My review of Twistable Turnable Man is now up at Glide Magazine! This tribute to the brilliant Shel Silverstein features My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, Andrew Bird, Lucinda Williams, John Prine, and a host of others.
Well, it’s that time of year again, where everyone from Rolling Stone to your neighbor’s pet iguana is unleashing a yearly “best of” list. As far as my list of the year’s best albums is concerned, this year is different in a couple of ways.
First, I don’t think 2009 was as aesthetically impressive as 2008 in terms of albums. Last year, my top 10 included TV On The Radio, Beck, MGMT, Blitzen Trapper and Plants and Animals, among others. This year’s crop, while amazing, lacks some of the “wow” factor of 2008’s group. But the quality of the music is equal – maybe even superior – even if the names and instant recognition are not.
Second, I haven’t heard as many albums this year as I did in 2008. While there’s little that could be done about that, what with the whole “real life” thing interfering with my ability to listen to every mildly-hyped release, this list is slightly less informed than some. But indulge me anyway, if you will, for my favorite ten albums of the year in random order.
-Andrew Bird – Noble Beast – Revealing, intricate, scatterbrained, and gorgeous.
-Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (review) – The band’s triumphant return to great songs, not just good songs.
-SeepeopleS – Apocalypse Cow Vol. 2 (review) – Will Bradford again proves to be one of the world’s most criminally ignored musical talents.
-Circlesquare – Songs About Dancing and Drugs (review) – A woozy, shoegazey period piece for the still-young millennium.
-Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (review) – A once in a lifetime work that made a million music critics swoon this year.
-Charles Spearin – The Happiness Project (review) – Aptly titled, this album is what happens when the world of music orbits tantalizingly and satisfyingly close to the world of art.
-Five Peace Band – Live (review) – Jazz in our present age doesn’t get any more virtuosic, expressive or explosive than this all-star collaboration.
-Emeralds – What Happened (review) – An example of thought-provoking, modern instrumental music so rare and pure that it belongs in a museum.
-M. Ward – Hold Time (review) – Great songs – now what to do with them? Ward finds perfect sonic companions for his words on every track of this masterpiece.
-Wilco – Wilco (The Album) – A routinely fantastic flourish to end an unforgettable decade of music from the veteran band.
Here are the last 5 albums I deleted from my master list, or, honorable mentions:
-The Phenomenal Handclap Band – The Phenomenal Handclap Band (review)
-Sondre Lerche – Heartbeat Radio (review)
-David Bazan – Curse Your Branches
-Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk
-Portugal the Man – The Satanic Satanist
2009 was an insane year for music and it shows in the diversity of this list. Only one round of year-end celebration to go, and I’ll be posting my favorite 101 albums of the decade tomorrow!
Now in its 35th year, the dependable PBS program Austin City Limits returns with another stellar lineup of music. Beginning October 3rd with Dave Matthews Band, the series will air 14 episodes that feature the expected array of underground heroes, worldwide superstars, and eclectic oddities. DMB, Ben Harper and Relentless7, Kenny Chesney, Pearl Jam, Allen Toussaint, Them Crooked Vultures, and Willie Nelson garnered hour-long episodes, while other episodes are split between bands of similar artistic ilk. One of these episodes features the current touring bill of Andrew Bird and St. Vincent, while another brings together multidimensional folk-rockers Okkervil River and iconic singer/songwriter M. Ward.
The schedule for the upcoming season:
October 3, 2009 Dave Matthews Band
October 10, 2009 Ben Harper and Relentless7
October 17, 2009 Kenny Chesney
October 24, 2009 Andrew Bird / St. Vincent
October 31, 2009 M. Ward / Okkervil River
November 7, 2009 Elvis Costello / Band of Heathens
November 14, 2009 Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel
November 21, 2009 Pearl Jam (see info about an on-campus simulcast here)
November 28, 2009 – January 2, 2010: Encore episodes from the ACL archives
January 9, 2010 Allen Toussaint
January 16, 2010 Mos Def / K’Naan
January 23, 2010 TBD / Heartless Bastards
January 30, 2010 Steve Earle / Kris Kristofferson
February 6, 2010 Madeleine Peyroux / Esperanza Spalding
February 13, 2010 Them Crooked Vultures
All info about the show, plus info about upcoming tapings, can be found at AustinCityLimits.org.
Bonnaroo is just over a month away, and now that the schedule is available, it’s as good of a time as any to let you know that I will be attending the festival and providing updates numerous times per day.
