Hey Chris, Fair enough on the M&S style...might call it a Neo-"TBone Burnett"ish. Wasn't familiar with CCL but like you I might be overstuffed there. I'll definitely check out Written in Chalk. You're taste is exceptional, so I'm really looking forward to what you finally whittle it down to.
I've recently relocated to StLouis & while the move has been pretty smooth, KDHX has been one of the most satisfying parts of the move. I moved from Virginia and thought this kind of radio was impossible. Great stuff & telling everyone I can about it. Happy Holidays!
RL - Thanks for tuning in. Glad you like the show.
I've heard the M&S album, but I think I've just been a bit burned out on that style of music for the last year or so, after listening to quite a bit of it for a long while (Avett Bros, Chatham County Line, etc). That said, I do think that it's quite good.
I enjoyed Band of Joy a lot. It definitely would've made a "long list" of favorites for the year. In particular, I think the Low (Silver Rider, Monkey) and Townes Van Zandt (Harm's Swift Way) covers are very well done. If you like the latter, I'd highly recommend the album put out by Buddy and Julie Miller last year called Written in Chalk (Buddy co-produced Band of Joy with Plant, and Julie also appears on the album). And, regarding cover albums, Nada Surf's If I Had A Hi-f is an album of covers as well, so I obviously don't think there's a problem with that.
Whittling this list down will be tough. In fact, it may be growing as I discover great albums that I've forgotten about over the course of the year!
Familiar with only a few of your listing. I like "Together" very much. Mumford & sons - Sigh No More is one album that has been in my playlist pretty regularly this year. Also, while it gets a lot of media attention, Vampire Weekend Contra was technically released Jan 11, 2010 & really got my attention...only started weeding it out of my playlist a couple of months ago. & for what its worth Band of Joy is quite good. while its a bunch of covers so may not qualify, but it was a surprising submission.
Here are some notes on those three albums. Suggested tracks are listed in suggested (but not required, of course) order of listening.
Like Pioneers - Piecemeal
Formed out of the ashes of Chicago indie rock stalwarts Bound Stems, Like Pioneers write songs that just feel good. Like a pair of shoes that doesn't need to be broken in, these songs are instantly comfortable: upbeat lyrics, beautiful vocal harmonies, and lilting guitar riffs. Listen to the full album at http://likepioneers.bandcamp.com/album/piecemeal.
Listen to: "Gift From a Holiday", "English Garden", "Ike".
Meridene - Something Like Blood
If The New Pornographers were alcoholics, they might sound a lot like Meridene. Sometimes buoyant but often brooding, Meridene's brand of power pop is sullen, melancholy, and very addictive.
Listen to: "Gone, Baby Gone", "Everybody's Waiting", "Written Like Mad Sonnets".
Strand Of Oaks - Pope Killdragon
Strand of Oaks is the stage name of Tim Showalter. In the spirit of Bon Iver, these are arresting and atmospheric folk songs. The lyrics are as desparate and haunting as they are beautiful. In contrast to Justin Vernon's, these songs feel a bit more spacious at times: the vocals aren't multi-tracked and there are fewer layers in most of the tunes. The lyrics are also much more narrative. The album is only available at eMusic, but there are some very nicely done videos at The Weekender.
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