Twirl Radio Playlist – Show #773 – 3/25/2017: Joe Algeri interview!

Joe Algeri

Joe Algeri has been a favorite presence on Twirl for a long time. He’s one of the more prolific artists I know, playing in and producing such bands as The JAC, The Britannicas, The Outryders, and so many more. Whether it’s jangly and hard-rockin’ originals, skewed covers, or even the occasional “normal” cover, Joe has pretty much done it all. On today’s show, we chatted with him all the way from his home base in Perth, Western Australia–a mere 15 time zones away! He’s working on 3 projects simultaneously right now (that we know of), so we’ll hear new music from The Britannicas and The Outryders, and an interesting, unearthed track from Love Minus Zero. joealgeri.bandcamp.com

Artist | Track | Album
Allyson Seconds | Little World | Little World
The Mighty Lemon Drops | Inside Out (live) | Young, Gifted, and Black Country
Bud Rogers | Pictures Of A Modern World (acoustic) | Single release
Lisa Mychols | I Go Wild | Single release
Maxi Dunn | Everything | Edmund & Leo
Matt North | I Sold It All | Above Ground Fools

Joe Algeri interview
The Britannicas | Real World Time | Single release
Love Minus Zero | Mary Says | Single release
The Outryders | Piangi Con Me (& Live For Today) | Single release

Gretchen’s Wheel | Left Turn | Sad Scientist
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop | Christmas Sale | The Underground Garden
The Corner Laughers | Fairytale Tourist | Matilda Effect
Frank Black | Superabound | Teenager Of The Year
Pacific Soul Ltd. | Aching For You | The Dance Divine
Duncan Faure | All At Once | Pronounced “Four-Uh”
The Armoires | Fort Ashby | Incidental Light Show
Nick Lowe | Skin Deep | Labour Of Lust
The Mysteries Of Life | Rely On You | Bad Advice
Sons Of Morning | Didn’t See The Man | Sons Of Morning
Lannie Flowers | Up All Night | Starry Eyed: The Records Tribute
Lisa Said | Been Around | No Turn Left Behind
Identical Suns | E.M.I.L.Y. | Identical Suns
Gail George | Fool’s Paradise | Follow Your Bliss!

Twirl Radio Playlist – Show #772 – 3/18/2017: Rick Hromadka interview!

Rick Hromadka

Rick Hromadka’s musical projects have been Twirl Radio favorites for the better part of a decade. He grabbed his rightful place on our airwaves with Maple Mars, and has sweetened the deal with another great band, one which he and his wife, Lisa Cavaliere co-front, Ruby Free. The new Ruby Free album is called Shades, and it is magnificent! Lots of variety on this one–it rocks a little harder than the last one–and oh–there’s a Carpenters cover to boot! That’s treading on musical holy ground, but they handle it masterfully. Shades comes out in a few weeks, so we were lucky to grab Rick and chat for about 25 minutes on today’s show. www.rubyfreeband.com

Enjoy the podcast:

Artist | Track | Album
Nelson Bragg | Welcome To Nowhereville | We Get What We Want
The Feelies | Stay The Course | In Between
Irene Peña | Not From Around Here | Single release
Cirrone | All I Know | Uplands Park Road
Maxi Dunn | Meteor Shower | Edmund & Leo

Rick Hromadka interview
Ruby Free | Owe To The Man | Shades
Ruby Free | Talk To Me | Shades

DC Cardwell | Something Worth Voting For | Some Hope
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop | At Every Train Stop (Big Stir Mix) | Big Stir compilation
Gretchen’s Wheel | Wish | Sad Scientist
Felsen | Lorazepam | I Don’t Know How To Talk Anymore
Glen Campbell | Wichita Lineman | The Very Best Of Glen Campbell
Gail George | He’s An Exclamation! | Follow Your Bliss!
The Undecided By Default | Wig Pins | Totally Undecided
Duncan Faure | Back To The Day | 4
Eric Peter Schwartz | Whip Around The Sun | American Disrepair
The Corner Laughers | Bells Of El Camino | Poppy Seeds
Lannie Flowers | I Didn’t Know | LIVE in NYC
Ass Ponys | Death Car $25 | Little Bastard EP
Chandler Travis Philharmonic | Going Back To Work Tomorrow | Waving Kissyhead Vol. 2 & 1
Walker Brigade | Don’t Sell Out (For Free) | Therapy Animal
The Cherry Bluestorms | As Above So Below | Bad Penny Opera

Twirl Radio Playlist – Show #771 – 3/11/2017: Bud Rogers interview!

