Top Ranking Albums of June 2013

Jimmy CliffThe KCRW Sessions [Universal 2013]

SizzlaThe Messiah [VP Records 2013]

Bob Marley & the WailersLegend Remixed [Tuff Gong 2013]

Various ArtistsLove for Levon [Time 2013]

Various ArtistsLet Us In Americana [Reviver Records 2013]

Steve EarleThe Low Highway [New West 2013]

Sean NelsonMake Good Choices [Really Records 2013]

Slaid CleavesStill Fighting the War [Music Road Records 2013]

Bob SchneiderBurden of Proof [Kirtland Records 2013]

Dale Watson & His TroopersEl Rancho Azul [Red House Records 2013]

Shiny Ribs Gulf Coast Museum [Nine Mile Records 2013]

Patty GriffinAmerican Kid [New West Records 2013]

Billy BraggTooth and Nail [Essential Music 2013]

John FogertyWrote A Song For Everyone [Vanguard 2013]

Warren Hood BandWarren Hood Band [Red Parlor Records 2013]

The Carper FamilyOld-Fashioned Gal [The Carper Family 2013]

Mavis Staples One True Vine [Anti/Epitaph 2013]

Booker TSound the Alarm [Stax 2013]

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Top Ranking Albums of June 2013

Top Ranking Albums of September 2011

The Spiritual Accessories EP
  1. Graham Wilkinson The Spiritual Accessories EP [Little Windmill Records 2011]
  2. Trombone ShortyFor True [Verve Forecast 2011]
  3. Various ArtistsO Brother, Where Art Thou? [Lost Highway 2011]
  4. SuperHeavySuper Heavy [Universal 2011]
  5. Preservation Jazz Hall Band and the Del McCoury Band –  American Legacies [McCoury Music 2011]
  6. Various Artists – Our Favorite Beres Hammond Songs [VP Records 2011]
  7. The Secret Sisters –  The Secret Sisters [Universal Records 2010]
  8. Bunny LeeDub Will Change Your Mind [King Spinna Records 2011]
  9. Aloe Blacc – Good Things [Stones Throw Records 2010]
  10. Various ArtistsListen To Me: Buddy Holly [Verve Forecast 2011]
  11. Augustus PabloThis Is Augustus Pablo [VP Records 2011]
  12. Various ArtistsThe Biggest Ragga Dancehall Anthems 2011 [VP Records 2011]
  13. WilcoThe Whole Love [dBPM Records 2011]
  14. James Blake and Bon IverFall Creek Boys Choir [Universal Records 2011]
  15. Tom WaitsBad As Me [Anti/Epitaph 2011]
  16. Olivia Tremor ControlThe Game You Play is in Your Head, Parts 1, 2, & 3 [Cloud Recordings 2011]
  17. Theophilus LondonTimez Are Weird These Days [Warner Brothers 2011]
  18. St. Vincent Strange Mercy [4AD 2011]
  19. George StraitHere For A Good Time [MCA Nashville 2011]
  20. Zee AviGhostbird [Brushfire Records 2011]
  21. Clap Your Hands and Say YeahHysterical [CYHSY 2011]
  22. Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter – Marble Son [Station Grey Records 2011]
  23. Pedro Soler & Gaspar Claus – Barlande [InFine 2011]
  24. Lisa Hannigan – Passenger [ATO Records 2011]
  25. Lenny KravitzBlack And White America [Atlantic Records 2011]
American Legacies
The Game You Play is in Your Head, Parts 1, 2, & 3
Top Ranking Albums of September 2011

Top 10 Albums of 2009

Top 10 Albums of 2009

Here are the selector’s top 10 favorite albums for 2009…

  1. Daweh Congo Ghetto Skyline [MK-Zwo Records 2009] 
  2. Willie Neslon & Asleep at the WheelWillie And The Wheel [Bismeaux Records 2009]
  3. Easy Star All Stars Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band [Easy Star Records 2009]
  4. Michael Franti and Spearhead All Rebel Rockers [Anti 2009]
  5. The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You [American Recordings 2009]
  6. Julian MarleyAwake [Tuff Gong Records 2009]
  7. K’NaanTroubadour [A&M/Octone Records 2009]
  8. Courtney JohnMade In Jamaica [Jamaica Music/FiWi Records 2009]
  9. Chali 2naFish Outta Water [Decon 2009]
  10. Major Lazer Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do [Downtown Records 2009]
Top 10 Albums of 2009

