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    • The Decemberists and Lin-Manuel Miranda Team-up for “Hamilton”-Inspired “Ben Franklin’s Song”
      The Decemberists have teamed up with Lin-Manuel Miranda for the #HamilDrops project, which will share previously unreleased songs by Miranda related to his hit musical Hamilton. The first offering is "Ben Franklin's Song," which features lyrics by Miranda and music by The Decemberists' frontman Colin Meloy and the band.
    • Run the Jewels Share “Call Ticketron” Video Featuring Giant Spiders and UFOs Invading NYC
      Run the Jewels (the duo of Killer Mike and El-P) released their third album, the appropriately titled RTJ3 (aka Run the Jewels 3), earlier this year (well technically it dropped a little early, late last December). Now they have shared a video for "Call Ticketron."
    • Watch: Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Les Oxalis” Video
      French singer/actress Charlotte Gainsbourg released a new album, Rest, last month via Because Music. (It was our Album of the Week.) Now she has shared a self-directed video for "Les Oxalis."
    • The End: Emily Haines on Endings and Death
      To end out the week, we ask Emily Haines some questions about endings and death. Although born in New Delhi, India, she grew up in Ontario, Canada. Haines is perhaps best known as the lead vocalist for Metric, who formed in Toronto in 1998 and have released six albums, the most recent being 2015's Pagans in Vegas. 
    • Loney dear on “Loney dear”
      It has been six long years since Emil Svanängen released his last album as Loney dear, 2011's Hall Music. In the interim, Svanängen has endured much change, suffering ends to relationships both personal and professional and ultimately finding himself at an artistic crossroads, one that informs Loney dear's seventh album, the self-titled Loney dear. […]
    • Life In Space
      Space noise, as is Nik Turner's wont, pervades every aspect of this record. And yet after a minute of such introductory interstellar vibrations, track one, "End of the World," emerges as a ballad of such gorgeous English melodic melancholy that you can bet if Oasis had recorded it, the song would be a Top 10 single the world over. 
    • I, Tonya
      As the film itself points out, our collective memories have a way of twisting the past.
    • The National Share “Sleep Well Beast” Video and Announce Hometown Music Festival
      The National released their excellent new album, Sleep Well Beast, back in September via 4AD. It was our Album of the Week. Now they have shared a video for the album's title track, "Sleep Well Beast." Casey Reas and Graham MacIndoe directed the video, which features lots of quick cuts of images hued a one color. 
    • Under the Radar’s Holiday Gift Guide 2017 Part 8: Apparel and Household Items
      Welcome to part 8 of our Holiday Gift Guide 2017, in which we look at apparel and household items. We highlight two of our favorite T-shirt companies: England's Last Exit to Nowhere features exclusive clever and cheeky designs that play off of classic movies/TV shows and Spread Shirt (founded in Germany in 2002) features a wide range of fun designs for […]
    • Under the Radar’s Holiday Gift Guide 2017 Part 8: Apparel and Household Items
      Welcome to part 8 of our Holiday Gift Guide 2017, in which we look at apparel and household items. We highlight two of our favorite T-shirt companies: England's Last Exit to Nowhere features exclusive clever and cheeky designs that play off of classic movies/TV shows and Spread Shirt (founded in Germany in 2002) features a wide range of fun designs for […]
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    • Premiere: Pretty Lightning - 'Tangerine Stream' December 15, 2017
      Fuzzed out blues rock with a decayed psych feel...Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas have been friends for some time, bonding over a mutual addiction to underground sounds. Forming a group of their own, the pair matched delta blues sounds against decayed psychedelia, fuzzed out blues against lengthy, drone-inspired excursions. Choosing the name Pretty Lig […]
    • West London Rapper Lord Apex Shares Meditative New Video 'Up Early' December 15, 2017
      New single out now on Trapdoor Records…West London’s Lord Apex has been grinding for the past few years, crafting his own mythology through an immersive Bandcamp page full of off-kilter lo-fi beats and meditative lyricism. The self-described “lord of underground counter-culture” released the impressive ‘Interplanetary Funk LP’ back in May, and today returns […]
    • Peach Blossom Spring: Approaching Björk's Erotic Utopia December 15, 2017
      The Icelandic artist's sex-positive stance may be her most enduring...Björk released her much anticipated ninth studio album ‘Utopia’ (which, like ‘Vulnicura’ before it, was co-produced by Venezuelan producer Arca) a few weeks ago, something she calls “her Tinder record”. Following the dark and formidable 2015 album ‘Vulnicura’ - a weighted, angry break […]
    • Track Of The Day 15/12 - ELWD December 15, 2017
      'All Good Things'UK producer ELWD's prolific nature means his catalogue tends to explode on a near weekly basis. This flood of creativity, though, is well worth exploring - never less than interesting, he crafts more gems than the average punter can shake a digital stick at. New release 'All Good Things' is out via Bad Taste, and it […]
    • J F L E Makes Poignant, Astute Bedroom Pop December 15, 2017
      Wistful indie with a hint of electronics...At one point in time 'bedroom pop' was meant almost as an insult, to be used in its pejorative sense. Now, though, technology has leaped forwards, meaning that most of the cutting edge, truly inventive artists are now - essentially - working from their bedrooms. So it's a statement of fact when we des […]
    • A2 - Blue December 15, 2017
      Overflowing with atmosphere and darkness…Following up his tremendous stack of EPs, A2 releases one more to add to the list, ‘Blue’, in the only way he knows how. Whilst it seems that the UK rap is buzzing and producing the next best thing on a daily basis, Croydon bred A2 has always preferred to keep out of the public eye. Ominous and mysterious in character […]
    • Listen: JGrrey - 'Don't Fade' December 15, 2017
      Impeccable future soul with an individual sense of style...Fast-rising newcomer JGrrey has shared the full studio version of new track 'Don't Fade'. In one fell swoop JGrrey recorded a session for Colors, and became the face of a global Adidas campaign. Not bad going, huh? Of course, it helps when your talent is as natural, as completely unfor […]
    • Behind The Lens: Meet The Photographers On Grime's Front Line December 15, 2017
      As the UK underground explodes internationally...Over the past couple of years, the UK rap and grime scene – previously exclusive to the underground - has become an intercontinental infatuation. The DIY production and ferociously unapologetic lyricism, as well as the aesthetics synonymous with this microcosm of British culture, have seduced some of the music […]
    • Black Acre Toasts Its 10th Birthday December 15, 2017
      Honestly, where does the time go...?Vital Bristol imprint Black Acre is toasting its 10th birthday in style. Where does the time go...? Black Acre has been one of our favourite labels for years now, a dependable source of quality from all genres. Launching the likes of Romare and Rocks FOE, hosting material from Connie Constance and Clap! Clap! the label boa […]
    • Wafia's 'Only Love' Is A Sparkling Introduction December 15, 2017
      Exploring intersections of identity through pop music...Enormously talented pop newcomer Wafia has shared new cut 'Only Love'. No identity is singular - we're all made up of multiplicities of race, gender, sexuality, each intersecting with the next to create something bigger. Wafia was born in the Netherlands with both Syrian and Iraqi heritag […]
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    • KISS’ GENE SIMMONS SUED FOR SEXUAL BATTERY December 17, 2017
      Jennifer Maas of the TheWrap reports: Gene Simmons is being sued by a woman who says the KISS bassist groped her and made “unwanted, unwarranted sexual advances” during an interview she conducted last month, according to legal documents obtained by TheWrap. The radio and television broadcaster (identified as “Jane Doe”) is suing for sexual battery,... Read m […]
    • FRANK HANNON ANNOUNCES COVER SONG PROJECT “FROM ONE PLACE…TO ANOTHER,” PRE-ORDER NOW December 15, 2017
      Tesla guitarist, Frank Hannon, is proud to announce his new solo project, From One Place… to Another, a series of albums comprised of cover songs will be available everywhere January 26th. “The songs that I contributed to Tesla, What you Give, Gettin’ Better and Love Song, have always had an acoustic, country or bluesy vibe... Read more
    • DEF LEPPARD GUITARIST PHIL COLLEN SAYS “HYSTERIA” IS “THE BEST THING WE EVER DID” December 14, 2017
      Def Leppard’s Phil Collen has reflected on the band’s classic 1987 album Hysteria. The follow-up to 1983’s Pyromania was a massive success, racking up more than 25 million sales worldwide and spawned hit singles including Animal, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Love Bites and Armageddon It. And while looking back on the record with Music... Read more
    • GUITARIST RICHIE SAMBORA DISCUSSES BON JOVI’S ROCK HALL INDUCTION AND FORMER BANDMATE ALEC JON SUCH December 14, 2017
      Andy Greene of Rolling Stone spoke with former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora about the band being inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Highlights from the interview appear below. Rolling Stone: How did you hear you were in? Richie Sambora: This has been in the wind for a while. And then the... Read more
    • ROCKLAHOMA 2018 ANNOUNCES LINEUP, SCHEDULED FOR MAY 25TH-27TH IN PRYOR, OKLAHOMA December 13, 2017
      Rocklahoma, presented by Bud Light, is set for May 25th-May 27th at “Catch the Fever” Festival Grounds in Pryor, Oklahoma, just outside Tulsa. The 12th year of America’s Biggest Memorial Day Weekend Party will feature performances from a slew of top rock artists, including: A Perfect Circle, Godsmack, Poison, Cheap Trick, Ghost, The Cult, Halestorm,... Read […]
    • 12/13: R&R HOF, HEADED TO HOUSTON THURSDAY AND DALLAS SATURDAY! ALL SABBATH THIS WEEKEND December 13, 2017
      Needless to say not happy about Priest not making the R&R HOF. Disappointed enough of my fellow voters didn’t join me in voting to get them in. Hopefully next year. They are so so important to the history of metal (which we have enough examples of how the Hall feels about that genre!), but at... Read more
    • ALICE IN CHAINS ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN HEADLINE DATES December 11, 2017
      Alice In Chains has announced the first run of must-see shows for 2018 – a North American headline tour beginning April 28th at the House of Blues in Boston. Dates are listed below and ticket info can be found here, Dates are as follows: April 28 – Boston, MA – House of Blues April 30... Read more
    • ANTHRAX’S LIVE DVD “KINGS AMONG SCOTLAND” TO BE RELEASED ON APRIL 27TH December 11, 2017
      Multi-Grammy-nominated thrash icons Anthrax will see Kings Among Scotland, the band’s long-awaited live-in-concert DVD, arrive in stores and online on April 27th (Megaforce). Captured last February 15th at the band’s sold-out concert at Glasgow’s historic venue Barrowland Ballroom, the two-hour Kings Among Scotland incorporates the band’s entire live show al […]
    • ANTHRAX GUITARIST SCOTT IAN DISCUSSES HIS NEW BOOK December 11, 2017
      Greg Prato of the Long Island Pulse spoke with Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian about his forthcoming book, Access All Areas: Stories from a Hard Rock Life, out December 12th. Highlights from the interview appear below. LI Pulse: How is Access All Areas different from I’m the Man? Scott Ian: I’m the Man is an autobiography…This... Read more
    • EDDIE TRUNK DISCUSSES SOME OF HIS FAVORITE LIVE SHOWS, BANDS HE THOUGHT WERE UNDERRATED IN THE ’80S, AND WHAT NEW BANDS THAT HE LIKES December 11, 2017
      Randy Widman of Hairbandheaven.rocks spoke with our own Eddie Trunk. Excerpts from the interview appear below. HBH: Growing up being a fan of KISS, was that the driving motivation for you to get Ace Frehley a solo deal on Megaforce Records? Eddie: I wanted to bring more melodic music to Megaforce. The label was known... Read more
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  • RSS Chart Attack

