The year's end is a chance to get clued in on the great new music that may have flown over or under your radar since
January. Here's your chance to get caught up on some great stuff that deserves a listen or maybe find a last minute
gift for someone who actually enjoys good music. As always, there are tons of great ones, and the list that follows is
partial, to say the least. Here are my best. Honorable mention goes to Avett Brothers, Sarah Borges, Slayer, Genuine
Cowhide and so many more.
10. Benjy Ferree - Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee." The
Maryland-based punk rocker released a concept album of strange doo-wop, R&B, indie rock, layered rock anthems and
folk. All loosely based on Ferree's life and the tragic story of Bobby Driscoll, the kid who voiced Peter Pan in the
Disney animated movie.
9. Them Crooked Vultures (Self Titled). This super group made up of members of
Queens of the Stone Age, the Foo Fighters and Led Zeppelin avoided an inundation of hype in the media magazines and
kept its CD release date a secret. However, the Internet informed us that the trio's release was going to be huge. It
is. This is a big rock 'n' roll record.
8. Drive By Truckers - The Fine Print." I struggled with putting a collection
of out-takes and rarities on this list. However, these great cuts haven't been heard by consumers' ears until this
year. This is the record the Truckers should have put out instead of Blessing and a Curse." The band's three-guitar
assault hasn't sounded this good since Decoration Day," and songwriter Mike Cooley, who accounts for half of the
band's songwriting, contributes the cut of the record.
7. Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel - Willie and the Wheel." Willie
sounds pretty comfortable handling the vocals on classic western swing, played by the country's hottest and now
longest-running Western Swing band, headed by Ray Benson.
6. Dead Weather - Horehound." This Nashville four-piece is made up of members
of the Raconteurs, The White Stripes, Queens of the Stoneage and The Kills. Led by Alison Mosshart, the debut is a
combination of all of those bands, making for a dark and raw, bluesy rock release.
5. Fast 'N' Bulbous - Waxed Oop." Normally I'd ignore a record of covers, but
when a New York-based quartet pays homage to a true innovator, it's hard to ignore. Fast 'N' Bulbous' take on some of
the great Captain Beefheart's catalog is trip of psychedelic blues, weird jazz and rock.
4. Akron Family - Set 'em Wild, Set 'em Free." This New York/Pennsylvania trio
of multi instrumentalists fifth release is a mix of psychedelic folk, noise rock and improvisational jam. Interesting,strange, beautiful and good.
3. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone." Neko moves farther from her alt-country
beginnings with every release. Middle Cyclone" is another release of mellow, dreamy pop music. She's backed by a great
band including backup singers Kelly Hogan and Nora O'Connor.
2. Lucero - 1372 Overton Park." Lucero's seventh release finds the onetime
cow-punk band adding a horn section (fitting for a band from Memphis to take the music in a Stax records direction) to
its guitar sound and delivering more of its whiskey-soaked rock songs of Saturday night loneliness, broken hearts and
1. Deer Tick - Born on Flag Day." Front man John Joseph McCauley III's
scratchy singing and simple finger picking leads this quartet through 13 songs of indie rock, folk and alt-country.
Songs like Houston TX" and Straight into a Storm" are standouts on a record of keepers. There's not a bad one in the
bunch, and Deer Tick proves wanking virtuosos aren't needed to make standout releases.
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager.