10. Micky Dolenz: Dolenz Sings Nesmith
The album the above is from is terrific from stem to stern, but if pressed about that "Different Drum"? My single favorite track of the last 12 months.
9. Willie Nile: The Day the Earth Stood Still
Willie, of course, is the among the most still-vital rockers of his generation, with a work ethic second to none. The album the above is from is absolutely the knock-out of the year, and if pressed about that title song? My second favorite track of the past 12 months -- it's as cinematically brilliant as imaginable.
8. Joe Benoit: What Kind of World
The power pop masterpiece of the year. And the above song is without a shadow of a doubt the most relevant artistic reponse anybody in any medium has come up with to the pandemic.
7. Brian Wilson: At My Piano
Just Brian tickling the ivories -- no band, no vocals, and not even particularly well recorded; the album shouldn't work, but it does. It kind of feels like some impossible bootleg of Chopin noodling around in his living room in Mallorca.
6. Starry Eyed and Laughing: Bells of Lightning
The second greatest Byrds influenced band of all time (see below for the first) and without question the comeback record of the new millenium.
5. Doug Hoekstra: The Day Deserved
I first encountered Doug sometime in the mid-90s, when his first (or I think) second album of brilliant somewhat minimalist New Wave folkie singer/songwriter stuff (think Leonard Cohen produced by John Cale) crossed my desk at the Magazine Formerly Known as STEREO REVIEW to my delighted surprise. This new one is a) his first in nearly a decade and b) absolutely insinuating. I.e., the kid's still got it.
4. Robert Plant/Alison Krauss: Raise the Roof
Wow. I mean, REALLY wow. Seriously, is there a better vocal blend in contemporary pop music than these two? Answer: No.
3. Nelson Bragg: Gratitude Blues
If you don't know Nelson, he's the percussionist in Brian Wilson's touring band, and I've been a fan of his since his debut record back in 2007. This new one is transplendent, and yes, it sounds a lot like his boss.
2. The John Sally Ride: Now is Not a Great Time
Melodic guitar-driven power pop a la Cheap Trick doesn't get any better.
And the album of the year is -- no question about it, HAHA HAH...
1. The Floor Models: In-Flyte Entertainment (A Tribute to the Byrds)
I'm prejudiced about these guys for obvious reasons.
Anyway, enjoy all of the above.
More objective postings resume on the morrow.