Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Tideline with Katie B.-Best of 2010 Highlights

Happy New Year Listeners!

All Music in this playlist was released in year 2010. Categories include roots, alternative, folk, country, pop, rock and indie. Selections are some of my personal favorites as well as music praised by radio and net critics.

Livestream Paste Magazine top 50 songs of 2010
NPR Music:
includes free downloads
Guardian Top 40 Albums of 2010:
Sound Opinions Top Ten Albums of 2010:

Dr. Dog
Where'd All the Time Go?
Shame Shame

Josh Ritter
Change of Time
So Runs the World Away

Vampire Weekend

White Flag
Plastic Beach

Black Dub
Black Dub

Sarah Siskind
May Love Fall Like Snow
All Come Together

Black Keys
Howlin' For You

Diane Birch
Bible Belt

Band of Horses
On My Way Back Home
Infinite Arms

Arcade Fire

Sharon Van Etten
One Day

Brandon Flowers
Only the young

Neil Young
Love and War
Le Noise

Broken Bells
The High Road
The High Road

Freelance Whales

BB King
Bringing in a Brand New Year
The Best of BB King
Christmas Collection
(not 2010)

Ray Wylie Hubbard
Drunken Poet's Dream
A: enlightenment B: endarkenment
Hint, there is no C

Joe Pug
The First Time I saw you

Sufjan Stevens
Futile Devices
Age of ADZ

Jardin Du Luxemborg
Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl
Ghost of a Sabertooth Tiger

Odd Blood

Revolving Doors
The Fall
produced on tour fall 2010
all on an ipad

Ray LaMontagne
Beg, Steal or Borrow
God Willing and the Creek don't rise

Anais Mitchell and Friends
Song Bird Inro feat. Greg Brown
Hey Little Songbird
Hades town

BbKing and Buddy Guy
Stay Around a Little longer


Ray Troll’s Top CDs for 2010

Well the collapse and rebirth of the music industry continues unabated this year with yours truly contributing to the demise by buying far less actual shrink-wrapped CDs overall and buying singles here and there. That trend is helping to undermine the whole ‘concept album’ thing which is unfortunate. Then again how many of us bought CDs that contained only one or two good songs on it? Oh well. It is a double-edged sword. The reason I even raise this oft-debated issue is that my top picks all hold together as complete CDs, with the song cycle being integral to the whole.

1. Arcade Fire: “The Suburbs”

Arcade Fire’s third full length CD is a “sprawling” masterpiece of an album (pun intended), focused on the suburban landscape swallowing our planet . It’s packed with great songs. I found the best of them deeper into the CD. My faves are ‘Suburban War’ and ‘Sprawl II’. One of the most outstanding cuts is ‘We Used to Wait’. If you haven’t yet watched the interactive video of the song go to this web address and punch in the street address of the house you grew up in.

2. The National: “High Violet”

A moody, cinematic, deeply layered album with obtusely arty yet strangely appealing lyrics (“I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees” for instance). Not a bad song on it… and you’ll get hooked on the National’s sound and it’s slightly depressing groove (“Sorrow found me when I was young” is the opening line of song #2). Oh yeah! Bring it on. My favorite cut on the CD is the weirdly evocative “Lemonworld”.

Check out the video for Bloodbuzz Ohio here:

3. Black Dub: Black Dub

Daniel Lanois is back on the block in very fine form after drifting for the last few years. His last solo effort was off the mark but this one hits in all the right ways. He’s formed a super group of sorts with himself on guitar and vocals, Trixie Whitley on vocals ( and sometimes guitar and drums), Brian Blade on drums and Daryl Johnson on bass. Lanois is known by most folks for his trademarked multi-layered ethereal production skills, but on this CD it’s the live sound of a very tight, highly skilled band in absolute synch with each other. Most of the tunes are straight ahead blues rock numbers with Trixie belting out the lyrics and they’re all smoking hot and tight. One of my favorites though is a reggae inflected song called ‘Canaan’ with Lanois doing the lead vocals. It’s a gorgeous tune. Check out the videos on the bands website a band you’ll see what I mean about their groove:

4. Beach House: “Teen Dream”

A luxuriously sleepy little CD full of gorgeous tunes by a girl/boy duo from Baltimore ( Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally). Described as “dream-pop” you can easily hear the Beach Boys, Zombies and Neil Young in their sound. Check out the video of one of their best tunes ‘Walk in the Park’ here:

and the Fleetwood Mac sounding “Norway” here:

5. Vampire Weekend: “Contra”

No sophomore jinx here as the NYC preppy rockers bring back the poly beats and the Paul Simon-esque vocals and their South African inflected tunes. They jump all over the place with songs starting up and stopping, weaving off into lyrical sidelines and melodic hooks. A fun and lively, upbeat CD with a whole lot jammed into the all too brief 37 minutes of pop bliss.

Band videos are online at:

6. Deadman’s Bones: Deadman’s Bones

This is a 2009 release but I found out about it this year and man I love it. It’s definitely in the maybe-too-odd-for-most-folks category but what can you say about a band that features two horror-film obsessed guys enlisting a children’s conservatory choir to sing their creepy lyrics. Veteran indie actor Ryan Gosling is one of the two guys in the band ( you may have seen him in the movie ‘Half Nelson’ , ‘The Notebook’ or ‘Lars and the Real Girl’). Zach Shields is the other half. Both are Canadian born. My favorite tune by far is called “Pa Pa Power”.

Check out the video of “In the Room Where You Sleep” at

7. Yeasayer: “Odd Blood”

Yeasayer is a modern experimental psychedelic group hailing from Brooklyn. This is their second album and it’s juts as trippy and fun as the first one. Check out the twisted love story music video for the song “Madder Red’ at

and the surreal party scene in the video for ‘O.N.E.”. at

8. Phosphorescent: “Here’s to Taking It Easy”

Jake and Tom (a couple of online music review nerds not unlike me) call Phosphorescent “rainy day chill music, taking it easy, sort of alt country/folk”. Basically it’s the work of Alabama-born New York based musician Mathew Houck. These are wonderfully moody, deeply personal, lyrically rich songs. Great multi-layered production throughout. Here’s the myspace page:

That’s it for this year. As usual let me know what you think… and what you’ve been enjoying this year.

Happy New Year!


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