Our award for the best musical Internet project in 2009 goes to the Australian singer songwriter Paul Kelly. Throughout 2008 and 2009 he ran a continuous Internet project in which for each month of the year he posted several songs re-recorded in the “unplugged” variants. Each month, one letter of the alphabet was covered (except V and X). This was a wonderful project in which Paul Kelly recorded over 100 hundred songs and posted them for free download at http://www.paulkelly.com.au/. In todays show, we cover at least one song for each letter of the alphabet, and for the other 80 plus songs, visit Paul Kelly’s website. Happy New Year by the way!
Anastasia Changes Her Mind;
Before Too Long;
Don’t Harm The Messenger;
Everything’s Turning To White;
Forty Miles To Saturday Night;
Gift That Keeps On Giving;
I Close My Eyes;
Jump To Love;
Keep On Driving;
Leaps And Bounds;
My Way Is To You;
Nothing But A Dream;
Queenie and Rover;
Stories Of Me;
Saturday Night And Sunday Morning;
South Of Germany;
To Her Door;
Until Death Do Them Part;
Won’t You Come Around;
You’re 39, You’re Beautiful And You’re Mine;
Â Here we are at the end of another year in rock’n’roll. It’s behind us… We entered it hoping it would be an exciting one, and for the most part, musically, it did bring a few exciting moments. We’re taking time right now to rediscover these moments in our year end list of best albums in 2009 at The Little Lighthouse. Chris Cacavas took the cake this year without too much contemplation, at least in this microcosm that we call The Little Lighthouse. Take a chance to review the rest of the list, read my reviews and of course – take a listen at the show. Exit 2009, enter 2010…
The Best of 2009 – LPs
1 Chris Cacavas – Loveâ€™s Been Discontinued
2 Grant Hart – Hot Wax
3 Satin Gum
4 Greg Koons – Welcome to the Nowhere Motel
5 Mama Rosin – Brule Lentement
6 John Paul Keith and The 145s – Spills and Thrills
7 Richmond Fontaine – We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River
8 Outrageous Cherry – Universal Malcontents
9 Krayolas – Long Leaf Pine
10 Reigning Sound – Love and Curses
11 Soulsavers – Broken
12 Amy Allison – Sheffield Streets
13 Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
14 Buddy and Julie Miller – Written in Chalk
15 Dinosaur Jr – Farm
16 The Resentments – Roselight
17 Doug Gillard – Call From Restricted
18 King Khan – Invisible Girl
19 Jack Oblivian – Disco Outlaw
20 Obits – I Blame You
Obits – Run;
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Against The Wall;
The King Khan & BBQ Show – Lonely Boy;
Doug Gillard – Gibraltar;
The Resentments – Look Up;
Dinosaur Jr – Your Weather;
Buddy & Julie Miller – One Part, Two Part;
Neko Case – People Got A Lotta Nerve;
Amy Allison – Monsters of the Id (with Elvis Costello);
Soulsavers – You will miss me when I burn;
Reigning Sound – Dangerous Game;
The Krayolas – Matter of Time;
Outrageous Cherry – I Recognized Her;
Richmond Fontaine – You Can Move Back Here;
John Paul Keith and The One Four Fives – If I Were You;
Mama Rosin – You Stole My Motorcycle;
Greg Koons And The Misbegotten – Turn Around (2AM On Second Street);
Satin Gum – Apparitions (Sweet!!!);
Grant Hart – California Zephyr;
Chris Cacavas – Other Side.
Keyboardist of Green on Red and a solo artist for twenty years, Chris Cacavas is definitely left a huge mark in rock’n’roll. But Love’s Been Discounted is likely his crowning masterpiece when at least in the solo period. I don’t know much about the events that happened in Chris’ life that fueled this record with inspiration, but record seems like a break-up record, a serious redefinition of the term “love” for sure. Musically, it’s a soft record with wonderful guitar solos, songs that dramatically build up. Incredible background harmonizing that takes you by surprise at the most unsuspecting moments often constitute the most dramatic places of this record.
