Mar 27, 2009

Favorite Albums of '09 - First Quarter Report

Click on underlined artist names for their Myspace pages to listen! (Ben doesn't have a solo Myspace, but you can listen to samples on the Amazon link)

Feel free to comment on any of these, or to suggest some other great albums of early 2009!

1. Ben Nichols - The Last Pale Light in the West
A collection of gritty narratives based on Cormac McCarthy's gore-soaked epic, "Blood Meridian," it's as passionate and powerful as anything I've heard this year (and much of last), despite the narrow focus. I'm a huge fan of Ben's full-time gig, Lucero, and looking forward to their major label debut later this year, but it'll have to really be something to top this.
Prime track: "Toadvine"

2. Justin Townes Earle - Midnight at the Movies
This is the one where son overtakes father. Justin's warm, reedy vocals and classic country sound with a modern feel make this quite an engaging album.
Prime track: "Mama's Eyes"

3. The Gourds - Haymaker!
Ridiculously fun as always, but the song-craft never suffers for the sake of party and vice versa. Not quite up to the high bar set by their previous release, Noble Creatures, but still a very strong effort.
Prime track: "Shreveport"

4. Phosphorescent - To Willie
A loving ode to a legend. Nelson's songs retold through a filter of reverent indie folk sound great and remind you that Willie's not just an entertainer and troubadour, but a songwriter of the highest order. Phosphorescent's not bad either, putting their own stamp on the songs, not just performing rote covers.
Prime track: "The Last Thing I Needed (First Thing This Morning)"

5. Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels
An indie-folk band with some of the most beautiful vocals you'll ever hear, Great Lake Swimmers take a step in a new direction on this outing, upping the tempo a bit and eschewing the stripped down approach for an array of new instruments, to nice effect. "Pulling on a Line" is my favorite song of the year thus far.

6. Mastodon - Crack the Skye
Metal! Smart, masterfully technical and fairly innovative, but still headbangingly hard, Mastodon's beast of a record should appeal to fans of anybody from Iron Maiden and Metallica to Coheed and Cambria. Great music for working out, or washing the dishes.
Prime track: "Oblivion"

7. The Deep Dark Woods - Winter Hours
Prime track: "All the Money I Had is Gone"

8. Scott Miller - For Crying Out Loud
Prime track:
"Sin in Indiana"

9. Eric Church - Carolina
Prime track: "Where She Told Me to Go"

10. Strand of Oaks - Leave Ruin
Prime track:
"End in Flames"

1 comment:

  1. I am still not as high on JTE as most are, but your top few are right where mine are, jsut about. I dig the Buddy/Julie Miller disc too. BTW, the new Ryna Bingham will be on my list too, I just heard it and its great.



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