Showing posts with label Futurebirds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Futurebirds. Show all posts

Dec 22, 2020

Farce the Music’s Top 30 Songs of 2020

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1. Caylee Hammack - Small Town Hypocrite
This was my favorite song of the year wire-to-wire. I just couldn’t get it out of my head or heart, and didn’t want to. It’s personal and universal at once - the hallmark of a great song, in my book. The vocals, the lyrics, the instrumentation - flawless. A truly fantastic piece of art.
 

 2. Waylon Payne - Shiver  

 3. Katie Pruitt - My Mind’s a Ship (That’s Going Down)  

4. Arlo McKinley - Suicidal Saturday Night  

 5. Brandy Clark - I’ll Be the Sad Song  

 5. Flatland Cavalry - War With My Mind  

 6. Sarah Jarosz - Orange and Blue  

 7. Futurebirds - Trippin’  

 8. Taylor Swift ft. Bon Iver - Exile  

 9. Randy Travis - Fool’s Love Affair  

 10. The Wilder Blue - The Eagle  

 11. Rookie - I Can’t Have You But I Want You  

 12. Hailey Whitters - Janice at the Hotel Bar  

 13. Marcus King - Wildflowers & Wine  

 14. Joshua Ray Walker - Voices  

 15. Gabe Lee - Imogene

Dec 18, 2020

Farce the Music's Top 20 Albums of 2020

 Voted on by: Megan Bledsoe, Robert Dean, Jeremy Harris, Trailer, Kevin Broughton, Matthew Martin, Travis Erwin, Scott Colvin, and (tiebreakers) Chad Barnette.

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20. Kathleen Edwards - Total Freedom

Welcome back! This first collection of songs from Edwards in 8 years is warm and lush, her music still fitting like a soft leather glove. That’s not to say the songs are all comfy, there’s ample amounts of hard-lived emotion and sharp lines. She hasn’t lost a step! ~ Trailer


Despite everything 2020 was good if only for returning Kathleen Edwards to us. Eight years removed from her last album (Voyageur), Edwards is back with her familiar brand of songs that comfort, caress, and importantly make us smile when it was needed most. ~ Scott Colvin


19. Elizabeth Cook - Aftermath

Cook’s most varied album of her career sees her pulling together threads of country, glam rock, and other genres to create a still-cohesive piece of art that’ll get your feet moving, heart pumping, and mind considering. One of her best. ~ Trailer


18. Margo Price - That’s How Rumors Get Started

I read a lot of reviews for That’s How Rumors Get Started when it came out, and the gist was “she’s not making country records anymore.” To which I say, “so what?” That’s How Rumors Get Started is a great album. Period. Whether it’s country, California country, or Stevie Nicks-esque soft rock is inconsequential. Just put it on and enjoy the ride. ~ Scott Colvin


17. Jesse Daniel - Rollin’ On

America needs many things in 2020. At or near the top of that list is The Bakersfield Sound, and Jesse Daniel delivers both a faithful send-up and a high standard for others to meet going forward. Rollin’ On exudes hope, as you’d expect from an artist who’s emerged on the redemptive side of addiction. The best pure country album of the year.

His was the last real show I saw B.C. (Before Corona), and I remember how excited I was about Daniel’s future. At the turn of a bad year, I’ll emulate his optimism: 2021 is gonna be a great year for this troubadour. ~ Kevin Broughton


16. Ashley McBride - Never Will

When people say the state of mainstream country is beyond repair, introduce them to Ashley McBryde. When they say that women only sing about happy endings and heartbreak, introduce them to Ashley McBryde. When they say that you can only make it big in Nashville if you sell out, introduce them to Ashley McBryde. And don’t give McBryde or this record any qualifiers; she is not the best mainstream country artist in 2020, and this is not the best mainstream country album; rather, she is one of the best artists and this is one of the best albums in all of country music this year. ~ Megan Bledsoe