A close second on this list. Former Husker Du drummer is back with a new solo record after 10 years of putting it together over in Twin Cities. The opening rocker You’re The Reflection of the Moon On the Water starts from a big fat 10 second fade in as if Grant is a bit shy to start with a full blast after 10 years of silence. But Grant Hart quickly draws you into his world with nine flawless tracks, done in the style of 60s psychedelic records. Lots of Hammond-style organs, hand claps and whirling psychedelic instrumental passages. California Zephyr stands out as an incredible road story of a man who settles down in San Francisco and then left out of there when people started dieing. Life and death playing a clinching game that binds us all. Tonight.
Satin Gum is a new band from Pittsburgh who surprised us early in 2009 with a neat four track EP. Later in the year this EP was expanded into a nine track LP and here it taking a high third position in our year end list. This record combines several very interesting rock moments into one thing. You will hear shoe-gazing guitar riffs of My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr, Nirvana pathos and Cheap Trick lighthearted humor. Simple record that economically clocks out at 26 minutes will stay long in your player on repeat. We can only hope that this band will eventually leave the confounds of their local scene. Let it be noted that the neighboring Cleveland was the second stop on that journey!
Philadelphian musician Greg Koons turned back the clock almost 35 years backwards and, without too many unnecessary innovations, he recorded an album in the best outlaw singer-songwriting traditions of Guy Clark and Gene Clark. 2009 was definitely the right time to return to these traditions as we begun to loose track of these great records. When you put this record on, you will find 11 modern songwriting masterpieces. At the same time, Koons’ backing band The Misbegotten will give a sharp rocking edge to his laments on heartbreaking loves, hookers and cities passed on the road. A picture of a US soldier who died in Vietnam is a dedication to the outlaw sentimentality and an anti-war cry at the same time. No misses on this one.
When I lived in Louisiana, I saw a wonderful German movie Schultze Gets the Blues about an old German guy who moves to Louisiana to play zydeco. This bizarre trans-global story is a wonderful dedication to the beauty of Louisiana music. In 2009, the most exciting zydeco album in ages came from the same “neck of the woods”… Switzerland! Trio of Swiss guys who calls themselves Mama Rosin, collected 13 furious zydeco tunes on their second album Brule Lentement. Some of the songs are classics (Opelousas Sostan!) and some are their own pastiches written in zydeco and Cajun style. The sound on the record is incredibly authentic. It sounds like those old documentary recordings of zydeco tunes and nothing like the watered down sound you can hear these days in tourist shops of New Orleans. Mama Rosin somehow found the original soul of Mamou, Louisiana on the banks of Lake Geneva.
Memphis musician John Paul Keith puts together the best sounding live show you’ll ever hear. Moreover, his album Spills and Thrills is also the best sounding vinyl record in years. While most Memphis bands like their sound dirty and wonderfully screwed up, John Paul Keith’s sound is crisp and clean. Still, it belongs to the same musical tradition that still keeps Memphis as the cradle of rock’n’roll. This was recognized by legendary Jim Dickinson who hired John Paul Keith for his last band called Snake Eyes.
The most poetical title of a record this year comes from Richmond Fontaine. This Portland OR, band gained a lot of attention in 2002 in rock press around their fourth album Winnemucca. But I did not pay too much attention to their music until their work from this year. Storytelling lyrics are accompanied with melodic arrangements and dramatic riffage, creating a rounded, well thought of concept feel for the whole album. Two songs towards the end of the album occupy my attention in particular Lonnie and Two Alone. I will have to go back and revisit some of their earlier stuff.
This glammed out, rocking piece of plastic is the best yet by the venerable Detroit rockers fronted by local freak Matthew Smith. They re-package the British glam and the us power-pop in an unexpectedly fun release that will make your feet stomp and your body move. Their snotty blunt statement that if it ain’t rock’n’roll then they won’t like it could be also a motto of this radio show. Smtih and his band know the formula and they use it.