#header-expand { background: #333333; }

Saturday, May 20, 2017

US/Canada Tour Wrap-Up (4/29-5/14/17)



Ryan Adams and the Unknown Band moved on to the 2nd leg of the Prisoner tour late last month hitting up 8 major cities across the east coast of Canada and the US. Prior to hitting the road there were 2 major lineup changes in the band. Tod Wisenbaker (La Sera/1989) stepped in and took over for Benny Yurco on lead guitar while Aaron Ficca (Macy Gray) stepped in for Nate Lotz on drums. Both members were bombarded with tons of new songs to learn in rehearsals. Ryan posted a huge list of songs on twitter they were trying out for the tour: including such rarities as "When Will You Come Back Home", "Afraid Not Scared", "Political Scientist", "World War 24", "Now that You're Gone", "Cherry Lane", "Blossom", "Friends", "Carolina Rain", "Tears of Gold", "Let Go", "Gracie", "Lonely and Blue", "Happy Birthday", "Kisses Start Wars", "The Crystal Skull", and "P.S." just to name a few!

Over the course of 9 performances, the band played 39 different songs! They stuck to playing a set of nightly warhorses like "Magnolia Mountain", "Do You Still Love Me", "To Be Young", "New York New York", "Shakedown on 9th Street", and a very cool Prisoner-esque version of "When Stars Go Blue." But they also threw in a lot of surprises including: four of the new b-sides ("Juli", "Are You Home", "Where Will You Run", and "Stop You"), "Dear John" which hadn't been played in several years, and a couple others that haven't been played in at least a year ("Blue Light", "La Cienega"). Typically Ryan would play at least one song each night unplugged and solo acoustic which included "NY NY", "English Girls Approximately", "My Winding Wheel", and "Come Pick Me Up." At a show in Columbia, MD - Jenny Lewis even came out and sang with Ryan on "Come Pick Me Up."

All in all, there's a lot to look forward to with the shows coming up. Already there have been plenty of surprises, new arrangements and jams. Ryan's still as funny as ever onstage and there have been lots of positive reviews coming from critics and fans!

LINK TO THE SONG STATS.






Wednesday, May 17, 2017

US/Canada Tour Notes and Setlists (4/29-5/14/17)

4/29 - Whitaker Center, Harrisburg, PA
22 Songs. "Blue Light"  (first since 2015), "Sweet Illusions" (first since 2016), and "La Cienega Just Smiled" (first since 2015) made their tour debuts tonight.
Do You Still Love Me/To Be Young/Sweet Illusions/Prisoner/Kim/Outbound Train/Gimme Something Good/Stay With Me/Blue Light/Wonderwall (oasis)/Magnolia Mountain/Fix It/Dirty Rain/New York New York/Haunted House/Everybody Knows/Trouble/La Cienega Just Smiled/Anything I Say to You Now/When the Stars Go Blue/Come Pick Me Up/Shakedown on 9th Street

5/2 - Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
21 Songs. "New York New York" was played solo acoustic. "Where Will You Run" was also played for the first time ever.
Do You Still Love Me/To Be Young/Outbound Train/Prisoner/Gimme Something Good/Stay With Me/Dirty Rain/Kim/Haunted House/New York New York/Where Will You Run/Magnolia Mountain/Fix It/Doomsday/When the Stars Go Blue/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Let it Ride/Anything I Say to You Now/Peaceful Valley/Shakedown on 9th Street/Come Pick Me Up

5/3 - Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
23 Songs. "English Girls Approximately" was played solo acoustic and made it's first appearance since 2016. "Are You Home" made it's live debut.
Do You Still Love Me/To Be Young/Gimme Something Good/Two/Dirty Rain/Outbound Train/Everybody Knows/English Girls Approximately/Prisoner/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Doomsday/When the Stars Go Blue/Let it Ride/Are You Home?/My Winding Wheel/Sweet Illusions/Magnolia Mountain/To Be Without You/Kim/Cold Roses/Shakedown on 9th Street/New York New York/Come Pick Me Up