15. Jaime Wyatt - Neon Cross

For my money, there is not a better straight up honky tonk country album released in 2020 than Jaime Wyatt's Neon Cross. Shooter Jennings produced this album beautifully as well. Jaime's vocals are incredible and the incredibly personal lyrics are deceptively strong and deep. I think this was my most listened to album of the year and I don't think it will be out of rotation any time soon. The title track and "Rattlesnake Girl" are indicative of Wyatt's songwriting and vocal ability. The self-assurance Wyatt sings with draw you in from the beginning and there is no let-up throughout the album.  ~ Matthew Martin


14. Arlo McKinley - Die Midwestern

Everyday on my way to work I pass a small town, crap bar with a sign full of misspelled words and local bands that played the other bars in town last week. Then one day just before this album was released, there it was, spelled correctly and everything. ARLO MCKINLEY with a date he’d be performing. That date, the weekend after Ohio closed all the bars due to rising Covid rates. Thankfully this album was around to play the lonesome sound 2020 demanded, just not live like I wished. ~ Jeremy Harris


Seventeen years is a long time to wait for a follow up album, and beyond that, Payne has a lot to live up given his royal lineage and ties to Outlaw hierarchy. This album lived up to all of it and perhaps even exceeded expectations. ~ Travis Erwin


When Texas Jonny Tyler told me, “That new Waylon Payne album is pretty good,” I thought, “’Waylon Payne?’ That sounds like a great pro wrestling name.” On reflection, (1) this album is damn fine, with sharp lyrics and a honky-tonk sensibility; and (2) the name of the album sounds like a stable of wrestling villains. ~ Kevin


12. Run the Jewels - RTJ4

2020 may not have been an ideal year for most but if there was a soundtrack it’d be RTJ4. A guided tour of struggle and protest, on point lyrics, and some awesome beats. The perfect album for an imperfect year. ~ Jeremy


11. Sturgill Simpson - Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. I

As someone who has never really been a Sturgill apologist, this album made me a believer. It is something special to be able to reimagine an entire album’s worth of one’s work at all, let alone with such fresh, engaging results. It takes something even more special to deliver a bluegrass album with nuance and restraint, and Simpson does just that, proving that bluegrass is not always about instrumental prowess, but sometimes about simplicity and emotion. ~ Megan


10. Tami Neilson - Chickaboom!

I am such a sucker for female fronted garage rock. I got into Tami Neilson a few years back with Don’t Be Afraid and enthusiastically devoured Chickaboom! when it was released. I don’t have this on vinyl...but I will…and hopefully soon. ~ Scott


9. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Reunions

There's a real late-80s/early-90s undercurrent to most of Isbell's latest release from the production with high-hitting snares, slight reverb-laden vocals, and high-flying guitar solos. But, this works well for Isbell who creates brand-new sounds within the old sound. Isbell's voice is about as good as it's ever been. It's remarkable to hear him sing a murder ballad so beautifully - I had to listen to the song "River" a couple of times to clear the dissonance between the beauty of the song and the darkness of the lyrics. But, that is what Isbell is so adept at doing. He shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. ~Matthew


8. Futurebirds - Teamwork

Futurebirds have always been road dogs. Their show has always been one that seems just about ready to go off the rails in the best possible way. Their albums have always been really good, but with Teamwork, Futurebirds put in what feels like their most personal set of songs which includes the Futurebirds' best songs: "Broken Arm," "Rodeo," and the absolutely incredibly raw emotional gut-punch "Waiting On A Call." ~ Matthew


7. Ruthie Collins - Cold Comfort

The album’s opening track might be my favorite cut of the year. “Joshua Tree” was inspired by the relationship of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Other favorites of mine were “Dang Dallas,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “You Can’t Remember.”  ~ Travis


