Artists To Watch 2009

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

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

Holiday time means new mixes

My annual giveaway Christmas party mix of Artists To Watch for 2007:

Band Song Next appearance Why them
01. Ember Swift Some Fine Day I was alerted to her by my friend Meg. Catchy folk pop, this tune’s got a nice ska tinge.
02. Jonathan Coulton Code Monkey 12/17/06 Jammin’ Java One of my favorite discoveries of the year, via slashdot.org. Funny songs, ala Weird Al’s songs that aren’t parodies, but good melodies too. This one just speaks to me (guess why).
03. Hem Not California Ok, I found out one of the members was a childhood friend, but that doesn’t take anything away from their charming chamber pop.
04. Gomez See The World 1/26/07 Patriot Center Opened for Dave Matthews Band this past summer, a nice poppy British band.
05. Heather Nova Mesmerized I just love, love, love her voice.
06. Winterpills Laughing Massachusetts based band I saw at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, gorgeous gloomy harmonies.
07. Catie Curtis It’s A Wonder 4/20/07 JMU I found her through a surprise show, but this song is no surprise – catchy folk.
08. Shane Hines And The Trance Slowly 1/12/07 Jammin’ Java Features Scott and Chuck from Quitter UK on backing vocals.
09. Red Molly Darlin’ Corey 2/3/07 Moore Music In The House 3 member harmonies, good folky tune also done by Crooked Still.
10. Porcupine Tree Lazarus Fast rising star in the progressive rock scene, a lovely ballad.
11. Neko Case Star Witness Member of the New Pornographers, she’s reached a new high with her solo work.
12. OK Go Here It Goes Again 3/23/07 Constitution Hall Sure, their video on YouTube was addicting, but it’s a great pop tune too.
13. Natalia Zukerman Anyway 4/27/07 Rams Head Acoustic folk from Jill’s new fave, we found her opening for Ember Swift.
14. Golden Smog Corvette Members of Jayhawks, Soul Asylum, and Wilco, great song featuring Gary Louris from the Jayhawks.
15. Lorraine a Malena It’s Just Me And Eve Lorraine Garland is Neil Gaiman’s personal assistant, and in each of the bands she’s been in, she’s done songs by Neil. This is the best one off her new album.
16. Brindley Brothers Up All Night 1/13/07 Iota A Jersey rocker from the local institution and coffeebar/rock club mavens.
17. The Veltz Family Come On Love Formerly known as Cecilia (the band), when their bass player left it was back to the original family. Smooth pop with harmonies.
18. My Chemical Romance Dead Formerly in the emo/punk scene, they’ve swung for the fences with an epic pop/rock concept album (with Green Day’s producer) and hit a grand slam.
19. Crooked Still Ain’t No Grave Rocking newgrass with the wickedest cello player ever.
20. Angie Aparo All Her Pretty Ways The man with the falsetto you can’t mistake for anyone else returns.
21. Nina Gordon Kiss Me ‘Til It Bleeds Remember Veruca Salt? Or “Tonight And The Rest Of My Life”? I do, and this is the catchy single off her new one.
22. Infidel, Inc Fix I’m glad I’m not the only one who remembers T-Ride. Their industrial funk deserves to survive, and I was glad two of the three members came back to play on this track.

Leftovers (in no particular order):
The Blackjacks – Malina
Paul and Storm – Hip-Shop
Great Big Sea – The River Driver
Leah Morgan – Square Plate Song
Jason Karaban – Perfect Falling Out
Mike Clem – I.S.O.
Gary Cherone – Need I Say More
David Gilmour – Take A Breath
Little Willies – Roly Poly
Robbie Schaefer – Professor Schnoodle
Eric Schwartz – Keep Your Jesus Off My Pen*s
Umphrey’s McGee – Believe The Lie
Lindsey Buckingham – To Try For The Sun
Ollabelle – Fall Back
Rhett Miller – Question
Barenaked Ladies – Bull In A China Shop
Shawn Mullins – Blue As You
Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs – She May Call You Up Tonight
The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost
Blue October – Into The Ocean
Gin Blossoms – Long Time Gone
Guster – Manifest Destiny
Railroad Earth – Elko
Blues Traveler – Amber Awaits
Keane – Maybe I Can Change
Live – The River
Pete Yorn – Alive
Chris Whitley – Last Million Miles
Robbie Williams – Spread Your Wings
John Popper Project – Everything
Thea Gilmore – Even Gods Do
Razorlight – In The Morning
Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell – Second Option
Dresden Dolls – Dirty Business
KT Tunstall – Suddenly I See
Queensryche – The Hands
Everclear – Hater
Ellis – How Would It Be
Sam Ashworth – Look Back
Lynn Carey Saylor – This Is Your Life
Nellie McKay – Swept Away
Carbon Leaf – Learn To Fly

And if listening to all that didn’t take enough time, I also made a second Christmas mix CD. I had enough songs left over after last year to make another, but ordered a bunch of CDs because there were some songs I didn’t have but needed (“Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You”, “Silent Night”, “Song For a Winter’s Night”, “What Child Is This”, “Wonderful Christmastime”, etc.).

