Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year in Review 2010

This holiday season, I have asked local music special people to share the tale of their year with you, the readers. I don’t know about you, but I want to know about more than just the top records, I also want to know about real life, too. That, and the top records.

CHEYENNE MARIE MIZE, violinist/vocalist, Maiden Radio
Best year yet. 2010 brought me more good things than I ever expected or probably deserve. Much mending and moving forward. It seemed like 2009 was a really bizarre year for everyone I know. But 2010 made up for it. It must have something to do with the planets and stars or something...

The music closest to me tends to stick with me the most. Some folks I've had the honor to work with this year who are totally inspiring and the go-tos in my collection: Doug Paisley - Dark Hand & Lamplight, or his new one Constant Companion; Ólöf Arnalds - Innundir Skinni; Vandaveer - A Minor Spell; Johnny Flynn - Been Listening; Wax Fang - "The Astronaut (Part 1)".

I'm expecting 2011 to be even better.

PATRICK HALLAHAN, drummer, My Morning Jacket

2010 has been a very restorative year for me. Amidst a few macro let downs, the micro has been truly wholesome, and I couldn't ask for anything more. I feel like I've learned more in the past 365 than I have in the whole dance leading up to this moment. And it's good.

I have to start off with the relationship I have with my wife, Brigid. We've been married close to 7 years, been together for over 10, and we've spent a good portion of that time in different cities. Every time I leave for tour, we learn how to live on our own. And just when that makes sense, I come back and we have to learn how to live together again. It's a confusing existence, and it will try your every fiber. BUT, it's made us stronger. 2010 is a year I can say that, just when I think we can't get any closer or make any more sense, we do. If I could give thanks for anything at this year's end, it's that the love of my life is also my best friend.

In addition to a wonderful nucleus at home, I have a fantastic nucleus abroad (also home). 2010 is a year I can say my band mates and I have a complete understanding of one another. We've been blessed with a positive relationship for many years, but for whatever reason 2010 has been a year of total acceptance and cohesion. I very much enjoy playing music with these guys, but it's gotten to the point that when a tour ends or the recording session is over, I genuinely miss being with them. Tom, Carl, Bo, and Jim are amazing, compassionate people, and I am forever thankful that we get to do what we do. 2010 has been a year of rediscovery vs. discovery. Maybe it was spawned by packing up and moving to a new house, but I've spent a lot of time going back over things that I usually pass by because I've "already had a moment" with them. Pavement. The Beatles. The Jesus Lizard. The Flaming Lips. Fleetwood Mac. Slayer. Simon and Garfunkel. NWA. Rodan. Elton John. I don't know... things that, for whatever reason, I see the name and usually pass because I know how if feels to listen to them. But I was wrong. More life leads to more perspective, and these bands and albums I've so foolishly labeled as "understood" have peeled back my brain once again. Absolute masterpieces.

SCOTT CARNEY, guitarist/vocalist, Wax Fang

This year was both a blast and a blur. I've been busier and more productive this year than any other. I went to Europe for the first time. Played some amazing shows with some amazing people and saw some great bands play. Directed a music video, along with Ryan Daly of the Louisville Film Society, for the band Dead Confederate. And spent the rest of my free time working on the various future releases of Wax Fang. Yep, that's about it.

I really dig the newest Beach House record, Teen Dream. I saw them play in England. They were fantastic. Other than that, the Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse record, Dark Night of the Soul, had some great tunes on it as well, as did the new MGMT double LP, Congratulations.

JOHNNY BERRY, vocalist/bassist, Johnny Berry and the Outliers
Musically, 2010 was a tough year for me. I had a new CD, but it never really got any legs. I also went to book a tour on the East Coast that fell through, they said I wasn’t ‘country enough’. Can you believe that s**t! Yet these very same East Coast urban country music experts, the learned ignorant if you will, will listen to the stupidest lyrics as long as some joker pretended he was Hank Williams while singing them. I was turned down for many showcases and events by several different organizations throughout the year. I guess I’m not cool or hip enough.

With all that said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I realize what a finicky bunch of know-nothings run the music business and basically everything else. We, as in the American proletariat ‘we’, are screwed. Hell with it. I am now working towards a degree, my children are happy and healthy and I’ll keep on writing and singing songs. I have also begun playing the pedal steel guitar, which is a lot of fun.

I have no idea what my favorite music of the year is. I’ve been listening to truck driver compilation albums, the Wizard of Oz soundtrack and James Brown records from the ‘60′s.

WILLIAM BENTON, guitarist, The Phantom Family Halo
I joined The Phantom Family Halo at the end of 2009, only a couple of weeks before (drummer) Tony (Bailey) passed away. My first tour with them was in December, so I began 2010 with a great surge of energy, being able to write, perform, record and tour with a band that I have always liked very much.

I finally got to see the Louisville installment of "Burn to Shine", shot in 2005. I had always said that if it didn’t come out within a year of it being shot that it would be much cooler to see many years down the line.
The premiere was a great night filled with many friends new and old. The evening opened with incredible and moving performances by Liberation Prophecy, Rachel Grimes, and Bonnie "Prince" Billy with Cairo Gang. Bonnie and Cairo’s set filled the Bomhard theater with no microphones, no P.A., and ranks highly among favorite musical performances I have had the good fortune to witness.

After many years of amazing experiences and many recordings and performances that I am very proud of, I decided that it was time to bow out of Lucky Pineapple. It was the usual circumstances of creative differences but coupled with the logistical difficulties of nine people convening in rural Indiana as often as that band needs to.

Perhaps the most depressing bit of 2010 was that it marked the end of my relatively short marriage. It was long discussed and eventually decided that our worlds were changing and that this was the best decision. We had been "together" for a long time but married less than two years. Oh well. These things happen.
It was the most diplomatic break-up I have ever experienced. I was very lucky.

Dom, of The Phantom Family Halo, moved to Brooklyn and asked me to as well to continue with the band. Between my leaving Lucky Pineapple and being single again, it sounded like a great and exciting idea - so I agreed.
Currently, I am saving money and hoping to head that way in the new year. I hope I can make it.

Favorite albums of 2010:
Gil Scott-Heron - I’m New Here; Grinderman - Grinderman 2; Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky; Devo - Something for Everybody; Syl Johnson - Complete Mythology; Shipping News - One Less Heartless to Fear; Hank Williams - The Complete Mother’s Best Recordings; Gorillaz - Plastic Beach; The Black Heart Procession - Six; Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and the Cairo Gang - The Wonder Show of the World

CARRIE NEUMAYER, guitarist/vocalist, Second Story Man
My year was pretty great. I turned 30, traveled around in Turkey, got a new job teaching high school photography, became a dog owner and got engaged. This might be my favorite year I’ve ever had.
Musically, I recorded a new album with Minnow called Hello Hubris. Sadly, we released the album on the same day, November 20th, that we played our last show. Also, Second Story Man lost a band member (bass player Justin Davis left to spend more time with his family and pursue other musical endeavours) but we’ve continued working on writing new material and practicing with our awesome new band member Mike Snowden. We have some cool projects planned for 2011- looking forward to it.

Favorite albums of 2010:
Quasi - American Gong: probably played on repeat more than any other records I bought this year.
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - Know Better, Learn Faster: Technically came out in 2009, but I discovered them this year.
Superchunk - Majesty Shredding
Versus - On the Ones and Threes
Coliseum - House With a Curse
Beach House - Teen Dream
Shipping News - One Less Heartless to Fear
Stooges Brass Band - It’s About Time (2003) I saw this band in New Orleans at a crowded little bar. Watching the performance and being a part of the crowd was one of most joyous, rowdy, exciting music experiences I’ve had since I started going to punk rock shows.

JEFFREY SMITH, publicist, Crash Avenue
I have to say that 2K10 has been a pretty great year! I'll ultimately mark this year as the year that everything came together. The personal life, the professional life... both firing full-bore! I've been extraordinarily focused on shifting the definition of success and what it means to truly sustain that success within my industry. Honestly, I can say that about my personal life as well. Adulthood has never felt better than in 2010.

I've expanded my management roster this year to include two new magnificently talented human beings: Ms. Cheyenne Marie Mize (from right here in Louisville) and J. Irvin Dally (from Los Angeles)... all while preparing for a new Ben Sollee album for release in May 2011.

In no particular order - and excluding my client's albums... ‘cause they already know I love them!
Kitten - Sunday School
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Sleigh Bells - Treats
Gonjasufi - A Sufi and a Killer
Everything Everything - Man Alive
No Joy - Ghost Blonde
Warpaint - The Fool

JASON NOBLE, guitarist/vocalist, Shipping News
This year was probably the most intense year I can remember - but also one of the most interesting, challenging and inspiring. My wife, Kristin, and I have have been learning how to handle my health issues and it feels like simple things have taken on a certain glow (for lack of a better word). We've felt more excited about life (in whatever circumstance) than I can ever remember. Having time to return to creative projects in the last few months with Shipping News and The Young Scamels has been a real spirit-lifter. Kristin and I have been humbled and amazed by the generosity of the creative people in the Louisville music and art community (and the benefit concerts they organized to help us). Production Simple & ear X-tacy records have also helped us immensely. It's been a very harsh year, with oil spills, multiple wars, a rancorous election cycle and several of the worst natural disasters in history - so, it seems important to remember the thousands who are in very difficult circumstances.
Hopefully 2011 will be a little more peaceful. We could all do more to make that a reality.

For pure enjoyment... we've enthusiastically followed several bands this year. It's been a fantastic time for music and film and theater. Not to be too cheesy, but - it's incredible how powerful music can be - especially if you step back and really open yourself to it - if you can look outside of certain biases or assumptions about style or genre. Here's a very rough "top ten" list and then several very honorable mentions...
Shannonwright - Secret Blood
Parlour - Simulacrenfield
Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Massive Attack - Heligoland
Coliseum - House With A Curse
Wax Fang - "The Astronaut (Part 1)"
Frontier(s) - There Will Be No Miracles Here
Cerebellum - Cerebellum LP reissue
Various - RISE: A Louisville Lip Records Tribute to Kinghorse
Chime Hours - Chime Hours EP

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