Editor's Picks: 2018 in Review
As the Content Manager/Editor and Web Designer for theRosieGspot.com, it has been a real pleasure collaborating with my longtime friend Rosie G. on her dream of creating a showcase for independent artists. Her stated aim of “unleashing the unknown, unsigned and unheard” has rekindled the joy of discovering new music created by artists from all over the world.
Rosie picks the artists and songs she wants to feature, and I am tasked with writing the profiles and keeping the site up to date. Our tastes diverge as often as they align, so while she has final say over everyone we promote, as Editor I have my own favorites among the various singers, songwriters and musicians we’ve been sharing. This list also offers alternates to the tracks we initially highlighted as well.
I started writing these profiles in July, so my playMYmusic.FM best of 2018 playlist is really only for the second half of the year. I’m looking forward to new features, new artists and new music in 2019. So here is my completely-subjective, totally non-sanctioned Top 10 Year End List..
What a revelation. This group ticks so many boxes for me that I hardly know where to start. A funky, groovy, psychedelic trio of Texans has been one of the best of Rosie’s choices. I’ve listened to the group’s Tiny Desk and Pitchfork Live performances on YouTube countless times and forced my friends to listen too. Now they’re in on the groove with me. I just wish these guys would come to Portland, Maine and make my life complete.
I am not known for being a lover of pop music, but Nathan Ball’s voice, melodic guitar work, and catchy tunes blew me away. When I first listened to this track, I thought, “Oh my God, I LOVE this. What the hell?” It just goes to show, one should always keep an open mind. This guy is going to do great things, and I can’t wait to see how his career develops. I am totally rooting for Nathan Ball!
I spent six years working at Blue Note Records where I got my informal jazz education. To begin to follow the incredible talents in the London jazz scene has been a delight, particularly the Brownswood Recordings community of musicians. I discovered some years ago that, to my surprise, I have an affinity for the tuba. It started with “La Passerella d'Addio” by Nino Rota from Otto e Mezzo (8 ½), my favorite soundtrack. So when Rosie decided to feature Theon Cross, I was pretty excited. This isn’t the featured track we used on our profile, but it’s my favorite. Here’s a taste of “Newly Awakened” (featuring Nubya Garcia).
Pimps of Joytime
Not only do I love this band, I love its name and incredible videos. Pimps of Joytime is amazing.
I’m not one to disagree when Iggy Pop says a band is going places. Straight-ahead punk rock the way it’s supposed to be. That’s False Heads.
Maalouf’s music is utterly enthralling and could heal the most-spiritually bereft among us in a very short time. Melding Arabic sounds and sporting a flying saucer-like instrument called a Pan-tam, Adam Maalouf also needs to book a gig up here in Maine (I’ll scout out some places for you if you want, Adam.).
Of course this made the list as it’s the one band I got to choose. Nonetheless, my deep, abiding desire for as much Brazilian percussion as I can listen to. Tempo feliz para mim!
Columbia’s own dance groove fun-time band is an essential ingredient for scaring your blues away. Try to sit still when you listen to this. I dare you.
This Vancouver-based ensemble makes groovy, spacey jazz tunes. I could listen to them all day.
Another stellar musician thriving in London’s incredible jazz scene, Yelfris Valdes and his trumpet make me reminisce about those salad days of discovery when I was back at Blue Note, particularly the funk-jazz era of Donald Byrd’s career. Vibrant and thoughtful, Valdes is already at the top of his game and is probably going to stay there.
Stay tuned for playMYmusic.FM for more great indie music!