It’s time to trot out the best of the year lists, and I’ll spend today through Friday doing just that. For 2010, Now I’ve Heard Everything will present three lists: best albums, best songs and best videos. I’ll stick to a top 10 format for both albums and songs, and a top three for videos. The Best Albums and Best Songs lists will each be presented in two parts.
2010 was a pretty good year musically with a bit of a pick up in quantity and quality from 2009. It seems that it was also the year of the EP, and three of the top 10 albums are, in fact, EPs.
The top album of 2010 is:
Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3 – Northern Aggression: I’ve said this for years: Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3 (Jason Victor, Dave DeCastro and Linda Pitmon) are the best rock band out there. This album contains 11 songs (10 Steve originals and a cover) that run the gamut of styles (including straight ahead rock, psychedelia, rock/funk and soft rock ballad). Some songs were recorded live in the studio and one was even made up on the spot (Consider the Source). But no matter what, you get great musicianship and songwriting on each track. It was well worth the five year wait since the last Miracle 3 album. If you like rock, get this album.
The rest are presented in alphabetical order
Del-Lords – Under Construction: The Del-Lords are a New York City based band active in from 1984-90, playing a straight-ahead brand of rock with some of the most intelligent lyrics anywhere. They came back together again this year and put out this five song EP to bring with them on their short tour of Spain early this year. The songs here are presented as rough mixes, but they sound great. When the Drugs Kick In (a profoundly anti-drug song) and Silverlake are the standouts here.
Sasha Dobson – Burn: This six-song EP is the first record from Sasha Dobson since 2006, when she released Modern Romance. Sasha’s voice is a clean and pure as before, but this record is sparked by the four songs on which Steven Elliot plays tasty, imaginative and even blistering lead guitar. While Sasha had rock elements in her music previously, she jumps all in to the rock pool here on those songs. Two additional songs which have more jazz leanings round out this excellent outing.
Maura Kennedy – Parade of Echoes: Maura Kennedy, along with her husband Pete, has been one half of the duo, The Kennedys, for the past 15 years. She steps out on her own for the first time with this album, and it is a winner. Although longtime listeners to The Kennedys will find much that is familiar here, the 13 songs here were all Maura’s own (all the original songs by The Kennedys are co-writes by Maura and Pete). This is definitely a rock record, and the song Chains delivers all the power chords you’ll need.
James Maddock – Live at Rockwood Music Hall: I don’t know who has a better time at a James Maddock show; the band or the audience. No matter, a James Maddock show is someplace between a concert and a party. This live album finally captures that feeling and puts you right in the audience. As good as lat year’s Sunrise on Avenue C was (and it made the NIHE Best Albums list then), this record really gives you an idea of what James and his band can do with their material in a live setting. Most of the songs come from Sunrise, with a couple off of Songs from Stamford Hill, the album by James’ former band, Wood. Although James’ material is pretty much all mid tempo, it really rocks here.
You’ll find The Best Albums of 2010 – Part 2 by clicking here.