Alright, it’s that point of yr once more. The annual “Right here’s what I heard this yr that made a constructive impression on my being” checklist. I’m going to be fully trustworthy right here — this yr was robust. It’s onerous to maintain up with music launched in a digital world with little in the way in which of tangible data being exchanged.
For those who proceed to achieve out and maintain me up to date on their musical adventures, I lengthen my whole-hearted “thanks!” to you. I really like listening to all the things everyone seems to be spinning up. You’re creators, and, in creating, you give me cause to write down about no matter finds its manner into my earholes. I don’t take that with no consideration. And please, in case you made or are making new music, get it to me. I’m straightforward to seek out. And at all times excited to listen to new issues.
Anyhow, sufficient rambling. Right here’s my favourite 20 data from the yr that was 2021:
Bob Lord, ‘Playland Arcade’
Bob Lord is a mad man. In all the perfect methods doable. “Playland Arcade” is a spazzfest of the best order. It’s like taking a stroll on the boardwalk at Hampton Seaside, stealing the powdered sugar shaker container from Blink’s Fry Doe shack and taking in all of the blinking lights, curious characters, and countless distractions of the strip whereas navigating the wave of the final word sugar rush.
It’s just like the soundtrack to the world’s greatest pinball recreation — and also you’re the principle character. Setting all of the excessive scores within the wake of this aural assault.
Tune in: boblordmusic.bandcamp.com
Huck Notari, ‘Unusual and Superbly’
I feel Huck’s file was in all probability my “most anticipated” launch of the yr. And, fairly actually, I didn’t actually know what yr it will be launched in. It’s been a very long time coming, however, it was very a lot definitely worth the wait. Huck is aware of easy methods to pen and play ‘em, unusual and superbly.
Tune in: hucknotari.bandcamp.com
Todd Hearon, ‘Border Radio’
Todd Hearon has been writing for a very long time, however, (and disgrace on me), he’s solely not too long ago grow to be considered one of my absolute favourite writers. Be it a guide, or this file, “Border Radio,” Todd is proof that good folkin’ nation singers nonetheless stroll amongst us. Someplace from the good past Townes Van Zandt has occurred upon Todd’s tunes right here (maybe “Border City Woman” – the story, the strumming, the horns, the weepy pedal metal … man, oh, man) and felt his cheeks go flush with envy. What an genuine gem of a recording.
Tune in: toddhearon.bandcamp.com
fiveighthirteen, ‘a fever of rays’
There’s no strategy to describe fiveighthirteen and do what they do full justice. “a fever of rays” is bliss wrapped meticulously in a tape delay. Which is to say, it’s the reward that retains on giving. It’s bizarre. It’s wild. It’s moody. It’s meditative. It’s an absolute surprise. And whilst you’re caught up in that very state of surprise because the file wraps, you’re concurrently dropping the needle on one other trip.
Tune in: fiveighthirteen.bandcamp.com
Extra: Fiveighthirteen releases new album
Inexperienced Heron, ‘Ft on the Floorboards’
Scott and Betsy Heron are a few of my absolute favs. I really like listening to what they’re spinning up of their quest to shed recent gentle on rollicking bluegrassy people music. “Ft on the Floorboards” is however one other chapter of their story of testing the pliability of floorboards domestically and past. In case your foot ain’t tappin’ whereas these tunes are enjoying, cease what you’re doing and concentrate.
Tune in: greenheron.bandcamp.com
All I’m gonna say right here is, drop the needle on the Footings‘ new album’s opening lower, “Twister,” and let it whip you round. Delicate, lush pleasantry giving strategy to a frenzied intestine punch of a storm. This file will sweep you up, take you on an sudden journey, drop you in to a distorted match of begins and stops. It’s such a curiously sensible masterpiece. It’s like an amalgamation of all of your favourite Saddle Creek bands blended up and baked to imperfect perfection.
Tune in: footings.bandcamp.com
Ambermor, ‘World in Flux’
I by no means actually thought of what the perfect “power-duo” is likely to be. A dream collaboration if you’ll. However, if I had thought of it, maybe I might’ve mentioned Chris Cote and Man Capecelatro III. However I didn’t. And, they beat me to the punch earlier than I noticed there was a punch to be thrown on this ring of musical bliss. Ambermor is mesmerizingly beautiful. I really like the unusual area recordings that pop up all through and maintain issues splendidly bizarre. Assume psych-folk wrapped in a heat synth blanket. The one-two “within the spherical” punch of Cote and Capecelatro singing and harmonizing with each other is, effectively, so dang fantastic. So. Dang. Fantastic.
