Best Albums of 2015

Alright kiddos! The moment you’ve all been waiting for! My best of list! Sorry for not posting all year, here’s to more posts, more fun and a great 2016!

1 Ash Kablammo! 6939-kablammo-album-packshot-social-jpg
2 The Wombats Glitterbug wmbts_glitterbug_standard_1500
3 The Stereo Twins Good News a3536683460_16
4 The Monochrome Set Spaces Everywhere 6d74a9a341
5 Dr. Cosmo’s Tape Lab Beyond The Silver Sea a1159006634_16
6 Michael Carpenter The Big Radio a0599622651_10
7 The Connection Labor Of Love a0650311231_10
8 The Nines Night Surfer and the Cassette Kids a0266988542_10
9 R. STEVIE MOORE and JASON FALKNER Make It Be Cover
10 Ashley Monroe The Blade the_blade_-_ashley_monroe
11 Los Breakdowns Rock ‘N’ Roller Skates a2105631908_10
12 The Elwins Play For Keeps the-elwins-play-for-keeps-art-1024x1024
13 Sports Fan Minor Hits In Major Keys a2858213749_10
14 Pugwash Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends) pugwash_playthisintimately_ov-134
15 Adrien Reju Strange Love and The Secret Language W209
16 Legends Of Country Talk About Country a0819173494_10
17 Paul Rosevear Pearl a0792311274_10
18 Sofia Talvik Big Sky Country a0780681687_10
19 Summer Fiction Himalaya a2161060600_10
20 Taylor Locke Time Stands Still a3942898410_10
21 Joe Pisapia Nightvision a0531206337_16
22 Steve Robinson & Ed Woltil Cycle a3289357969_16
23 The Basics The Age of Entitlement basics_age_cover_sticker_mr
24 Paul Weller Saturns Pattern patterncover
25 Mystic Braves Days of Yesteryear a1888652526_16
26 Mooner Masterpiece a2649786835_16
27 The New Trocaderos Thrills & Chills a0855747183_16
28 Unlikely Friends Solid Gold Cowboys a2084579216_16
29 The Corner Laughers Matilda Effect a0783670326_16
30 The Chapin Sisters Today’s Not Yesterday chapin_sisters_todays_not_yesterday_cover
31 Dan Bern Hoody hoody600x600
32 Elvyn Valley Of The Kilowatt Hour a0650893214_16
33 Hawksley Workman Old Cheetah lp-cheetah-800
34 The Maureens Bang the Drum a3960339151_16
35 Duke Special Look Out Machines! lookoutmachinesalbumcover
36 Brandon Schott Crayons & Angels a0560499551_16
37 Belle & Sebastian Girls In Peacetime Want to Dance ole-1056_belle_sebastian-girlsinpeacetime
38 Charlatans Modern Nature 19329
39 The Maccabees Marks to Prove It 25259
40 The King Khan & BBQ Show Bad News Boys bc3808d5_large_5b315e3b-3fa0-448f-bbdf-b493cefc47be_1024x1024
41 The Lunar Laugh Apollo a0767308660_16
42 The Orange Humble Band Depressing Beauty orange_humble_depressing_beauty_cover
43 Three Hour Tour Action and Heroes tht_action_and_heroes-600x539-285x270
44 Tim Rogers & The Bamboos The Rules Of Attraction static1.squarespace.com
45 Sick Sad World Fear and Lies a3674500697_16
46 Smokey Angle Shades Shades of Joy a2967466843_16
47 Pop 4 Summer 8557970
48 Identical Suns Identical Suns identicalsuns
49 Hey Anna Run Koko a2099606323_16
50 Cameron Lew welp. a0634230924_16

and here’s a compilation!

Best Albums of 2014

Here is my wrap up of the top albums I heard in 2014.

  1. CoverAloud – It’s Got To Be Now: This is an energetic and immediately enjoyable album, and is filled with what Aloud does best, loud rocking pop music, taking equal parts 60’s pop and garage and bringing in their modern sensibility and this album is probably their best!

  2. CoverThe American Professionals – We Make It Our Business: You may have read my blog post about this a few months back, a fun energetic and eclectic album, great vocals and attitude!

  3. CoverThe Jellybricks – Youngstown Tune-Up: The Jellybricks have been firing on all cylinders lately, and this album is the culmination of all that they have proven themselves with over the years, probably the best purely Power Pop album this year.