5/6 - Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
23 Songs. "Come Pick Me Up" was played solo acoustic. "Juli" made its' live debut tonight. "Invisible Riverside" also made a rare appearance.
Do You Still Love Me/To Be Young/Gimme Something Good/Two/Dirty Rain/Fix It/Outbound Train/Kim/Invisible Riverside/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Doomsday/When the Stars Go Blue/Prisoner/Let it Ride/Juli/Magnolia Mountain/Sweet Illusions/To Be Without You/Haunted House/New York New York/Cold Roses/Shakedown on 9th Street/Come Pick Me Up

5/7 - State Theatre, Portland, ME
25 Songs plus an improv song ("Battle Axe"). "Stop You" made its' live debut tonight.
Do You Still Love Me/To Be Young/Gimme Something Good/Two/Dirty Rain/Outbound Train/Prisoner/Invisible Riverside/Sweet Illusions/When the Stars Go Blue/Magnolia Mountain/Shiver and Shake/Let it Ride/Juli/Stop You/New York New York/Haunted House/Doomsday/To Be Without You/Peaceful Valley/Cold Roses/Everybody Knows/Shakedown on 9th Street/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Come Pick Me Up

5/9 - Massey Hall, Toronto, ON
24 Songs. "My Winding Wheel" and "Come Pick Me Up" were performed solo acoustic.
Do You Still Love Me/To Be Young/Gimme Something Good/Two/Dirty Rain/Outbound Train/Prisoner/Invisible Riverside/Everybody Knows/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Doomsday/When the Stars Go Blue/Haunted House/Let it Ride/Juli/My Winding Wheel/Magnolia Mountain/Sweet Illusions/Kim/To Be Without You/New York New York/Peaceful Valley/Shakedown on 9th Street/Come Pick Me Up

5/10 - Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Boston, MA
24 Songs.
Do You Still Love Me/To Be Young/Gimme Something Good/Two/Dirty Rain/Outbound Train/Prisoner/Stay With Me/Invisible Riverside/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Doomsday/Kim/When the Stars Go Blue/Haunted House/Let it Ride/Juli/My Winding Wheel/Magnolia Mountain/Sweet Illusions/Fix It/Anything I Say To You Now/New York New York/Shakedown on 9th Street/Come Pick Me Up

5/12 - Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
25 Songs. "Dear John" made its first live appearance in a few years while "This House is Not for Sale" was played for the first time this year. "My Winding Wheel" was played solo acoustic. Jenny Lewis came out and sang on "Come Pick Me Up".
Do You Still Love Me/To Be Young/Gimme Something Good/This House is Not for Sale/Stay With Me/Two/Dirty Rain/Doomsday/Kim/To Be Without You/Magnolia Mountain/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Outbound Train/When the Stars Go Blue/Prisoner/Let it Ride/Juli/New York New York/Invisible Riverside/My Winding Wheel/Sweet Illusions/Dear John/Cold Roses/Shakedown on 9th Street/Come Pick Me Up

5/14 - Shaky Knees Festival, Atlanta, GA
12 Songs.
Do You Still Love Me/To Be Young/Gimme Something Good/Two/When the Stars Go Blue/Magnolia Mountain/Let it Ride/Doomsday/New York New York/Outbound Train/Come Pick Me Up/Shakedown on 9th Street

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

US Tour Wrap-Up (3/5-3/17/17)



The first major US tour for Prisoner took place in the south and included stops in Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. Ryan and his new band (currently called "The Unknown Band" on tour posters) performed some hard rocking sets that have me very excited for things to come. The band features Benny Yurco (from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) on guitar, Charlie Stavish (from The Shining) on bass, Nate Lotz on drums (from 1989), and Ben Alleman on keys. Together they've created a pretty great backing for Ryan's songs - adding a new mix of soulful/jazzy touches plus some head-banging worthy metal inspired jams.

Looking through the set lists, there really weren't a whole lot of surprises on paper but they did whip up some really cool new arrangements for tracks like "Magnolia Mountain", "Shakedown on 9th", "Peaceful Valley", and "I See Monsters". Ryan also played a couple songs each night solo acoustic such as "Wonderwall", "Come Pick Me Up", "Doomsday", "Breakdown", and others. All of the shows except for one lasted between 22-26 songs. In 7 shows, the band played 34 different tunes.

