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Artists To Watch 2017

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Eyeball
Again this year my music buying was mostly online, free tracks from NoiseTrade, Google Play, and Amazon as well as preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and PledgeMusic.

Here’s a playlist of everything available on soundcloud.com.

Band Song Why them
01. Look Park Shout Part 1 Chris Collingwood leaves Fountains of Wayne, but brings Winterpills.
02. The Dollyrots Save Me Power pop punk parents.
03. Tommy Gann Medicine A Todd Wright co-write he sings at his shows.
04. Letters To Cleo Can’t Say Reunited and it feels so good.
05. Miike Snow Genghis Khan The video is great, but so’s the song.
06. Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion Chairman Meow Woody’s granddaughter goes in a different direction, but I like it.
07. Elle Macho Your Sister Called Butterfly Boucher returns as part of this trio.
08. Ryan Wright More Than You Another Todd Wright co-write, this time with his daughter.
09. AJR Weak Brothers who toured with Ingrid Michaelson, good match.
10. The Krickets Guinevere Lovely folk harmonies.
11. Pop Etc Please, Don’t Forget Me Released a lot of great covers as The Morning Benders before coming out with their own stuff.
12. Valerie Vigoda Just Getting Good GrooveLily singer and violin player goes solo.
13. The Cowards Choir Name The Fear Local Andy Zipf’s new band.
14. The Accidentals Parking Lot Wants to work with Ben Folds and Jack White – sounds about right.
15. Miles to Dayton Reason And Rhyme Second married couple in this year’s mix.
16. No Fuss and Feathers Union Pacific Folk supergroup with an ex-Red Molly.
17. Tom Chaplin Still Waiting Keane frontman tries the solo scene.
18. Cimorelli Up At Night Six sisters singing.
19. Abbie Gardner & Jesse Terry Joyful Noise Speaking of Red Molly, here’s Abbie with her tourmate.
20. Applewood Road Honey Won’t You Amy Speace’s new trio.
21. The Legal Matters Anything Power pop pizazz.
22. Infamous Stringdusters Run To Heaven I like Aoife O’Donovan solo, but still miss Crooked Still. This track is the closest thing since they split up.
23. Johnny Kasun and Caroline Powers Haven’t Seen The Sun Todd Wright co-write one more time.
24. Birds of Chicago Dim Star Of The Palisades Lovely song to end on.

Artists To Watch 2016

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Eyeball
Again this year my music buying was mostly online, free tracks from NoiseTrade, Google Play, and Amazon as well as preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and PledgeMusic.

Band Song Why them
01. Alan Doyle 1,2,3,4 If Great Big Sea is no more, we’ll be sad, but Alan solo is still great.
02. Charli XCX & Bleachers Rollercoaster Bleachers released a free album, collaborating with other artists on all the songs off 2014’s Strange Desire. This was one of the best originals.
03. Au Pair In Every Window Gary Louris has a new Jayhawks album with a classic lineup coming out next year (and produced by Peter Buck), but he still found time to start another band with Django Haskins (from The Old Ceremony).
04. I’m With Her Crossing Muddy Waters Aoife O’Donovan (from Crooked Still) and Sara Watkins (from Nickel Creek) are joined by Sarah Jarosz. It sounds as good as you can imagine.
05. Barnstar! Darling Mark Erelli and the Armerding brothers with a touch of country.
06. Found Wandering That Home Far Away Their Christmas album was a must buy after one listen, and so was this.
07. Da Costa I Can’t Stop It Anthony da Costa has a power trio. ‘Nuff said.
08. Della Mae Boston Town Great song, production, and harmonies.
09. Cal Everett Older Now Former 4 Out of 5 Doctors frontman is back.
10. Kristin Andreassen The Boat Song (Gondolier) The slowest tempo of any song here (I love a pop tempo), but couldn’t get it out of my head.
11. Bombadil Amy’s Friend Delicate chamber pop, reminded me of Winterpills.
12. Cassidy Ford Monster A Todd Wright discovery and co-write.
13. love+war Lost I found them because they mashed up Sam Smith/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (see this for more info), but it turned out they had good songs too.
14. Watkins Family Hour Steal Your Heart Away Sara Watkins’ second appearance here, this time with her brother (and some killer pedal steel from Greg Leisz) on an amazing Fleetwood Mac cover.
15. Darlingside The Ancestor A nice Mumford/Lumineers vibe.
16. The Empty Pockets Find Or Fail A Facebook ad that worked on me.
17. The Sea The Sea How Will We Know FRFF folks making a joyful noise.
18. The Pine Hill Project Sweetest Thing Richard Shindell & Lucy Kaplansky reunite years after Cry, Cry, Cry for a new album with this fine U2 B-side cover. I also liked their cover of “Farewell To Saint Dolores”, but not as much as this one.
19. The Boxcar Lilies Home Tight harmonies from these FRFF vets.
20. Jamie Lawson Wasn’t Expecting That Ed Sheeran’s first signing to his label for obvious reasons.
21. Emily Hearn Volcano Powerful pop found via Luke Brindley.
22. The Lowlifes A Spark Matt Pond was having issues with his label and manager, so started a new band and released an album better that the other one he put out this year.
23. Kat Robichaud Somebody Call The Doctor One Doctor? Three Doctors? Five Doctors? You decide.
24. Michael Clem Going Back To Llanfairpwll-gwyngyllgogerych-wyrndrobwllllanty-siliogogogoch Eddie From Ohio singer/songwriter back with his first solo album in 10 years.

