- Honeychild Coleman – Halo Inside
She's already the hardest working woman in show business, but then she turned around and made this pop-rock gem.
- Living Colour – The Chair In The Doorway
Don't call it a comeback, but the BRC's once and forever flagship band made its finest record since 'Stain'. They somehow manage to show off veteran chops but have the urgency of a young, hungry band. The CD all but cements their status as one of the all-time great bands.
- Noisettes – Young Wild Hearts
The British trio, led by the captivating Shingai Shoniwa, adds 60s' soul, pop and even disco, to their punk based sound. This is the soundtrack of a band going to the next level.
- BLK JKS – After Robots
Prog rock by way of South Africa. The next great rock n roll band is here.
- Analogue Transit – Gearheart
Icy electronics, quirky guitars punctuated by a soulful voice. 21st Century power pop at its best.
- Burnt Sugar – Making Love To The Dark Ages
More relentless acts of beautiful experimentation and improvisations from Greg Tate and his cast of extraordinary musicians.
- Rain Machine – Rain Machine
Kyp Malone's profoundly heartfelt and remarkable solo project.
- Melvin Gibbs' Elevated Entity – Ancients Speak
One of the best bass players on the planet assembles a dream team (Blackbyrd McKnight, Pete Cosey, Amayo of Antibalas, John Medeski, Mark Batson, JT Lewis, Micah Gaugh, just to name a few), to present this remarkable collision of styles and cultures to sublime effect.
- Michael Franti & Spearhead – All Rebels Rock
Spearhead goes to Jamaica, hooks up with Sly & Robbie and makes their best record to date. The left field success of the single 'Say Yeah' proofs that hard work truly does pay off.
- Stew – Passing Strange
The soundtrack to the Tony-awarding winning musical. Just to hear the songs stripped of the visuals really brings into focus the insightful brilliance of Stew's songwriting. The Spike Lee directed film version sets a new standard on how to film stage presentations.
- The Bots – The Bots
Two brothers, one 16, the other 13, get their punk rock groove on. Black Rock 3.0!
- Allen Toussaint - The Bright Mississippi
The elder statesman of the New Orleans music scene puts together a killer band (which includes Don Byron & Marc Ribot) and revisits the songs of the region with his usual elegance and grace. The last of America's true treasures.
- Year Of The Dragon – Blunt Force Karma
Easily my sleeper CD of the year. A strong fusion of rap, metal and good old fashioned rock n roll from Dirty Walt & the crew.
- The Liquid Kids – Random Acts Of Silence. Jessica Lewis fronts this solid Black Rock out of Kansas. Yes, even Kansas is spawning some great rock n roll!
- Booker T – Potato Hole
Can an artist who's considered one of the greatest musicans of the 20th Century reinvent himself? The answer is a resounding yes. Not only that, Booker T, who's known for soulful grooves, turned around and make himself a muscular rock record with help from Neil Young and The Drive By Truckers.
- California King – Adoration Of The Boogie Bear ('08).
Michael Mills is the chief singer-songwriter for this great power-pop trio. This is a stong primer, but I'm really looking forward to hearing new material from these guys next year now that Howard Alper's joined the band on drums.
- The Smyrk – 'The End Of Jason Todd'. This incredible single from their forthcoming (please guys?) album is also one of their best. Doron Flake channels his inner Prince while singing an ode to one of the most infamous characters in Batman lore.
- Tamar-kali – 'Pearl'. Finally, new music from one of the best vocalists out there today and it's worth the wait. There's also a remix featuring Jean Grae, and a jaw dropping Psychochamber verison of the song as well.
- PhocusEd: Images Captured by Ed Marshall.
Ed Marshall has been tirelessly documenting the Black Rock and Afro Punk scene for quite awhile and now I has put some of his incredible images into his first book. He's going the independent route also – assembling and selling the book on his own. Its the first of hopefully many books by one of our great photographers. You can go to http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1030911 for find out more information.
A couple of reasons to look forward to 2010:
New albums from Tamar-kali, Apollo Heights, The Smyrk, Pillow Theory, Swear On Your Life, Earl Greyhound and A.N.M. – a new group featuring Doug Pinnick of King's X; Jimi Hazel and Rick Skatore of 24/7 Spyz, former Fishbone and Sound Barrier guitarist Spacey T, guitarist Craig Fulton and the one and only Phil D. Fish on drums.