Tune in: burstandbloom.bandcamp.com
Geoff Palmer, ‘Charts & Graphs’
I feel it’d be an odd yr if a Geoff Palmer file didn’t discover its manner into my mitts. The factor about Geoff is he flat out is aware of easy methods to write a pop tune. Whenever you’re in want of a jolt of enjoyable, “Charts & Graphs” is right here to meet that need and wish. Extremely addictive. Outcomes are off the charts (and graphs, I suppose). The factor about Geoff is that he’s not out to wow you with technical prowess, he’s out to get your head bobbing and fingers and toes tapping. Generally, that kind of music is the one drug you want.
Tune in: geoffpalmer.bandcamp.com
Kenny Brothers Band, ‘Pals, Lovers and Radios’
What can I say concerning the Kenny Brothers Band? They merely get higher with every ensuing effort. Each present, each file. They’re good ol’ original rock and roll within the vein of The Band and The Grateful Useless. Straightforward to remain within the strains, however easy to float into the unknown and maintain you locked in and round for your entire trip. “Pals, Lovers and Radios” is such a improbable file. And, admittedly, it performs host to my new theme music, “Sure Man Blues.”
Tune in: kennybrothersband.bandcamp.com
Dave Gerard, ‘Angels & Cowboys’
It’s unattainable to not discover one thing to love a few Dave Gerard file. And, with good cause. Gerard makes feel-good music with nice care and guise. He’s not an artist churning out a file yearly. He takes his time. And in that wait, we get the most recent chapter in a legendary profession. Gerard has by no means sounded so recent, rollicking, and heck, there’s even a little bit of an edge to a few of the compositions on “Angels & Cowboys.” Don’t sleep on it.
Tune in: gerardtruffle.com/angels-cowboys/
Dreadnaught, ‘Northern Burner’
Everyone look out! Bob Lord has made this checklist twice in the identical yr … Yipes.
Should you’ve ever tuned in to my radio present the Granite Rodeo, it’s no secret that I’m obsessive about Dreadnaught. When this trio de pressure put out a brand new file, it’s an event. A cathartic, zany event. “Northern Burner” begins out fairly mellow, which is a little bit of a shock really. Then “Pig & Pony” occurs, and also you’re introduced proper again right down to no matter planet Dreadnaught resides on. Let’s not even point out that there’s additionally a monitor known as “Pony & Pig” on this. Wait… Oh, Dreadnaught. Thanks once more. You bought me good.
Tune in: dreadnaughtmusic.bandcamp.com
Amulus, ‘These Individuals’
Admittedly, I’m not a giant jam band man. Which comes as a little bit of a stunner to some folks due to my affiliation with the Stone Church. Which, you already know, has completed a jam band or two in her day. I really like the mix of jam music Amulus is crafting. I’ll toss ‘em within the zany bin with Dreadnaught, however it’s a special kind of zany. It’s like Zappa frolicking in a area of dandelions whereas sipping on copious quantities of Earl Gray with Jon Fishman chatting concerning the deserves of a yield signal. Bizarre scene, proper? However in all probability one thing you work you must strive, proper? Proper. No one yields. Simply go. These folks ended a finely blended jam file with a sea shanty. What? Yeah. It’s wildly fascinating.
Tune in: fb.com/Amulus
Marble Eyes, ‘Return to the Roses’
This file has such a large sound. And whereas the band has solely been in existence for a few yr, they sound like a well-oiled machine that’s been round for eons. Soulful. Rockin’. Jammy. Percussive. Percy Hill-esque. Enjoyable. “Return to the Roses,” is a few feel-good stuff. And, like Amulus, options Max Chase on the keys, who seamlessly colours within the grooves that’ll transfer you.
Tune in: marbleeyesband.bandcamp.com
Chilly Engines, ‘The Final Resort’
Chilly Engines put out a handful of data final yr. And, if we’re being (I’m being trustworthy), any considered one of them might’ve made this checklist. I’m choosing “The Final Resort” as my first resort as a result of it was the primary one which frontman Dave Drouin put in my arms this yr, and its again story is simply wild. This dude (Drouin) went forward and created a rock opera based mostly on the movie “Whole Recall.” Yeah. Wild. You gotta give this a strive. And whilst you’re at it, get misplaced in all the things Chilly Engines has been as much as.