All in all, I think this is easily the most exciting lineup since The Cardinals days. The band seems to be able to tap into more of Ryan's different musical sides. Ryan has also made a lot of changes to his effects pedals and his guitar arsenal (adding a Flying V and a 12 string acoustic) which has also made things sound more interesting.

Link to Song Stats.

Monday, March 27, 2017

US Tour Notes and Setlists (3/5-3/17/17)

3/5 - The National, Richmond, VA
22 Songs plus an improv called "Out of Tune Guitar". "Wonderwall" and "Come Pick Me Up" were played solo acoustic.
Do You Still Love Me?/Doomsday/Dirty Rain/Prisoner/Gimme Something Good/Am I Safe/Peaceful Valley/Fix It/Magnolia Mountain/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Let it Ride/Breakdown/Everybody Knows/Anything I Say to You Now/Haunted House/Kim/When the Stars Go Blue/Trouble/We Disappear/Come Pick Me Up/Shakedown on 9th Street/Cold Roses

3/6 - The National, Richmond, VA
22 Songs plus an improv about not using the flash when taking pictures. "Doomsday" and "Come Pick Me Up" were played solo acoustic.
Do You Still Love Me?/To Be Young/Prisoner/Haunted House/Gimme Something Good/Shiver and Shake/Peaceful Valley/Let it Ride/Shakedown on 9th Street/Doomsday/Outbound Train/Breakdown/Magnolia Mountain/Stay With Me/Dirty Rain/Kim/When the Stars Go Blue/We Disappear/Trouble/Come Pick Me Up/Everybody Knows/I See Monsters

3/8 - Township Auditorium, Columbia, SC
23 Songs. "Wonderwall", "Doomsday", and "Come Pick Me Up" were played solo acoustic.
Do You Still Love Me?/To Be Young/Dirty Rain/Prisoner/Haunted House/Gimme Something Good/Two/Breakdown/Peaceful Valley/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Shakedown on 9th Street/New York New York/Outbound Train/Magnolia Mountain/Kim/Stay With Me/When the Summer Ends/Am I Safe/Doomsday/Everybody Knows/When the Stars Go Blue/Come Pick Me Up/I See Monsters

3/9 - North Charleston Performing Arts Center, North Charleston, SC
24 Songs plus an improv ("Get the Febreze"). "Doomsday" and "Come Pick Me Up" were played solo acoustic.
Do You Still Love Me?/To Be Young/Dirty Rain/Gimme Something Good/Two/Outbound Train/Kim/New York New York/Shakedown on 9th Street/Peaceful Valley/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Breakdown/Halloweenhead/My Winding Wheel/Doomsday/Stay With Me/Am I Safe/When the Summer Ends/Prisoner/Everybody Knows/Magnolia Mountain/When the Stars Go Blue/Come Pick Me Up/I See Monsters

3/10 - The Parker Playhouse, Ft Lauderdale, FL
26 Songs. "Doomsday", "My Winding Wheel", and "Come Pick Me Up" were played solo acoustic.
Do You Still Love Me?/To Be Young/Gimme Something Good/Two/Dirty Rain/Prisoner/Kim/Doomsday/Haunted House/Peaceful Valley/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Outbound Train/Magnolia Mountain/Stay With Me/Am I Safe/My Winding Wheel/Do I Wait/Halloweenhead/Anything I Say to You Now/New York New York/Everybody Knows/I Love You But I Don't Know What to Say/When the Stars Go Blue/I See Monsters/Come Pick Me Up/Shakedown on 9th Street

3/12 - Gasparilla Music Festival, Tampa, FL
14 Songs plus an improv tune ("Dude With the Sign that Says No Flash").
Do You Still Love Me?/To Be Young/Dirty Rain/Gimme Something Good/Stay With Me/Peaceful Valley/Everybody Knows/Anything I Say to You Now/I See Monsters/Outbound Train/When the Stars Go Blue/New York New York/Magnolia Mountain/Shakedown on 9th Street

