I swear to you all that this is the last list before I begin new reviews. I have some extremely good choices for you in the upcoming weeks, but I would feel incomplete without first sharing with you my favorite albums from the past that I first heard in 2010. Listening to music from the past is a huge part of my musical life. I love to dig into the roots of what inspired something current or sounds that have long been fogotten. I do the same with books. I don't understand people who only read contemporary fiction. You need a frame of reference in order to evaluate. Here's the nine best discoveries from the past that I found this year. Enjoy.
The Wooden Sky - If I Don't Come Home, You'll Know I'm Gone: (indie folk) This first one comes from way back in 2009. When I first reviewed this on here, it didn't quite stand out. It was simply one of many folk rock records. But over the course of last year, I kept returning to this album. During car rides with the iPod on shuffle, almost always when an amazing song came on and I checked to see who it was, it was The Wooden Sky. Fantastic album.
Bonnie Prince Billy - As Forgiveness: (singer songwriter) I'm a big fan of Will Oldham and his many musical incarnations. 'I See A Darkness' is one of my 25 most favorite albums of all time. But with so many releases, I missed this 2007 gem. An incredible collection of sad Midwestern folk.
Pink Floyd - The Man & The Journey: (space rock) In 1969, Pink Floyd was a band trying to find their identity after the departure of Syd Barrett. They played a series of concerts called The Massed Gadgets of Auximenes, which was divided into two parts, The Man and The Journey. These mostly instrumental tracks would later become parts of other songs while others faded away. Available only in bootleg form, this is one for every fan.
Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band - Jug Band Music: (jug band folk) This 1965 album is a prologue to the San Francisco sound of the years to come, developed in Boston and Greenwich Village. An amazing psych-folk record.
Brenda Lee - All Alone Am I: (pop) This 1963 album sees 19 year old Brenda Lee moving away from the rock-a-billy roots of her previous 7 albums and into a more traditional pop sound. Her vocals, as always, are beautiful and the songs are laced with a delightful sadness that keeps me coming back for more.
Spirogyra - St. Radigunds: (Canterbury folk) This 1971 freak folk album is a lost masterpiece. In the spirit of The Incredible String Band, the quartet's debut album is one of the landmarks in the progressive folk movement that has recently been revived. This is one for anyone digging the new sound of folk of recent years. NOTE: This band is not be confused with the craptastic jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra from Buffalo.
Grateful Dead - Wake of the Flood: (psych folk rock) I was never a fan of this band. I wrote them off mainly because of the joke they had become during my youth. But recently, I've been rediscovering some of the early work, this 1973 album being among the best I've heard so far. It's just an epic album that I've been listening to way too much. Look for more to be on this same list next year.
Fleetwood Mac - The Original Fleetwood Mac: (British Blues) Another band that I've rediscovered, having never realized that their pre-horrible stage was as a blues band lead by Peter Green. This collection of outtakes from that era (1969-1971) is one of the finest examples of the British blues hey-day. Amazing riffs, perfect vocals; it's a shame Peter Green self-destructed. Even greater shame is the what this band became in the '70s.
David Bowie - Hunky Dory: (rock) Part of Bowie's best period, this 1971 album was a glaring omission from my collection. I knew most of the songs from other Bowie releases, but never heard this album in it's entirety. From start to finish, easily one of the best Bowie albums.
BONUS: My favorite Songs of 2010
1.Yeasayer - O.N.E.: Modern nu-wave infectious sound. Love it.
2.Quadron - Slippin': Somewhat late '80s radio revival, but done perfect.
3.Lifeseeker - Sammy Hagar Rules: Hip-hop masterpiece. Every time this song comes on, I'm feeling it.
4.Kanye West - Power: One of the best hip-hop tracks in yonks.
5.Holly Miranda - Ex-Factor: I listen to this Lauren Hill cover constantly.