Artists To Watch 2015

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Eyeball
Again this year my music buying was mostly online, free tracks from NoiseTrade, Google Play, and Amazon as well as preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and PledgeMusic.

This year was marked by a lot of unexpected collaborations.

Band Song Why them
01. The Family Crest Beneath The Brine Unexpected instrumentation and tempo.
02. Robbie Schaefer No More Goodbyes Collaboration #1: Robbie formed a trio for this recording with Jake Armerding and Rachael Davis.
03. Bobtown Across The River Falcon Ridge faves with fine voices melding together.
04. The Silent War We Are Broken Collaboration #2: Adrianne Gonzalez and Garrison Starr join forces officially.
05. Team Mathias A Thousand Years Collaboration #3: Todd Wright with Toby Lightman and Taylor Carson to raise funds for Team Mathias.
06. Early Winters Love Won’t Leave Me Alone Carina Round plays with Puscifer and Tears for Fears and of course formed an Americana band with harmonies.
07. Pearl and the Beard You A folk-pop trio I saw on a whim at Barns At Wolf Trap when the family was out of town.
08. Space Elevator Elevator And now it’s time for the big dumb rock with harmonies. Speaking of…
09. Hurtsmile Rock & Roll Cliché Extreme’s Gary Cherone is back with a band that tends towards the harder side.
10. The Both Milwaukee Collaboration #4: Didja know Aimee Mann and Ted Leo formed a band? And it’s good?
11. The Grownup Noise New Outsiders Catchy pop, just got a nice review here.
12. Toby Lightman Running From Love More dance oriented that her last album, but still a great chorus.
13. Coin It’s Okay Power poppers found because they toured with Jukebox the Ghost.
14. Owen Danoff Never Been Kissed Local (and son of Bill Danoff) does just fine on his own.
15. The Once We Are All Running Canadian folkies with nice harmonies.
16. Johnnyswim Diamonds Husband and wife duo with a big sound.
17. Twin Forks Back To You Collaboration #5: Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba starts an Americana band and it’s darn good.
18. Dan Wilson I Can Never Stay Mad at You And I can never stay away from the beautiful pop from the ex-Semisonic frontman.
19. The Whiskey Switch Minnesota Collaboration #6: Luke Brindley forms a trio with Taylor Swift sideman Mike Meadows on banjo and mandolin and Laura Tsaggaris.
20. Mouths of Babes River On Your Right Collaboration #7: Girlyman’s Ty Greenstein and Coyote Grace’s Ingrid Elizabeth form a band (and couple).
21. We’re About 9 A Beautiful Fear (Write It All Down) Locals still making some damn good music.

Artists To Watch 2014

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Eyeballs
This year my music buying was mostly online, free tracks from NoiseTrade, Google Play, and Amazon as well as preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and PledgeMusic. The first song is special to me, though, as it’s the first song I’ve commissioned.

