Category Archives: List

Best albums of 2012: number 11 to 15

Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball 11

11. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

“They destroyed our families, factories, and they took our homes
They left our bodies on the plains, the vultures picked our bones”

This is an angry album, an angry album with triumphant music. It’s an album that is easily misunderstood, much like Born in the USA was. The music  sounds celebratory but the words are bitter and full of wrath. Wreckin Ball is Springsteen’s response to the ongoing financial crisis, and as openly political album as he’s ever made.

The scope is vast and he paints with broad strokes this time. He gives us a state of the union but the album also has intimate songs about the lives of individuals.  Bruce sings for the common man against a system that so clearly has failed him, he sings about how we’ll get through this together. He is still a romantic at heart.

…and the songs are even better live.

Hartfelt, angry, big rock’n roll full of hope.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: (Land of Hope and Dreams), This Depression, We Are Alive & Wrecking Ball
  • Hallgeir: Rocky Ground, This Depression, Land of Hope and Dreams


American Aquarium Burn Flicker Die 12

12. American Aquarium – Burn. Flicker. Die.

Every now and then she still crosses my mind
by ‘every now and then’,  I mean ‘most of the time’
by ‘most of the time’, I mean ‘all of the time’

This is the album that I’ve played most in the car this year, it is so good to drive to. It is anthemic rock’n roll in the Tom Petty, Drive-by Truckers, and most of all Bruce Springsteen,  tradition. American Aquarium may not be original, but the delivery sets them appart from most all the other roots-rockers.

BJ Barham is one of the best lyricist in alternative country/roots rock today. He spits out his sentences in perfect succession. His texts are clever and street smart at the same time.

The album is produced by Jason Isbell (who also plays on the record) and it sounds really good! Caitlin Cary and Spooner Oldham also guests on Burn. Flicker. Die.

Straight  rock’n roll with “Zevonesque” lyrics and ferocious delivery.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Cape Fear River, Lonely Ain’t Easy & Burn. flicker. die
  • Hallgeir: Lonely Ain’t Easy, Jacksonville, Casualties and Burn. flicker. die


Hiss Golden Messenger Poor Moon 13

13. Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon

This is Hiss Golden Messenger’s fourth album, but they’re new to me and what a great band they are. HGM consists of songwriter Mike C. Taylor and New York multi-instrumentalist Scott Hirsch, both formerly of San Fransisco based Court & Spark (Mike Taylor is sometimes alone  on the live events).

This  is country/soul. It is like Van Morrison’s celtic soul is mixed with Laurel Canyon songwriting and a bit of The Band thrown in, an incredibly potent mix.

It is a spiritual record, maybe even religious, the lyrics are dark and peppered with biblical themes, but the music often contradicts this ominous tone. The songs are what the first track on the album is called, Blue Country Mystic.

Spiritual, soulful americana.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Call him daylight, Jesus shot me in the head & Westering
  • Hallgeir: Call him daylight, Balthazar’s song,  Jesus shot me in the head


Alabama Shakes Boys and Girls 14

14. Amabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

“A lot of people are like, ‘I want to be different, I want to be original, I want to be an electronic band that mixes this and this’, instead of just writing songs together as people and being sincere about it.”
~Brittany Howard (interview with NME)

The Music: Fantastic fresh vocal, old southern soulful music in new pants, STAX/Muscle Shoals & then there is “Hold On” – one of the absolute strongest songs released this year.

Reminds me of:   a slow & soulful version of The White Stripes & Janis Joplin


  • Egil: Hold On, You ain’t alone & Be Mine
  • Hallgeir: Hold On, You ain’t alone, I found You



15. Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky

“Don’t let me cheat you of the feeling you deserve.”

Dinosaur Jr. reunited in 2005 and they’ve released three albums after that, this year’s I Bet On Sky is the best of the magnificent tripplets. The melodic hooks and the sonic attacks are still there, they are so f***ing close to pop perfection! It as if  Nirvana and Big Star had a child, they’re that good.

It is a “riffy” journey back to the nineties, but they still sound relevant. I think they are better now than they ever where.

Riffs, hooks and melodies.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Don’t pretend you didn’t know, Almost Fare & Pierce The Morning Rain
  • Hallgeir: Don’t pretend you didn’t know, Almost Fare, Watch the Corners, See It On Your Side

The Complete List

The 5 best christmas songs according to Hallgeir


Ok, Egil  just released his list of christmas songs, well, at least he got one song right. Here are the 5 best christmas songs:

1. The Band- Christmas must be tonight

2.The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York

3. Steve Earle – Nothing but a child

4. Neko Case – Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis

5. Smith & Burrows – When the Thames froze

Happy X-mas!

– Hallgeir

Best albums of 2012: number 16 to 20

Van Morrison – Born To Sing No Plan B 16

16. Van Morrison – Born to sing,  No plan B

2012 is a year filled with many great album releases. Almost all “endyear lists” I’ve seen fails to include “Born To Sing, No Plan B”.. and that’s a shame. It might no be among the man’s best albums, but it’s still a fantastic album.