I remember the first time I listened to Cold Comfort. I put it on as background music and then “Joshua Tree” started playing. The background music was brought to the forefront and the world became the background. Starting at that moment my least productive physical moments were hidden behind the sweetness of Ruthie Collins. Wasted time is a thing to relish. ~ Jeremy


6. Ward Davis - Black Cats & Crows

The title track was the first track I heard here and was strong enough to have me digging in for more. “Sounds of Chains” keeps the murder ballad alive and in gritty capable hands. The fourteen tracks here take you for an emotional ride and the collection feels traditional, without ever coming across as cliché. even on the Alabama cover, “Lady Down on Love.” ~ Travis


5. Chris Stapleton - Starting Over

I look on Stapleton as the Miles Davis of country music. Seems like he can show up in a studio and just churn out high grade stuff. (Sturgill is a lot like that. But Sturgill didn’t release any new material this year.) This record dropped in December and re-ordered my top 10. Stapleton’s a beast.  ~ Kevin


4. Zephaniah OHora - Listening to the Music

It was a high bar to cross, but Ohora’s sophomore effort exceeds 2017’s lofty This Highway. On Listening to The Music, Zeph channels Merle Haggard, both vocally and spiritually. I’m not sure what was more 2020 about the song “All American Singer: (a) that it’s genuinely courageous in woke America to say “not everything has to be about politics;” or (b) that some p***y at No Depression put Zeph on blast for NOT being political enough, smearing Merle Haggard in the process. ~ Kevin


3. Tennessee Jet - The Country

A cinematic masterpiece from a Renaissance man, Tennessee Jet draws on the likes of Sergio Leone and William Faulkner to craft his characters. This is literary songwriting combined with punchy production and execution. The crown jewel on an album of gems? A grungy, scary, 3 ½-minute movie soundtrack about the creepy death of Johnny Horton. And of all the covers of “Pancho and Lefty,” -- I’ll plant a flag right now – none equals the four-headed monster version here by TJ, Jinks, Elizabeth Cook and Paul Cauthen. ~ Kevin


2. The Wilder Blue - Hill Country

A mashup of The Damn Quails, Flatland Cavalry, and The Bellamy Brothers - but with their own blood pumping through this vital music, this probable side-project may have garnered enough attention to become a front-street project soon; at least I hope so. This is a fantastic album full of great lyrics, killer harmonies, and memorable melodies. ~ Trailer


A late add to my list, but wow. There’s a lot of purity here in these harmonies and spot-on acoustic guitar licks. A half-dozen of these songs should be on mainstream radio right now, but what can you do?  ~ Kevin


1. American Aquarium - Lamentations

No one speaks their mind like B.J. Barham and that is why his music tends to be so provocative.  ~ Travis


With American Aquarium's latest album, BJ Barham has turned in his most poignant and pointed set of songs of his career. With the incredible production by Shooter Jennings and the tighter than ever musicianship, American Aquarium have released their hands-down most mature and best album to date. This is officially the highwater mark for American Aquarium. The opening, title track sets the tone for the album and it takes off from there. ~ Matthew


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(Top Others Receiving Votes: Brandy Clark - Your Life is a Record; Marcus King - El Dorado; Katie Pruitt - Expectations; Steve Earle - Ghosts of West Virginia; Nicole Atkins - Italian Ice; Kesha - High Road; Great Peacock - Forever Worse Better; Gabe Lee - Honkytonk Hell; Brent Cobb - Keep ‘em on They Toes; Tessy Lou Williams - s/t)


