I find it harder and harder every year to get excited about new music.  As a teenager in the early – mid 90’s my ear was glued to the radio listening for new songs and bands on WDRE Long Island.  It was an exciting time for music – one of the best, as far as I’m concerned.  A friend recently told me he feels that at 14-15 years of age is when most people will feel is the best time for music.  So, someone who is a young teenager now probably feels that now is the best time for music.  Poor child…

However, not all is lost.  There are still a handful of bands, and singer-song writers out there putting out good music.  Some of them have been around for years, others – not as long.  In an effort to make a year-end list of the best of 2010 my intention is to highlight a few new records I deem worthy of a listen at the beginning of each month, then critique them as I give them a listen.  For January, we have two such records worth noting:

First, on January 12th we have Contra by Vampire Weekend.  I know, they’re a young, hipster preppy band, but you know what?  Their songs are awesome!  Their first record became the soundtrack of summer 2008 for me.  The tunes are quick, catchy, and fun.  I believe we can expect the same from their sophomore effort.  Their first single, cousins takes a few listens to get used to it.  I felt that about the first album too.  They don’t really make songs you’ll like right away, at least in my opinion.  But after 2-3 listens, you should be hooked.  Sampling the songs on iTunes, I also liked the sound of Holiday, the third track on the record.  Hopefully, the entire album will be as good as expected.

Other noteworthy releases for this date are O.A.R., Rain or Shine, and Ringo Starr, Y Not.  I really enjoy O.A.R.’s Stories of a Stranger, and Ringo?  well, it’s Ringo!

Then, on January 19th we get the latest from Spoon, Transference.  Spoon has become one of my favorite bands.  I enjoy all of their albums, especially their last one, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, and they put on a fantastic live performance.  A quick sampling of the songs in iTunes showed me that while Spoon has kept their core sound, they continue to mature as a band.  My days as a live concert junkie have subsided, but this is one band I would definitely wait in line to see again.

Other noteworthy releases for this date are the Eels, End Times.  That’s it.  But continuing throughout the rest of the first two quarters we can be excited for new releases from Groove Armada, Massive Attack, Bad Religion, Beastie Boys, Cake, Dr. Dre, Heart, Wyclef Jean, Meat Loaf, The Offspring, & Stone Temple Pilots.