MOG Music Network

2010/11/28

Best Albums of 2010 - Top 31 Albums - MGMT, Beach House, Deerhunter...




Best Albums of 2010 -- Any Colour You Like

Also, scroll down to the bottom to check out some of the exciting releases set to come out in 2011.

1. MGMT - Congratulations -
This is the kind of departure album the big record label didn’t want MGMT to make on the heels of the breakout {proper} debut Oracular Spectacular. Congratulations is a dramatic left turn for the band, conceptually abundant, sprawling with far-out sounds and disorienting kaleidoscopic perplexity, the record, like the brainy and impish band members themselves, is a nine-song mindwarp that you sort of have to be wading through your mid-twenties yourself to fully appreciate. No album has aurally captured the delirium-inducing Odyssey Years  quite like this oneCommenting on the pressures of success and worldwide notoriety after the world went haywire over "Kids", "Time To Pretend" and "Electric Feel", the group warily displays such anxieties in their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band-esque music video for “Flash Delirium” (remember back to the drugged-up dinner scene where the band is coaxed into signing a record contract) and lyrically throughout the album. For making the album you wanted to make, I say Congratulations. Finally, here's an annotated dissection of the Modern Epic that is "Siberian Breaks".


Also, Congratulations gets the nod for album cover of the year, my favorite since Tha Carter III.


2. Beach House - Teen Dream -
For those with the guilty pleasure of enjoying Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”, hearing Teen Dream for the first time, a gripping 10-song encapsulation of that dream-pop sound championed by Hope Sandoval, had nothing short of a hypnotic effect. Plus, “Take Care” might be the most comforting album closer/fade out ever made. Here's the ACYL review from way back in January:


Take comfort in Beach House this winter. The band’s third (and my first) LP is a nocturnal 10-song set that just happened to come out in the dead heart of winter, arriving as a welcome beacon. Teen Dream is one of those rare records you can put on and immediately elevate your spirits. Filled with unending charm, the contagious listenability of songs like “Walk in the Park” and “Used to Be” is seemingly eternal (at this point at least).


Beach House’s sound falls at a cross-section somewhere between the dream-pop of artists like Hope Sandoval, M83 and Chairlift, while managing to resurrect the sounds of Stevie Nicks’ early days in Fleetwood Mac. Victoria Legrand’s organic and glowing vocals shimmer amongst an ethereal bed of fluttery guitars and atmospheric keyboard drones giving the album a simple, yet powerful and soothing sound. Plaintive, melancholic and cathartic all at once, the wanderlust-inducing Teen Dream provides an aural wonderland for the everyman or woman getting cabin fever in his cubicle or carrel this winter. Finally, the fading and repetitive outro of “Take Care” leaves listeners with the hopeful promise:

I’ll take care of you
Take care of you
That’s true


Dream on.

3. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest – Over the past couple years, Bradford Cox has landed on a short list of modern artists who can’t really do much wrong. Before Halcyon Digest I was somewhat lukewarm about Deerhunter, and viewed them as a band largely still looking to find their sound. However, I've been a huge fan of Bradford’s solo act Atlas Sound ever since hearing last year's Logos, and then hearing it again, and again, and again. This album enshrouds some great pop songs like the single “Revival” in Cox’s trademark bedroom haziness, but with a broader, poppier appeal. I recently read someone describe them as an 'ambient punk' band, sounds just about right.

4. Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame – After Shame, Shame, one thing is now clear: Dr. Dog just doesn’t know how to make bad albums. On the heels of Fate (ACYL’s #1 album of 2008), the Philly classically-trained rockers (the classics of the Woodstock generation) have once again pumped out an amiable, feel good rock record tailormade for summer time.  Shame, Shame is yet another unabashedly revisionist, soundchecking (think of it as a musical version of namedropping) spin on the sounds of a better time for music. Unapologetically, Dr. Dog has built quite a career as this era's best 60's -worshipping band, while tweaking the trusty formula ever so slightly with each effort and thereby keep the close attention of fans and critics alike. The train rolls on and perhaps we'll get another record from these guys in 2011?

5. Black Keys – Brothers – One of the more consistently dependable and hard-working rock bands finally gets the extensive recognition they deserve. A good majority of Brothers was recorded at the world famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, home to countless essential rhythm and blues recordings, and those walls undoubtedly helped inspire an instant classic. Brothers is an album with a rare sort of mass appeal, apt to please a music-taste-diverse and/or multi-generational gathering. Pop it in at the next awkward gathering you're hosting and you'll see what I mean. Highly accessible, equally enjoyable, and chock full of catchy singles just waiting to be utilized in your company’s next marketing campaign. Also, perhaps the album's strongest song is actually a cover, as the album's second-to-last song "Never Gonna Give You Up" is a soulful take on Jerry Butler's original R & B song. LINK to review of the Black Keys August show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium w/ the Morning Benders. Brothers may just be the most timeless album released this year.

6. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach – Never been more than a casual Gorillaz fan until Plastic Beach, but this album is matchless as far as killer guests go, I mean Bobby Womack? Gimme a break. Gorillaz, no longer just a cartoon band.


7. Morning Benders - Big Echo – Who? These guys didn’t come across my radar until Big Echo, an outstanding and nearly flawless album mature beyond the years of the band members. Look no further than “Excuses” and “Mason Jar” for reasons why this one landed so high on this year’s list.

8. Yeasayer - Odd Blood – When I first heard Odd Blood, it was this time last year, as the album leaked out in early-December. I was already ready to crown it as 2010’s best album, giving little chance to any other album that would arrive to my iTunes in the coming year. “Madder Red” still remains one of the strongest songs of the year, and in any other year, an album like Odd Blood would probably be Top 4 or 5. Odd Blood, although not quite on par with All Hour Cymbals in my opinion, is a great stylistic leap forward for the band, adding more muscle to the band’s live show and an indicator that Yeasayer will be a band we’ll be probably be hearing about throughout the rest of the decade. LINK to interview with guitarist Anand Wilder while promoting Odd Blood.

9. The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme – Out of nowhere these guys have quickly gained international recognition and also have become one of my personal favorite acts. Along with Alberta Cross and Anders Osborne, the Swedes seem to really know what they’re doing these days in the realm of rock-and-roll. Should prove tonic for a land still recovering from the Ace of Base stigma. Those were some pretty hot beats though…

10. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker – Arguably the best throwback album since Wolfmother’s 2007 self-titled debut. The good thing about Innerspeaker as opposed to Wolfmother is the fact that further replication/development of this sound won’t make me want to tear my ears out like Wolfmother’s successive releases have done.

11. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening - Sometime seeing is believing. Murphy’s oftentimes incessant blathering vocal style hadn’t won my over until hearing this album and seeing the band live shortly thereafter. Things really made sense after that, Murphy is a creative, comical and charismatic frontman and the band reminds me of the expanded latter-era Talking Heads. Disco-funk is back? Is this real life? Scary thought, but these guys do it well. One of the most fun albums of the year, here's hoping that LCD's reported "retirement" is just a fig-ment/newton of my imagination.

12. Futurebirds - Hampton's Lullaby

13. Marco Benevento - Between the Needles and Nightfall

14. Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid

15. Bonobo - Black Sands

16. Delta Spirit - History From Below

17. Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy

18. 7 Walkers - 7 Walkers

19. The National - High Violet

20. Twin Shadow - Forget

21. Broken Bells - Broken Bells

22. Bibi Tanga and the Selenites - Dunya

23. Cee-Lo Green - The Lady Killer

24. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

25. Elton John and Leon Russell - The Union

26. ceo - White Magic

27. The Budos Band - The Budos Band III

28. The Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder

29. Wild Nothing – Gemini

30. Toubab Krewe - TK2

31. Dead Confederate - Sugar


ADDENDUM: I forgot to include Preservation Hall Jazz Band's amazing benefit album on the list and Follow The Train's '10 release (which I would put somewhere in the 15-20 range on the list). I listened to both of these for a few weeks while they was streaming on their web sites and totally forgot about them when compiling the list. A Top 5-10 album of the year no matter who you are. Here's a review from earlier this year:

Preservation Hall Jazz Band- An Album to Benefit the Preservation Hall and the Preservation Hall Outreach Program - Don't think of this as just another compilation, rather an outpouring of support and appreciation from some of the more talented lyricists and performers to one of the city's most beloved groups. This is the real deal. Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong [who appears as an apparition on the record] himself would appreciate the authenticity of the 1920s, 30s & 40s Jazz sounds being reinterpreted and largely replicated to a T by such guests as My Morning Jacket's superhero front man Yim Yames, indie rock whistling expert Andrew Bird, the Okie from Muscogee Merle Haggard, and the collection's highlight, a delightfully fractured spin on the public domain Mardi Gras ditty "Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing" by the Tom Waits. Even the "wrong notes" fit here and the whole thing rolls together seamlessly as the backing Preservation Hall Jazz Band keeps this album melodically thematic and protects it from detracting into a heterogenous mess (like most compilations). But, as I said, this ISN'T a compilation. Each artist visited New Orleans over the course of a year to sit in the PHJB. I too recently visited the hallowed hall on Thanksgiving night, I highly recommend it, nothing short of a religious experience.

If last year’s maddening shred festival was Dinosaur Jr.’s epochal Farm, then the front runner for 2010 arrives by way of Louisville, Kentucky’s Follow The Train, and their debut full-length on Removador Recordings. Under the watchful eye of My Morning Jacket’s Yim Yames [Removador’s founder], Mercury was recorded over the past year. Like Jacket’s Z, the album bleeds intensity on nearly every track, making the sonic traveler wonder what was going on in these guys lives to unleash such pent up fury? The jagged and metallic guitar solos come early (especially on the lengthy jam out “Movin”) and often, bringing to mind fellow axe-masters and Kentucky sluggers Wax Fang. Metal intros (“Coffee”), reggae melodies (“219”), cosmic voyaging guitar solos (“Listen”), and shoegazeably jazzy undertones (“Mellwood”) gives this album it’s signature breadth, which certainly can be attributable (at least in part) to Yames’ chameleonic music appreciation. Fans of The Hold Steady, Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse will enjoy the record as it channels such a broad array of modernized rock to encapsulate the listener in a rousing and transcendent ride to the planet closest to the sun. The stoned-out sprawler “Listen” blazes on through it’s first half as frontman Chris Sheridan sings



Don’t drink that, it’s poison
It’s gonna light up your whole world, just before it kills ya
And I know this wanting comes a bit too late
But if I could rewind I’d stop you cold before you make that mistake


before the tune builds towards a monstrous guitar solo of truly majestic and legendary proportions. Mercury is one of the more righteous collections to come out of KY in awhile and, after reading the band’s rough-and-tumble bio, a big win for the underdog. To conclude, it’s just damn fine to see a Kentucky underdog put out such an inspired, “operatic brain cookie”.

 
Past Lists:



Best of 2009 List
Best of 2008 List

Albums ACYL is excited about in 2011 --
Daft Punk - Tron
My Morning Jacket - N/A
Fleet Foxes - TBA
Santigold - TBA
Radiohead - TBA (knowing Radiohead, the new album could come out in the next week and we wouldn't know about it yet)
Panda Bear - Tomboy
Lil Wayne - (something tells me this'll be Weezy's biggest year since 2008)
M83 - TBA
Dr. Dre - Detox (unless he changes the name to Chinese Democracy II)
Red Hot Chili Peppers (albeit w/o Frusciante)
Gorillaz (multiple albums reportedly in the works)
Atlas Sound - If Bradford Cox maintains the fiendish pace from this past week, fans can expect 208 new Atlas Sound albums in 2010. And Sony will only let you hear 1/4 of those.

Bradford Cox is the New Weezy -- 49 New Atlas Sound Songs Released This Week

                                         ^^Is this a young Bradford Cox? Scary...
An embarassment of riches from one of indie rock's most exciting artists. For now, let's just hope that Bradford doesn't burn out (like Ryan Adams), go to jail (like Weezy), or get married to Mandy Moore anytime soon (like Ryan Adams)

49 new songs released by Atlas Sound on Deerhunter's blogspot page this week in
four separate volumes.

Volume 1 -- Volume 2
Volume 3 -- Volume 4

2010/11/27

This Must Be The Place - Covers by Kyp Malone, MGMT, Arcade Fire, The String Cheese Incident & the Original

Kyp Malone - "A lot of people tell me this is their favorite Talking Heads song and not to shit on it, but I'm just gonna do what happens"



MGMT (Live - 4/20/2003 at Wesleyan College; Management's 3rd or 4th public performance)



^^ Doubtful anyone in attendance envisioned these guys playing in front of thousands of people on a nightly basis just a few years later.

Arcade Fire (Live in Paris - 03/10/2005)



The String Cheese Incident (Live at Red Rocks - (07/23/2010)



Talking Heads (Stop Making Sense)

2010/11/26

Best of 2010 Albums Countdown #11-9

The Top 10 countdown begins...and starts at #11 because I forgot to include Tame Impala in the Top 10 and just realized how much I actually like Innerspeaker.


11. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening - Sometime seeing is believing. Murphy’s oftentimes incessant blathering vocal style hadn’t won my over until hearing this album and seeing the band live shortly thereafter.  Things really made sense after that, Murphy is a creative, comical and charismatic frontman and the band reminds me of the expanded latter-era Talking Heads. Disco-funk is back? Is this real life? Scary thought, but these guys do it well.

10. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker – Arguably the best throwback album since Wolfmother’s 2007 self-titled debut. The good thing about Innerspeaker as opposed to Wolfmother is the fact that further replication/development of this sound won’t make me want to tear my ears out like Wolfmother’s successive releases have done.

9. The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme – Out of nowhere these guys have quickly gained international recognition and also have become one of my personal favorite acts. Along with Alberta Cross and Anders Osborne, the Swedes seem to really know what they’re doing these days in the realm of rock-and-roll. Should prove tonic for a land still recovering from the Ace of Base stigma. Those were some pretty hot beats though…

2010/11/25

Cowboy Junkies to pay tribute to late Vic Chesnutt with Tribute Album

Less than a year after the singer's tragic suicide, the Cowboy Junkies have announced that they are set to release a covers/tribute album of Vic Chesnutt songs. Cowboy Junkies wistful, narcotic sound is a proper match to reinterpret Chesnutt's dark and profound catalogue. Here's a video of Cowboy Junkies doing Chesnutt's "Supernatural". The album is aptly titled Demons and set for release in February on the Junkies' own Latent label.



and one of Vic... "Flirted With You All My Life"

Anders Osborne - Thanksgiving at Tipitina's Uptown

                                           Anders Osborne and Stanton Moore at Voodoo

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the American institution that doesn't get enough credit. Shoppers love Black Friday, football fans Thanksgiving and the rivalry-heavy Saturday, but there's nothing like a going out on the town when the only plans you've got the next day are to eat, drink, and watch football. Many claim it's the biggest night of the year to go out into the wild and make marginal decisions (exceeding even New Year's Eve). Thankfully, NO/Swedish ex-pat Anders Osborne rounded up some of the city's best musicians to ring in Turkey Day and give folks a little added incentive to burn up some calories before stuffing their face today. With Galactic's Stanton Moore and Rich Vogel on skins/keys and Carl Dufrene on bass (who arguably showed up Osborne in beardworhti, this was a Superjam of sorts, loosely based around the excellent new songs of Osborne's newest release American Patchwork. Osborne's dazzling talent and pop wherewithal is of a star quality, mixing in the shreddier Fender displays like "On the Road to Charlie Parker" with more impactful tunes like "Darkness at the Bottom". Osborne's vocal talent isn't lost on the live stage and he's in the rare breed of artists who arguably sounds even better without the aid of studio machinery. The songs present an autobiographical recount of more trying times and the masterfully bearded guitarist plays with the kind of swagger that only a man with a second lease on life could possess.  Plus, one could argue that Stanton Moore enjoys playing his instrument more than anyone else, just take one look at that perma-grin the jam scene stalwart wears and you'll know what I'm talking about. It seems to me that it's only a matter of time before someone picks up Osborne for a supporting spot on a big tour, giving him the long-overdue platform to do his thing all over this great country we're so thankful for today. For now, we'll just enjoy seeing New Orleans' best kept secret for the price of a 12-pack.

Tipitina's on a Wednesday night, just don't get much better than that...

Tonight it's down to Preservation Hall for a long overdue first visit to the hallowed venue with the fam. Stay tuned.

2010/11/23

Deerhunter - Helicopter (Official Video)

Deerhunter - Helicopter



One of the best songs of 2010.

Gorillaz - On Melancholy Hill - BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge

Gorillaz - On Melancholy Hill (Live on BBC Radio 1)

Lord Huron

The trip-trop-pop genre grows by one...

                                                 Mighty EP - Album Art

 Somewhere at the crossection of an Americanized El Guincho and Animal Collective lies Lord Huron, a new entity that has quietly put out two exquisite and self-released EPs over the past seven months. All of the songs on these two EPs were performed by Ben Schneider alone, but rest assured, there is reportedly a proper band to recraft these spacious sounds when the band performs live. Perhaps we have a budding Bradford Cox in the making? Stylistic comparisons to Atlas Sound or Deerhunter would miss the mark however, as both Mighty and Into the Sun fuse a hypnotic coastline breeziness with a revitalizing momentum that you won't find in the more narcotic Atlas Sound. By drawing from an internationally diverse and stylistically colourful palette, Lord Huron has an exceptionally broad-ranging appeal that should play well both in the indie-loving blogosphere and the shallower outer shores of the pop mainstream. Although these were self-released, I'd be surprised if these guys aren't on a record label by the end of the year.

 To stream Lord Huron's excellent and Mighty EP (Released 11/2), click the link below. Ditto for the Into the Sun EP (released 6/15). Should be a buzzworthy band to keep an eye on next year. Also, they seem to have a knack for really cool album covers.  

**The Bandcamp site also offers free downloads of each of the title tracks.

Lord Huron - Mighty EP
Lord Huron - Into the Sun EP

                                                 Into the Sun EP - Album Art

2010/11/20

Best of 2010 - Albums #30-9 Countdown


Best Albums of 2010 - #9-31 (Check back for 1-8)

9. The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme – Out of nowhere these vets (been around for 8 years) have quickly gained international recognition and also have become one of my personal favorite acts. Along with Alberta Cross and Anders Osborne, the Swedes seem to really know what they’re doing these days in the realm of rock-and-roll. Should prove tonic for a land still recovering from the Ace of Base stigma. Those were some pretty hot beats though…

10. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker – Arguably the best throwback album since Wolfmother’s 2007 self-titled debut. The good thing about Innerspeaker as opposed to Wolfmother is the fact that further replication/development of this sound won’t make me want to tear my ears out like Wolfmother’s successive releases have done.


11. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
Sometime seeing is believing. Murphy’s oftentimes incessant blathering vocal style hadn’t won my over until hearing this album and seeing the band live shortly thereafter. Things really made sense after that, Murphy is a creative, comical and charismatic frontman and the band reminds me of the expanded latter-era Talking Heads. Disco-funk is back? Is this real life? Scary thought, but these guys do it well.