    • Sawdust City Music Festival July 27, 2017
      The inaugural Sawdust City Music Festival takes over Gravenhurst, Ontario this August long weekend. Running from August 4th – 6th the festival features performances from a plethora of talented artists from the area and all over Canada. Whether you want to check out the Muskoka music scene or experience the Jim Cuddy Family Band perform [...] Sawdust City Mus […]
    • Interview: Danko Jones July 21, 2017
      We sat down with John Calabrese, bassist of Danko Jones to talk about the band's impressive 20+ year career, most memorable moments and their newest album Wild Cat.  Interview: Danko Jones by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Interview: Kid Koala July 20, 2017
      Kid Koala chats with us about his chaotic party show Vinyl Vaudeville, his new album Music To Draw To: Satellite and working on . Interview: Kid Koala by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • The Lemon Bucket Orkestra July 19, 2017
      A Toronto music staple Lemon Bucket Orkestra had humble origins as buskers in Kensington Market, the band’s ringleader Mark Marczyk spoke to the Chart Attack team about the evolution of LBO and their drive to keep performing live for (and with) their ever-growing audiences. The Lemon Bucket Orkestra by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Interview: Mix Master Mike July 17, 2017
      Mix Master Mike put on an epic show in Quebec City on Friday and again in Toronto last night. We chatted with him about his tour with Metallica and his new Virtual Reality work. Interview: Mix Master Mike by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Interview: The Dirty Nil July 14, 2017
      The Dirty Nil played one of their biggest shows in Canada yesterday. We caught up with the band just before the show to talk about opening for The Who, touring and Minimum R&B. Interview: The Dirty Nil by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Interview: A Tribe Called Red July 13, 2017
      A Tribe Called Red played their biggest show in Quebec yesterday at Festival d'été de Québec. We caught up with Bear Witness just prior to the festival to talk about We are the Halluci Nation. Interview: A Tribe Called Red by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • FEQ in 2 Days! July 4, 2017
      Celebrating their 50th year this summer,  Festival d'été de Québec is throwing an epic bash from July 6th to July 16th. FEQ in 2 Days! by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Album Review: Prairie Cat’s Is Cary Pratt June 30, 2017
      The unconventional songwriter has been making waves with the release of his fourth album. Album Review: Prairie Cat’s Is Cary Pratt by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • REVIEW: !!! (ChkChkChk) June 17, 2017
      Wednesday, June 14th at the Horseshoe Tavern: dance-punk at its finest REVIEW: !!! (ChkChkChk) by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.