Bud Rogers

Bedfordshire, UK-based Bud Rogers has been “making noise” since he was a little guy–drums first, then guitars. His musical career took the opposite turn of most: he started in rock, then went back to school to get classically-trained! He scored a couple of films and wrote a concerto, but rock and roll kept calling. He was a big part of the sound of the band Swidenbank, whom we’ve played a lot on this show over the years. Five years ago, when he started releasing solo records, he really honed and refined his sound. It’s a big rock sound–heavy on the guitars, with solid writing and soulful vocals. Bud’s been a favorite on Twirl Radio since then–and even won our coveted Male Vocalist of the Year Twirlie Award.

Late last year, he released the four song EP “Starman”–featuring a wonderful cover of the David Bowie song, plus three originals. Today, we caught up, and had a lively chat.

More Bud Rogers info: www.budrogers.co.uk

Enjoy the podcast:

Artist | Track | Album
Walker Brigade | DIsEASE | Therapy Animal
The Welcome Matt | Let It Lead You | Pop Junk Fluff & Hype
Duncan Faure | All At Once | Pronounced “Four-Uh”
Maxi Dunn | Make It Better | The Neglected Gambit
Felsen | Heroin | Accidental Drowning
Matt North | Come Here Go Away | Above Ground Fools
Girls On Grass | Father Says Why | Girls On Grass

Bud Rogers interview
Bud Rogers | Intercity Mars | Starman
Bud Rogers | Starman | Starman

Gretchen’s Wheel | Blank Slate | Sad Scientist
Lannie Flowers | Give Me A Chance (live) | LIVE in NYC
The Corner Laughers | For The Sake Of The Cat | Ultraviolet Garden
Cult Of Wedge | She’s A Witch | Loch Ness Monsters And Motherships
Natalie Cortez & The Ultraviolets | She’s Better | Stupid Fresh Or Stupid Bad
Ruby Free | Lonelier Than Me | Shades
Urge Overkill | Positive Bleeding | Saturation
The Cherry Bluestorms | Baby, You’re A Rich Man | Transit Of Venus
The Mysteries Of Life | Coat Of Arms | Bad Advice
Pacific Soul Ltd. | Crazy | The Dance Divine
Sparklejet | Somewhere Along The Way | Phonovella
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop | Sun Up | The Underground Garden
Three Minute Tease | MTV Song | Bite The Hand
The Armoires | Fort Ashby | Incidental Light Show

Twirl Radio Playlist – Show #770 – 3/4/2017: Chandler Travis interview!

Chandler Travis

Chandler Travis

Cape Cod-based musical provocateur Chandler Travis paid us a return visit on Twirl Radio today. As longtime Twirl listeners know, Chandler leads a rag-tag band of musical misfits/geniuses known as the Chandler Travis Philharmonic (“putting the harm in philharmonic”). You may also know Chandler as a founding member of the Incredible Casuals, who’ve been rocking us since 1980. So what does his music sound like? If you like the quirky virtuosity of NRBQ, you’ll feel right at home here. The new album, Waving Kissyhead Vol 2 & 1, careens wildly between Dixieland, achingly beautiful perfect pop songs, and straight up rock and roll. This album has a sense of humor, and a sense of optimism. Here’s some more info about all of Chandler’s musical enterprises: www.chandlertravis.com. Enjoy the podcast and the music!