Tune in: coldengines.bandcamp.com
The Stereo Subject, ‘I Assume We’re Prepared’
Dave Hunter isn’t any stranger to the music scene round right here. A rock and curler with a knack for strong pop tune writing, Hunter has given us myriad music flavors over time, however, I’m unsure I used to be prepared for “I Assume We’re Prepared,” however, oh boy, this file is critical testomony a inventive dude that’s fully on board with difficult himself and wholly bored with turning into stagnant. A solo file at coronary heart, Hunter is exploring completely different modes of creating noise, and the noise he’s give you is a special engine, however not solely unfamiliar. He’s in there, preserving the catchy hooks woven in, with some distinctive experimental soundbites coloring in-and exterior the strains. I dig it.
Tune in: thestereofield.hearnow.com/i-think-were-ready
Desk Jockeys, ‘Huge League Goals’
Bryan Belanger reached out to introduce himself on a whim earlier within the yr, and I’m so glad he did. Beneath the moniker Desk Jockeys, Belanger took his first crack at making an attempt to create his personal music — this after turning into a brand new father and being cooped up at house in Portsmouth amid a pandemic attempting to know what was/is happening on the earth, and what this new parenthood factor was/is all about. The outcome was “Huge League Goals,” a splendidly pleasant indie-folk file. Darkish at instances, with loads of room for gentle to thoughtfully seep its manner in. It’s real in method, and Jeff Mangum-esque in nature.
Tune in: deskjockey.bandcamp.com
Bloom Nation, ‘Vol. 1’
What a refreshing hear this was. Take all of your up to date nation music programming that guidelines the airwaves and substitute it with this compilation from Burst & Bloom (Man Capecelatro and Dylan Metrano). Spoiler alert: It’s f-in’ nice and such a captivating research into what nation music is – and means – to an assorted forged of characters. Sam Carp’s “No Wings to Fly”? Almanac Mountain’s “Sammy Hill”? Sure, please. Thanks.
Tune in: burstandbloom.bandcamp.com
Jim Rioux, ‘Some Form of Ghost’
Whereas that is only a single, Jim Rioux (and visitor Jolie Holland) created a tune that can undoubtedly hang-out me for the remainder of my life. And whereas we’re right here, I gotta get one thing off my chest ,,, In a characteristic in assist of this launch (again in January), I had an unlucky typo suggesting that the tune was “stinkingly darkish.” Ought to’ve learn “strikingly darkish,” however some form of ghost grabbed ahold of my keyboard whereas I used to be busy sipping a one-too-many whiskeys, I’m certain (sorry, Jim). I coulda learn that line a dozen instances that night time and never caught it. So, right here we’re … In any occasion, this recording is one thing particular. The river, because it stands, continues to be very a lot rising.
Tune in: jimriouxmusic.bandcamp.com
Chook Good friend, ‘Caroline Know’
Chook Good friend was a brand new discovery for me this yr. Based mostly in Durham, Chook Good friend are creating a stunning cinematic model of music. Delicately strummed, superbly spun vocal harmonies, and vivid storytelling. I’m a giant fan. Very Tallest Man on Earth (with feminine accompaniment). It appears like this duo has been doing this type of factor ceaselessly. And maybe they’ve. I don’t know. In 2022, I shall discover out extra about this mysterious band of melody makers. Within the meantime, take this file for a spin. It’s beautiful.
Tune in: birdfriendmusic.bandcamp.com
Chris Merenda, ‘We All Will Shine’
The mighty Chris Merenda, additionally of Durham (native to Durham), and, additionally a single. I’m unsure if it is a working piece of a larger mission, however, man, something Chris Merenda places out is sort of at all times gold in my eyes. “We All Will Shine” is the anthem I wanted to get me by such a turbulent, attempting yr. It’s simply as raucous as a Chewy file, curbed ever so barely by the knowledge and picked up musical experiences Merenda has collected over the many years. I’ll grasp my hat on the sentiment within the title of this tune. As a result of why not?
Tune in: soundcloud.com/chrismerenda16/we-all-will-shine
This text initially appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Finest music of 2021 from Seacoast NH and southern Maine artists