Monday, December 25, 2006

Play List Update for December

Paolo Nutini – Live Sessions (2006)
We so enjoyed this young Irish lad at ACL this year. These live performances are just a hint of the potential. Can’t wait to hear more.

Minibar – Desert After Rain (2006)
These guys continue to churn out great music. When their last CD came out it reminded me of the days when record stores would have a guaranteed sale (if you don’t like this CD, bring it back for a full refund). It was that good. “Desert” continues the quality rock songwriting. Find out more at .

One Foot In – Songbook (2006)
Thank God there is the term “Americana”, ‘cause there is no other way to describe these guys. Touching on blues, country, and an assortment of Americana sub genres, One Foot In makes it all work. Looking forward to seeing this OC band live someday.

Joanna Newsom – Ys (2006)
A Strange, beautiful, exotic brew is stirred around here, creating easily 2006’s most unusually good release. Joanna, on harp has added strings arranged by Van Dyke Parks. What a brilliant touch.

Thea Gilmore – Harpo’s Ghost (2006)
This was high on my list for best CDs of the year long before the final track came round. It’s one of those CDs where words do not do it justice. It’s got it all: Great lyrics, excellent production, wonderful melodies. I probably overuse that last line, but whenever a CD grabs me like this, it is those three things. Oh, and yes, she can sing! A thank you goes out to Geoff (you know who you are) who tried to tell me about Thea.

Joan Osborne – Pretty Little Stranger (2006)
Joan has the “First CD Curse”. When that first amazing CD comes out, you end up comparing everything else to it. And “Relish”, released some 10 years ago, was one of those great CDs. It isn’t fair to compare; but it is hard not to. “Pretty Little Stranger” is probably her best CD since that amazing CD. Her voice is still there, although generally subdued. There are only one or two vocal explosions. But that’s okay. This is a softer CD and the songwriting (both hers and her covers) carries it. The CD was recorded in Nashville, and so yes, I’d call this an alt country CD. What a surprise to hear how nicely Joan fits into that genre. I loved this CD and had I thought about it more I would have probably put it in my best female category for this year. Her web page is pretty basic, so check out her Myspace page at .

Julian Coryell – Undercovers (2006)
I am dying to hear new original music from Julian, but it looks like that is going to have to wait a little longer. Meanwhile, anyone who has seen him perform knows that he loves to play covers. I was told by a friend of his that he knows every rock and roll song ever written. I believe it. He is a great guitar player, arranger, singer and overall nice guy (based on one fascinating meeting we had outside the Hotel Café one night). And so it is a natural for him to do a covers CD. This is a very simple production with Julian on keyboards, guitar and drum machine and a couple of bass players thrown in. What really stands out are his selections. It is surprisingly very 70’s with covers of Led Zep, ELO, Stevie Wonder, Nick Drake, Elvis Costello and Emmit Rhodes. But not necessarily the songs you’d think. Right now, my favorite is probably “Visions” by Stevie Wonder. It is just so beautiful. But listen for yourself. You can pick this CD up at CDBaby, or check out his Myspace site: .

Tom Waits – Orphans (2006)
This is no ordinary “odds and ends” CD/Box. The first two CDs are filled with gems, most of which I’d never heard before but fell in love with immediately. The third CD is a bit stranger (well, it is Tom Waits after all) with some spoken word stuff and bits of weirdness. It is a must have for your collection. Well worth the thirty plus dollars.

T Bone Burnett – Twenty Twenty (2006)
Forty songs spanning T Bone’s entire career (which includes the CD of new music he released on the same day). Not a bad song among them. No. That’s not right. Every song is a standout. And for those of you who love the story behind the song, each song has a little blurb written about it in the accompanying book (a good reason to actually buy the CD instead of going through ITunes). This is one of my favorite CDs of the year. It was a wonderful couple of hours catching up on the sections of T Bone’s career I missed the first time around.

Elizabeth & the Catapult – Elizabeth & the Catapult (2006)
I love when jazz and rock are combined and Elizabeth and band are doing just that in this exciting EP. The self titled CD contains 5 songs, each driven by jazz lines and Elizabeth Ziman’s beautiful voice. Is it rock or is it jazz? Who cares! I want to catch the next plane to the east coast and check these guys out live.

Broadcasts Vol. 14 – KGSR (2006)
What is there to say here? Every year KGSR puts out the best live radio CD in the country; maybe the world. How can you lose when you are one of the best radio stations around playing music in one of the best music cities on earth and the CDs are being sold at one of the best music stores in the universe? If there are any of these limited release CDs left, you will find them at . Okay, I’ll list some names for those of you who aren’t convinced yet: Death Cab for Cutie, Nickel Creek, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Kathleen Edwards, Beth Orton, Spoon, David Gray, Brandi Carlile, World Party, Billy Bragg, KT Tunstall, James McMurtry, Teddy Thompson, Rosanne Cash, Alejandro Escovedo, Alexi Murdoch, Shawn Colvin, Eliza Gilkyson (and there are still 19 more!).

JJ Baron – Brand New Stranger (2005)
Americana with a rock edge. I was re-listening to this CD today and realized that it fits so comfortably into everything else I’m listening to these days. CDs like this give me faith that as the large record companies crumble, the music will survive. Check out JJ at .

Spottiswoode & McMahon – S&M (2006)
Spottiswoode has some strange friends, but we knew that. Although there may be some kinky sex going on here, S&M is really about people; strange, unusual people. Or maybe not. Maybe that’s the point. The whole CD has a very European sound which is perfect when dealing in the depravities chronicled here.

Jenny Owen Youngs – Batten the Hatches (2005)
This is more than a one song CD, but still, there is one really hot song on this CD that stands out. It’s called “F*ck Was I” and I can’t help but think about those old V-8 commercials, “I could have had a V-8”. You get the point. But after you’ve listened to it a few dozen times you’ll be ready to eat up the rest of this young singer/songwriter’s music.

Guster – Ganging Up on the Sun (2006)
These guys know how to make a song sing. It is somewhere between modern rock and just pure pop music. Every CD sounds great.

The Little Willies – The Little Willies (2006)
This is Norah Jones’ country side project. It is a fun trip south made perfect with the hilarious story of seeing Lou Reed cow tipping called “Lou Reed”.

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