David Towers YEAR-END LIST 2017

1. Freedom Highway – Rhiannon Giddens
2. A Deeper Understanding – War on Drugs
3. The Navigator – Hurray for the Riff Raff
4. The Weather Station
5. Carry Fire – Robert Plant
6. Capacity – Big Thief
7. One Go Around– Jeffrey Martin
8. In the Kingdom of Dreams – Ian Felice
9. The Nashville Sound – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
10. Gargoyle – Mark Lanegan Band
11. Preservation – Nadia Reid
12. Peasant – Richard Dawson
13. Crack Up – Fleet Foxes
14. The French Press– Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
15. How the West was Won – Peter Perrett
16. Sleep Well Beast – The National
17. Love Rides a Dark Horse– Gill Landry
18. Modern Pressure – Daniel Romano
19. Joan Shelley
20. The Underside of Power – Algiers
21. American Dream – LCD Soundsystem
22. Dripping Springs – Joana Serrat
23. Cigarettes after Sex
24. Close Ties – Rodney Crowell
25. Thrum – Joe Henry
26. What in the Natural World – Jake Xerxes Fussell
27. Beast Epic – Iron & Wine
28. Land of Doubt – Sam Baker
29. Honest Life – Courtney Marie Andrews
30. In Spades – Afghan Whigs

Others not heard yet which I expect could have featured in the list – St Vincent, Kevin Morby, Little Steven, Waxahatchee

Others which were in contention but didn’t quite make the cut were albums by Sam Amidon, Randy Newman, John Murry, Arbouretum, Jessca Hoop, Father John Misty, Lee Baines III, Kurt Vile/Courtney Barnett, Hiss Golden Messenger, Grizzly Bear and Robyn Hitchcock.

My favourite music of 2016

David Towers – My favourite music of 2016.

Here it is again – a little late this time. I found it really difficult this year to choose my #1 album. Despite a really good year for music I couldn’t identify an album as really standing out from the rest. Okkervil River’s “Away” came close but there were a couple of tracks in the middle that I didn’t find as impressive as the rest. At one point I thought I’d leave the #1 blank and start with #2. Then I decided to include my favourite re-issues in the main list. That solved my problem. And in the end, Okkervil River slipped a few places. I heard the new Neil Young and Stones albums late last year and I enjoyed them but they didn’t warrant inclusion.
Of course I heard only a fraction of the music released in 2016. Had I heard more many would probably have made this list. Those that I really wish to hear still include Anohni, Karl Blau, The Oh Sees, Car Seat Headrest and Angel Olsen.

With no further comment, here is my list:

1. It’s Too Late to Stop Now Vol 2, 3, 4 – Van Morrison
2. A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead
3. Blackstar – David Bowie
4. Away – Okkervil River
5. A Sailor’s Guide to the Earth – Sturgill Simpson
6. Max Jury
7. Full Circle – Loretta Lynn
8. Mosey – Daniel Romano
9. Boots No. 1 – Gillian Welch
10. You Can’t Go Back … – Richmond Fontaine
11. Mangy Love – Cass McCombs
12. Heart Like a Levee – Hiss Golden Messenger
13. 22, A Million – Bon Iver
14. You Want it Darker – Leonard Cohen
15. Skeleton Tree – Nick Cave
16. The Ghosts of Highway 20 – Lucinda Williams
17. American Band – Drive-By Truckers
18. case/lang/veirs
19. Heron Oblivion
20. Phase Zero – Morgan Delt
21. Golden Sings that Have Been Sung – Ryley Walker
22. Eyes on the Lines – Steve Gunn
23. Midwest Farmer’s Daughter – Margo Price
24. Sunlit Cross – Luke Roberts
25. Day of the Dead – Various
26. The Narrows – Grant Lee Phillips
27. Careless Soul – Cale Tyson
28. Robert Ellis
29. This Is Where I Live – William Bell
30. Modern Country – William Tyler

TOP 40 of 2014



I’m going to dispense with comments again this year and go straight to the lists. The order is certainly not precise but rather approximate at this moment as I write. To be honest there is not much to choose between the choices that make the top 15 – they are all excellent in my view.

Amongst the albums I haven’t yet had an opportunity to hear at all, that may well have made the list are the Lucinda Williams, Mark Lanegan, Frazey Ford Aphex Twin and Tweedy.

Below are the lists of my favourite albums of 2014 (currently and so far) followed by some of the best reissues.