Artist | Track | Album
The Jeremy Band | Hit You With A Flower | Hit You With A Flower
Gretchen’s Wheel | Better In The Dark | Sad Scientist
Identical Suns | Show Me A Sign | Identical Suns
Daniel Trigger | Reach Out | Single release
Maxi Dunn | I Mean That | Welcome To Soonville
Edward Rogers | Burn N Play | Glass Marbles

Chandler Travis interview
Chandler Travis Philharmonic | Air, Running Backwards | Waving Kissyhead Vols. 2 & 1
Chandler Travis Philharmonic | Your Wife And Mother | Waving Kissyhead Vols. 2 & 1

Vegas With Randolph | Women In Airports | Single release
Mod Hippie | Everybody Knows Who He Is | Big Wow
Lisa Mychols | I Go Wild | Single release
The Mysteries Of Life | I Like You | Bad Advice
Lisa Said | Comes And Goes | No Turn Left Behind
The Bottle Kids | Guitars In The Sky | Starry Eyed: The Records Tribute
The Taters | Pageboy | Taters Party
Duncan Faure | Billy In The Big Band | Machine From The Other Side
Irene Peña | Pieces Of You | Single release
The E.P.s | Don’t Be A Girl About It | Chuck
Ruby Free | Walking Along | Shades
Allyson Seconds | Ono Waltz | Little World
The Armoires | Responsible | Incidental Light Show
Lindy LaFontaine | Alizee | Single release

Twirl Radio Playlist – Show #769 – 2/25/2017: Matt North interview!

Matt North

Matt North

Today on Twirl, our very special guest was Nashville-based singer-songwriter-drummer-actor-comedian Matt North! Just look at all those hyphens–he’s a true Renaissance man. We’ve known each other for about 10 years, but as is the way of the 21st century, we’ve never spoken before today. We’ve been internet “pen pals”, as Matt put it. He’s been involved in several albums that we’ve played on the show over the years, and now, he steps out into the spotlight with his brand new album “Above Ground Fools”. We had a lengthy chat about, well, everything, since we had a decade’s worth of catching up to do. We heard three great tracks off of Above Ground Fools, and learned what comedians and musicians have in common. Enjoy the podcast!

Artist | Track | Album
Gretchen’s Wheel | The Price | Sad Scientist
The Flaming Lips | She Don’t Use Jelly | Single release
Juan Pablo Mazzola | Dave | Single release
Anton Barbeau | Milk Churn In The Morning | Magic Act
Xenophilia | Cafe Of Love | Cafe Of Love
Maxi Dunn | How Was I To Know? | Welcome To Soonville

Matt North interview
Matt North | I Sold It All | Above Ground Fools
Matt North | A Good Day In Nashville | Above Ground Fools
Matt North | Miss Communication | Above Ground Fools

Pacific Soul Ltd. | Aching For You | The Dance Divine
Ruby Free | Owe To The Man | Shades
Vulgar Boatmen | Drive Somewhere | You And Your Sister
honeychain | Messy Love | Single release
Lannie Flowers | You, Yeah You | New Songs Old Stories
Gail George | Fool’s Paradise | Follow Your Bliss!
Chandler Travis Philharmonic | Going Back To Work Tomorrow | Waving Kissyhead Vol. 2
The Jangle Band | Kill The Lovers | Edge Of A Dream
The Armoires | Newberry Spectacle | Incidental Light Show
Duncan Faure | Where Is The Music | Pronounced “Four-Uh”
Gordon Weiss | I’m Your Fan | It’s About Time

Twirl Radio Playlist – Show #768 – 2/18/2017: Interview with Cirrone!

Cirrone on Twirl Radio. Graphic courtesy of Cirrone.

Cirrone on Twirl Radio. Graphic courtesy of Cirrone.

On today’s show, we visited with the brothers Cirrone: Bruno, Mirko, and Alessandro. We did a live conversation spanning nine time zones: they’re in Sicily, and I’m in California. We played a track from their Uplands Park Road album, chatted to them about their influences (spoiler alert: Beatles), and learned a bit about their upcoming plans for EP and album releases. And–this was a great honor–they let us listen to a track that they consider a “rough mix”–raw, and unfinished. They have incredibly high standards, because to my ears, it sounded amazing, and definitely complete.

We played tons of other great music–mostly indie, some brand new–and we even snuck in a classic Peter Frampton track! Enjoy the podcast of the Cirrone conversation.


