1. MY DINOSAUR LIFE by Motion City Soundtrack on Sony Music. Only playing two dates on this years past Vans Warped Tour I still haven’t see this band come back around for a full USA headlining tour for this release. This marks the bands first major record label release. “I’ve been a good little Worker Bee,” sings Justin Pierre and he’s not kidding. Plus it is the open track for the CD. Motion City Soundtrack has spent the past decade climbing the ranks of the emo-rock pop underground. With the release of My Dinosaur Life, the band strikes a radio-ready CD filled with melody. This may trigger their long-awaited breakthrough. One track Stand Too Close, sounds a bit like Weezer could of done it. With the song Pulp Fiction, it’s close to sounding live Eve Six. The track I like though has the most unique title of any song ever made called @!#?@!. I really enjoy the lyric from this song in the chorus “You All Need To Go Away You Mother Fuckers, You All Need To Leave Me And My Sensitive Home Boys Alone “ Also on the creative side the CD has this fun arty drawing of a your Dinosaur having the time of his life which would make for a great movie or video. The CD is infectious, melody driven and with catchy relatable lyrics. More than just one single can be found on here. Outstanding and addictive. Humming right along.

2. A LITTLE MESSED UP by The Dollyrots on Black Heart Records. Joan Jett has found a pop punk band that’s all been playing great tours opening for Social Distortion and on The Vans Warped Tour a couple of times. Plus even Drew Carry must like them as well to be so far the only band to ever play on the national show The price Is Right. With the Dollyrots, it’s definitely their charm given from Kelly, Luis and Chris. A Little Messed Up packs a potent punch from start to finish, broadening the Dollyrots scope in message and music. From beginning to the end it is filled with songs that stick in your head. The songs tend to discuss love and life’s pleasures With 2010’s release, it marks for the band it’s third album from the California Alt-Pop/Punks. With A Little Messed Up it comes into play because it points to the idea that imperfections are all around and a natural part of human existence. No one’s perfect. Kelly might be a female but she sure shows even us guys that this life can be fun too. The band have a live show coming up on February 2nd 2011 in Hollywood at The Troubador.

3. THE MORNING AFTER / THE NIGHT BEFORE by James on Mercury Records. Originally released as two individual singles, the two EP’s are now as one CD and it works for this project very well. Choruses are explosive as they are optimistic. But the darker side of James has now been revealed but creatively released that falls within the other upbeat material on this CD. The Night Before, is the brighter of the two albums. With the song Dr. Hellier, it shows how futuristic the band has ever sounded. James has always been a band captured in the moment. Yet the wordless chanting in the song Dr. Hellier truly as a heated hook is of weirder sorts, that have come out of James past catalog. Hero is a song reminder to love your brother no matter what. The song Crazy is joyful but thought provoking with lyrics as: “I’m not crazy I’m just laughing at myself.” This goes to show you that Tim Booth’s writing is still spinning inside his deep insight and intelligence thoughts. English literature should come so easy in the words that Tim used to describe things. If The Night Before is crowd pleased ready, The Morning After is more a mysterious side of the package. Possibly a dream state or a dead state feeling. Check these lyric’s out “there’s a vulture at the end of my bed it’s 5:00 am, it thinks I’m dead” pairing it with piano chords to set up the refrain “I forgive you.” This is only comparison to other past James songs as Sound. James diversity shows when guitarist Larry Gott gets out his slide to play some unsettling blues as Tim Booth sings about a violent drunk who wakes up one morning not remembering that he beat his wife. James gloom is kept to a minimum. This lets the pop nuggets like Make For This City, Lookaway and Tell Her So have just the amount of danceable backbone, with a breezy melody to show James being upbeat. The Morning After The Night Before doesn’t throw dynamite, it has though cast James into a diverse light. The Morning After is somber, restrained without melancholy. The Night Before is more pop. The hint of drama holds up well intertwined within all of the material here. Longtime band mates Jim Glennie, Larry Gott, David Baynton-Power, and Andy Diagram recognize when to step away up backing Tim when need be but they work off of each other when they are a whole unit. The Morning After The Night Before reminds us that James is still getting better than you ever thought that they could. This shows that James are still great artistically. They have now explored working with a chorus and changing up their musical style with this CD.

4. SKIN TIGHT by Liv Kristine on Napalm Records. When listening to Skin Tight you might feel it deep within you while it’s working under your skin. This might be just the right pathway to get your heart. It is a down-to-earth album, absolutely very real feelings were put into it. Liv Kristine is being personal just enabling to reach into your inner soul as you the only listener. Some of the songs talk about childhood like the songs One Of Them and Wonders. The most interesting songs are Boy At The Window and The Rarest Flower that make us lookout into the masses and observe them in everyday ways. Madonna should take a listen to this CD to better express her self. The one thing that this CD does look at is Love and how it is seen through children. It shows what true love is toward all things relationships, nature and love for every human being. This helps us to be able to completely accept all love. Hopefully the CD will open everyone’s heart to innocence to find the true meaning of loving humanity equally for all to be in love. To love each other no matter what.

5. UNSEEN MUSIC UNHEARD WORDS by Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy on Second Motion Records. Steve Kilbey, front man of legendary atmospheric rockers The Church has joined forces with Martin Kennedy instrumentalists to create an album made in heavens space of pure lightness.. Unseen Music Unheard Words combines gentle melodic pop with Kilbey’s silk voice and lyrical know-how. It is a deep album full of unexpected twists and turns which makea it more interesting. Here you will find Steve Kilbey’s breathy vocals, bass and harmonies meshing with guitars and keyboard sprinklings with other combined instrumentations from Martin Kennedy through lavish arrangements and orchestration. One of the most elegant and simple instrumental rock albums to date. Heavenly clouds you will find that are not of this material world but only where Steve and Martin will take you if you close your eyes. Listen deeply. Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy present Unseen Music Unheard Words by two Australian fellows. Steve Kilbey, of The Church, silky evocative voice seductively narrates dreamy lyrics over Martin Kennedy’s cool atmospheric song structures. Steve Kilbey once again has released an eclectic brilliant CD. His resonant, dreamy vocals are accompanied by sublime, soothing and mystifying music sound-scapes. The album is a typical Steve Kilbey one that will take many times to permeate into your psyche the full-blown luster and splendor of this experience of a place. My favorite song on here is the spiritual mystical All Is One and other songs as My Will Be Yours and Eyes Ahead are great too. Steve Kilbey is one of rock’s finest vocalists frequently using his voice as an instrument to the music even so on here. Take a good listen with burning incense and close your eyes. Kick way back and let go. They will have a new album out early in 2011.

6. MICHAEL by Michael Jackson on Epic Records. This is the first and im sure not the last posthumous releases from Jackson. Presented here are ten tracks that were in various stages of development but never finished to the superstar’s famously standards. Instead, collaborators including Akon, Teddy Riley, Lenny Kravitz, 50 Cent and the producer of the record took demos and nearly completed songs and finished them up them up. Shockingly better than might be expected. It is economical and listenable. Hold My Hand is an Akon song with Michael’s flavoring. Lenny Kravitz brings his A-game to the song Another Day. The most captivating tracks are those that feel less manhandled. Monster with it’s dance-floor feel is best to be used on just that. Great harmonies can be heard like orchestral string arrangements on the song Best of Joy. Michael Jackson’s heavenly airiness vocals can be heard on The Way You Love Me. The closer is an acoustic song called Much Too Soon that is very touching. Michael’s leftovers have sparkle. But was this Much Too Soon to be released?

7. FREE TIME by Shonen Knife on Good Charamel Records. From Japan with 16 records under their belts, Shonen Knife has released a full length English singing record. The three girl punk pop band remind you of what The Beatle’s first visit was like filled with simple ness and excitement all at the same time. The commercial songs they this band has like Star, An Old Stationary Shop, Rock ‘N’ Roll Cake, Capybara and Moonstar Jellyfish it will be easy for this band to make commercial video for al of these songs and easily have a hit on their hands. They have all ready sold out Space Land in Silver Lake and The Echo in Los Angles. They even toured The USA for this record. Maybe The Vans Warped Tour should give this band a try out. If you like soft punk pop this band hits it right at you but from a female band which is highly entertaining. KXLU and KROQ should play their songs on its radio shows. Go-Go’s watch out here comes Shonen Knife.

8. A BEST OF US…FOR THE REST OF US by Reel Big Fish on Rock Ridge Records. From out of Orange Couty, CA Reel Big Fish has taught us something with this two CD set release. Now that the band has taken on the role of owning their songs, it’s not the re-recording of their past hits on this two CD set, but the acoustic recordings of their songs that are on here to why this ska band made the top picks list for 2010. I never knew that ska songs could be broken down and recorded acoustic. Other ska bands should pay close attention to this. Maybe now we will find ska bands performing acoustic in coffee houses.

9. MEMPHIS BLUES by Cyndi Lauper on Mercer Street records. Cyndi has re-invented herself yet again. She got help on this album from Charlie Mussel White, Allen Toussanri, B.B. King, Johnny Lang and some help from Ann Peebles. But with her doing her own songs Down So Low, Don’t Cry No More and the great song Romance In The Dark (which would make for a great video and nice single), Cyndi Lauper has found her should in blues. She has seemed to let go and become very professional at this stage in her career. This is such a deep and artistic flowing record this time. Nice to see her challenge herself and what an outcome it has been. Creative yet very stylish that is way in depth to ones heart and mind through sensitive blues music. Wow.

10. OF MEN AND ANGELS by The Rocket Summer on Island Records. Brice Avary is such a great artist. He is also a good producer for himself at least so far (other producer credits coming?). On Of Men And Angels, Bryce Avary delivers his best record yet. Mixing classic pop rock with spirituality. This fifteen song collection is fun and thought provoking. The song Roses kicks things off with the topic of faith. Faith is introduced in the song and is a recurring theme throughout this CD. The song I Want Something To Live For will have you shouting its catchy chorus. The tempo slows with the variable autobiographical song called Walls. Another track Japanese Exchange Student is a very serious piece on here. And the album eventually concludes with the song Light. Light is one of the strongest selections on the CD. With Of Men And Angels, melodies and simple joys await you. They takes it’s listener to a simple place, where faith is all that matters, and a happy song can save your day. Bryce is brilliant at doing and writing songs like these. So some seriousness and fun awaits for you from this CD. Enjoy it as I did and possibly you will be up lifted from it like I was.

Oh there were plenty of other CD’s that came out this year not mentioned here. But this is just my picks and maybe not yours. Give these a listen for the reasons I mentioned and you’ll at least understand why I chose them.


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