Thursday, December 31, 2009

Closing with a rush

Last day of the year, last chance to test some music that slipped through the cracks in 2009. (Of course there's always next year.)

First up ... Monsters of Folk. A late gift from a friend. I didn't know what to think of this one as I was struggling to release it from its anti-thieving shackles. (Why do they still do that?) M. Ward gets together with Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes and Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and there you have it.

It ain't folk. No sir. And neither is it monstrous. It's just pretty damn good music by some talented young artists who have figured out collaboration. So good it could have made the 2009 SSS most-played list had it been scored sooner. (Disclosure statement: Monsters of Folk just made the seriously flawed Rolling Stone's 25 Best Albums of 2009 list, dialing in at No. 24. But we can't let that disqualify a band's supreme effort.)

Remember the Traveling Wilburys? Not the music -- you're not going to duplicate that -- but the musical chemistry? It clicks like that. Some great hooks that are going to hang with you without driving you crazy. If you want to test drive a song, SSS recommends these after the first listen: "Baby Boomer," "Ahead of the Curve" and "Magic Marker."

Seriously good stuff. I have no suggestions how to improve the music, but as far as identity goes: Try on some Orbison black-rimmed glasses. All four of you. At the same time. Nice...

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