The Best Albums of September 2010

Antifogmatic (Deluxe)
  1. The Punch BrothersAntifogmatic [Nonesuch 2010]
  2. Spragga BenzShotta Culture [Boom Tunes 2010]
  3. Gappy RanksPut The Stereo On [Greensleeves 2010]
  4. Ana Tijou1977 [Nacional Records 2010]
  5. The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger Acoustic Sessions [2010]
  6. DubmatixSystem Shakedown [Renegade Media 2010]
  7. Quantic presenta Flowering Inferno Dog With A Rope [Tru Thoughts 2010]
  8. Taj Weekes & AdowaA Waterlogged Soul Kitchen [Jatta Records 2010]
  9. Robert PlantBand of Joy [New Rounder 2010]
  10. Lil Jon & The East Side BoyzCrunk Rock [Universal 2010]
  11. Mavis Staples (and Jeff Tweedy) You Are Not Alone [Anti/Epitaph 2010]
  12. Justin Townes EarleHarlem River Blues [Bloodshot Records 2010]
  13. Richie StephensReggae Revolution [Pot of Gold/VP Records 2010]
  14. Paul WallHeart Of A Champion [Swishahouse 2010]
  15. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lannegan Come Undone [Vanguard 2010]
  16. Tom Petty & the HeartbreakersMojo [Reprise 2010]
  17. Sarah BlaskoAs Day Follows Night [Universal 2010]
  18. Various ArtistsDear New Orleans [ATC Benefits 2010]
  19. Jerry Lee Lewis Mean Old Man [Shangri-La Roots 2010]
  20. Lady Saw My Way [Toasting Music 2010]
  21. Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah DogsGod Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise [RCA Records 2010]
  22. Max StallingHome to You [Blind Nello Records 2010]
  23. Ryan Bingham Junky Star [Lost Highway Records 2010]
  24. Grupo FantasmaEl Existential [Nat Geo Music 2010]
  25. James Levy Verses [Township Records 2010]
  26. Danny Malone Verses [Township Records 2010]
  27. AtmosphereTo All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EP’s [Rhymesayers 2010]
  28. Hope SandovalThrough The Devil Softly [Netwerk Records 2009]
  29. Bostich & FussibleBulevar 2000 [Nacional Records 2010]
  30. Sahara SmithMyth Of The Heart [Playing in Traffic Records 2010]
  31. Tom Schraeder Once Lace, Now Cotton[Township Records 2010]
  32. Ben Sollee & Daniel MartinDear Companion [Sub Pop Records 2010]
  33. The TrishasThey Call Us The Trishas [Fatty Four Records 2010]
  34. JamesThe Morning After The Night Before [Island/Def Jam 2010]
  35. Green River Ordinance The Morning Passengers EP – Acoustic Sessions [For Mona 2010]
  36. The GreenhornesGun For You [Greenhornes 2010]
  37. RobynBody Talk Pt. 2 [Interscope Records 2010]
  38. Jon Langford & Skull OrchardOld Devils [Bloodshot Records 2010]
  39. T-Model FordPee Wee Get My Gun [Fat Possum Records 2010]
  40. RuskoHold On [Mad Decent Records 2010]
  41. Street Sweeper Social Club – The Ghetto Blaster EP [Street Sweeper Social Club 2010]
  42. Natty King Trodding [Tad’s 2010]
  43. Black Milk Album Of The Year [Fat Beats Records 2010]
  44. Chezidek Herbalist [Tad’s 2010]

Put The Stereo On

System Shakedown

Dog With A Rope

Harlem River Blues [Explicit]

You Are Not Alone

Dear New Orleans [Explicit]

Junky Star

El Existential

Verses

Verses

Once Lace, Now Cotton

Pee Wee Get My Gun [Explicit]

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The Best Albums of September 2010

Friday at Austin City Limits Music Festival 2009!!!

Wavin' Flag

The rain fell as the music filled the park. Mud seethed underfoot and gushed between toes. Among the strong aromas and beautiful sounds, the 2009 Austin City Limits Music Festival came alive and offered another memorable year of music. Although environmental factors change from year to year, from stifling heat and dust to drenching rain and mud, the show never stopped. The music continued. And Austin proved itself again as the live music capitol of the world.

