1 Missouri Homegrown – Stray Dogs of Rock and Roll
This is the record Missouri Homegrown was supposed to make. It doesn’t back down and has a swagger all its own. Anthems like “High In Missouri” and “Hey All You Rock and Rollers” harken back to the 70s when rock bands like Homegrown played arenas with droves of dedicated followers singing along. “Stray Dogs” is a game changer for the group as it is a step outside of anything they had previously done. This studio record was done right and shows the talent behind the erratic band that put this music together. This record belongs in a class of its own because it is unique and interesting and the songs are damn good.
2 Radkey – Dark Black Makeup
St. Joseph’s boy wonders finally took the big step of putting out a full-length record and it was exactly what they needed. It had hardcore punk edge, “Le Song,” as well as some laid back lounge rockers like “Hunger Pain.” The latter was the more important step to take, they had never really loosened their grip and fans couldn’t help but wonder if they could. “Love Spills” and “Parade It” prove their music is for the masses and can create a career for the three brothers but showing their songs have a little range was the more important thing to prove here, everyone knew they could already write catchy songs.
3 The Center State – Close Enough To Miss
This folky record may have come out of left field for many people. This trio came from the church doorsteps to put out a super clean sounding album with pop sensabilities. The bouncy opening track “Every Little Thing” shows this record is more than just good musicicians, they are good songwriters as well. The touches of violin are spilled on songs in all the right places and the singing is quite good. The acoustic strums fill out songs with thought out lyrics and each song contains enough of a unique splash in one way or another to keep them all interesting.
4 Matt Coman – Crooked Moon
Matt Coman wins the prize for most underrated album of the year yet again. “Crooked Moon” flew under the radar despite its fine production and healthy mix of americana beside a few rockers. He quenches his thirst for guitar rockers on “Post-Apocalyptic Driving Song” and “Walk Down” but also adventures into songs with all the focus on lyrics like “Ol’ Danny.” The soft touch of “I Just Can’t” is beautifully direct and refreshing while other songs like “Not Talking Anymore” scribe lyrical riddles to sort through, it will make you curious why this isn’t playing on more stereos.
5 Dreamgirl – Illuminaughty
Dreamgirl’s first EP proves they are one of the most progressive thinking bands in St. Joseph. These 6 songs reek of the coast, far from their home in the Midwest. The electronic sound and sweet harmonies makes the harshness of the Midwest feel more comfortable. “Pretty Sexual” is light and bouncy and “Sweet Thang” could be your new favorite shower song. The record is out of place in the area making it all that much more special among its surroundings. The songs paint a gentle dreamscape where heartbreak is bearable and love always triumphs, all while sounding cooler than cool.