Artist | Track | Album
The Armoires | Alesandra 619 | Big Stir
Bellygunner | Negative Kid | Machine Gun Built For Two
Heiskell | Love Lost | Arriving
Felsen | Mary You Could Be Happy | Breaking Up With Loneliness
Maxi Dunn | Messed Up | The Neglected Gambit
The Well Wishers | Tomorrow | Comes And Goes

Cirrone interview
Cirrone | Uplands Park Road | Uplands Park Road
Cirrone | Love Comes Again | Rough pre-release mix

Gretchen’s Wheel | Why Try | Fragile State
Mod Hippie | Gone All Day | Big Wow
Girls On Grass | Return To Earth | Girls On Grass
Matt North | I Sold It All | Above Ground Fools
Cascadia Fault Line | Paper Stars | Single release
The JAC | Persistent Man | Faux Pas
Lindy LaFontaine | Sunday | Single release
Peter Frampton | It’s A Plain Shame | Classics Volume 12
Lannie Flowers | Give Me A Chance | New Songs Old Stories
Duncan Faure | In The Right Place | Anthology
Natalie Cortez & The Ultraviolets | She’s Better | Stupid Fresh Or Stupid Bad
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop | RedWhite&BlueSoBlue | Pop Songs & Kyries
Irene Peña | Must’ve Been Good | Single release
Cult Of Wedge | That Song Last Summer | Loch Ness Monsters And Motherships

About the Top 15 Albums of 2016

twirlie2017albumThe 2017 Twirlie Awards show has come and gone. We had fun making the lists and giving out the awards, but I feel like I’ve done you a bit of an injustice.

You see, my favorite art form is the album. When done right, it’s a collection of songs, perfectly put together by theme and sound, and sequenced according to the artist’s vision. An album can be to the song what a book is to a chapter. It can make a statement. It can BE a statement. At first, it strikes on two levels–lyrics and music. But the really good ones fuse into your heart and mind, and stay there, sometimes permanently.

I put together a list of what I considered to be my favorite albums that were released in (or close to) 2016, which were played on Twirl Radio last year. But all I gave you was a list. I didn’t give you any reason to go further than reading the list. So right now, I’d like to walk you through the Top 15 Albums of 2016, as announced on my show on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. 2016, although demoralizing in some ways, was a banner year for indie music. Here’s why I think you should check out these albums and support these fine artists.

1. Edward Rogers – Glass Marbles – ALBUM OF THE YEAR
This is an expansive album, 19 or 20 tracks deep (I’m not supposed to spill the beans about the playful bonus track at the end, am I?). Glass Marbles is a career highlight for UK-born, NYC resident Edward Rogers. It starts out guns blazing, with a couple of dramatic rockers (The World of Mystery, Denmark Street Forgotten). Now that Edward’s got your attention, the album then gets inside of his head with the brilliant Welcome to my Monday Morning!, to which every working stiff should be able to relate. The common theme of this record is that of the common man: more songs about working hard just to barely stay afloat, yearning songs about love, and flat out barnburners like Burn N Play, Glass Marbles, the sassy Olde House On The Hill, and my favorite, Bright Star–which features a Stones-like guitar bridge. The lyrics are elegantly written and eloquent. This album is very real and organic–it mirrors life itself. Producer Don Piper helped Edward orchestrate this masterpiece. Listen to the whole thing, in order. It’s paced perfectly–the tender moments are where they need to be, and the anthems propel the ship forward. This vital album is worth the journey, and you’ll learn more about Edward–and yourself–along the way.

2. Cult Of Wedge – Loch Ness Monsters and Motherships – RUNNER UP ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The latest album from UK-based Peter Hackett’s project, Cult Of Wedge, really cements his reputation as a purveyor of quirky, yet insightful and topical lyrics, which earned him Best Songwriting honors at this year’s Twirlies. His wry sense of humor, vocals, and musical mastery remind me of the solo career of the Who’s John Entwistle, a great cult hero in his own right. (Listen to “She’s A Witch”, and if you’re American, look up some of the British and Spanish historical references to decode this description of a rather scary woman, then listen to Entwistle’s “My Wife” to understand how Peter is his worthy successor.) But make no mistake–there is only one Peter Hackett. These songs are completely original, even as they pay homage to, or poke fun at, elements of British and American culture. Musical goodies and references abound–the sly bit of marimba on Wish Ourselves Away to accompany the words “before we’re out of touch, we’re out of time”, the references to Dukes of Hazzard, the Indy 500, the Eagles, and the line “she’s got a bible in the glovebox and a 45” in Miss America. The crowning lyrical achievement has got to be the plethora of tin foil hat references in Conspiracy Girl–which serves as the de facto title song, since there isn’t a song called Loch Ness Monsters and Motherships. Peter is a an accomplished multi instrumentalist, playing guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums–and self-producing it all. This is a smart little album that’s a big deal. Get it, and see what all the fuss is about.

