Yup, it's that time again! Before I roll out the annual year-end rundown of my favorite albums, let's take a listen to some of the best songs from 2010. I've included YouTube clips where possible, since I used Lala last year and got burned. 1. "Them That Do Nothing" by Field Music (from Measure) - I could probably populate this whole list with songs from Field Music's third studio album. Instead I'll just highlight the first single from it and we can all revel in its pure pop perfection. Well done, Brewis brothers, well done indeed. 2. "Doin' It Again" by the Roots (from How I Got Over) - If there's a case to be made for why sampling can work so well in hip hop it's this track, which brilliantly weaves the Roots' own composition with John Legend's "Again". It's the standout
I swear that each year I have less and less time to spend listening to new music. It seems like a losing battle anymore to keep up with all the new albums coming out, but I have to keep trying. So rather than pontificate on the albums of the past year - as I've been known to do - I'm going for brevity in an attempt to get more done. And I'm adding one new feature to this year's year-end music wrapup (and future releases as well), by introducing a grading system. Here's the rundown: Dig It - You can safely part with your hard-earned money for this and not feel like a sucker. Download It - Still worth a listen, but you'll probably want to just download it and cherry-pick the best tracks. Ditch It - If you can find something of lasting value, you're a better person than I. Got
A pair of new albums from both sides of the Atlantic have found their way into my rotation this week. From the good ol' U.S. of A comes Backyard Tire Fire's The Places We Lived (Hyena Records), the followup to last year's excellent Vagabonds and Hooligans. Stylistically, this album shares many traits with its predecessor but is definitely not a rehash. Checking in at just over the half-hour mark, frontman and guitarist Ed Anderson and company (brother Matt on bass, Tim Kramp on drums) get right down to business with the deceptively simple title track. It didn't make a strong impression on me when I first listened to it, but days later the main guitar riff was still rattling around my head, a tribute to Anderson's songwriting. The integration of synths and chimes (not to mention a br
From two completely different ends of the musical spectrum comes a pair of albums - one new and one upcoming - that both get the coveted GFS stamp of approval. First up is the self-titled debut EP from Build (New Amsterdam Records, 2008), a Brooklyn-based indie classical quintet formed in 2006. Now I know what you're thinking: "Classical music? Boring!" Stop thinking that, you're wrong. This are modern, tuneful compositions that bears precious little resemblance to your father's classical music. For those familiar with Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Build takes a similar approach to their music. It's never stuffy or rigid, although it's far from poppy or light. Composer/violinist Matt McBane has written five songs that are challenging enough to reward multiple listens, but aren't
OK, so we've reviewed what I believe to be the standout albums from the year that was. The second part of my year-end review reviews some of the best songs of the year. You likely wouldn't have heard any of these songs on radio (at least not terrestrial radio). In fact, I couldn't pick out any of this year's most popular radio songs if my life depended on it. Note - I tried to find official videos for these songs, but in some cases I could only find live versions (some better than others). The Best of the Best (Songs) "Melody Day", Caribou (Andorra) - This track opens the very excellent Andorra like a fresh breeze from the mid-'60s. I would swear this was produced by Phil Spector in his prime, what with its heavy use of reverb, jangly guitars, and a soaring chorus. Sure there's n...