Beth Bombara - Wish I Were You
Beth Bombara is a singular talent and a beautiful singer-songwriter in the classic '70s Joni Mitchell sense of the word. Delicate accents played by band member and husband Kit Harmon add layers of emotion to these already dense, but hummable tunes.
Kentucky Knife Fight - We're All Nameless Here
Alt-country swagger with a Flogging Molly-style drunken rabblerousing was all soaked into their last release The Wolf Crept The Children Slept but here some of the ramblin' and boozin' is cut down in favor of tastier grooves and deeper lyrics.
Tilts - Cassingle / Sidepipin'
STL's Van Halen. If you think I'm joking, peep the VH-biting "Hot For Pizza" from Cassingle, one of their 2 EPs released this year. Wicked guitar action, drums like thunder and a bass line that's meatheaded, but effective at providing the needed thud for this wacked-out rocker.
Dear Vincent - So Long Winter
Beautiful, elegant, bracing chamber pop performed by some talented folks never fails to amaze.
Via Dove - El Mundo Latino
Pure, unadulterated rock music performed by four dudes who know their musical history -- especially their lead singer Andy, whose love of the Rolling Stones is evident in his urgent, pleading delivery on tunes like "(I Can't) Recognize The Signs."
Murder Happens - Dead World and Dying Sons
Industrial music is usually fairly staid and repetitive. These noiseniks keep the purists happy, while adding touches of their own stylings.
Troubadour Dali - S/T
Psychedelic music is usually my man Valis' baliwick, but this record has enough pop hooks and killer musicianship to transcend the many pitfalls of the genre.
Tight Pants Syndrome - Fully Attractive / Don't Panic
Speaking of pop hooks, this band's two 2010 releases have them in spades.
Flaming Death Trap - Swamp Monster
For a brand-spanking-new band, they sure sound like they've been honing their rock skills for years.
Vandalyzm - Is Not The Father
I don't know if a mixtape is considered an album proper, but these 15 wicked tracks, with help from DJ Trackstar, shine among his best work since his 2008 album Megatron Majorz -- consistently biting verses and solid hooks never fail to amuse, least of which on dynamite tunes "Get Down" and "Yeah Naaw" where Wafeek drops his best verse in about forever.