Listen to WFUV's Rita Houston and Russ Borris Discuss the Year's Best CDs
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Claudia Marshall, host of City Folk Morning on New York-based NPR station WFUV, compiled this list of the year's best discoveries: breakthrough artists likely to make a bigger mark in the months and years to come.
Elizabeth and the Catapult: Elizabeth and the Catapult
The EP only has six songs, but already it's clear that this unsigned New York band has the goods — especially for fans of Aimee Mann.
Will Hoge: The Man Who Killed Love
This is the real thing: true Southern rock, with no label and no filler.
Richard Julian: Slow New York
Paul Simon and Randy Newman have a brilliant new peer in this New York-based singer-songwriter, who exudes humor, intelligence and soul.
See above, add a sparkling power-pop sound.
Block: The Last Single Guy
A casualty of the music business, Jamie Block quit making music to work on Wall Street. Luckily, though, the songs kept coming, and he returned to the studio to make this remarkable record.
A British producer turned soul singer gets down on this fine throwback to the work of funk and soul's legends.
James Hunter: People Gonna Talk
Recalling the soul sounds of Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson, this record propels the music of that era firmly into the present. The recording doesn't do justice to Hunter's high-voltage live performances, but it's a good place to start.
L.E.O. is a novelty, but it's got a surprising amount of staying power. Pop magician Mike Viola lends his vocals to this tribute of sorts to E.L.O. Meanwhile, Viola also released an acoustic solo CD this year, along with a delightful collection of early tracks from his band The Candy Butchers.
Jay Bennett: The Magnificent Defeat
Wilco remains one of the best bands working today, but it's still hard to accept the departure of multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett, whose The Magnificent Defeat demonstrates the degree to which he shaped the Wilco sound.