Butler County Times Gazette
Bruce Springsteen fans from Asbury Park and beyond blog about The Boss
YEAR IN REVIEW: 22 stellar songs from 2012
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The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than ...
Bruce Springsteen
The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than they were when they first put Born in the U.S.A. or The River down on the turntable, still feels like Bruce has something -- OK, a lot of things -- to say about our country and the way we live our lives, things that not a lot of other artists are saying. And whether he's talking about the knife that can cut this pain from your heart, the house that's waiting for you to walk in or what that flag flying over the courthouse means, he's nailing down feelings that are so universal that they can raise your spirits and break your heart at the same time. Plus, lets face it, the man rocks.
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By Pete Chianca
Dec. 28, 2012 11:10 a.m.

Leland Sundries released “Roller Derby Queen” on 7-inch vinyl.

Yesterday you saw my picks for the albums that wheedled their way to the top of my playlist for 2012. The albums these songs came from didn’t quite make the cut, but these individual tracks are definitely worth a spin.
Abandoned Love from Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan, Paul Rodgers and Nils Lofgren. I could have named any number of the covers from the 76-track tribute collection, including ones from Tom Morello, Natasha Bedingfield and (gasp!) Miley Cyrus. But these old pros keep it simple and stunning on this Dylan outtake.
As Is from A Different Kind of Truth, Van Halen. Oh, just because.
Do It Anyway from The Sound of the Life of the Mind, Ben Folds Five. A standout track driven by Folds trademark galloping piano, melodic arrangement and oddly endearing (if affectedly nerdy) vocals.
Empty Threat from Voyageur, Kathleen Edwards. Canadians get cranky, too, we learn on this track from the sublime Edwards latest disc of stirring folk-pop.
I Am Following the Sound from No Separation, Spirit Family Reunion. Down-home Americana for those of you who think Mumford & Sons sound too corporate.
I Feel Better from Making Mirrors, Gotye. You knew Gotye could channel Sting, but Steve Winwood? Neat blue-eyed soul from the Somebody That I Used To Know guy.
Primitive Girl from A Wasteland Companion, M. Ward. Atmospheric guitar pop from someone who happens to do it better than anyone.
I Rose Up At The Dawn of Day from The Garden of Love, Martha Redbone Roots Project. Redbones album sets William Blakes poetry to rich, twangy Americana, and this gospel stomper shows just how effectively she does it.
Kansas City from 4th Street Feeling, Melissa Etheridge. I admit it Im a sucker for any time Melissa sings about cars, dark Midwestern roads and relationships on the brink. A rocking return to form.
Louies Luau, from “New Deli,” TriBeCaStan. Because the world needs more funky horns, global rhythms, blues harmonica and jaw harp, not necessarily in that order.
Oh Love from Uno!, Green Day. Their political stuff is great, but every now and again a little straight-ahead power pop about girls and gumption is pretty good, too.

Pow! Kendra Morris had several worthy tracks on ‘Banshee.’

Pow from Banshee, Kendra Morris. Morris puts her hand up as a viable successor to Amy Winehouse, mixing a retro-soul delivery with hip-hop beats.
Roller Derby Queen, single, Leland Sundries. The boys from Brooklyn channel their inner rockabilly rebels on this boogie-woogie track, released as a 7-inch vinyl single.
Some Nights (Intro) from Some Nights, fun. The title track that made it onto the radio is great, too, but this prelude really showcases the groups penchant for baroque frenzy.
Dreamer from Beatrix Runs, Elizaveta. The entire concept of opera pop is frightening, but the Russian-born, NYC-trained Elizaveta pulls it off on track after track of her debut LP. This soaring album-opener mixes chorally inspired vocals, classical piano and electronic beats to dizzying effect.
Stay Sweet from Geronimo!, Piney Gir. This track confirms your worst fears about what your ex is thinking (or not thinking) about you and, like so many cuts on the record, is deeper than Pineys 60s girl-group sound and sunny production would seem to indicate.
Television Sun from Western & Atlantic (EP), Don DiLego. This track brings an alt-country sensibility to an urban landscape that recalls Dion and the Belmonts as much as it does Jackson Browne.
Thats Why God Made the Radio, from Thats Why God Made the Radio, The Beach Boys. They couldnt quite sustain it for a whole album, but the reunited Beach Boys again including, finally, Brian Wilson capture the old magic on this wistful track.
The Graveyard Shift from Unfinished Business, Wanda Jackson. The original rockabilly filly continues to rock and roll this is one of several standout tracks that recall the days when she held her own among early rock era bad boys.

Grace Potter sees the light. (Photo by Rocco Coviello/roccosphototavern.com)

Turntable from The Lion, The Beast, The Beat, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. In a driving, sexy track, Potter uses putting a needle on a vinyl record as an analogy for Well, you can guess what its an analogy for.
Waiting Time, single, Ariel Rubin. Building percussion provides the backbone for the track, but its the Somerville, Mass. residents vocals that make things soar. It bodes well for her new project coming in 2013, Ariel + the Undertow.
Whats My Desire, single, Sweet Soubrette. All my love letters are forged, sings Ellia Bisker, one of a series of biting admissions on a lovely, lush single awash with strings and horns. The ukulele is just a bonus.

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