I caught Dr. Dog at the Dell Stage for my first show. I found these boys from Philadelphia to be quite harmonic, reminiscent of the psychadelia rock of the Beatles and The Byrds. Songs like “The Breeze” and “The Old Days” displayed that smooth 1960s sound. But my favorite song on the set list was “The Rabbit, The Bat & The Reindeer.”

I had heard of Phoenix, but I had never listened to their music. A friend convinced me to see this alternative rock band from Versaille, France. The comparisons to their French peers Daft Punk and Air interested me. Ultimately I understood the comparisons, finding the sound close to a New Order-like electronica pop. Phoenix pleasantly surprised me with tunes like “Lisztomania,” “Lasso,” “If I Ever Feel Better,” “Fences,” “Girlfriend,” “Run Run Run,” “Too Young,” “Rome,” and “1901.” Many of the songs appear on the new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

The best show of the day came from the Somalian born/Canadian based rapper k’naan. Under the Wildflower Tent the slender Somalian rocked the crowd with political prose, heart-felt lyrics, and blistering beats. Appropriate adjectives include humble, inspirational, and talented.  k’naan had a broad appeal, drawing young children and old people, and all those between the young and old. An intimate performance captivated the crowd.

The track “T.I.A. [Explicit]” thundered bass as K’naan introduced the crowd to his unique brand of hip-hop. “T.I.A.” samples Bob Marley’s classic ska tune “Simmer Down,” layers it over heavy beats, and atop raps the brilliant young wordsmith. In Africa, Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, 2pac, and The Notorious B.I.G. reign supreme. k’naan studied these great performers and his sound reflects those influences. Yet the sound is original. The music is gangsta but peaceful, hard but soft, and always chalk full of the contradictions and realities of life.

From Africa the Somalian took us on a trip to “America.” On the album, Mos Def and Chali 2Na join the track with their rhymes on the studio version of “America,”  but solo and live K’naan brought this song to its full potential without the help of these great lyricists. The song “Take A Minute” brought emotion to the tent. The following love ballad “Fatima” lightened the mood. And then the hardcore rap song “ABC’s” (with a Chubb Rock sample) rocked the and rolled with pure energy.

K’naan then sang a song about “Somalia,” which brought tears to the crowd’s eyes. The lyricist played two different versions beginning with an acapella and moving into a full band version. As K’naan says “his real will makes your real look like a rental.” This track talks about the perils of childhood in Somalia and the suffering of the people. K’naan harnesses the pain and realities of the world and turns them into amazing poetry. The rapper followed the tear jerker with “Bang Bang,” a nice jamming pop tune. And he ended his set with the a sing-a-long to “Wavin’ Flag.”

K’naan was the highlight of the evening. But the jams continued with Thievery Corporation. The dub electronica duo and band played on the main stage this year kicking out funky electronica with “.” The crew from Washington, D.C. also played the sitar heavy “Mandala,” displaying their unique acumen at world music.

In a testimony to the diversity of the music at ACL I caught parts of sets from the Texas country group Reckless Kelly and the hard-rocking new super trio Them Crooked Vultures. Them Crooked Vultures features bassist John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, drummer David Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters, and Josh Homme the guitarist and lead singer from Queens Of The Stone AgeKings Of Leon headlined Friday night playing their hits “Sex On Fire,”
”On Call,” and
”Use Somebody.”

The  music continued after the festival at the ACL after shows. I went to a Township Records showcase at the Ghost Room downtown on 4th Street in the Warehouse District. I caught the end of Danny Malone‘s set. This kid has a beautifully haunting voice. My wife described him as a creepy James Taylor. His new album Cuddlebug features the eerie track “Basement.” Graham Wilkinson & the Underground Township played some of my favorite tracks from the new album Yearbook, including “Ragamuffin” and “Let It Go.”

Let It Go

Friday at Austin City Limits Music Festival 2009!!!

