• 2011's favorites Part 2. 30-1!

    27. Jan. 2012, 10:24

    This year was the hardest list I've had to write thus far. But next year already sounds like hearbreak. New albums expected fromJukebox the Ghost, The Avett Brothers and a Ben Folds Five reunion album?! SERIOUSLY, no one could get it done in time for 2011? My three favorite bands shouldn't be allowed to release albums in the same year. And now I bring you 1-30! Except in the reverse order!

    30. Givers – In Light

    Up Up Up with Givers! This band from New Orleans is making a name for itself; this record is a folkier version of Matt & Kim or Mates of State. I am glad to hear Up Up Up in public (my bar even plays it) and the indie stations have all caught on to its extreme amount of catchiness. Up Up Up is just the beginning. The album is full of other great songs including, but not limited to; Saw You First and Go Out All Night. A theme this year seems to be ten track records, In Light is one of the longest ten trackers, there’s not a single song that runs less than four minutes on the whole album. That’s because the instrumentation is allowed its own time to develop and the lyrics glide along it. The stories get the time they deserve. Saw You First utilizes some great builds, and has an awesome bridge that lasts almost a minute. Go Out At Night turns more into a jam than earlier tracks, and is just as successful as the last.
    CHECK OUT: Up Up Up
    Go Out All Night
    Saw You First

    29. Cake – Showroom of Compassion

    This band has no pressure at this point. They will churn out records when they want to, tour when they want to, and skip the use of an opening band, if they want to. Showroom of Compassion is exactly what a CAKE record should be. John McCrea (of CAKE y’all) knows exactly what he’s doing. And frankly, doesn’t give an F if you don’t like it. The discography of CAKE is full of catchy alternative pop songs, with their signature sound and McCrea’s signature speak-singing. Lyrically one of the smartest bands out there, the word play throughout their catalogue is unparallel. Every song on this record has a place in the CAKE library, however, there’s nothing new going on here either. CAKE doesn’t care that I don’t think they’ve broken any ground recently, and honestly, I’m very fond of CAKE the way they are, just not much space in the top of the list. CAKE’s last release, 2004’s Pressure Chief was a long time ago, and McCrea has been quoted to say that this record sounds very different. I beg to differ, sir, but I’m not upset by the fact.
    CHECK OUT: Sick of You
    Federal Funding
    Bound Away

    28. City & Colour – Little Hell

    What a beautiful voice. In the era of falsettos, Dallas Green’s ranks amongst the best. He also ranks amongst best Canadians, right up there with William Shatner. It does not come as a surprise that Little Hell topped the Canadian charts, rightly so. Glad to see it get as high as 28th in America, where the music runs a bit on the dull side. Green has such a handle on how to craft a ballad. It is hard to remember sometimes that City and Colour is a sideproject. Little Hell is Green’s finest work yet as it wins your heart. The combination of Northern Wind and O’Sister back to back is heart wrenching. O’Sister may be 2011’s saddest songs; anyone who has sisters and has seen them in their darkest days knows what Green is talking about.
    CHECK OUT: O’Sister
    Northern Wind
    Fragile Bird

    27. Maritime – Human Hearts

    Got to give the local guys some love, and they deserve it. With Human Hearts Maritime has finally figured out who they are and what they sound like. The band members are a little older, a little more mature and pull together the great things of their previous efforts to put out a great record. Hearts is in every aspect their strongest and smartest record to date, a hidden gem. Paraphernalia ranks as one of Maritime’s all time best, alongside Annihilation Eyes. Between those and Apple of My Irony Davey von Bohlen has hit his stride. Irony is one of 2011’s strongest written songs. Lyrically, musically, dynamically, you name it, it’s got it.
    CHECK OUT: Apple of My Irony
    Annihilation Eyes

    26. The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

    The world of folk music is getting so full. It probably always has been, but each year more and more is brought to prominence. The Civil Wars’ Barton Hollow is a bandwagon I jumped on a little late, and we’re still getting familiar. With tracks like I’ve Got this Friend it’s hard to not imagine being longtime friends. Vocally John Paul White and Joy Williams are meant for each other. Their voices blend so incredibly well we are lucky they met each other. The great drive on the title track is something everyone should be able to stomp along to. Every time a band like this rolls around, I can easily hear my parents’ influence on my taste in music, songs like Forget Me Not remind me of an older era of music, and are just so artfully done, how could you not fall in love?
    CHECK OUT: Barton Hollow
    Forget Me Not
    I’ve Got this Friend

    25. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light

    This album keeps getting pushed down the list. It’s unfortunate that so much great music came out this year, in the best kind of unfortunate that can be. Nine Types of Light rocks and grooves the way you expect out of the experts behind TV on the Radio. The band is full of professionals. They fuse so many types of music from rock to jazz to a cappella to punk to soul to psychedelic the band surely has something for everybody. The strangely named Second Song opens the album right. The single of Will Do is so well done that it’s frightening. Keep Your Heart, Killer Crane and You also standout. Killer Crane is Nine Types of Light’s longest track, but it also creates one of the best arenas of sound on the record. Dynamically speaking it brings you up and fills you with a great horn section with perfectly executed vocals, and hell, adds a banjo – which is unexpected from TVotR – near the end of the song. Could be a Sufjan Stevens song, but is so certainly still a TV on the Radio song. TV on the Radio continually puts out great records, and trust in the fact that they will continue to do so.
    CHECK OUT: Will Do
    Keep Your Heart
    Killer Crane

    24. Wye Oak – Civilian

    This folk-rock band has a hint of dream pop in its DNA. Bridging some of the genre lines make Civilian one of 2011’s best. Wonderful vocals and skilled musicianship keep you listening. The record is on the mellow side but still is able to maintain a strong guitar line through most tracks, and even have you on the edge of your seat. Holy Holy may be one of the greatest songs in 2011. It brings in folk and shoegaze, and I’m sure other bands do this too, but Holy Holy does it so extremely well that this is the song that defines Civilian. The song explodes, so much that you can even hear the monitor clip in the bridge. The builds and falls throughout the song are artfully crafted, and knows how to just give you enough. Follow up track Dogs Eyes is a perfect answer to Holy Holy, brings in a heavier guitar, thinner drumming, sparser music as a whole, and just lets the music speak for itself. Album closer Doubt has one of the best mixes on the album, the levels on the vocals and on the guitar are perfect, Jenn Wasner’s voice flies and her guitar flies right along side it.
    CHECK OUT: Holy Holy
    Dogs Eyes

    23. Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours

    This is not a popular record. I will not apologize for my love of it. The record is catchy as hell. After a stunning debut in 2006 with Robbers & Cowards I have been waiting for a record from Cold War Kids that embodied the same feel. Mine is Yours is a return to form. Coming out in January Yours has had a lot of time to win its way into the brain radio of listeners. Maybe the critics are expecting something different from the band, but tracks like Sensitive Kid, Royal Blue and Skip the Charades, should have anyone singing praises for this band. Perhaps there is a too strong vibe of commerciality on Mine is Yours, and indie snobs tend to reject that. (See Regina Spektor’s Far). Nathan Willett’s voice is something that gives the band such a unique identity, it’s been described as a yelp before (Hang Me Up to Dry) but on Yours Willett finds that his voice can sing too. On Blue Willett allows his voice to go to places it hasn’t before, and it comes out on top. This is an album that is easy to listen to over and over again; each song has a great hook and, sure, has a touch of commerciality. But since when is being radio friendly a problem, if it does not impact your sound? Willett’s voice is most similar on Kid to earlier tracks like Up to Dry and Something Is Not Right With Me. Vocally more “yelpy” and is a bit more sparse in the instrumentation department. The storytelling in Kid is a great track for anyone who has gone through their parents divorcing. Charades is a perfect recounting of a relationship on the fritz, while no one confronts the issue. Every song has lyrics that weave their way into your mind and will catch up with you weeks later, and refuse to leave. CHECK OUT: Skip the Charades
    Sensitive Kid
    Royal Blue
    Mine Is Yours

    22. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

    Maybe it’s not fair to put out a two disc set. Maybe it’s great. The set runs just shy of an hour and a half, but they are great counter parts for each other. Starting out strong with Intro and 1.2 hours later ending, a bit strangely with Outro. Midnight City is a song that personifies M83, crazy synthesizers, spacey lyrics and the ability to make you dance where you are standing. Disc two’s standout track is OK Pal which embodies the same spirit as Midnight City. Raconte-Moi Une Histoire has a great voice over from a child, in fact, it’s got such honest beauty in it in only a way M83 has been able to do, record to record to record.
    Raconte-Moi Une Histoire
    Midnight City

    21. Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys!