Band Song Why them
01. Nate Borofsky
Nina
Two great CDs from the former Girlyman singer this year.
02. Badger Whatever Happened 2 Us? Extreme’s bassist steps out on his own with help from Bleu.
03. emmet swimming Heading South Two local groups, both of whom I’ve seen more than any other bands…
04. The Excentrics Same Diane both put out new CDs this year for the first time in 15 years.
05. Carbon Leaf The Donnybrook Affair Another local group, this one with 2 CDs released this year – this track is more traditional.
06. Brindley The Laughter Song And even more impressive, the Jammin’ Java owner put out a song a week this year.
07. Foy Vance Closed Hand, Full Of Friends Speaking of Jammin’ Java, this Irish singer played to a packed house there in November.
08. Jules Larson Best Is Yet To Come I found her from her EP with Adrianne Gonzalez, but this song was my favorite of hers.
09. Born Cages Don’t Look Back Excellent poppy mess.
10. Hey Ocean! Big Blue Wave Why does a Canadian group sound like they’re from Southern California? Who cares!
11. Bastille Pompeii Chanting + pop = genius.
12. Minor Alps I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands Minor key goodness from Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws (Nada Surf).
13. Vegas With Randolph Salt Water Taffy Local power-poppers.
14. South Rail Everybody Knows It Local Americana, sweet blended voices.
15. Blue Sky Riders Dream It’s not a surprise Kenny Loggins can write a good song, just that he’s started a new group at this point.
16. Joy Kills Sorrow Was It You If you’re missing your Crooked Still fix.
17. The Hunts Make This Leap A family band that was a surprise hit at the Herndon Festival.
18. Poor Old Shine Ghosts Next Door A nice Falcon Ridge find.
19. Amy Speace The Sea And The Shore (with John Fullbright) A great idea for a song, elegantly rendered.
20. pomDeter Call Me A Hole And as a palate cleanser, enjoy my favorite mashup.

Leftovers (in no particular order):
The Civil Wars – The One That Got Away
Mikal Cronin – Weight
Caitlin Rose – Only A Clown
The CO – Frequency
Matt Costa – Good Times
Josh Rouse – Julie (Come Out of The Rain)
Over The Rhine – Meet Me At The Edge Of The World
CHVRCHES – We Sink
Laura Cortese – Into The Dark
Wild Feathers – The Ceiling
The Deadly Gentlemen – Bored of the Raging
Raina Rose – Swing Wide The Gate
Katie Herzig – Little Bit Of Love
Corin Ashley – Badfinger Bridge
Eleanor Friedberger – Stare At The Sun
Aoife O’Donovan – Red & White & Blue & Gold
Lily & Madeleine – Tired
Deerhunter – Back to the Middle
Rosi Golan – If You Stay
Sarah Miles – Stand Up
The Head and the Heart – Shake
Django Jones – Counterpoint
Melissa Christopher Green – Blue
Foxygen – No Destruction
Liz Longley – This Is Not The End
Matt Pond – Love to Get Used
Phosphorescent – Ride On / Right On
Ed Roland & the Sweet Tea Project – Love Won’t Bring Us Down
Ruut – Glimpse
Smallpools – Dreaming
Sons of Fathers – Roots & Vine
Wooly & the Mammoth – We Are Love
The Boxcar Lilies – Lightnin’

Artists To Watch 2013

Friday, December 14th, 2012
Band Song Why them
01. Air Traffic Controller Hurry Hurry From Boston, produced by Bleu, totally catchy.
02. Bleu It’s Not Over (‘Til it’s Over And Done) Speaking of Bleu, possible first artist at the Lakeside House Concert.
03. The Rescues Did It Really Even Matter? Love this chorus.
04. Winterpills Rogue Highway Lovely chamber pop.
05. David Wax Museum Born With A Broken Heart Paul Simon-esque.
06. Marina and The Diamonds Primadonna Bold, brassy voice.
07. Great Lake Swimmers Easy Come Easy Go Summer music.
08. Royal Teeth Wild Vampire weekend-esque.
09. The Wellspring Willing To Lose Buckingham-Nicks-esque.
10. Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra Want It Back Great 80s vibe.
11. Alan Doyle I’ve Seen a Little Great Big Sea frontman.
12. Emeli Sandé Next To Me The next Adele?
13. Anthony da Costa St. Therese Fave FRFF alum.
14. Barnaby Bright Made Up Of From our NYC peeps.
15. Nate Ihara Count Me In A song cowritten by Todd Wright.
16. Pesky J. Nixon Talk About Heaven Speaking of FRFF, these guys camp near us.
17. Marie Miller You’re Not Alone Nice voice.
18. Spuyten Duyvil Freight Train Love the groove.
19. Paul Cusick Everything This guy loves Steven Wilson so much, he uses both of his drummers. The feeling is more 90s Rush, though.
20. Matthew Perryman Jones Land Of The Living Starts slow, but it builds.
21. Robby Hecht A Reckoning Of Us Red Molly had him sing this at The Barns, and with good reason.
22. Todd Wright Home He doesn’t sing so much anymore, but when he does it’s a doozy (tough choice between this and this).