Solid band (as always), great vocal, good songs, interesting lyrics, jazzy, soulful, moody & and a brilliant trombone (Alistair White).

When you’re in need of some VM (as we all are sometimes), please check out this new album.. you will not be disappointed, I promise.

Reminds me of: a Van Morrison in excellent form



  • Egil: Born To Sing, Open The Door, If in money we trust
  • Hallgeir: If in money we trust, Pagan Heart, Mystic of the east

Born to sing (Official video):


Dwight Yoakam 3 Pears 17

17. Dwight Yoakam – 3 Pears

It’s been seven  years since Dwight Yoakam’s last gave us a proper release, 2005′s Blame the Vain. He’s done some acting, he’s done some producing, did some concerts and a tribute album to Buck Owens but he has been sorely missed.

Back on a major label one should think that Yoakam would sound mainstream country, not so at all. He has clearly listened to the new wave of the indie folk/country wave that is happening these last years. Beck is producing on a couple of tracks and Dwight Yoakam produces some tracks himself, they sound very new, almost like a new artist. He has not lost his pop sensibility and his ear for catchy tunes.  That doesn’t mean that he has abandonded his honkey tonk roots, and he really let it comes out in a song like, Dim Lights, Thick smoke.

Dwight Yoakam sounds like a cross between The Monkees and Jerry Lee Lewis on A heart like mine!

Catchy, great tunes and still so goddam cool!

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Take Hold Of My Heart, Trying, Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
  • Hallgeir: Rock it all away, Missing Heart, A heart like mine and Trying


Shovels and Rope o be joyful 18

18. Shovels and Rope – O’ Be Joyful

Shovels and Rope sounds like children of both punk and country, and their intimate debut   has a brooding  darkness throughout. The southern gothic is prominent, even the name hints at darkness. It excites me that country music can be so bold and so fresh. I say country music but it is just as much rock’n roll.

The couple (Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent) released a CD called Shovels And Rope, but this is the first release where they call their band Shovels and Rope. This mix of dark country and old time rock reminds me of Jack White and Loretta Lynn, the rhythm track is simple but the melodies are wonderful.

Dark and haunting contemporary country/rock music.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Birmingham, Lay Low, Shank Hill St.
  • Hallgeir: Birmingham, Hail Hail, Tickin’ Bomb and Shank Hill St.


I Was a King You Love it Here 19

19. I Was A King – You Love It Here

I Was A King has a fine mix of powerpop, guitar walls and great song writing. The guitars are “byrdsy” jangly and this time they flirt even more with the American side of indie-americana-pop. So you see, they’re kinda hard to describe. But they sound terrific!

IWAK has  gotten together with two fantastic popmusic masters this time, Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub vocalist, yes him!) and Robyn Hitchcock (Power-pop godfather, The Soft Boys member and solo artist extraordinaire), what a dream-team!

When i first read about it I really couldn’t believe it, it’s a match made in heaven.

The result of this collaboration is IWAK’s best album, a fully realised record with great songs. It sounds so big and it is full of air, but it’s not pretentious at all. They sound more mature and more pop. The Playing is better than ever and the songwriting is spectacular, I realy love this album (You guessed that, eh?) and it is a quintessential pop album. A love letter to music, no less.

Jangly, infectious and very, very good.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Frozen Disease, A Million Signs, Indiana
  • Hallgeir: A Million Signs, Food Wheels, Superhero and Leave


Katleen Edwards Voyageur 20

20. Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur

I really like break-up albums, I love Blood on the tracks, I love Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love and I love when Jackson Browne sing about his break-ups. Kathleen Edwards is now part of this rich tradition of soul wreching songwriters. Maybe not quite on their level, yet, but she is becoming a very good songwriter, and she is at the top of her game on this album.

But it is not all gloom, she sounds as she’s coping. Actually it sounds that she’s on her way up from the bleakness, the album is full of hope. The songs are really strong an Justin Vernon’s involvement has brought out unknown elements in Kathleen Edwards songs.

Spacious, hopeful and sad, in a good way.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Chameleon/Comedian, Change The Sheets, House Full of Emty Rooms,
  • Hallgeir: Chameleon/Comedian, House Full of Emty Rooms, Going To Hell


The complete LIST


Best albums of 2012: number 21 to 25

mumford and sons babel 21

21. Mumford & Sons – Babel

I think it’s a great story, the story of Babel. I think anyone can direct it as an analogy for a lot of different situations. ….. It’s such a human thing. As humans, we’re such a discontented species. We’re always trying to further ourselves, and you get all the way to the moon and then it’s just discontent. You want to go to Mars.
~Ted Dwane ( interv. – Aug. 2012)

The music is: uplifting, lively, intense, rootsy, Appalachian/bluegrass’ish… and driving rock @ heart (wild @ heart 😉

Reminds me of: The Avett Brothers, The Pogues & Bon Iver on steroids & a helluva string backing….