    2008’s The Seldom Seen Kid set the standard high. Build a Rocket Boys! met those expectations, this Britpop band has not gone off their rocker and try to go American (see Muse), staying true to form and writing wonderful lyrics will keep spurring one of the best bands you love without knowing it throughout the years. Someone once called them the ultimate sleeper band, and they were ultimately correct. The Night Will Always Win is an excellent four minutes of music. Great ambiance and wonderful lyrics spur this to the album’s highlight; perfectly placed smack in the middle of the record gives you something to head towards and come down off of. “I miss your stupid face / I miss your bad advice / I tried to clothe your bones with scratches / Super 8s, exaggerated stories and old tunes/ But never by the moon / But not the state I'm in / The night will always win.” The band is a pro at knowing how to use album dynamics, picking you up from the heartbreak of Always Win you are suddenly spurred into High Ideals which has a lot more sound and is another triumph. They’ve done it before, on the same record, even. From mellow Lippy Kids into sing-along With Love flowing while simultaneously changing mentality on harder rocking Neat Little Rows Elbow knows what they are doing, and will continue to do so.
    CHECK OUT: The Night Will Always Win
    High Ideals
    With Love
    Neat Little Rows

    20. Hotel Lights – Girl Graffiti

    So I’m biased. Every single list is. The writer has their own taste. Hotel Lights is one of my favorite bands. Headed by one of my favorite people in the world; Darren Jessee. Given Girl Graffiti’s predecessor Firecracker People selected as record of the year in 2008, coming in at number 20 is a considerable downfall. Jessee takes a bit more of a step down path to the folk world since the much more electronic beginnings in the self titled debut. Girl Graffiti is good; it just needs one more song with some pushing power, and some better mixing. Jessee’s vocals get lost in the mix. Shimmering lights of greatness come on the poppy Dave Sharkey to the Dance Floor and the snarky Ben Folds Five era All My Asshole Friends. The honest truth is that this record doesn’t have the staying power Firecracker People had so much of, but, it is still a great record. When the record first came out it was in constant rotation, but since then it’s fallen off once again. Maybe the bar is too high for Darren to possibly be able to jump? Being on a pedestal sucks, man.
    CHECK OUT: All My Asshole Friends
    Dave Sharkey to the Dance Floor
    Into the Blue
    Headboard and Asprin

    19. Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials

    Florence Welch. That seems like enough. This sophomore release isn’t Lungs, but it sure is fantastic too. This is Welch a bit more orchestral than her debut, and her voice is a bit more restrained. It still is one of the best voices around; the album is more symphonic than pop. Unfortunately, Ceremonials is a bit top heavy. The record begins with the two catchiest tracks the entire album long; Only if For a Night and Shake it Out. Heartlines is also a stand out. The album does not have a song less than four minutes. There are some bonus tracks on certain editions of the record, and Bedroom Hymns (the only song associated with the release less than four minutes) deserved to be on the regular record, one of Welch’s best from 2011, certainly spring for the Deluxe Edition. Great to see her do more, but Ceremonials doesn’t weave its way into your brain as well as Lungs did, outside of Shake it Out and Only if For a Night.
    CHECK OUT: Shake it Out
    Only if For a Night
    Bedroom Hymns

    18. Eisley – The Valley

    This side of Eisley is angry, sarcastic, biting. Yet characteristically they sound sound so pleasantly sweet. (I do not love the reason’s they ended up so upset.) These ladies (and sisters) know how to get right back up on the horse after it has bucked you off. That is inspiring. Ambulance might be one of the year’s best break up songs. Smarter is a tour de force when it comes to “I’m better off without you” songs. “Even though I miss you / I’m thankful / it’s obvious that this run was futile / so put your hands together and clap for the things, the choice you made / cause it’s right / I’m smarter than you.” All with one of the best guitar lines of the year. What human being cannot empathize? Please, Oxygen Mask, and Sad are also notable tracks. This family can rock with the best of them, working as a better female fronted rock band than most. The DuPree family has been through divorces, cheating husbands, breaking up with the label, and weddings in the years between records. The DuPree family knows how to turn life into a song. Sherri and Stacy write some of the most honest lyrics around today, and they put them out there in some of the sweetest packaging.
    CHECK OUT: Smarter
    Oxygen Mask

    17. Portugal. The Man – In the Mountain in the Cloud

    There’s always a worry when an indie band moves up in the world of labels. People worried about The Avett Brothers and I and Love and You, people worried about Portugal. The Man with In the Mountain in the Cloud. People really should stop worrying. From time to time it goes askew, but, when a band knows who they are so certainly like the aforementioned, all a bigger label means is better quality sound, and a better budget. Mountain is just that, a better sounding Portugal record. So American is a fantastic way to open up a record. The lyrics these guys write are just spot on. Social commentary has a place in pop music. Whoever said it doesn’t is just clueless. If you cannot identify with the ideas behind Sleep Forever, you have not had a job that has worn you out properly. It would be remiss to not mention the great falsetto vocals that this band has perfected, in a completely different sense than Justin Vernon or Alec Ounsworth. The beats throughout this record are why this record is in my top 20. Honestly this year is far too stacked to have a fair list. This record really is a top 10 sounding record. There are just more than 10 records that are. Artwork also gets a shout out.
    CHECK OUT: So American
    All Your Light (Times Like These)
    Sleep Forever

    16. Okkervil River – I Am Very Far

    Album opener The Valley is driving. Okkervil River is driving along the road of their careers, and Will Sheff knows where he’s heading, willing to let us hitchhike. I Am Very Far features some of the best orchestral moments we’ve heard from Okkervil River. The evolution of this band has been wonderful to listen to. I Am Very Far blends some of their best sounds into one cohesive record. It is not, perhaps, the best record to introduce a new person to the band through, however for fans around the world it is a welcome inclusion in the discography. Track after track they continue to excel, and perhaps become a bit more abstract as the record goes along. Your Past Life is a Blast should remind fans of some of Okkervil River’s older work. Show Yourself is one of Sheff’s best sung songs. The third track Rider could be the album’s best, it combines the pop sensibilities of 2007’s The Stage Names, the orchestral builds and dark underlings of 2005’s Black Sheep Boy. I Am Very Far is a record of continuance. It’s a record that keeps Okkervil River as forerunners in indie music today. They are an essential inclusion in anyone’s music library. This record, admittedly, is a bit of a sleeper, but it is a sleeper that reminds you why you selected it each time you listen.
    CHECK OUT: Rider, Show Yourself
    The Valley
    Your Past Life is a Blast

    15. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

    Annie Clark knows how to rock. There is something about how her voice is just so sweet over that fuzz bass. It’s what makes St Vincent so enticing. The juxtaposition of almost too-sweet vocals with an experimental surrounding is what makes St Vincent so good. Cheerleader is a perfect example. Clark’s lyrics are meaningful and vocally smooth as butter, and accompanied by a buzzing drumbeat and fuzzed to hell guitar. Strange Mercy is much more of an album one must listen through start to finish. Each track lays the ground for listener to be ready for the next track. Cruel has one of the greatest beats of the year. Clark hits being a woman in love on the nail with Neutered Fruit, which highlights some of Strange Mercy’s best sounds and best lyrics. Surgeon is just full of some of the coolest sounding guitar pedals that they’re essentially irresistible, every pass Clark changes it up. This album is much better as a whole than a series of singles, which is becoming rarer in today’s music world.
    CHECK OUT; Cheerleader
    Neutered Fruit

    14.The Antlers – Burst Apart

    Surprise find of the year. Opener I Don’t Want Love is so strong that it made me stop what I was doing the first time I heard it (thanks whoever it was on Turntable). Burst Apart is so well crafted as a whole. There is such a great use of falsetto on the record that people may even think there is a woman in the band (see Parentheses). There isn’t. The two strongest tracks on the record may be the bookends, but only by a margin. Each track has its own feel, its own story, and does it incredibly well. The final track of Putting the Dog to Sleep is the closest thing to a power ballad of the 80s in today’s music; it also may house some of the saddest lyrics of the year. The guts of the album, including major highlight of Rolled Together remind the listener of Radiohead to Arcade Fire to Sigur Ros while maintaining its own identity.
    CHECK OUT: I Don’t Want Love
    Rolled Together
    Putting the Dog to Sleep

    13. The Rosebuds – Loud Planes Fly Low

    Loud Planes Fly Low will keep you company in your lonesomeness because it’s lonely too. Album opener Go Ahead set the tone for a record that grows in your heart, it doesn’t have to hit you over the head, it comes to you as it is. Each song is built to lead you into the next. Utilizing both band members’ vocals Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard is one of the band’s strong points. Kelly’s strongest work comes with Come Visit Me. Ivan’s most heartfelt music comes from Worthwhile an actual letter he wrote to his estranged wife, and band mate, while separated. The album’s rockiest track Woods wins them into anyone’s soul, and deserves so much more attention. The record encompasses the divorce of Ivan and Kelly. The whole situation must be strange. Their divorce, while most likely awful for them, gave the band what it needed to make their best record. Hopefully Ivan and Kelly can maintain their friendship with each other enough to continue to tour and make beautiful music together.
    CHECK OUT: Woods
    Go Ahead
    Come Visit Me

    12. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

    2009’s Album was a masterpiece, and 2011’s Father, Son, Holy Ghost is a welcomed follow up. Album opener Honey Bunny let’s you know what you’re in for; an album that is a love song to the music of 60s and the 70s. Honey Bunny has such a Beach Boys feel to it, if the Beach Boys had grown up in a cult like lead vocalist Christopher Owens did. Beach Boys plus Pink Floyd seems to equal out to Girls. There’s nothing wrong with that. Girls cover their bases when it comes to great tracks; Alex is a great love song, Die is a great rock song (great, great opening guitar riff), but all are eclipsed by the stellar Love Like a River. River calls upon The Beatles’ classic Oh Darling more than anything, and is so wonderfully executed. It also calls upon 60s soul with its back up vocals – piano and vocals alike, even the lyrics are reminiscent of that time. The album works as a great cohesive unit, and it continues to impress on each listen.
    CHECK OUT: Love Like a River
    Honey Bunny