Top 30 Albums of July 2009! – HOT SUMMER MUSIC for JULY 2009

July 2009

  1. Major Lazer Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do [Explicit] [Downtown 2009]
  2. Chali 2na Fish Outta Water [Decon 2009]
  3. Slaid CleavesEverything You Love Will Be Taken Away [Music Road 2009]
  4. Zee AviZee Avi[Brushfire Records 2009]
  5. Lady Saw Extra Raw: The First Lady of Dancehall [VP Records 2009]
  6. AswadCity Lock [Rhythm Riders 2009]
  7. Rhett MillerRhett Miller [Shout! Factory 2009]
  8. Mishka Above The Bones [J.K. Livin Records 2009]
  9. Bob DylanTogether Through Life [Columbia 2009]
  10. MicachuJewellery [Rough Trade 2009]
  11. ScientistInternational Heroes Dub [Tameki Wambesi Dove 2009]
  12. Mojo Morgangot Mojo? [Gedion Soldiers 2009]
  13. The LemonheadsVarshons [The End Records 2009]
  14. The AggrolitesIV [Hellcat 2009]
  15. The Low Anthem Oh My God Charlie Darwin [Nonesuch 2009]
  16. Various Artists Riddim Driven: Sweet [VP Records 2009]
  17. Dinosaur Jr.Farm [Jagjaguwar 2009]
  18. Ryan Bingham & the Dead HorsesRoadhouse Sun (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [Lost Highway Records 2009]
  19. EminemRelapse [Explicit] [Aftermath Records 2009]
  20. Jason LytleYours Truly, The Commuter [Anti/Epitaph 2009]
  21. Todd SniderThe Excitement Plan [Yep Roc Records 2009]
  22. Son VoltAmerican Central Dust [Rounder Records 2009]
  23. Mos DefThe Ecstatic [Downtown 2009]
  24. Levon HelmElectric Dirt [Amazon Exclusive] [Vanguard 2009]
  25. Tanya MorganBrooklynati [Explicit] [Independent Media/iM Culture 2009]
  26. DoomBorn Like This. [Explicit] [Lex Records 2009]
  27. Laura IzibiLet The Truth Be Told [Deluxe] [Atlantic 2009]
  28. J Dilla Jay Stay Paid [Explicit] [Nature Sounds 2009]
  29. St. Vincent Actor (Amazon Exclusive) [4AD 2009]
  30. Matthew Sweet & Susanna HoffsUnder The Covers: Vol. 2 [Shout! Factory 2009]
  31. WilcoWilco [The Album] [Nonesuch 2009]

Diplo and Switch present Major Lazer‘s Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do with special guests Santogold, Mr. Lex, Vybz Kartel, T.O.K., Mr Vegas, and many more. The creative DJ/producer duo amalgamates and mashes up tunes sampling from soca, calypso, merengue, and reggae, dropping fat beats, gun blasts, reggae air horns, and choice samples. An example of one of the more interesting and creative cuts is “Baby,” which adds an auto-tune to a crying baby. The killer reggae track on this work is “Can’t Stop Now,” which features Mr. Vegas and Jovi Rockwell. The harmonic Rockwell and Mr. Vegas create an easy-sounding classic reggae track among the hard-pounding dance jams. The track “Hold The Line” samples surf guitars from Dick Dale And His Del-Tones classic “Misirlou,” adding heavy beats and the vocal duo of Mr. Lex and Santogold. Some of my personal favorites on this album include the rough shod “Bruk Out” featuring T.O.K and Ms. Thing; “Cash Flow” featuring the roots reggae flavor of Jah Dan; “Anything Goes” with chaotic verses from Turbulance; and the dancehall sensation Vybz Kartel working “Pon De Floor.”

Chali 2Na‘s Fish Outta Water snap, crackles, and pops. A guest appearances by the Marley Brothers, Damian Marley and Stephen Marley, on the cut “Guns Up” piles deep booming funky fresh rhymes over a sweet melodic reggae chorus peppered by a Jr. Gong flow. The King of the Dancehall Beenie Man joins Chali 2Na on the tune “International” for searing dancehall reggae/hip-hop fusion. I found the single “Lock Shit Down” with Talib Kweli appealing and the track “Comin’ Thru” to be a hip-hop jam.

Texas songwriters Slaid Cleaves, Rhett Miller, and Ryan Bingham made the list this month. The Austin-based musician Slaid Cleaves sings heart-wrenching ballads playing Texas country music like it should be played. The song “Cry” on the album Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away will rip out your heart and have you reaching for the bottle of whiskey. American folk legend Bob Dylan dropped the new album Together Through Life featuring the ominous dark-sounding hit single “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’.

