Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mike's list

Mike - a voice you can always trust to give you the news, the whole news and nothing but the news.  And who never pointed his Dick Addis.

We are all broke and the weather sucks. So there isn't much choice but to hunker down in the house and listen to good tunes or watch a DVD.  

1. Felice Brothers "Felice Brothers" - I was no more than 30 seconds into hearing Radio Song on the satellite station and I said who are these guys. These guys are the Felice Brothers and it is the best and most unique CD I have heard this year. They really are from near Woodstock but not phony transplants. And yes they seem to sound like grandchildren of The Band. Check out Frankie's Gun for that. They recorded this CD to make enough money to play gigs in NYC. One song was recorded in a chicken coop and another under a bridge. Great stuff that I play at least once a week.

2. Bob Dylan "Tell Tale Signs" - It makes you wonder what the bard still has in the big music vault. His "leftovers" amount to one of the best releases of his career. Hard to believe that "Dignity" has never been officially released. You can get a good deal on satellite radios right now and Theme Time Radio is appointment listening at our house. Now airing on both services since the merger.

3. Chip Taylor "New Songs of Freedom" - The Former lead singer of The Troggs (really) delivers the best heartfelt American Cd of the year. Two songs here will bring tears to your eyes.

4. The Low Anthem "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin" - This is gorgeous Americana. One of those CD's you need to hear from start to finish to make a judgment.

5. Matthew Ryan "Matthew Ryan vs The Silver State" - It really is a crime that Matthew Ryan is not widely regarded as one of the best singer/songwriters of his generation. Every one of his albums is terrific and this one is his most cohesive.

6. Alejandro Esvovedo "Real Animal" - This album is full of homage to real people and places that have been a part of his life and it is among the best straight rock and roll albums of the year. Produced by the same guy who did much of T.Rex and David Bowie's work and it sounds like it too.

7. Joseph Arthur &The Lonely Astronauts "Temporary People" - JA turned out a slew of material in 2008 but this is the best. Hints of The Faces, Rolling Stones and even The Replacements without being obvious about it.

8. Reckless Kelly "Bulletproof" - Still my favorite band working out of Austin and I think this is their best album yet. "American Blood" is the Born in the USA from the Iraq war. A Texas President gets trashed by a Texas band, now that is some legacy.

9. My Morning Jacket "Evil Urges" -A lot of hype for this one before it came out but it lives up to it. A roots retro band with some classic guitar riffs.

10. Matthew Sweet "Sunshine Lies" (Deluxe Version) -Think the Beach Boys and The Byrds as produced by Phil Spector. A real wall of sound here.


Honorable Mentions

Glenn Campbell "Meet Glenn Campbell"

Drive By Truckers "Brighter Than Creations Dark" 

Shawn Mullins "Honeydew"

Lucinda Williams "Little Honey"


Box Set of the Year/ Roy Orbison - Finally all of his material in one place and all of it remastered. Ranks with Sam Cooke and Smokey as the smoothest male voices in the history of rock and roll.


Rock Movie of the Year/Shine a Light - Not that there was much competition but even if there was this still wins Worth it on DVD just to see Buddy Guy blow away Keith on guitar and Mick on vocals. Keith spitting out a cigarette is also quite cool.


Rock DVD of the Year/Willie Nile Live on the Streets of New York. - Everything live rock and roll should be, a energetic, thoughtful lead singer (who can play guitar and piano equally well) a tight band, a small club and hand held cameras. Good from start to finish.


Books of the Year


The Forever War/Dexter Filkins -When we finally get out of the Iraq debacle this books will stand above all others of what it was like on the ground. Should win a Pulitzer.

Havana Nocturne/T.J. English -The sub title "how the mob owned Cuba and then lost it to the revolution" says it all. Does Scorcese have the movie rights yet.


The Secret Scripture/Sebastian Barry -Ireland's best novelist follows up "A Long, Long Way" with another masterpiece.


Movies of the Year

Most of the late year good ones have not played here so I have to go with earlier releases. May I have the envelope please?


Ghost Town


So there you go and this should be enough material to tide us over until baseball season or Obama saves the planet, whichever comes first.

Mike's website

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