    11. Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

    The opening four tracks are outstanding. The following seven are also as fantastic. You can hear the John Prine influence all over American Goldwing, or the sheer fact that this genre has more than a few forefathers, but if you can’t hear Prine in Fletcher you’re listening. Lyrically and the execution both seem like a song that could have come out mid-70s. Love the Way You Walk Away may be one of the band’s all-time best, it’s got fantastic drums, beautiful harmonies and a perfect banjo part throughout, they bring in a beautiful harmonica as the song dies down, right before it blows up in finale. Blitzen Trapper’s take on rock-folk is one of the best out there right now. They made a name for themselves with Wild Mountain Nation, and American Goldwing will keep their place in the forefront.
    CHECK OUT: Love the Way You Walk Away
    Might Find It Cheap
    Taking it Easy Too Long

    10. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math

    Andy Hull. Hull has seemingly figured it out that his voice is what sells this band, in the same vein as Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), and hell, Florence Welch. This band has grown up. Mean Everything to Nothing was fantastic, and put them on the map with I’ve Got Friends. Simple Math picks up where Everything leaves off, and adds a more developed sound, more contemplative lyrics, and a better blend. Speaking of blend, one of the best things about this band is the blend between heartfelt sung lyrics and diving right into rock anthems, see Pensacola. The album’s closer Leaky Breaks is a seven minute rock triumph. Hull’s lyrics, when at their best, are autobiographical, Breaks, reeks of authenticity; “Yelled about a bunch of things that if you looked / you'd never see for our eternities / and I blamed you for not being / someone you could not be, someone you'll never be”. It is also one of the albums slowest tempo songs, reminding you that Manchester Orchestra is more than just any old alternative rock band, and that good things are still to come.
    CHECK OUT: Simple Math
    Leaky Breaks

    09. The Decemberists – The King is Dead

    Colin Meloy is a pro. There isn’t much more that can be said outside of that. On The King is Dead you can tell that Meloy’s songwriting has hit a sweet spot. Dead is a beautiful mix of the musicality of 2009’s Hazards of Love had and the pop sensibilities of 2005’s Picaresque, in short, it’s The Decemberists at their best. The record is smoothly run from Don’t Carry It All through Dear Avery. The one downfall of the record is the lack of length. However after Hazards there’s a beauty in the simplicity. Track after track is certain to remind you, and me, of why you fell in love with The Decemberists all those years ago. Halfway through the album is standout January Hymn. January may be one of Meloy’s finest songs; his voice soars over the plucked guitars and backing vocals. January is one of 2011’s best songs, hands down, in clocking in at a shockingly short three minutes and thirteen seconds, January holds some of Meloy’s best intonation to date. The record makes 2011’s top ten for that reason alone.
    CHECK OUT: January Hymn
    Calamity Song
    Don't Carry It All
    This Is Why We Fight

    08. Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

    From the get go this album has your attention. Their blend of Americana/folk is timeless. Taylor Goldsmith’s voice has such a beautiful feel to it. The lyrics are straight to your heart, and the music lends itself to its ageless feel. From track one, Time Spent in Los Angeles to closer A Little Bit of Everything Dawes created a fantastic follow up record to 2009’s North Hills. Once again a family band (the two vocalists are Goldsmiths), therefore born into what should be easier harmonizing, uses it to a huge advantage. This record is a long lost friend. Everything has some of the most heart wrenching lyrics. It’s fantastic piece of storytelling that explains the heartache of a boy attempting to jump and a police man attempting to talk him down; the story of a homeless man who’s in a food line and recounting his life having passed him by; And a story of an engaged couple who the man is clueless into why the woman is putting in all this work into their future. Everything about this record is a step up from that already great debut record. Every song is a masterpiece. Now that they’ve topped one record, will they be able to top this one? The stakes are frighteningly high. If Girls’ Father, Son, Holy Ghost is a 60s album, Nothing Is Wrong has much more 70s to it.
    CHECK OUT: A Little Bit of Everything
    Time Spent in Los Angeles
    Coming Back to a Man
    If I Needed Someone

    07. My Morning Jacket – Circuital

    Circuital is also another phenomenal record from such a prolific band. Track after track is so meticulously thought out and executed. Album opener Victory Dance is such a wonderful title and beginning mindset of a record that is, in fact, a victory. Holding on to Black Metal has some of the best, and strangest, child choir parts to date. Jim James’ voice is spot on in Wonderful (The Way I Feel). Outta My System is perhaps the most honest song around about life and drugs and the way being a young 20 something impacts your judgment. The 45 minute, ten track, album may not be the longest My Morning Jacket record to date, or have the best artwork, but it could easily be the best crafted. My Morning Jacket is on a roll, knows how to rock and will continue to slay fans wherever this journey takes them. Psychedelic rock plus enough alt-country and their energizing live performances translates so well onto this record that fans off Off the Record and Highly Suspicious should both be pleased (and those of us that love both).
    CHECK OUT: Wonderful (The Way I Feel)
    Holding On to Black Metal
    Outta My System
    Victory Dance

    06. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

    Robin Pecknold and Justin Vernon should call a truce, and not release records in the same year. Two of this generation’s most soaring and beautiful voices should not have to compete with each other. Helplessness Blues is a great continuance from 2008’s debut Fleet Foxes and the same year’s EP Sun Giant. Helplessness deserves the Grammy nomination for best folk record of the year. The harmonies Fleet Foxes made their name on are still here. The orchestral sounds are still here. Helplessness is just simply chapter two in the story of Fleet Foxes. Helplessness sounds familiar from the very first listen, song after song flows one into another in this fifty minute adventure. Every track is wonderful, but Helplessness Blues is a quintessential Fleet Foxes track, alongside Montezuma. Pecknold’s lyrics are incredibly identifiable; “I was raised up believing I was somehow unique / like a snowflake distinct amongst snowflakes unique in each way you can see / and now after some thinking / I say I’d rather be a functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me / but I don’t, I don’t know what that will be / I’ll get back to you someday soon, you will see” The album’s title track is a masterpiece in of itself.
    CHECK OUT: Helplessness Blues
    Montezuma, Battery Kinzie
    Someone You’d Admire
    The Shrine / An Argument

    05. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

    Sam Beam. Sam Beam with a full blown horn section. Back up singers. A confident voice. Previous Iron & Wine efforts have been phenomenal. It is hard to imagine Beam putting out a record that was not at this point. Each album in the discography has a distinct feel, Kiss Each Other Clean says that Beam can convince you instead of compel you, and that he is a master at each. Track after track is artfully filled out. Me & Lazarus has such a great beat, which is a crazy thing to say given who the artist is. Beam maintains his artful, and storytelling, lyrics throughout, he just packs a harder punch vocally here. Tree By the River utilizes some of Beam’s smoothest vocals on the album. The harmonies throughout are just gorgeous. Rabbit Will Run holds some of Beam’s strangest lyrics “she blew me a kiss / when they caught me the cuffs got the blood from my wrist/ cause a rabbit will run and a pig has to lay in its piss”, Monkeys Uptown gives it a run for its money “no one likes a beggar slightly over dressed/ trouble comes in funky clothes/ you can always find a razor lying in the road/ and it’s looking like you’d better do what they say / those monkeys uptown told you not to fuck around”. Both are highly successful. Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me is one of Beam’s grooviest songs to date, on a fairly bass heavy, for Iron & Wine, record. Another Creek Drank the Cradle would have been good, but Clean proves that music is an ever growing process. Beam gets to show us another side of him. Even the album’s artwork is in a different style than previous efforts. Beam is not scared to take leaps in to uncharted territory. We cannot be scared to follow him. Everything thus far has been completely positive.
    CHECK OUT: Me & Lazarus
    Tree By the River
    Rabbit Will Run
    Monkeys Uptown
    Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me

    04. The Black Keys – El Camino

    The Black Keys are incapable of creating bad records. They’re incapable of creating half-assed albums. Each and every album is excellent. El Camino picks up right where Brothers dropped us off and feels like songs you loved on records all the way back to The Big Come Up. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are two incredible musicians, impressing how much noise these two guys make so damn well. It’s a short record, almost twenty minutes shorter than Brothers, but that doesn’t make it less of a record by any means. The record has only been out for a few weeks and it’s hard to not be completely enamored with it. The guitar riff in Lonely Boy, Gold on the Ceiling has one of my favorite sounds on the record, Dead and Gone may be the singalong-ist, the dynamics on Little Black Submarines (and the break down, OH THE BREAK DOWN), the absolute Black Keys purity of Money Maker, is just the first five tracks. Everything about it screams great record. Everything about it puts it up amongst the years’ bests, though; expect to see it on 2012 lists left and right. Most year end lists were written before the album was even dropped.
    CHECK OUT: Money Maker
    Lonely Boy
    Little Black Submarines
    Gold on the Ceiling
    Dead and Gone

