The “Tigs Always Puts Some Folk Album on Here” Award: Todd Snider – Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

Opening with the creation of religion as a way to keep the poor from killing the rich, Todd Snider has created what is no doubt his most caustic to date. It’s still as funny as ever, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from the protegĂ© of John Prine. Religion, as stated, the financial crisis, children, life as others tell you to live it, good ol’ rock n’ roll, unemployment issues, bad ol’ rock n’ roll, revenge and of course you are some of the things that have been on this home-grown, peaceful stoner’s mind for some time now. While some characters can come to no better conclusion than murder, that doesn’t seem all that far off from life either. The question is, even though you might not agree with them, can they have done anything else? Is anyone else out there listening or is it just Snider? Inspiration line: “They say that living well is the best revenge / I say bullshit, the best revenge is to win.”

Recommended Track: Big Finish

Songwriter’s Album of the Year: The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth

At first, subtle. Though that’s not much different from any Mountain Goats album, John Darnielle has managed to put together his best since 2004’s We Shall All Be Healed, or maybe even 2002’s Tallahassee.

“Just before I leave / I throw up in the sink,” “Jump in front of trains all day,” “Somethings you do just to see / How bad they’ll make you feel,” “Every dreams a good dream / Even awful dreams are good dreams / If you’re doing it right,” “And you can’t tell me what my spirit tells me isn’t true / Can you,” “Burn down the tree line / Hold my hopes underwater / Stand there and watch them drown,” “Plug a night-light in / Leave the porch lights on / Because the small dark corners / Have designs on me,” “Forbidden rosary prayers all night,” “Wait for the fog to catch up with me so I can at least feel numb,” “In old movies people scream / Choking on their fists when they see shadows like these / But no one screams ’cause it’s just me,” “Maybe spit some blood at the camera / Just stay alive,” “Stay sick / Don’t get well.” A heavy dose of sparse piano, some classic JD style guitar songs, and all the while the simple, transcendental drumming of Jon Wurster holds it all together.

Even the pre-order only bonus track which you can find on Amazon, Steal Smoked Fish, carries more weight and girth than anything you’ve heard on TV in the past… I don’t know, decade or so. When did Tallahassee come out again?

Recommended Track: In Memory of Satan