While cleaning out the garage I discovered some old ticket stubs I’d saved from concerts I attended in high school and university. Check out those ticket prices!

6/29/1982The ClashKinsmen Fieldhouse
4/13/1983Chuck MangioneJubilee Auditorium$15.50
5/19/1983Boss BrassJubilee Auditorium$18.00
8/29/1983The PoliceNorthlands Coliseum$16.00
1/15/1984Dizzy GillespieSub Theatre$13.00
4/1/1984Billy IdolKinsmen Fieldhouse$13.25
6/27/1984Lionel RichieNorthlands Coliseum$20.25
10/29/1984Miles DavisJubilee Auditorium$20.50
12/6/1984The NylonsJubilee Auditorium$12.50
7/15/1985R.E.M.Sub Theatre
9/4/1985Elton JohnNorthlands Coliseum$20.25
9/26/1985Dire StraitsNorthlands Coliseum$18.50
7/26/1986Los Lobos/kd langEdmonton Convention Centre$10.50
8/1/1986Bob Dylan/Tom PettyBC Place$22.50
8/23/1986AC/DCNorthlands Coliseum$16.50

Gillian Welch The Harrow & The Harvest
The first new music from Welch and her partner David Rawlings in eight long years. Luckily they stayed depressed the whole time. They’re so great.

Wet Lips
Will Crum Wet Lips
I don’t know much about this guy, but he’s selling music from his web site and it is raw garage greatness. “School Is For Donkeys”? Damn skippy! You should buy it. You must buy it. The world needs more Will Crums.

Beady Eye Different Gear Still Speeding
Dumb-ass brother starts a new band that’s about 50% as good as the last one he was in with his other dumb-ass brother. But it’s still pretty good.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears Scandalous
Greazy, funky, raucous, and loud. Sounds like dancing and the seventies. Won’t you take me to Booty City?

Teddy Thompson Bella
Count on the needy, lonely, twisted, and a little scary Teddy Thompson to stake out the weird outside ground in relationships. Glad he’s got that covered.

Clutch From Beale Street To Oblivion
Hard driving rock for hard driving action. Putting this in here because I’ve heard so little good hard rock lately. I suggest not putting this on your iPod during a bike ride, it could lead to unsafe speed!


Bon Scott, Angus Young
Bon Scott and Angus Young, Atlanta, GA 1978

Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise
Initially Beg Steal or Borrow caught me because of it’s Joni-esque feel. Then in listening to the whole disc I came to find out that LaMontagne is just great. While I prefer to look down my nose at singer-songwriters (see Lester Bangs’ James Taylor Marked For Death for further instructions), I’m forced to give it up for this guy. Fantastic. Depressing and in many ways playing to my love of the melancholy, but fantastic.

Oasis Masterplan
B-Sides from the best band I didn’t listen to in the 90’s. Acquiesce is a monster. I got heavy into Oasis’ first album this year too. Why Cigarettes and Alcohol isn’t somehow a better known anthem I’ll never know. All I want for Christmas is an ES-355.

Superchunk Majesty Shredding
Superchunk was hot in Chapel Hill when I lived there, and they’re still making worthwhile indie music today. The whole album is great, but if all you want is a single with a killer hook, check out Crossed Wires.

Matt Mays & El Torpedo Matt Mays & El Torpedo
Huge in Canada, and recommended to me by father and son McDonald, Matt Mays evokes Neil Young and Crazy Horse. If you have a hankerin’ for some juiced up guitar riffs with a weighty lyric, he’s your man.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Mojo
I Should Have Known It is the single of the year.

Finally, the Pearl Jam station on Sirius/XM is giving me a whole new education on Eddie and the boys. Check out the song Down, available on the band’s Lost Dogs disc.

Neko Case Middle Cyclone
This has got to be the album of the year for anyone who isn’t beyond hope both morally and musically. Her previous album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is at least as good. I am not sure how else to say it, but this woman is an artist. We need more like her.

The Avett Brothers Emotionalism
I first heard of the Avett Brothers several years ago when they played the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend that performance, being firmly screwed to the grass in front of Old Crow Medicine Show. But the positive buzz never left my mind and when I got the chance to scoop up this album I grabbed it. Good for me, because it’s flat good awesome. Their new album is I and Love and You and it’ll make many top 10 lists this year.

Tegan and Sara So Jealous
So. Twin sisters from Calgary. A more observant expat would have picked this up some time ago, but better late than never. The music is halfway between folk and pop and garage rock. Daddy likes.

Noisettes Wild Young Hearts
Not only is the music great, but if you caught their performance on Letterman you’d be traveling the country to see them live. The killer single is Never Forget You.

Pearl Jam Backspacer
It’s 2009 and Pearl Jam sounds great! From the optimism (what?) of The Fixer to the unrequited romanticism of Force of Nature and Johnny Guitar, it’s all good. Backspacer is on heavy rotation in my car and it’s caused me to go back into the catalog and listen to Vs. and Vitalogy for the first time in years.

