Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Albums That Should Have Been On Our Year End List

As happens after year, after a bit of reflection, there end up to be a lot of worthy, highly listenable records that somehow miss our top album list. This year Paul Simon, Soccer Mommy, The Tuneyards, Belle and Sebastian all could have made our list. Here are five notal records that probably should have made the cut.

Gruff Rhys – Babelsberg

The Super Furry Animals front man jumps out front and center with his first record in four years. A timeless beauty that features a 72 piece orchestra, these are all great tunes that would have fit quite nicely on your 80’s playlist right alongside Yes and The Alan Parsons Project.

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Somewhat a deliberate omission, that decison is beginning to feel very regreatable after a couple of post New Year spins of this one. The vibe is very different from your standard Monkey’s fare, Bowie goes to the moon. Pure dancing on the ceiling bliss.

Shame – Songs of Praise

One heck of a live band, London Post Punk rockers Shame deliver an arena-ready set of tracks that will set your hair on fire. Enter at your own risk.

Spiritualized – And Nothing Hurt

We should have known this one was going to be a cracker, all of his records are great. “Let’s Dance” and “The Morning After” are melodic stunners with a definite Brian Wilson influence.

Tracyanne & Danny – Tracyanne & Danny

Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Cambell returns with a set of sweet sounding pop nuggets with partner Danny Coughlan. Full of lush strings and 60’s Nancy and Lee vibes, this one is a gently euphoric listen.



Playlist of the Day: Putting the Muscle in Muscle Shoals


In listening to a lot of diverse styles of music it is amazing how many of the albums that are the soundtrack of your life have been recorded at 3614 Jackson Highway, Muscle Shoals, Alabama. There have been so many albums record in the iconic studio from Dylan’s Slow Train Coming, Willies, Phases and Stages, and even Paul Simon’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, that this playlist is probably more notable for what has not been included than for what I have selected here. I am contractually liable to keeping the playlist at the mandated 15 songs. Mixing it up a bit with the new school “Call Me” courtesy of St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the Jimmy Cliff classic “Sitting in Limbo,” and J.J. Cales “Lies” are also included. The Muscle Shoals band plays on most of these songs. “Hey, Jude” is worth the price of admission alone.

It is guaranteed that you will have many “of course it was” moments any time you find out one of your favorite tunes was recorded in Muscle Shoals.

Spotify Playlist

01. Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty – Herbie Mann

02. Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones

03. I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers

04. Hey Jude Wilson Picket

05. What’s Your Name – Lynyrd Skynyrd

06. Call Me – St.Paul and the Broken Bones

07. Tell Mama – Etta James

08. We’ve Got Tonight – Bob Seger

09. Sitting in Limbo – Jimmy Cliff

10. Dorothy Monroe – Misty Blue

11. Lies – J.J. Cale

12. Gotta Serve Somebody – Bob Dylan

13. Take A Letter, Maria – R.B. Greaves

14. Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley

15. Yeah Man – Eddie Hinton