    03. Kevin Devine – Between the Concrete and Clouds

    Words cannot describe this record. Kevin Devine is more than a fantastic musician, he’s a fantastic artist. Lyrically and musically and production on this record are just ahead of the game. Every track is better than the last. Record after record this man out does himself. Between the Concrete and Clouds houses some of Devine’s most haunting vocals to date. This is saying something, Devine’s voice and lyrics are what set him apart from his friends of Jesse Lacey and Andy Hull. Everything is much more thought through. Everything is believed just a bit more. Devine as a solo set is much more believed, much more honest, and more brutal in the social commentary aspect. Devine lets his voice raise the standard through The First Hit. 11-17 features a great guitar riff, as Devine moves more and more into electronic guitar (see the title track from 2009’s Brother’s Blood) he continues to develop and continues to excel. Devine is a real songwriter. A true songwriter, which is missing so much in today’s day and age. A songwriter who knows that one isn’t constrained to just plucking out a few songs on the guitar to get there. Devine’s influences are great ones, and the listener can hear it; from Neutral Milk Hotel, to Nirvana, to Elliott Smith, Devine has great taste, and makes great albums.
    CHECK OUT; 11-17
    Sleepwalking Through My Life
    Awake in the Dirt
    The First Hit
    I Used To Be Someone

    02. The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart

    We can argue about the date this record was really released, but did any of us in the Midwest know who this band was before 2011? Don’t think so. Easily the best new artist to the collection of 2011, and there are some good ones out there this year. Also, if the national debut of The Head and the Heart had come without Rivers and Roads the album would likely not rank nearly as high, being the only track added to the label debut. Rivers and Roads is what music is about. It has the dynamics we all crave, the end of the song is jaw dropping 30 listens later. The vocals give you the goose bumps, and it is surrounded by beautiful track after beautiful track. On first listen Rivers and Roads will sell you into this band and the tracks Lost in My Mind, Down in the Valley, Heaven Go Easy on Me and Sounds Like Hallelujah will cement you into loving this record. (That being said, they all will.) The blend between the voices of Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell and Charity Rose Thielen is special. Charity’s voice gives a certain texture to the vocals, and Josiah and Jonathan’s voices blend so extremely well together, while maintaining personality and dynamics. In fact, The Head and The Heart work best when all three are singing, each voice can lead a song and each voice is also a great harmonizer. A short record, coming in just shy of 40 minutes, these ten songs will win their way into your heart, their blend of folk just on the verge of Americana and great vocals should appeal to anyone. This is a record that everyone should include in their collection.
    CHECK OUT: Rivers and Roads
    Lost in My Mind
    Sounds Like Hallelujah
    Down in the Valley

    01. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

    2008(7, held the self release)’s For Emma, Forever Ago has a remarkable tale and won over the hearts of millions across the globe, including Kanye West and me and those guys over at Pitchfork. It’s hard not to list Bon Iver as the year’s best record. In fact, it’s impossible imagine any other record up top. This collection of songs is very different then those of the debut. Bon Iver’s ten tracks have a fuller sound. It will punch you square in the gut if you’re not paying attention. Resounding drums, horn sections, and the defining vocals all come along on this sophomore record. Vernon was clearly trying to show yet another side of him to us. Opening track Perth starts, most assuredly with the six quietest seconds you can imagine, and builds into a great song filled with drums we’re all not accustomed to. Vernon isn’t playing around, Bon Iver sounds completely different for a reason. Minnesota, WI starts with Vernon’s vocal register starting slow and flying into his now famous falsetto. Lyrically speaking, half the time you cannot understand what Vernon is saying; this is clearly on purpose. Half the time when you can hear what he is singing you don’t even follow the story, but the music of it all, the music of the notes coming out of his mouth included create such an emotion that the story doesn’t matter. It’s the feeling for each and every one of us that is important here, what it means to Vernon isn’t necessarily what it means to you or me. Grammy nominated Holocene is maybe one of the best understood Bon Iver tracks, it is also the album’s longest. It swells and compels repeated listens. With all the sound that wasn’t on Emma, Bon Iver will still be able to bring you to those tears Skinny Love, Wolves and RE: Stacks got us with a few years ago. This man is a genius. Towers contains one of the biggest uses of auto-tune. But it’s not auto-tune to fix that gorgeous voice, it’s there to distort, to add texture, and Towers has plenty of texture. The dynamics that Vernon brings to the table with Bon Iver are unparallel. The man is a master at his craft, and cannot wait for the next step, the next show, the next EP. Hinnom, TX might contain some of the album’s best harmonies. “All this time with your heart in mine, didn’t you edit.” Calgary may be the defining song of Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Vernon’s voice used the most as the thread throughout, it allows for a great pedal infused voice and gorgeous vocals “there’s really nothing to the sound.” And then it brings us right back down as soon as it’s really started going. Vernon keeps everything in check and stays immensely true to himself. Flowing right into the album’s shortest Lisbon, OH which is almost around to say that Bon Iver is more than just a voice. No vocals at all in that minute and a half. It flows seamlessly into Beth / Rest. You could not ask for a better song to close your album out. The most use of vocal distortion on the record opens the track. The horn section is phenomenal. The electric guitar is phenomenal. Some of the highest reaches (probably with the help of autotune) of Vernon’s voice come near the end of this beautiful song and album. It just has an everlasting feel. I hope he goes out there and wins the pants off of all the fellow nominated Grammy bands. He deserves it, his musicianship is outstanding.
    CHECK OUT: Calgary
    Minnesota, WI
    Hinnom, TX
  • 2011's favorites. Part 1 75-31.

    27. Jan. 2012, 10:17

    Goodness. I was able to whittle it down to a top SEVENTY FIVE. Through this process I learned that there is a maximum number of characters allowed on a webpage. So this is coming at you in two parts!

    75. Neon Indian – Era Extrana

    2009’s debut Psychic Chasms came out and put Neon Indian on the map, there is a bit of a worry that Era Extrana is a bit forced. That being said, the record is fun while it lasts. Just needs some more refinement. Album is also a bit bottom heavy, perhaps giving it that rushed feeling, the listener is inclined to skip ahead to the second half of the album and then return to the beginning. If only to skip ahead for Future Sick alone; some of the year’s best sounds are housed in this track. The album’s other highlights include catchy as hell Polish Girl and fun Halogen (I Could Be a Shadow).
    CHECK OUT: Future Sick
    Halogen (I Could Be a Shadow)
    Polish Girl

    74. Other Lives – Tamer Animals

    There is some great instrumentation on this record. The soundscapes are enchanting. Best use of close to symphony sounds in an indie rock band that I can think of. Beautiful. The best of Kunek in their new life as Other Lives, aptly named, is on this record. Other Lives totally earned the opening spot for Radiohead this upcoming winter.
    CHECK OUT: Woodwind
    Heading East

    73. Dominant Legs – Invitation

    In a totally different direction, this is a great example of indie-pop. There are great bass lines throughout the record. I like to think of this as Deerhoof and Matt & Kim’s bastard child. The vocal leanings should remind anyone of either band. Catchy stuff!
    CHECK OUT: Take a Bow
    Darling Girls
    Lady is Sleek and So Petite

    72. Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital

    This record grabs your attention from the very beginning. Easy record to jam to, easily added to the work out music play list. The record just streams fairly seamlessly from track to track to track. This is not Handsome Furs’ strongest work, however. The tracks on Sound Kapital are not nearly as memorable as their previous release Face Control. I’m Confused may not be top-able.
    CHECK OUT: What About Us
    No Feelings
    Serve the People

    71. Maria Taylor – Overlook

    One half of Azure Ray isn’t one half of the music. Maria Taylor has successfully put out record after record both solo and part of the aforementioned duo. Her voice is enchanting. It feels like a dream. The story behind the production of this record is a fun one. Taylor strove to make the record feel like the south. She got together a lot of artists from the area to fill out the sounds of her record, even the producer is from Birmingham, AL. She succeeds. It is easy to imagine driving across the country listening to Overlook. It has real road-trip potential. Happenstance hits you with Alabama in the face. The lyrics are so relatable that it doesn’t even matter if you’ve been south of the Mason Dixie line. While also hitting the southern side of our souls, Taylor accentuates the feeling of being a woman; taps right into our insecurities and our spirit. Bad Idea? hits right on the worries of being alone forever. There are few humans who cannot relate to that.
    CHECK OUT: Happenstance
    Bad Idea?