TOP 40 of 2014

1 – The River and the Thread – Rosanne Cash

2 –  Metamodern Sounds in Country Music – Sturgill Simpson

3 –  Lost in the Dream – War on Drugs

4 –  Strangers – Simone Felice

5 –  Morning Phase – Beck

6 –  Popular Problems – Leonard Cohen

7 –  Colfax – The Delines

8 –  Lateness of Dancers – Hiss Golden Messenger

9 –  Bluebird – Dawn Landes

10 – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son – Damien Jurado

11 – The Lights from the Chemical Plant – Robert Ellis

12 – Small Town Heroes – Hurray for the Riff Raff

13 – Lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar – Robert Plant

14 – Are We There – Sharon van Etten

15 – The Take off and Landing of Everything – Elbow

16 – Hypnotic Eye – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

17 – Get Back – Pink Mountaintops

18 – St Vincent

19 – Benji – Sun Kil Moon

20 – To Be Kind – Swans

21 – Ultraviolence – Lana Del Ray

22 – English Oceans – Drive-By Truckers

23 –  Passerby – Luluc

24 – When The Cellar Children See the Light of Day – Mirel Wagner

25 – Tarpaper Sky – Rodney Crowell

26 – Lily – O – Sam Amidon

27 –  Carter Girl – Carlene Carter

28 – Trouble and Love – Mary Gauthier

29 – The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg – Beatenberg

30 – The Invisible Hour – Joe Henry

31 – Lazaretto – Jack White

32 –  Storytone – Neil Young (the acoustic disc!)

33 – Hozier

34 –  High Hopes – Bruce Springsteen

35 – Seeds – TV on the Radio

36 – Angus & Julia Stone

37 – Dereconstructed – Lee Baines III & the Glory Fires

38 – Emmaar – Tinariwen

39 – World Peace is none of Your Business – Morrissey

40 – Voyager – Jenny Lewis


Some of the Best Re-Issues (in no particular order)

The Beatles Mono Vinyl

The Basement Tapes Complete (Bootleg Series vol 11) – Bob Dylan and the Band

The Apple Years – Goerge Harrison

Alpha Mike Foxtrot – Wilco

L’Amour – Lewis

Nightclubbing – Grace Jones

Soul Mining – The The

Skylarking – XTC

Bobby Charles

Wrecking Ball – Emmylou Harris

Has God Seen My Shadow? – Mark Lanegan

Sleater Kinney – box set of all previous releases

Spiderland – Slint

Nanci Griffith: Intersection

Nanci Griffith

April 10, 2012
Proper Records

“Admirers of Griffith’s earliest recordings will no doubt delight in Intersection as much for its familiarity as the quality of its songwriting and performances.”All Music Guide

“Mostly she’s reaching into the dark places, teasing pain from the wreckage and holding it up for all to see.”Paste Magazine

Twenty albums now, and none before like this. “Intersection” is not an album of resolution or closure; it’s an album about difficulties, about anger, about things that slip away and things that explode.

Griffith is beloved as a songwriter but also as someone who unearths others’ songs and brings them to light, on her new 12 song record there are 5 covers including ones by Loretta Lynn and Blaze Foley.

Recorded at her Nashville home, she has surrounded herself by a crack team of musicians and backing singers.

Hush Arbors – Arbouretum: Aureola

Hush Arbors – Arbouretum

April 10, 2012
Thrill Jockey

“Keith’s music suggests some strange place where John Philips, Merle Haggard, Charalambides and Federico Garcia Lorca all occupy the same neighborhood tavern. His songs are fluid and lucid and frequently dazzling, displaying a mastery of craft only gleaned from countless pie-eyed hours strumming along to records late at night and absorbing their individual magic. Hush Arbors is Keith’s near-perfect distillation of all that magic.” – James Jackson Toth (of Wooden Wand)

“Arbouretum have forged a new alloy of psychedelic heavy rock that captures the narrative power and sonic fury of electric Neil Young, the floral qualities of 1960s British psychedelia and the textural use of distortion at the foundation of drone and stoner rock. More importantly though, Arbouretum manages to avoid the parochial trappings of any of those camps. In other words, Arbouretum sounds like all of those things without the cliches. Throw in Heumann’s flair for putting a fresh twist on tried-and-true (read: tired) traditions, and Arbouretum arises out of the psychedelic swamp blazing with an almost shamanic power.”New York Press

Hush Arbors and Arbouretum have each been exploring for years now the intersection of progressive folk and psychedelic rock, albeit filtered through their own distinct sounds. It was only a matter of time before their paths would cross. Keith Wood and Dave Heumann met at a show in Baltimore and discovered their mutual appreciation for each other’s music. The two bands planned a joint European tour, and recorded Aureolato further showcase and celebrate their complimentary sounds.

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