The Falcon’s Nest Top 100 Albums of 2017

Posted by falconi5 on December 2, 2017

Click on the Album Cover to see a video from the artist.

 

 

100.  Nicole Atkins – Goodnight Rhonda Lee

A brilliant County-Noir record with shades of 70’s classic Country throughout.  Brill building vibes along with a sprinkling of Dusty Springfield also make an appearance with a co-write with Chris Isaak. There is a lot to like with this one.

099.  Whitney Rose – Rule 62

A perfect example of the new Americana song crafting that includes barroom swagger, old-school Country retro, and Soul revival.  This one throws in some Tex-Mex and Lee Hazelwood vintage for good measure.

098.  Steve Earle – So You Wanna Be an Outlaw

His first real Country record since 1999 Steve Earle catches the Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell wave with a solid set of life inspired stories that include troubles with women, living up to expectations, and a life of hard living.

097.  Stanton Moore – With You In Mind

If you are not hip to the Stanton Moore scene, you should be, and will be now. A stalwart on the New Orleans music scene, With You in Mind, pays tribute to N.O. Legend Allen Toussaint. Classics like “Night People” and “Southern Nights are covered here, but so are the deeper cuts with “Riverboat” and “With You in Mind” performed with loving perfection. Guest spots from Cyril Neville and Trombone Shorty move the needle on this one from good to brilliant.

096.  Steelism – Ism

Steelism is a Country groove instrumental duo from Nashville.  Mostly accomplished session men, Jeremy Fetzer and Spence Cullum deliver a distinctly retro set of surf guitar, jazzy Les Paul guitar, and Ennio Morricone western movie-noir. Andrew Combs, Ruby Amanfu, and Jessie Baylin stop in for a visit to the time machine.

095.  St. Vincent – Masseduction

A brilliant follow-up to her self-titled L.P., this one is a bit more expansive and a lot more Pop.  New-School Jazz saxophone player Kamasi Washington classes the joint up especially on “Pills”, and “Savior” travels down a Prince road.

094.  St. Paul and the Broken Bones – Sea of Noise

When you burst on the scene with an epic song like “Call Me” there are a lot of ears waiting to see what else Paul Janeway and company have in store for the listener. Here, the singer and band seems to have turned a corner. With a more polished and nuanced vocal delivery this set limits the back of the barroom bombast for a more soulful approach especially on “Crumbling Light Posts” and I’ll Be Your Woman.  “All I Ever Wonder” tip-toes into “Call Me” territory.

093.  Shannon McNally – Black Irish

A Blues-Rock Force to be reckoned with. She may have hit your radar with her last record Small Town Talk, but with Black Irish Shannon McNally takes her game into Bonnie Raitt territory.  And beyond.

092.  Speedometer (feat. James Junior) – No Turning Back

This one may be the best Neo-Soul record of the year.  The title track will bring to mind Stevie Wonder, “Middle of the Night,” a bit of  John Legend, and “Mirage” will bring out the best of Staxx Booker T and the MG’s Soul. Rock is not dead, and neither is Soul, or Funk for that matter. “I Showed Them (The Ghett0)” could have been a hit for Tower of Power or War.

091.  Alex Lahey – I Love You Like a Brother

When the influences cited are The Killers, Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton and Paramore, the end result is probably going to be something very special. And withe Alex Haley, what you hear is what you get. Tegan and Sara are taking her under their wing as an opening act, and Aussie radio giants Triple-J are starting to pimp them.  So stay tuned for more Indie Pop radioactive tunes from Alex Lahey in the very near future.

090.  All Them Witches – Sleeping Through the Wards have released

Along with Rival Sons and Greta Van Fleet, All Them Witches is the band on the tip of the tongue when the subject of whether or not Rock is dead comes up.  Part Led Zeppelin, part Psych Rock, this is old school Black Sabbath era Rock and Roll that is good for the soul.

089.  King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Polygondwanaland

Pretty gutsy of these guys to release this album on January 1st, but this one stands the test of time. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, these guys are carrying the 60’s psychedelic 13th Floor Elevators torch with high honor. Nothing short of prolific, these guys have released three records in 2017, and this one is the best.  That being said, we certainly would not kick Murder of the Universe or Sketches of Brunswick East out of bed.

088. Bap Kennedy – Reckless Heart

One of two records on this list released after the artists death, Bap Kennedy is an Irish singer songwriter that blends Folk, Rock, and Celtic influences, running the gamut from releasing a record of Hank Williams classics called Hillbilly Shakespeare to the Mark Knopfler produced The Sailors Revenge.  His latest and last record was released three weeks after he passed away form pancreatic cancer and could stand stetson to stetson with the best Americana record of the year.

087. Wyldlife – Out On Your Block

Released on Little Steven’s Wick Cool record label, this album is exactly that, wicked cool.  Whether it is the set your hair on fire “Contraband,” or the Ramones meets New York Dolls badassery of “Suburban Fever,” this is an 80’s hair band,Glam Rock, Slade meets Guns and Roses epic of an album. You know, back when Rock and Roll was fun.

086.  Barr Brothers – Queens of the Breakers

The Barr Brothers are a Folk-Rock quartet from Montreal.  Their sound is based on the harmonies courtesy of the brothers Barr, but their essence is firmly rooted in Laurel Canyon Cosmic Cowboy Americana.  “Queens of the Breakers” could have been a Flying Burrito Brothers tune and “Defibrillation” is simply a beauty.

085.  Cowbell – Haunted Heart

These guys will have you at hello.  A band that calls themselves Cowbell has got to be pretty cool, and these guys are.  And then some.  Mixing Rockabilly, Voodoobilly, as well as 60’s Garage with a slight Laurel Canyon vibe the energy is pure going to a go-go Blasters style.  Sadly though, no cowbell.

084.  Karl Blau – Out Her Space

If you were introduced to Karl Blau with his last release Introducing Karl Blau, a record that was basically a country Hank Williams-Noir  record, this one will throw a curve ball at you. Eclectically cool, Blau expands the palate here to include Psychedelic, Afro Pop, and Lee Hazelwood vintage vibes. “Where Ya Goin’ Papa is a an 8:45 soundscape of epic proportions.  This is a record that rewards the listener with multiple listens.

083.  Bobby Bare – Things Change

Roaming the range directly under the big boys Willie,Waylon,Merle, and Kris, Bobby Bare, a dozen albums in, is still kicking it and putting out excellent records. Turning back to his basic Country fare, every song is good here. Stand outs include “I Drink” and “Mercy Now” both Mary Gauthier penned tunes, and the Chris Stapleton drop in on the Bare classic “Detroit City.”  Check this one out, it will be a sad day when he is gone.

