Hello vinyl friends. I wanted to offer a heartfelt, "Thank You", to all of our customers who have joined the Music Box Society by purchasing our boxes. We have only been operating for about 1 year now and we are overjoyed that so many record collectors from all over the world now are using our Music Boxes.
But, onto the business at hand, my personal year end list. Let me just say that in a world filled with chaos, sorrow and uncertainty, music has and will always be my place of solace and joy. My wish for the coming year is for a more compassionate world. No matter your personal beliefs, differences, or hardships, we are all here together. And contrary to some opinions, we need each other. When I'm down or overwhelmed I turn to my turntable and forget about the stresses in my life, if only to catch my breath. Music has been with us since the beginning and in some ways we need it now more than ever before. And so...
2017 was a great year for all sorts of new releases, my criteria were those albums that I reached for the most.
1. Lee Bains and The Gloryfires- Youth Detention- Whoever keeps saying guitar based bands are dead obviously has to do more digging. If you like early R.E.M. and the Drive By Truckers, this is for you. Sounds great on wax! Muscular guitars, great songs, and relevant storytelling. Choice cut: Crooked Letters.
2.Curtis Harding- Face Your Fear- Just came out a month ago, but damn! I find myself listening to it everyday. Isaac Hayes, Prince, Curtis Mayfield run through Mr. Harding's modern mind. A future classic. "I need your love"
3.Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett- Lotta Sea Lice- I've always been a fan of Kurt Vile. He is a tremendous songwriter and a great guitar player. His pairing with Ms. Barnett is like peanut butter and jelly. Shimmering aquamarine guitar grooves under a Dylan sky.
4.Strand of Oak- Hard Love- If Ryan Adams and Paul Westerberg were in a band you'd get something like this. Its all about the power and the songwriting.
5.The Feelies- In Between- I have always loved the Feelies, and their latest is as good as anything they've ever done. Big ups to Hoboken!
6.Endless Boogie-Vibe Killer- Paul "Top Dollar" Major and company are at it again, with the perfect album to throw on and drink beer to. Finger lickin' good stuff.
7.The National- Sleep Well Beast- Inventive, immersive, and beautiful. Dreamy and unnerving. Their best collection since The Boxer.
8.War on Drugs- A Deeper Understanding- Pound for pound, the songs on Lost In a Dream are perhaps better, but its splitting hairs. The ensemble playing and production are spot on and when you give into the cosmic swirl of Neil Young-esque guitars, you're hooked.
9.BNQT- Volume 1-The closet thing you'll get to a new Midlake album. Variety and quality to spare. Its almost like a complilation. Kudos to all participants.
10. Margo Price-All American Made- She's as real as the dirt under your boot. Making Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette proud. The title track is one of the best songs I have ever heard.
Reissues and Remasters
1. The Beatles- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band- remixed by Giles Martin. ESSENTIAL. A true gift.
2. Flying Burrito Brothers- Gilded Palace of Sin- Intervention Records remaster. Apparently they found an unused 2-track master. Its the best version I've ever heard.
3. Husker Du- Savage Young Du- Numero Group Box- Numero Group are the finest archaeologists in music. Once again, they have meticulously curated an essential piece of musical history.
4. R.E.M.- Automatic for the People- Man! I forgot how beautiful this whole album is. Well worth revisiting!
5. The Creation- Action Painting- Yup. Another Numero Group release. Pristine sound and a perfect overview of one of the more underrated bands.
Okay. I'm going to cut the cord there. I could go on with Slowdive, Psychic Temple, John Moreland or Nick Lowe Party of One, and many others, but I need to go listen to some more records.
We are curious to hear what your favorite releases were this year. Please let us know and get folks talking about music rather than most any other topics that cause wars.You might feel better.
Until next time and keep spinning that Wax!