Twitter at @lsgoriginal
My Favorite Connecticut Albums 2013
I love this time of year in music. For me, I get to go back and rediscover records I fell in love with this year; especially those that came out early in the year. With so much music in CT – and that’s a good thing – I can fall in love over and over again. It’s like taking a gazillion lovers in a year…without be labeled a Hussy. And, there is a great example. Brazen Hussy has a kick ass album this year and I have now put it back in rotation. What all of these albums have in common is the absence of the “skip button factor”. There isn’t one among this group that I feel the need to hit that button for. They are all excellent from start to finish.
(Mental note to the musicians on this list…Make it easier to buy your music! For some of you, I have to go through a few different sites before I find your albums at various purchasing sources. If you have a FB Page, make sure one of the links below is there! Takes people STRAIGHT to your album. And on your websites…make it the link you see first on any of your pages! Make it so obvious even I can find it!)
Anyway, I sat here on a Sunday morning, in a happy haze with a constant flow of coffee, and put this list together. In no particular order, my goal is to limit it to 10 but with the many genres out there…very difficult indeed. Update: Dammit! I just can’t do it. Maybe 15…OK it’s 26. I just couldn’t do it any other way. Enjooooy!
Daphne Lee Martin – Moxie
Buy it here http://telegraphrecordingcompany.bigcartel.com/product/daphne-lee-martin-moxie
Yes. It’s been often said that “Belly” is THE song here…sexy, grinding, makes you wanna fuck music. Reviewer, Vincent Bator even said “…gives me a boner. Enough said.” Yes. It’s all that. But for me, it’s all about “Faithless Beauty.” I’m a huge fan of Sam Perduta (Elison Jackson). He duets with DLM on this gorgeous song. It makes me feel like I should be in a speakeasy. I’m gonna say something weird about this (something that happens all too often) but the lyrics remind me and give me the feeling of one of my favorite all-time songs, David Bowie’s “China Girl”. It feels like Sam is just going to ruin her…or maybe just the opposite. I love this and this album.
Branchwater – When the World Seems Cold
Buy it here http://branchwaterblues.bandcamp.com/album/when-the-world-seems-cold
A member of this amazing band reached out to me to tell me about “When the World Seems Cold”. I’d never heard of Branchwater. I liked the way he presented his work so I listened. I personally believe that this album is the best album that many have no idea about. They’re blues, but their own blues. Please go out and listen to this album. I can’t begin to tell you how excellent it is. Fave Track? This groovy assed tune called “ I Was Wronged.” It’s got such a great Stevie Ray Vaughn thing going on. Go listen. And then see them Jan 3 at the Outer Space. It’ll be my first time seeing them and I cannot wait!
Brazen Hussy – When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Princess
Buy it here http://telegraphrecordingcompany.bigcartel.com/product/brazen-hussy-brazen-hussy
I’m gonna call it girl punk. Drums, guitar, bass, vox. Straight forward rock. This was on constant rotation for me this summer. “Don’t you fuck with me because I’ll kick your ass. Don’t you fuck with me because you smell like shit” from “Rock & Roll Girl” is a line I’ve sung over and over. I think I’m gonna go flip tables now.
Isaac Young – Staved Eve
Buy it here http://www.cdbaby.com/m/cd/isaacyoungquartet2
I had the distinct pleasure of attending the first recording session they went into to make this album. And damn it if all that bourbon didn’t make for a great record! Right from the opener, this is just a fab album. You can sit and chill with it. You can dance to it. Make dinner to it…or breakfast if the previous night was good and sexy. Right from the opener, “Scared Pussy” (Yes. Yes, I do love that name!), it just grooves. And making this the first song you get, was brilliant. You just won’t want to stop listening.
Farewood – Wilderness
Buy it here https://farewood.bandcamp.com/
I know that vocalist, Leah Booker Lorenzo has often been called “ethereal” as a singer, but it’s just true. I can never get enough of Farewood for the entire band as a whole. “War” is the second song on the album and it’s so…emotional. It put a lump in my throat the first time I heard it. And the lyrics on this album come with such a badass groove. I wish that this had been a full-length because 6 songs on this album end far too quickly for me.
Little Ugly – Where The River’s Born
Buy it here http://littleugly.bandcamp.com/
I’ve seen this band play, countless times. Their live performances are always full of energy and a strong audience-participation factor. We’ve been listening to these songs out for a while now. But now they are on this album. Our reviewer, Tam Davis, said about “Til the Earth Stops Shaking”: ‘ this powerful piece has one of my favorite lyrics ever “We have arrived at our greatest fears”’. (Side note: dear god, that’s a lot of complicated quoting…) It’s hard to pick one, but how I love “Oh, Return.” When Kaia Pazdersky wails heart-wrenching lyrics to a crescendo and then they take it back to this, lovely simple bass, and into some of the most beautiful acoustic I’ve heard played this year (from the amazing Michael Day), it gives me chills to listen to. For me, if I were picking “Best Singles in CT”, “Oh, Return” would top my list. Damn, I love this album.
Bedroom Rehab Corporation – Red Over Red
Buy it here http://www.bedroomrehabcorp.com/2013/12/brc-holiday-sale.html
“Red Over Red” comes from one of the most dynamic duos in CT music. The sound that comes from these two – just a bass and drums – is mind-blowing. The call themselves “Post Grunge Doom Rock.” It’s all wrapped up with “Gone by the Boards.” Right from the beginning, you can just close your eyes and do that slow head bang (that’s so 15 year old boy behavior!). But it’s true. It’s crazy the sounds Adam Wujtewicz can pull out of his bass. Ridiculous. And Meghan Killimade IS one of the most amazing drummers in CT. Hands down. This album should crunch your head.
James Maple – American Dreams
Buy it here http://jamesmaple.bandcamp.com/album/american-dreams
Anyone who knows me would be shocked that I am choosing a country album on my best list. Anyone who knows me would know that when I hear good music – no matter what the genre – I know it. This is just good music. No. Great. I’ve seen James play live and I’ve listened to this album and it’s just brilliant. Any of you who saw him play at the CT Music Awards know what I’m talking about. He was certainly a hard act to follow. Just buy this.
Dave Hogan – Trailhead
Buy it here http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davehogan3
You know, Dave Hogan reminds me of old country bad ass. BTW, big, huge diff between old country and now country (commercial) that is just bad. You know, kinda Johnny Cash. That’s how I feel listening to this. I feel it most when I listen to “Trouble”. It’s driving. It feels like “God damn you!” with swagga. I was also one of the first folks to hear “Spin Cycle” premiere on stage during a “Song Off” of sorts for charity so I can’t help loving it. For me, Dave Hogan just always gets it right. And this dude gigs out like a robo mofo…constant.
Tetramer – Another Public Meltdown
Buy it here http://tetramer.bandcamp.com/
I have yet to be able to say the title of this album without laughing out loud and thinking that it would be the perfect title to my autobiography (I can hear the “Oh, girl. We KNOW that’s true.) W.E. I love Tetramer. I think I may have once said that this album was radio-ready as far as I was concerned. It’s commercial. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I believe this album would be gobbled up by the general rock radio station listeners. “Smug Jesus” belongs on radio. It’s epic. I’d call it symphonic rock but with balls. It’s got great vocals, the playing is spot on, and it’s got a chorus you wanna sing.
Jose Oyola & the Astronauts – Give, Give, Give. Take, Take, Take.
Buy it here http://joseoyola.bandcamp.com/
I dig Jose Oyola. He’s creative and talented. His lyrics are great and happy and bitter and chivalric. He talks about the sun and the clouds and dreams. And he embraces his Latino heritage by singing in Spanish and utilizing some Latino sounds and rhythms like in the song “Peligrosa” (Dangerous) a song, of course, about a woman who done him wrong. I just dig him and his band and this album.
Elle Sera – The Butterfly & The Phoenix
Buy it here http://ellesera.bandcamp.com/
Beautiful. Listening to Elle Sera is like, well, going to church. She sings with such soul and heart. But edgy. Slinky. It’s kind of a whiskey drinking, dirty church. There should be more Elle Sera everywhere…along with her top-notch band. This album makes me wanna shimmy! “Lies” is one of those songs that just sticks in your head and you just keep humming “pretty little lies”. It’s an album that I’d like to have on actual vinyl so I can play it on sunny summer Sunday (say THAT 3 times fast) mornings while I’m drinking coffee. Yeah.
Violent Mae – Violent Mae
Buy it here http://violentmae.bandcamp.com/
I’m not sure there’s anything I can say about this album that hasn’t already been said. It’s received so many high praises…and with good reason. I’ve been a huge fan of both Becky Kessler and Floyd Kellogg for what seems a life-time now, and for all good reasons. Both are amazing on their own – Becky a solo artist and Floyd with his band, You Scream I Scream. I’ve been digging “Whole in My Heart” and “Man in the Country” for the longest of time. But I think “Any Time You Fall” is the one that really grabs me. Becky’s vocals are kind of…menacing? And her guitar is dark. And I like it that way.