3/14 - Orpheum Theater, New Orleans, LA
25 Songs plus an improv ("Mr. Security Guard"). "Doomsday", "My Winding Wheel", "Two", "Breakdown", and "Come Pick Me Up" were performed solo acoustic. "Wonderwall" was performed with acoustic guitar and keys only.
Do You Still Love Me?/To Be Young/Gimme Something Good/Dirty Rain/Prisoner/Kim/Doomsday/ Haunted House/Peaceful Valley/Wonderwall (Oasis)/Outbound Train/Magnolia Mountain/My Winding Wheel/Two/Breakdown/Stay With Me/Am I Safe/Halloweenhead/Anything I Say to You Now/New York New York/Everybody Knows/When the Stars Go Blue/I See Monsters/Come Pick Me Up/Shakedown on 9th Street

3/17 - ACL Live Moody Theater, Austin, TX
Show was cancelled due to illness.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Just in Case You Missed Anything Vol. 25....



Plenty of news and interviews are coming in everyday as Ryan continues to do tons of promo for his latest album. Prisoner came out a week ago and has been getting plenty of positive reviews from critics and fans alike. Although I wouldn't quite call it a classic yet it has been growing on me the same way that Love is Hell did. A few random thoughts after 15 or so listens.....

  1. I freakin' LOVE the guitars on this album! I think he's improved a lot as a guitarist since his self titled album. Very Johnny Marr-ish and probably my favorite of any of his records. 
  2. I'm hearing tons of Springsteen influence in the way he phrases certain lyrics (but not too obvious, just small hints here and there - I love it!). 
  3. This might have my favorite closing 4 songs of any Ryan album ("Outbound Train", "Broken Anyway", "Tightrope", "We Disappear" are all favorites for me). 
  4. Listening to his albums in chronological order from Ashes and Fire up to Prisoner helped me appreciate this album a lot more. There's definitely a nice progression and makes me look forward to what he'll do next.
  5. There's something very basic about the structure of these songs. Not really a negative since the lyrics and production more than make up for it but at times I kinda miss those random weird tracks on his albums like "The Sadness" (29), "Halloweenhead" (Easy Tiger), "Political Scientist" (Love is Hell) etc....
  6. I need to sit down and listen to this album with a good pair of headphones.

On to the news and other randomness....

Prisoner Updates:

- There are no bonus tracks on the Japanese import version of Prisoner but there is a really cool poster included with the liner notes.

- A handful of record stores across the country including Amoeba, Waterloo Records, and Bullmoose are doing drawings for a custom Prisoner Fender Stratocaster. For most of these you have to go into the stores but you can enter the contest online for Amoeba Records HERE.



Notable Interviews and Performances

Loud and Quiet Presents Midnight Chats (2/2) - In this interview Ryan talks about his cats, his early demos, Prisoner, Orion, 1989, his early band - Kotton, and the story behind starting his own record label.

The Renaissance of Ryan Adams by Chris Familton (2/10) - Good article about the making of Prisoner. Ryan also talks about his new band and the breakup of the Shining.

WTF Podcast with Marc Maron (2/13) - Really enjoyable interview. Ryan talks about hanging out with the Rolling Stones, the early days of Whiskeytown, Easy Tiger, Heartbreaker, Suicide Handbook, Gold, and his love of the Grateful Dead and Gram Parsons.

All Songs Considered with Bob Boilen (2/14) - Special Valentines Day show on NPR. Ryan and Bob play and give their thoughts about various songs with the theme of "Love and Lonesome Roads". Ryan chooses songs by The Smiths, Sonic Youth, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan.

Peering Into the Abyss with Ryan Adams by Eve Barlow (2/15) - Nice article about the making of the new album, as well as 1989, and the recent Liz Phair sessions.

Inside the World of Ryan Adams, Interview with Mark Bannerman, ABC News (Australia)(2/16)


M.C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger) on Time, Death, and Ryan Adams' Newest Record (2/17) - M.C. Taylor is a gifted songwriter in his own rite. In this article he gives his thoughts and perspective on the new album.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, NBC (2/17) - Live television performances of "Do You Still Love Me?" and "To Be Without You".