12. Futurebirds - Hampton's Lullaby
13. Marco Benevento - Between the Needles and Nightfall
14. Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid
15. Bonobo - Black Sands
16. Delta Spirit - History From Below
17. Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy
18. 7 Walkers - 7 Walkers
19. The National - High Violet
20. Twin Shadow - Forget
21. Broken Bells - Broken Bells
22. Bibi Tanga and the Selenites - Dunya
23. Cee-Lo Green - The Lady Killer
24. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
25. Elton John and Leon Russell - The Union
26. ceo - White Magic
27. The Budos Band - The Budos Band III
28. The Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder
29. Wild Nothing – Gemini
30. Toubab Krewe - TK2
31. Dead Confederate - Sugar

Check the site as the countdown continues...

2010/11/18

Futurebirds Daytrotter Session - November 17, 2010


Check out the Futurebirds recent Daytrotter session with accompanying peculiar stream-of-consciousness review and download it for free HERE. One of the fastest-growing new bands of 2010.

Track Listing
Breathe For Days
Sam Jones
Red Top Girl
Battle For Rome

And here's a video of "Ski Chalet" for good measure --

Lance Herbstrong - Live at Austin City Limits 2010


*Scroll down to download the band's ACL set

The incredibly-named Lance Herbstrong's big ACL appearance serendipitously came about because another band had to cancel their set at the last minute. The band was Gayngs - an indie supergroup of sorts featuring 10 members. This was scheduled to be the band's 10th show, by far their largest was to be at Austin City Limits Festival on 10/10/10.

Apparently, as the story goes, Gayngs had to cancel their 10th show because the bus company they were renting the bus from hi-jacked their bus, along with their equipment and drove it back to Nashville, because the band's manager neglected to pay the bus bill.

In the parlance of our times, one bands' loss turned out to be Lance Herbstrong's gain, as the Austin natives were called in to fill the set, and the band undoubtedly won over a ton of new fans in the process and scoring some after party gigs on the upcoming Thievery Corporation/Massive Attack tour. The touring group includes members of Porno for Pyros, Thievery and features two DJ's, a guitarist and live drummer performing a dub-heavy mix of original beats and mashups, sampling Spoon, Santigold, Jane's Addiction, Beastie Boys and more.

You can download the 63 minute ACL set right HERE

2010/11/16

Best Albums of 2010 -- The Countdown Begins -- 30-21


A few criteria for the rankings --

1) Quality
2) Narcotic? (How Addictive Was It)
3) Will I listen to it in 2011?
4) Completeness (Round on the ends or just high in the middle?)
5) Will I listen to it in 2020? (not as important, something to think about)

Albums # 30-21


21. Broken Bells - Broken Bells

22. Bibi Tanga and the Selenites - Dunya

23. Cee-Lo Green - The Lady Killer

24. The Arcade FireThe Suburbs

25. Elton John and Leon Russell - The Union

26. ceo - White Magic

27. The Budos Band - The Budos Band III

28. The Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder

29. Wild NothingGemini

30. Dead Confederate - Sugar

Check back daily as the countdown continues...







2010/11/11

Best of 2010 -- Albums, Songs, Concerts


...2010
Wanna Make A Record of How I Felt Then
- The Arcade Fire

Even though the year is only about 86% done, it seems like just about every big release has come out and of course additions will be made as it gets closer to New Years. 2010 was a breakout year for independent music. The sheer number of incredible albums (many having commercial success) released this year and the ushering in of a whole new level of transparency between artist and fan in large thanks to Twitter has afforded adventurous music ravens with an embarassment of riches in the first year of the '10s (what are we supposed to call this decade?).  Before ranking the album list, now trimmed to a pool of 25 (intended initially to be 10-15, but not a single one of these is undeserving of some level of high praise), gonna have to go back and re-listen to a few of the records from the early months of the decade. There's only so much time in the year to listen to it all, so tell me what I've missed. You could combine the last three year's releases and it wouldn't compare with what we've seen in the music world in 2010.


Best Albums of 2010 - # 31-6


6. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach – Never been more than a casual Gorillaz fan until Plastic Beach, but this album is matchless as far as killer guests go, I mean Bobby Womack? Gimme a break.

7. Morning Benders - Big Echo – Who? These guys didn’t come across my radar until Big Echo, an outstanding and nearly flawless album mature beyond the years of the band members. Look no further than “Excuses” and “Mason Jar” for reasons why this one landed so high on this year’s list.


8. Yeasayer - Odd Blood – When I first heard Odd Blood, it was this time last year, as the album leaked out in early-December. I was already ready to crown it as 2010’s best album, giving little chance to any other album that would arrive to my iTunes in the coming year. “Madder Red” still remains one of the strongest songs of the year, and in any other year, an album like Odd Blood would probably be Top 4 or 5. Odd Blood, although not quite on par with All Hour Cymbals in my opinion, is a great stylistic leap forward for the band, adding more muscle to the band’s live show and an indicator that Yeasayer will be a band we’ll be probably be hearing about throughout the rest of the decade.


9. The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme – Out of nowhere these guys have quickly gained international recognition and also have become one of my personal favorite acts. Along with Alberta Cross and Anders Osborne, the Swedes seem to really know what they’re doing these days in the realm of rock-and-roll. Should prove tonic for a land still recovering from the Ace of Base stigma. Those were some pretty hot beats though…


10. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker – Arguably the best throwback album since Wolfmother’s 2007 self-titled debut. The good thing about Innerspeaker as opposed to Wolfmother is the fact that further replication/development of this sound won’t make me want to tear my ears out like Wolfmother’s successive releases have done.

11. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening - Sometime seeing is believing. Murphy’s oftentimes incessant blathering vocal style hadn’t won my over until hearing this album and seeing the band live shortly thereafter. Things really made sense after that, Murphy is a creative, comical and charismatic frontman and the band reminds me of the expanded latter-era Talking Heads. Disco-funk is back? Is this real life? Scary thought, but these guys do it well.

12. Futurebirds - Hampton's Lullaby
13. Marco Benevento - Between the Needles and Nightfall
14. Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid

15. Bonobo - Black Sands
16. Delta Spirit - History From Below
17. Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy
18. 7 Walkers - 7 Walkers
19. The National - High Violet
20. Twin Shadow - Forget
21. Broken Bells - Broken Bells
22. Bibi Tanga and the Selenites - Dunya
23. Cee-Lo Green - The Lady Killer
24. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
25. Elton John and Leon Russell - The Union
26. ceo - White Magic
27. The Budos Band - The Budos Band III
28. The Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder
29. Wild Nothing – Gemini
30. Toubab Krewe - TK2
31. Dead Confederate - Sugar

Check back as the countdown continues...


