More Top 10 Lists

Matt Whitby at The Pop Underground has these power pop albums ranked in order: 
Position Artist // Album
1 Belle & Sebastian // Write About Love
2 Seth Swirsky // Watercolor Day
3 Teenage Fanclub // Shadows
4 Field Music // Measure
5 The Posies // Blood/Candy
6 Agony Aunts // Greater Miranda
7 Bleu // Four
8 The Grip Weeds // Strange Change Machine
9 Mark Bacino // Queens English
10 Farrah // Farrah

Much of the albums we picked are similar, the full list of 300 artists are on display here. In case you missed my 2010 picks, it is in YouTube format with about 30 seconds of each artist.

Of course, Steve at Absolute Power Pop had his picks posted during the holiday week and now he’s got Dave Bash’s picks as well. Not to be overlooked, Curty Ray has several lists posted (including mine) at Power Pop Overdose. The blog Pop Fair had it’s top 25 posted recently and last but never least, Mike Barron’s Top Ten list.

Eric Crugnale and Miami Dan

Eric Crugnale “Carol Was Here”
Local Long Islander Eric Crugnale is a pleasant revelation on the scene, a long time session man with other excellent artists (Kevin Bents, Andrew Fortier) who set out solo. Eric’s smooth singer songwriter sound compares well to David Mead or Brian Estepa. The title track has bits of Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach wrapped in the main melody and hooked me right away.

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” is catchy and bouncy guitar pop of the first order, and another big highlight is “I’m So Glad” with it’s 70’s soft pop falsetto. “What We Deserve” is a grand orchestral pop number, with full strings and horns and “Never Thought” recalls Mike Viola’s blend of pop beat and earnest vocal treatment. The album has a few timid compositions, but most of the songs here are brilliant and it ends on the great Michael Carpenteresque “Old Enought To Know” Just add it belatedly to my 2010’s “top ten” pile.

Miami Dan and The Hayes Street Band “Star Of The Beach”
Miami Dan Yoe channels an East Coast Al Jardine perfectly on his opening title track, and the excellent backing harmonies by The Hayes Street Band prove an effective Beach Boys facsimile. Add to this a cadre of musicians including ex-BB David Marks, session favorite Probyn Gregory and you’ve got a winner. The musical themes are adult, but it’s all about the sand and surf on “No Fear.” A bouncy “Look East Again” is a joyful look back on memories of a young relationship. The beautiful piano ballad “Time To Move On” is a memorable duet with Katey Randall’s strong vocals.

The storytelling aspect here is great on “1944,” a bio of WWII veteran. Unfortunately it takes a hard right turn on “Age of Deception” and the politically charged “Take Back America” which are good songs but belong on a John Rich album. The last 5 tracks are remixes by Chris Hicks. I have to praise the craftsmanship and attention to detail in both the songwriting and extensive liner notes here as well. This is no doubt an effective adult pop album that deserves repeat listens.

DC Cardwell "Some Hope"

DC Cardwell creates a heart felt acoustic gem here, full of wonderful melodic hooks and a Ray Davies styled vocal. The gentle minor chords and harmonies that open “I Am Still The Same” are both brilliant and poignant.  Digression: I think the decades most overlooked instrument on recent casual classics is the xylophone, I mean it’s on every good easy listening hit from Pampelmoose to iphone commericals.

Anyway, “Birthday Present” is another example of solid composition and a revelatory Harrison styled guitar break. The pace picks up with the bouncy “Peace and Love” at it’s most Kinks-like and then it veers to Dylanesque territory the next bunch of tracks like “Way With Words” and “Meet The Author.” The country-like pop bounce returns on “A Minute Of Your Time” and “We Fell” has that smooth guitar jangle. A few miss, but most here hit the mark and with a whopping 16 tracks to go through, you’ll find several favorites here. Some of the  mid-tempo ballads (“The Quiet Ages”) are like magical combinations of both Paul Simon and McCartney.  Fans of David Mead and John Southworth should also flock to this release like ants to a picnic. And yeah, it’s a belated 2010 top rated album. This is a perfect year ending release, so put away your “Auld Lang Syne” and play this.

The Top Ten Power Pop albums for 2010

Finally. My year end top ten and more… The video gives you a quick 30 second clip from each album and then we see to my remaining favorites. If you don’t want to play the vid, the pick are below:

No doubt you have other favorites that are not on the list, let me know in the comments who you think I left off. I did not include most major label releases — that’s another top ten for next week.

Top Ten of 2010 on Xmas Eve!

The work continues on developing my top ten list this year, and it’s expected right on Xmas eve. Of course many great releases I’ve heard haven’t received a full posted review yet (sorry, Bleu!) but they may be listed anyway. Unlike previous years there will not be a poll, and it will be just my opinion this time. I will also be reviewing 2010 music well into the next year as I still have a pile to whittle down.