We all love lists, and we all love sarcasm. Though, I think its important to reflect upon the last year of music, I’m going to do so through the use of a list. It was a fantastic year full of awesome albums, and I’m going to count down a bunch of my favorites, and give you something to listen to while reading.
50. Country Mice - Twister
Country Mice - Festival
Brooklyn’s Country Mice don’t sound anything like a Brooklyn band, their sound is roughly a twangy indie rock band with dirt rubbed all over it. Its not glossy, but it is rootsy, a little bluesy, and all kinds of rockin. This album was chock full of this sound top to bottom, favorites include: Festival, Morning Son, and Worn Hearts.
Buy > Twister
49. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - It’s a Corporate World
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Morning Thought
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s catchy beats, and fun pop melodies burst on this fun album full of bassy buzzed anthems, and sometimes a darkly sweet pop fizz. Favorites include: Simple Girl, Morning Thought, and Skeletons.
Buy > It’s a Corporate World
48. The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
One of the prettiest sounding albums of the year, the Civil Wars’ Joy Williams & John Paul White both bring a gorgeous singing voices, some twangy and classical folk. The instrumentation is sparse but can be heavy and pounding (see title track). The album sweetly and softly and politely presents relationships and life through songs that are largely tranquil. Their sound can become quite dark and pounding, and the album and specifically Joy Williams’ voice is impactful, beautiful and lovely. Favorites include: Barton Hollow and Forget Me Not.
Buy > Barton Hollow
47. Cults - Cults
Cults - Abducted
Indie darlings Cults rode a huge wave of success from their ‘10 EP Go Outside which fueled this full album. The 60’s pop influenced boy-girl duo made a perfect summer album. Melodies full of sunshine, back-and-forth vocals that are slow and catchy, and songs that can erupt into full dance beats. Favorites include: Abducted and Go Outside.
Buy > Cults
46. Nikki Lane - Walk of Shame
Nikki Lane - Sleep For You
This 32 minute album snuck up on me, but it comes with such a great package in its ability to mix elements of country-pop with 60?s girl group styles. Thematically, Walk of Shame, focuses on bittersweet songs about emotional struggles, the opener, “Lies,” she uncovers her lovers sordid secret affair, she explores denial & regret, and longing. The songs are surprisingly fun despite their heavier content, and the music themes on the Noir Americana, Spaghetti Westerns, 60?s Girl Group pop, classic country, & pedal steel and compliments her surprising voice. Favorites include: Lies, Gone Gone Gone, and Walk of Shame.
Buy > Walk of Shame
Stay tuned for 45-40.
The recently released album of Nashville-based singer-songwriter, Nikki Lane, really snuck up on me. Its short, 32 minutes or so, but it comes with such a great package in its ability to mix elements of country-pop with 60’s girl group styles. Lane’s traditional country vocal stylings would fit right in with some of country music’s greats.
The South Carolina native left the south for the bright lights of LA and then bounced her back to the east coast holed up in NYC where she penned her first songs. The theme of the album is quite the usual, one of of a jilted lover, dejected about being left by her boyfriend who turns out he was recording his own album. Writing in her apartment in New York it all started pouring out, “I wrote a whole album in a month’s time and just decided I was going to make a record in Nashville. It was like my revenge record.” Her songs follow in the footsteps of Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, John Prine & Merle Haggard, she’s a contemporary country artist telling stories in song format.
These stories are her stock in trade, and although not too deep on the songwriting level, they still create and illustrate her narrative. Thematically, Walk of Shame, focuses on bittersweet songs about emotional struggles, the opener, “Lies,” she uncovers her lovers sordid secret affair, she explores denial & regret in “Walk of Shame,” & longing in “Coming Home To You.” You’ll find a multitude of music styles accompanying these narratives. The music themes on the Noir Americana, Spaghetti Westerns, 60’s Girl Group pop, classic country, & pedal steel and compliments her surprising voice.
Its a fun album to listen to because the influences are varied, yet all feel like thematically stand together well as a concept. Lane writes with a bit of wit, and a bit of comedy in the way she addresses her modern take on relationships. This album is well worth your time and worth your dollars.
Buy Walk Of Shame
NIKKI LANE TOUR DATES
Thu. Oct. 20 — New York, NY @ The Living Room (CMJ - Paste Party) - 4:00 PM
Thu. Oct. 20 — New York, NY @ The Delancey (CMJ - IAMSOUND Showcase) – 11:15 PM
Sat. Oct. 22 — New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall (SPIN Magazine & The Press House Party) - 12:50 PM
Fri. Nov. 18 – Nashville, TN @ The Exit/In w/ Rayland Baxter
Wed. Nov. 23 — Nashville, TN @ Loveless Barn (Music City Roots)
New Music | Nikki Lane - Gone Gone Gone
Songstress Nikki Lane’s path to music isn’t a normal one. Moving out of her native South Carolina, Lane left for the bright lights of LA and bounced around until landing in NY where she started penning her first songs while dejected about her boyfriend being away in Atlanta recording his own album. Writing in her apartment in NY it all started pouring out, “I wrote a whole album in a month’s time and just decided I was going to make a record in Nashville. It was like my revenge record.” Her songs follow in the footsteps of Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, John Prine & Merle Haggard, she’s a contemporary country artist telling stories in song format.
Give her first track “Gone, Gone, Gone” a listen and see why I think she’s got a very promising sound, and I’m really excited to hear more from this budding songwriter.
Grab her debut EP Gone, Gone, Gone.