082.  Matthew Ryan – Hustle Up Starlings

Matthew Ryan is hitting his stride with this one. Normally mining the same fields as Josh Rouse and Ryan Adams, on Hustle Up Starlings Matthew Ryan throws in some Gaslight Anthem with Brian Fallon signed on as producer to sweeten the pot.  “Battle Born” is a poignant homage to the musicians that have gone before him most notably Lou Reed, and “Summer Never Ends” is a song you can listen to all year.

081.  Gill Landry – Ride a Dark Horse

If Leonard Cohen and Dave Alvin had a baby, and that offspring grew up to be a top notch Americana troubadour, his name would be Gil Landry.  An atmospheric gem of an album, ballads and love worn songs are delivered with passion, guts, and grace.

080.  Margo Price – All American Made

Usually, when you come up with a brilliant opening act, your sophomore record either fails to meet expectations, or is a cataclysmic failure.  In the case of Margo Price and All American Made, it’s all systems go.  With songs like “Pay Gap” and the title track, Price addresses issues of the day, and if there was any doubt that she is legit, Willie Nelson drops by for some Country-Swing on “Learning to Lose.”

079.  Caroline Spence – Spades and Roses

This one makes the list on the strength of “You Don’t Look So Good (Cocaine)” alone, an ode to an old friend that died of a drug overdose.  If Progressive Folk Rock is a thing, this is a pretty good descriptive for this record.  With poignant tales the likes of “Southern Accident” and “Slow Dancer” Spence deserves a wider listenership.

078.  The Weather Station – The Weather Station

Tamara Lindemann, who performs these days as The Weather Station, is known for her intimate songs and performances.  Now four albums in with her self-titled album, a set of songs that come across uniquely as a tour-de-force of quiet intensity with the forcefulness of a fully formed band experience.

077.  Supersonic Blues Machine – Californisoul

Californisoul is a likely candidate for Blues-Rock album of the year, and with guest spots from Billy Gibbens, Walter Trout, Steve Lukather, and Robben Ford, the spirit of Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughan is alive and well.

076.  PP Arnold – The Turning Tide

Endorsed by none other than Mick Jagger with the likes of Eric Clapton and Barry Gibb tag-teaming the production, this lost gem from the vaults of RSO records mostly unheard and unreleased since the label went bankrupt many decades ago, is a Soul-Belter poised and ready for lift-off. Some sort of crazy Janis meets Tina Turner voodoo vibe is going on here.  The cover of “Medicated Goo” presented here is worth the price of admission alone.

075.  Chris Stapleton – From a Room Vol. 1 and Volume 2

Although he would likely take issue with this statement, Chris Stapleton might be saving Country music two albums at a time.  Following up on his epic soundscape Traveller from last year, this time around in 2017 he is bringing to the table From a Room Vol.1 and Vol. 2.  Both records are full of more of the same from Chris Stapleton. Whiskey worn vocals, been there done that lyrics, and an honest hard working no BS tribute to the Americana genre he is helping to bring to the national spotlight.

074.  Colin Hay – Fierce Mercy

The former Men at Work front man scores his second excellent album in three years with Fierce Mercy. The songs are mostly mellow affairs with “Secret Love” having a bit of a Phil Spector air about it and “The Best in Me” could have been a hit for Nick Lowe.

073. Colter Wall – Colter Wall

The opening tune on this record, “Thirteen Silver Dollars” immediately announces Colter Wall as an Americana/Country artistic force to be reckoned with.  With a deep, gutteral tail end of the whiskey bottle voice, the vibe is part Townes Van and Part Merle Haggard with the songs to match.

072.  Conor Oberst – Salutations

A companion piece to his 2016 record Ruminations, this time out the patron saint of Indie singer songwriters delivers 17 songs that bridge the gap between Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams.

071.  Curse of Lono – Cursed

Taking their name from a Hunter S. Thompson novel describing his experiences in Hawaii, the new record from Curse of Lono has been described as Exile On Main St. meets William Faulkner, a description that is pretty spot on. If you are looking for influences and inspirations for the 10 most excellent songs on this album look no further than Wilco, The Doors, or The Velvet Underground.

070.  Glen Campbell – Adios

A goodbye love letter to his fans, Adios was released after Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, and is one heck of a swan song.  Still in pretty strong voice, a brilliant rendition of “Everybody’s Talkin'” is delivered, and Willie Nelson joins in trading verses on “Funny How Time Slips Away.” The over the top Grand finale here is the poignantly delivered Jimmy Webb penned title track, one of four tunes on this set from Campbell’s frequent collaborator and a very fitting way to put the cherry on top of a brilliant life and career.

069.  David Rawlings – Poor David’s Almanac

David Rawlings and Gillian Welch once again display that they are a pairing for the ages. Heavy on the Neil Young vibe with a slice of The Band thrown in, all of the songs are drenched in Folk, Blues, and Americana.

 

068.  Dreamcar – Dreamcar

Dreamcar is a group born from the ashes of the band No Doubt looking to keep themselves busy while Gwen Stefani is otherwise occupied doing time as a judge on The Voice. The resulting Eponymous L.P. is the 80’s Dance Rock record of the year.  If you liked Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, the Cure, or Adam and the Ants from back in the day you will love this record.

067.  Elles Bailey – Wildfire

It is not very likely that that you have heard of Elles Bailey, but no worries.  A grievous wrong has now been righted. Her debut record recorded in Nashville while on a cross-country trip might be the Blues/Rock album of the year. Many of the best Nashville session players jump in here, and the ever popular Hammond organ is front and center.  This is real good stuff.

066.  Iron and Wine – Beast Epic

Back with Sub Pop records, Sam Beam has returned to his more stripped back acoustic roots with an emphasis on his guitar and voice instead of symphonies and strings to wondrous effect.

065. Red Hot – A Memphis Celebration of Sun Records

Co-produced by Luther Dickinson of The North Mississippi All-Stars, this compilation celebrating the legacy of Sun Records is legit. An eclectic coordination of new-school and old school artists add plenty of savoir fare to the project. Luther Dickinson himself jumps in on “Moanin’ at Midnight,” Jimbo Mathus ramps things up on “High School Confidential,” and Valerie June classes the joint up with “Sure To Fall.”

064.  Jim Lauderdale – London Southern

As per usual, Jim Lauderdale presents a master class in songwriting with his latest, London Southern.  Written and recorded four years ago, he just found time to release the record, it was recorded in various stints in London as a sort of tribute to Liverpool era Beatles.  The stellar tracks are numerous including “What Have You Got to Lose,” “Different Kind of Groove Some Time,” the Honky- Tonking “Sweet Time,” and the supremely excellent “I Can’t Do Without You.”

063.  Little Bandit – Breakfast Alone

Little Bandit is the band name that singer songwriter Alex Caress uses to apply his trade as a deftly skilled artist that walks that fine line between old school Country, older school country, and rhinestone cowboy Country. Not since Eddie Noack’s Psycho” has has a tune so nonchalantly addressed murder and mayhem as Caress does here on “Platform Shoes,” and this is not even the darkest song on the record.  With a voice that elevates somewhere between Roy Orbison and Bobby Darin, this album will push all of your emotional buttons.

