Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Seven of the best music acts I loved this year

Let me say I always enjoy Astra Kelly live and look forward to her band continuing on in the future. Meanwhile, she'll be popping up around town this spring, so I thought I'd keep a home fire burning. The lady rocks. Her lyrics are straight forward and earnest, but in a very evocative way that will move you, the more deeply you share the feelings. They're wise, literally words you can live by, sung with the passion of Teena Marie. They fit nicely into my life in a way I'm not used to, at all, with ardent love, hope, and a unique spiritual glory, while very neatly inscribed in indie rock anthems.

There's something about the album that would've been a smash if you'd heard it 25 years before. I can't quite place a single influence: like Joan Jett with beautiful, though not flowery, lyrics. Soaring beside the eagle-like nobility of the guitars on "Just Fine" Astra delivers another smash chorus. I don't think I listened to anything more in 2010 than Spoon's Transference and Astra Kelly's Battling the Sun!

1Astra Kelly “Alright” from Battling the Sun EP (AND! It's her Birthday!!!)


2Steph Johnson: We enjoyed the crowd’s reaction to her at Art Walk, but had much more fun visiting Kevin Cooper’s Wednesday night U.S. Grant Hotel bash featuring the Steph Johnson Band. She's actually a smooth jazz singer; but her live show is full of boogie opportunities.

3Autolux I want to know more about them. This song is creepy, intense, listenable.

4Israel Moldonado For what it's worth, this local guitar instructor's a killer volleyball player and, from what we've talked, a cool guy. I don't know if he ever found his stolen guitar again, but after learning about Steph Johnson's stolen car (right after winning SD MUsic Awards Jazz Album of the Year) I had a whole new insight into (unwilling) sacrifice I hear artists make...


7Ray Montagne
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBSnR4ZP2MI New EP out on Yule, with the Pariah Dogs.

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