Leftovers (in no particular order):
Kate Miller-Heidke – Ride This Feeling
Jack and White – Night After Night
Freelance Whales – Spitting Image
Family Of The Year – Living On Love
Tony Vincent – Starting Over
Alabama Shakes – Hold On
Antje Duvekot – Noah’s Titanic
Ben Arthur – If Anyone Can Save Me
These United States – Born Young
The Adventures Of – Complication
Jesca Hoop – Hospital (Win Your Love)
Jenny Owen Youngs – Born To Lose
Jukebox the Ghost – Oh, Emily
Mika – Love You When I’m Drunk
Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
Parks – Sweater Weather
Walk Off The Earth – Gang Of Rhythm

Artists To Watch 2012

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Band Song Next area appearance Why them
01. The Jayhawks She Walks In So Many Ways I love The Jayhawks so much, and was thrilled with their first new album since 2002 and the first one with co-founder Mark Olson since 1995’s masterpiece Tomorrow The Green Grass.
02. Martin Solveig featuring Dragonette Hello Yeah, I heard it in a commercial, but it’s so catchy.
03. Bleu B.O.S.T.O.N. This one’s for all my Boston peeps.
04. Butterfly Boucher Not Foolin’ Around Tonight I’ve liked her for a while, but this track really took me by surprise.
05. Jonathan Coulton Sucker Punch 02/17/12 Rams Head Live! Only his second studio album, this time appropriately produced by a member of TMBG.
06. Rachael Yamagata Starlight 03/27/12 Birchmere Can’t resist her sultry voice.
07. Pat McGee Release 01/07/12 Birchmere The Virginia native back again with a nice selection. Jill would like you to know she preferred “Juliet” (on the leftovers).
08. Native Run Let Me Down Easy 12/31/11 Jammin’ Java Can never go wrong with a Todd Wright song.
09. Butch Walker Summer Of ’89 He’s been around for a long time, but this song just grabbed me from the start.
10. The Head And The Heart Lost in My Mind 03/20/12 Rams Head Live! This track has a Gomez feel, and the one on the leftovers has a Ben Folds feel. Tough choice.
11. Dawes A Little Bit Of Everything The second coming of Jackson Browne.
12. The Joy Formidable Whirring An updated Smashing Pumpkins (if Billy Corgan was a woman (but not bald)).
13. Blackfield Blood I’ve featured them before, but this song has their other singer on vox, Israeli singer Aviv Geffen (great driving song).
14. The Naked And Famous Young Blood 04/02/12 The National An Australian band with a cool sound.
15. Matt Wertz Someone Like You I just like the sound of his voice with the guitar and percussion.
16. Billy Bauer Band Maybe Tomorrow A Herndon Festival alumnus with a DMB feel.
17. Thea Gilmore The Difference A great song for a good cause.
18. Bill Michalski Little Black Hole The Mayor of Shantytowne with his first solo EP.