062.  Andrew Combs – Canyons of my Mind

In Nashville, a city where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a brilliant Americana singer songwriter, Andrew Combs stands out.  His latest album, Canyons of my Mind is in the mode of Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, or Bon Iver, with a heavy whiff of early era Glen Campbell particular on “Rose Colored Blues,” a song that seems to share some DNA with “Gentle on My Mind.”

061.  Coco Hames – Coco Hames

Attempting to apply any one genre to Coco Hames is not an easy endeavor. The gamut is run from Go-Go’s style 80’s swagger on “I Don’t Wanna Go” to Bangles sounding “Long Time Comin” every song’s an eclectic winner. “I Do Love You” goes all the way back into 60’s girl group territory, and “Tiny Pieces” could have been a Replacements song which makes sense since it is a cover from Tom Stinson’s side piece Bash and Pop band and features vocal sharing with John McAuley of Deer Tick. Simply put, outstanding!

060.  Danny Worsnop – The Long Road Home

If you are a fan of his British metal-core band Asking Alexandria, the main gig for Danny Worsnop, you probably should put your ears on cruise control right past this record. If, on the other hand, you are a fan of confessional, easy on the ears Country Rock give this one a try. Forgive him for going all Kenny Chesney on “Mexico” since all will be forgiven with cool mini-anthems like “Midnight Woman” and the Honky Tonk ready “Don’t Overdrink It.”

059.  Sunny Sweeny – Trophy

When the album starts with the line “Bartender, don’t shake your head at me,” you get a pretty good idea as to what is going to be shortly in store for your ears. And it’s all cool.  From tear in your beer ballads with “Pass the Pain,”  to screw it, let’s have fun stompers on the Miranda Lambert inspired “Better Bad Idea,”  and straight on vintage Country that she pulls out on “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight,”  all of the back to the barroom elements are checked off.  Trophy might get some nods for best Country album of the year.

058.  The Orwells – Terrible Human Beings

Blending the best Garage Rock influence from The Standells to The Troggs and the Flaming Groovies, Terrible Human Beings could have been released in 1967 Detroit or 2017 and it would have sounded just as fresh. “They Put a Body in the Bayou” is a corker as is pretty much the entire record.

057.  Old 97’s – Graveyard Whistling

If The Old 97’s with Rhett Miller didn’t invent Alternative Country, they certainly are in the conversation. There are plenty of prime cuts to enjoy on this one including “Irish Whiskey Pretty Girls,” “Good With God,” and “She Hates Everybody.”

056.  Aaron Keylock – Cut Against the Grain

If you are looking for that next great guitar slinger that is going to carry the torch passed from Joe Bonamassa, Aaron Keylock is your dude. Cut very much in the 70’s Lynryrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, Aerosmith mold, Cut against the Grain is a mature effort from a youthful guitar prodigy.  This is as good a debut record as you will find on this list.

055. Angel Olsen – Phases

Three albums in with Phases. Angel Olsen does a bit of experimenting and it pays off.  With a few off the corner covers including Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest” and Roky Erickson’s “For You” as well as her own compositions “Sweet Dreams” and “Fly on the Wall'” her skills continue to increase and greatly impress.  “Endless Road'” a tune she culled from an old Bonanza episode is an out of the box choice for the closing track on the record, but it very much works and is a beauty.

054.  Samantha Fish – Belle of the West

Nothing but prolific, Belle of the West is a slightly better product than Chills and Fever released earlier in the year, but they are both great.  Another Luther Dickinson produced effort, this one covers old back porch blues with an Americana Bent.  Lillie Mae shows up in delicate fashion on “Nearing Home” and lends her haunting violin to “Don’t Say You Love Me.”  Powerful stuff from a genre-be-damned talent.

053.  Alex Williams – Better Than Myself

Another one of the supremely talented Outlaw Country (Ish) artists, a star that shines right alongside Sturgill, Cody Jinks, Margo Price, and Chris Stapleton.  His debut record rides the Waylon Jennings Jerry Jeff Walker rails to bourbon soaked perfection.  Chris Stapleton may have opened the door for the 70’s Outlaw Country rebirth, but Alex Williams and his gang of merry men and women are breaking it down.

052.  Angaleena Presley – Wrangled

Unlike her fellow Pistol Annie band mates Miranda Lambert or Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley, no relation, has been a bit over looked.  With the release of her latest and sophomore release, she should be over looked no more.  Picking up with her good girl gone bad mini-noir character portraits she drew from with her 2014 debut, American Middle Class, with Wrangled you will be left on the edge of your seat. Featuring co-writes with the late Guy Clark and Wanda Jackson this pistol is firing on all cylinders.

051.  The Americans – I’ll Be Yours

The band was hand-selected by T Bone Burnett, Robert Redford, and Jack White to participate in the PBS documentary American Epic as the house band for the project that tells story of how record companies roamed the country in the 1920’s putting musicians on record for the first time. With their debut record, I’ll Be Yours, they are poised to take that proverbial next step with their Rock and Roll attitude and old school meets new school sensibilities. The dusting of Springsteen, Guthrie, Tom Petty, and Fogerty are welcome and plentiful here.

50.  Slaid Cleaves – Ghost on the Car Radio

Start with “Already Gone” and “Drunken Barber’s Hand, the first to songs on this excellent album. But don’t stop there.  The entire record is first-rate.  If you like Rodney Crowell, you will love Slaid Cleaves.

49.  Taj Mahal and ‘Keb Mo – Tajmo

Taj Mahal and ‘Keb Mo, both of them criminally underrated blues men, combine their laid back blues stylings for an appetizing selection of original tunes and selected covers. “Squeeze Box” is worth the price of admission alone.

48.  Bash & Pop – Anything Could Happen

There are not many Rock albums released this year that have pure Rock Swagger, and this one is at the top of the list. Full of Tommy Stinson Replacement’s vibe reckless energy, this one will rock your world in the best of all possible ways.

47.  Joan Osborne – Songs of Bob Dylan

Sometimes a Bob Dylan song can be so beautifully understated the tune begs for a reinterpretation to bring out the nuances. Joan Osborne brings the Country soul out on 13 tracks included deeper Dylan cuts “Ring Them Bells” and “Quinn the Eskimo.”

46.  King King – Exile & Grace

With whiffs of Bad Company, Free, and Def Leppard smokin’ all over this record, Rock and Roll is alive and definitely well.

45.  My Darling Clementine – Still Testifying

An updated sound from their early vintage Country days, their universe is full of lost dreams and found loves. If you ever wondered whatever happened to Dolly’s Jolene, find out here in Jolene’s Story.

44.  David Ramirez – We’re Not Going Anywhere

This Texas-based singer songwriter has a bit of a Ryan Adams by way of Roy Orbison vibe going for him.

