In response to my friend, Scott Weighart’s reflections on his favourites from last year.
Joanna Newsom DIVERS
I love the complexity of her music with the harp often in the lead as well as her complete lack of shame at the pretentious lyrics.
David Wax Museum – GUESTHOUSE
A local band with Mexican influences finally finds their own sound distinct from the general Americana/Mexican work they have done until now.
Dave Rawlings Machine – NASHVILLE OBSOLETE
Counts for me as a Gillian Welch album and that’s always a good thing. And this is only unfair to Rawlings in that he is a big part of all GW’s records and the two under his own name are just as good.
Richard Thompson – STILL
Nothing to say. Always worth hearing, even as he has grown into more styles than most people are capable of, the playing, arrangements and songcraft is as good as anyone out there.
The Unthanks – MOUNT THE AIR
Sisters from the folk world of the North of England. Harmonies with an edge and song structures that draw the long folk tradition into the present.
Bjork – VULNICURA and VULNICURA STRINGS
Strange, hard to listen to but mesmerizing and moving. In two equally intense versions.
Los Lobos – GATES OF GOLD
For me for a time, Little Feat were the greatest band of musicians out there, but for the last 10 years it has been Los Lobos, and their songcraft outshies anyting the Feat have done since Lowell died.
Led Zeppelin – CODA
Totally not the crappy thrown together white elephant that the band sold their labels. WIth the new tracks it makes sense as the perfect valediction to Bonzo Bonham and the band of the first half ot the seventies.
The Spike Orchestra – CEREBUS
Volume 26 of John Zorn’s Book of Angels sequence of compositions.
Giant Sand- HEARTBREAK PASS
Howe Gelb and whoever he is playing with take Americana into areas of musicianship and styles beyond what most others manage. The dust of Tuscon the cold of Denmark. Laid back and rocking at the same time.
Calexico – EDGE OF THE SUN
Where Giant Sand have gone world wide, Caleixco stay right on the AZ/Mexico border, writing more varied and better songs with each album. They don’t need Iron or Wine, they can do it themselves. We just say the documentary, Circo, they did the score for, and that is a great film about a struggling family circus and a perfect project for John and Joey to work on.
Courtney Barnett – SOMETIMES I JSUT SIT AND THINK, AND SOMETIMES I JUST SIT
The album of the year by the Australian. Not wrong to compare her to Dylan in that she tells the story she wants to tell and the song shape comes from that.
Yo La Tengo – STUFF LIKE THAT THERE
As mellow as YLT have ever been. Brings a smile to your face to hear the band enjoy just playing.
Laurie Anderson – HEART OF A DOG
A farewell to her pet dog but at the same time to Lou Reed (the old dog). Each album is an aural representation of where Anderson is as an artist. Hard to keep up but more than worth it.