Midnight Wave, Beats 1 Radio (2/19) - Available through Apple Music. Ryan along with Tod Wisenbaker, Marshall Vore, and Charlie Stavish host this very entertaining hour of music and random stoner comedy bits. This was the first episode and featured such segments as "Who Said It? Morrissey or Trump?", "Pet News", "Viral Words", and "What the fuck are UFO's?." They also play tracks by the Bay City Rollers, Black Flag, Emperor, Styx, Kiss, The Cure, and Alice in Chains. I can't wait to hear more episodes! 

WFUV Interview with Alisa Ali (2/20) - Originally recorded in December, Ryan talks about the new album, his love of AC/DC and power ballads, and plays a few songs ("Do You Still Love Me?", "Haunted House", and "Tightrope").

KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic (2/21) - Features an interview about the new album and box set as well as excellent solo performances of "Do You Still Love Me?", "Prisoner", "Doomsday", "Breakdown", "Haunted House", "Outbound Train", and "To Be Without You". The link features video and audio.

Jonesy's Jukebox, 95.5 KLOS, Los Angeles, CA (2/21)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Just in Case You Missed Anything Vol. 24


There's so much happening right now in the world of Ryan Adams, so strap yourself in for a long update................

The New Ryan Adams Album - "Prisoner" is due out on February 17th! Below is a quick rundown of different versions of the new album that will be available on 2/17 as well as promotions and other surprises related to the release. There will likely be more to come..




The End of World Edition is the most extreme version of the new record and costs $150. This box set release featuring 12 7" singles (one for each song on Prisoner plus 17 exclusive b-sides), a fold-out stage with working lights, 2D action figures of the new band, as well as some other hidden surprises. Twelve copies of the set will also include an extremely limited 7" single that Ryan recorded on an old Voice-o-Graph machine at Electric Lady Studios in NYC (Only 1 copy exists of each of these!). 5000 copies of the set were made and is available for purchase HERE.



Prisoner Deluxe Bundle starts at $55 and includes a puzzle, t-shirt, slipmat, and choice of the new album on CD, vinyl, or digital. Available HERE.

Prisoner and Tee Bundle starts at $25 - Available HERE.

Amoeba Records in Hollywood - Buy the album at Amoeba and you'll get a limited edition poster and free ticket to an in-store performance on 2/22 (while supplies last)! More info can be found HERE.

Limited Edition Red Vinyl version of the album can be purchased at most indie record stores. The red version is limited to 4000 copies.

Several indie record stores such as Newbury Comics will be giving away a Signed Prisoner CD Booklet with purchase of the new album.



Barnes and Noble will put out a version of the new record with an Alternate 'Apple Bong' Cover. Available HERE.

Lastly the Japanese Import Version of Prisoner appears to have a bonus track although no word yet as to what song it is. More info can be found HERE.

========================================

Other News Related to Prisoner...... Ryan has been traveling all over the place lately doing interviews to promote the new album. Below is a quick run down of some of the better ones of the bunch.

Beats 1 Radio Interview with Zane Lowe (1/19) Zane Lowe premiers Ryan's latest single - "Doomsday". He also does a 20 minute interview with him where they discuss the new album, the stories behind "Shiver and Shake" and "Do You Still Love Me", his side project - Ad Company, his recent work with Liz Phair and Jenny Lewis, and talks about the possibility of a Whiskeytown reunion.


BBC Radio 6 Interview with Lauren Laverne (1/24) - Ryan talks about the making of his new album, songwriting, producing Jenny Lewis, working with Don Was, and mentions he's working on 2 new books (one about Whiskeytown's early years and the other a science fiction novel). He also plays solo acoustic versions of "To Be Without You" and "Do You Still Love Me".


The Radio 2 Arts Show with Jonathan Ross, BBC Radio 2 (1/26) - Jonathan Ross always does a great interview. Informative and pretty funny. Ryan talks about the new album, his Taylor Swift cover album - 1989, pinball, cats, Treadwells bookstore, and plays a buried treasure (Greg Sage's "Straight Ahead").