Jul 1, 2020

Top Albums of 2020: First Half Report




1. Futurebirds - Teamwork

2. Mike & The Moonpies - Touch of You

3. Katie Pruitt - Expectations

4. Brandy Clark - Your Life is a Record

5. Gabe Lee - Honky Tonk Hell

6. Hill Country - s/t

7. Ashley McBryde - Never Will

8. Rookie - s/t

9. Jesse Daniel - Rollin’ On

10. Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud


11. American Aquarium - Lamentations
12. Will Hoge - Tiny Little Movies
13. Hailey Whitters - The Dream
14. Reckless Kelly - American Jackpot/American Girls
15. Run the Jewels - RTJ4
16. The Secret Sisters - Saturn Return
17. John Baumann - Country Shade
18. Randy Rogers/Wade Bowen - Hold My Beer 2
19. Aubrie Sellers - Far From Home
20. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - Reunions
21. Jaime Wyatt - Neon Cross
22. Caitlyn Smith - Supernova
23. Caleb Caudle - Better Hurry Up
24. Kyle Nix - Lightning on the Mountain
25. Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters
26. John Anderson - Years
27. Rich O’Toole - New York
28. Dalton Domino - Feverdreamer
29. Caitlin Cannon- The Trash Cannon Album
30. Steve Earle - Ghosts of West Virginia

*there are a few recent and forthcoming albums I haven't listened to enough to rank yet

**this is just Trailer's top 30 - year end list will include all FTM contributors

Apr 15, 2020

Top Albums of 2020 - First Quarter Report



1. Futurebirds - Teamwork

2. Katie Pruitt - Expectations

3. Brandy Clark - Your Life is a Record

4. Gabe Lee - Honky Tonk Hell

5. Ashley McBryde - Never Will

6. Rookie - s/t

7. Marcus King - El Dorado

8. Jesse Daniel - Rollin’ On

9. Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud

10. Hailey Whitters - The Dream

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*there are a few recent and forthcoming albums I haven't listened to enough to rank yet

**this is just Trailer's top 10 - year end list will include all FTM contributors

Jan 27, 2020

Futurebirds / "My Broken Arm"

From their excellent, highly recommended new album Teamwork. RIYL: Deer Tick, Burrito Bros., Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket.

Dec 31, 2013

Best Albums of 2013: Matthew's Picks






10. Black Joe Lewis - Electric Slave
This album continued to grow on me throughout the year.  It's such a strong album full of driving guitar, funky, dirty rhythms, and Lewis's penchant for telling stories of partying as well as more serious themes.  This is Black Joe Lewis all grown up and pissed off.  This is Black Joe Lewis's best album.


 9.  Jonny Fritz - Dad Country
Speaking of growing up, 2013 saw Jonny Fritz change his name from Jonny Corndawg in an effort to not get pegged as a joke affair.  I think Dad Country is the epitome of that change.  There are serious-as-hell songs on here masked in seemingly funny material.  It's not terribly funny though when you think about the narrator of "Ain't It Your Birthday" showing up sometime later at his ex's house to wish her happy birthday.  Character studies are Fritz's forte, and on Dad Country, those lovable losers/weirdos are everywhere.


 8.  Deer Tick - Negativity
Deer Tick really did a 180 on this album.  From Divine Providence to Negativity, there is such a deep contrast, but the essence of what makes Deer Tick a great band serves as the glue; the songwriting.  McCauley and crew wrote some of Deer Tick's best songs for this album, an album darker and more somber than any of their previous.  When you listen from front-to-back, this album hits every note on the melancholy spectrum.  But, it doesn't necessarily make this album a downer.  It makes it an album perfect for reflection- whatever that reflection may be on.


 7. Sturgill Simpson - High Top Mountain
From the first note of this album, I was blown away.  His voice, his honky tonk band, and his stunning lyricism all seemed out of place for an album being released in the year 2013.  But, that's what makes Simpson's album so damn enjoyable.  It's a breath of fresh air to be able to find country music such as this still being made.  With a voice similar to Waylon, I think we'll see much more from Simpson.  Country music needs many more Sturgill Simpsons.  Maybe 2014 will bring more along.


 6. J Roddy Walston & the Business - Essential Tremors
I suppose 2013 was the year of growing up for bands, because on Walston's album, the band took a huge leap in terms of song material.  From dealing with his condition that causes him to shake (thus, Essential Tremors) to the father-to-son tale Boys Can Never Tell, there are songs that are more serious, yet keep the party going with The Business's rowdy backing.  My initial complaint with the album was that I hoped it would have more piano, but after multiple listens, there's not a damn thing I would add or take away from the album.  