3. Pacific Soul Ltd. – The Dance Divine
Ladies and gentlemen: soul is back! This incredibly fun, intelligent, and danceable album is the debut from Adam Marsland, Teresa Cowles, and Norman Kelsey, and also garnered our Ear Candy award. The vocals are stellar, and every song rings true. This original album starts off with a brief gospel-like vocal piece, then the fiery Pacific Soul Time races in, sounding like top-form Sly and the Family Stone. Tomorrow Brings Tonight is next, reminiscent of the Spinners. The title track conjures up thoughts of Rick James, and you should be up and moving by this point. Crazy kicks in, taking the tempo up even higher–the album is downright aerobic by this point! We need to take a breather after this, and Adam seems to understand this, so he gifts us with a slow, incredibly soulful version of God Only Knows. I think you can see my point–this album is a real tour de force. Pacific Soul Ltd. lovingly resuscitates an entire genre, painting with a palette of beloved American musical styles. All three vocalists are amazing, individually and together. Every song works well. My favorite track is the infectious Cowles-Marsland composition We Go High (#3 Song of the Year). But really, most of the songs on this album could have made it onto my Top 30 list, were it not for my self-imposed restriction of one song per artist on this list (damn rules!). Just get this one, and start dancing.

4. Gretchen’s Wheel – Fragile State and Behind The Curtain
I was a little bit late to the party on Gretchen’s Wheel, Nashville-based Lindsay Murray’s project, so I received two albums from her in the space of a couple of months. As a result, I got a crash course in excellent songwriting, top notch electric guitar work, and of course, beautifully haunting alto vocals, which earned Lindsay the Female Vocalist of the Year award. I couldn’t decide what to do here, so the only answer was to honor both albums at #4. Fragile State came first, and it reminds me of some of the early 90’s alternative rock that I love so well–zoomy, atmospheric, echoey guitars, and slightly offbeat melodic twists and turns. The tempo is slow, and the songs smolder intensely. Second To Last, The Fourth Wall, and Why Try are standout tracks which are representative of the overall sound. Most of the second album, Behind The Curtain, is more uptempo, which more closely mirrors one of Lindsay’s influences, power pop. But I wouldn’t describe most of the music here as being in that vein–it’s more elaborate than the prototypical examples of the genre. It rocks harder than the first album, but is still just as thoughtful and intense. Standouts on this one are Invisible Thief, Live Through You, This Petrified Heart, and the delightful Sloan cover Try To Make It, which also showed up on a Futureman Records compilation album. This is where Gretchen’s Wheel runs headlong into power pop, and shines magnificently. To me, these two records feel like a really great double album–two sides of a similar coin. Get them both–like me, you won’t be able to pick a favorite–they’re both excellent.

5. Identical Suns – Identical Suns
Transcontinental rock band? Songs with harmonies that shimmer as brightly as the Beach Boys, while other songs are as audacious as Urge Overkill? Who are these Identical Suns? None other than Todd Stanton from Ohio, and Rene Rodriguez from Southern California. These two met the old fashioned way–online, in a music chat room–and were match-made into forming a band by my radio brother Adam Waltemire (Pop Garden Radio), and the rest is history. These two have an almost psychic way of writing songs together–sending them back and forth, polishing them, until they are no longer “a Todd song” or “a Rene song”–but a true Identical Suns mind meld. Baby I’m Down is the perfect way to announce the band’s arrival, with its Raspberries-like vocals and lyrics, and roaring, yet sinewy guitar solos. The next four songs are magnificently informed by 70s pop, then E.M.I.L.Y. thunders in, and reminds you that the 90s existed. But that just sets the table for the Twirlie Award winning Song of the Year, “Common Ground”. This song is a transcendent summer anthem–driving down the road with your love, enjoying the journey. Soaring harmonies, chiming guitars. Completely uplifting, and I’ll stack it up against every other Song of the Year we’ve ever awarded. The Turn plays a bit like a rock opera, leading to another favorite, Unraveled–a quirky rocker concerned with a female romantic partner, who is, shall we say, a bit less than stable. I haven’t dared play this one in the same set as the aforementioned Cult of Wedge track “She’s A Witch”–but it’s in a similar, tongue-in-cheek vein. This record is a must have.