BBC Breakfast, BBC 1 News Show (1/28 - see below)



The Radio Leary Show with Jo Whiley, BBC Radio 2 (1/28) - Jo Whiley filled in for Dermot O'Leary and interviewed Ryan about the new album, his love of films, his recent divorce, and his early upbringing. He also plays solo acoustic versions of "Doomsday" and a cover of Radioheads' "Karma Police".


Rolling Stone Magazine Australia (February 2017 Edition) - features a 6 page cover story about the new album. Available for purchase HERE.


Uncut Magazine UK (March 2017 Edition) - Also features a 6 page article on the new album. More info can be found HERE.


On the Horizon........... CBS Sunday Morning with Anthony Mason (filmed on 12/19).......... WTF Podcast with Marc Maron (taped on 1/18 - www.wtfpod.com)........... BBC Radio 6 Interview with Mary Anne Hobbs airing on 2/4.



============================================

All the Other News, Videos, and Random Info You Handle.........

- Ryan has been working with a lot of other artists recently at Pax-Am. Most notably he produced and played guitar on a new double album for Liz Phair in January. The album was recorded very quickly and is said to harken back to her classic "Exile in Guyville" album. The record also features Don Was on bass, Nate Lotz on drums, and Charlie Stavish engineering the sessions........ Jenny Lewis  has returned to Pax-Am on several occasions to lay down demos for her next album. Ryan has been heavily praising her new songs as having the same spirit of Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde". He also mentions that they are planning to add strings to a lot of the songs........... Lastly, Ryan mentioned that he produced a new album for an up and coming glammy psychedelic hard rock group called Starcrawler.


- Ruby Amanfu is a talented singer-songwriter from Ghana worth keeping an ear out for this year. She sang on Beyonce's recent album and also has a new record due out this year that features contributions from Ryan Adams. Two songs that she co-wrote with Ryan were performed at her Newport Folk Festival set last year which can be streamed HERE.


- Ryan Adams in collaboration with JHS Pedals is putting out his signature guitar effects pedal this Spring. The easy-to-use pedal features most of the Johnny Marr inspired guitar effects that he can be heard playing on such albums as Love is Hell, Rock n Roll, Prisoner, and his self titled album. The pedal is priced at $269. More info can be found HERE.




- In December, BBC Channel 4 aired an excellent hour long show called "The Great Songwriters". The hour-long episode featured an in-depth chat with Ryan Adams and went into great detail about his songwriting process. He also writes a song on the spot, and performs solo acoustic versions of 4 songs ("Gimme Something Good", "My Wrecking Ball", "Broken Anyway", and "Tightrope"). This was by far one of the most illuminating shows I've ever seen on Ryan and I highly recommend it as essential viewing for fans and aspiring singer-songwriters. You can watch the whole thing HERE.


=========================================

More Stuff Worth Listening to.............

A Prairie Home Companion, Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, CA (1/21/17) Really great performance from Ryan and friends. He performs "To Be Without You", "Doomsday", "Ashes and Fire", and "I Love You But I Don't Know What to Say" with backing from Chris Thile of Nickel Creek on mandolin and Kacey Musgraves on backing vocals.


Morning Becomes Eclectic, KCRW, Los Angeles, CA (8/1/16) - 35 minute broadcast that includes 3 solo acoustic songs ("Lucky Now", "New York New York", and "My Winding Wheel") plus an interview. Topics include touring, writing songs, his recent visit to the Dischord Records house, the Heartbreaker reissue, and his next album.


Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI (7/23/16) - Ryan performed this show with Nicki Bluhm and the Infamous Stringdusters backing him. This was one of only a few shows that featured this lineup. This set was full of surprises including covers of Slayer and Black Sabbath plus some rarely played songs from throughout his career.


==================================

More Stuff Worth Watching.....................

The Official Music Video of "Do You Still Love Me?"


Lil Bub's Big Show with Ryan Adams





Sunday, January 15, 2017

Off Topic: My Favorite Music of 2016


My Favorite Albums of 2016

1. David Bowie - Blackstar
Bowie passed away earlier this year and left fans with one of the most interesting albums of his career. Is it jazz? Is it art-rock? Avant-garde? Experimental? Who knows? Who cares? This was easily my favorite album of the year and one that got better every time I listened. Sounds like how I imagine Radiohead would sound 2040.

