Top South Carolina Release of 2009
Hands down our favorite.
Instead of the simple, often cliche-ridden songs about love and heartache that are standard fare of the twentysomething crowd, Crane tends towards weighty meditations on faith, doubt, God and being alive, with a myriad of Biblical references throughout. The complexity and seriousness of his subject matter could be the bane of a lesser writer, but by eschewing direct moral lessons or proselytizing, and by making great use of his unusual, sinewy voice, the young songwriter is utterly believable and engaging as he grapples with his weighty topics without attempting to provide the answers. Often times he seems to feel around the words with his voice, as if probing them for a still-elusive meaning.
Joel Hamilton took the reigns on Bone Island and showed us a different side of The Working Title that we had never seen before. A side that is all his own and not 4 other members. This album sounds like 13 songs written during the 70’s and recorded in 2009.
The most clever/witty alt country you’ve heard in a long time. American Gun got girtty and dirty on their latest album.
Their new soon-to-be-released third record, Devil Showed Me His Hand is arguably their most explosive effort put to tape. The group officially unleashes their “new” (he’s been playing with them for a couple of years now) secret weapon for the first time on record–former Boxing Day/Capitol lead guitarist Noel Rodgers, who adds considerable sonic might to a band that already had a reputation for roots rock with a roar.
I never thought Magnetic Flowers could put out an album that would do their live show justice, but yet again they find a way to blow me away.
The new record, entitled What We Talk About When We Talk About What We Talk About [a play on the title of a Raymond Carver short story collection], sees the band delivering on the promise of their debut in spades, with potent versions of songs that have already become staples of their live show.
As long as Hannah Miller keeps putting out albums, they will stay in our top 10. Every new song we hear from her is our new favorite.
Her latest, an EP entitled Somewhere in Between, features a set of songs that are the equal or better her past work. Recorded in an acoustic format (with very few other instruments giving the songs minimal color) on an economical budget, it is, in spite of itself, an equally strong statement to the big-budget Into the Black. Her spellbinding abilities are deliciously intact as she runs through seven new tunes that suggest that Miller is only getting stronger as both a songwriter and performer.
Haley Dreis put herself in some good company in our Top 10 list on her first full length album Beautiful to Me. On her latest album she proves herself as a talented songwriter and impressive all around musician. I don’t have anything to say about potential, because she has already proven it.
When we got this album in November, we didn’t realize it would be the last we heard from Marry a Thief. A follow up to their wildly popular release, I am Dying to Outlive You, Skelton and crew ditched the gloss and got down to business on this record.
This album is loaded from front to back with great songs. Now we’re looking forward to a 2010 release featuring The Open Fires.
From rollicking rockers like “How to Bite Down,” “My Armor, My Mercy,” and “Ferrari” to the softer side of “Ghosts,” “Any Closer,” and the title track, Standard Candle runs the dynamic gamut of great rock records, but the centerpiece here is the transcendent “A Place Where Nothing Grows,” which showcases Young’s rich sense of melody, harmony, and arrangement at its most effective. That said, there really isn’t a weak tune in the bunch. The song craft in play here is so tight, the tracks could have been carved from granite.
This album came out at the beginning of the year and blew us away. Little did we know then that it would be the last release from The Dirt and the Flood for a while. This album is delicate to become powerful and features some of the best songwriting you will hear.