Graham Wilkinson & the Underground Township make music for all the “Ragamuffin” Kids

Nature lovin,’ tree-huggin, hippy musician and artist Graham Wilkinson put together a fascinating group of Austin-based musicians to accompany his original and inspirational songs on the new album Yearbook. Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township make beautiful music for mountain drives and nature hikes, but also for boisterous bars across North America. The music is original. Some might claim it is a kaleidoscope of roots music, folk, rock, Americana, jazz, and reggae, but really Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township melt away genres and make new and exciting music.

underground township photo

On Yearbook Graham Wilkinson writes beautiful ballads like “Star Blue” and blues tunes like “The Corner Store” underscoring his brilliance at song writing. Drummer Matt Morris, bassist Wayne Dalchau, guitarist P.J. Herrington, and Chris Stringer on keys make up the backbone of the Underground Township on this particular album with Graham playing a range of instruments from harmonica and guitars to percussion. The Township is joined by a revolving cast of musicians from the Austin scene including Hayes Carll, Alejandro Escovedo, Ray Hilner, Meg Kemp, Mista Swift, Margaret Whitt-Harn, Joe Fallhaeber, Trisha Keefer, Mark Levine, Nick Warrechuk, Mark Wilson, Kyle Clayton, Will Duppy, Leila Henley, Heidi Johnson, Danny Malone, David Moss, Hector Munoz, Ron Weisberg, Dawnerin Wilkinson, Sarah Lu Wilkinson, and even legendary Texan musician Lloyd Maines.

The track “Ragamuffin” sticks out as a particular favorite of mine. I’ve always liked this song, but when it came up on my iPod (in a random shuffle mode) while cruising through the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming it seemed to be the perfect song at the perfect time. Hayes Carll and Graham Wilkinson share vocals on the song with Lloyd Maines playing a beautiful steel guitar. The gliding pace of the song helped me to glide smoothly over the meadows and mountain lakes.

The tracks on Yearbook like “La Brisa,” “Let It Go,” and “Boys and Girls” are not only great songs, but they also have been well produced here by Township Records. Township Records, run by bassist Wayne Dalchau, is a great local Austin indie label with talented new artists like Danny Malone, James Levy, and Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township.

Yearbook is a concept album that takes a look back at the collaborations and music of 2008 in South Austin. The previous release from the band was the self-titled Graham Wilkinson & the Underground Township, which took a different approach to Graham’s songs. On Yearbook the tracks are more filled out. And the good news is, The Underground Township are taking this wonderful music on the road for 2009. The late summer tour is exhaustive. Make sure to catch Graham & the Township playing in a town near you.

Aug 2 2009 6:00P Freds Texas Cafe Ft. Worth, Texas
Aug 5 2009 8:00P The Whitewater Tavern Little Rock, Arkansas
Aug 6 2009 9:00P Tres Hombres Carbondale, Illinois
Aug 7 2009 9:00P Duke’s Hideaway Chicago, Illinois
Aug 8 2009 9:00P Duke’s Hideaway Chicaco, Illinois
Aug 9 2009 8:00P Village Inn Suttons Bay, MI
Aug 10 2009 8:00P Village Inn Suttons Bay, MI
Aug 11 2009 8:00P Village Inn Suttons Bay, MI
Aug 12 2009 9:00P The Happy Dog Cleveland, Ohio
Aug 13 2009 9:00P Hill Country BBQ New York, New York
Aug 14 2009 10:00P Blak Oak Tavern Oneonta, New York
Aug 15 2009 8:00P Fred Fest Oneonta, New York
Aug 19 2009 9:00P Northside Tavern Cincinnati, Ohio
Aug 20 2009 9:00P Boone Saloon Boone, North Carolina
Aug 21 2009 9:00P Tasty World Athens, Georgia
Aug 22 2009 9:00P Westville Pub Asheville, North Carolina
Aug 25 2009 9:00P Lynagh’s Irish Pub Lexington, Kentucky
Aug 26 2009 10:00P The Basement w/ Rufus Huff (Kentucky Headhunters) Nashville, Tennessee
Aug 27 2009 8:00P The Whitewater Tavern Little Rock, Arkansas
Aug 28 2009 8:00P Smoke and Barrel Tavern Fayetteville, Arkansas
Aug 29 2009 8:00P The Parish w/ The Blue Hit & Danny Malone Austin, TX

Graham Wilkinson & the Underground Township make music for all the “Ragamuffin” Kids