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

BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL 2009

This year’s Bonnaroo Music Festival offered a fine mix of music from bluegrass to reggae to indie rock and jam bands to afro-pop and electronica music. The reggae musicians included Midnite, the Itals, and the Wailing Souls. I unfortunately missed Midnite on Thursday but I got to see amazing sets from the Itals and Wailing Souls. The Itals played roots reggae including songs like “In a Dis Ya Time.” And they played new cuts from the upcoming album Let Them Talk. The Wailing Souls played Saturday and dropped roots reggae classics like “Shark Attack ” alongside reggae covers of the Doors song “Love Her Madly” and the Grateful Dead classic “Casey Jones.” The Wailing Souls also played “War Down at the Pawn Shop” a track written by Sublime headman Bradley Nowell.

Phish played two shows. The first show on Friday night rocked with originals like “You Enjoy Myself” “Wolfman’s Brother,” “Wading In The Velvet Sea,” and “Chalk Dust Torture” and a cover of AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell.” For an encore Phish covered the Beatles‘ “A Day in the Life.” The second show on Sunday night included a guest appearance by the Boss–Bruce Springsteen. The Boss and Phish played a brilliant extended version of “Mustang Sally.” Trey Anastasio and the Boss traded and then dueled guitar solos. It was an amazing show with a jammed out version of “Glory Days.”

Bruce Springsteen played his three hour show on Saturday Night with the amazing E-Street Band, which included Max Weinberg on drums. “Outlaw Pete,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and “Devils & Dust” among other favorites kept the crowd on its feet. The Boss is quite a performer and storyteller.

The Beastie Boys played an amazing and energetic set with favorites like “So What’Cha Want [Explicit],” “Sabotage,” “Shake Your Rump,” “Paul Revere,” and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” on the set list alongside punk rock favorites “Gratitude [Explicit],” “Tough Guy,” “Egg Raid On Mojo [Explicit],” and “Heart Attack Man.” Instrumental Jams like “Sabrosa” laced the Hip Hop and Punk Rock tracks. The Beastie’s DJ Mixmaster Mike is more than a DJ. The man is an exquisite turntablist and musician. MCA, Mike D, and AD Rock still have it going on after all these years. Also rapper NAS performed with the Beastie Boys on a track coming soon on the new Beastie album.

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Santagold, Girl Talk, Brett Dennen, Amadou & Mariom, Booker T with the Drive-By Truckers, Gov’t Mule, Merle Haggard, the Decemberists, and Snoop Dogg all played notable sets. I caught Booker T and the DBTs (Drive By Truckers) playing “Green Onions” and Merle Haggard covering Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Jackson.” The Hag played his own hits too, singing “Mama Tried,” “Working Man Blues,” “That’s The Way Love Goes,” and “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.”

Immediately after seeing Merle Haggard’s set I trucked to the main “What Stage” to see Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound. Snoop strolled through hits “Gin And Juice,” “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?,” “Ain’t No Fun.” The LBC rappers paid tribute to 2pac with “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” Snoop can still move the crowd. He even transitioned into Jamaican patois at one point sounding pretty good as a potential dancehall artist. Snoop needs to do a reggae album.  Merle Haggard and Snoop opening for Phish Sunday night seemed a perfect way to end this diverse mix of music.



BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL 2009