Left Lane Cruiser

The musical tornado known as Left Lane Cruiser are back. And like a tornado, you better get the hell out of the way or risk finding yourself flat on your ass three miles down the road. The duo of Freddy J. IV and Brenn Beck are back and the formula remains the same – Freddy J. belts out the vocals while he plays the guitar like its on fire and Beck beats the drums like they grabbed his wife’s ass.

While the formula remains the same there are a couple of subtle differences. In spite of an excellent finger-picking acoustic number, “Ol’ Fashioned,” the album sounds heavier (more metal) than Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table and it sounds cleaner than its predecessor, Thanks to Jim Diamond’s production. That’s never more evident than on “Hillgrass Bluebilly” and “Black Lung.”

Back in March, my buddy Jefe and I caught them on a small deck at SxSW and after the set I was half-deaf, exhausted and had a thirst for moonshine. And while they might not be reinventing the wheel with their update on delta blues, it is being done with an incredible amount of individual talent and fervor that is lacking with many of today’s acts.

Left Lane Cruiser – Crackalacka

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Top 50 Albums of 2008 [Picks 21-30]

by oz on December 17, 2008

We’re knee deep into the top 25 albums of 2008 and this batch features two bands from Alive Records – Left Lane Cruiser and Hacienda. The Rural Alberta Advantage was arguably our biggest surprise of the year, building buzz with nothing more than their music – no label, no publicist.‚ ‚  The Morning Benders and Sam Champion were both in our live session studio, so make sure to check out those tracks if you have a few extra seconds.

21. The Morning Benders – Talking Through Tin Cans (our review)

The Morning Benders

The Bay Area quartet have hints of The Beatles, a dash of Pet Sounds sound, and a little Zombies tossed in for good measure. Thankfully they don’t come off as cheap imitators and instead put forth an excellent effort. A good shot of melodic California pop.

The Morning Benders – Damnit Anna (Hear Ya Live Session version)

The Morning Benders – Waiting on a War (Hear Ya Live Session version)

Hear more from our live session with The Morning Benders.

22. Left Lane Cruiser – Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table (our review)

Left Lane Cruiser

Its filthy, but underneath the bluesy grime are two extraordinarily talented musicians.

Left Lane Cruiser – Wash It

23. Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

Okkervil River

A step down from The Stage Names, but that was to be expected. You’ll find a few gems – just not the transcendent album that its predecessor was. Okkervil’s b-sides are still good enough to land in the top 25.

Okkervil River – Lost Coastlines

24. Hacienda – Loud Is The Night (our review)

Hacienda

Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys produced this album and is preparing his solo tour with Hacienda as his backing band. Dr. Dog performs backing vocals on the album. It’s safe to say that they have the seal of approval from some of music’s finest.

Hacienda – She’s Got A Hold On Me

25. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns (our review)

Rural Alberta Advantage

Imagine Neutral Milk Hotel with the drummer from The National. Yes, its that good.

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Don’t Haunt This Place

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Frank AB

26. Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea

silver jews

David Berman continues to put wry, smart, and often humorous lyrics into his most musically ambitious and tightest effort to date.

Silver Jews – Strange Victory, Strange Defeat

27. Black Crowes – War Paint

Black Crowes Warpaint

The Robinson boys deliver their best album since Amorica. Maxim can fuck themselves.

Video: The Black Crowes – “Wounded Bird” on Letterman

28. Sam Champion – Heavenly Bender (our review)

Sam Champion Heavenly Bender

Rolling Stone described Sam Champion’s sound like Ryan Adams covering Pavement’s Wowee Zowee. Need I say more?

Sam Champion – Be Mine Everyone

Hear more tracks at our live session with Sam Champion.

29. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Self Titled (our review)

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

MBAR was homeless and strung out on drugs before cleaning up and focusing on music. The result is folk album with his signature lazy, organic vocal delivery.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – The Debtor

30. Black Mountain – In The Future (our review)

Black Mountain

Best appreciated in a live setting, Black Mountain perform amazingly good psychedelic rock songs that either punch you in the face or get you in a slow groove.

Black Mountain – Tyrants

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If you need a kick in the pants in the morning, might I suggest some filthy blues music? Left Lane Cruiser just released a video for “Wash It.” Great slide guitar work, a cowbell and washboard for percussion…I just punched a hole in my cubicle out of excitement.

Left Lane Cruiser – Wash It

[youtube]z1lpBTi8ve8[/youtube]

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