43.  Benjamin Booker – Witness

A real Genre hopping of Rock, Blues, Gospel and pure New Orleans Soul. A real pot sweetener comes from contributions from Yellowbirds, The Staple Singers, The Cavedogs, and the Tedeschi Trucks band.

42.  Valerie June – The Order of Time

Much like Nora Jones and Rhiannon Giddens, Valerie June has her own timeless vibe.  Everything is delicious on this platter, but “Astral Plane” goes down particularly smooth.

41. The Sweetback Sisters – King of Killing Time

This record features both kinds of music, Country and Western. Formed in Brooklyn with all of their collective feet planted firmly in 1950’s Nashville, this is a time warp worth travelling.

40.  The Band of Heathens – Duende

A Cosmic Cowboy serenade for the new age straight out of Laurel Canyon.  You probably are already hip to Dawes and The Avett Brothers, now get even hipper and put this one in your barn and smoke it.

39.  Cats in Space – Scarecrow

Pretty much a British Super Group, sending out 70’s Rock Vibes that bring to mind ELO, Supertramp, Slade, Queen, and early Who.  Scarecrow is a throwback record in all the best of ways. Journey fans are welcome here.

38. Greta Van Fleet – From the Fires

It would be easy, and lazy, to dismiss these Rock & Rollers as throw away Led Zeppelin clones, but do so at your own peril.  These guys are at the heart of what Rock and Roll used to be. Loud, dangerous, and unpredictable in all the best of ways.  “Highway Tune” and “Flower Power” are to two stars in a hit filled constellation.

37.  Bette Smith – Jetlagger

Macy Gray by way of Tina Turner. The entire set combines eclectic covers including “I Found Love”, a Lone Justice cover, Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing” and “City in the Sky” the Staples Singers classic.  Producer Jimbo Mathus originals including Dirty Hustlin’ give the whole thing a 70’s Superfly vibe.  This one is really cool.

36.  Ron Gallo – Heavy Meta

Current Nashville bandleader and former band leader of Philadelphia’s Toy Soldiers brings his own garage influenced Blues-Glam to this set of tunes that will remind you of the White Stripes.  If Lou Reed and Jack White had a baby, the offspring just might be Ron Gallo.

35.  Skyway Man – Seen Comin’ From a Mighty Eye

We are not deliberately seeking out Nashville based musicians for this list, but the sheer number of eclectically excellent acts coming from there makes them hard to ignore, and James Wallace, aka Skyway Man, is yet another shining Nashville star.  With a distinct George Harrison/My Morning Jacket feel, the proceedings here will have you floating on a cloud of marshmallows.

34.  Zephaniah Ohora – This Highway

This side of Sturgill Simpson or Chris Stapleton, this guy may have just released the best Country album to hit these parts in the last 20 years.  On “I Do Believe I’ve Had Enough” the ghost of Merle Haggard haunts the entire production, and “High Class Girl City Girl From the Country” would have been a classic in the hands of Glen Campbell in 1965.

33.  Tyler Childers – Purgatory

Tyler Childers is finally going to be on your musical radar. With a Waylon meets Garth vocal sensibility and Old school Country with a side order of Outlaw, Purgatory, is a start to finish great Americana/Country record.  It also never hurts to have Sturgill Simpson as a producer. “Honky Tonk Flame” is a clear-cut winner, and you need to listen to “Tatoos” at the end of the night when you’re drunk.

32. BNQT – Volume 1.

This  is one Supergroup, the members come from Franz Ferdinand, Band of Horses, and Grandaddy, that actually works.  With five singers sharing the load here the emphasis is on pristine vocals. Fran Healy from the band Travis and Midlake’s Eric Pulido are thrown in for good measure.  There is no front-man on front-man crime going on here, just superbly polished Pop songs.

31.  Steven Wilson – To the Bone

The only semi Progressive-Rock album to make the list this year, this record from the artist known mostly from his band Porcupine Tree, is an extremely user-friendly album with strains of mid-era Genesis, late era Yes as well as Pink Floyd in places. A sublime listen great for a starry night listening session.

30.  Whitehorse – Panther in the Dollhouse

Pretty famous on their side of the Border, the husband and wife team of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland are pretty obscure in the United States. Their sound, semi-fuzz guitar and drums makes them an excellent band to be featured on Sons of Anarchy, or any of the seasons of True Detective. “Nighthawks” is a noir-ish stunner and “Trophy Wife” will make you glad you’re not one.

29.  Chuck Prophet – Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins

All Killer No Filler.  If “Bad Year For Rock and Roll” where he name checks David Bowie among others as he laments the Rock Stars that have left us way to early doesn’t grab you, the tongue definitely in cheek “Jesus Was a Social Drinker certainly will.

28.  Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real – Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real

Lukas Nelson having already served as Neil Young as his backing band is legit and then some.  Not content to ride on his famous dads pigtails, this self titled record includes gems like the opener “Set Me Down On a Cloud” and “High Times”.  Think The Black Crowes meets Willie Nelson here.

27.  Flamin’ Groovies – Fantastic Plastic

24 years after their last studio album, The Flamin’ Groovies are back. And that is a very good thing. Most of the founding members are hear most notably Cyril Jordon on Guitar and Bassist George Alexander. Second generation singer Chris Wilson handles the canary duties here, and though he has lost a little on his vocal fastball over the years, he still can belt ’em out like it’s 1969. A pure fun house pleasure.

26. Justin Townes Earle – Kids in the Street

With a dubious coolness factor of the actual car, the song, “Champagne Carolla” might be one of the best songs in 2017.  With Kids in the Street, Justin Townes Earle continues his streak in creating nostalgic, homespun tales of love and lovers gone wrong. His last two records, Single Mothers Absent Fathers and Nothings’s Gonna Change the Way You Think About Me Now, were both excellent.  This one is even better.

25.  The Weeks – Easy

Jumping on the Nashville bandwagon by way of Mississippi The Weeks signed with The Kings of Leon Label Serpents & Snakes. This one might be the Rock and Roll album of the year.  Enough said.

24.  Blitzen Trapper – Wild and Reckless

Let’s start with the premise that Blitzen Trapper is incapable of making a bad record, because they can’t.  It is impossible.   There is plenty of roadside Americana imagery to digest here, and the coffee is hot and the restrooms are clean. This one might be the Laurel Canyon record of the year.

23.  Charley Crockett – Lil G.L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee

Delivered with honesty and integrity, this one is pure Old School Honky Tonk. Growing up in San Benito, Tx and a distance relative of Davey Crockett, the record features songs made famous by Hank Williams, Ernest Tubbs, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Roy Acuff among other honky tonk heroes. This one is dang cool from a country soul man of the highest caliber!

22.  Courtney Marie Edwards – Honest Life

With touches of Joni Mitchell and Linda Ronstadt by way of Joan Baez, Honest Life, is an epic listen from head to toe. With a distinct road trip vibe, picture yourself driving down the PCH in your convertible with “Table For One” wafting in the breeze, this one has Southern California written all over it.

