Archive for December, 2011

AV Club has another great One Track Mind, this time with Craig Finn.

The weather today sucks, time for a rainy day mix:

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2011 – My Favorite Songs*

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Favorites

It’s the same deal as last year, I’m using an asterisk because I am treating this like a consolation prize for bands who had good songs but whose albums I didn’t enjoy as a whole or I just didn’t listen to enough. This list doesn’t include bands I mentioned in my list of favorite albums so I can avoid redundancy.

My Favorite Songs of 2011

Here we go:

“Nomad By Fate” by Chuck Ragan

“Two Against One” by Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi (featuring Jack White)

“Level With Yourself” by David Bazan

“This Is Why We Fight” by The Decemberists

“Helena Beat” by Foster The People

“Scottish Winds” by Frightened Rabbit

“Our Hearts Are Wrong” by Jessica Lea Mayfield

“Far To Go” by Nothington

“Stick Figures In Love” by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

“Car Crash” by Telekinesis

2011 – My Favorite Albums

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Favorites

I didn’t listen to as many new albums as I did last year (I blame all those reunion shows) but 2011 still had some good ones.

My Favorite Albums of 2011 (alphabetical order by band)

The Antlers – Burst Apart

This was the highly anticipated follow up to Hospice (2009). I saw them play this entire album live at the NPR show at SXSW. It’s much less depressing than their previous album, but it’s still good. This time around the Antlers go for a slightly poppier sound. At times this reminds me of Radiohead and also the Notwist. The Antlers manage to keep it interesting mainly because of Pete Silberman’s haunting falsetto vocals.

Deer Tick – Divine Providence

I’ve been a fan of Deer Tick for a few years now. I really loved the alt-country sound of their first two albums, War Elephant (2007) and Born On Flag Day (2009). However, when I saw them in 2010, they were going for a rowdier, faster, rock sound. Apparently, John McCauley put down the Hank Williams and picked up the Replacements. At first, this caught me off guard and I tuned them out for a while. Their latest album Divine Providence does a great job at taking that energy and refining it. I haven’t seen them since this came out, but after this album, Deer Tick is definitely on my radar again.

F*cked Up – David Comes to Life

I kind of missed the boat on this one. I’ve seen F*cked Up live before and they put on an entertaining show. I wasn’t really into their recorded music. I remember hearing about how these guys were putting out a hardcore rock opera and I kind of laughed it off. I finally gave it a listen about two months ago and I was blown away. If you like hardcore, you’ll like this album. Even if you don’t like hardcore you should at least set aside 80 minutes of your day and give it a listen.

The Lonely Forest – Arrows

Arrows is the third album and major label debut of this Anacortes, WA band. It’s no surprise this this it their most polished album to date. The album is also much poppier than their previous releases, most likely due to the production work of Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla. This album came out back in March so I’ve given it many listens. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s good, solid indie pop.

We Were Promised Jetpacks – In The Pit Of The Stomach

This is the second album from these boys from Scotland. It’s a little more aggressive than their first album but it’s not a major departure. It’s another dose of fast-paced, rhythmic post-punk. Basically, if you liked the first album, you are going to like this one.

Wild Flag – S/T

This is the debut album of Carrie Brownstein’s latest band, Wild Flag. Wild Flag are great live and this album does a nice job at conveying that energy. If you were a fan of Sleater-Kinney’s later albums, you are going to like this album. Although, Wild Flag’s sound comes off as much more playful than S-K. My favorite songs on here are “Romance” and “Boom.”

Think of your top 5 favorite bands. Do you remember the first time you heard them? Describe it. What song was it? When was it? Etc.

Alkaline Trio
What was the first song you heard by them? “Cooking Wine”
When was this? High school, 1998
How’d you hear it? I downloaded it off of some web page but it was legal. They were promoting the band
Did you like it? Yes, that bass line rocks. Which is kind of weird because I don’t think Alkaline Trio normally has bass-driven songs like that.

Jimmy Eat World
What was the first song you heard by them? “Claire”
When was this? High school, 1996
How’d you hear it? This girl made me a mix tape and this song was on there.
Did you like it? Yes, it’s a slow song but it’s definitely good. At the time, high school me thought it sounded like Smashing Pumpkins.

The Lawrence Arms
What was the first song you heard by them? “An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance”
When was this? High school, 1999
How’d you hear it? I bought the CD and put it into the Discman
Did you like it? Not at all, I was fan of the Broadways but this song just left me disappointed but I like it now for some reason.

Hot Water Music
What was the first song you heard by them? “Difference Engine”
When was this? High school, 1997
How’d you hear it? It was on this Blindspot Distribution CD Sampler.
Did you like it? Yeah but it was kind of weird. The bass line does rock though. It definitely wasn’t like any of the music I was listening to at the time. I got the sampler at a Less Than Jake show if that provides any context.

The Get Up Kids
What was the first song you heard by them? “Coming Clean”
When was this? High school, 1997
How’d you hear it? I bought the CD and it’s the first track so yeah.
Did you like it? Yeah, it was good. I definitely liked this band from the start. High school was filled with lots of Get Up Kids.

[Note: I adapted this from an old Facebook note circa 2008, thanks timeline.]