Thursday, December 31, 2009
At the end of the day, Kate Miller's Heidke's EP is just an appetizer meant to whet the whistles of North American audiences in advance of the release of Curiouser in early 2010. EP was only released digitally, and capitalizes on the popular draw of Are You F#cking Kidding Me; but Miller Heidke is a grade A talent. Aside from the You Tube sensation, Miller Heidke serves up four other songs that consist of the some of the best songwriting to land on this side of the pond in 2009. Kate Miller Heidke also has a voice that's to die for, and rounds it all out with musicianship that's undeniable.
Kate Miller Heidke's EP may have been a bit overlooked in the popular sense, but you can't help but get hooked once you hear it, and EP is Wildy's World's #1 EP of 2009.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We were introduced to Joséphine Ancelle in 2008. Her 2007 debut album, Unfinished Life, was a sweet and compelling introduction to the Parisienne turned New York City lady with the little girl voice and mature, heartfelt lyrics. 2009 saw Ancelle return with The I Love You's, an impressive step forward both artistically and musically. Ancelle is already getting serious airplay in her native France, and is destined for big things stateside as well. As things stand, The I Love You's finishes #3 on our Top-10 EPs list for 2009.
Monday, December 28, 2009
The Alaskan Trovatore didn't waste any time following up last year's #1 album, Vanilla, with a cycle inspired by popular Science Fiction television shows and movies such as Firefly, Battlestar Galactica and The Lord Of The Rings. Sounds geeky, right? But the songwriting and storytelling on Got To Fly are so subtle and so personal you'd never know unless you were an ardent fan of the series/movies referenced. Call took a big risk; the sort that can permanently alter fans' conceptions of an artist (often not in good ways) and comes out smelling like a rose.
Clarisa Cupéro really might be the next big thing. The bilingual singer/songwriter follows in the footsteps of Juanes by creating a sound that's is equally accessible to both English- and Spanish- language speaking markets. Aside from the demographic advantes, Cupéro has one of those voices that melts microphones and hearts. The first time I head this EP I was hooked, and it keeps getting better. Someday the name Cupéro will be instantly recognizable.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Jason Plumb's provincial Wide Open Music features songs about or inspired by Saskatchewan, Canada. You might think such a geographically focused album would have limited appeal, but Plumb is such a great songwriter that even the most obtuse listeners will fall in love with the Canadian Prairies. Wide Open Music features songs from Plumb's Waltons and solo days as well as a few tracks that haven't appeared on CD before, all reinterpreted masterfully by Plumb and The Willing. This is one of those albums that will surprise you; suck you in and take you along for a pleasant ride you never expected.
Plumb himself is considered in some circles to be one of the best songwriters of his generation in Canada. Some might even argue that he deserves to be included in any such conversation irrespective of country. It's not often that an album comprised primarily of previously released material might rate so highly on a year-end list, but Wide Open Music is special, indeed.
The Detroit Rockers found their debut album, ...But Your Kids Are Gonna Love It, ranked #6 on the 2008 Wildy's World Top-40 Countdown. They returned in 2009 with a slightly different sound, not really choosing a new direction but simply growing as a band. Switch Hit Resistor, the band's latest EP, show growth without abandoning the essential sound and pure joy that Woodward gives off with every note!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Francey And Ford collaborate on perhaps the most pleasant surprise of 2009, a song cycle inspired by their two week stay on a Great Lakes "laker" ship a couple of years back. Francey's gentle Folk bearing balances Ford's "Coat Of Many Colors" songwriting style to create magic, with the help of fellow Moxy Fruvous alum Dave Matheson. Seaway shines.
Rachell Allyn might just be one of the best up-and-coming Indie Country vocalists around, as becomes quickly apparent on Late Nights And Early Mornings. She has a splendid mix of voice, style, personality and that je ne said quoi that turns talented performers into superstars.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Sherwood has been kicking around San Luis Obispo since 2002, but hit pay dirt in 2007 with the Indy release A Different Light, which rose to #11 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The band's third album, Qu, debut at #91 on the Billboard 200, reaching #9 on the US Independent Albums chart. One of the stars of MySpace Records' roster, Sherwood has a propensity for upbeat Pop/Rock.
Brother Joscephus does for Southern Gospel and New Orleans Jazz what Brian Setzer did for Louis Prima and the entire swing movement a decade or so ago on his self-titled debut album. This is one of those records I defy you to sit still through. If you manage; you're not listening.
Sometimes Why puts the super back in supergroup, comprised of Crooked Still's Aoife O'Donovan, The Mammals' Ruth Ungar Merenda and Uncle Earl's Kristin Andreassen. Each member has a worth voice, but when they combine and blend together it's a bit like hearing angels sing. Your Heart Is A Glorious Machine has the capacity to quite literally blow listeners away.
