Its Halftime....the first half of 2009 has the new me winning against the old me of 2008 by a score of Shit, yea! to Fuck That! From Jan. to now I've toured the country and rocked extremely hard with Bang Camaro, I graced the stages with them at SXSW, The First Avenue in Minneapolis and Jimmy Kimmel Live. I saw an assload of shows for free and reviewed them. My wife and I are finally enjoying our house and the joy it brings us after hitting several walls last year. I'm having a fight with carbs and I'm taking them down like a bully on a bloated playground. My son knows the words to "Blackbird" and "All You Need Is Love" by heart(he's 3)...and blah blah blah....toot that fuckin' horn a little louder, why dontcha Seano, I couldn't hear ya the first time.!!
This half has also introduced me to some excellent music on some stellar releases. So here is my list of the Best Albums(you vinyl freaks call 'em that) or cds or downloads that I've heard so far this year. There is only one that was not released this year(but I like it and didn't hear it until this past May)....so with no further BS.....
9) U2- No Line On The Horizon- Yeah, it holds up after marinating this long and is a return to form and a departure as well. Lets hope Bono and the Edge change their mind about the soundtrack to the Spider Man Musical and stick with being U2
8)Wilco- Wilco(the Album)I truly believe this album is a thank you to fans from every era because it delves into every era they have ever ventured into. From the free and high spirited standout Wilco(The Song), to the weary defensive/dreamy pop of I'll Fight to the screaming bloody murder of Bull Black Nova. Grows on anyone who loves them back.
7)The Parlor Mob-And You Were A Crow- This Jersey quintet opened up for Bang Camaro when we played the Viper Room in LA...and smoked through a set that leaned heavy on progressive blues/retro rock..but there was something missing. The sound had buried singer Mark Melicia's voice in the din of it all. The album changed all of that. Melicia's voice is clear here and HIGHHHH! tighty whitey high!...a soaring and glorious compliment to the throwback sound that I crave most every day. "Dead Wrong", "The Kids" and "When I Was An Orphan" are standouts.Released in 2008...yep, behind the ball on this one.
6) Leslie- Rebel Souls EP- South Carolina's own Leslie are young, wild and want to be free and it's all ringing rebelliously true on this EP. I became fast friends with these immensely talented southern boys with their "devil may care" and Skynyrd hair as we traversed across America together in a big white van. Leslie shared the bill with Bang Camaro on many a night in April and I was entranced with their set from day one. With a median age of 24, this trio of best buds led by the infectuously charismatic Sadler Vaden pulls from the best combination of southern tinged rock and soul but let loose Big Star blasts of power pop and hot roots rock hiding in between scrumptious power chords. Every song on this EP is a winner but I have a solid soft spot for "End Of the Road" a perfect driving love song and an appropriate homage to family and freedom. Leslie are coming on strong with a full length release to be unleashed later this year so hook up your speakers and lock up your daughters. For all Leslie all the time go to www.myspace/leslierocks
5) Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit- Jason Isbell was one of three strong singer songwriters in the Drive By Truckers until he left several years back. on this second release, I was pulled in deep to the energy of the cuts,yes, but Jason's lyrics are some of the best I've heard in years...check out Seven Mile Island or Cigarettes and Wine for pure poetry set to struggle and shuffle.
4) Clutch- Strange Cousins From The West- You know why I like Clutch so mutch? Yes, because they rock so hard and fine that my balls twitch from the thunder...but really because they're smart...really smart. Singer Neil Fallon reads more than you..shit I bet his tourbus could double as a bookmobile...Best thought lyrics of ANY heavy band put to the task. Minotaur and Freakonomics are two examples here. Put your hand up in that mosh pit..if you have questions, Neil may answer them.
3)The House Harkonnen- Demo- An unbelievable surprise while on tour was this band who opened the show in Denton TX of all places, and proceeded to wake the dead from several centuries with their ferocious mix of heavy and fast and heavy again. Frontman Alex has a scream that makes bats swarm in a frenzy outside the venue..and a croon that melts speaker cabinets. These guys are too good for Denton. Somebody sign them.
2)Heartless Bastards- The Mountain- I heard this album once two weeks ago and it shook me to my marrow. All I can say about singer Erika Wennerstrom's voice is that I've never heard anything like it in a laid bare and split wide open heartbreaking way. The Mountain and Out at Sea are two songs that puncture your happy but plateaued soul and let it spill out onto the sidewalk or seep down into the canyon. I'm still haunted by it and have found it hard to give it a second listen, but when the wind is right, I will.
1)Mastodon-Crack the Skye- I've said it before, I'll say it again. Prepare to be conquered.