Zee Avi and Mishka add international flavors to the best albums of July, providing fun flip-flop rock and reggae sounds for the summertime. Jack Johnson‘s Brushfire Records handpicked Zee Avi for the label where she fits well with the laid back surfer motive. The Malaysian-born ukulele player’s new album is self titled Zee Avi. Reggae-drenched Canadian/Bermudian seafarer Mishka is the new artist appearing on Matthew McConaughey’s record label JK Livin Records. Mishka’s new album Above The Bones provides good summer tunes and positive vibes.

Top 30 Albums of July 2009! – HOT SUMMER MUSIC for JULY 2009

TOP 20 ALBUMS OF JUNE 2009 – BEST OF 2009 SUMMER MUSIC

Top 20 Albums of June 2009

  1. Bob Marley and the Wailers B Is For Bob [Tuff Gong/Def Jam/Island Records 2009]
  2. Various Artists Dark Was The Night (Red Hot Compilation) [The Red Hot Organization/4AD 2009]
  3. N.A.S.A. – The Spirit Of Apollo [Anti/Epitaph 2009]
  4. AlborosieEscape From Babylon [Greensleeves 2009]
  5. Dave Matthews BandBig Whiskey And The GrooGrux King [Bama Rags 2009]
  6. The ItalsLet Dem Talk [Ital Records 2009]
  7. Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley BandOuter South [Merge 2009]
  8. DJ JS-1 No Sellout [Ground Original 2009]
  9. The Dub MachinistWorldwide Dub [Control Tower France 2009]
  10. Various Artists Reggae Gold 2009 [VP Records 2009]
  11. Ini Kamoze 5150 Rule [Hottis 2009]
  12. Amadou & MariamWelcome to Mali [Nonesuch 2009]
  13. Los Granadian del Espacio Exterior Donde Ningun Hombre Ha Llegado Jamas [Liquidator Spain 2009]
  14. Method Man & RedmanBlackout! 2 [Explicit] [Island/Def Jam 2009]
  15. Regina SpektorFar [Sire 2009]
  16. Black Eyed PeasThe E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies) [Interscope 2009]
  17. 311Uplifter [RCA/Jive 2009]
  18. The Dirty ProjectorsBitte Orca[Domino Recording 2009]
  19. Natural BlackGuardian Angel [Zion Roots Music 2009]
  20. Sonic Youth The Eternal [Matador 2009]
  21. Paul WallFast Life [Explicit] [Asylum/WB 2009]

“Life is one big road with lots of signs,” Bob sings “So when your riding through the ruts don’t you complicate your mind.” On this album we see why Bob Marley and the Wailers ruled the world of reggae music, especially with roots reggae tracks like “Wake Up And Live – Pt. 1.”  On the new album B Is For Bob executive producer Ziggy Marley reworked some of the Bob Marley classics giving them a kid friendly edge. The album pulsates with positive vibrations. A stripped down acoustic version of “Three Little Birds” leads off the album followed by a classic acoustic version of “Redemption Song.” These two songs make for fun summer road trip  sing-a-longs. I found the version of “Satisfy My Soul” to be very sensual and in my opinion this song could be one of the best lovers’ rock tracks ever cut. A bongo almost-dancehall infused “Jamming” and new takes on “Small Axe,” “Bend Down Low” and “Stir It Up” fill out this nice addition to the Bob Marley discography. “Could You Be Loved” and “One Love / People Get Ready” also fit perfect with the kid album theme. “High Tide Or Low Tide” excellently caps off the work.

Finding their way to the top of the Jam-Tex music charts this June are a cadre of Indie-rockers and rappers. The benefit album and compilation Dark Was The Night (Red Hot Compilation) and the N.A.S.A. hip-hop project The Spirit Of Apollo. Dark Was The Night (Red Hot Compilation) includes indie rockers collaborating to make wonderful music and really this album needs to be listened to in its entirety for the best effect. The Dirty Projectors team up with David Byrne on “Knotty Pine,” while Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings provide some soulful “Inspiration Information.” The Decemberists perform “Sleepless,” while Feist and Ben Gibbard team up on “Train Song.” Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, My Morning Jacket, and Arcade Fire all appear on the album.