21.  Black Country Communion – BCCIV

When your band consists of Glen Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, and Jason Bonham the resulting album will either be a mess or total brilliant mayhem, and on this one, four albums in, it is definitely the latter.  If you are a fan of mid 70’s vintage riff-rock with back of the stadium vocals put this in your bong and smoke it.

20.  Chicano Batman – Freedom is Free

Hands down the coolest band name on this last with a Latin/Psychedelic vintage vibe going on, the song “Friendship (It’s a Small Boat In A Storm” is also one of the best songs of the year. Eclectically cool in all the right places, a couple of the songs are in Spanish, put this one on at your next hipster martini party. You and your man-bun will be the belles of the ball.

19.  The Deslondes – Hurry Home

Another group coming from the New Orleans collective of artists that includes Hurray For The Riff Raff even swapping band members with Alynda Segura’s group, on their own. they are a force to be reckoned with.  Swimming across the board from Backwoods-Noir to Tex-Mex, with a bit of Twin Peaks thrown in for spooky swamp-groove measure.

18.  Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Navigator

If you have not had a chance, do your ears a solid and check out Small Time Heroes, a couple of years back record from Alynda Segarra and her New Orleans based collective known as Hurray For The Riff Raff. Pay particular ear-tention to the tunes “The Body Electric,” and “Levon’s Dream.”  Now, with the pump primed and expectations appropriately set high, fast forward to 2017 and her latest effort, The Navigator. With a delivery that floats and soars somewhere between Jenny Lewis and Patti Smith, Segarra shares her hardscrabble life on the road story from the perspective of a 17 year year old runaway with a story to tell on the powerful “Living in the City,” as the daughter of proud Puerto Rican parents on “Rican Beach,” and delves into protest song territory with Pa’lante, a song that embraces pride of heritage and expresses the notion that if you want to move forward, you have to know where you came from. This is a powerful record for powerful times.

17.  GospelbeacH – Another Summer of Love

Another Summer of Love is definitely the sun drenched California Pop album of the year.  The Laurel Canyon vibe is obvious, “You’re Already Home” could easily have been a Crosby Stills and Nash song, but any Beach Boys comparisons would be selling these guys short.  It is guaranteed that after you to listen to “California Fantasy” and “Hangin’ On” you will want to run loose in a field with a smile on your face and your beagle ears flapping in the wind just like Snoopy. This is a soothingly beautiful listen.

16.  Hiss Golden Messenger – Hallelujah Anyhow

This record will grab you from the very beginning. M.C. Taylor, otherwise known as Hiss Golden Messenger provides a smooth listen on stellar tracks “Jenny of the Roses,” “John the Gun,” and “Domino (Time Will Tell).”  Smell all the roses here and you will get a whif of Van Morrison.

15.  Jarrod Dickenson – Ready For the Horses

Brooklyn based, Texas Born, Jarrod Dickenson might be the most special find on this list.  His last record, The Lonesome Traveler, was one of those critically acclaimed, criminally ignored gems.  Picture a more smokey Tom Waits with a Leonard Cohen bent and you might have an idea as to what is going on with his latest release, Ready For The Horses.  “Way Past Midnight” bounces along like a Paul Simon TuneGospel, Soul, Country , and Folk are all blended together here for one fine soundscape.

14.  Kevin Morby – City Music

With City Music, the pretty prolific Kevin Morby gives us a fourth sonic treat in five years.  The songs are a sort of tribute to city life and wander the spectrum from moody atmospheric to Ramones by way of Jim Carroll with a rocking tribute to “People Who Died.” Influences from Television to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground also take shape. With the sensitivity to take things low and slow like he does on”Night Time” and moody on the opener “Come to Me Now” a cosmic versatility is displayed that will reward the listener and prompt multiple repeat listens of this gem of an album.

13.  Blondie – Pollinator

For better or worse, and in this case very much for the better, Pollinator, the latest album, and the third to be released in the 2000’s by Deborah Harry and Blondie, just might be their best effort in the last 10 years.  The opener “Doom or Destiny” featuring backing vocals from Joan Jett could have been from the CBGB glory years, and “Long Time” could have been on the b side of the “Heart of Glass” single. They sound just like Blondie.   The production value is slick and glossy with contemporary collaborations with Charli XCX on “Gravity” and Johnny Marr on “My Monster.”  There is not a bad cut on this record. If you are looking for a hot tub time machine trip back to a simpler time, Pollinator Just might be your jam.

12.  Low Cut Connie – Dirty Pictures (part 1)

Piano based real Rock and Roll is a dying art in these days of the singer songwriter, so welcome Low Cut Connie. This is a scorcher and quite possibility the most fun you can have with your clothes on this year. The Prince cover of “Controversy” is worth the price of admission alone, but the entire body of work here is rampant fun. “Dirty Water” and “Love Life” both surge like some wild hybrid of Iggy Pop and The Tubes.  Crazy Man, Crazy.

11.  Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band – Adios Senor Pussycat

Fans of the bands Shack and The Strands will probably like this record.  The rest of us unwashed newbies to the work of Michael Head will take things up a notch and love this album.  The Byrds are pretty well influenced here as is an overall 60’s vibe that would fit in pretty well the next time you are visiting your favorite opium den.

10.  Midland – On the Rocks

Midland is a band that is literally sitting on the edge of something really great, or they could make a turn that would two-step them into Pop Country douchebaggery. But for now they are great.  These guys have been tearing up the scene for a couple years now, and with their debut album On the Rocks they are bringing back that the 80’s George Strait, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson pre Bro-County, post Outlaw Country Music. “Drinkin’ Problem” is the best of the lot here, but if you are longing for those days before George Strait retired, or did he really, then “Lonely For You Only” is your jam.

09.  Miranda Lee Richards – Existential Beast

Following up on her highly excellent record, Echos of the Dreamtime, not many artists in recent years have come up with better back to back efforts than Miranda Lee Richards has with her latest effort, Existential Beast.  With a voice that hovers somewhere between Stevie Nicks and Joan Baez, the presentations here are sometimes trippy, always thoughtful narratives that may sound like that they come from the flower power 60’s, but the message delivered is firmly rooted in the here and now.  You will be rewarded with multiple listens especially with “Golden Gate,” an epic ode to California.

08.  Walker Lukens – Tell It To the Judge

Three years separated from his 2013 release, Devoted, Walker Lukens is back with the eclectically superb Tell It to the Judge. Displaying a dazzling bag of musical tricks including, keyboard synthesizers, guitars, horns, mad loops and vocal styles that vary from Doo Wop on “Love and Attention” to Hall and Oates Soul on “Love Me Tender (Don’t Be Cruel), there is not a bad puppy in this litter of show dogs. The beauty of this album is that Walker effortlessly hits touch points from Singer Songwriter, Power Pop, Hip Hop, R&B, Soul and several others while all the while keeping the vibe up to date and contemporary. “The Touch” could have been Peter Gabriel Genesis tune, “Never Understood” is pure Chuck Prophet, and “Where is Thunder Road” is one of the best songs of 2017.  “Lifted” is sneaky cool.  You will be richly rewarded with multiple listens of this nuanced gem of an album.