Post-Modern Panic – Lost in the Patterns
Buy it here http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/postmodernpanic2
I would tell you that “Mia” is my favorite song on this album because it goes from moody straight to kick your ass except for this one thing. I literally have woken up in the morning with Rachel Adele slinking “Emily” into my mind. I. Don’t. Know. Why. It’s a complete ear-worm. I love this band as a band but I also love the folks that are in it. The whole album was a labor of love (I know, most are) but it was written while so much was going on with this group. And if that’s what it takes, well rock on!
Coax Rhino – Plum Gut”
Buy it here http://coaxrhino.bandcamp.com/
I heard this band my accident. It happened in a post either on my FB page or LBR’s page. The album is super catchy. It’s terrific Indie rock with punk edges. The lyrics in the opener, “Plum Gut” make a terrific breakup song. Every one writes them, I think. But this one is great. “And you’ll say oh God, you know I never loved you. But I’ll play, the videos and watch your face.” The rest of the album is more or less relationship stuff. The band says in describing the album that it was self-made in every way in their living rooms. I think that’s what gives it its grit. The gem on this album “Out of Luck (The Bad Man). Hilariously tongue in cheek or completely fucked up chauvinism or heart-wrenching. I can’t decide. Just get it. You’ll love it.
Connecticut Crunch – Compilation by Ear One Productions
Download it here http://noisetrade.com/connecticutcrunch/connecticut-crunch
I’m not much into compilations. But this one is epic. It brings together, in one metal package, the best of what’s happening in hard rock/hard core in CT. NightBitch, Dead by Wednesday, Nasty Disaster, Big Ed, Continuum, Freedoms Reign. All here and more. I won’t lie to you, easily my favorite track on this album is Nasty Disaster’s “Don’t Bust My Fuckin Balls.” You’ll be singing it. Out loud. Happily. Get some metal in your life. Pick this one.
The Sawtelles – MOD
Buy it at their shows!
This duo is also another fave duo of mine. I don’t think there’s ever been anything they’ve done that I haven’t loved. I love Peter and Julie’s sound. They have their own thing that I can’t put into words. Julie plays a couple of drums (no ginormous kit) and Peter plays guitar. They have amazing harmonies. This is actually the second album on this list that has a “Spin Cycle” song (see Dave Hogan above). And I love it. This is chill music at its best.
Hannah Fair – Open Road
Buy it here http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/hannahfair2
Although she’s relocated to Vermont, Hannah was living in CT when she put this album out earlier this year. And, we still claim her as our own. I can’t remember the first time I saw Hannah perform…just a guitar and her lovely voice. When our reviewer, Tamyra Davis, listened to “Open Road” she said, “Her music is that of an old soul, someone who has lived, lost, loved and shares her stories though song…” Like Daphne Lee Martin, she also did a “Daytrotter” session that featured many of the songs on this album. “Simply Unable” is my very favorite on this album. It’s beautiful and poignant and it makes me weep. Just listen to this album and fall in love with Hannah and her guitar.
Elison Jackson – Do Not Fear to Kill a Dead Man
Buy it here http://elisonjackson.bandcamp.com/
I love Elison Jackson. For me, they can do no wrong. This album is yet, another reason why. There are many reasons. But let’s start with Sam Perduta. His delivery is…pure swagger. Maybe I say that because I’ve seen him perform so many times. And his band just backs him up. Completely. I feel like, as I said above about his duet with Daphne Lee Martin, I am transported when Elison Jackson play. They are like old souls. And this album is just another fine example of their…maturity and gifted musicianship.
Bronze Radio Return – Up, On & Over
Buy it here https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/up-on-over/id653732939
Bronze Radio Return has had one hell of a year. They are one of the bands that “made it” out of CT. Aside from touring nationally, they’ve had their music used in multiple commercials, have been used in multiple snippets for national television shows and have even had its first single “Further On” utilized as the soundtrack to the PGA’s national ad campaign. I attended their CD release party and have subsequently caught them play an intimate gathering for the holidays. It’s a solid album of “Indie Roots Rock” that makes you feel good when you listen to it, especially with Chris Henderson’s distinctly recognizable voice. My pick of the album has to be “M.O.T.R (Middle of the Road). It’s fun. It makes me want to dance. Congrats to BRR for their success this year.
Atrina – In Planetary Sugar
Buy it here http://atrina.bandcamp.com/
Kelly L’Heureux’s voice haunts me. It has since I heard this album at the beginning of the year. And I was a fan way before Atrina. The music on this album is as complex as it is straight forward. At times, I feel like I’m listening to something created in a church with a large pipe organ and Atrina on the balcony playing to a congregation as evidenced in “We Without Names” which is my fave on this album – OK, aside from “a Drone”, which I’ve loved since day one.
Tracy Walton – If I Ever Get Away
Buy it here http://tracywalton.bandcamp.com/
At first listen, this was a country album to me. He reminds me of Buck Owens. And we’ve talked about my feelings about country music but damn…I absolutely love songs like “Songs for You.” The lyrics are beautiful. The guitar is sweet. And it makes me wish someone would sing it to me. But then, he’ll go into a song like “Beer is now Cheaper than Gas (It’s a good day!)” HA! Hilarious. I dig this album and really look forward to checking him out live sometime.
1974 – 1974 & the Death of the Hearld
Buy it here http://1974.bandcamp.com/
The thing about this album, as with all of 1974’s albums, is their ability to give you a story. It has a precise and deliberate beginning and end. And while listening, you feel that war start to bubble. And then it rages. And then the birds come out and the sun rises and all is well on planet Earth once again. Saved, by the might warriors of 1974. With each album they put out, they continue to gel as a cohesive and amazing band. But just listen to the first track “The Greatest Galactic War” and then the final track “Death of the Herald” if you want to hear what I mean. That last track, with it’s beautiful chorus and celebratory conclusion, is my fave and gives me hope! I don’t think there is a more dynamic live band in CT.
Mercy Choir – His Noiseless Ball, His Boxwood Rattle
Buy it here http://mercychoir.bandcamp.com/
Not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure who Mercy Choir aka Paul Belbusti was until I heard “Trouble” which he did with Lys Guillorn. Loved the tune itself and the other 2 songs on it. So then I listened to His Noiseless. I had absolutely no idea what to expect…no, that’s not true, I had “Trouble” to go by. And then His Noiseless. It’s…off kilter. It’s got so many different songs and is totally not what anyone would expect. So, expect the unexpected. Personally, I love “Old Devil Cockatoo” which Paul tells the story of in his year end blog. Get this album. The songs are so well-written. It’s my unexpected surprise of the year.
Paper Hill Casket Company – Who You Were
Buy it here http://paperhillcasketcompany.bandcamp.com/
I think I saw this band for the first time a few years ago at Arch Street Tavern. And although the entire band blew me away…and visually, they are an odd bunch together (and that’s not a bad thing), but dear me, I couldn’t take my eyes (or ears) off of the brilliance of Anjanine Bonet (OK. I have a girl crush on her.) And she continues to just seem to glue this album together as well like on songs like “Claws”. It’s a hard driving song but then you get this mournful violin in just the right places. And then there’s the beautiful start to “Cold Rooms” with its incredible combination of banjo and violin. It’s a terrific follow up to “Undertow”.
Lys Guillorn – Winged Victory
Buy it here http://lysguillorn.bandcamp.com/
Sometimes I wonder as I watch CT music, “What DOESN”T Lys Guillorn do”? Because, let’s face it, she’s in multiple bands, collaborates with multiple musicians, and then still has time to put out her own wonderful album, “Winged Victory”. Oh, and never mind that she never seems to stop playing gigs constantly! She kind of reminds of, I’m going to say Loretta Lynn. But it’s not country. It’s bluesy, Americana, acoustic all mixed into fabulous. Although I love “How to Cook a Wolf”…”There is a cold in this world bigger than this little girl (and man I love the harmonies), and I love “New Tattoo” for 2 reasons: Everyone needs a new tattoo and Dave Hogan’s guitar work. But, the real winner on this album is its final track “Ghost Child”. It actually brings tears to my eyes. It’s lovely and mournful and “I wasn’t always this way” either.
The Grimm Generation – The Big Fame
I’m adding this for one reason, well three…It’s my list and I am a muse and “The Next Indie Boy”, like “Brooklyn Good” from their “Coming Home” album…and so many other songs…is based on…Me. A large percentage of the Grimm Generation’s repertoire is based upon my relationship with the boy half of the Grimm Generation. It’s been touted in a few places – “The Next Indie Boy”, that is – and I think it’s a fine song with lines that make me giggle to myself because I lived them. Chronicling said relationship really has been a boon for this duo. So, hey. I’ll use it too.
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