    70. Birdy – Birdy

    This girl is barely in puberty. Listening to her voice you would not believe it for one second. Her conviction is fantastic. This album is a load of covers, taking away several points, however the covers of 1901, Skinny Love, The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, Terrible Love and White Winter Hymnal require the inclusion of this song on any year end list. Listening to her version of 1901 reminds the listener of Phoenix’s original, however, Birdy gives so much of her own self to the song it is also hard to remember that the song is, in fact, a cover. She covers each song in her style. There is no attempt to make it sound like a perfect replica. She makes it hers. The judges on reality television shows would be pleased. Her version of Skinny Love helped me fall in love with the over played Bon Iver introduction song all over again, not to mention her annunciation is better than Justin Vernon’s altogether. You can tell she believes it, which is hard to believe when you remember how young she is (15!!!, 14 at the time of the recording), but she gets it. The girl is older than her years. Birdy’s cover of District is only the second professional cover of The Postal Service’s classic I have ever heard, and she does it 150% justice. Her piano playing is artful on White Winter Hymnal. I cannot wait to see what this girl does as her own self, this voice is gorgeous. This piano playing is gorgeous, now for her own stories, Without a Word is the album’s only original, and it bodes well for the future.
    CHECK OUT: Skinny Love
    White Winter Hymnal
    The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
    Without a Word
    Terrible Love

    69. Radiohead – King of Limbs

    Perhaps 37.4 minutes is not a long enough Radiohead record. King of Limbs is a solid release, but it is not entirely phenomenal either. There are glints of the greatness Radiohead is, but Limbs just seems like an EP more than an LP. At original listen it was ranked as a top 25 record, but then the rest of the albums ahead of it came around. Limbs came out in the early parts of 2011 and apparently did not make a lasting enough record to pull it to the forefront. When listening to Radiohead there are other records to go to. Limbs has potential, it just doesn’t feel fully realized. It is also only eight tracks long. Trim off a few of the duds (which there are) and turn it into and EP and the listener won’t leave with a feeling of being underwhelmed.
    CHECK OUT: Codex
    Lotus Flower

    68. Deer Tick – Divine Providence

    This is a foot stompin’ record. It’s a fun record. But there isn’t much depth to it. Let’s All Go to the Bar is loads of fun, but there’s no meaning to it except to get plastered. Fun is fun, but it’s not groundbreaking. The record as a whole is a lot of fun, and Funny Word is where it excels the most. It maintains a serious mentality through most, except the voice over, it addresses more than a serious topic, but maintains a light air and still makes you tap your foot alongside. And what in the world is with a 36 minute track to close the album out?
    CHECK OUT: Funny Word
    Something to Brag About
    Let’s All Go to the Bar

    67. Blind Pilot – We Are the Tide

    3 Rounds and a Sound was a great debut, and this band seems to be on the right path. The dynamics throughout the record are excellent, and come to a head at The Colored Night. Is it possible to love it as much as Go On, Say It? Each track has its own blend of folk and pop. We Are the Tide is a fun indie pop record, and a great follow up.
    CHECK OUT: The Colored Night
    Half Moon
    Keep You Right

    66. My Brightest Diamond – All Things Will Unwind

    There are some great songs on this record. There are some not so great songs. We Added It Up, I Have Never Loved Someone the Way I Love You and Be Brave are exactly what is expected from My Brightest Diamond and they shine, There’s A Rat? Clearly missing part of the bit, and would have been better left off the record. Shara Worden is great at what she does, and her chamber pop is well done. Her voice sores and is on par with the likes of Florence Welch. Her voice especially great on Never Loved, but the constant squeaking in the background is a bit off.
    CHECK OUT: I Have Never Loved Someone The Way I Love You
    Be Brave
    We Added It Up

    65. Canon Blue – Rumspringa

    They say you make your opinions on a band in the first 30 seconds. Rumspringa has one of the best beginning 20 seconds of an album. What a great first impression of horns and strings and drums and all over musicality, you don’t even get a voice ‘til 1:11 in. Each song has multiple names all after cities across the United States. All of the alternate names seem to fit the cities, only being able to speak for the ones I have been too. Album opener Chicago (Chicago) I can just see sitting in that crazy traffic and this song being my anthem. Honeysuckle (Milwaukee) is very fitting for a Milwaukee winter (which, where is it?) developing into the spring. A Native (Madison) is able to bring to life the stately feel of the capitol city of Wisconsin, but also brings about the haste that the city has as a vastly college town; “all we have is not enough” is pretty true to the mentality of Madison. We all need to spend more time getting to know this band.
    CHECK OUT: A Native (Madison)
    Chicago (Chicago)
    Honeysuckle (Milwaukee)

    64. Death Cab for Cutie – Codes & Keys

    Death Cab for Cutie is starting to feel like that kid in your class that you know is the smartest person in the room, but knows they don’t have to try to pass the class, so they sluff off the homework and don’t study for the tests. Death Cab doesn’t have to try to sell albums anymore. They will with their name alone, they’ve created so many fans over the years that we will all pick it up as a continued part of their discography. There’s no discovering DCFC at this point. That happened in 2005 when Plans took over the world. 2008’s Narrow Stairs had such great radio friendly songs that by the time 2011’s Codes & Keys came to fruit most of the band was married, had children, financially stable. There is some great potential on this record, it just feels like more of a record the record label wanted more than the band did. Some Boys fits seamlessly into DCFC’s discography, and Monday Morning gets really close. DCFC needs to up the ante.
    CHECK OUT: Some Boys
    Monday Morning
    Stay Young Go Dancing

    63. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Wolfroy Goes to Town

    This sounds nothing like the most recent Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy records. No Match has little of that big sound, he lets his voice sell the record, but I was a bit taken for surprise. Wolfroy Goes to Town goes back to the basics. The listeners appreciate it; diversity in sound is a great thing! Cows is a very soothing track, Quail and Dumplings may be the albums most similar to older work. The album (ten tracks) is a bit pokey though. Stripping it down seems to have taken away some of the tempo.
    CHECK OUT: No Match
    Quail and Dumplings

    62. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

    Some great noise rock here, and an accidental find. Remind me a bit of Deerhoof, except a bit less sugary vocals. Only a bit. Ffunny Ffriends could easily fit on any Deerhoof record. Last.fm doesn’t see the connection, so maybe I’m connecting something else here. The dance-ability of How Can U Luv Me excuses the ridiculous spelling. It’s an all around fun track, and it will be interesting to see where this band goes in the future.
    CHECK OUT: How Can U Luv Me
    Ffunny Ffriends
    Nerve Damage

    61. Gomez – Whatever’s On Your Mind

    Gomez knows what they’re doing when they make records, despite their debut record all those years ago being so commercially successful and nothing else since…. Whatever’s On Your Mind is a great continuance in Gomez’s timeline. The horn section is used exceptionally well on Options. It’s hard to believe that this band is British, they sound so Texan. The albums other main standout is Song in My Heart. Using more of an electronic beat from Gomez than we’re used to hearing, but the song so artfully crafts both vocalists together.
    CHECK OUT: Song in My Heart
    Whatever’s On Your Mind

    60. Colossal Gospel – Circles

    Sounds like a familiar friend. Enough to warrant a Google search to find out it was a side project of a band already was familiar with. It is not. This record sounds like a friend welcoming you into their home it will be an easy listen with great harmonies and good lyrics. Certainly for fans of Fleet Foxes and Civil Wars, if you liked Ohtis a few years back Clossal Gospel is very much in the same vein, especially on the track Comin’ Home and Bitter Man. This era is a great era for folk tunes.
    CHECK OUT: Comin’ Home
    Bitter Man

    59. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck

    “Someday we won’t remember this.” John Darnielle says it himself. Which is sad, All Eternals Deck just does not do much to set itself apart from the 23703458091283 other The Mountain Goats records out there (honestly, I have 515 Mountain Goats songs in my iTunes). When you put out such a prolific amount of music as The Mountain Goats do you’ve got to do something to set it as a next step, or something more memorable than the last. Expectations are high for a band who puts out Heretic Pride, The Sunset Tree, Get Lonely, The Life of the World to Come and Tallahassee. Count them, five, stellar previous records. All Eternals Deck fits in the discography in an earlier location, but the bar is high, Darnielle set his own standard so high, that perhaps it will no longer be achievable, perhaps I will have to deal with that. The band has been putting music together for over twenty years at this point. And don’t get me wrong All Eternals Deck is good; it’s just not on the same level of greatness.
    CHECK OUT: Estate Sale Sign
    Damn These Vampires
    Beautiful Gas Mask

    58. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical

    The wait was worth it! What a fun little record by a band that has made there name and has had to fight the indie snobbery ever since. The title track is evidence as to why Clap Your Hands Say Yeah deserves their spot amongst the indie standards. Hysterical (track) is amongst some of CYHSY’s finest four minutes. Alec Ounsworth’s voice is very distinct, and there are people who do not believe in him and its musicality. Believe! The album, however, goes a bit weak in the middle. Perhaps that interpretation comes because the album’s other standout track is the finale; Adam’s Plane has some of CYHSY’s finest rock work, even clocking in over the seven minute mark.
    CHECK OUT: Adam’s Plane
    Ketamine and Ecstasy

    57. Austra – Feel it Break

    This band was a walk on this year. No idea they existed before the beauties of Turntable. Lose It grabs the attention of the listener the first time they hear it. Feel It Break is a great debut album from a band we should be paying attention to. Kate Stelmanis’ voice is similar to that of Florence Welch’s. There is nothing wrong with that. Setlmanis’ voice has a bit more foreboding in it, for lack of another word. She restrains herself more, stylistically than Welch does. Austra is a bit more of an electronic band than Florence + the Machine is and a careful listener will hear the differences, best evidenced in Beat and the Pulse. Expectations should be high for Austra’s future.
    CHECK OUT: Lose It
    Beat and the Pulse
    The Noise

    56. Wilco – The Whole Love

    Not Wilco’s strongest work to date. Then again, competing with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot may not be a fair battle. The Whole Love is a thicker sounding album. The track order seems off. There’s not a huge cohesive sound. The sound that is most prevalent is complacency. There has been much acclaim for I Might but the whole track has a hokey feel to it. There are better songs on the record; Black Moon, One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend), and stand out Born Alone. The track has all the classic Wilco aspects; vocal dynamics, strong guitar line and catchy lyrics. In retrospect, Whole Love would probably be a great record to introduce someone to Wilco through. It should also come as very little surprise that the record is much more commercialized. This reviewer liked Sky Blue Sky more than the average did too, perhaps that is the discord, I like their folky side better than their rock side. It is a very solid record, no question.
    CHECK OUT: Born Alone
    Black Moon
    One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)