  4. CoverJoan As Police Woman – The Classic: I have always enjoyed Joan As Police Woman’s records, but this one is probably the most catchy and filled with, well, classic pop, yet having that slightly off-kilter feeling that adds a certain something to it all.

  5. CoverLinus of Hollywood – Something Good: A fantastic album from Linus, great, catchy songs, with excellent production. It sounds pristine and is a great addition to his catalog, very enjoyable.

  6. CoverKasey Chambers – Bittersweet: It took a couple listens until this one really sunk its claws into me, but once it did, I was hooked. It is a beautiful record filled with great songs of the folky, country variety. It is very eclectic and covers the varied styles and music Kasey is expert at!

  7. CoverFauna Flora – Fauna Flora: The new project by Cherry Twister’s Steve Ward, this is a great record. Very low-key and just great pop in every way. If you like your pop airy and breezy, this is your ticket!

  8. CoverEvil Arrows – EPs 1-4: I’m going to combine these 4 EPs from Bryan Scary and company, and call them an album. As each of these came out this year I was impressed by the constant quality of every song. They are all ear-worms that wriggle their way into your head until you think you have been hearing these songs your whole life!

  9. CoverThe Both – The Both: This pairing of Ted Leo and Aimee Mann may seem strange to some, but they complement each other so well. She tempers his intense sounds and he brings her out of her shell a bit. Together, they make a great pair!

  10. CoverHappy Camper – The Daily Drumbeat: I loved the first Happy Camper album and this one continues this great tradition bringing out the best of everyone involved. It brings out a great mood and each song has its own little world. There is something interesting on every track!

  11. The Autumn Defense – Fifth
  12. Yorktown Lads – Songs About Girls and Other Disasters
  13. Mark Moldre – An Ear to the Earth
  14. The Len Price 3 – Nobody Knows
  15. Eleni Mandell – Let’s Fly A Kite
  16. Reigning Sound – Shattered
  17. The Colourist – The Colourist
  18. Spirit Kid – Is Happening
  19. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
  20. Greg Ieronimo – Bipolar Love
  21. Blondfire – Young Heart
  22. Temples – Sun Structures
  23. The Nines – Nine Lives
  24. The Rails – Fair Warning
  25. Toxic Melons – Bus Therapy
  26. The Royal Oui – The Royal Oui
  27. The Cry – Dangerous Game
  28. Orgone Box – Centaur
  29. Mike Dees – Something Like Glitter
  30. Jenny Dee & The Deelinquents – Electric Candyland
  31. David Myhr – Record Collection
  32. Eric Hutchinson – Pure Fiction
  33. Joe Sullivan – Schlock Star
  34. Kurt Baker – Brand New B-Sides
  35. The Tripwires – Get Young
  36. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
  37. Rob Cantor – Not A Trampoline
  38. Hallelujah The Hills – Have You Ever Done Something Evil?
  39. Jeremy Fisher – The Lemon Squeeze
  40. Missy Higgins – Oz
  41. Sloan – Commonwealth
  42. Steelism – 615 to Fame
  43. The Legal Matters – The Legal Matters
  44. The History of Apple Pie – Feel Something
  45. The Pearlfishers – Open Up Your Colouring Book
  46. David Grahame – Toy Plane II
  47. Liam Hayes & Plush – Korp Sole Roller
  48. The Empty Hearts – The Empty Hearts
  49. Watts – Flash of White Light
  50. Andrew Bird – Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of…

And here’s a compilation!

The American Professionals – We Make It Our Business

The American Professionals - We Make It Our Business
One of the best new album’s this year is The American Professionals awesome album “We Make It Our Business”. It kicks off with a the driving “Other People”, where they quickly identify themselves as a rocking band with a slightly quirky delivery. The next track, the catchy “Dr. Holly” will get into your head and stay there for awhile.

One thing I love about the band is their harmonies. It isn’t anything complicated, but the two vocalists lift up the other in a unique way. There is a real chemistry between the two and they blend wonderfully. This is probably best seen in the back and forth song “The Way It Goes”

Overall this album has many high points. It is well produced and ebbs and flows between quirky crazy rock, down to sweetly beautiful pop music, and back again. You never really get bored with the album, and it gets better with each listen.

Check it out on Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon, and be a “Champion”!