 5. Futurebirds - Baba Yaga
Futurebirds continue to be one of the best bands out there with this album.  Taking their reverb-laden rock to new levels in sound, Futurebirds created their masterpiece.  Their numerous EPs and debut LP were great, no doubt, but this album takes that sound, adds years on the road, and finds the band at their peak.  As I have said before, this album is perfect for an afternoon on the back porch/patio/balcony during the summer.  It should also be stiflingly hot.  This is the kind of album we will be listening to for years to come.


 4. Diarrhea Planet - I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
Yeah yeah, the name... It's dumb.  Sure.  But, these boys from Nashville put out one damn fine rock and roll record.  If you can explain to me anything wrong with 4 guitars, I'd love to hear it.  An album rife with the perils of getting older and feeling isolated, the LP rocks harder and more accessibly than anything I can recall in the past few years.  It's also just a lot of fun.  It took me a while to get on board with this band, but once I got over the name, I have yet to be disappointed.  Great band, even better album. 


 3. Ha Ha Tonka - Lessons
I thought Ha Ha Tonka would not be able to top Death of a Decade, but I clearly thought wrong.  An album based on an NPR interview with Maurice Sendak sounded a bit over the top at first.  But, leave it to the guys in Ha Ha Tonka to tackle the subject and do so nearly perfect.  The album sifts through the taste of regret, forcing the listener to tackle regret in their own life, looking back through the days, months, or years.  As with other albums dealing with the subject on this list, it doesn't burden the listener.  It merely poses the question, and it's up to the listener to look back and take the past as it was, or dwell uncomfortably on those times we could have maybe done things differently.


 2. Jason Isbell - Southeastern
My god.  When I first heard that Jason Isbell was sober and had been hanging around Ryan Adams, I was a little worried.  Not because he was sober, mind you.  But, because Ryan Adams career had been somewhat frustrating to me once he reportedly got sober.  I don't blame it on the sobriety, one bit.  I doubt very strongly one writes better or worse on or off substance.  But, I still had doubt that the new, slower Isbell album would be something I would like.  I was wrong.  Dear god, I was so wrong.  This is the most stark and beautiful thing Jason Isbell has ever done.  The songs about sobriety (or, rather, grappling with sobriety) and his new love (the wonderful Amanda Shires) made for one of the best albums of the year.  I'm not sure how anyone can place this album lower than 2nd.  I had the hardest time saying whether this or my number 1 album were 1 or 2.  I changed the order many times.  This album is gorgeous.  It's intense.  And it's Jason Isbell's best damn album, which is saying a lot...


 1. John Moreland - In The Throes
I had never heard of John Moreland prior to this year and to be honest, I'm glad I hadn't. First hearing of this new-to-me artist and hearing his supposedly incredible album was one of the best things to have happened in 2013. The songs on this album are by and far the best songs I heard this year.  They are somber songs.  They are songs that are honest.  Sometimes painfully honest.  When you hear Moreland sing with his raspy, soothing voice, there is nothing but comfort in knowing that there is a person who knows your feeling.  Listening to these songs make one feel, immediately, comforted and slightly uncomfortable.  We are seeing into John Moreland's soul.  The very things he's frightened of, saddened by, and/or angered by.  And, we need that.  We need honesty in songs.  I'm glad I discovered John Moreland this year.  I'm glad he made this incredible album and put it out this year.  At the end of the day, this is, in my mind, the best album of the year.


Honorable Mentions:
Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels. Dawes - Stories Don't End. Earl Sweatshirt - Doris. Fifth on the Floor - Ashes & Angels. North Mississippi Allstars - World Boogie Is Coming.

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-Matthew Martin

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