Mark Rosen Poop ’12




cover of Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball   Buy New or Used via Amazon
1. BRUCE SPRINGSTEENWrecking Ball
Bruce’s angriest album ever is also his best since Born To Run. The Irish rebel song “Death To My Hometown” is as fierce as music got this year. Look no further than Wrecking Ball for a record to put in a time capsule to capture the economic and political landscapes of 2012. Special credit must be given to the ghosts of Mitt Romney and ‘W’ and the various “robber barons” for their inspirational roles in this record.

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2. THE dB’sFalling Off the Sky
Returning after a very long absence, the original dB’s have not lost a beat. Quirky guitar pop at its best, with the unique stylings of Stamey and Holsapple very intact, complementing one another like it was 1982.

cover of VARIOUS ARTISTS - The New Sell Out   Buy via Futureman Records
3. VARIOUS ARTISTSThe New Sell Out
A who’s who (pun intended) of power popsters replicate The Who Sell Out, commercials and all. Available only at Futureman

cover of VARIOUS ARTISTS - Lowe Country: The Songs Of Nick Lowe   Buy New or Used via Amazon
4. VARIOUS ARTISTSLowe Country: The Songs Of Nick Lowe
There has always been a white country soul to much of Nick’s music, and here country music upstarts crawl into songs from his prolific catalog and find both the laconic and the ironic strains of his lyrics.

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5. SUSANNA HOFFSSomeday
A pure sugar candy confectionary delight. Beautiful, tastefully light orchestral arrangements that fall like light summer rain. Docked a bit for being only 31 minutes long (only 4 minutes longer than 2 different songs on #11 below).

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6. VARIOUS ARTISTSThe Music Of “Nashville”: Original TV Soundtrack
The trouble with Nashville, the C&W capital, is the music it produces does not have the musical and lyrical honesty that T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller bring to the TV show’s soundtrack. And I have to admit, the show, a soap opera set in the music business, is a guilty pleasure of mine. But the music kills.

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7. PUNCH BROTHERSWho’s Feeling Young Now?
They use bluegrass instruments and then go ahead and break all the rules in the bluegrass playbook. Off-kilter songs delivered with precision and invention. Think bluegrass meets Phillip Glass, or blueglass. Worth a youtube search.

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8. JUSTIN TOWNES EARLENothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now
Earle continues to find his own voice, and a lonely voice it is, in this less-is-more Memphis soul country stew. Winner of the Best Use Of Horns In a Supporting Role award.

cover of VARIOUS ARTISTS - Superhits Of the Seventies: Original Hits, Today's Stars   Contribute to WFMU and get the CD
9. VARIOUS ARTISTS Superhits Of the Seventies: Original Hits, Today’s Stars
Many of the original versions of these songs pretty much drove me to drop my first 50 cents into the jukebox at CBGB’s to play “Clash City Rockers” and “Ask the Angels” all those years ago. But “Today’s Stars” take some bad songs and make them better. Really better. Only available as a WFMU premium at http://michaelshelley.net/2012/superhits.html

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10. RHETT MILLERThe Dreamer
Rhett finds a kind of living room ambience in an album beautifully produced to sound unproduced. New Paltz/Gardiner’s favorite musical son also generously poured himself into any number of community events to benefit local kids throughout the year.

11. NEIL YOUNG WITH CRAZY HORSEPsychedelic Pill
Neil and Crazy Horse bring the bombast. He, quite literally, has too much time on his hands. In my car once, I experimented by cutting all the l-o-n-g songs at the very generous 9 minute mark. The double disc CD clocked in at a very manageable 56 minutes. Americana was a fun appetizer, as well.

12. JD McPHERSONSigns & Signifiers
Oklahoma’s best roadside honky-tonk-abilly singer rips it up and parties like it’s 1959.