KingWart’s Best of 2013

Hey everyone! Here’s my best of list!

bestof

  1. Joel Sarakula – The Golden Age
    This is good stuff, mixing soul, piano-pop, power pop, very creative and enjoyable.
  2. Attic Lights – Super De Luxe
    This is one where I can’t decide what’s the best song, they are all so great. If you like brit-pop you will love this record.
  3. Fortunetellers – Get Them Good
    I was upset about the breakup of Gold Motel, but this group (on the recommendation of Greta) definitely carries on that spirit, but does their own thing.
  4. Kelly Jones – Alta Loma
    Although it’s a slight departure from her last album, it is great in other ways. Her voice is beautiful and the singer-songwriter feel works great.
  5. Eric Barao – Eric Barao
    Fantastic power-pop that is big and brash and wonderful.
  6. Saves The Day – Saves The Day
    Finally another great Saves the Day album, they got a little dark in the past few years, but this is a more accessible album with great songs.
  7. Valley Lodge – Use Your Weapons
    Fun bubble-gummy pop. As soon as you think the album is going to let up, it hits you from another angle.
  8. The Yum Yums – …Play Good Music
    Always great to hear from them, this is another perfect bubblegum pop album
  9. Hot Nun – Hot Nun
    From the Well Wishers’ Jeff Shelton, this is a fun record, kind of glam, lots of rock and a short and enjoyable listen.
  10. Ex Norwegian – Crack
    Great bouncy stuff from this band, a bright and engaging record.
  11. Kaliyo – Trapeze
    This is a treasure from Andrea Perry and Sarah Sharp. Andrea Perry also had a solo album come out this year, which was great, but I love this one for its blend of the two voices and interesting songs.
  12. Bob Evans – Familiar Stranger
    Loved to hear a new album from him, and this one showed a lot of growth as an artist. There is a cool atmosphere to this one, listen to it a couple times.
  13. Leagues – You Belong Here
    This one is a great pulsating record a lot of power and feeling, kind of this style that is popular now, I think I heard a song on a Bose headphones commercial.
  14. Liar’s Club – Come And Go
    Another great power-pop record with fun, colorful songs. This is the first I had ever heard of this band, so I checked the back catalog…great stuff.
  15. Secret Friend – Time Machine
    Great pure-pop stuff from this album produced by Linus of Hollywood and featuring Willie Wisely and Kelly Jones on vocals. This came out the first week of this year and kept me entertained the whole year through!
  16. The Grapes Of Wrath – High Road
    A great one from this band who play just great pop well, another group returning after a long hiatus… it was well worth the wait!
  17. The Sun Sawed In 1/2 – Elephants Into Swans
    This one from has some great catchy tunes. Took some time to really get into it, but once I did, I was hooked. Another return from a hiatus.
  18. Prefab Sprout – Crimson/Red
    A fantastic record, this band, who I only recently got into, makes such great pop albums, and this is no exception.
  19. The Joy Of Painting – Tender Age
    A cool band with a great sound and rocking tunes, another in this kind of driving, echoey sound that has taken over this year.
  20. Wyatt Funderburk – Novel And Profane
    Great to have a new album from the Second Saturday front man. This is a lot of good stuff. Poppy, and maybe a bit more mature than the band stuff.
  21. Yuna – Nocturnal
    Another new artist, really good stuff, enjoyable songs, catchy. Great voice and style.
  22. The Duckworth Lewis Method – Sticky Wickets
    Another fun cricket-based album. This time explores a few more song styles and is a little bit sillier and fun than the first.
  23. The Electric Soft Parade – Idiots
    Another great return from this band. This album feels a bit more mature as well, and explores some new territory.
  24. Robbie Fulks – Gone Away Backward
    If you’re not on board with Robbie Fulks, then who do you think you are? This is a great album with great songs, in a bit more stripped down sound.
  25. Of Montreal – Lousy With Sylvianbriar
    I had almost given up on this group, but when I heard this I was pleasantly surprised to hear a great psychedelic record with shades of the Dukes of Stratosphear and classic 60’s sounds.

Other great stuff:

Bonus: Here’s my compilation of some of the best songs from these albums!

Music insanity!

I have been so slack in posting lately! Here’s a bunch of great releases you need to check out.

Travis – Where You Stand – I’m a lifetime fan of this band, they really can’t do much wrong in my eyes. This album was really a lot of fun.

