Last Saturday, fellow Lost Cartographer Gabrielle Schafer and I played a short three-song acoustic set at the Charleston as the guests of the Long Gone Lonesome Boys. Aside from being incredibly nice guys, the Boys put on an amazing show, and the LGLBs’ John Milne was kind enough to give me a copy of their second cd, “Lonesome Time.” While the disc doesn’t quite capture the fun and energy of their live set, you should check it out if you enjoy 50s and 60s country along the lines of the Louvin Brothers or anything from Sun Records. Like fellow Chicagoan Robbie Fulks, the LGLBs provide this classic material with wicked wit and a decidedly 21st-century twist (e.g. one of their songs is called “www.lonesome.com,” and features the line “tired of Googling porn/and playing with my flugelhorn”). If you can catch them live, by all means do so — but if you can’t, you should pick up this record.
Ok, it’s about a month too late for “best of ” lists, and the idea of “best albums” seems so 20th-century in this Age of Shuffle. But I still wanted to note some of my favorites from this year.
Surprisingly, some of my favorite bands’ eagerly anticipated new albums didn’t make the cut (Arcade Fire, the Shins, Wilco). Instead, my list is headed by two bands I found out about just this year:
- The Broken West: “I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On” – Americana/roots rock a la Tom Petty, but full of pure pop sunshine.
- O’Death: “Head Home” – Saw these guys at the Hideout Block Party. Full-on country-punk madness from this New York band.
- Modest Mouse: “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank” – The one highly anticipated album that actually lived up to the hype.
- Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: “Raising Sand” – I never thought I’d like anything Robert Plant did this much, but these are beautiful songs.
- Josh Ritter: “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (with Bonus EP)” – My Oberlin College classmate finally starts rockin’ out.