  1. Silent Night – eddie from ohio
  2. O’ Come All Ye Faithful/O’ Holy Night – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  3. Carol Of The Bells – THEdeepEND
  4. Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You – Billy Squier
  5. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Hem
  6. Christmastime – Aimee Mann and Michael Penn
  7. I Believe In Father Chrismas – Emerson, Lake and Palmer
  8. River – Rachael Yamagata
  9. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear – Gary Hoey
  10. Last Christmas – Jimmy Eat World
  11. Silver Bells – Martina McBride
  12. Christmastime – Smashing Pumpkins
  13. Song For A Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan
  14. Father Christmas – Kinks
  15. What Child Is This – Dar Williams
  16. Rudolph – Jack Johnson
  17. Winter Wonderland – Liz Phair
  18. X-mas Time – Red Henry
  19. Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
  20. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – Less Than Jake
  21. Good King Wencelas – Loreena McKennit
  22. White Christmas – Goldfinger
  23. American Noel – Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer
  24. Christmas Time Again – Extreme
  25. Auld Lang Syne – Barenaked Ladies

This year’s holiday mixes

This is the third year in a row I’ve made a mix called “Artists To Watch” to give away for our holiday party. It’s a nice way for our friends to find out about our favorite new music.

Band Song Next appearance Why them
01. Quitter UK Young Again 1/13/06 9:30 Club Members of emmet swimming and Smartbomb, great chorus.
02. Queen + Paul Rodgers I Want It All 3/9/06 MCI Center Ok, not exactly a new band, but my favorite concert of 2005 and should be another good show in March (from their new live CD/DVD).
03. Crooked Still Orphan Girl We discovered them at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival last year, but didn’t get the CD until this year’s fest. A spirited update of the Gillian Welch song.
04. Marwood Name To Me No More Haven’t seen these guys yet, but they’ve opened for emmet swimming and I like the falsetto.
05. Jenny Lewis Handle With Care My ears perk up for the Traveling Wilburys (who will finally have their CDs go back into print in 2006). Jenny Lewis is the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, who opened for Coldplay in 2005. She’s joined here by the lead singers of Death Cab For Cutie and Bright Eyes to form an indie supergroup to cover this classic.
06. Jim Boggia Once 1/14/06 Birchmere The nicest love song I’ve heard in a while.
07. Nellie McKay The Big One 1/22/06 Birchmere She’s got a lot of influences and puts them all into her music.
08. O.A.R. Love And Memories The guys from Maryland with a more poppier song then their usual rock jams.
09. Girlyman Kittery Tide I know you were wondering when we’d get to some banjo.
10. Alternate Routes Who Cares 12/23/05 Jammin’ Java
11. Paul and Storm A Better Version Of You They’ve got a great new funny CD out, but I had to go with this web only track.
12. Tracy Grammer Gypsy Rose A new CD from Tracy with the remaining songs the late Dave Carter wrote.
13. Joseph Parsons Good Or Bad Like Jim Boggia , another 4 Way Street alumnus.
14. We’re About 9 Brooklyn 12/31/05 1st Night Alexandria Great harmonies.
15. Erin McKeown To The Stars 3/30/06 Birchmere We saw her open for Ani DiFranco last summer.
15. Getaway Car Big Time Lullabye 12/23/05 Jammin’ Java Todd has to be the funniest frontman around, but he still rocks out when he’s not amking you laugh.
17. Michael Penn On Automatic The “No Myth” guy is still around churning out pop gems like this.
18. Beth Patterson Darlin’ Please 2/12/06 The Old Brogue A nice twist.
19. Arrogant Worms Carrot Juice Is Murder Funny Canadiens, recorded live at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
20. Spoon I Summon You Stephen King’s pick for best single, and I like it too.
21. Sufjan Stevens Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing From his 2nd Christmas EP, a moving version of a hymn.

Leftovers (best with gravy):
Ben Arthur – Mary Ann
James Blunt – You’re Beautiful
Tracy Bonham – Something Beautiful
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Over and Over Again
Kris Delmhorst – Broken White Line
Greencards – Time
Juniper Lane – Apology
Anna Nalick – Breathe
Okkervil River – Black
Beth Orton – Conceived
Razorlight – Somewhere Else
Adam Richman – Mary-Anne
Waifs – Waitress

I also made a Christmas mix CD for the first time. I’ve already got enough songs left over to make volume 2, but that’ll wait for next year. Jill asked why I ended with two depressing songs, but my logic is keep it happy for as long as you can – just like life. Besides, they’re catchy.

  1. Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty
  2. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Barenaked Ladies
  3. 2000 Miles – Coldplay
  4. Blue Christmas – Collective Soul
  5. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2
  6. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Bruce Springsteen
  7. Christmas At Ground Zero – ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic
  8. Holly Jolly Christmas – Marah
  9. I Saw Three Ships – Sting
  10. Christmas Song – Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds
  11. Happy Xmas – John Lennon
  12. Please Come Home For Christmas – Eagles
  13. Christmas Song – Biohio
  14. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – John Mellencamp
  15. Step Into Christmas – Elton John
  16. Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen
  17. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  18. Little Drummer Boy – GrooveLily
  19. Joseph Was A Carpenter – eddie from ohio
  20. O Holy Night – Sufjan Stevens
  21. Silver Star – emmet swimming
  22. You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch – Whirling Dervishes
  23. Christmas – Getaway Car