On N.A.S.A.’s The Spirit Of Apollo George Clinton and Chali 2na Fish rock “There’s A Party (Feat. George Clinton & Chali 2na)” and dancheall wonder Sizzla joins Lovefoxxx, and the nasty female rapper Amanda Blank on the track “A Volta (Feat. Sizzla, Amanda Blank & Lovefoxxx).” My favorite duo on any of these indie compilations appears on the N.A.S.A. album when Tom Waits and Kool Keith collaborate on “Spacious Thoughts (Feat. Tom Waits & Kool Keith)”. M.I.A., Santogold, Nick Zinner, and Spank Rock drive the electro-rap jam “Whachadoin? (Feat. Spank Rock, M.I.A., Santogold & Nick Zinner)“. The N.A.S.A. album certainly contains the most interesting lineup of artists, including David Byrne, Gift of Gab, Chuck D, DJ Z-Trip, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, KRS-One, Seu Jorge, Ras Congo, and Scarface on tracks like  “Money (Feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge & Z-Trip),” “The People Tree (Feat. David Byrne, Chali 2na, Gift Of Gab & Z-Trip),” “Hip Hop (Feat. KRS-One, Fatlip & Slim Kid Tre),” “Strange Enough (Feat. Karen O, Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Fatlip),” and “The Mayor (Feat. The Cool Kids, Ghostface Killah, Scarface & DJ AM).”

Alborosie, Ini Kamoze, the Itals, and Reggae Gold 2009 provide this year’s sweltering summer reggae soundtrack. On the new Dave Matthews Band album Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King the track “Funny The Way It Is” proves the band is still putting out quality music. DJ JS-1 gathers some talented indie rappers on No Sellout, for example, Aesop Rock and C Ray Wallz rock the mics on “Karma Killerz.”

TOP 20 ALBUMS OF JUNE 2009 – BEST OF 2009 SUMMER MUSIC

Top 15 Albums for May 2009!!!

May 2009

  1. Neil Young – Fork In The Road [Reprise 2009]
  2. Ziggy MarleyFamily Time [Tuff Gong 2009]
  3. Julian MarleyAwake [Tuff Gong 2009]
  4. Steve Earle Townes [New West 2009]
  5. Queen IfricaMontego Bay [VP Records 2009]
  6. The Decemberists The Hazards of Love [Capitol 2009]  
  7. Vybz Kartel Most Wanted [Greensleeves 2009]
  8. BushmanMost Wanted [Greensleeves 2009]
  9. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs La Luz del Ritmo [Nacional 2009]
  10. GomezA New Tide [Ato Records 2009]
  11. YTBorn Inna Babylon [Sativa 2009]
  12. Booker TPotato Hole [Anti 2009]
  13. Steve Winwood and Eric ClaptonLive from Madison Square Garden [Reprise 2009]
  14. UGKUGK 4 Life [Zomba 2009]
  15. The Flatlanders Hills & Valleys (Dig) [New West 2009]

Neil Young’s Fork In The Road pays tribute to cars and praises the new advancements in green car technology. It seems Young was so inspired by Wichita mechanic Jonathan Goodwin’s work on Young’s Lincoln that he wrote some wonderful songs about it. Goodwin converted Young’s 1959 Lincoln Continental adding battery power, biodiesel, and old jet engines in a fashion that increased gas mileage to 100 mpg and at the same time doubled the horsepower from 300 to 600. This album is timely, deep, and insightful. Neil Young continues as a cutting edge songwriter.

Ziggy Marley’s Family Time brings together some great artists making fun reggae sounds for the entire family. Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Toots Hibbert, and others lend their voices to the great tracks. Willie Nelson and Ziggy Marley rework the spiritual “This Train (feat. Willie Nelson)” while Ziggy and Toots Hibbert sing “Take Me To Jamaica (feat. Toots Hibbert).”

The Marley Brothers have been prolific and Julian “JuJu” Marley’s new album Awake displays the excellent quality reggae being produced by Bob’s progeny. “Violence In The Streets” with brother Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley packs a political message inside a driving riddim. “Boom Draw” celebrates the “healing of the nation” that grew on King Solomon’s grave. The tracks “Things Ain’t Cool,” “Awake,” and “On The Floor” rock and “A Little Too Late” with brother Stephen “Ragamuffin” Marley is pure melodic funky reggae.

Queen Ifrica’s Montego Bays caprtures the best of female roots reggae from Jamaica. “Keep It To Yourself” is a lesson in good vibes and “Daddy” is an interesting raw social commentary.

Top 15 Albums for May 2009!!!