6. Lisa Said – No Turn Left Behind
Lisa Said (pronounced “Sa’yeed”) grew up in Tennessee, as part of a large Egyptian-American family. She’s based in the Washington, D.C. area now, and her debut album came as a welcome addition to our show. Crisp songwriting and infectious melodies, with an Americana bent, permeate the album. You can hear Middle Eastern textures in a couple of the songs. Lisa’s vocals are reminiscent of Allyson Seconds, also honored in our year-end lists. A lot of the songs are about being on the move, whether on the way out of a relationship, or out of town. Indeed, the most compelling photo in the album artwork is of Lisa driving a classic 60s car, with a cooly determined facial expression. Lisa Said is one of the new powerhouse voices on the music scene; you’d be wise to give a listen.

7. The Armoires – Incidental Light Show
Rex Broome and Christina Bulbenko form the nucleus of Los Angeles-based The Armoires, and arrived in 2016, seemingly fully formed–yes, there is an “Armoires Sound”! A big band, six pieces strong, they go beyond the usual rock instrumentation by featuring well-placed strings, harmonicas, and keyboards alongside the usual guitar, bass, and drums. Male/female vocals highlight the sound, which swings between ethereal, jangly, anthemic, and even punky. Their lyrics can be haunting, playful, and even a bit political–but always with heart and kindness. If you like your rock and roll to be sophisticated and layered, but accessible, get a copy of Incidental Light Show.

8. Brian Cullman – The Opposite Of Time
Veteran rock journalist Brian Cullman clearly knows his way around the English language. His music might be described as singer-songwriter, which usually signals folk–but in his case, he’s clearly steeped in the rock idiom. His voice and style remind me of another well-loved NYC artist, Don Piper. The Opposite Of Time contains great stories, and perfect, lively arrangements to bring them to life–and I’m always a sucker for the occasional slide guitar. This album would have easily found a home in the late 80s-early 90s sweet spot that I love so well, when guitars and melodies were king. Instead, this witty record finds a home in our Top 10. You’ll need this album, so what are you waiting for?

9. Allyson Seconds – Little World
Two words: Sacramento proud. Allyson Seconds’ sophomore effort is a fine one. She’s a longtime rocker from right here in California’s capital city–known for singing harmony and playing electric guitar in various bands. This is her second collaboration with Sacramento native Anton Barbeau, who persuaded her to step out in front. His songwriting was perfectly crafted to fit Allyson’s voice and attitude. The feel is equal parts sunny California hippie, moody alternative rock, and edgy art-rock. Anton’s quirk factor is felt throughout, and other contributors include Karla Kane (Corner Laughers), my favorite west coast cellist Alison Sharkey, and even Colin Moulding(!) of XTC. This album is rightfully getting Allyson some rave reviews outside of our region–including a nice review on NPR! The spectacular title track is our #2 Song of the Year. Do yourself a favor, and give this record a good home.

10. Girls On Grass – Girls On Grass
Barbara Endes is the mastermind behind Girls On Grass, a leading light in the…wait for it…Brooklyn, NY Americana scene! If the Blasters, Jayhawks, and Lucinda Williams got into a cab driven by Joe Strummer–well, it would be pretty crowded in there, but this record might appear. There’s a definitive rock influence here, but cowpunk emerges as the dominant sound. Barbara is a fine songwriter, and the music really does hit that perfect balance between rock and country–not too far in either direction, but this is certainly no middle of the road affair. Catchy melodies abound, and several of these songs linger in your mind long after you’ve turned off your record player. What are you waiting for–do you need me to give you a ride to the store to pick up a copy?

