Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v03n05)
Rick On The Records - by Rick Zeigler
posted: Mar. 10, 2006
As owner of Indy CD and Vinyl, a common comment I get is that there's no good music out there today and that everything went swiftly downhill after the sixties (or the seventies, or eighties, or post-Nirvana). This is not true and this column is here to point you towards all the good new music that is coming out (although you probably won't hear much of it on "regular" radio, which HAS gone downhill). I will also sometimes point out some not-so-recent releases/reissues that are worthy of your consideration. And occasionally, I'll just be spouting off about something music-related. WELCOME!
I want to review just a few of the hundreds of worthwhile CD releases that came out last year that you may have missed. While tens of thousands of the releases that came out last year were certifiably mediocre (or worse), musicians continue to put out the good stuff, though it often flies under the radar. You can think of this as my "Top 20" for 2005 (although they aren't listed in any particular order). Part 2 (11-20)
11. RICHARD HAWLEY-Cole's Corner
A grown-up record for grown-ups, Hawley makes a beautiful CD of melancholy reminiscences heavy on melody and intelligent lyrics, often with a wry English bent.
12. AMADOU & MIRIAM-Dimanche A Bamako
Hooky world-music grooviness from a blind French couple of African origin. The world is truly their oyster.
13. ABIGAIL WASHBURN-Songs Of The Traveling Daughter
A personal favorite, Washburn combines traditional bluegrass songwriting with non-traditional instrumentation, banjo and cello being the most frequent combination. While her originals sound like 100-year old traditionals, she also occasionally throws in her ability to sing in Chinese to make this a truly unique disc.
14. HIGH DIALS-War Of The Wakening Phantoms
Drawing heavily on the sixties sounds of groups like the Beatles, these boys don't forget to put the POWER in their power-pop. They also liberally sprinkle their songs with the fuzzier sounds of 80s bands like Jesus and Mary Chain. Nothing revolutionary here, but they do this stuff better than anybody else out there right now.
15. STARS-Set Yourself On Fire
This Canadian combo put forth one the most beautiful melodic-rock CDs of the year. The male/female vocal trade-offs strike the perfect balance for these gently rocking songs of love gone bad and good.
16. SIGUR ROS-Takk
Anthemic, orchestral, rocking, psychedelic, ambient, alien - all these terms apply to this Icelandic group that sounds like no other. With high-pitched vocal sounds (the lyrics are in Icelandic or the singer's made-up language of "Hopelandic") and a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle guitar effects, Sigur Ros craft startlingly original music. Their forte is their use of dynamics, with most songs starting soft and slow before turning into grand ethereal rockers. Awe-inspiring stuff.
17. MADELINE PEYROUX-Careless Love
Smokey jazz chanteuse whose voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Billie Holiday (no bad thing!), Peyroux is more original than Norah Jones and has better songs to go along with gloriously her understated arrangements. Modern vocal jazz at its finest.
18. Various Artists-Our New Orleans
A Hurricane Katrina benefit disc done gloriously right. Encompassing the variety that is New Orleans music, it includes Alan Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Beausoleil, and many more.
19. THIEVERY CORPORATION-Cosmic Game
Laid-back, loungy grooves of the highest order are the calling card of this duo, with their current disc including a bit more of a world-music feel than their previous (though no less solid) efforts.
20. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE-Feels
Taking straightforward pop songs as their starting point, this outfit then puts them through twists and turns that leaves their popiness intact but their straightforwardness utterly lost somewhere en route. You never know where these guys will go with each tune once the play button is pushed.
Rick Zeigler, along with his wife, Jeanne, owns Indy CD and Vinyl at 806 Broad Ripple Avenue. Back in his musician days, his band opened for the likes of U2, XTC, Gang Of Four, The Pretenders, Los Lobos, and, um, Flock Of Seagulls, among others. You can read all of Rick's reviews at www.indycdandvinyl.com. Email your music questions and comments to rick@BroadRippleGazette.com