There were lots of great records to choose from, so I decided not to limit the list to 10 selections. In addition to the records below, I also really liked 2006 outings by Black Forest/Black Sea, Hawkins Rise, the Providence Wholebellies, Lightning Bolt, Neo Nouveau, Erin McKeown, and Tanya Donelly, the latter two no longer qualifying as “local” but still know their way around town.
MONTY ARE: I are Rhode Island’s rock and roll ambassadors.
Monty Are I | Wall of People | Stolen Transmission
There’s a lot of hullabaloo in modern rock these days, and it’s hard to keep track of all the playas without a scorecard. But be assured that our own Monty Are I, based on the strength of this amazing record, their full-length debut, are in the first wave of true contenders for the crown. The band’s been touring their asses off since the record’s release this summer and essentially have served as the state’s royal rock and roll ambassadors.
The Slip | Eisenhower | Bar None
The Slip’s musical magic keeps getting more bewitching and entertaining as they reach deeper into their hat for each successive recording. Like Monty, the band has been co-opted by a national audience, but they still represent our home state proudly, with memorable songs and imaginative musicianship all in front of ever-increasing audiences.
Minky Starshine & The New Cardinals | Hooray For L.A. | Lovestruck
Produced and guest-starring former Posie Ken Stringfellow, Minky’s latest album, his first in forever, makes amends for all the time he’s made us wait for new material. It’s haplessly and happily romantic, with loads of light, fun, sad, silly, and great-sounding songs, all in the pure pop vein of the Beach Boys, indie icons Cardinal, and Stringfellow’s own Posies.
The ’Mericans | ’Merican Recordings | 75 or Less
Chris Daltry has always been an absorbing writer, and that quality surges abundantly on these Recordings. Inspired by the Johnny Cash effort of the same name (sort of), Daltry dawdles around that mysterious, romantic, pastoral mood that suits him so well. Here’s hoping for Volume 2.
Someday Providence | The Hidden Vibe | White Noise
It’s not that I’m big on dancing, or mainstream pop, and the time for breezy, post-Sublime sunshine rock has definitely come and gone. But there’s something about Someday Providence’s Vibe that transcends all that. The playing has zip, and this recording frames the band’s chops perfectly.
Zawadi | Self-released
The core of Zawadi, which means gift in Kiswahili, is in the hip-hop poetry of Desiree Nash and Ammala Douangsavanh. Nash is a forceful singer with gospel and soul roots, while Ammala brings more of a spoken-word approach. Together they make magic, fusing hip-hop, jazz, and satisfying soul.
Storm Davis | Kegstand Poetry From A Recovering Alcoholic | Poorly Drawn People
MC Davis came out of nowhere with this immense hip-hop project, boasting a vast vocabulary and profound intellect. If you like a little substance with your rhyme, Davis delivers.
Alec Redfearn | The Smother Party | Northeast Indie
There’s still nothing like the cacophony you get on a Redfearn disc. With its kitchen sink approach and avant-garde leanings, you never know where the band will find itself, which makes each of Redfearn’s outings, especially this latest effort, absolutely captivating entertainment.