Brian Payne — “Pingree Park Sessions” EP
Payne’s new EP descends from the Colorado mountains with freshness and the scent of aspens. His folky textures and words brood and whisper the familiar longings of man. In “Winter Has No Room” and “Yet I Remain,” Payne carves out rivers, roots and seasons with ingenious melodies, while “I’m No Stranger to This Road” paves a meditating, rhythmic mantra. A man rich in song.
Josh Garrels — “Love & War & The Sea In Between”
Garrels not only continues his vein of beat-driven, folk-spangled gospel, but he’s offering it for free. A hardworking craftsman, Garrels has penned 18 new tunes with songs like “White Owl,” “The Resistance,” “Ulysses,” “Beyond the Blue,” “Million Miles,” “Bread & Wine,” “Revelator” and “Pilot Me,” making this album thick like a forest. Metaphor, honesty and the wonder and truth of fairy tales — Josh is prophet as much as a poet.
Matt Duckworth, drummer, Stardeath & White Dwarfs:
Cass McCombs — “Wit’s End”
This record was the soundtrack to my winter, then my summer, and now my winter again. I keep waiting for something to come along and replace it, but I could listen to it forever. It’s a great record for traveling — even for standing in lines at airports.
Broncho — "Can't Get Past the Lips"
The first time I listened to the record I was driving to SXSW, by myself, trying to stay awake. It has now become my go to record while driving and trying to stay awake on tour. What I love the most about Broncho is the energy, and they did a great job of capturing that energy on record. If there was ever a local band I was jealous of not being in, it’s Broncho.
DJ Chips, hip-hop producer:
L.T.Z. — “360 Dunk”
This album damn near drove me crazy during the creation of everything I was involved with, but I am really proud of the outcome. His storytelling has gotten stronger, and you really feel his honesty when he speaks. You may not have lived his life word-for-word, but you can relate to where he came from. To me, that makes for a great album.
Evidence – “Cats and Dogs”
I first heard this album after the video for “You” was released and all I could think was the Rhymesayers label can’t do any wrong. I will always have a place in my heart for boom bap hip hop and strong lyricism that carries a point opposed to just rhyming words together. This album reminded me why I still love hip hop music period.
Peyton Suitor, Skating Polly:
Broncho — “Can’t Get Past the Lips”
It’s one of my all-time favorite records because it rules so much. It rocks because it’s so loud and catchy. And, this has nothing to do with it being one of my favorite records, but everyone in the band is really nice and all of their shows that I’ve been to make it into my favorite concerts — even the one I got kicked out of.
Pains of Being Pure at Heart — “Belong”
I know it’s an obvious choice, but it’s seriously awesome. I know that this is also obvious, but it’s my favorite because it’s so angsty. I’m a teenager; I love music that makes me feel even worse when I already feel like I’m at the last “n” of depression (and the only “n”). But I still like it that the music rocks even when I’m in a good mood.
Cameron Neal, singer/guitarist, Horse Thief:
Colourmusic — “My ___ Is Pink”
This album is explosive, dark and bright all at the same time. A great way to redecorate the band’s sound. Excited to see where it goes next.
tUnE-yArDs — "w h o k i l l"
A broad ranch of tribal vocals, looping drums and screeching horns. A beautiful landscape of creativity bouncing around the mind of Merrill Garbus. This one reigns superior over 2011 in my book.
Beetyman, solo rapper:
L.T.Z. — “360 Dunk”
L.T.Z. is one of my closest friends, and his music always inspires me. He has a way of telling a story in his music to the point where you feel like you were there yourself. Covers situations most all of us go through, while putting his own spin on it. Hence the 360.
Stalley — “Lincoln Way Nights”
This album is the tell-tale rags-to-riches story; beats that will shake your whole car and lyrics that describe the struggle of pursuing hip-hop coming out of small town USA, which I can completely relate to. How many mainstream hip hop artists do you know from Massillon, Ohio? I rest my case.