                                                       Jay-Z at 'Roo 10
                                                       Dave Vann


Janelle Monae - Dance Or Die > Faster - Voodoo





Top 13 Concerts of 2010
1. Jay-Z - Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival - June 12, 2010 - Manchester, TN
2. Janelle Monae - Voodoo Experience - October 31, 2010 - New Orleans, LA
3. My Morning Jacket - Voodoo Experience - October 31, 2010 - New Orleans, LA
4. Yeasayer - House of Blues - October 9, 2010 - New Orleans, LA
5. Galactic - Tipitina's Uptown - October 29, 2010 - New Orleans, LA
6. Black Keys and Morning Benders - Ryman Auditorium - August 12, 2010 - Nashville, TN
6. LCD Soundsystem - Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival - June 11, 2010 - Manchester, TN
T-8. The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon - Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival -  June 11, 2010 - Manchester, TN
T-8. Futurebirds - Gnat's Landing - July 4, 2010 - St. Simons Island, GA
T-10. Muse - Voodoo Experience - October 29, 2010 - New Orleans, LA
T-10. Galactic - Tipitina's Uptown - February 13, 2010 - New Orleans, LA
T-10. Felice Brothers - One Eyed Jack's - November 10, 2010 - New Orleans, LA
T-10. My Morning Jacket - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - April 24, 2010 - New Orleans, LA


Eligible Albums (those I've heard in full so far)
!!! - Strange Weather, Isn't It?
7 Walkers - 7 Walkers
Adam Haworth Stephens - We Live On Cliffs
Amanda Palmer - Amanda Palmer Performs the Hits of Radiohead on her Magical Ukulele
Anders Osborne - American Patchwork
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Avey Tare - Down There
Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
Bibi Tanga & The Selenites - Dunya
Big Boi - Sir Luscious Left Foot The Son of Chico Dusty
Big Gigantic - A Place Behind the Moon
Black Angels - Phosphene Dream
The Black Keys - Brothers
Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart
Blitzen Trapper - Destoyer of the Void
Bonobo - Black Sands
The Books - The Way Out
Breathe Owl Breathe - Magic Central
Broken Bells - Broken Bells
Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
The Budos Band - The Budos Band III
ceo - White Magic
Dead Confederate - Sugar
The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Delta Spirit - History From Below
Die Antwoord - $O$
Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame
El Guincho - Pop Negro
Elton John & Leon Russell - The Union
Dumpstaphunk - Everybody Want Sum
Four Tet - There Is Love In You
Futurebirds - Hampton's Lullaby
Galactic - Ya-Ka-May
Ghostland Observatory - Codename: Rondo
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Harlem - Hippies
Janelle MonŠ±e - The ArchAndroid
Jenny & Johnny - I'm Having Fun Now
Joanna Newson - Have One On Me
John Legend - Wake Up!
Jonsi - Go
Kid Cudi - Maon On The Moon: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown
LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
Marco Benevento - Between Needles and Nightfall
Mark McGuire - Living With Yourself
The Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder
MGMT - Congratulations
Midlake - The Courage of Others
Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds
Morning Benders - Big Echo
The National - High Violet
Of Montreal - False Priest
The Orb feat. David Gilmour - Metallic Spheres
Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy
Prince Rama - Shadow Temple
The Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme
Ratatat - LP4
Royksopp - Senior
She & Him - Volume Two
Shooter Jennings and Hierophant - Black Ribbons
Sleigh Bells - Treats
Spoon - Transference
Surfer Blood - Astro Coast
The Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt
Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
Twin Shadow - Forget
Vampire Weekend - Contra
Various Artists - Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows - Tribute To John Prine
The Walkmen - Lisbon
The Whigs - In The Dark
Widespread Panic - Dirty Side Down
Wild Nothing - Gemini
Yeasayer - Odd Blood


Disappointing...
Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown (even by newly low standards, at least this time we had fair warning)
Midlake - The Courage of Others
Blitzen Trapper - Destroyer of the Void
Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart (just not up to standard set by first two, although still solid)
The Whigs - In The Dark
The Orb feat. David Gilmour (granted, expectations were pretty much unrealistic)
Band of Horses - Infinite Arms


Reinterpretation of Old Songs
moe. - Smash Hits, Volume 1


Live Archival Release
The String Cheese Incident - Rhythm of the Road Vol. I - Incident In Atlanta


Weirdest
The Books - The Way Out


Best Original Lullaby
She & Him - If You Can't Sleep


EPs
Reptar - Reptar EP (best EP)
Cold War Kids - Behave Yourself EP
Memoryhouse - The Years EP


Top Songs of 2010 - More to Come, here's a few
MGMT - Siberian Breaks, It's Working & Song For Dan Treacy
Cee-Lo Green - Fuck You
Beach House - Take Care and Silver Soul
Dr. Dog - Where'd All The Time Go, Shadow People and Take Me Into Town
Anders Osborne - On The Road to Charlie Parker
Adam Haworth Stephens - Second Mine
Morning Benders - Excuses and Mason Jar
Yeasayer - Madder Red and Ambling Alp
Futurebirds - Johnny Utah and Yer Not Ded
Deerhunter - Helicopter, He Would Have Laughed and Revival
El Guincho - Ghetto Facil
Bonobo - Animals > Black Sands
Avett Brothers - Spanish Pipedream
The Books - Thirty Incoming
Ghostland Observatory - Time
Mark McGuire - Clouds Rolling In
7 Walkers - Louisiana Rain
Midlake - Children of the Grounds
Bruce Springsteen - Because The Night
Panda Bear - Slow Motion
She & Him - If You Can't Sleep
Robert Plant - House of Cards
Sufjan Stevens - Impossible Soul
The Roots (ft. Yim Yames) - Dear God 2.0
!!! - The Hammer
Jenny & Johnny - Scissor Runner
Janelle Monae - Locked Inside, Tightrope and Cold War
Delta Spirit - Ballad of Vitality and Devil Knows Your Dead
Deer Tick - 20 Miles
Broken Social Scene - Meet Me In The Basement
Broken Bells - Your Head Is On Fire & Trap Doors
Kanye West/Jay Z/CyHi Da Prynce/Swizz Beatz - So Appalled
Gorillaz - Empire Ants, Stylo, & Rhinestone Eyes
She & Him - Home and In The Sun
The National - Afraid of Everyone and Bloddbuzz Ohio
The Melvins - Electric Flower
LCD Soundsystem - I Can Change and Dance Yrself Clean
Bibi Tanga & The Selenites - It's The Earth That Moves
Jonsi - Grow Till Tall
Ben Cameron - Sun Will Shine
Avey Tare - Ghost of Books
Arcade Fire - Suburban War and Ready To Start
Black Angels - Telephone 
Of Montreal - A Girl Named Hello
Preservation Hall Jazz Band (ft. Tom Waits) -
Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing and Louisiana Fairytale (ft. Yim Yames)
Band of Horses - Factory
Royksopp - The Fear and Senior Living
Big Gigantic - Breaking Point
Big Boi - Shine Blockas (ft. Gucci Mane)
Black Mountain - Buried By The Blues
The Black Keys - Sinister Kid, Tighten Up, Howlin' For You & Never Give You Up
Reptar - Context Clues and Houseboat Babies
The Radio Dept. - Never Follow Suit & Heaven's On Fire
Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs - Beg, Steal or Borrow & The Man In Me (Bob Dylan Cover)
Prince Rama - Lightening Fossil
Amanda Palmer - No Surprises (Radiohead)
Galactic (ft. Irma Thomas) - Heart of Steel & Boe Money
Dead Confederate - Run From The Gun
Marco Benevento - Wolf Trap
Widespread Panic - Saint Ex
Twin Shadow - Forget & Yellow Balloon
Spoon - The Mystery Zone
Cold War Kids - Audience & Coffee Spoons
ceo - All Around
The Budos Band - Nature's Wrath
The Tallest Man On Earth - Love Is All
Tame Impala - Solitude Is Bliss & Runaway, Houses, City, Clouds


