The most overlooked albums and artists of the year

Or, quite frankly, the best albums and artists that you may not know about.


(2012)  LoquatWe Could Be Arsonists

Score: (8/10)

Published: September 13, 2012 by Jeff Becker

So do I ramble about my utter confusion on why this phenomenal band isn’t basking even brighter in the indie limelight, or do I celebrate the mere fact that their music is the best kept secret for the other 49 states not named ‘California’?  Loquat is the defining sound of an entire state.   And once again, we’re not talking about Nebraska, we’re talking about Califuckingfornia – a state that is filled to the rim with blissful pop (they MUST be making genetically-engineered breezy pop composers at some SoCal lab (or Starbucks), I’m sure).   I indulge into it all like every day is my birthday (Best Coast, Minipop, Whirr, Earlimart, etc..).   I could name dozens.  As many of those bands have come and gone (Earlimart, where are you?) or are beginning to find their way (Best Coast), Loquat remains the staple.  And getting better with age Ms. Kylee Swenson is indeed.   We Could Be Arsonists is nearly as fine a record from top to bottom as you’ll find in 2012 with grooves that the 1978 version of Fleetwood Mac would appreciatively nod their heads to.   We raved about this album earlier this year and for good reason.   It’s nearly pristine.   Several months ago as I was standing in the aisle at the Taj Mahal of midwest record stores (the Electric Fetus, just off the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis) I saw the Arsonists CD displayed front and center with the other new releases.  I felt proud – like one of the cool kids for once since I already owned this gem.  For anyone with a hint of a pop pulse this album provides the best silky indie California-dripping blend of pop available at a cool record store near you.   It’s about as great as it gets right now – and that says a lot, because there is a lot of great music coming out of that state.

P.S.  I would appreciate it if someone would buy a million of these Arsonists CD’s so the band can press it on vinyl and sell us one.  Thanks.

For purchasing information please go here to:  Loquat


(2012)  The Vinyl Skyway – Return of the Dead Surfer

Score: (9/10)

Published: August 16, 2012 by Jeff Becker

I put this CD in my car and I can’t take it out.  I put this CD on my shelf and I can’t leave it alone.   It was released in late 2011 but we’re lumping it into 2012.   It’s a fantastic album and a gem of a find for any Wilco, Shins or My Morning Jacket fan.   It’s the type of album that R.E.M. couldn’t figure out how to make late in their career.   If Jeff Tweedy ever called me for tips on new music to listen to I’d send him to this.  With simmering melodies and an album that truly knows how to shine from the first minute through the last (it’s not top-heavy like many albums are) it’s guitar pop perfection from a Boston-based band that is horribly under-rated and frustratingly stuck in the shadows of a much deserved indie emergence.   Many a band would give appendages to record songs this great, this lovely and this perfect.   It’s not a hard-edged record here – the melodies and harmonies are intricate and exquisite while the songs flow perfectly into one another.   If you don’t own it you should, and if you do own it you know exactly what I’m talking about.

For purchase information go here to The Vinyl Skyway.



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