hometown of Glen Rock, NJ. How cool is that? I keep asking myself… why did I not become a rock star??? I was a theatre geek, too! I liked my drama teacher. I could have named my band after a little seen play by Shakespeare. Damn the luck! But seriously, these guys are great! Punk yearning , Springsteen references and lots of hardcore musical drilling… and okay, iTunes, you win again… I do hear some heavy Pogues influence.
AM – Soul Variations
Moving to the opposite end of the musical spectrum gives us this absolutely beautiful singer-songwriter collection. Smooth melodies and great lyrics will keep you coming back. Just a joy through and through.
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Oh yeah, you heard me right. Seriously. Go beyond “Come On Eileen,” which is a killer song, and you will find a great band with catchy tunes and a beautiful, raucous Celtic rock sound. Check out BBC in Concert which I heard at Freakbeat Records in Sherman Oaks and is what inspired me to go back and dig deeper. The deluxe Too-Rye-Ay is also a treasure trove and has all the live BBC tracks… 35 total!
JJ Grey and Mofro – A great signing for Alligator Records, as this band has funk, blues and Southern rock all rolled into one. Country Ghetto and Georgia Warhorse is where I started and I want more. His voice will remind you of the old R&B and Soul greats… Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Good!!!