I thought about assembling a list of the best albums to come into KALX this year, but as I considered my choices, I realized that one album stands so far above the rest that it deserves its own best of list. And so I present to you what I consider to be far and away the best album of the year.
- V/A – Native North America, Vol. 1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985 (Light in the Attic)
Native North America features music from the indigenous peoples of Canada and the United States and highlights the fusion of contemporary musical styles with the unique experience of North American aboriginal peoples. Collected by Vancouver-based archaeologist Kevin Howes, this compilation was put together from original vinyl recordings with the sanction and support of the artists. As Light-in-the-Attic says, “You’ll hear Arctic garage rock from the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, melancholy Yup’ik folk from Alaska, and hushed country blues from the Wagmatcook First Nation reserve in Nova Scotia. You’ll hear echoes of Neil Young, Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash, and more among the songs, but injected with Native consciousness, storytelling, poetry, history, and ceremony.” Nominated for a Grammy in 2014, Native North America is an essential addition to the historical collection of indigenous music and draws attention to the wide range of musical genres that aboriginal peoples have integrated into their traditions in order to create sounds that transcend the boundaries of what most people know of Native American music. This album is an unparalleled reexamination of North American history and should be on every radio station shelf.