  • Egil:  I Will Wait, Hopeless Wanderer & Babel
  • Hallgeir: Babel, Lover of the light and Broken Crown


Darrell Scott Long ride home 22

22. Darrell Scott – Long Ride Home

“…even Jesus couldn’t help me today”

Darrell Scott is one of the best songwriters i know of. I am relatively new to his work, and discovered him when he was nominated for a Grammy for, Hank Williams’ Ghost in 2007. He has since toured with Buddy Miller and Robert Plant, those men do not pick people (for the Band of Joy)  that doesn’t know what they’re doing, trust me Darrell Scott is the real deal.

Long Ride Home is his seventh album. This is great music and he some very special guests on this album, Rodney Crowell, Guy Clark, Patty Griffin and many more. These are his peers, he fits nicely in this company and that says something. The songs are incredibly strong and constantly interesting. The hour flies by.

This is storytelling at it’s richest and best.

Heartache, lost love and temptation.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: It Must Be Sunday, Out In The Parking Lot & The Country Boy
  • Hallgeir: Someday, Candle for a Cowboy and Out in the parking lot (with Guy Clark)


marty_stuart_nashville_volume 1 23

23. Marty Stuart -Nashville, volume 1: Tear the Woodpile down

Marty Stuart is back with this fabulous, but short, 30 minute album of traditional styled country. He runs through a fine bunch of songs with his touring band and some great guests, Hank3, Kenny Lovelace, Buck Trent and more. The Topics are hard core country themes: truck driving, love and loneliness. This is pure country but not slick Nashville, I think it is better to call it country & western music, and it is clearly a project that is close to Marty Stuart’s heart.

Traditional but fresh and with tremendeous technical skill

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: The Lonely Kind, Tear the Woodpile Down, Sundown in Nashville
  • Hallgeir: A Matter of Time, Holding on to nothing and Truck Driver’s Blues

Bobby Womack Bravest Man in the Universe 24

24. Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man  in the Universe

Bobby Womack has given us this aptly titled album this year, it is one of his best albums, and that says a lot! He has certainly been dealt a rough hand by life and he has come out triumphantly, he is a survivor, a soul survivor.

Damon Albarn plays a big role in Womack’s resurrection, first by including him on two Gorillaz albums and now by producing (along with Richard Russel) this record. He seems to have pushed Womack in the right direction and fed his creativity more than anybody has for very many years.

This is classic Bobby Womack but with a spacious, trip-hoppy sound.

– Hallgeir


  • Egil: Please Forgive My Heart, Dayglo Reflection, Love Is Gonna Lift You Up
  • Hallgeir: Please forgive my heart, The Bravest Man in The Universe and Whatever happened to the times


Sharon-Van-Etten-Tramp-2012 25

25. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

“I’m traveling, I’m female, I’m strong.”
~Sharon Van Etten (on why – Tramp)

The music is: Naked, raw, truthful, mesmerizing, demanding & often beautiful.

Reminds me of: early PJ Harvey, Liz Phair & even Emmylou Harris.



  • Egil:  Give Out, All I Can & Magic Chords
  • Hallgeir: In Line, All I Can and Serpents

To the complete LIST

Bob Dylan – 10 best songs recorded in 1983 – updated

OLD post … You’re being redirected to a newer version……

Picture by Lynn Goldsmith

The “Infidels” Birthday inspired me to set up a list of Dylan’s best songs recorded in 1983.

I’ve chosen to include 2 versions of “Blind Willie McTell”. This is by far the best song Dylan recorded in 1983… and the both versions are fantastic.

  1. Blind Willie McTell – electric version (not released)*
  2. Blind Willie McTell – acoustic version (The Bootleg Series 3)
  3. Jokerman – Infidels
  4. Foot of Pride – The Bootleg Series 3
  5. Someone’s Got A Hold Of My Heart – alt.version (not released)*
  6. License To Kill – Infidels
  7. I & I – Infidels
  8. Lord Protect My Child – The Bootleg Series 3
  9. Sweetheart Like You – Infidels
  10. Tell Me – The Bootleg Series 3

* My source is the “Rough Cuts” bootleg:

Check out

Over to the goodies..

1. Blind Willie McTell – electric version:

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Were his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

See them big plantations burning
Hear the cracking of the whips
Smell that sweet magnolia blooming
See the ghosts of slavery ships
I can hear them tribes a-moaning
Hear that undertaker’s bell
Nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

There’s a woman by the river
With some fine young handsome man
He’s dressed up like a squire
Bootlegged whiskey in his hand
There’s a chain gang on the highway
I can hear them rebels yell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, God is in His heaven
And we all want what’s His
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I’m gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Continue reading Bob Dylan – 10 best songs recorded in 1983 – updated