As the year runs down, it is time to make our “Best Of” lists. This is the time to review some of the best things we have listened to during the last twelve months. In no particular order, this is my “Best Of” list for 2010.
Magneta Lane Gambling With God Even though all-girl bands are few and far between, you will find one that is very impressive every once-in-a-while. One of the most impressive all-girl bands that are in existence right now is the band Magneta Lane. One of the best things about the Gambling With God disc from Magneta Lane is the fact that every song has its own feel. The band lets their influences shine in their music and that adds enough flavor to the style that the album remains fresh from start to finish. Throughout the ten songs that make up Gambling With God, the 2009 release from Magneta Lane, the band shows many sides to their personalities, show many different styles to their playing, and many different influences that make the music from these ladies so full-bodied. You know an album is good when the last note of the release comes way too soon. Before I knew it, the last seconds of the last song of “Queen of Hearts” were drawing to a close and Gambling With God, the latest release from Magneta Lane came to a close. It made me wish that the album were longer.
The Ruse Love S Ex Confusion Love S Ex Confusion is the newest release by the Los Angeles quartet of The Ruse. This follows their previous album releases of Midnight in the City (2008), Live at the Viper Room (2007), Light in Motion (2006) and Invasion (2005). With songs like “I Can’t Stop,” “The Sweetness,” and “Glitter Not Gold,” the entire album of Love S Ex Confusion by The Ruse is very strong and the ten tracks that make up the album work well together to make for one strong release. There isn’t one song that seems out of place. If you are a fan of The Ruse, or if you are like I was and have yet to discover the music of the group, Love S Ex Confusion is an album you should check out.
Michael Shouse Alone On The Sun Michael Shouse is a Kentucky-based guitarist who has been influenced and inspired by the likes of Vai, Satriani and Belew, among other instrumental rock guitarists. After taking notes from the guitarists who preceded him, Shouse now has the knowledge and ability to teach his predecessors a thing or two about guitar playing (when he isn’t actually busy teaching the next wave of guitarists to play). The newest release from Shouse is entitled Alone On the Sun. Like most rock guitarists who spend their time creating rock instrumental albums, Michael Shouse creates his music by incorporating, not only rock, but also other genres into the songs, as well. Together, Mike, three drummers, and eight bassists combined together to create twelve unique trios (containing guitar, bass and drums), one for each track on the album. Having one unique musical outfit for each song ensured that each track would have its own unique sound and personality. This also guaranteed that each song would sound fresh, since no three musicians created more than one song on the album as a group. If rock guitarists make up a large part of your music collection (or even if they don’t), Alone On the Sun by Shouse is definitely worthy to be added into that collection.
Foster McGinty Peach Red When listening to Peach Red, the debut album from Foster McGinty, the first thing that immediately comes to mind is that McGinty seems to channel musicians like Hendrix, and bands like Cream or any of the other bands that were around at the end of the sixties and beginning of the seventies. In fact, had Foster McGinty had been alive and about 20 years old at the time of Woodstock, he could easily had fit with the rest of the musicians that had taken to the stage at that famous gathering of some of the most popular musical acts of the time. If you like people like Hendrix, Clapton, Cream, or other bands from that time period, Foster McGinty has created a great release of music that you need to hear. Foster McGinty’s Peach Red is the ultimate time machine to the era when people were making the style that has since been called “Classic Rock”.
The On Fires Betrayer Maxine Harman and Marty Xenoff make up The On Fires and with the people they have chosen to help fill out their sound while in the studio or on stage, they have a sound that people seem to gravitate to. The style of The On Fires seems to simultaneously incorporate the old styles of rock ‘n’ roll and the new styles of today’s bands: At times, they seem to fit in more with today’s bands that can be found on current radio formats. At other times, the band has more of a punk/glam feel to their music. Betrayer by The On Fires is a solid collection made up of fifteen songs. Each song on the album has something different to offer the listener, and this helps make it a joy to listen to. Whether you are a fan of the older music that was part of the late seventies/early eighties, or you are more of a fan of the music of today’s bands, The On Fires have captured a mixture of those styles in their music on their release of Betrayer.