I already posted video from many of these artists in another recent post, so here I’ll just give you the list, as published in the online edition of The Columbia Free Times:
My Favorite Local Music of 2010
The Restoration, Constance: Hands-down the most challenging and creative conceptual release by a Columbia band, ever. It’s actually not very easy to listen to some of this due to the subject matter, but it is riveting stuff nonetheless. The rocked-up string band arrangements are the key, along with Daniel Machado’s emotionally invested vocal performance.
John Wesley Satterfield, self-titled EP: Woodwork Roadshow was a great band, but Satterfield’s solo material took a different tack, eschewing the jammy bluegrass of that group for a more mainstream country-rock sound on songs such as “Without the Rain.”
Cherrycase, Change: Jake Etheridge and company actually released two discs in 2010, the fully produced self-titled one and this more acoustic followup. The odds-and-ends collected on the latter include some of Etheridge’s most intriguing work, such as “Mr. Noah.”
Todd Mathis and Zach Seibert, Epiphany: Mathis (of American Gun) and Seibert’s voices mesh well on this set of gospel songs recorded in a single day session. Warm and weathered, Seibert shines on his ingenious arrangement of “Do Lord,”and a couple of the originals here are as good as the standards.
Toro Y Moi, Causers of This (Carpark): Setting the blogosphere on fire with this release back in January, Chaz Bundick managed to get more press than anyone out of Columbia since Hootie, I think. Deservedly so, as these tracks are as current and cool as anything else out there in the Pitchfork-approved music scene.
Hannah Miller, Journey to the Moon EP: Miller embraced the pop side of her singer-songwriter self with these tunes, with shimmering, solid results.
Charming Hala, Charming Hala: Well-traveled Columbia musician-about-town Don Russo’s been working on this album for several years, but the crisp power pop of these tunes are about as timeless as they come.
Kingslyn, Drunken Country Curse: An Erich Skelton album is an Erich Skelton album, no matter what band name you put on it. This one gets back to a more twangy base of operations than Marry A Thief, the last outfit featuring Skelton, and because of that it is more akin to his much-loved early solo albums—a very good thing.
Valley Maker, Valley Maker: Austin Crane got creative with his senior thesis and the result was this album of songs based on the stories in the biblical Book of Genesis. Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Abraham and Isaac—not exactly easy listening but Crane makes the characters live and breathe through the observations in his musical interpretations.
Dylan Sneed, Texodus: I still don’t know exactly why Dylan Sneed chose to move from Texas to South Carolina, but since it resulted in this fine set of acoustic-based tunes, I’ll quit asking and just enjoy the music that came out of the transition.