Every year there are a few records that don’t make it on to my top ten list that are still worth mentioning as part of the year end roundups. Any of these records could have made the top ten but were just edged out by the competition.
Margaret Glaspy ‘Emotions and Math’
This New York-based singer-songwriter has produced one of the more resonant records this year. She has a superlative voice and a compelling style on the guitar. Glaspy’s lyrics place the listener in the moment with her. There is a coy sense of presence in this record that just works. Her confidence and vision never falter. This is one hell of a debut record.
Huerco S. ‘For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)’
Producer Huerco S. produces ghostly ambient sounds that seem to idle in place—oscillating around one particular idea or sound. This album has a meditative quality. The songs eschew the self-conscious markers of development and time and simply exist. This was my headphone record for the year. Each listen reveals a bit more of the intricate pattern that has been constructed here.
After the excellence of last year’s Star Wars, Wilco has returned with a relatively simple but supremely confident effort in Schmilco. This record certainly sounds like a Wilco record. Really it is the distillation of the band that Wilco has become over the past ten years. The largely acoustic effort, feels effortlessly comfortable for Tweedy and company.
Frankie Cosmos ‘Next Thing’
Greta Klein has perfected her low-fi sound on this record. There is a poetic quality to the lyrics that carries the listener through the emotional reality of the songs. This is an album to get swept up in, it will bear as much attention as you give and always reward repeated listenings.
Basia Bulat ‘Good Advice’
The first thing I thought on hearing this record is that it is the album that Natalie Merchant should have released after Ophelia. Bulat has developed his style and voice beautifully. This record is warm and playful. Here she draws on a long tradition of alternative folk and comes up with an outstanding effort.
Christmas in New Orleans
If you are looking to slip out of the house this weekend and catch a bit of music there are plenty of excellent options. Tonight and tomorrow night Harry Shearer and Judith Owen will stop at Le Petite with their annual Christmas show. On Friday, Flowtribe will be hosting their Christmas Crunktacular at Tips with Motel Radio as the opening act. Christmas Eve night you can catch Cole Williams Band at Marigny Brasserie. On Christmas night Benny Grunch and Geno Delafose will be at Rock’n’Bowl. On Tuesday and Wednesday Dr. John and the Nite Trippers will have a two night stand at Tips. Leyla McCalla opens the show on Tuesday and the Stooges Brass Band will open on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday you can catch the Uptown Jazz Orchestra at Snug with shows at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
To Listen This Week
- The Oh Hellos did a holiday concert over at the Tiny Desk via NPR
- Bleached’s Jennifer Clavin released a pair of acoustic covers to benefit Planned Parenthood via Bandcamp
- Another new cut from the Flaming Lips via Youtube