Thursday, December 30, 2021

The War on Drugs: I Don't Live Here Anymore

Philly's own The War On Drugs released a great record last October that has marinated with me off and on these last few weeks. I Don't Live Here Anymore is a deeply introspective effort that really showcases the many styles of the band. It's a great album!

Here is the opening track...

Monday, December 27, 2021

Silk Sonic: An Evening With Silk Sonic (Album of the Week)

Silk Sonic released their first album a few weeks ago and it made me so so happy that music like this was still being made. An Evening With Silk Sonic (aka Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak) is a giant kiss to the funk and soul of the 1970s and it couldn't have come at a better time. We may be in a new golden age of soul with the likes of this group, Curtis Harding, Leon Bridges, Michael Kiwanuka, and Lianne Le Havas.

Turn down the lights. Find a loved one. Be romantic! 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Sting: The Bridge

It's always nice when the winter solstice arrives and there's a new Sting record. It is his favorite season after all. The Bridge is a fine album that will make his fans quite happy and bring in some new ones. The dude is always aces for chill love songs that spark the soul.

Here is the opening track...

Monday, December 20, 2021

Elbow: Flying Dream I (Album of the Week)

Elbow's latest record, Flying Dream I, is the perfect soundtrack for our run-up to the holiday weekend. The Bury, Greater Manchester lads have really outdreamed themselves on this one. My mind went on all sorts of journeys the first time I heard it. Subsequent listens sent me down even deeper soundscape paths.

Here is a fine example...

Friday, December 17, 2021

Top 21 Albums of 2021

This year was a truly magnificent year for music. The records I've listed below saw me through the many highs and lows that are our modern life these days. I hope you enjoy them! 

21. Saturday Night, Sunday Morning by Jake Bugg

A return to form for this Nottingham native. He's back to the style to the style that made him. Along with some surprises...

20. In Another World by Cheap Trick

I'm quite pleased to see that these iconoclasts of rock are still making great music. More importantly, it's THEIR style of music and theirs alone.

19. How Beautiful Life Can Be by The Lathums

The next big band in the UK. These Wigan lads are northern souls through and through. 

18. The Beautiful Liar by X Ambassadors

I am completely addicted to this band. Their music keeps leveling up with each new release. They are just so so good.

17. Colors For Chameleons by Primitive Broadcast Service 

This Milwaukee outfit is at the forefront of the post-punk movement. This record is easily the best in that genre this year and would make anyone's overall best of the year based on the group's sheer audaciousness and lack of fucks left to give. Can more bands be like this? Please?!!?

16. The Quest by Yes

The journey of this amazing art-rock outfit, now in their seventh decade of making music, continues with another fantastic entry. And it's a double album! How miss double albums...


15. Scaled and Icy by Twenty One Pilots

It's been a real treat to watch this duo evolve into Gen Z's go-to pop band. Their latest effort pays quite a bit of homage to AM radion in the late 1970s. Amazing...


14. Big Colors by Ryan Adams

One of two releases this year from DRA. His ongoing deep dive into late 1970s/early 1980s pop music continues to be more and more fascinating.


13. In Heaven by Strand of Oaks 

I'd like to hire this band to make the soundtrack to my life...past, present, and future. Every note of this record is mystical and mind-expanding. And very autumnal which makes me most happy!


12. Keeping The Faith Series 3 by Amy Wadge

How can utterly depressing music be so beautiful and inspirational? I guess that's the magic that lies in the medium. Wadge did an amazing job on the last series of this compelling BBC drama


11. Querencia by Chung Ha 

The Queen of K Pop? How about the Queen of the fucking world? Chung Ha kicks all of our asses up and down the street. 


10. Free To Live In Colour by Pixey

Liverpool residents should be most proud of their new star. Pixey somehow manages to combine psychedelia with 80s pop. The result is extraordinary.


9. The Ultra Vivid Lament by the Manic Street Preachers

The many reasons why I love this band would fill up multiple posts. These Blackwood lads have been the soundtrack to three generations now. Their latest is a pure Brit-Rock treasure. 


8. Utopian Ashes by Bobby Gillisepie and Jehnny Beth 

Speaking of Brit Rock, a solo record from the Primals frontman is reason enough for celebration. Add in French phenom Jehnny Beth and it is dragon-level magic. 


7. The Blue Elephant by Matt Berry 

Matt Berry is a treasure to the world. Not merely an accomplished thespian, Berry is an extremely talented musician who just happens to dig the same genres that I do. This record just blew me away this year. I played it so much that it's in my soul forever. 


6. Wednesdays by Ryan Adams 

The other release from DRA this year came out very early on (the digital release actually came out the last week of 2020). It was with me all year like an older brother and a good friend. 


5. Stand For Myself by Yola 

Yola is the premiere artist of our time. She perfectly melds the genres of R&B with country while also adding in stellar soul and pop. 12 tracks of sheer perfection. 


4. A Muse In Sunglasses OST by Bill Patten

Minneapolis native Patten turned out an impressive score for the film A Muse in Sunglasses. The key track is a perfect summation of the Minneapolis sound in 2021.


3. Coral Island by The Coral

These Merseyside lads already have an impressive catalog of work that spans two decades. With this fascinating concept record from this year, The Coral are officially legends. The story told on this album is ageless and for every person. We all dream of places of wonder. 


2. Fat Pop by Paul Weller 

The Modfather rules all. That is all.