Rock music for three cellos and percussion may seem a foreign concept at first, but Break Of Reality is so convincing you'll give up your disbelief very quickly. The third album from these alumni of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, Spectrum Of The Sky, expands on the sound that has already seen them featured at such New York City venues as Joe's Pub, The Knitting Factory and the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. The dark, full-textured music on Spectrum Of The Sky will make you believe.
The American Idol alumna waited a bit longer than usual for a former contestant to put out her first album. Coming Back To You proved to be very much worth the wait, running the rails of classic Soul and R&B music for one of the most dynamic vocal performances of the year. Doolittle shines throughout the album, proving once again that being true to yourself as an artist is always the right choice.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
26 Vienna Teng - Inland Territory
Ethereal Art/Folk/Pop that will quite literally blow you away. There are few like Teng, and Inland Territory is especially a treat as its the first time she's really begun to explore her own roots in song. Grandmother Song may well be the highlight of an auspicious collection.
24 The Doctors Fox - Plural Non-Possessive
Magic is the word; music is the medium. Boston's The Doctors Fox perform musical alchemy on their debut album, Plural Non-Possessive, blending Rock, Funk, Klezmer, Jazz, Doo-Wop and pretty much anything else they can think of into a new-yet-comfortable sound that's bound to move even the most cynical of music fans. Plural Non-Possessive is like being reborn in music.
Taylor is a decorated songwriter that established artists ask to work with, but on his own he is a master story-teller. On Yonkers, NY, he spins yarns about brothers Jon and Barry Voight, and a father whose family ranked right up there with thoroughbred racing. It would be hard to call Yonkers, NY a breakout album given Taylor's resume. Then again, it would be hard not to.
Seattle's Jerin Falkner brings a quirky Pop sensibility to her latest album, Pyro Aesthetic. Falkner stands out among her peers as a singular talent, and she just keeps getting better and better. Pyro Aesthetic is a tremendous introduction if you haven't come across Falkner before.
Speace is at the spearhead of a new generation of Folk artists, blending Folk, Rock and Country with whatever fits the moment. Speace is a powerful songwriter with an ability to opens up images in the listener's mind with subtle turns of phrase and the force of her personality in voice. The Killer In Me is a stunning follow-up to Songs For Bright Street, and will likely end up on a lot of these sorts of lists.
Chalk another entry up to Chip Taylor, who discovered Carrie Rodriguez while she was playing with Hayseed as SXSW 2001. Rodriguez is one mean fiddler, but is also an amazing vocalist and songwriter in her own right. It's rare for us to rate a live album so high, but Rodriguez is a singular talent, and she sure shines bright on Live In Lousville.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Justin McMillan is a young, up-and-coming singer/songwriter based in Toronto with an almost unerring Pop sensibility. The McMusic Sampler is one of two demo recordings to make the list of Top Ten EPs of 2009, and McMillan has the opportunity to catch on in a big way based on the material he's writing/performing.
#33 Rosanne Cash - The List
Educational music that's fun and frisky: that may be an apt way to describe the creations of The Dimes, the Boston-based band responsible for The King Can Drink The Harbor Dry. Folks familiar with Mike Ford's musical works incorporating elements of Canadian history will have an idea of what they're getting into here, although The Dimes focus on US History through the eyes of Boston and its environs.
Derek Byrne might be based in Milwaukee, but the spirit of his homeland in Kildare Ireland runs through his music. Seize The Moment is one of those albums whose sum is greater than its individual parts. Byrne sings each song as if he's living it, and creates some beautiful melodies along the way.
#28 Bunmi Adeoye - Paper Dolls Glass Houses
Part Tracy Chapman, part Ani DiFranco and part Carole King, Toronto's Bunmi Adeoye will surprise you with adept lyrics and melodies that sink into your brain and won't let you go. Paper Dolls Glass Houses grabs listeners slowly but doesn't fade like many albums with time.
#27 Willy Porter - How To Rob A Bank
The devilishly talented and uniquely styled Willy Porter has tasted real commercial success in the past, but these days he writes and plays more the purity of his craft than for the big wave he chased in the early 1990's. How To Rob A Bank may be his best work to date, showing off both his distinctive fingerstyle guitar playing and his propensity for free-form creation. How To Rob A Bank is a treat for the ears.
One step closer to #1...
9 Audra Mae - Haunt
When you count Judy Garland and Liza Minelli amongst your family tree there are bound to be big expectations. Audra Mae lives up to them all on her debut EP, Haunt. Using her unforgettable voice and a sophisticated folksy style, Audra Mae weaves the sort of magic that will leave you yearning for more.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Because of the fractured nature of the Indie music world, don't be surprised if any of the artists on our Top-40 for 2009 show up on other end-of-year best-of lists. We've been lucky to receive a splendid mix of recordings in 2009, and 2010 looks pretty bright from all that we're hearing as well. But before we get to 2010, let's say goodbye to 2009 properly, by recapping the top albums of the year! We'll be spreading them out between now and New Year's Eve, when we'll crown the Album and EP of the year! Let's not waste another moment!