    55. Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

    This band is young. You can hear it from time to time in the lyrics, they range from 19-20. I am reminded of earlier Ben Kweller with Radish. It will be interesting to see where this band goes and what they accomplish as they discover what they sound like. Dye It Blonde is a good step in the right direction as a sophomore release, given that they’re sophomores age in college it’s fitting. It’s a cleaner record. It is a fun album and the beginnings of a great band are growing here, reminds me a bit of Dappled Cities on Still New. Fallen In Love brings to mind The Beatles ala Rubber Soul. I am excited to see when this band knows who they are to find out who they actually are. If it is in the vein of All Die Young I will be very pleased.
    CHECK OUT: All Die Young
    Fallen In Love
    Still New

    54. Hugh Laurie – Let Them Talk

    Who knew Dr House could play the piano? (And the guitar?) Who knew he could play it like a master? Let Them Talk sure showed us. This blues record, unfortunately the album does not rank higher due to the fact it is so heavy in covers. Very well executed covers, but it’s hard to rank amongst artists who write their own songs in a year end list. That disclaimer out of the way, Laurie does a fantastic job at making you feel like you’re in New Orleans with this record. It’s also hard to remember he’s actually British. It is also a cool selling point that most of the songs on the record were first released in the 19th Century. The oldest songs released this year.
    CHECK OUT: You Don’t Know My Mind
    St James Infirmary
    Six Cold Feet

    53. The Dodos – No Color

    No Color is a satisfying record, but there are few things that standout throughout. Album opener Black Night starts the record off right, great dynamics and smart lyrics, followed by the album highlight Going Under, the rest of the record falls a bit short. Going Under has a great breakdown; it highlights the best of The Dodos musical talents. The drums fuel it towards essential Dodos listening. 2008’s Visiter is where The Dodos have still done their best. You can listen through No Color without realizing you’ve listened to the whole record.
    CHECK OUT: Going Under
    Black Night
    Don’t Stop

    52. A.A.Bondy – Believers

    There is a notable difference in AA Bondy’s sound between Believers and American Hearts. Believers is a solid record, a cleaner production than earlier efforts. Surfer King is a prime example in cleanliness. There is, on a whole, a lot less harmonica. Perhaps that’s part of what sold early listeners, but much like Sufjan dropping the classic banjo from Illinois into Age of Adz it is a polarizing move. The result is Believers. Those that believe in Bondy’s lyrics will continue to follow along. The record is solid. There’s just a lack in the signature sound. The storytelling is still superb. The strongest track may also be the albums longest track. Rte 28/Believers runs over seven minutes, but the listener is rewarded.
    CHECK OUT: Rte 28/Believers
    The Twist
    Surfer King

    51. Explostions In The Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

    This little record is an explosion (pun totally intended) of sounds. Despite, characteristically speaking, no lyrics/vocals (there are a bit of vocals, but no lyrics) to speak of, this record keeps your attention. There’s a beauty to wordless music, it allows you to create whatever story you want. There’s an art in that.
    CHECK OUT: Postcard from 1952
    Trembling Hands
    Let Me Back In

    50. Noah & The Whale – Last Night on Earth

    Noah & the Whale continues to put out catchy track after catchy track. 2007’s 5 Years Time put this band on the map. If L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. doesn’t cement Noah & the Whale in the indie community, there is no hope. The opening three tracks on Last Night on Earth are so unbelievably catchy; you might not even need the rest of the record where Charlie Fink goes a little bit softer and subdued (Wild Thing, and Waiting for My Chance to Come). But it is a welcomed second half; it is nice to get a feel for other sides of this band.
    Waiting for My Chance to Come
    Tonight’s the Kind of Night
    Wild Thing

    49. Liam Finn – FOMO

    What a great record. This man writes lyrics we can all relate to. Don’t Even Know Your Name is a perfect example. The song as a whole has great rhythm, bass, and backing vocals, on top of the great lyrics and strong lead. Your Name is just the beginning of a catchy, well written record. Cold Feet is another strong example, and may even out do Your Name, which is hard to believe. Feet has one of my favorite refrains of the year.
    CHECK OUT: Cold Feet
    Don’t Even Know Your Name
    Jump Your Bones

    48.Battles – Gloss Drop

    This is a great noisy record. Just makes me want to get up and do stuff. Nothing necessarily specific, but it just makes me want to get up and move. Losing who made Mirrored stand out seems to have worked in Battle’s favor. They come out and make sure they kick your ass and take your name with Gloss Drop. If you aren’t having fun listening to Ice Cream, you have no soul.
    CHECK OUT: Ice Cream
    My Machines

    47.Deerhoof – Deerhoof vs. Evil

    This band knows who they are, even if you don’t. A great continuance in the Deerhoof discography, and in the world of noise records. I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I am a complete sucker for French lyrics from time to time, and especially ones that are done properly. Deerhoof’s Qui Dorm, Nomes Somia uses French exceptionally well. It’s a fun little record, the band is one of the most identifiable bands out there, and it’s crazy to think that this band has been around since 1994. But when it comes to Deerhoof my tendencies still lie with Apple O’ and Friend Opportunity. That being said Super Duper Rescue Heads! and I Did Crimes for You are more than welcomed into the Deerhoof fold.
    CHECK OUT: Super Duper Rescue Head!
    I Did Crimes For You
    Qui Dorm Nomes Somia

    46. James Blake – James Blake

    James Blake proves that there is a right way to use auto-tune. Let your voice do the work. Let the auto-tune add the texture, not the other way around. Blake strips down from a sound infused world of dubstep into songwriter-ship, and does it extremely well. The Wilhelm Scream should convince anyone that this record is a good one. The beauty of this record is the minimalism. The art of using little. Music doesn’t need to be bombarded with sound. Blake knows this. Blake still uses aspects of his beginnings, but has come into his own voice with this LP.
    CHECK OUT: The Wilhelm Scream
    I Never Learned to Share
    Limit to Your Love

    45. Fruit Bats – Tripper

    No surprise that Eric Johnson spends time as a part of The Shins. The title track highlights exactly what Fruit Bats are all about; golden, Dylan-esque sounds with contradicting to the sound lyrics; “for Christ’s sake, get these snakes off of me,” and “They left the rolling of one up to me/ Knowing the world might end tomorrow anyway.” So Long might be the stand out track, best utilizing Johnson’s voice, the way he lets go of the chorus is just gorgeous. Dolly reminds us of where Fruit Bats have been across their 10 year career, with a catchy as hell pop song.
    CHECK OUT: Dolly
    So Long
    Tony the Tripper

    44. Street Corner Symphony – UnPractice Makes Perfect

    Street Corner Symphony were last year’s second place finishers on NBC’s The Sing Off. So therefore, clearly, this is an a cappella record. It includes some of their finest competition songs in full length. Their cover of Train’s Hey, Soul Sister is so good that when I hear the original out in public it sounds wrong without Jeremy Blister’s lead vocals. The show turned Jeremy into the group’s front man, the album, which has covers and originals, seems to be a blend of the guys taking turns at lead. But, I will admit, Jeremy is one of the main reasons I love this group, and I find myself mostly listening to the same songs from the show. Their cover of Down on the Corner revitalized the song all together for me. I do also wish the group would have used their stellar cover of Radiohead’s Creep or their cover of Everybody Wants to Rule the World would have been a nice inclusion. However, I do understand the decision to not just re-hash everything that they had done on TV, but with a runtime less than 35 minutes they could have squeezed two more great covers on the record. However, many props to SCS for taking the leap in a cappella music and recording originals. Too many a cappella groups are just albums of covers after covers.
    CHECK OUT: Down on the Corner
    Hey Soul Sister
    Most of It

    43. Andrew Jackson Jihad – Knife Man

    Gift of the Magi 2: Return of the Magi is a defining song of Andrew Jackson Jihad. It sums up everything this band actually is. It has the typical styling voices of AJJ, it swears plenty, and brings up some strange topics at a huge speed, even if I don’t believe in the lyrics, it is a fun song. The follow up song American Tune is painfully accurate about a “straight, white, male in America.” Sean Bonnette writes and sings some strange things from time to time, but they are always presented in a very honest manner, which is entirely respectful.
    CHECK OUT: American Tune
    Gift of the Magi 2: Return of the Magi
    Fucc the Devil

    42. Fatty Gets A Stylist – Fatty Gets a Stylist

    Kate Miller-Heidke knows that music doesn’t always have to be So. Damn. Serious. How else do you name your side project Fatty Gets a Stylist. It’s absurd. Vocally KMH still brings it, despite all the crazy things they do to her voice. This is a crazy little record. A record, that, despite the title, makes you want to get up and dance around, Let Me Fade being one of the few reprieves; however, falling short of what I know KMH is capable of. Overall, it is a very fun record.
    CHECK OUT; Are You Ready?
    The Tiger Will Eat the Child
    The Devil’s In the Details

