My Top 50 of the Year - #30-21

30. Dustin Kensrue - Please Come Home
Another album that came out of nowhere for me. Great country influenced pop rock songs with anthems about love and blood. Don't let preconceived notions stop you from checking into this one.

29. American Catastrophe - Excerpts From The Broken Bone Choir
This album first came out in 2006 but I didn't do a list then, and it was re-released on Oxblood Records this year, so I have to give it some love this year. It's dark, dank and kinda shoegazing, but man, Shaun Hamontree can howl.
Broken Bone Choir

28. New Amsterdams - At the Foot of My Rival
The best New Ams record to have come out in a while.
Revenge (Live)

27. Lavender Diamond - Imagine Our Love
Beautiful, carried by Becky Stark's incredible voice, didn't sound any better this year.
Open Your Heart

26. The Nightwatchman - One Man Revolution
Tom Morello gets even MORE political (I wasn't sure that could happen) from behind his acoustic and his microphone. The lyrics are intense and worthy of being studied.
One Man Revolution on youtube

25. Erin McKeown - Sing You Sinners /Lafayette
Erin delivered an album of stadards with kickin' horn arrangements and great playing from the band, and then turns around and gives us a great live album of (mainly) old favorites from her catalog and throws the horn section on there too. The version of "Blackbirds" on Lafayette is epic.

24. Sondre Lerche - Phantom Punch/Dan in Real Life OST
Sondre managed to draw heavily from his influences while still producing a sound that is very Sondre. His heartfelt deliver matched with some really interesting guitar playing and a great duet with Regina Spektor on the Dan In Real Life OST.
Phantom Punch on youtube
Also, check out a killer live show from Sondre over at

23. Sara Bareilles - Little Voice
I first realized the power behind Sara's voice when I saw a youtube video of her playing solo behind her keyboard opening for someone who doesn't matter with the typical opening band chatter drowning her out. However, she then hit the amazing climax of the song "Gravity" and every stopped what they were doing and gave her a standing ovation. You could hear a pin drop during the last of the song. Every song is like that on this album.
Love Song on youtube

22. Fourth Of July - Fourth of July on the Plains
The Hangauer boys have sharp wits, sharp tongues and sharp instruments. Not knives or anything...
Can't Sleep

21. Queens Of The Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
This album is sleazy, grimy, dirty and joyous. A couple of songs that grate on the ears after a while keep this album from being top 10 material, but "Make it Wit Chu" is a contender for song of the year.
Make it Wit Chu on youtube