Leftovers (in no particular order):
A.J. Roach – The Poet
Beth Patterson – Range Rover
Crooked Still – It’ll End Too Soon
Dawes – So Well
Ember Swift – I Could Stay Here
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Great Lake Swimmers – Pulling On A Line
Hurtsmile – Love Thy Neighbor
John Popper & The Duskray Troubadours – Love Has Made It So
Mates Of State – Palomino
My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
Pat McGee – Juliet
Red Molly – Hold It All
Sara Radle – The Pins
Shane Hines – Leave It All Behind
Steven Wilson – Postcard
Telekinesis – Car Crash
The Decemberists – June Hymn
The Head And The Heart – Ghosts
The Jane Austen Argument – Holes
The Jezabels – Endless Summer
Tori Amos – Carry
Wax Audio – Thunder Busters

Artists To Watch 2011

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
Band Song Next area appearance Why them
01. The New Pornographers Crash Years I’m a sucker for harmonies, and as soon as I heard this for the first time, said “I must see them live” (and it was great).
02. John Butler Trio One Way Road I knew they’d be performing at the Arias, and this groove is just killer.
03. Todd Wright With You 2/3/11 Jammin’ Java The end of 40×40 (40 songs in 40 weeks by his 40th birthday, all proceeds go to The American Diabetes Association) and still going strong.
04. Josh Ritter Change Of Time 2/14/11 9:30 Club What a gorgeous chorus.
05. Birds Of Tokyo Plans Another Australian band, good rock anthem.
06. Court Yard Hounds The Coast 2 of 3 Dixie Chicks, no Natalie, but not a problem with a song as good as this.
07. Luke Brindley We Go Together His new album is quiet, but powerful.
08. Dala Levi Blues Female duo from Canada, great voices.
09. Mumford & Sons Little Lion Man English folk group with a lot of buzz. Language warning on this, though.
10. US Rails Rainwater 4 of the 5 guys from 4 Way Street reunite with Tom Gillam with rootsy harmonies.
11. Jukebox The Ghost Empire The piano pop phenoms return with a new song that’s just as catchy as the last couple.
12. Shiny Toy Guns You Are The One Best ’80s throwback (think Animotion).
13. Slash Beautiful Dangerous I would not have thought Slash would go well with Fergie until I heard this.
14. The Blackjacks Queen Of The Night Local blues rock roughnecks.
15. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals Paris 3/12/11 9:30 Club If you haven’t heard this on the radio, you probably will soon.
16. The Rescues Break Me Out They got a lot of attention with their cover of Teenage Dream, but this song shows why the could be around for a while.
17. Middle Distance Runner The Sun & Earth Local faves and Herndon Festival vets. The best song on their new one.
18. The Verses Running Away Yet another Australian band, from the brother and sister that brought you Killing Heidi.
19. Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams Trans-Slambovian Bi-Polar Express The prog-rock-jam-band-hippie-good-time extravaganza returns.
20. Gaelic Storm Rum Runners 3/21-22/11 Ram’s Head For all you Great Big Sea fans.

Leftovers (in no particular order):
Alain Johannes – Return To You
Angus and Julia Stone – Big Jet Plane
Barenaked Ladies – You Run Away
Blitzen Trapper – Heaven And Earth
Coheed And Cambria – World Of Lines
Crooked Still – The Golden Vanity
Dum Dum Girls – Jail La La
Exit Clov – Kindest Creatures
Fistful Of Mercy – Fistful Of Mercy
Foxy Shazam – Bye Bye Symphony
Gomez – Little Pieces
Great Big Sea – Wandering Ways
Justin Jones – Little Fox
Lissie – Everywhere I Go
Liz Phair – Miss September
Local Natives – World News
Muse – Uprising
My Chemical Romance – Na Na Na
Red Molly – The Last Call
Robert Plant – Harm’s Swift Way
Rodrigo y Gabriela – Hanuman
Sara Bareilles – King Of Anything
Shawn Mullins – No Blue Sky
She & Him – Thieves
Steven Page – Indecision
The Decemberists – Down By The Water
The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
The Mynabirds – Numbers Don’t Lie
The Smashing Pumpkins – Freak
The Sword – How Heavy This Axe
These United States – Great Rivers
Visqueen – Hand Me Down