Green Day 21st Century Breakdown
Right. So it’s not American Idiot and it is a bit of a concept album. Which is pretty odd from a punk outfit. And then again are these guys punks any more, or are they “arena punks,” or what? Know what I think? Who frakkin’ cares, the music is good, they are ambitious, and good for them. Hey, I picked up Insomniac this year too and it’s fantastic.

The Flaming Sideburns Back To The Grave
Is all the best garage rock coming out of the Nordic countries or what? Because these guys, The Hellacopters, The Raveonettes, Hawaii Mud Bombers… seriously!

The Kaiser Chiefs I Predict A Riot
I’m not the first person to notice that The Kaiser Chiefs have an urgency and rawness about them that evokes The Jam circa 1977. In fact I’m not even close: The Kaiser Chiefs were voted best Rock act in the UK in 2007. I was introduced to the Chiefs by “Little Steven’s Underground Garage”, a channel that appeared on my satellite radio after XM and Sirius merged. If you have satellite radio you have to give this channel a listen… the shows by Andrew Loog Oldham are great. Anyhoo… Kaiser Chiefs == Good.

The Raveonettes Love In A Trashcan
Another discovery thanks to Underground Garage, this duo hails from Denmark. The music is a throwback vocal and reverb-laden garage sound that goes great with any sonic meal. Their remake of My Boyfriend’s Back is superb too. I’m listening to “Pretty In Black”, but they have a newer album out in 2008 called “Lust Lust Lust.”

Hayes Carll Girl Downtown
Love this guy. Fantastic songwriter, extremely cool in every way. Girl Downtown is an easy, loping ode to simple love for simple people. Like me.

Kathleen Edwards I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory
Here’s the thing. Kathleen Edwards has put out 3 albums now, and they’re all good. Not just “ok good”, but “holy crap this girl really has her shit together good.”

Kimya Dawson Alphabutt
This is the kind of music we should all be buying for our kids. Have you done it? Do it now.

Teddy Thompson The Things I Do
A Piece Of What You Need is another terrific record by my favorite depressing offspring of Richard Thompson. Meilei can’t stand this stuff but I think he’s great. Whatever is troubling Teddy Thompson is bad… and it makes for great music.

John Doe The Golden State
Best love song I’ve heard this year. Sweet, timeless, powerful. Can you see my tears from where you’re sitting?

The Dollyrots My Best Friend’s Hot
Is Joan Jet-esque Pop Punk from LA so wrong? Is it? I don’t know much about this band, having only recently discovered them on (you guessed it) Underground Garage. Except this: they’re good, fun, and loud. What else does one need to know? Cheggem oot.

At Shoreline for the Bridge School benefit. Watching Deathcab for Cutie. Is the guy that looks like Beck Deathcab or Cutie?

There, I Said It!Tommy Womack’s Alpha Male and the Canine Mystery Blood is the best song I’ve heard this year, and it’s not likely I’ll hear a better one. Womack’s new album, There, I Said It! is great. But even if you buy it only because it has the best song you’ll hear this year, buy it! Support this guy, he’s smart, talented, funny, and rocks out.

Separate WaysThe problem with Teddy Thompson is that his songs can be so goram depressing I feel weird listening to them. “You like this stuff? What’s wrong with you?”, was Meilei’s question.

Thompson is the son of Richard and Linda Thompson, so he comes by his depression honestly. I’ve been a Richard Thompson fan for years. Maybe I’m prone to this kind of music. Oh, as an added bonus, Richard plays guitar on this CD. Great stuff.

But the melancholy, the sadness! One gets the feeling that all relationships end poorly for Teddy (I Wish It Was Over, Separate Ways), and even bright days find a way to drag him down. I Should Get Up makes the BNL’s Brian Wilson sound like Walking on Sunshine. Altered State is Tears of a Clown written by Smokey Robinson channeling Ben Sanderson. Yeah. It’s that bad.

But yet it’s good. And this cat can sing! His mother’s genes weighed in hella good in that department. That a voice like this in a face like that is singing original music rather than adding more filler to the James-Blunt-I’m-so-cute-and-sweet-and-I-love-you-so-deeply-I-want-to-cry-quietly-to-myself-in-a-subway-station genre is a sign that there’s more hope left than Teddy gives the world credit for.

HeartbreakerDuring my last couple of years in Raleigh, a young band called Whiskeytown was cutting it’s teeth in the local bars. That band saw little commercial success but it’s primary creative forces, Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary, have gone on to successful solo careers. Cary is no slouch, but as Alton Brown says, that’s another post.

Adams is a stone-cold killer songwriter. He’s also one of the most prolific artists working today, having released 3 CDs in 2005 alone. The first release, a 2 CD effort entitled “Cold Roses” is an alt-country powerhouse. There’s not a bad track on the thing. The second release, “Jacksonville City Nights”, is much more straightahead Nashville country. And it’s great too.

If you don’t feel up to buying Adams’ entire catalogue right now :-), may I recommend you start with his first CD, “Heartbreaker”. After the raucous opening track, “Heartbreaker” quiets down considerably. The remainder of the album is very singer-songwriter-esque. Sweet, romantic, beautiful.

Here a list of his albums in (I think) reverse chronological order.