Past Lists:
Best of 2009 List
Best of 2008 List






2010/11/07

My Morning Jacket live at Voodoo Experience 2010 -- Videos

Some videos, shot from a weird angle from the headlining set on Halloween Night at the Voodoo Experience 2010 in City Park New Orleans

Interpretive Dance > Wordless Chorus



Anytime



Off The Record > Mahgeetah


Middle of Mahgeetah


End of Mahgeetah > Gideon


To come...

Golden
Circuital
I'm Amazed
Touch Me Pt. 1
Dondante
Smokin' From Shootin'
Touch Me Pt. 2
Lay Low Jam > Phone Went West
Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath)
Evil Urges
Highly Suspicious
Carnival Time (Al Johnson)
One Big Hibernation

2010/11/06

Voodoo Experience 2010

The article below also appears on JamBase and can be found with full pictorial from the weekend here


                   Words & Images by: Wesley Hodges

Voodoo Experience ::
10.29.10-10.31.10 ::
City Park :: New Orleans, LA

See the full gallery of Voodoo 2010 pics here!

Day One :: Friday, October 29

A picture perfect fall day brought a surprisingly massive crowd to the generally smaller scale first day of Voodoo. It's hard to pinpoint the mission behind Voodoo when it comes to artist selection except perhaps as an attempt to bring in many of the alternative artists who sadly skip New Orleans on their general touring routes and provide a platform for local artists to gain more national exposure. Headliners Muse remarked that this was their long overdue debut trip to the Big Easy and I'd be shocked if it wasn't Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi's first performance in South Louisiana as well. Also, Voodoo announced this week that the fest will remain in City Park through 2019 and offered unspecified plans for some permanent festival infrastructure. This year's edition was a marked improvement over last year on every level, with the addition of the Le Plur Electronic Tent, new, better looking tents, amazing weather, and a generally cleaner environment (although the bathroom shortage remains a big issue). It also didn't hurt to have Janelle Monae, MGMT and My Morning Jacket closing it down on Halloween Sunday.

1. Muse :: 9:00 p.m. :: VOODOO Stage

As a buddy put it, there's just not much smaller bands can do to compete with the rock spectacle Muse put on for the main stage crowd of about 30,000 people on Friday night. The new stadium anthem "Uprising" opened an 80-minute set sparse on dull moments. The visual display was a mere accent to the bulldozing music onstage, with a nice mix of older songs like "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Starlight" and tracks from 2009's huge release The Resistance. Muse is not your father's traditional power trio. Instead, they carve their own niche, mixing club beats with Matthew Bellamy's metallic guitar heroics and somehow making it work. The blatant LED imagery calls for a cavalry, with lyrics displayed in large caps recruiting a modern revolution.

The English band has been a big deal across the pond for quite some time now and it's easy to see why major festival promoters over here are starting to take note. Green lasers, heavy smoke and giant eyeballs floating around the crowd gave the show some added flair without coming off as cheesy. Chris Wolstenholme's impressive harmonica solo segued into the closing "Knights of Cydonia" to cap off a solid first day in City Park and put a satisfying stamp on the best performance of the day.

Muse Setlist -- October 29, 2010
Uprising, Supermassive Black Hole, Resistance, Hysteria (w/ Star Spangled Banner intro), MK Ultra, Citizen Erased, United States of Eurasia, Feeling Good, Undisclosed Desires, Starlight, Time Is Running Out, Plug In Baby.
Encore: Stockholm Syndrome, Knights of Cydonia

2. Stanton Moore Trio plus Anders Osborne and Robert Walter :: 2:15 p.m. :: Preservation Hall

Bright skies beckoned the early comers and Stanton Moore Trio at the Pres Hall Tent was the perfect introduction to a whirlwind weekend in City Park. A 14-minute instrumental fittingly opened the show before Anders Osborne commanded the stage with a set heavy on tunes from his 2010 release American Patchwork. Osborne's sheer talent and pop sensibility is of a star quality and the mix between driving, razor-sharp Fender workouts and upbeat pop tunes like "On the Road to Charlie Parker" rewarded the demographically diverse crowd. Lyrically, Osborne reads like a man who's been through the ringer a time or two, with naked confessions on Katrina, down-on-his-knees substance abuse, and desultory escapism adding depth to the tunes. However, the flip side presented itself on the breezy reggae love song "Got Your Heart," showing Osborne's mainstream awareness (he's written songs for Tim McGraw and Johnny Lang) and a surprisingly contented vibe. Next year, I vote for the Stanton Moore Trio as the daily Voodoo house band.

3. Hot Chip :: Le Plur :: 7:00 p.m.

A trip down to the pondside Le Plur area of the festival was an event in itself. Voodoo focused the stage on electronic-leaning DJs, MCs and whatever Die Antwoord is, and from the looks of the youthful crowd, many probably didn't leave the area for the duration of the day, lapping up the array of electronic artists at the newly-restored area. Hot Chip's Friday night show was a pleasant surprise and comparisons to LCD Soundsystem are unavoidable. A hypnotic wash was bolstered by thumping live drums (including steel drums), and armed with the bawdy choruses of the group's new album One Life Stand like "Over and Over," these once electro-heavy artists seem to be squaring with the rockers at their own game and the extraordinary sounds stirred up one of the wilder crowds of the weekend.

