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.
- Egil: (Land of Hope and Dreams), This Depression, We Are Alive & Wrecking Ball
- Hallgeir: Rocky Ground, This Depression, Land of Hope and Dreams
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.
- Egil: Cape Fear River, Lonely Ain’t Easy & Burn. flicker. die
- Hallgeir: Lonely Ain’t Easy, Jacksonville, Casualties and Burn. flicker. die
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.
- Egil: Call him daylight, Jesus shot me in the head & Westering
- Hallgeir: Call him daylight, Balthazar’s song, Jesus shot me in the head
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.
- 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