Albums of the Year 2010 – Part two 30-21

Part one 40-31, Part three 20-11, Part four 10-1

30. Justin Townes Earle: Harlem River Blues

Justin Townes Earle didn’t totally amaze this time around, but Harlem River Blues was still a strong country album.  I suppose the only issue was that while like everything on the record, there’s only a few things I really love. There’s nothing that I love as much as I love some of his earlier songs like Lone Pine Hill for example. Nevertheless, Justin Townes Earle is still one of the best country troubadours.

29. Le Futur Pompiste: Le Futur Pompiste

It’s true that I’ve lost touch with the indie pop world during the last couple of years. Maybe not completely, but time and money is limited and country music addiction has taken its toll. Listening to the new album by Le Futur Pompiste is a welcome reminder that I still have the need, hunger and love for beautiful indie pop. I still enjoy Le Futur Pompiste as much as I did back then in 2004 (?) when the debut album came out and I was completely addicted to all things Indiepages and Think Small recommended.

28. The .357 String Band: Lightning From The North

I gave this 4 and a half hearts in a review. At the moment, it feels that it was a little too much, but I’m still enjoying this a lot. Especially the song trio Oh, Adilene, Rags To Rags and The Days Engrave is magnificent and actually worth all five hearts. However, some of the high tempo “bluegrass meets punk” songs leave me exhausted. Perfect in small doses though.

27. Dylan LeBlanc: Paupers Field

New country singer-songwriter Dylan LeBlanc sound like Ryan Adams and made almost faultless debut album. Actually the only reason why I haven’t completely fallen in love with the album is that somehow it sounds too faultless. If it had been an EP, I would be shouting his name from the rooftops. But a whole album full of slow, beautiful and carefully crafted country balladry starts to get a little boring at some point. A little bit of rock and a couple of rougher corners would have been refreshing. It doesn’t change the fact that there’s plenty of great songs like Emma Hartley and Paupers Field is a very convincing debut album.

26. Kort: Invariable Heartache

One Chord To Another (well me) don’t care much about cover albums, but this one is an exception to the imaginary rule. Kurt Wagner & Cortney Tidwell have dived into Chart Records’ vaults and have given a new lifeline to some wonderful country songs. A really lovely album.

.

25. Turnpike Troubadours: Diamonds & Gasoline

It says 2009 now on the back cover of the album, but Turnpike Troubadours’ website states that it was released on august 31st, 2010. I suppose that means I can add this wonderful country album called Diamonds & Gasoline to this list. This is pretty basic country stuff. Nothing I haven’t heard  before. But damn, I just don’t mind at all. Not when it’s done as perfectly as this. 7 and 7 is one of the songs of the year.

24. Bookends: Proud Of My Stereo

Bookends’ second album Proud Of My Stereo is a really delightful pop album. It’s often piano/keys-driven pop music. It’s full of details and clever arrangements. But always in the sake of the song. And the songs are of course mostly wonderful. Well done.

.

23. Ben’s Diapers: Up In The Mountains, Deep In The Sea

The new Ben’s Diapers album Up In The Mountains, Deep In The Sea was again a great reminder that they are one of the best alt.country / power pop bands in the country. Some great country rockers and some beautiful 70’s influenced ballads. I just enjoy everything on the record.

.

22. Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans: The Falcon Lake Incident

Jim Bryson is one lucky fellow, because he has one of the best bands in the world as his backing band. Good for him. Good for us that Jim is also a really good songwriter. Together Jim and The Weakerthans have created a warm folk / folk rock album that also contains some beautiful pop moments.

.

21. Otis Gibbs: Joe Hill’s Ashes

It took a while to get used to Otis Gibbs’ rough voice, but after that I got addicted to his music. Otis is a wonderful folk & country singer-songwriter. The music is down-to-earth, honest and very convincing. You just sit & listen and believe every word that comes out. Let’s close this chapter on the albums of the year list with Otis Gibbs’s Kansas City.