1. Future Past by Duran Duran

And the Album of the Year goes to Duran Duran for their ridiculously amazing return to their roots. It's a great album even for the casual fan. Every track is 80s pop gold. My sixteen-year-old self went completely bananas the first time I heard this record. An instant classic for any genre! 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Top 21 Tracks of 2021

The year 2021 was an interesting time period for music. I think the word "diverse" best sums it up. My top tracks of the year are honestly all over the place in terms of style. I find this to be most refreshing in my never-ending goal to be more curious and stretch my musical imagination.

Without further adieu, here are the best tracks of 2021. 

21. Mulberry Street by Twenty One Pilots

These Columbus, Ohio lads managed to craft a song that sounds like one I would hear in 1981 on my old AM radio. Nostalgia to the max!

20. Dancing Away In Tears by Yola 

Easily one of the most exciting artists of our era. A perfect melange of soul, R&B, and country music. Yola is every bit a massive goddess of music.  

19. Rodriguez For A Night by David Crosby 

With the help of Donald Fagan, Cros really knocked it out of the park with this Steely Dan-sounding track. Man, I wished they made more music like this these days. 


18. How Beautiful Life Can Be by The Lathums

The Lathums are the next great dudes with guitars band from the UK. I can't wait to see their careers blossom. 


17. Still Snowing in Sapporo by Manic Street Preachers

The Manics keep making great music and I keep buying it. The Blackwood lads are going from strength to strength after all of these years. 


16. Transparent Soul by Willow

This song just kicks ass. I can't express how truly happy I am that someone of Willow Smith's stature is making indie, post-punk music. She and her brother are consistently reverent to those who have gone before them...


15. Osian's Song by Amy Wadge

A good, echo-y folk number always gets to my heart in very deep ways. Wadge did the soundtrack to all three seasons of the UK hit TV show, Keeping Faith. Her best work was in the third and final season which aired this year. 


14. Birmingham by Ryan Adams

The best living American songwriter came back with two albums this year. This track is from Wednesdays. It's classic DRA...stories of real people living heartbreaking lives and facing gut-wrenching challenges. 


13. Fat Pop by Paul Weller

The Modfather is one prolific dude these days. He's basically on an album a year these days which is just fine by me because he's second only to John Lennon IMHO. This track is just fucking groovy. 


12. Billie Bossa Nova by Billie Eilish

I've been a fan of bossa nova music since I was a young child. It simply creates a great vibe. Eilish does an amazing job continuing the genre with this track. I feel like drinking gin and tonics when I listen to it. 


11. Worlds Within Worlds by The Chills

Is it 1966? And is psychedelic pop all the rage? Apparently, it is for this New Zealand outfit. Paging the Dukes of Stratosphear...


10. The Game She Plays by The Coral

Speaking of psychedelic pop, Merseyside's returned with a stunner of a record this year. This is the best track on Coral Island and that's saying a lot because all of the tracks are shovel to the head stunners. 


9. Summer Sun by Matt Berry

More psychedelic pop! This was a truly great year for fans of this genre. Berry's The Blue Elephant would have made The Yardbirds proud. And, likely, The Doors


8. The Summer Looks Good On You by Cheap Trick

Talk about a nostalgia rush! It's been years since I was in high school but this track brought me right back to this group's heyday. 


7. Babylove by Jam & Lewis

WHAT TIME IS IT?? Time for a Time reunion!! Thank god. This track is from the first volume of Jam & Lewis's latest offerings and collaborations with various artists. 


6. Masquerade by Chung Ha

The Queen of K Pop by far. Quake with fear at her power...


5. Just Move by Pixey

Dreamy melody soaked in UK brilliance. Yet another great artist from Liverpool. I really dig how danceable this track is. And the guitar:) It's also a great workout song! 

4. Bullshit by X Ambassadors

This track just drips of the swamp. You can practically smell it. It's a great "tell-off" song as well. 


3. She's Not Just One Of The Boys by Bill Patten

The Minneapolis native channeled his inner Roger McGuinn and Gary Louris for this gorgeous number. Taken from the soundtrack to the film A Muse in Sunglasses. 

2.  Anniversary by Duran Duran

I was grinning from ear to ear and singing along straight away the first time I heard this return to form for Duran Duran. An instant classic that ranks right up there with "Girls on Film," "Rio," and "Hungry Like The Wolf." 


1. Death By Rock and Roll by The Pretty Reckless 

I felt like kicking some ass this year and The Pretty Reckless helped me do it. An absolute banger of a tune and the well-deserved Best Track of 2021!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Pip Blom: Welcome Break

Fans of indie quirk will love Pip Blom's record, Welcome Break. The Amsterdam natives are lo-fi on fire with this one. It's a great album to zone out to and contemplate your place in the universe.

Here is the opening track...

Monday, December 6, 2021

Curtis Harding: If Words Were Flowers (Album of the Week)

Saginaw Michigan's own Curtis Harding is back with this third long-player and it's an instant classic.  If Words Were Flowers sounds like it came right out of that classic soul era of the mid to late 1960s. And his lyrical introspection continues to blow me away. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Kasim Sulton: Kasim 2021

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Kasim Sulton. He was Paul McCartney to Todd Rundgren's John Lennon. He even sings like Macca! 

I've enjoyed Kasim's solo output over the years, wishing it would be more voluminous. So, his latest record, Kasim 2021, is a most welcome addition to this calendar year. Honestly, it's nice to hear this kind of music being made in any year.

Here is the opening track...

Thursday, December 2, 2021

La Luz: La Luz

Los Angeles natives La Laz have managed to combine Astrud Gilberto with psychedelic pop in truly amazing ways. Their latest record, La Luz, is actually a great place to start for new fans. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks...