The BEST ALBUM COVERS of 2011 (The Year-End Awards)

Originally posted 2012-01-21 20:00:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Even with digital releases, there are album covers.  This seems to be the final facet of the artistry of the album that will survive into the next generation of music consumers, especially considering just how much we like colorful displays on our technology.  Still, there’s something so much more gorgeous about a CD booklet or, even better, a vinyl LP.  The five selections below – with an honorable mention thrown in because I couldn’t ignore it – are examples of the artists who still give attention to the complete package of their albums.  It was a tight contest between the top three, and these are all albums worth checking out the next time you’re in a store that offers records, even if you’re only going to take a glance.

1) Sky Full of Holes – Fountains of Wayne

2) The King of Limbs – Radiohead

3) Cloud Maintenance – Kevin Hearn

4) The Valley – Eisley

5) The Whole Love – Wilco

 

Honorable Mention:

Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

The BEST VOCAL PERFORMANCES of 2011 (The Year-End Awards)

Originally posted 2012-01-16 20:00:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

This is a tough category.  All of the songs on the my upcoming top fifty songs list have excellent vocals, many of which are standout performances.  However, there are also songs that go unrecognized on the top fifty list that are notable for their outstanding vocals.  Thus, as a rule, songs included in the top fifty list are not considered here.

I suppose you could consider this my way of sneaking in an extra ten songs that I didn’t find room for on my best songs list, but I hope you’ll consider it an additional category.  These ten songs are great in their own rights, but especially by virtue of the excellence of their vocals.  Some are smooth, some are rough; some are passionately outraged, some are tenderly heartfelt.  Taken together, they’re the standout vocal performances of 2011:

1) “Something to Believe In” – Parachute (The Way It Was)

2) “Estate Sale Sign” – The Mountain Goats (All Eternals Deck)

3) “Blue Spotted Tail” – Fleet Foxes (Helplessness Blues)

4) “Shakin’ All Over” – Wanda Jackson (The Party Ain’t Over)

5) “2012” – The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (La Carotte Bleue)

6) “When You Wish Upon A Star” – Brian Wilson (In the Key of Disney)

7) “Talking At The Same Time” – Tom Waits (Bad As Me)

8 ) “Sunloathe” – Wilco (The Whole Love)

9) “Bridge Burning” – Foo Fighters (Wasting Light)

10) “Amy, I” – Jack’s Mannequin (People And Things)

 

The BEST COMPILATIONS of 2011 (The Year-End Awards)

Originally posted 2012-01-21 10:00:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Every year, there are a wide variety of compilations, best of’s, essentials, greatest hits, and retrospectives that are released.  I usually only buy one here or there.  This year, there were three outstanding compilations, which are recognized below.  In each case, the packaging is excellent, notable if only for the excellent attention to liner notes that provide further context and insight into the tracks.  Even though all three were of high quality, Ben Folds’ reasonably-priced, beautifully packaged, well-selected Best Imitation of Myself takes the prize without debate.

1) The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective – Ben Folds

2) Twenty – Pearl Jam

3) Outside Society – Patti Smith

Best Covers of 2012: A Weekend Review Special Edition

Originally posted 2013-02-11 10:57:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

The BEST COVER SONGS of 2012

 

As I have previously written about, covers are typically of little interest to me (which is, of course, ironic when considering the large number I have played over the years).  Of course, I typically end up hearing a few that stand out, and this year, they were almost all on the Amnesty International charity album Chimes of Freedom.  Sadly, though the compilation included over seventy songs from a vast range of artists, there were only a handful worthy of recognition.  My favorite cover song of the year, however, is the one unearthed on the soundtrack to the Martin Scorcese documentary based on George Harrison’s life: it is Harrison’s cover of his friend Bob Dylan’s song “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind.”  It is a stripped down, acoustic cover, but it is brilliant and the beauty radiates warmly from this simple yet nuanced performance.

 

1)  “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind” – George Harrison

2)  “One Too Many Mornings” – Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and the Avett Brothers

3)  “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Brett Dennen

4)  “Mr. Tambourine Man” – Jack’s Mannequin

5)  “Ring Them Bells” – Natasha Bedingfield

 

Honorable Mention:

“Ballad of Hollis Brown” – Rise Against