Continue Reading

Review: Ben’s Diapers – Up In The Mountains, Deep In The Sea

Ben’s Diapers: Up in the Mountains, Deep in the Sea (Rhythm Barrel Records / Plastic Passion, 2010)

Ben’s Diapers released their latest album Up in the Mountains, Deep in the Sea several months ago in early 2010, and I’m rather ashamed that it took me this long to actually write a review about it.  Their focus is still on the country-tinged power pop and alt.country, but it does seem that the band is nowadays more than willing to make their musical scale a little wider and does throw a couple of curve balls to the prejudiced listeners in the process. However, the Elton John of the 70s playing borderline cheesy AM pop & piano ballads type of thing does work and add some nice versatility to the album. If that still sounded a little scary, here’s a quick antidote. Thank You Girls is a great rocker with a sing-along chorus in the vein of Cheap Trick.. or even early KISS.  These two examples were still in the minority and mostly Ben’s Diapers serves high quality pop music where the main ingredients are powerful playing, beautiful harmonies and catchy-as-hell melodies. And when a fair share of it is spiced up with some country flavours, this customer is definitely happy and ready to order more.

Listen to Radio Stations:

Ben’s Diapers Website
Ben’s Diapers at myspace

Continue Reading

Micah Schnabel and some random ramblings

Lately I’ve been listening to Micah Schnabel’s (Two Cow Garage) solo album and I like it a lot. Self-released small edition of the album came out last year and was quickly sold out. Thankfully Suburban Home Records fell in love with it and is now re-releasing the album with new artwork. I preordered and got a free download with it. It’s a very fine album indeed. If you don’t believe me, you can stream the whole album on Suburban Home’s new listening station. Oh and if you liked that great video by TCSupergenius, be sure to check out his other videos. There’s some other fabulous stuff. Especially those Austin Lucas videos are pure gold.

What else is new? Well The Fox Hunt. I already mentioned them a while ago. I still don’t have the albums. I should get Nowhere Bound in a week or two, because it’s currently travelling from cdbaby to this household (too bad post from USA to Finland nowadays seem to take longer than before). Anyway, the point I needed to make is that The Fox Hunt has also new album out now and you can order it from their website. I did that some days ago. Check out The Fox Hunt on myspace or spotify if you like things like early Old Crow Medicine Show for example.

If that isn’t a perfect soundtrack for lonely days & whiskey nights, try Otis Gibbs. I recently streamed his new album Joe Hill’s Ashes on his website and because it sounded rather perfect to me, I ordered it.

Last friday’s FOTM was a success as well. Ben’s Diapers and Hi-Lo & In Between were both really good and because it was a record release partee for both, I’ve been listening to their new albums during the last few days. I think both of them are great albums. Ben’s Diapers threw in a couple of surprising curve balls midway through the park, but those new dimensions added more colour and actually made the record work perfectly as a whole. Hi-Lo & In Between’s record is also gorgeous. I’m extremely happy that they were able to make it sound so perfect this time around. It’s totally my kind of country/folk band and I’ve enjoyed their live performances from the start. Still I would have liked to love their debut more than I actually did. There was not much wrong with it, but it still wasn’t able to capture their magic like this follow up thankfully can. Well done. Reviews to follow if I can find the cure for lazyness..

Oh.. and Starflower’s new album came out today. A proper news entry about that in a day or two. Just wanted to get that beauty of my chest. I have to wake up in six hours, so I better continue some other night. Take care and all that..

Continue Reading

News: FOTM reminder, Ben’s Diapers, Hi-Lo & In Between

Ben’s Diapers will release their 4th full-lenght album Up in the Mountains, Deep In The Sea in march. The release party will be held at Pikku-Torre, Turku on 5th of march. The event is obviously Flavour Of The Month club and the other band of the evening is Hi-Lo & In Between who are also about to release a new album. Their second album Lonely Bird is due out in march as well. Both of these bands have a couple of great new songs from their upcoming albums on their myspace pages.

Ben’s Diapers at myspace
Hi-Lo & In Between at myspace

Continue Reading