Artists To Watch 2010

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
Band Song Next area appearance Why them
01. A.J. Roach Chemicals My favorite new discovery at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (FRFF) this year, it starts off slow but I love the chorus: “They say that love is just a chemical reaction, I say that makes this all too hard to explain.”
02. K.C. Clifford Raise Your Voice 4/10/10 Panzer House Concert My second favorite new discovery at FRFF.
03. Tinted Windows Kind Of A Girl 2009 was a good year for supergroups. Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne writes great pop songs, and Taylor Hanson is a good singer.
04. Mates Of State The Re-arranger Our favorite discovery at the Virgin Festival, a great poppy duo.
05. Mika Blame It On the Girls I really enjoyed his last album, and the new one is more of the same.
06. Adrianne You Make It Look So Easy I don’t know how I was unaware of her before, her new album was cowritten with Nate Borofsky of Girlyman.
07. Drivin’ N Cryin’ (Whatever Happened To The) Great American Bubble Factory Wow, first album in 12 years and it’s just a barn burner for these Southern rockers.
08. The Droge & Summers Blend Sad Clown I’ve liked Pete Droge since his first album. He’s been working with Elaine Summers for a long time, and they got married this year, releasing an EP to celebrate.
09. Yonder Mountain String Band Complicated While the band is bluegrass based, this song is not very bluegrass at all – but I like it.
10. Girlyman Storms Were Mine 3/13/10 Jammin’ Java I almost went with “Everything’s Easy” for the clashing harmonies, but this is the strongest song on the CD.
11. Jake Armerding Harry/Sally 1/16/10 Birchmere I knew Jake was a fiddler extraordinaire, but until this year I wasn’t familiar with his original songs.
12. Winterpills You Don’t Love Me Yet Dark chamber pop with a gorgeous chourus.
13. Mark Olson & Gary Louris Bloody Hands The Jayhawks singers return with a album of duets including this tasty murder ballad.
14. Bob Schneider 40 Dogs (Like Romeo And Juliet) A lot of good songs on his new album, but the single is the best of the lot.
15. Liz Longley Rush 4/24/10 Birchmere A FRFF find, a truly impressive voice.
16. Anthony da Costa I Am Way Too Much 4/17/10 Birchmere Another FRFF find, this tune’s off his fourth album, pretty impressive since he just graduated high school.
17. Todd Wright Giving Up 12/22/09 Jammin’ Java 40×40, 40 songs in 40 weeks by his 40th birthday. Impressive goal, and all proceeds go to The American Diabetes Association.
18. Greencards The Avenue I’ve been following them for a while, and we finally got a chance to see them at the Austin City Limits Music Festival this year.
19. Los Paperboys Rain On Me A great Paul Simon-esque tune from these guys. Eddie from Ohio fans know lead singer Tom Landa as “Tommy the Canexican”.
20. Chickenfoot My Kinda Girl My favorite Van Halen singer is Sammy Hagar, so when you take him and Michael Anthony on bass and backing vox and add a world class guitarist (Joe Satriani and drummer (Chad Smith of RHCP), I’m sold.
21. Them Crooked Vultures Dead End Friends Last, but only because they’re so heavy it’s a little out of place in the other tracks. Best new live supergroup, Josh Homme on vox and guitars is good, but Dave Grohl on drums (and backing vox) with John Paul Jones on bass are just unbelievable.

Leftovers (in no particular order):
Anne Heaton – Crystallize
Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers – A (With Love)
Carbon Leaf – Miss Hollywood
Matthew Sweet – Byrdgirl
One EskimO – Hometime
Beth Patterson – Red Giant
Dream Theater – Wither
Ellis Paul – Annalee
thenewno2 – Yomp
Assembly Of Dust – All That I Am Now
emmet swimming – Waving At Cars
Lentic – Burn
Lucero – What Are You Willing To Lose
Rusted Root – Suspicious Minds
The Bittersweets – Goodnight, San Francisco
Kelleigh McKenzie – O Mother
Miranda Lambert – I Just Really Miss You
Alice In Chains – Lesson Learned
Rachael Yamagata – Sidedish Friend
Matt and Kim – Lessons Learned
Benjy Ferree – Fear
Porcupine Tree – Remember Me Lover
Slaid Cleaves – Cry
Antje Duvekot – Vertigo
Alberta Cross – Taking Control
Alternate Routes – All That I See
Meg Hutchinson – Ready
Sister Hazel – Take A Bow
Collective Soul – You
Caroline Herring – Tales of the Islander