4. Rotary Downs :: 6:15 p.m. :: BINGO! Tent

Comparisons to 90s bands like Pavement and Weezer were unavoidable and their use of trumpet evoked Cake, but Rotary Downs meshes the sounds of that formative decade well, and the early evening show before a smaller crowd was one of the surprises of the weekend.

5. Dead Confederate :: 4:30 p.m. :: VOODOO Stage

Confined to their usual existence in smoky, intimate clubs, the impact of Dead Confederate's guttural, psychedelic hard rock show generally hits like a ton of bricks. In the beaming sunshine and wide-open space, songs like the Floydish burner "Wrecking Ball" were lost on some. However, Dead Confederate delivered a strong set on what was surely one of the largest stages they've played in their still short career. Also, the opening cover of Officer May's "Smoking In A Minor" was definitely of the strongest songs of the day.

Best Cover on Friday: Big Sam's Funky Nation doing Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" (they also covered Lady Gaga and "Hard To Handle). Big Sam also demanded that the entire crowd get down on the ground at one point.

Best Headdress: Jonsi

LATE NIGHT
Galactic recorded the live follow-up to 2001's We Love ‘Em Tonight with a slew of very special guests before a packed house at their longtime haunt Tipitina's Uptown. The original plan was to check out a portion of the show and attempt to get a little bit of rest before Day Two. Plans like that are destined for failure. Cyril Neville (who has one of the best voices I've ever heard) made an appearance along with guest spots by Trombone Shorty, Shamarr Allen and Ivan Neville (who stopped in for The Meters' "Africa"), all of which kept the close attention of the raucous crowd until the bright house lights told us it was time to hit the dusty trail around 3:45 a.m. Galactic at Tipitina's Uptown is about as home game as it gets for the insta-funk stalwarts, and this performance was just another example of why they are the city's finest overgrown rhythm section.

==============================================

Voodoo Experience :: Day Two :: Saturday, October 30th


                                                      Buckwheat Zydeco @ Voodoo '10

1. Buckwheat Zydeco :: 6:45 p.m. :: Soco/WWOZ Stage

Just a good old-fashioned foot stomper. The king of contemporary zydeco emanated and incited exuberance that was a nice contrast to the awful Die Antwoord performance moments before down at the Le Plur tent. Almost wholly unfamiliar with the genre, all I can really say is that Buckwheat's jubilation-inducing brand of swamp rock was a stellar and unique form of dance music and the Lafayette, LA native represented the local genre very well. Also, a nice version of "Bourbon Street Parade" served as a nice reminder that Mardi Gras is only 125 days away.

2. Florence and the Machine :: 6:00 p.m. :: Sony Make.Believe Stage

Frontwoman Florence Welch floated around on a flowery stage like a whirling dervish, and the set was quite simply an hour showcase of Welch's amazing vocal instrument and theatrical wherewithal. It was abundantly clear from the first song that we were in the presence of a true freak of nature, a beautiful oddity and a rising superstar. Her band is no machine, but the redheaded singer is a force to be reckoned with, evoking comparisons to the soul-blues-pop divas of the Motown era. Watching her highly choreographed and assured performance, you would think she's been at this for decades, but Welch is still young and armed with a creative mind. It'll be interesting to watch where she goes from here. The elegant and confident Machine made a lot of new fans in City Park on Saturday, including this writer.

                                         Florence and the Machine @ Voodoo '10

3. The Whigs :: 4:00 p.m. :: Sony Make.Believe Stage


The Athens, GA natives are already veterans of the festival scene, and after opening for Kings of Leon this summer and fall, they are no longer a stranger to the big stages and amphitheatres. Parker Gispert's familiar grungy growl and amazing flexibility (Gispert's leg kicks and stretches never cease to amaze) on older songs "Like A Vibration" and "Already Young" accented the frantic pummeling of drummer Julian Dorio throughout the high energy performance. As per usual, Dorio went through enough drum sticks to tear down a shady grove, and it was nice to see The Whigs haven't abandoned some of the deeper tracks from their excellent first two albums Give ‘Em All A Big Fat Lip and Mission Control. Gispert's tireless enthusiasm ensured that the crowd remained actively involved throughout the performance while keeping the between-song chatter to a minimum and focusing on maintaining a feverish pace throughout the set.

                                         Street Sweeper @ Voodoo '10

4. Street Sweeper Social Club :: 8:00 p.m. :: Sony Make.Believe Stage

As lead singer/rapper Boots Riley said, SSSC's guitarist sounds a whole lot like the guy from Rage Against The Machine (Voodoo headliners in 2007). This is probably helped by the fact that the axe man for the uniformed social club - Boots insists they are a social club not just a band - is none other than Rage's Tom Morello. Unsurprisingly, the same sort of bombastic, fiercely polemical music is the end product, and a heavy take on M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" was a conscious nod to another artist refusing to conform to normative views and behavior. It was only a matter of time before the sloganeering banter against Big Brother, mixed with the thrash happy hip-hop pummeling, made it's appearance, and Riley didn't miss the opportunity to comment on the current political climate.

Best Random Festival Quirk on Saturday: The moving techno robot down the main spine of the festival - the only mobile party on the grounds. Bring it back next year, mysterious trance master, whoever you are.

Most Unexpected Cover on Saturday: Paul Sanchez & The Rolling Road Show doing Kanye West's "Heartless"
LATE NIGHT: Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue's midnight set at Tipitina's Uptown.

===============================================
Voodoo Experience :: Day Three: Sunday, October 31


                                         Janelle Monae @ Voodoo '10

                                         The air is so thick with magic.
                                         –Yim Yames

Sunday was just one of those perfect festival days, where everybody plays with added gusto, the sets don't overlap, the weather couldn't be better, and everyone leaves satisfied and already looking forward to next year. Seeing Pres Hall and MMJ trade guest spots at each other's sets, a performer with the ability to propel her show to stratospheric proportions (Janelle Monae) and the Scooby Doods of MGMT playing dreamy, make believe music on a (Sony) make believe stage on a make believe day was a surreal whirlwind that blew by in the blink of an eye. People will be talking about this day at Voodoo for a long time. I know I will. Halloween transformed City Park into a masquerade freak show and a dreamland for fans of people watching. Cookie Monsters, Frank the Donnie Darko rabbit, and a couple dressed as local Senate candidate David Vitter and his mistress coexisted for the day in the beautiful scenery in City Park, a space accented by oak trees and Spanish moss, setting quite a visual scene on this celebration of all things macabre. Not even going to attempt to rank performances here; on Sunday it was ALL good.

Janelle Monae :: 2:15 p.m. :: Soco/WWOZ Stage
One word review: Wow.
Slightly longer review: An artist like Janelle Monae is of a rare quality, and when one of the band members told the crowd to get their texting/Facebooking/Tweeting out of the way before the show starts, he meant it. Monae commanded the crowd's attention in mesmerizing fashion and displayed an unparalleled awareness of her mannerisms, bodily movement and facial expressions, all the while dodging and taking down zombies, painting pictures – yes, actually painting - and singing during the Funkadelic-style guitar monster "Mushrooms and Roses", and even clearing a swath through the audience during the show's final song. However, it wasn't all a dance party, as Monae took a breather from pure dramatic domination to show her amazing range on a cover of the Charlie Chaplin standard "Smile." Like MMJ later, fans left this one wanting a whole lot more.
This was quite possibly my favorite midday festival performance I've ever had the chance to see. While it's too bad her buddies in Outkast haven't toured together in years, after Sunday's dazzling set, she's filling that void in the space-funk world in grand fashion, and an opening slot for Prince in New York at the end of the year should garner even more believers. A quick ascent to superstardom is only a matter of time for Monae. To say she's ahead of her time would be an insult. She's light years ahead and quite possibly not of this Earth.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band :: 3:30 p.m. :: Pres Hall

What was planned as a brief step back in time after the future sounds of Janelle Monae to check out the authentic jazz of PHJB turned into a good 35-minute stop once Yim Yames appeared for a guest spot on "Louisiana Fairytale" and a couple other traditional tunes, providing a great opportunity to see the MMJ leader up close in front of a small crowd. The rest of MMJ was checking out the show out in the crowd, not something you generally see from a festival headliner.

                                                      MGMT @ Voodoo '10

MGMT :: 5:30 p.m. :: Sony Make.Believe Stage

The best costume of the day award goes to the five members of MGMT. Singer Andrew VanWyngarden wore a flowing orange wig and tights as Daphne. Keyboard player Ben Goldwasser went as Velma. Guitarist James Richardson wore the full-body Scooby-Doo costume, a tough task I'm sure with guitar in tow. And finally, drummer Will Berman and bassist Matthew Asti were a little more subdued as Shaggy and Fred. As a huge fan of this year's excellent Congratulations record, it was exciting to finally hear "It's Working" and the epic "Siberian Breaks" live. Like the studio take, "Siberian Breaks" drifted on past the ten-minute mark, oscillating between catharsis and disorientation with far-out vocal effects as the only constant. It's kind of like a condensing Atom Heart Mother into one multi-phased song. The big jams like "Electric Feel" and "Time To Pretend" from the more pop-conscious Oracular Spectacular got the massive crowd going way more than any of the new singles, and perhaps these guys have hit their peak as far as mainstream popularity goes. The still-young band put on a solid performance and showed signs of musical progression and the ability to rock a big stage without the smoke and mirrors of a big, flashy light display.

My Morning Jacket :: 7:00 p.m. :: Voodoo Stage

I have been a huge fan of MMJ ever since the release of 2005's Z album, and as a result I've attended some of the best concerts I've ever seen in the years since. Seeing the band closing out and headlining a major music festival in town like New Orleans on Halloween night was a surreal experience after some of the smaller venues I've been able to catch them in over the years.

The band floated out on stage dressed as some kind of moon wizard gods and opened the show in interpretive dance - a bizarre and comical introduction for what I am sure was a large contingent of young fans attending their first MMJ show. The boys stayed in costume for the first couple songs, opening with "Wordless Chorus" and "Anytime" before reverting to plainclothes for a pulverization of "Off the Record," a tune showcasing the Kentucky-bred band's pop awareness and serious musical abilities. As the band emitted retina-scorching white strobes, Two-Tone Tommy's swirling bass locked in with Jim James and Carl Broemel's two-headed guitar onslaught before tapering seamlessly into the achingly slow burning outro suite. The only low point of the show was the 15 minutes or so run through "Golden," "I'm Amazed" and new tune "Circuital," which hasn't won me over as a song befitting a festival appearance yet. Once the band hit "Touch Me Part One," the last 75 minutes or so blew by as James and Broemel more or less put on a guitar clinic, highlighted by the "Dondante > Smokin From Shootin' > Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2 > Lay Low Jam" accented by a host of glow sticks and a huge crowd-surfing stuffed rabbit.

                                         MMJ @ Voodoo '10

As he did at JazzFest, James again remarked on the spiritual connection he feels with the city of New Orleans, saying, "I feel like there's no other place on Earth to be. Every song, my molecules get more pulled out into the ethos," after pointing out that the band has always dreamed of doing a show in the Big Easy on Halloween. Towards the end, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band joined the band for four songs, which included a visceral take on Black Sabbath's theme song and a celebratory spin on the Al Johnson Mardi Gras standard "Carnival Time." Unfortunately, a couple songs were cut from the set due to time restraints ("Dancefloors" and "Move On Up") and James remarked that this was the band's final performance for some time (so MMJ can return to the studio to wrap their sixth album). It's safe to say they left their mark, ending with "One Big Holiday" to send people on their way to the downtown Halloween madness or home to catch some badly needed rest.

This is where MMJ belongs, at the top of the heap at a major music festival, putting on their highly personalized and borderline peerless performances for the masses. On Sunday night, My Morning Jacket only grew their legacy and lived up to the lofty reputation bestowed upon them by critics and fans alike. It's just a shame they can't come here and do this every Halloween.

My Morning Jacket Setlist -- October 31, 2010
Wordless Chorus, Anytime, Off the Record, Mahgeetah, Gideon, Circuital, I'm Amazed, Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 1, Dondante, Smokin From Shootin > Touch Me I'm Going to Scream > Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt. 2 > Lay Low Jam, Phone Went West, Black Sabbath* (Black Sabbath), Evil Urges, Highly Suspicious*, Carnival Time*, One Big Holiday
* w/ Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Best Cover on Sunday: A tie between Janelle Monae doing Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" and Jacket's take on "Black Sabbath" with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Best Sit-In on Sunday: Yim Yames with Preservation Hall Jazz Band singing "Louisiana Fairytale".

LATE NIGHT:
One last round at Tipitina's for British funk band The New Mastersounds, who were joined by the very special guest keyboardist Art Neville in the second set. One could have just gone to the late night offerings at Tipitina's all three nights and had themselves one hell of a weekend at New Orleans' hottest music venue.


The New Mastersounds Late Night Halloween '10 @ Tipitina's Uptown

Top 5 Shows of the Weekend
1. Janelle Monae
2. My Morning Jacket (a toss up with Monae)
3. Muse
4. MGMT
5. Buckwheat Zydeco

Halloween weekend in New Orleans, more fun than Mardi Gras? Who's to say…

Worship the Music.