ALLISON WEISS – New Love
I second guess, forgot my name so long ago
I’m headed west, I’ll find it on that golden coast
My heavy head can’t handle much more of this cold
I’m headed west…I’m headed home
I first heard of Allison Weiss on a FEST compilation last year and then on tour with Tim Barry this spring. She has a knack for great hooks and choruses and this album is a perfect mixture of well-crafted songs and thoughtful lyrics that capture that feeling of needing to move on…
BEACH SLANG – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
Go punch the air with things you write.
We are awake with hearts to riot.
We are young and alive.
I booked a show for James Snyder’s previous band Weston at The Middle East in 2008 and was blown away by their show on the Cursive tour this year. Those shows was great, but this is something else: this is late nights and punk rock and DIY sweaty clubs and songs you have to sing along to…it’s feeling young and full of life and knowing that your best days are yet to come.
COLISEUM – Anxiety’s Kiss
Give me drums. Give me amplifiers. Give me feedback.
Give me the girl with no friends making noise in the basement.
I’ve followed Ryan Patterson’s musical path for years and Coliseum is a must-see every time they come to town, but they’ve finally made an album that measures up to the strength of their live show. This album has stayed on my playlist all year. No reason fans of Dischord / post-punk wouldn’t love the winding guitar lines, tight rhythms, and smart lyrics.
DES ARK – Everything Dies
Will somebody help us please?
Convince us our love is no disease
That we won’t be lonely when we’re alone
From now on what we touch will turn to gold
Like a good book, this is an album you have to spent a little time with. But there’s mystery and beauty in these lyrics and it’s totally worth it, she’s just a great songwriter.
DESAPARECIDOS – Payola
When we pitch our tents on the statehouse steps
Now we’re taking it, now we’re taking it back
Now we’re taking it, now we’re taking it back
For the greater good…goddamn Robin Hoods
After a 13-year hiatus (??!!), I’m just glad they’re back (Read Music / Speak Spanish has been one of my favorite albums for a while.) If, like me, you’ve been looking for an album that addresses the angst we’re feeling, this is like the soundtrack to the current state of affairs, but done in a really smart way. It’s like Occupy Rock. And to hear Conor Oberst and the band go off on the injustice that surrounds us is just what music needs more of.
I should try and get a life
But I don’t want that 9 to 5
FIDLAR – Too
In a year that was kind of weak for punk rock, I kept coming back to this album. The songs are smart and catchy and just make me want to know where the band is headed next.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
For a pop album, the lyrics and dynamics are so smart that I can’t believe this didn’t end up on more best of the year lists.
FRANK TURNER – Positive Songs for Negative People
I’m trying to get better because I haven’t been my best
She took a plain black marker, started writing on my chest
She drew a line across the middle of my broken heart,
And said: “Come on now, let’s fix this mess”
We could get better
Because we’re not dead yet
HOUNDMOUTH – Little Neon Limelight
Hey little Hollywood, you’re gone but you’re not forgot
You got the cash but your credit’s no good
This is one of the albums I’ve played the most this year. It’s just the right mix of indie Americana, folk rock, and California vibes. Really fun live band too.
JASON ISBELL – Something More Than Free
When I get home from work, I’ll call up all my friends
And we’ll go bust up something beautiful we’ll have to build again
Beautiful lyrics. Becoming a master of his craft.
JOHN MORELAND – High on Tulsa Heat
…Thought I was somebody nobody could love
Try to keep going but the ride won’t steady
Try to get high but your heart’s too heavy
You got one thing on your mind…
I think John Moreland might be one of the best songwriters alive. This album is simply heart breaking at times. Slays me.
KACEY MUSGRAVES – Pageant Material
They say it’s now or never and all we’re getting is older.
But before we get to heaven, let’s give ’em hell
We might as well cause we don’t know when we’re done.
Let’s love hard, live fast, die fun
Plenty written about this album this year, but man, does she know how to write a country song.
LANGHORNE SLIM & THE LAW – Spirit Moves
I was born; I’ve been running since
I’ve done things that make no sense
There was a devil in me
I had to set him free
Blue moons and my bold desires
Things burn if you set them on fire
I’ve learned you’ve got to be courageous
In time everything changes
His best album yet.
NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHT SWEATS – s/t
Think of all the hours I spent in constant reflection
Well it gets you down but it don’t make it right
I made it my personal intervention
What a waste of time time time time time
And we can hope and pray that we don’t grow up
But it’s not something we choose
And I got nothing left to lose
Yeah you can help me up
RED CITY RADIO – s/t
Probably my favorite punk album this year from start to finish. Melodies and lyrics that hold up to repeated listens.
ROCKY VOTOLATO – Hospital Handshakes
Time to white knuckle this shit.
Make friends with these demons and just get on with it
Nothing’s changed and it never will…
Loved every album he’s put out, but this one is special. After nearly retiring from music, he said it was pushing boundaries to record this album that brought him back. The results are apparent. His best album to date.
SCREAMING FEMALES – Rose Mountain
Our triumph is sleeping now
My form of devotion
I’ll drag you down in the crowd
I go through the motions
Marissa Paternoster is one of the best guitar players in the world right now. Her guitar lines and the way they intersect with her vocals is so fascinating to me. And the band has become super tight live. I’ve listened to this album around a dozen times this year and each time I find something new.
Pack up all your broken bones
All your broken bones
In a broken box, oh yeah
THE SUBWAYS – s/t
This just a great rock album. Hooks galore.
TORRES – Sprinter
Consider myself grateful to have seen Torres play these songs every night on tour earlier this year. This album is a work of art.
WAXAHATCHEE – Ivy Tripp
Maybe I let on that I was interested
In your brand of lonely
A book you cracked once and never read
Great album from a great songwriter…been listening to this all year with no let down.