You may or may not know that I love to talk about music as much as I love to talk about politics or the Red Sox.
You hear some of the music I like used as “bumpers” on WILK, when we return from our commercial breaks. Here’s a list of the top 10 musical releases of the year. They’re not for everyone, but that’s not the point. I would love to hear what you liked and feel free to comment below.
10. J. Roddy Walston and the Business: Don’t Break the Needle (Vagrant): I was hipped to this record by Erik Schrader, WNEP’s news director and fellow music fanatic. He was right on this one! They will rock your world silly. For fans of T Rex and The Hold Steady. The title track is a piano pounding sing-a-long.
9. Bettye LaVette: Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook (ANTI): Bettye LaVette is a music lifer. Her voice sounds like silk that’s been attacked by sandpaper. It’s my understanding that she didn’t know much about the cover songs on this CD before she recorded them, including “All My Love” by Led Zeppelin, “Why Does Love Got to be So Sad” by Clapton and “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. That’s not a typo _ she covers Pink Floyd.
8. The Black Keys: Brothers (Nonesuch): Mostly recorded at the historical Muscle Shoals Studio in Alabama, the Black Keys have created a throwback CD that takes you back to the good old days of 70s rock and soul. Their songs are catchy, but the real star of the show is a remake of “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Jerry Butler. And, they’re from Akron, Ohio, the city that gave us Devo and The Pretenders. Way to go, Ohio!
7. The National: High Violet (4ad): Acclaimed by critics for their other records, I never understood the fuss over this moody band. However, this edgy CD contains the best two songs in a row on a release this year with “Bloodbuzz Ohio” and “Lemonworld.” The rest is icing on the cake.
6. Tokyo Police Club: Champ (Mom and Pop): Another CD that grew on me with every listen, and there were many spins. Interesting writing and quirky delivery.
5. Best Coast: Crazy for You (Mexican Summer): Thirty-one minutes of summertime bliss. This CD came out at the end of a sweltering July and the timing couldn’t have been better.
4. The Hold Steady: Heaven is Whenever (Vagrant): One of America’s finest bar bands, The Hold Steady delivered this CD at the beginning of May to mixed reviews. Eight of the 10 songs are excellent and two get skipped with every play. Still, these guys write songs like William Faukner wrote books, so that’s pretty cool.
3. Vampire Weekend: Contra (XL Recordings): Released when 2010 was a mere infant, this collection of well orchestrated pop songs became the soundtrack of winter. It has also made the band wealthy because the song “Holiday” is featured in a car commercial that plays every 30 minutes or so.
2. Sleigh Bells: Treats (Mom and Pop): Is it an over-hyped fuzz mess? Not to me. A sonic wonder with breathless girl vocals is a recipe for success. I was lucky enough to see them live _ twice! Very loud.
1. Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (Merge): The day before this CD was released, we caught the band live at the Mann in Philly and it was not just a concert, but an event. A thematic work about childhood in the ‘burbs, this record explores the transition between carefree youth and the burden of adulthood.