Not necessarily in any order:
Silian Rail – each/other. Emotive post rock with monster drummer and cool guitar technique. Post rock is often a let down but this is post rock at its best. Hypnotizing, rapturous, brooding and smart as hell.
Field Music – Plumb. Nominated for the Mercury Prize in the UK, this record is pop mastery in the XTC vein and is full of catchy complexity. Led to discovering the rest of their catalog, which is all as good as this.
Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain. Exquisitely produced, this is alt-country at its best, with tracks written by Robyn Hitchcock, Vic Chesnutt and other luminaries, all belted out by Hogan with her signature style.
Cataldo – Prison Boxing. Local record here, officially came out in 2011, but only got turned on to it in 2012. Really pretty tracks and deceptively interesting song writing.
Matt Slocum – After The Storm. Heard him at Tula’s during Earshot Jazz and this CD has been in constant rotation in the car. Imminently tasteful.
Kelly Hogan fantastic at The Triple Door. Something so likeable about Hogan, find yrself rootin for her. She’s got this endearing combo of sweet and sassy. Her new record (out in June) is comprised of songs written for her by other people: Vic Chesnutt, the Magnetic Fields, Andrew Bird, M. Ward, Jon Langford of the Mekons, Catherine Irwin of Freakwater, the Handsome Family, Robyn Hitchcock, Gabriel Roth of the Dap-Kings/Daptone Records, and others.
She played a bunch these, including the Hitchcock tune, “I Like To Keep Myself In Pain”, awesome, with gnarly key changes and great lyrics. Hogan joked about it being “I Like To Keep Myself In Bread” as the French version. Wonder about the Hitchcock/Hogan connection cause the Jody Grind (awesome band of Hogan’s from the 90s) opened up for him in 1990.
She sang the M. Ward song, “Daddy’s Little Girl,” about Sinatra, clever tune with line “some men need a woman to love them; he needed the world to love him." She sang one of her own tunes which she wrote for Neko Case called “Golden.” Also did a Vic Chesnutt song, “Way of this World” which she called the southern Marlene Dietrich ballad – it was minor and gave space for Hogan to show her vocal prowess. Her vocal range and timbre are wide; she’ll sometimes get all raspy, sometimes be clear as a bell, and lots in between. “Slumber’s Sympathy” by Gabriel Roth was pretty, more heartbreak. She did a couple songs by Magnetic Fields, including “Papa Was a Rodeo” from her record Beneath the Country Undergod. The mirror ball came on for it appropriately and Puddles from the opening band joined her and gave a Johnny Cash baritone treatment to the chorus.
For the entirety of the set, she was accompanied by a guitarist, Chris Scruggs, who switched between acoustic and a Tele straight into a Fender Twin Reverb, no pedals at all, some tasty licks he pulled off here and there, and a bassist, Casey McDonald (sp?) who also played piano and sang some harmony. Great show. The background lighting of the stage at The Triple Door was trippy as usual. Here’s an interview with her by The Stranger: http://lineout.thestranger.com/lineout/archives/2012/03/30/quick-chat-kelly-hogan-the-triple-door-this-monday.