Eventually, there will be a Wounded Messenger Twitter feed, which I will use to keep you updated on what music I’m seeing, post setlists, and bring you some of the festival atmosphere. On the blog, I’ll be doing daily wrap-ups, posting photos, and maybe even posting some audio or video interviews with artists!
When it’s all said and done, I’ll be bringing you an in-depth review of the whole experience, with photos and detailed remembrances of the event. You can see my two most recent Bonnaroo reviews here : 2008 – 2007.
So…now that you know where to come for Bonnaroo updates, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the schedule and who you’re going to see!
On Thursday, I’m excited to hear some bands that I will be hearing for the first time, like Hockey, The Zac Brown band, and Portugal. The Man. Friday holds the possibility, with a little fortuitous scheduling, that I might be able to catch a little of Public Enemy’s set during Phish’s setbreak…if a setbreak even happens. I’m also hoping to see Kaki King, Animal Collective and TV on the Radio on Friday.
Saturday, I can’t miss Wilco – I have been waiting a very long time to see them! I’m also looking forward to my first Nine Inch Nails show. Sunday afternoon is a jam-packed time that will have me running all over the place before the Phish fest closer. I hope to see Merle Haggard, Andrew Bird, Okkervil River, and Snoop Dogg, and they are all playing at basically the same time. That’s what makes Bonnaroo so great!
I’m looking forward to bringing you some of the most up-to-the-minute coverage possible this year! Bonnarooooo!
Chicago’s Grant Park will once again host Lollapalooza, which takes place August 7-9, 2009. This year’s headliners – Depeche Mode, Tool, and The Killers – are hardly the main attraction, as the event features dozens of worthwhile bands for less than 200 bucks.
One look at the schedule, posted below, reveals some heavyweight bands that weigh in just under headliner status. Kings of Leon, Beastie Boys, Lou Reed, and Jane’s Addiction stand out as non-headliners that will draw huge crowds. Beyond the biggest names, the lineup offers a slew of top talent, such as The Decemberists, Of Montreal, Animal Collective, Band of Horses, Andrew Bird, Ben Folds, TV on the Radio, Fleet Foxes, Dan Auerbach, and Silversun Pickups. Those bands are enough to make any weekend fantastic, and the surface of the lineup is barely scratched – great acts like Manchester Orchestra, The Greencards, and Portugal. The Man lurk even further down the list.
Also of great interest will be the festival’s DJ sets, which will include a special Animal Collective DJ set along with performances from MSTRKRFT, Bassnectar, Simian Mobile Disco, and Kid Cudi.
Lollapalooza 2009 Lineup:
* Depeche Mode
* The Killers
* Jane’s Addiction
* Beastie Boys
* Kings of Leon
* Lou Reed
* Ben Harper and Relentless7
* Thievery Corporation
* Snoop Dogg
* Rise Against
* Andrew Bird
* TV on the Radio
* Vampire Weekend
* The Decemberists
* Neko Case
* STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9)
* Animal Collective
* Band of Horses
* Of Montreal
* Arctic Monkeys
* Coheed and Cambria
* Ben Folds
* Fleet Foxes
* Silversun Pickups
* Kaiser Chiefs
* Crystal Castles
* Bon Iver
* Dan Auerbach
* Cold War Kids
* Lykke Li
* Robert Earl Keen
* Peter Bjorn and John
* Heartless Bastards
* Federico Aubele
* Dan Deacon
* Passion Pit
* Zap Mama
* The Raveonettes
* The Gaslight Anthem
* The Airborne Toxic Event
* White Lies
* Ra Ra Riot
* No Age
* Asher Roth
* Los Campesinos!
* Bat For Lashes
* Gang Gang Dance
* The Virgins
* Amazing Baby
* Portugal. The Man
* The Knux
* Ida Maria
* Delta Spirit
* Friendly Fires
* Manchester Orchestra
* Ezra Furman & The Harpoons
* Miike Snow
* Alberta Cross
* Hey Champ
* Sam Roberts Band
* The Henry Clay People
* Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam
* Cage the Elephant
* Living Things
* The Low Anthem
* Blind Pilot
* Langhorne Slim
* Other Lives
* The Builders and The Butchers
* Eric Church
* Joe Pug
* Kevin Devine
* The Greencards
And spinning at PERRY’S
* Simian Mobile Disco
* Boys Noize
* KiD CuDi
* Hercules and Love Affair (DJ Set)
* The Bloody Beetroots (DJ Set)
* LA Riots
* The Glitch Mob
* Hollywood Holt
* Rye Rye
* He Say, She Say
* Car Stereo (Wars)
* Dark Wave Disco
* Yello Fever
* Animal Collective (DJ Set)