Village Voice’s Pazz and Jop Poll

January 20th, 2010, 12:24 pm by Greg

The Village Voice unveiled its annual Pazz and Jop Poll today, and, well, there aren’t many surprises. The poll, which compiled the votes of 696 music critics, named Animal Collective‘s “Merriweather Post Pavilion” as the top album of 2009.

Here’s the list of the Top 10 vote-getters:

10 Girls – “Album”
09 The Flaming Lips – “Embryonic”
08 Raekwon – “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Part II”
07 The xx – “xx”
06 Grizzly Bear – “Veckatimest”
05 Dirty Projectors – “Bitte Orca”
04 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “It’s Blitz!”
03 Neko Case – “Middle Cyclone”
02 Phoenix – “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”
01 Animal Collective – “Merriweather Post Pavilion”

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Nippertown On the Air

January 8th, 2010, 2:31 pm by Greg

Just in case you missed Greg Haymes playing selections from the Nippertown Top 10 Albums of 2009 when the show originally aired on radio station WEXT-FM on New Year’s Day, you’ll get another chance.

Two more chances, actually.

The hour-long show – featuring tunes from the Top 10, as well as a couple of honorable mentions – will be re-broadcast at 11am Sunday (January 10) and again at 9pm Thursday (January 14). You can listen on your radio at 97.7 FM or stream the countdown live on your computer.

Thanks to WEXT-FM, Exit 97.7 for their continued support.

Digging into the Best of 2009 Music Lists

January 6th, 2010, 11:45 am by Greg

It’s one thing to create a year-end Top 10 list. Let’s face it, it’s a totally subjective process, so there is no right or wrong.

On the other hand, it’s quite another thing to try to figure out what somebody else’s list is supposed to mean. Alas, there wasn’t much fun to be found with the Capital Region media’s selections this year.

The Albany Times Union, The Troy Record and The Saratogian didn’t weigh-in with best-of-the-year arts and entertainment lists for 2009. Really? That’s no fun at all.

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Answers to the Nippertown 2009 Year in Music Quiz

January 4th, 2010, 2:36 pm by Greg

We ran this quiz a week ago. As it turned out, nobody scored very high. Maybe it was just too tough. Perhaps you were distracted by the holidays. Or maybe you just weren’t paying close enough attention to what was going on all year long.

Whatever. Anyway, here are the quiz answers for you:

1. Name one of the two acts who played at both of EXIT 97.7’s Local 518 benefit concerts at the EXIT Dome?
A: Railbird, Matthew Loiacono

2. What Catskill-based record company won a Grammy Award in February for their 2-CD set, “Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard” by the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra?
A: Planet Arts Recordings

3. What former student of pianist Lee Shaw’s returned to play a concert with her at The Egg in April?
A: John Medeski of Medeski Martin & Wood

4. What former rock & roll nightclub burned to the ground in April?
A: Saratoga Winners

5. Who was the new drummer in Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band who made his full-length debut with the band at the Times Union Center in May?
A: Jay Weinberg, the son of regular E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg

6. What was the name of that same drummer’s other band, who made their Capital Region debut at Valentine’s Music Hall just one month later?
A: The Reveling

7. Who was booted from the opening act slot on Grace Potter & the Nocturnals’ Alive @ Five concert in June and replaced by the Ashley Pond Band?
A: Deni Bonet

8. What long-running showcase club in Great Barrington, Mass. shuttered its doors in August?
A: Club Helsinki

9. Complete the odd-couple concert pairings:
Cyndi Lauper and ______?
Jerry Douglas and _______?
A: Rosie O’Donnell, John Oates

10. When R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck showed up at Valentine’s Music Hall in September, he played with which band:
a) The Minus 5
b) The Steve Wynn IV
c) The Baseball Project
d) all of the above
A: d) all of the above

Just in Case You Missed ‘Em…

January 4th, 2010, 1:35 pm by Greg

I spent considerable time compiling a Top 10 list of local Capital Region CDs, and a list of Top 10 concerts of 2009, as well, but I ran out of steam before I could whip up a Top 10 list of national/international CDs.

I did, however, post more than two dozen Top 10 lists – and looked through quite a few others – and it’s pretty clear that the general consensus ranks Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Phoenix, Neko Case and Dirty Projectors as all being worth a listen. But while those albums were jockeying for the top spots, a lot of other worthwhile albums didn’t really seem to get their due.

So here is a batch of recommendations – albums that may have passed you by while your earbuds were blaring “Merriweather Post Pavilion” for the gazillionth time:

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Nippertown’s Top 10 Albums of 2009

December 31st, 2009, 2:05 pm by Greg

As you can tell from our previous lists of the past four years – which we’ve been posting all week long – there’s no shortage of musical talent in the Capital Region. But this year’s batch of albums is simply the strongest in recent memory. And our memory is pretty good.

Even hedging our bet by squeezing 11 albums into our Top 10, there were still at least five additional honorable mention albums that would have earned a Top 10 spot in just about any other year.

So here it is without further ado –’s favorite Capital Region albums of 2009:

Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys: So Far So Good

Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys: So Far So Good

10 (tie) Steve Lambert’s “May” (Planet Arts) and Brian Patneaude’s “Riverview” (WEPA): Trumpeter Lambert and his band of Nippertown all-stars (including Patneaude) and saxman Patneaude’s own one-night-only recording with a switched-up combo prove that our jazz scene isn’t just surviving – it’s thriving.

09 Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys’ “So Far So Good” (Real Life Enterprises): Gaudet’s 2007 comeback album, “Re-Calling It Quits,” was brilliant, but this was the album that solidified the band and its bluegrass/folk-twang sound as a force to be reckoned with.

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Best Art Moments of 2009

December 31st, 2009, 1:01 pm by Greg

Maya Lin’s “Storm King Wavefield” @ Storm King Art Center: acres of undulating earth mimic the form of ocean waves, or perhaps the surrounding hills, and hypnotically change color and shape as the day passes.

Maya Lin: Storm King Wavefield

Maya Lin: Storm King Wavefield

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Nippertown’s Top 12 Concerts of 2009

December 30th, 2009, 2:58 pm by Greg

Brave Combo

Brave Combo (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)


I tried my best to really put the screws on and nail down my Top 10 fave concerts of the year, but I simply couldn’t do it. So here’s my Top Dozen concerts.

It would have been great if there was once for every month of the year, but it didn’t quite work out that way, so just go with the flow. (Heck, three of my fave shows of the year all took place within the same week in July.)

And please keep in mind that nobody – myself included – can possibly be at all of the concerts around town. And this year, in particular, I seemed to miss a lot of the big-venue blockbuster shows. But I’ve got no complaints.

So, here’s my chronological report on the best Nippertown concerts of 2009 – at least as I saw ’em:

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The Cock'N'Bull RestaurantHolly & EvanCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysAdvertise on Nippertown!Artist Charles HaymesBerkshire On StageLeave Regular Radio BehindThe Sanctuary For Independent Media