With this decade coming to a somewhat unceremonious close (or at least that’s how it feels to me), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the last ten years in music, specifically the music from my backyard here in Connecticut. There are a lot of bands who have come and gone (and come again and gone again) over these last ten years and the number of quality albums this state has produced is mind-boggling. There are simply too many to count – I tried – but there are plenty worth remembering.
This will be the first in a ten-part series taking a look back at my favorite Connecticut albums from this past decade. In the interest of time and space I’ll be focusing mostly on full-lengths, and there really is no other criteria after that. These are not ‘best of’ lists. Far from it, I suppose. This is one person’s attempt to simply shine a light on some – a lot – of albums that I spent copious amounts of time with. Some years will have more albums than others, and some genres will be more strongly represented. (I’ll apologize for that last part now.)
I hope you find some old friends and some new favorites over the next couple months. First up, 2010.
Mountain Movers – Apple Mountain
There are few active bands in Connecticut music that have had as long and as interesting a musical journey as New Haven’s Mountain Movers. Released at the end of 2010, Apple Mountain was a trippy exploration through ’60s inspired folk and psychedelia. The songs seem to grow longer and more obtuse as the record progresses giving this whole thing a feeling of someone descending into a light touch of madness. This was the album that got me absolutely hooked on this band.
Ceschi – The One Man Band Broke Up
One of Connecticut’s most respected hip-hop exports, Ceschi has been hitting absolute home runs this decade, starting with The One Man Band Broke Up. His lyrics are fantastic, his delivery is often times mind bending, and his arrangements are as memorable as any other hip-hop act I’ve heard over the last ten years. I’ll never sit here and tell you I’m some sort of hip-hop expert, but I know genius when I hear it and it was this album that clued me in to the genius of Ceschi.
Seth Adam – Amplify
Another scene vet who has had his fair share of deserved success is New Haven’s Seth Adam. Now known for a more folksy approach to his songwriting, Adam did exactly what this album’s title promised and turned it up a notch with roots-based, rocking Americana. There’s more Tom Petty and early Springsteen influence on this record than possibly any of his other releases and that’s certainly not a bad thing. Throw in some well-played pop aesthetics and I’m still flabbergasted as to why our local rock radio stations didn’t pick up on this album and add it to their regular rotations. (I mean, I know why but I’m trying to be nice here.)
The Proud Flesh – Tiny Picture Frames
Man, did I love this band. While some of their members have gone on to other really interesting projects, for the first half of this decade The Proud Flesh was easily one of my favorite CT acts. Sadly, after their 2013 follow-up album they would release only one more single before fading away. Gone, but certainly not forgotten. Their brand of moody Americana mixed with pure country gumption was music to this closet hillbilly’s ears. I grew up on alt country just like this and it still resonates with me (hence my Wrong Side of the Tracks radio show). A fantastic record that has aged really, really well. Please let me know if/when the reunion show happens. I don’t get out much these days but I’ll make it to the front of the stage for this one.
Edit: I was informed after this post was published that The Proud Flesh has actually played out recently and new music is apparently in the works. Thanks to Karen Ponzio for the tip.
The Backyard Committee – The Backyard Committee
So what exactly was in the water in New Haven, Connecticut in 2010? Another wholly memorable album, this time the self-titled debut from The Backyard Committee. There’s a connecting thread that tells me I’ve liked every act that guitarist/vocalist Mike Sembos has been involved in, but this one might be my favorite. It’s a little bit indie folk, a little bit back roads Americana, and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. All together it’s an album that spent an exorbitant amount of time in various CD players.
Titles – Dirt Bell
I was absolutely obsessed with this indie rock masterwork upon its release and feel comfortable in saying it was one of my favorite albums of 2010, genre or geographic location be damned. It was just the right amount of poppy, just the right amount of experimental. Fun fact: I used to host two local music themed TV shows on our local CW affiliate, WCCT. One of the first emails I sent to a local band asking them to appear on “Chip’s Unnamed Local Band Show” was to Titles. We did an interview inside Redscroll Records in Wallingford and we showed their video for “When You Were Young”. I don’t recall doing any type of ‘best of’ list in 2010, but if I did this album would have been right near the top. I don’t remember what happened to these guys (One of them moved to California?) but I do remember thinking that this band was a huge missed opportunity. They had the chops and the songwriting talent to create whatever path they would have wanted.
Myty Konkeror – I miss the future.
If I’m remembering this correctly the physical version of I miss the future. came out in early 2011, but the album’s actual release date was in late 2010 so that’s what we’re going with for this exercise. Regardless of the release date hair splitting Myty Konkeror were another act that had me absolutely hooked upon first listen. They were heavy, they were raw, they were psychedelic, and all of that was on perfect display with this record. If I’m not mistaken this would be their final release. An unfortunate footnote to an album that I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting for the first time in too long.