2010- The Year in Music
The Roots- How I Got Over- Dear God 2.0 featuring Jim James
Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses- Crazy Heart Soundtrack- The Weary Kind
Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs- God Willin and the Creek Dont Rise- Beg, Steal, or Borrow
Have Gun Will Travel - Postcards From the Friendly City- Ballad of Asa Daulton- Re-released on Suburban Home Records in 2010
Josh Ritter- So Runs the World Away- The Curse
Vampire Weekend- Contra- Taxi Cab
I'm slightly addicted to "Top 10/Best of" lists. This time of year is perfect because media outlets are posting their lists about everything from sports to music to political miscues. (Click here for NPR Music's Best of 2010 List and Here for Michael Jordan Top Ten Best Dunks). These short snippets of culture are easily digested in my routine 30 minute breaks from doing things I should actually be doing.
Here are a handful of my favorite releases from last year. Many of these are strong showings from bands you probably already know (Josh Ritter, Vampire Weekend, Ray Lamontagne). A few might be flying under your radar like Florida's own Have Gun Will Travel. (Technically they self released Post Cards from A Friendly City in 2009 but 2010 saw Suburban Home Records picked them up and re-release their sophomore album.) The breakout newcomer for me was Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses. Bingham's song Weary Kind was produced by T. Bone Burnett for the soundtrack of Crazy Heart. They won an Academy Award and have been nominated for a Grammy. Its great to see a fictional movie about a washed up outlaw country singer bring an actual country singer fame. As a side note anything produced by T. Bone Burnett is fantastic. He has been the driving sonic force behind Buena Vista Social Club, the sound track for O Brother Where Art Thou, and Alison Krauss/Robert Plant's Raising Sand.
My hands down favorite album of last year was The Roots How I Got Over. This album combines the bands usually crisp raps with Marvin Gaye era melodies and indie guest stars. Radio Days, the title track How I Got Over and The Day are three great tunes on the album. Indie veterans Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Joanna Newsome contribute backing vocals to a few of the tracks. The combination doesn't come of as a gimmick but of a genuine mixture of genres. The video I posted, Dear God 2.0, is a rewrite of a song by the indie super group Monsters of Folk. It took me by surprise and kept me wanting more.
I posted all these songs to the blog's music roll. For the music lovers feel free to repost your favorite albums of the year. I'm always looking for more music.