Roky Erickson

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Top 21? But weren’t there 25 last year? Well yes. And it was only 15 the year before that. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not that rigid around here – all we really care about is letting you know what we’re loving right now and that’s about it. If we only fall for one record next year then you can probably expect “WiAC’s Top 1 Album of 2011”. It’ll be a good one, though. We promise.

That said, this year was a great year for music. But it was great in a different way than the last couple years. In 2008 and 2009 we fell hard for debut records by new bands (Grand Archives and Harlem Shakes, respectively), but this year our top 5 went to nearly all familiar faces. In fact, I think when we look back on 2010 what we’ll remember most was how artist after artist that released an anticipated album just seemed to deliver – and not just by making good records, but often by making the record of their career. In a year where we listened to more music than ever, we just couldn’t deny that these were the albums we enjoyed the most. Period.

Finally, remember that this list represents our favorite albums of the year, and not necessarily the best albums of the year. If we had to pick what we thought were the very best albums critically, this list would probably look a little different. But we’re not critics, so we’re going to skip all the posturing and taste-making mumbo-jumbo. These are simply our very favorite albums of the year – the ones that made us laugh, cry, dance, smile, press repeat, wet our pants, etc. Basically, this is what we’ll remember when we look back on 2010…

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There is a lot of back-story behind this album. A lot of press about Roky Erickson, his past, and now his triumphant return to music with True Love Cast Out All Evil. However, if we were to ignore everything that went before this album, not allow Roky’s story to skew our thoughts, this album would still be sensational. There is no denying the beauty of the music and Roky’s voice sparkles with sincerity.

But when you know the history, the dark and heartbreaking history, this album becomes something else entirely.

A simple collection of songs becomes the autobiography of a man, the destruction of his life, being brought down by unbearable burdens, and then his final redemption. Ultimately, this is a story of redemption where the album you’re listening to is the climax. The album doesn’t just tell the story, it’s part of the story, and its the happiest part of the story. So even when this album is at its darkest, it still shines just because you’re listening to it. Does that make sense?

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This is just your friendly reminder that THIS SATURDAY, April 17th, is Record Store Day, so make sure you get out and patronize your local independent record store. I know here in Indy both LUNA and Indy CD & Vinyl have great lineups playing all day long, and there’s plenty of fantastic special releases slated to hit the shelves that day. Here’s just a few I’m excited about:

  • Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away (vinyl + cd – a full month before the scheduled release – yes!)
  • Bon Iver/Peter Gabriel – “Come Talk To Me”/”Flume” (7″ vinyl single)
  • John Lennon – Singles Bag (7″ Singles Boxset)
  • Roky Erickson & Okkervil River – True Love Cast Out All Evil (pre-release on 12″ vinyl)

…and that’s just the beginning. To check out the complete list of special Record Store Day releases CLICK HERE.

And if you’re not sure where your nearest participating indie record store is, FIND IT HERE.

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ALSO: Josh Ritter recently did a Daytrotter session, which includes two new songs and a couple old favorites. Check out his version of an old gem below, then go get the whole thing HERE for free.

mp3: Josh Ritter – You’ve Got The Moon
from his Daytrotter Session (get it for free)

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