07.  Mapache – Mapache

This self titled album is a late entry to the list but is so good it zoomed like a bullet all the way to number seven. Referred to us by Daniel Wylie who’s own record with the Cosmic Rough Riders, “Scenery for Dreamers” is stellar in it’s own right, Mapache could have just as easily been released in 1972 instead of 2017.  Fans of the Everly Brothers,  Crosby/Nash, Pure Prairie League, Poco, and Gram Parsons era Byrds will wear out the grooves when they get a hold of this one.

06.  Ron Sexmith – The Last Rider

Ron Sexmith is one of the many artists that is a real big deal north of the border, but largely obscure and very under rated in the United States. With Pop sensibilities that would make Brian Wilson blush, The Last Rider is a Pop masterpiece from start to finish.  The opening track, “It won’t last flows like the best ballad Elvis Costello has ever produced, and “Our Way” is finely produced love song that would have fit in quite nicely on a mid-70’s Kinks album.  “I Look into your eyes till I lose myself and the world starts turning our way” sets the mood just perfectly.

05.  Starlite Campbell Band – Blueberry Pie

Part Green Onions Booker T and the MG’s, part Fabulous Thunderbirds, with a bit of The Faces and ZZ Top thrown in for good measure. Yeah, and even some Thin Lizzy and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  This Mofo of an album is dusted with all of these groovy influences and  more.  And yes, there is a bit of Glam Rock thrown in just to keep things real.  This bad boy would be rated higher if anyone had ever heard of these guys. And Oh Yeah, check out the slide guitar on “Don’t Get Me Wrong.” Viva the Hammond B-3!

04.  The Strypes – Splitting Image

Repeat after me, Rock is not dead, Rock is not dead, Rock is not dead. This is a terrific Rock and Roll record.  Part Ramones, part Cars, part Matthew Sweet with a side order of Replacements and Matchbox 20. No need to think too much with this one.  Just listen.

03.  The War on Drugs – Up All Night

The War on Drugs pound for pound just might be the Best Rock Band to come around in the last five years effortlessly blending swirling musical landscapes that bring to mind the solo years of Robbie Robertson, expansive Dylan evoking imagery, and subtle guitar interludes that would not be out of place on a Dire Straits record.  Just listen to the beautiful 11 minute peyote inducing triumph that is the opener “Thinking Of A Place.”

02.  Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound

While Southeastern in 2013 and Something More Than Free in 2015 were both a bit more introspective and personal, The Nashville Sound is no less brilliant, in fact, even more so. The musicianship here is first rate as is the storytelling as you would expect from a Jason Isbell project.  “Cumberland Gap” is a good old fashioned rocker, and “White Man’s World” is one of the best call to action songs you will hear all year with listen up lyrics, “There’s no such thing as someone else’s war, your creature comforts aren’t the only thing worth fighting for” that will make you sit up and listen and think.  Jason’s wife Amanda Shires show up in all the right places, most notably on backing vocals on “If We Were Vampires,”  and her violin lends a lovely accent to a beautiful record.

01.  Nikki Lane – Highway Queen

You shouldn’t be new to the Nikki Lane Rodeo, her debut release Walk of Shame gate crashed the men’s bro-Americana club way back in 2011, and All or Nothin’ was a top notch belter back in 2014.  Now, with Highway Queen she is asserting her stranglehold as the official title holder and reigning queen of the Retro-Americana movement.  With outlaw edge assistance from co-producer Jonathan Tyler, the dusty slow percolating beats and mid-tempo vibe of the record puts you right there front and center whether it’s a saloon in Nashville, a honky tonk in Texas, or a roadhouse in Oklahoma.  Rewards will follow with repeated listens. You will be hard pressed to pick a favorite song, “700,000 Rednecks,” “Jackpot” and “Highway Queen” are all great, but I would not kick the rest of the songs out of bed either.  Your ears will not forgive you if you do not treat them to this record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Albums of 2017: Walker Lukens – Tell It to the Judge (no. 8)

Posted by falconi5 on December 1, 2017

Walker Lukens – Tell It to the Judge

Three years separated from his terrific 2013 release, Devoted, Walker Lukens is back with the eclectic and superb  Tell It to the Judge. Displaying a dazzling bag of musical tricks including, piano, synthesizers, guitars, horns, mad loops and vocal styles that vary from Doo Wop on “Love and Attention” to Hall and Oates Soul on “Love Me Tender (Don’t Be Cruel), there is not a bad puppy in this litter of show dogs. The beauty of this album is that Walker effortlessly hits touch points from Singer Songwriter, Power Pop, Hip Hop, R&B, Soul and several others all the while keeping the vibe up to date and contemporary. “Don’t Wanna Be Lonely (Don’t Wanna Leave You Alone)” could have been a Peter Gabriel Genesis tune, “Never Understood” is pure Chuck Prophet, and “Where is Thunder Road” is one of the best songs of 2017.  “Lifted” is sneaky cool.  You will be richly rewarded with multiple listens of this nuanced gem of an album.

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Best Songs of 2017: First Aid Kit – Fireworks

Posted by falconi5 on December 1, 2017

As part of the annual musical advent calendar extravaganza where a song a day is posted from December first all the way to Christmas The Falcon’s Nest will be posting the best songs of 2017 counting down from 25 to 1.

Number 25

The new album, Ruins, by First Aid Kit comes out on January 19th, but this song from the record was released today. Vintage First Aid Kit is always a welcoming sound to the ears.

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Video of the Day: The Milk Carton Kids – Poison Tree

Posted by falconi5 on November 28, 2017

If you are not hip to the Milk Carton Kids, get with it man.

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Cover Song of the Day: Matthew E. White and Flo Morrissey – Grease

Posted by falconi5 on November 15, 2017

Quite possibly, no definitely, the coolest cover version of “Grease” yes that “Grease”, that you will ever hear.

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Cover Song of the Day: Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real – After Midnight

Posted by falconi5 on November 15, 2017

The Son of Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson and his band have served as the backing band for Neil Young, produced one of the best albums of 2017, and here, deliver a scorching version of “After Midnight” for Jam in the Van.

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Cover Song of the Day: Gary Clark Jr. – Come Together

Posted by falconi5 on November 15, 2017

From the Justice League movie soundtrack.  This one moves ahead of Aerosmith on the cover version scale for Come Together.

 

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Video of the Day: Little Bandit – Bed of Bad Luck

Posted by falconi5 on November 13, 2017

The Nashville band Little Bandit features Alex Caress on vocals and keyboards.  Their sound combines old school Country with Classic Americana with a dash of Roy Orbison thrown in for good measure.

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Video of the Day: Whitehorse – Nadine

Posted by falconi5 on November 13, 2017

A stellar song from their 2016 E.P. Northern Soul Vol. 1. The new one, Panther in the Dollhouse is equally great.

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Rock Chick of the Day: Tash Sultana – Jungle

Posted by falconi5 on October 29, 2017

Strong guitar work on this live festival cut of her song “Jungle”.

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