Lonesome Onry and Mean

Lonesome Onry And Mean's Top 11 Obscure 2010 Albums

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7. Kim Richey, Wreck Your Wheels: A supreme example of a headphone record recalling Cowboy Junkies, Wreck Your Wheels is so quiet you almost have to strain to catch what's going on. As a writer and interpreter, Richey never disappoints. The definition of musical and lyrical subtlety, this is what so-called adult contemporary radio should sound like. "I've forgotten how / Is it too late now / To let you in?"

Kim Richey, "Leaving 49"

Kim Richey, "Leaving 49"

6. Erik Koskinen, Keep It To Yourself: Our best off-the-radar find of 2010. We get introduced to lots of people who then hand us a demo disc scribbled on in black Sharpie. Most of them go in the dumpster. We were intrigued by Koskinen's demo, and blown away by the expanded final product. A bunch of sly, memorable songs a la early James McMurtry. "If you'd known I was gonna be this way / you wouldn't be here just learnin' the hard way. "

Erik Koskinen, "Pretty Girls"

Erik Koskinen, "Pretty Girls"

5. Mike Stinson, The Jukebox In Your Heart: While some of Jukebox is funny and catchy as hell -- "Stop The Bar," "I Will Live To Drink Again" and Houston Press song of the year "Got No One To Drink With Anymore" -- other tracks like "Slip My Mind" and "Walk Away" are the bluest of blue, the downest of down. Stinson has a Bukowski streak that takes the scalpel, slices open the head, and probes the lonely, cancerous spots in the psyche with brutal terseness and elegance of phrase. "If you're gonna leave/ Slip my mind for me."

4. Ray Wylie Hubbard, A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C.): Hubbard cuts straight to the bone with these bluesy, unforgettable no-place-but-Texas rockers. By the time he's let us out of the storm cellar on "Tornado Ripe," we're afraid for our lives, entirely cognizant that it can all be destroyed on a whim. And as always with Hubbard, there's yin and there's yang. "We come out of that hole in the ground / and all directions of the compass was death and kindlin'."

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William Michael Smith