Wednesday, December 15, 2010

P’s Top Ten Albums of 2010

And here it is - my Top 10 Albums of 2010.

10. Black Keys – Brothers
9. Spoon – Transference
8. Vampire Weekend - Contra
7. Jenny and Johnny – I’m Having Fun Now
6. Band of Horses – Infinite Arms
5. Henry Clay People – Somewhere on the Golden Coast
4. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
3. Belle and Sebastian – Write About Love
2. She & Him – Volume Two
1. New Pornographers – Together

Looking forward, Surfer Blood, Local Natives, and Titus Andronicus are my "bands to watch." Each of them released outstanding albums this year. If I were doing a Top 20 list, they would have made the cut.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Best of 2010 Tracks 5-8

My Shepherd - New Pornographers

Greatest lyric of the year -
Closed eye stare into morning sun when the dots form into connections. If I'm honest you come to mind, but baby I'm not.

Write About Love - Belle & Sebastian

My coup of the year was convincing my daughters that this was a "kids song." "Hey girls, this band is called Belle & Sebastian! That's like Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Sebastian from Little Mermaid!" Score! We now listen to B&S frequently and they call this song Tightrope Walk. Next task - convincing them that Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon are kids bands since there is a Mark Kozelek song on the Yo Gabba Gabba cd...

Trouble Comes Running - Spoon

Perfect pop music. The spaces left in Spoon's arrangements just make everything thing rock that much harder.

Twenty Miles - Deer Tick

Don't tell my wife I said this, but overall, I was disappointed with The Black Dirt Sessions as a whole. Compared to War Elephant and Born on Flag Day it's just not as great of an album. But this song, and Deer Tick's cover of John Prine's Unwed Fathers (from the John Prine tribute album) are two of the best songs of the year.

Half Light II (No Celebration) - The Arcade Fire

If their was ever a band that didn't have a sense of humor, it's Arcade Fire. I don't understand how they can take themselves so seriously, especially given the stupid outfits they wear. But they sure can write some excellent anthemic pop songs!

Best of 2010 Tracks 2-4

I dropped the ball and missed posting the second track of my Best of yesterday. As a result, I'll post tracks 2-4 now.

2. Tighten Up - The Black Keys

The Black Keys are another band that I was slow to appreciate. I always felt like they had great riffs but weak songs. I must have listened to the wrong tracks, because I now have songs I love from each of their albums. What finally got me into them was Dan Auerbach's solo album from last year. This album (and this track) do a good job of blending the rough edges of the Black Keys with the full-band sound of the solo disc. .and it has some of the coolest flange and fuzz tones around...

3. Don't Look Back - She & Him

M. Ward. Zooey Deschanel. Production that sounds like California in the 60's. Killer harmonies. A kick-ass bridge. If you don't love this you have zero taste.

4. Keep Your Eyes Closed - The Henry Clay People

I learned of this band by playing "the game." "The game" involves my wife scrolling through the digital music channels on the TV and me naming the song, artist, album, and year. This song came on and I said "Did Pavement include a new track on their singles compilation? Who is this?" It was Henry Clay People and it sounds like a perfect mix of Pavement, Built to Spill, and maybe a little Dinosaur Jr. It's perfect, poppy, indie rock.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

P90 Noir Best of 2010

I know that many of you out there in the interwebs have been dying to hear my Best of 2010. In order to "cash in" on the anticipation, I will be announcing one track a day for the next 22 days! Of course, many of you will receive the disc with your christmas card, so that will surely blow my cover. So without further ado...

Track 1 - Laredo, by Band of Horses

I love this song. I'm not claiming that it's the best song of 2010 - it's not. But it is a great song and the opening riff is perfect for kicking off a mix cd. All of Infinite Arms (the album from which Laredo comes) is excellent. And because the whole point of my Best of 2010 is to expose my friends and family to great new music, I tell you "go buy this cd now!"

I downloaded this song as a single shortly before a trip to San Diego. So for me, it's the sound of Stone Beer, In-N-Out Burger, Fish Tacos, and the Southern California landscape. I can't promise the same experience for you, but give it a shot.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Black Saturday at Dogfish Head Brewery

I was in Fenwick, DE for Thanksgiving. And while I still didn’t achieve my goal of a turkey-free Thanksgiving (I’m thinking pork bbq or lobster as the centerpiece) I did finally make it to the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE. We did the tour and tasting last Saturday, and it was everything I ever dreamed it could be.

The tour is good, but didn’t blow my mind. You don’t venture into the bottling and kegging room and that was of more interest to me. You do see the giant oak and palo santo barrels where the wood-aged beers spend a little extra time. If you are a beer novice and/or never did any home brewing the content of the tour will keep your attention. If you know your stuff, you’ll get to be teachers pet and answer all of the tour guides questions…

Seeing as the day before was black Friday, the taps were full of the deepest darkest brews Dogfish makes. I started out as a dark beer fan but over the years made the transition to hop head. However, tasting the dark beers reminded me why I liked them in the first place.

Chicory Stout - I think Chicory Stout might have been the first Dogfish beer I ever bought, and tasting it again reminded me why I liked it in the first place. It's rich and roasty with a nice coffee-like bitterness.

Bitches Brew - I know the Bitches Brew is all the rage right now, but it did nothing for me. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something odd (grassy?) in the flavor. Then again, I’m not a huge fan of the Bitches Brew album either – I much prefer the Mahavishnu Orchestra stuff that some of the players went on to do…

Palo Santo Maron - I had never tried the Palo Santo Maron before. At 12% ABV, it’s a serious beer. It’s not as dark as the stout but richer and sweeter with caramel and vanilla flavors. I could see it pairing well with a steak, but the crazy in me wants to pour it over vanilla ice cream or at least make a chocolate sauce out of it.

World Wide Stout - And now for the World Wide Stout. CRAZY! This beer is 18% ABV. I’ve never had a beer that tastes so smooth and sweet before. It reminds me of my home brewing days when I exploded my primary fermenter making an imperial stout that landed at 14% ABV. But instead of being cloyingly sweet and kind of astringent, the WWS is rich like a ruby port.

And then there’s the store - it’s mecca for a Dogfish Fan. If Dogfish has done anything (aside from making killer beer) they have marketed themselves well. The store has at least 20 different t-shirts, beer soap, dog collars, beer glasses, beer signs, Patagonia jackets, etc. And most importantly, they have just about every Dogfish beer currently available in bottles. We stocked up on Burton Baton, 90-Minute IPA, Palo Santo Maron, and Chicory Stout. Oh, the beer shampoo is pretty kick-ass…

Last night I made chili with the Chicory Stout – I’ll post the recipe in the coming days.