1. Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Phosphorescent Harvest (Silver Arrow Records)
I finally got to see this gang at this years Mountain Jam-festival in upstate New York. A perfect vibe for these vibemasters. I am and have been a huge fan of The Black Crowes, but I have to admit that the Brotherhood really hits the right spot. Not as rocking as the Crowes, more jamming and grooving. Kind of like a train that just rolls along the tracks. Robinson's voice is as good as ever and it turns out that Neal Casal is a guitar god - not only a really talented songwriter. On the top of those two cats you got a real tight groove and the outer space sounds of the wizard Adam MacDougall.
Favourite song: Badlands Here We Come.
2. War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)
And now for something completely different. But then again, not really. Lost in the Dream is also all about the vibes. Hurry up slowly if you will. There is nothing hurried about this album, and it's all the better for it. Adam Granduciel's brilliant lyrics about depression and paranoia of the post-tour downs he got is a theme throughout the record. Musically the album has a sound that's a great mix of the americana of Bruce Springsteen (especially Tunnel of Love-era), Tom Petty and the space-rock of the Spacemen 3. Long, driving songs that sucks you in. Classic stuff.
Favourite song: Burning.
3. White Fence - For the Recently Found Innocent (Drag City)
Sixth time is the charm for Tim Presley and his White Fence. Where his earlier records have shown the potential in all their lo-fi glory, this one blossoms out in full. For the first time Presley has taken his songs into a real studio. He and producer Ty Segall (who also released a top notch record this year) has made this album into a timeless classic. This is sixties psychedelia for a modern audience. Some of these songs could have been on the first album by The Who, another one on a The Zombies-classic and a third could have been a Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd outtake. They of course weren't, and they don't sound like they were copied even. They just have that feel to them. Hats off to, Tim Presley.
Favourite song: Anger! Who Keeps You Under?
4. Hiss Golden Messenger - Lateness of Dancers (Merge Records)
I totally fell in love with MC Taylor and his Hiss Golden Messenger last year when Paradise of Bachelors re-released his early album Bad Debt. I was still listening to that album when this one was released, and I wasn't really ready for a new album yet. So I was a little late to this album, and yes, it's completely different to the hushed low key Bad Debt. This album is more in the vein of a lot of the albums that came out of the Woodstock-scene in the early seventies. You can hear traces of Van Morrison, Bobby Charles and The Band in these songs - and the songs, man, they are really good. Looking forward to what should be an amazing gig in Oslo this winter.
Favourite song: Southern Grammar.
5. Real Estate - Atlas (Domino Records)
There is nothing better than band that get better and better with each release, and with their third record the Real Estate has found gold. Probably one of the best jangly-guitar-indie records in a long long time. Atlas is an album where every song could be a hit - if we lived in a perfect world that is.
Just a hands down brilliant album.
Favourite song: Talking Backwards.