Artists To Watch 2009

Monday, December 15th, 2008
Band Song Next area appearance Why them
01. Jukebox The Ghost Hold It In Change is in the air, and what better sounds to start off with the best new local group, a jangly bit of piano pop. Check out the video for some nice Peanuts based humor.
02. Katy Perry Hot N Cold 4/10/09 9:30 You’ve probably heard it already, but I just could not get it out of my head. If you’re earwormed too, you’re welcome.
03. Lindsey Buckingham The Right Place to Fade 3/10/09 Verizon Center The Fleetwood Mac pop mastermind veers back to sounding like his band after his last solo album, and that’s a good thing.
04. Red Molly May I Suggest 1/18/08 Birchmere While the three members are talented players (not just guitar, also banjo, Dobro and mandolin), it’s this acapella number that grabbed me.
05. Ben Arthur Tattoo The first (of three) videos I recorded.
06. Crooked Still Did You Sleep Well? Artists To Watch vets, back with a new lineup and great songs (and another video of mine).
07. Gary Louris She Only Calls Me On Sundays 2/10/09 Birchmere The ex-Jayhawk marries his sound with some gospel. Great album and tour, but next year he re-teams with Mark Olson – watch out for that.
08. Ellis Paul Abiola 1/16/09 Andy’s From his kids album, a scintillating duet with Antje Duvekot.
09. Jim Boggia To And Fro The power pop master returns with another round of great songs.
10. She And Him Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? This list doesn’t mesh too often with the best of lists, but the collaboration of actress Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward is something special.
11. Jim’s Big Ego Everything Must Go 1/22/09 Jammin’ Java My favorite song about death all year. Jim’s duet partner is Jennifer Kimball.
12. Vampire Weekend Oxford Comma 2/28/08 Richmond Coliseum Again a popular choice, but their Paul Simon/Peter Gabriel influenced world pop is danged catchy.
13. Dar Williams Buzzer 1/26/09 The National I’ll bet we’ll never hear a poppier song based on the social psychology experiments. Also the last of my videos.
14. Steven Wilson Harmony Korine From the Porcupine Tree mastermind’s first solo record. I don’t like it as much as the Tree, but it’s still got a great riff.
15. Great Big Sea Company of Fools Listen to this and you’ll know why we want to go on a cruise with them.
16. Thea Gilmore Rosie A softer track than usual, but a nice melody.
17. Extreme Run They reunited two years ago, but this year they wrote a new album, here’s the best groove.
18. The Feeling I Thought It Was Over These guys are huge in the UK, this is why.
19. Lenka The Show 5/?/09 Herndon Festival There were lots of female singer/piano players this year (Sara Bareilles was good too), but only Lenka will be playing minutes away from us next summer.
20. Queen + Paul Rodgers Say It’s Not True This song is a great summary for the supergroup – Brian and Roger start on their own, then Paul swoops in – it’s a kind of magic.
21. Robbie Schaefer Evergreen 1/16-18/08 Birchmere The reason I couldn’t finish until the last minute, the CD was not released until a day before our party. A lovely coda for the disc and the year.

Leftovers (in no particular order):
Absentstar – Half Life
Amanda Palmer – The Point of It All
Amie Miriello – I Came Around
Ben’s Brother – Stuttering
Catie Curtis – Soul Meets Body
Gemma Hayes – Out Of Our Hands (featuring Kevin Shields)
Kate Voegele – Only Fooling Myself
Matt Nathanson – Gone
Natalia Zukerman – Better Me
Ruut – Sweetest Thing
Slow Runner – Trying To Put Your Heart Back Together
Snow Patrol – Crack The Shutters
The Takeover UK – Lean On It
These United States – The Business

No Christmas mix CD this year – barely got one disc done in time. Maybe I’ll plan better next year.

Holidays = mixes

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

If it’s the night of our annual holiday party, it’s also time for my Artists To Watch mix, featuring the music I think you should keep an eye out for in 2008 (guests of the Freys receive a complimentary copy).

