Well I made it another year without getting fired for insubordination, putting my feet up during meetings, swearing, or drinking at lunch! So to celebrate that achievement, here are my musings on this year’s best records. In my opinion. And no, even though it’s a blog I’m not writing “IMO”. Because that’s just stupid.
The Black Angels - Passover. I think it’s safe to say that the Black Angels record would be my number 1. Partly because I saw them 5 times this year (twice in one weekend!). And that doesn’t count the 3 times they came to the KEXP studios. While there aren’t many perks to this job - getting Cheryl Waters chocolates from Starbucks doesn’t count as a perk - I do get to meet a lot of artists. And it’s safe to say the Black Angels are the sweetest, most genuine group of musicians I’ve met at KEXP. (The First Vietnamese War - MP3)
The Raconteurs â€“ Broken Boy Soldiers. “Steady As She Goes” is the catchiest goddamn song of the year. Hands down. While I love pretty much everything Jack White has had a hand in, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and admit that I like the Brendon Benson-written tracks the most. Sugary pop music at it’s finest. I also got to see these guys at the hottest show of the year at the Moore. The Moore has no heating or AC system, this I’m convinced, and in late July the place is a hot-box. As much as I love this band, I was happy their set was only 45 minutes. Any more and I would’ve had a stroke.
Alexi Murdoch â€“ Time Without Conasequence. Last year was the year that I got really into Nick Drake, so I guess it would only make sense that this year I got into Alexi Murdoch. I donâ€™t mean for that to sound like a slam. Anyone who has heard this album knows it bears a striking resemblance to Nick Drake. This, in my mind, is a good thing. His performance of “Orange Sky” is one of my favorite live tracks ever at KEXP, and “Song For You” gets me every time. (12 - MP3)
Wolfmother - Wolfmother. I was lucky enough to be invited out on a friendâ€™s boat for Seafair this year. If you donâ€™t know what Seafar is, itâ€™s a big party on Lake Washington, complete with speed boat racing and a deafening performance by the Blue Angels. We cruised around the lake all day on a boat flying a skull-and-crossbones flag, downing PBR, and chucking water balloons at passersby with Wolfmother turned up to 11.
The Thermals â€“ The Body The Blood The Machine. If youâ€™re like me, after a few listens you started to wonder about all the churchy stuff in the lyrics. Iâ€™m still not sure if theyâ€™re trying to be cute, ironic, or if they all go to church 4 times a week. At this point I donâ€™t give a shit, the record is incredible and I find a new favorite song every week. Right now itâ€™s “Power Doesnâ€™t Run on Nothing.” (A Pillar of Salt - MP3)
Drive-By Truckers â€“ A Blessing And A Curse. I love that you never really know what youâ€™re gonna get with the Drive-By Truckers. All 3 songwriters have such distinctly different writing styles that itâ€™s a total crap-shoot. Good thing for me that I like all 3 of them. Iâ€™m also not sure what a â€œchampagne hand-jobâ€ is, but sign me up!
Band of Horses â€“ Everything All The Time. Band of Horses releases the most successful Sub Pop record since that David Cross piece of shit, they play a bunch of sold-out shows, they shoot to the top of the Seattle music scene, and then Matthew Brooke decides to quit and open a bar in Capitol Hill?! Something doesnâ€™t add up here. (The Great Salt Lake - MP3)
There were a bunch of other records that were close to making the cut this year, including: The Village Green, Clipse, The Hands, The Earaches, Bob Dylan, Belle & Sebastian, The Decemberists, J-Dilla, Silversun Pickups, Bobby Bare Jr., Gnarls Barkley, Low Frequency in Stereo, Comets on Fire, Ghostface Killah and Catfish Haven. Iâ€™d also like to mention T.Rex â€“ Electric Warrior which I played the absolute shit out of this year. “Planet Queen” is one of my 10 favorite songs ever.