13. JAY FARRAR, WILL JOHNSON, ANDERS PARKER AND YIM YAMESNew Multitudes: Lyrics By Woody Guthrie
In a year where labor unions everywhere battled the Scott Walkers everywhere, when “the 99%” became a bumper sticker, and in the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birth, adding music to more of Woody’s unrecorded lyrics was a no-brainer. These songs are given a darker texture than his lyrics usually get and that too seemed appropriate for 2012.

14. CORB LUNDCabin Fever
A Canadian Country & Northwestern singer with snow on his boots, a knack for great lyrics, a unique brand of humor, and a crack twangy band.

15. VARIOUS ARTISTS It’s Zimmerman’s World . . . We Just Live In It
A compilation of 16 obscure mid-60s Dylan-soundalike garage bands. As a matter of fact, most of these songs sound like they were recorded within an hour of hearing “Like A Rolling Stone” for the first time. Sometimes goofy, always charming.

16. RUFUS WAINWRIGHTOut Of the Game
Producer Mark Ronson gives Rufus’ songs both a pop sheen and a bit of backbeat, both welcome additions to a catalog that was beginning to sound a bit tired.

17. LITTLE WILLIES For the Good Times
Not quite as enjoyable as their first album but still a fun, informal romp through the history of below-the-radar C&W tunes. Yes, I love Norah Jones but the Willies are a band she is a member of. Sorry, but her Danger Mouse produced record did not click with me. For fans, she has a pretty good album called Covers, available only through frickin’ Target. NOT fair to the indie record stores seeming to have a resurgence.

18. DWIGHT YOAKAM3 Pears
Dwight rocks the honky-tonk on an album that begs to be played loud. Bakersfield never rocked quite like this. Skronky- tonk.

19. DIAMOND RUGS
Diamond Rugs
They are supposedly a supergroup made up of members of bands I know absolutely nothing about (that includes any and all bands with Deer in their names, thank you). But this is a pretty cool amalgam of garagey rootsy stuff.

20. RODRIGUEZSearching For Sugar Man: Original Soundtrack
I’m still not sure whether the music alone merits this ‘Best Of’ collection’s inclusion here but the story is so damned irresistible I feel I had no choice. At times, it’s very good. At other times, it sounds like Dewey Cox.

SINGLES OF NOTE

THE MOCKERS – “(There’s No War On Christmas) When Christmas Is In Your Heart“/”(What’s A Better Present) At Christmas Time
A two-sided killer Christmas single by Norfolk, VA’s best power-pop garage band. The A-side takes on FOX News and the B-side is so retro-sounding it even references Idlewild Airport. And both sides drip with Christmas .
DROPKICK MURPHYS – “The Season’s Upon Us
The latest in the canon of dysfunctional family Christmas songs
ALABAMA SHAKES – “Hold On
The teaser from their album and the semi-viral performance video were a wonderful throwback to a Janis-style mix of rock and soul. Brittany Howard is a great singer fronting a good band, but unfortunately the album grows tedious at about the 50 yard line.

NEW OLD STUFF

V.A.The FAME Studios Story: 1961-1973 – Home Of the Muscle Shoals Sound
Scholarly and consistently wonderful until about mid-way through the third/last disc. A comprehensive survey of the Muscle Shoals Southern soul sound. And fabulously mastered! Actually from late 2011.
V.A.Behind Closed Doors: Where Country Meets Soul
I used to think that country covers on 60s soul albums were the throwaway tracks. But this album reveals the unmistakable Southern connection.

LIVE SHOWS OF NOTE

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN at Citizen’s Bank Park – This 63 year old guy has no business sprinting, spinning, cavorting, gamboling, bouncing and dancing around on a stage uninterrupted for 3 hours and 40 minutes like he did one night in September. It can never be said about Bruce that he phones it in. In fact, his 33 song setlist included 19 songs he did not perform the following night. He somehow made a baseball park seem like a small club.
GILLIAN WELCH at The Egg in Albany
NICK LOWE and his great combo (my name) at Tarrytown Music Hall




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