AXS TV’s VP of Music Programming and Production, Evan Haiman, knows his stuff. He’s been in charge of producing live concerts for TV for over 15 years! So when he sent around his annual “Top 10 Album List,” we had to pass it on to you.
Bruno Mars, “Unorthodox Jukebox” – I can’t stop listening to this CD. My favorite album this year hands down. I really don’t know where to start – the voice, the production, the lyrics, or the beats. It’s all there and it isn’t muddled in heavy bass. At times it sounds like Bruno went into a time machine back to the Disco and R&B of the ’70s. An album I will truly return to years down the road. That’s the measure of a top album.
Kacey Musgraves, “Same Trailer, Different Park” – I didn’t give it a chance until I saw her live at Southern Ground Music Festival, now I am feeling guilty it took so long. A young songwriter singing about her hopes and dreams isn’t new – but her phrasing and honest storytelling sets her apart. Kacey Musgraves is a critic’s darling (ACA and CMA Awards) who I will definitely check off on my Grammy form. (Don’t tell anyone!)
Vampire Weekend, “Modern Vampires of the City” – I will admit it; I didn’t really care for their first two albums, and had no interest in this one at first. Boy was I wrong! Catchy lyrics, great hooks and superb production. To me this is “music comfort food,” I can listen to this CD over and over again. My new favorite band.
Haim “Days Are Gone” – R&B meets classic rock from 3 sisters. This is the debut album from this year’s indie darlings, with songs like “My Song 5” that will definitely get you hooked. A young, kick-ass rock band that has been performing together, and in other bands, for years. I can’t wait to see them live.
Pearl Jam, “Lightning Bolt” – I’ve always loved these guys, but there hasn’t been a complete album since 1993’s “Vitology.” Finally it’s here – from beginning to end, the band is in full throttle. The sequencing is perfect starting out with “Getaway,” which could soon be another classic Pearl Jam tune. Pop it in the car, and take a long drive…
Gov’t Mule, “Shout” – That’s right: a Gov’t Mule double album made this list. The first CD is all original jam music from the band – who is basically Warren Haynes, the most underrated and hardest working guitar player in the world. The second CD is Warren and friends, and Warren has tons of friends! Appearances from Grace Potter and Robert Randolph, to Elvis Costello and Dave Matthews. Everyone has done the “album with guests,” but not the way Warren did it.
Dawes, “Stories Don’t End” – It reminds me of Jackson Browne. If you loved his ’70s work; here it is under a different name. It’s an album that you need to give a few spins – only then will you get the true breadth of the band, and how meticulous the lyrics are. Listen to this album in a quiet place, on headphones, to capture the emotions.
Florida Georgia Line, “Here’s to the Good Times” – After you listen to this album, all you want to do is go drinking with these 2 guys. Their catchy choruses and country-rock sound explain why Country/Rock/Pop radio already loves them, and so do I. By the way, they are fantastic live.
Lorde, “Pure Heroine” – Here’s 40 minutes of the coolest vibes from this year’s femme fatale of music I still can’t believe this sultry voice is coming from a 16 year-old! If you haven’t heard the single, “Royals,” which ruled the charts this year, take a listen – it will pull you in.
Willie Nelson, “Lets Face The Music & Dance” – It’s Willie doing his take on pop, jazz and rock classics. Sounds like a terrible idea, but the music icon pulls it off. It’s stripped down, and you can hear Willie’s charming voice throughout. The perfect compliment to a glass of wine. This won’t leave my stereo for years to come.
Albums that just missed the cut: Alter Bridge‘s “Fortress,” John Fogerty‘s “Wrote A Song For Everyone,” Justin Timberlake‘s “The 20/20 Experience,” and Keith Urban‘s “Fuse.”
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