The versatile and prolific singer/songwriter returned in 2009 with an album and a half. While the full length If I Didn't Work Nights was the better of the two offerings packaged together, The Daylight displayed Akiva's knack for melody and an ability to tell stories in music that are off the beaten track yet comfortable.
Edmonson's distinctive voice lights up Take To The Sky from within like a nightlight in the pitch. Her sound is definitely different; full of textures and tones that take might make you think twice at first, but audiences warm to Edmonson and her highly personal style quite quickly.
#10 (tie) Jessie Murphy In The Woods - Jessie Murphy In The Woods
Jessie Murphy In The Woods is one of those projects that happened nearly by accident. As happy accidents go, Jessie Murphy In The Woods might be among the most pleasant surprises of 2009. Quirky by nature; Jessie Murphy has a voice that will wrap you up and won't let go.
Terio brings Cuban music back to the fore, reliving the glories of greats like Desi Arnaz and Celia Cruz on Eternally I Wait For You. Terio mixes the charisma and creative spark that makes for long careers without giving an inch of his style.
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- 2009 Coming To A Close
- Review: Jerin Falkner - Pyro Aesthetic
- Review: Woven Green - Woven Green
- Review: Louder Than Love - Dark Days
- Review: Rodney Carrington - Make It Christmas
- Review: Myra Flynn - Crooked Measures
- Review: Arc Angels - Living In A Dream
- Review: Louder Than Love - Dark Days
- Review: Night On Earth - Second Hand
- Review: Gooding - The Return
- Review: Minor Kingdom - My Back Will Bend
- Review: Vancouver Killing Spree - It's Not About M...
- Review: Jessica J - Jessica J
- Review: David Francey & Mike Ford - Seaway
- Review: Danielle Asman - Danielle Asman
- Review: Gogol Bordello - Live From Axis Mundi2009
- Review: Seaspin - Reverser EP
- Review: Samuel Stewart - The Beginner EP
- Review: Vinny Vegas - Land Of Giants
- Review: Drum Dynasty – Drum Dynasty (Mystic Sunris...
- Sunday Singles: Jody Booth/Mark Wayne Glasmire
- Review: Lee Harvey Osmond - A Quiet Evil
- Review: Hotel St. George - City Boy Lemon
- Review: Corrin Campbell - Game Night
- Review: Matthew Curran - Simplify
- Review: Greensky Bluegrass - Five Interstates
- Review: Shelly Quarmby - Change
- Review: Hawksley Workman - For Him And The Girls
- Review: Cracked Latin - The World Is Cracked Latin...
- Review: Paul Phillips - Every Time I Leave
- Review: Dead Stays Alive - Dead Stays Alive
- Review: Evolove - 2012: Countdown To The End
- Review: A.M. Conspiracy - A.M. Conspiracy
- Review: The Lost Fingers - Lost In The 80's
- Review: Tommy Dempsey - 11:11
- Review: Shurman - Still Waiting For Sunset
- Review: Bryan Gorsira - So Far
- Review: Vanja James - Music
- Review: NGQIBS - Let Me Be: Recharged
- Review: Aja Alycean - Smack Dab
- Review: Sting - If On A Winter's Night...
- Review: Norah Jones - The Fall
- Review: Skii Harvey - Foolish Girl
- Review: Chip Taylor - Yonkers, NY
- Review: Stig Denson - Songs In The Key Of Stig
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Alessi's Ark - Time Travel 2011, Bella Union Alessi Laurent-Marke, AKA Alessi's Ark, left school at the age of sixteen to pur...
Jeneen Terrana And The Howl Brothers - My Creation 2008, Bitesized Records New York City based singer/songwriter Jeneen Terrana is talent...
Jackdawg - Jackdawg 2009, Sonic Past Music The long awaited and much discussed CD Jackdawg is due for release on March 17, 2009. This ne...
Karen And Amy Jones - Daphne In Winter 2009, Karen And Amy Jones Sisters Karen And Amy Jones sound like a cross between Anne And Nancy Wi...
Natascha Roth – Way Out South 2008, Natascha Roth Natascha Roth is a native of Germany who also has a home bass in Cape Town, South Afric...
Zpiderflower - I, Zpi 2008, Diamond Tone Deluxe Zpiderflower is the alter ego of Seattle’s Alex Trzyna. His release as Zpiderflower, I Zpi...
Kamilah Marshall - Gypsy Moonshine 2010, Gypsy Moonshine Chances are you’ve heard Kamilah (Ka-Mee-La) Marshall’s voice before and don’t ...
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Never Shout Never - Time Travel 2011, Loveway/Reprise Joplin, Missouri rockers Never Shout Never leap forth in 2009 with their fir...