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion – Wassaic Way – More of the fuller sound that brought them to my ears a couple years ago, this album is a good companion piece, but not as sticky as that other one.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Fly By Wire – A bit more flighty and sweet than previous albums, this one is a grower, and eventually came around to be pretty great.

Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action – Another grower for me. At first, I thought it was a bit stuck in a rut, but as the songs repeated themselves in my head, I saw that the same power is there in the songwriting.

Robbie Fulks – Gone Away Backward – A bit more on the serious side, as the last few albums have been, this is still classic Robbie Fulks, and well worth the price of admission.

Saves The Day – Saves The Day – a wonderful return to form for this band which took a weird turn for a few years there, but this album is full of energy, brightness, yet still retaining that skewed perspective that makes them so unique.

Valley Lodge – Use Your Weapons – bubblegummy, poppy fun. It is wonderful and does not let up till the end. Highly recommended!

Alexander Von Mehren – Aéropop – Loungey, baroquey fun from this guy. It’s a great sound, done very well.

Adrian Bourgeois – Pop Art – epic in scope (and length) this album covers a lot of ground. Yet all of it is pretty good. Just some of the best pop music I have heard in a long time. Keep it up!

The Nines – The Nines – The return of this artist is well worth the wait, with what seems like an album of singles! So good!

Any Version of Me – We Are You – Great pop music! I like this a lot!

The Candle Thieves – All’s Well That Ends Well – Great piano pop!

Coke Belda – Coke Belda I – Good baroque-ish pop, just good stuff. Listen, OK?

The Starfolk – The Starfolk – Awesome, laid back, smooth pop!

The Polyphonic Spree – Yes It’s True – the return of this band is good, but the album hasn’t really hooked me like earlier ones did. The sound is still there, but its a bit stale.

International Pop Overthrow Vol. 16 – I always enjoy these compilations, there are a lot of good nuggets here. These days I listen to so much new music, that much of this goes in one ear out the other, if I had the time, I am sure I would find a lot to explore here.

The Mother Hips – Behind Beyond – Goodness from this band who always deliver solid tunes with a breeziness yet a powerful sense of a purpose of some sort.

Featured Album – The Duckworth Lewis Method – Sticky Wickets

The Duckworth Lewis Method – Sticky Wickets

4 Stars

4 Stars

The Duckworth Lewis Method - Sticky Wickets

The Duckworth Lewis Method – Sticky Wickets

Having enjoyed the first outing by this band featuring the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon and Pugwash’s Thomas Walsh, I was excited for the new album. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised by it. The first one had more of a psychedelic fantasy approach which was interesting, but soon wore thin. This album seems to take a more forward stance coming at you full on with the opener “Sticky Wickets”. This prepares you for a more straightforward rock approach to the game of Cricket.

Yet if you are looking for the more whimsical approach, look no further than the epic “It’s Just Not Cricket” which blows the lid off of the cricket industry, yearning for some good old days, complete with an orchestra and gang vocals! Other highlights include “Out In The Middle” and “Line and Length”. The key ingredient to all of these songs is the little twist that makes the song less about the intricacies of the sport, and more about life itself. I may not know a thing about cricket, but I get a heck of a lot out of this album.

Definitely worth picking up if you liked the last one, but I feel this one could be accessible to many more music fans and for those sports fans with a sense of humor. Cheers to all!

Featured Album – The Electric Soft Parade – IDIOTS

The Electric Soft Parade – IDIOTS

4 Stars

4 Stars

The Electric Soft Parade - IDIOTS

The Electric Soft Parade – IDIOTS

Great to hear from these guys again, in an album that really sets itself apart from their previous records. What makes this group so good is the sheer amount of hooks and melodies packed into each song. The songs glide along brilliantly and keep you engaged no matter what. You will be singing parts of these songs over and over again.

What makes this album unique is that it seems somewhat more introspective than the previous records. It seems to be a trend with some of these bands I got into in the early 2000’s. They are growing up, and so is their music. It brought to mind the new album I reviewed earlier this year by Bob Evans.

Despite the usual batch of instant classics like Summertime in My Heart, I think that this may not be as poppy as some earlier albums, but that is fine with me, because it is a thought provoking and interesting album. I think this will grow with me a lot and may turn out to be my favorite by them. Definitely worth checking out. Start your summer off with a blast!

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