We’ve reached the end of REAL GONE’s first full year online and it’s been great. I would never have imagined at this point a year ago the blog would have gained such momentum. REAL GONE has gathered increasing support from bands and music fans across the world and it’s getting stronger all the time.
2010 was a good year for music, but there were a few clear winners:
THE SILVER SEAS – Chateau Revenge
Such a fantastic disc - one of the finest examples of power pop/retro pop ever. Not a band song in the bunch and a couple that are so good they almost defy words. Review here.
(A big thank you must go to Leon, without whom I wouldn’t even have heard The Silver Seas, let alone made their 2010 disc ‘Album Of The Year’. You can find him on twitter @gabblerdictum)
ORANJULY – s/t
You’ll have probably read plenty of good reviews of this one over the Summer and beyond. Certainly deserving of its praise, Brain King’s fusion of Brian Wilson, Jellyfish, Ben Folds and Weezer features some great songs, earning it a place among the year’s finest offerings. Review here.
STATE COWS – s/t
Here’s one I didn’t see coming: a perfect homage to late 70s/early 80s AOR from Sweden. Smooth westcoast grooves haven’t sounded this good for years. In fact, despite being recorded in 2010, it sounds like an authentic vintage gem. If you’ve not heard it, it’s a must. Review here.
ROBERT PLANT – Band of Joy
I’ll admit this is an obvious choice, likely to grace many and of year lists. The fact is, though, Robert is a legend and he sounds so inspired and comfortable playing this kind of Americana. It could even be better than his ‘Raising Sand’ collaboration with Alison Krauss. Review here.
SKUNK ANANSIE – Wonderlustre
I liked SA as a live band before, but never found myself too excited by their recorded work. However, this comeback disc is so solid – and mature. Before it was released, if you’d told me it would be one of the year’s best albums, I may not have believed you. Review here.
Those were the winners, but there’s a bunch more which also made a big impression: Grinderman’s second disc (review here); certainly more focused than their debut, but lacking absolutely none of their ferocity. A great singer songwriter, Edward O’Connell, who proved with ‘Our Little Secret’ it’s still possible to record and release a major-label quality album without a huge budget. Stone Sour’s ‘Audio Secrecy’ was surprisingly enjoyable, full of great choruses – the kind I wouldn’t have dreamed anyone from Slipknot would be capable of writing, making it one of the year’s best metal discs. A rather personal album, Mark Bacino’s New York themed ‘Queens English’ was a little different from his previous work...a definite grower. I’ll also have to admit that I’ve warmed to ‘Postcards From a Young Man’ by Manic Street Preachers a great deal since writing my original review. Sure, I’d pick angry Manics over commercial pop/rock Manics most of the time, but there’s no denying ‘Postcards’ has some cracking songs on it. ...And lastly, a thumbs up for Sweden’s Genuine Fakes, whose debut showed great promise. Their super-charged rendition of Beyonce’s ‘Irreplaceable’ was the year’s best cover version.
And now...the general backslapping and obligatory thanks list:
Thanks to the various blogs and websites that have been friendly and provided links and support; especially to all those who recognised we’re in this together and I’m not going to steal their audience (a concept that not all website owners understand)! Thanks to Curt at Powerpop Overdose, since many of his loyal supporters are now regular visitors to REAL GONE, and also to Dave at Left and to the Back (one of the most entertaining blogs out there) for also sending traffic my way. A special thank you also to Emma at M Is For Music, who kindly reproduced some of the work from this blog at her site and helped bring my writing to a bigger audience. My gratitude also goes to those who’ve supported REAL GONE by visiting regularly: I know there are a bunch of people out there who’ll read absolutely everything that gets published here.
Lastly, thank you to the various bands and artists who’ve lent support by sending out copies of their albums for review. Without them, it just wouldn’t be the same. Here’s to 2011 – cheers!