11. Anton Barbeau – Magic Act
Another Sacramento legend made good: Anton Barbeau turns in one of the finest recorded performances of his career with Magic Act. There is nobody else like Anton on this top albums list–really, this quirky, inventive singer-songwriter pretty much has only two musical peers in the last 30 or so years: Robyn Hitchcock and Julian Cope. It only makes sense that he relocated first to the UK, then to Berlin–our small city simply could not contain all this talent. Thankfully, he comes back and visits often–his live shows are not to be missed. On Magic Act, the melodies are wonderfully catchy, the song titles are funny and odd, and the lyrics are often both inscrutable AND accessible–in the same song! (Remember–this is the same gifted lyricist who changed up his usual style to write for Allyson Seconds.) He’s one of my favorite radio guests–we always have a good chat about music–and he turns out to be a really nice guy as well. Run, don’t walk, and get a copy of Magic Act!

12. Bill Lloyd – Lloyd-ering
Bill Lloyd, the power pop half of legendary country duo Foster & Lloyd, has made a career out of doing–well, everything! He’s produced records, been a session player for the likes of Buck Owens, Ray Davies, and Glenn Tilbrook, and written songs for artists like Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, and many others. But what got him on our list this year was his wonderful collection of power pop covers–hits from the DBs, Raspberries, Byrds, Hollies, and more. He’s made these songs his own. In many cases, I’ve not heard the originals, so when I do–I’ll be comparing those to these Lloyd versions. I’m not a big fan of covers–so it’s a tribute to how high he’s set the bar with this album. I love all these songs! They were mostly recorded over the past couple of decades on various small labels. My friends at SpyderPop Records had the foresight to compile these tracks onto one album, so the world could hear, all in one place, Bill’s artistry and commitment to pretty much the entire history of power pop. This is one you should add to your collection.

13. The Well Wishers – Comes And Goes
The Well Wishers are San Franciscan Jeff Shelton’s long time project. Where Bill Lloyd brings the power pop jangle, Jeff brings more of the crunch and roar of the genre to the fine Comes And Goes record. I’ve been on board the Well Wishers bandwagon for about 3 albums now; this one is my favorite. It’s a solid, tight collection of driving, high energy songs that feature great melodies and instrumentation that wouldn’t be out of place on a mid-1990s Matthew Sweet album. This rousing album does more for me than caffeine–I want to drive fast, run fast, and bike fast, while listening to these songs. Give it a try, and you’ll see what I mean–get some Well Wishers into your life.

14. Jason Berk – Everything Old Is New Again
It’s kind of ironic–the first time I ever heard of Jason Berk was at an IPO show in San Francisco a couple of years ago. The young singer-songwriter played a fiery, but cordial solo set on the Hotel Utah stage. I immediately knew this guy would be a Twirl Radio favorite, so I bought a copy of his Coming Home album–from the aforementioned Jeff Shelton, who was working the merch table that night! So ever since then, Jason’s kept me in the inner circle of media outlets whenever he’s had new music. Everything Old Is New Again is a very personal album that chronicles a devastating breakup. But Jason (our Male Vocalist of the Year) didn’t just sit on the couch and sulk, like I would have. Instead, he created some art–11 well-crafted songs that feature his soulful vocals, intelligent lyrics, and tasteful guitar work. Some of the songs are more acoustic, some more full-band rockin’, but they all fit together. This pop is classic and timeless, and I’m sure you’ll need it to be part of your collection.

15. SLD (Sounds Like Digging) – Indigo Gray
Brooklyn, NY cousins Tom Parisi and Paul Costanza form SLD, and Indigo Gray, their debut album, materializes from out of nowhere. Infectious power pop tunes ring true at every listen. Tom and Paul’s pop sensibilities always lead them to making the right musical choices. You can tell they made the record they wanted to listen to. Soaring vocal harmonies and layers of guitars make this gem of an album a sonic pleasure to listen to. These songs could have been at home in the melodic heydays of the 1970s or 1990s, but instead, belong to 2016, a banner year for indie rock and roll. Get Indigo Gray immediately!

And that wraps up our Top 15 Albums of 2016. Let’s go out now and listen to 2017!

See the full list of Twirlie Awards.

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