Dec 9 2011

20 Best Albums of 2011 – According to Kentuckyseven


1.    The Head & The Heart – The Head & The Heart
This band did it for us this year, first an amazing live performance and then the album. Mr Jon Russel and the other geniuses play good old Folk/Americana/Roots you name it, but with a smell of greatness that excelled throughout the year. This is the album of the year.

2.    Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Imagine an orchard. The sun setting. You are among friends and lovers. You take a glass of the local wine and you think about the trees, the harvest and the moon. It´s all here. Fleet Foxes made a true masterpiece that will stand the test of time.

3.    Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
Mr Vile, took some time to get to know. But with this massive ring of smoke he got the full attention. Some Dylan some BRMC and a lot of clean guitars to go with it. Damn this man is something else.

4.    Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Having released pure gold for the last couple of years since the debut, it came as no surprise that Justin Vernon had another batch of magic to send out to his flock of followers. File this under “Golden”.

5.    Maxim Ludwig & The Santa Fe seven – This round is on Me EP
As the title of the record implies – Maxim Ludwig and his band equals buddies you´d love to hang out with. The music is brilliant and very American, Springsteenish and Pettyish. Very, very, very dear to us.

6.    City and Colour – Little Hell
With no fear, in a darkened place, this album lits up wherever you will go. It spills of melodies that lingers and creates the genuine sound of that music that can inspire and still keep you wanting more.

7.    The Far West – The Far West
The Far West got under our skin. It´s country as it´s supposed to be, old-time yet interesting. Heartland stuff. Song titles as “Bound to Loose” and “Bitter Drunk & Cold” tells a story – crank up the volume and hear about it.

8.    My morning Jacket – Circuital
Sometimes, not very often, an album comes along that is bigger, better and more brutal then other things in life. MMJ made that record. This one is thoroughly made, 100 % full proof. It´s a rock n roll album and we´re just glad to smell the napalm.

9. The Black Keys – El Camino
To follow up a massive success like Brothers (2010) is hard. But these fellas are the ones to pull it off. Even if it doesn’t really fill up the void that has been since the last album, this is real. This is what rock is supposed to be. Still with that garage rock feeling to it. The Keys will rule the genre for a long long time.

10.    John Hiatt – Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
Where to begin? John Hiatt made one of the absolutely best songs of the year in the opener “Damn This Town”. Fateful down to the core. The album is a tour de force, old school and beautiful, a true companion. A keeper.

11.    Israel Nash Gripka – Barn Doors and Concrete Floors
This dude from Missouri keeps Americana alive. Creedence, Crazy Horse and Ryan Adams; sure – we got his influences in our veins. But this is the real deal. Mr Gripka got us dancing on our graves.

12. Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
Waiting for this album has been painful. Lungs from 2009 was one of the best albums of that year, and when Ceremonials finally was released, it was like love began all over again. The dog days are over. Florence is back.

13.    Joe Fletcher & The wrong reasons – White Lighter
Joe Fletcher is probably the coolest cat around. Together with his reasons they got a sound that many great bands would sell their souls for. I write this with my foot stomping the floor. Heavy Country!

14.    Yuck – Yuck
You can hear Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Pavement and other great influences while examining the DNA of Yuck. What a debut from this UK-band who swings at the USA-90´s – hitting it out of the stadium.

15.    William Elliott Whitmore – Field Songs
WEW always got a place in our Kentuckysevenheart. We believe every word he sings. The banjo, the voice, the earth. The honesty, the tales, the late-night-comfort. Listening to Field Songs pretty much sums it up.

16.    Dolorean – The Unfazed
Al James of Dolorean is one the most talented storytellers we’ve ever stumbled upon. This album is no exception. Makes you wishing you could just move to Portland, sit on a porch, and just listen to that real country guitars and piano all day. Masterpiece.

17.    The Apache Relay – American Nomad
Feetstomping feel and severely addictive album, from the bearded and supertalented indie root musicians who are the Apache Relay. You can’t help yourself, you just listen and get sucked in.

18.    Jeff the Brotherhood – We are the champions
True, raw and that kind of sound that you wish you could have created yourself. These guys have a way of creating music that few could upbring. It’s simple, yet right on the money. The Buzz is still building up.  Stay Up Late, and listen.

19.    Times New Viking – Dancer Equired
This one itches, hits you hard in the belly and will not go away. An awesome band from Columbus, Ohio who makes their lo-fi-punk-songs in their own special way. Extremely cool.  TNW is talent with a stiff upper lip.

20.    Explosions in the sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Seeing the band at Way Out West this year just proved once again why this band is so great. With just tunes, the music tells stories that you would never have read anywhere else. It’s all over the chart. It’s just that great.

7 great that could have been up there with the other magic albums…

¤ Tom Waits – Bad as me
¤ Feist – Metals
¤ Gillian Welch – The harrow and the harvest
¤ The Cave Singers – No witch
¤ Drive-By Truckers – Go go boots
¤ Wye Oak  – Civilian
¤ War on Drugs – Slave Ambient

Dec 8 2010

Review: Dolorean – The Unfazed


Dolorean – The Unfazed
Releasedate 18/1 2011

After I got to know the great band Dolorean, from Portland Oregon, I knew. That there’s hope for the great American music-scene. Bands like Dolorean rarely get the spotlight in commercial radio or press, but are greatly appreciated among the likes of Kentuckyseven-readers.

I listened to Dolorean’s first album and said to myself, this is real. Real music from real musicians. The lyrics are storys, the sound is pure and fresh, yet carry a heritage from great American music-history. Al James, the songwriter and vocalist is like a storyteller with warmth, depth and compassion and from the short contact I’ve had with the man, he is a great person too.

The Unfazed is no exception, it’s even larger. The opening song Thinskinned is extraordinary, with the piano, and lyrics like it was a love-story-gone-bad anthem.

Al James and Lara Miller get together in Country Clutter, second track of the album, their voices are melting together and create a comfortzone, where I gladly remain for days and days.

Titletrack sets the mood and emphasize the American singersongwriter culture in a way I think that many artist would sacrifice plenty to create.

The Unfazed is bound for something great. My hope is that Dolorean will meet a larger audience during 2011, the band surely deserves a great audience. My only wish for Christmas is that the rest of the world sees their splendor…
The album will surely end up in many Best Of 2011 lists… I know I have a place for it.

Six out of seven K7’s – just like that.

Nov 1 2010

What are you listening to, Al?


Photo: Sarah Jurado

Kentuckyseven proudly presents, Al James from Dolorean.

The acclaimed Portland band Dolorean, came with their debut Not Exotic in 2003, The New York Times said in their review ”The songs gesture at folk and country, but they do it quietly and slowly, as if hesitant to disturb Mr. James’s delicate parables. And yet, despite the stillness, this is a wild, passionate album.” Since then Dolorean has released Violence in the Snowy Fields 2004, You Can’t Win in 2007, and now releasing their fourth album The Unfazed  in january 2011.

We got a sneak preview of The Unfazed, and it will be reviewed soon here on Kentuckyseven. The titlesong can be heard on Dolorean’s website below.

What are you listening to?

–  I mostly listen to music on my turntable early in the morning when I wake up or in the evening while I’m fixing dinner.  My favorite music right now is a combination of new and old records.  I love the new Deerhunter album Halcyon Digest, Gonjasufi – A Sufi and a Killer, Damien Jurado’s Saint Bartlett, Lightning Dust’s Infinite Light, Woods – At Echo Lake, and Kurt Vile – Constant Hitmaker.  The older re-issues I’m loving are Bob Desper – New Sounds, Ted Lucas – The Om Record, and Lazy Smoke’s Corridor of Faces.

Best book read during 2010?

– Man, I love to read but don’t get as much time to read as I’d like.  My favorite contemporary author is Willy Vlautin.  I love his most recent novel that came out in 2010 – Lean On Pete.  Definitely the best book this year.

Who deserves a breakthrough in 2011?

– To be honest, I hope Dolorean has a big year in 2011.  We’ve been working so hard for so long.  I really want to reach more people with our music next year.  In addition to Dolorean, I hope that Mara Miller’s band Bosque Brown has a great 2011.  She sang a duet with me on The Unfazed.  I’m a huge fan of her voice and her songs.  She definitely deserves a bigger audience.

Kentuckyseven is hoping for a big year for Dolorean as well. If you haven’t met them yet, get to know Portlands finest at:

Dolorean @ Myspace @Spotify @Facebook @Partisanrecords or just check out Doloreanmusic