2. Karl Blau - Introducing Karl Blau
Karl Blau is a DIY songwriter and producer from the Northwest who has been dabbling in all sorts of genres since the mid-90's. On "Introducing Karl Blau", he tackles an eclectic set of both classic and somewhat forgotten country songs by artists such as Waylon Jennings, Don Gibson, Townes Van Zandt, and more. The arrangements, production and Karl's deep baritone voice on this record very quickly made me a fan for life.

3. Thee Oh Sees - A Weird Exists
This is the 2nd year in a row that I've had an Oh Sees album in my top 3 but these guys just keep getting better every year. This was the first of 2 new studio albums that they put out this year and is full of long trippy spaced-out kraut-garage rock jams. The group also features a dual drummer lineup on this album which makes these songs sound even more explosive.

4. Beyonce - Lemonade
I never thought I'd have a Beyonce album on my top 10 but this is a really solid and diverse pop album! The songs on Lemonade range from country to raging rockers to sad soul ballads plus there's a lot of interesting collaborations (Jack White, James Blake, Kendrick Lamar). I wouldn't say she excels at the rock or country tunes as much but they do add to the overall vibe of the record and show off her wide-ranging vocal talents. I was surprised upon listening to find out she can be pretty damn funny at times too.

5. The I Don't Cares - Wild Stab
For some reason, this one seemed to go under the radar this year (even for big Replacements fans)! The I Don't Cares is a duo featuring Paul Westerberg (The Replacements) and Juliana Hatfield (Blake Babies/Lemonheads). Wild Stab is great, tossed off, rough-around-the-edges, garagey-bubblegum rock FUN and if you're a Westerberg fan - you need to own this!


6. Allen Toussaint - American Tunes
I just started getting into Allen Touissant this past year and can't believe I waited so long. For those that don't know, Allen was a legenday New Orleans pianist, producer, and songwriter who penned some of the greatest r&b songs of the 60s ("Mother-in-Law", "Fortune Teller", "I Like it Like That", "Working in a Coal Mine" and on and on). He passed away in 2015 but recorded this beautiful album before he died. "American Tunes"  is comprised of mostly instrumental jazz songs played alone on piano. Real perfect, loungey, early-Sunday mornin' tunes played by a true master.

7. The Rolling Stones - Blue and Lonesome
While trying to record a new album of original material, The Rolling Stones decided they needed to spend a few days having fun and jamming out. By recording some blues covers, it was a way for them to get comfortable in their new recording space before diving into new songs. Three days later during playbacks of these jam sessions, the band thought "Hey, we should just release this instead?". Blue and Lonesome sums up that 3 days of "jamming" and has a raw energy that I haven't heard on a Stones album since the 70's. Surprisingly even at age 73, Mick Jagger's voice and harp-playing have never sounded better!

8. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree
In a year full of really sad and dark (but great) albums, "Skeleton Tree" was by far the saddest. Cave's 15-year old son died in a cliff fall towards the end of these recording sessions and this record seems to carry his ghost with it. At times, this album can be a tough listen and seems to drift along in a droney, experimental, stream-of-conciousness way but once you get to the end ("Distant Sky" in particular) - it all makes sense.

9. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Not my favorite Radiohead album but not my least favorite either. A Moon Shaped Pool is another great sad, mellow, and meditative album, Lots of nice strings on here as well!


10. Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Life
This was a really nice progression from his previous 2 albums as he added some country soul and Muscle Shoals-style horns into the mix. A Sailor's Guide to Life was written by Sturgill for his son and is a song-cycle meant to be listened to in one sitting. Features a countrified version of "In Bloom" by Nirvana plus some even stronger originals.

11. Parquet Courts - Human Performance
One of my favorite indie rock groups of the last 5 years, the group added some new sounds and textures to their arty-post-punk.