    41. Beirut – The Rip Tide

    Middle track of Goshen puts The Rip Tide in the mix. The piano and barebones beginnings strike to your chord. As the track builds horn sections and back up vocals are added to make it quite a symphonic feat. The song is one of the year’s finest pieces of music, and a must have. A Candle’s Fire, The Rip Tide and Port of Call also get honorable mentions. However Vagabond falls a bit on the cheese side.
    CHECK OUT: Goshen
    Port of Call
    A Candle’s Fire

    40. Lykke Li– Wounded Rhymes

    What a great follow up record. It took a little while to warm up to it, admittedly. The record as a whole is a little more subdued than 2008’s Youth Novels. Wounded Rhymes knows what it is doing though. The tracks are just as catchy as earlier songs. Youth Knows No Pain and Sadness is a Blessing will find their way into your head and your heart. What she does with I Follow Rivers is just special, catchy as all get out and well crafted. Lykke Li’s voice is very distinct (as is her dancing). It is a bit discouraging that she is 11 days younger than me, but that’s just for me.
    CHECK OUT: I Follow Rivers
    Sadness is a Blessing
    Youth Knows No Pain

    39. Yuck – Yuck

    I will admit, at first, I totally didn’t get this band. Yuck however, proved to win their way right up the list. The only yucky thing about Yuck is the album artwork. What is that? It takes guts to name your band Yuck. People are not left with a good idea, you’ve got a bigger mountain to climb before you gain fans. However, those that come with you are along for the ride. Driving guitar riffs and muffled vocals with great pedal effects will win over most noise band listeners. Get Away is a great way to open a record. A blend of Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth and a dash of Yo La Tengo, all of which are bands of an earlier time; 1983, 1981, 1984 respectively. And despite the fact that all three bands are still current, there has to be someone to inherit the place of the bands that are all actually older than me. Yuck show multiple aspects of themselves between heavy Get Away, medium tempo Shook Down to the down tempo Sunday. Welcome to the world of music Yuck!
    CHECK OUT: Get Away
    Shook Down

    38. Feist – Metals

    This woman keeps churning out great record after another. If you don’t hear the added grove to this release over the vastly popular The Reminder, you’re not listening. This record is great. Unfortunately it’s just not enough to propel it over others. The record, while having a bigger grove, is darker, and less poppy than earlier efforts. Her voice is exceptional on How Come You Never Go There and Undiscovered First.
    CHECK OUT: The Bad in Each Other
    How Come You Never Go There
    Undiscovered First

    37. The Pains of Being Pure at Heat – Belong

    One of the great things about The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is the different sounds they can dial up at any time. That is part of the beauty of shoegaze and dream pop. Belong is a great title track and a great album opener. Harder sounding guitars with dreamy vocals laying on top, a touch of choral arrangements and a driving guitar riff all the way home. Two tracks later Heart in Your Heartbreak is all dream and catchy. Then Even in Dreams half way through the record combines both aspects. Belong is a solid sophomore performance.
    CHECK OUT: Heart in Your Heartbreak
    Even in Dreams

    36. Megafaun – Megafaun

    You know that band Justin Vernon broke up with before becoming Bon Iver? This is the rest of that band (together they were the gorgeous DeYarmond Edison). You will like them if you like him. You will like them if you like music. All around Megafaun is a great record both in the instrumental tracks and the not. The entire record is soothing. Hope You Know is earnest in its delivery, and is the standout on the album. Hope You Know features a strong piano lead, bare bone backing instrumentation, and a great vocal with beautiful harmonies. Clearly the band is still friends with Vernon as he makes a guest appearance on the over eight minute Get Right. You can hear that these guys and Vernon come from the same type of music; it’s easy to imagine Vernon singing alongside on State/Meant.
    CHECK OUT: Hope You Know
    Get Right

    35. Washed Out – Within and Without

    Chillwave. Didn’t really know that that was a legitimate genre of music until Washed Out came on the scene. Space music is what original interpretations indicated. Shoooo shooo shoooo from the future. Washed Out is in the beginning stages of creating a name for themselves and their genre alongside Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi. The synthesizer is becoming an instrument not to be scared of, but a fully embraced part of the musical architecture in today’s world. It’s not just for crazy 80’s dance numbers, but a pivotal part to many act’s identities. Washed Out is not immune. Before stands out on Within and Without, however, the production on the entire record gives way to a story that leads from track to track. The anticipation remains for where this band, and where this genre, are headed next.
    CHECK OUT: Before
    You and I

    34. Mates of State – Mountaintops

    Jason and Kori are masters at this point, 2008’s Re-Arrange Us was an absolute masterpiece. Mountaintops might be their most accessible record to outsiders at this point. The record is just so fun while driving from track to track, the sounds on the record make it hard not to love it (see Maracas), and the lyrics are so sing along-able, while remaining obtuse, lends itself to a great listen. While maintaining their dancing songs throughout the ten track record, they still know how to hit you in that heartache. Desire may possibly be one of Mates of State’s most reflective tracks, and they do it in a way that few bands are able to do. It’s presented in such a way that it feels like a friend would speak to you about your situation. Artfully crafted.
    CHECK OUT: Desire

    33. G. Love – Fixin’ to Die

    Using The Avett Brothers on your record is probably not fair. Having them as your producers, doubly not fair. Scott and Seth Avett bring more than just producing to the table, The Avett Brothers help out throughout with music and vocals. They are more predominantly featured on two of the four covers Fixin’ to Die and You’ve Got to Die. Also the cover of the Paul Simon 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover infuses a bit more of G. Love’s older sound with the blues Americana dialed up on this record. It’s a great take, but it seems to fall hit or miss on fans (I’m sold by the banjo alone), but the cover of Fixin’ to Die could be one of the best things G has ever done. Avetts also help out on two of the better originals The Road and Katie Miss. G Love has completely changed his tune with Fixin’ to Die. It’s a jump from the rap-influenced Special Sauce, and it’s a change I welcome in a new decade of G’s music. It’s a nice little Americana record that Avett fans and G Love & the Special Sauce fans will enjoy.
    CHECK OUT: Fixin’ to Die
    You’ve Got to Die
    50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
    Katie Miss

    32. Guillemots – Walk the River

    Fyfe Dangerfield has such a fantastic voice. Walk the River blends the two earlier efforts of Through the Windowpane and Red into one cohesive unit. Sometimes I Remember Wrong is a phenomenal 9:16 song. It’s fantastic work that is the greater sum of all Guillemots greater and smaller parts. Title track Walk the River is a beautiful way to remind people of why, and how, they fell in love with Guillemots in the first place. The record is a bit more somber than previous efforts, certainly stripped down from Red and doesn’t feature the horn section that was definitive of Windowpane’s identity. This is a grown up record after the insanity behind Red and the sometimes freshman feel of Windowpane.
    CHECK OUT: Vermillion
    Sometimes I Remember Wrong
    Walk the River

    31. Justice – Audio, Video, Disco

    With slim to nil lyrics this band sure knows how to tell a story. JUSTICE has done it again, and as much as it hurts to describe the album as epic, there is no other word for it. From the beginning, with Horsepower; through Audi, Video Disco, JUSTICE just groves all the way home. Civilization gives us a track with lyrics, and it fires just as hard as the rest of the album. The album inspires anyone to get up and D.A.N.C.E. (pun intended). Canon and Canon (Primo) are amongst the best part one and part two songs of the year. The album is just full of great beats, it takes a lot to not care if there are lyrics or not, AVD is completely successful in that aspect.
    CHECK OUT: Horsepower
  • 2010 Favorites

    15. Jan. 2011, 2:37

    Normally I'm far more thoughtful when I do these. After Phoebe died I lost all sense of wanting to even finish listening. I basically went two weeks without listening to music at home (still did in the car to pass the time).... and yesterday I just decided to finish it. Cause I'd be mad at myself if I hadn't finished/written this by February. So two weeks into the new year, I give you my top 35 of last year.

    This year I have no downloads, no pictures, no nothing. Just no motivation (on top of being still sick) to do all the research. BUT I did listen to my entire list. Which you can find off my 2010 albums tag.

    35. Bad Books - Bad Books: It's a "supergroup" of Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine. Love both of their records from 2009, and Bad Books is good, but I surely prefer them on their own.

    34. Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love: Dunno what happened here, or if I've just moved on from Belle and Sebastian or, just not in a lovey mood? Doesn't grab me the way other records of theirs did on first listen. Then again, they've set the bar pretty high for themselves.

    33. Old 97's - The Grand Theater, Vol 1: Love the idea behind this record. It sounds like it would be a live album based on the title, and in a way it is, just minus the audience. There are some great tracks on this record, though kinda feels a bit reused of their older stuff at times.

    32. Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid: The record is great. But then falls apart after you've seen it live. Does that make any sense? No, probably not, but there is so much more energy behind these songs that just does not translate to the record, which is kind of sad.

    31. Guster - Easy Wonderful: Grabbed me right from the start. Good record from a great band that has long been around and putting out great records. I have a feeling it will grow on me as I give it time.

    30. Plants & Animals - La La Land: Surprise love on first listen. This was a random suggestion from a former co-worker. There is some great saxophone work on this record. Didn't know what to expect and found a new band to keep up with.

    29. Uniform Motion - Life: A little half hour record that was recommended through indie_exchange that only is 8 tracks long, but I dare you not to be endeared by them. Folky, indie, goodness.