Band Song Next area appearance Why them
01. Blackfield Once Steven Wilson’s side project from his regular band, an early choice for best song and remained unsurpassed.
02. Mika Lollipop 1/31/08 Electric Factory So many choices off his debut to choose from, but this is the catchiest (and shows off his range).
03. The Feeling Love It When You Call My fave new Britpop act.
04. Kay Hanley It Hurts Former lead singer of Letters To Cleo, currently doing backup on the Hannah Montana tour (is that why it hurts, Kay?).
05. Jeremy Fisher Scar That Never Heals Maybe I was in a Paul Simon mood this year, first of two to call him to mind.
06. Jenny Owen Youngs Drinking Song 1/9/08 Kennedy Center Millennium Stage A potty mouth reminiscent of Liz Phair, she puts on a fun show.
07. The Sketches Dizzy 1/4/08 Black Cat Local group with a talent for a melody.
08. Regina Spektor Better Kind of a cross between Tori Amos and Norah Jones.
09. Dan Wilson All Kinds The former Semisonic frontman releases his first solo album a year after winning a Grammy for cowriting the Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice”.
10. The Frames Falling Slowly The movie “Once” features Glen Hansard (of The Frames) & Marketa Irglova, and this is the original version of one of the songs.
11. Dick Prall The Cornflakes Song Catchiest song I found through Paste this year.
12. Little Big Town Vapor 2/28/08 Richmond Coliseum A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll (can you tell they’re mostly influenced by Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles?).
13. Ben’s Brother Time Another British group, softer sound like Keane.
14. Antje Duvekot Pearls Jill’s fave new artist.
15. Mark Olson Poor Michael’s Boat Former Jayhawks bandmate Gary Louris co-wrote and sang on this.
16. Brett Dennen Darlin’ Do Not Fear The other one with the Paul Simon vibe.
17. The Strangelings Johnny Come Down To Hilo Three folk duos form a band.
18. Matt Nathanson Car Crash 1/31/08 Recher Theatre Singer/songwriter going for a grandiose moment.
19. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) Ok, you’ve heard of them, but never heard them together. It’s not Zep or Union Station, but it’s good.
20. Stephen Kellogg Why Are You Talking To Me 12/31/07 Jammin’ Java One of the best live acts around.

Leftovers (in no particular order):
Feist1234
The Last Town ChorusModern Love
Queen + Paul RodgersSay It’s Not True
Georgie JamesCake Parade
Orba SquaraPerfect Timing (This Morning)
The PietastersDon’t Wanna Know
Ari HestRight Of Way
EllisHurricane
Gin BlossomsLong Time Gone
Lucy KaplanskyManhattan Moon
Luke BrindleyDon’t Want To Lose You
Miranda LambertGunpowder And Lead
Pat McGee BandMaybe It’s Time
Paula ColeComin’ Down
Thea GilmoreTeacher, Teacher
Vienna TengHarbor
Porcupine TreeFear Of A Blank Planet
Pepper’s GhostHow ‘Bout It Now
Sick PuppiesMy World
SpoonThe Underdog
Dream TheaterForsaken
The FrustrationsNerdy Little Secret
Eric HutchinsonRock And Roll
Ingrid MichaelsonKeep Breathing
Priscilla AhnRain

And I made a third Christmas mix CD. I ultimately decided not to use any songs that I’ve had on the other two (even though I’ve got two other great versions of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”) as I had an abundance of choices without them. I also limited myself to one artist per CD (that means years of fun to come from BNL). And there’s still a number of classic tunes that haven’t been represented yet – haven’t found versions that really spoke to me. Maybe next year!

  1. Snow Song (It’s Coming Down) – Groovelily
  2. Let It Snow – Dar Williams
  3. Christmas – Blues Traveler
  4. Donde Esta Santa Claus – Guster
  5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Marah
  6. Oi To The World – No Doubt
  7. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Ronette Spector and Darlene Love
  8. Mary XMess – Sun 60
  9. Jingle Bell Rock – Katie Mac
  10. Merry Christmas Baby – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
  11. All I Want For Christmas Is You – My Chemical Romance
  12. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings – Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan
  13. Fairytale Of New York – Stars
  14. Chiron Beta Prime – Jonathan Coulton
  15. Santa Baby – Michelle Malone
  16. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
  17. On Christmas Day – Pete Droge
  18. Away In A Manger – Mindy Smith with Alison Krauss
  19. I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Aimee Mann
  20. Angels We Have Heard On High – Sufjan Stevens
  21. Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming – Feist
  22. Christmas Canon – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  23. ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – Various artists