12. Czarface - A Fistful of Peril
Hip-hop duo of Inspectah Deck from the Wu Tang Clan, and 7L & Esoteric. Fun hip hop with a comic book-inspired theme


Honorable Mentions
Peter Wolf - A Cure for Loneliness
Dennis Brennan - Into this World
Grant-Lee Phillips - The Narrows
Lucinda Williams - The Ghosts of Highway 20
Anderson Paak - Malibu

Wilco - Schmilco

A few albums that might have made the list but I only just discovered them recently:
The Cactus Blossoms - You're Dreaming
A Tribe Called Quest - We Got it From Here
Alex Cameron - Jumping the Shark
Yorkston/Thorne/Khan - Everything Sacred
The Lemon Twigs - Do Hollywood



My Favorite Reissues
Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker Deluxe Version
Big Star - Complete Third

My Favorite EPs of 2016
Todd Terje and the Olsens - The Big Cover-Up
Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered

My Favorite Songs of 2016

Favorite Concerts
1. Willie Nelson @ ACL Fest 10/9
2. Mavis Staples and Nick Lowe at The Paramount Theatre, Austin, TX 3/6
3. Yonatan Gat @ The 29th Street Ballroom, Austin, TX 3/15
4. Radiohead @ ACL Fest 10/7
5. Kendrick Lamar @ ACL Fest 10/8
6. Die Antwood @ ACL Fest 10/7
7. Andra Day @ ACL Fest 10/8
8. Sturgill Simpson @ ACL Live Moody Theater, Austin, TX 5/5
9. Old Crow Medicine Show/Margo Price @ Stubbs BBQ, Austin, TX 6/17
10. Thee Oh Sees/Abjects/La Luz/Bleached/Amplified Heat@ Hotel Vegas, Austin, TX 3/16
11. Wussy/Werewolf Academy @ 29th Street Ballroom, Austin, TX 6/11
12. Protomartyr and Spray Paint @ Sidewinder, Austin, TX 2/26

Favorite New Music Discoveries (pre-2016)
Eagles of Death Metal - "Zipper Down" (2015)
Various - "Ork Records: New York, New York" (2015)
Allen Toussaint - Songbook" (2013)
Alex Chilton - "Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy" (1999)
Richard Buckner - "Bloomed" (1994)
Public Enemy - "Fear of a Black Planet" (1990)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - "Blood and Chocolate" (1986)
Philip Glass - "Glassworks" (1982)
Black Flag - "Everything Went Black" (1983)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - "Imperial Bedroom" (1982)
Various - "DIY: The Boston Scene 1975-1983" (1993)
Alex Chilton - "Like Flies on Sherbert" (1979)
The Dead Boys - "Young, Loud, and Snotty" (1977)
AC/DC - "Let There Be Rock" (1977)
Iggy Pop and the Stooges - "Metallic KO" (1976)
Mott the Hoople - "The Hoople" (1974)
Ron Wood - "I've Got My Own Album to Do" (1974)
Neu! - Neu! 2 (1973)
Mott the Hoople - "Mott" (1973)
Hawkwind - "Space Ritual" (1973)
Donny Hathaway - "Live" (1972)
Dr. John - "Dr. John's Gumbo" (1972)
Faust - "Faust/So Far" (1971/1972)
Hawkwind - "In Search of Space" (1971)
Sir Douglas Quintet - "The Mono Singles 1968-1972"
The Move - "Message from the Country" (1971)
Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers (1971)
The Move - "Shazam" (1970)
The Velvet Underground - "The Complete Matrix Tapes" (2015)
Them - "The Complete Them" (1964-1967/2015)
Roger Miller - "King of the Road: The Genius of Roger Miller"
Various - "The R&B Box: 30 Years of Rhythm and Blues" (1994)
Chuck Berry - "Johnny B. Goode: His Complete 50's Chess Recordings", "You Never Can Tell: His Complete Chess Recordings 1960-1966", and "Have Mercy: His Complete Chess Recordings 1969-1974"
Eddie Cochran - "Something Else: The Fine Lookin' Hits of Eddie Cochran" (1998)
The Everly Brothers - "Heartaches and Harmonies" (1994)