    28. Jonsi - Go: Exactly what you'd expect from a partition of Sigur Ros. Love having some English in there. That being said, I still pick Sigur Ros tracks before this record.

    27. The Weepies - Be My Thrill: A great record from this band. Have always loved them and both their vocal styling and the lyrics.

    26. Drive-By Truckers- The Big To-Do: Pretty awesome Americana, pretty awesome record, pretty awesome lyrics.

    25. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs: I know the mass public loved this record. It still hasn't grabbed me like they should be. I still prefer Neon Bible. Shrug. What're you gonna do?

    24. Spoon - Transference: I read something really poignant about this band. (Don't know where I read it though)... wherever it was though, basically said that Spoon has been putting out flawless records since the beginning, but because they're flawless we don't love them as much as we love our flawed bands. I think I agree. There's nothing at all wrong with any Spoon record in my opinion, but they've yet to give me a huge reason to love them. But like mentioned, this record is totally solid.

    23. The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever: The Hold Steady is not for everybody. Hell, they're not always for me. They've got a distinct style (however, they seem to be a great way to get people off of Kings of Leon into better taste)... anyway, this record is good. But I feel it falls just short of where it was trying to go.

    22. The Thermals - Personal Life: I have really liked this record each time I listen to it. Better than their previous work. I have a feeling I'll like this record more and more each listen. There's just not simply enough time.

    21. Tokyo Police Club - Champ: Champ is right. This record makes me understand the hype. It's good. It's certainly worth picking up. First song and I was hooked.

    20. Deerhunter - Halycon Digest: A great, solid, just what you'd expect, record. Really love Helicopter.

    19. Hot Chip - One Life Stand: Great dancey, get you off your butt music. And I can remember it weeks after listening.

    18. Local Natives - Gorilla Manor: I know this is one of "those" records of the year. I've only, honestly, listened a few times. Maybe if I'd been listening since the record came out it'd rank higher.

    17. Midlake - The Courage of Others: I love this record. But it just cannot compete either with their previous record (granted Trials of VanOccupanther is probably their quintessential record, Courage probably ranks second) and other records in 2010. Unfortunately. It is a good record. A really good record.

    16. Cloud Cult - Light Chasers: Pains me to rank a favorite band so low, but Light Chasers is just so so so low key for them. And I expect a certain level of songs like Washed Your Car and Alien Christ on records. Wolves is a fantastic track, but LC was not the first place I heard it.

    15. Ben Folds/Nick Hornby - Lonely Avenue: This is actually a surprise to me that it makes it into the top 15 records. Hell, top 30. When the record first dropped I was actually very underwhelmed. It has taken several listens for me to love 80% of this record. There are a few tracks that just make me skip them. That's awful. That being said the fun and poignanticy of Saskia Hamilton and Picture Window, respectively, save the record from non-inclusion.

    14. The Old Ceremony - Tender Age: Another band (seems to be a category down here) that it kills me to rank so low, but for The Old Ceremony their only downfall here was that it's a bit too long of a record. And there are records that blew my mind more. Sorry Django and Co.

    13. The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards: Talk about picking up right where you left off. Great record. As always Jack and Alison (I believe she's a one Ler).

    12. Dr. Dog - Shame, Shame: Beautifully executed, beautifully written, beautifully recorded. Put it on your shelf. This band draws influences from so many sides and does everything just as it should be.

    11. The New Pornographers - Together: I don't know if the title is meant to be ironic or what, just makes me think about how AC Newman and Neko Case put out separate records last year, and this year they're.... Together. I dunno. Crosses my mind each time I listen. The record is solid. And grows each time you listen to it. Guaranteed.

    10. Elizabeth & The Catapult - The Other Side of Zero: I knew from the first note I'd love this band when I saw them open for Jukebox the Ghost over the fall. Also knew I'd heard one of their songs before (it's in a Google commercial). Honestly the record is even better than I expected. Catchy as hell. Got that driving beat through pianos (the way they should be) and vocally Elizabeth's voice is right there. Somewhere in between Regina Spektor and Sara Barellis. This lady should be right up there with those other piano ladies. Go get the record.

    09. Vampire Weekend - Contra: This record came out so long ago at this point (January of 2010) that it's hard to imagine it on this list. It's a great record. I, and the rest of the world, were worried Vampire Weekend couldn't compete with their Freshman record. No Sophomore slump here. At all. Just as catchy, smoother, and developed as it should be.

    08. Miniature Tigers - F O R T R E S S: yes, it's technically that way, it seems. This record put them on the map with the rest of the music world. Have loved this band for more than a year, for sure. Dark Tower, Rock & Roll Mountain Troll, and Egyptian Robe should win anyone (and everyone) over.

    07. Yeasayer - Odd Blood: You cannot deny the greatness of this record. It's that perfect blend of the psychedelic and pop. Ambling Amp, O.N.E. and I Remember are tracks that should make anyone sit up and listen the first time they even hear it. Did so for me.

    06. Band of Horses - Infinite Arms: a smoother record from Band of Horses. A more mature record. A record where Ben finally realizes that it's his voice that sells this band. Sure they music is great, but you know a Band of Horses song when you hear it because of his distinct voice. Which is gorgeous. See Evening Kitchen, Blue Beard, Factory, hell... the whole damn album. IA has gotten a shitton of flac from reviewers, so did Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner... and now it's like the cult favorite record, I expect the same result here.

    05. Skybox - Morning After Cuts: After having heard In a Dream months and months prior to the release, I knew I'd need to get this record. Morning After Cuts blows everything else they've done out of the water. There's not a track on the record that I do not love.

    04. The Black Keys - Brothers: Way to get your blood pumping. Way to keep on bluesing and rocking boys. Way to continually blow my mind. There's not much else to say about this record except it's phenomenal.

    03. The National - High Violet: Continuing to do what they do best. Bloodbuzz, Sorrow, Conversation 16, Afraid of Everyone... etc, the list goes on and on for all 11 tracks. A more than solid record. A record that changed my life.

    02. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz: Another record that maybe didn't go over so well with the public. But really Sufjan changing styles should not have been a surprise. In fact, I'd have been a bit upset if the next record had been "Whisling Winter of Wisconsin" or some shit like that. (Okay, a little hurt that two of my neighboring states are the two states. I know. I'll get over it.) I have easily listened to Adz as much as I've listened to Illionise or Michigan. It's right up there in my top records of his with Seven Swans (which has very little explanation as to why it's my favorite.) I love that I can dance to Sufjan. I love that I can identify with Sufjan (which was a bit harder with the state records). I love/hate that it gets so stuck in my head.

    01. Jukebox the Ghost - Everything Under the Sun: This really should be no surprise. This record dominated my airwaves by probably 300%. A listen that once it ends I start it again. There's not a bad track to be seen. There's not a missed step. There's not a thing I'd change (except if it would auto repeat). Ben, Jesse and Tommy have out done themselves this time around. If you do nothing else I ever tell you to do, go. buy. this. record. See this band live. Okay, that's two things. But seriously. This band is in that poppy-almost-happy-yet-sing-about-the-world-ending category. This is Jukebox the Ghost making you want to get up and dance. Making you smile your way through a whole record, while singing along. Schizophrenia right through to Nobody is twelve fantastic, no, spectacular, tracks that make you remember why you fell in love with music in the first place. I dare Jukebox the Ghost not to find a way into your heart. If they can make it into my roommates, then surely yours. There's not a soul I've introduced to this band that hasn't come back humming their songs.
  • apparently my milestone tracks

    10. Dez. 2009, 10:23

    Last.FM Milestones1st track: (03 Apr 2006)
    Ben Folds Five - Mess
    1000th track: (07 Jul 2006)
    Ben Folds Five - One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
    2000th track: (21 Aug 2006)
    Ben Kweller - Family Tree
    3000th track: (11 Sep 2006)
    Ben Folds - Hiro's Song
    4000th track: (02 Oct 2006)
    Third Eye Blind - Darkness
    5000th track: (31 Oct 2006)
    Cake - Mr. Mastodon Farm
    6000th track: (05 Dec 2006)
    Radiohead - My Iron Lung
    7000th track: (24 Dec 2006)
    The Postal Service - Little Girl Blue
    8000th track: (11 Jan 2007)
    Mute Math - Noticed
    9000th track: (01 Feb 2007)
    Ben Folds Five - Best Imitation of Myself
    10000th track: (26 Feb 2007)
    Sufjan Stevens - The Dress Looks Nice on You
    11000th track: (27 Mar 2007)
    Death Cab for Cutie - Your Heart Is an Empty Room
    12000th track: (13 Apr 2007)
    The Flaming Lips - Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
    13000th track: (10 May 2007)
    Andrew Bird - Imitosis
    14000th track: (24 May 2007)
    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Five Easy Pieces
    15000th track: (10 Jun 2007)
    Kevin Devine - You're My Incentive
    16000th track: (24 Jun 2007)
    The Old Ceremony - Poison Pen
    17000th track: (04 Aug 2007)
    The Avett Brothers - Die Die Die
    18000th track: (15 Sep 2007)
    Ben Lee - Deep Talk In The Shallow End
    19000th track: (22 Sep 2007)
    Andrew Bird - Happy Day
    20000th track: (12 Oct 2007)
    Eisley - A Sight To Behold
    21000th track: (26 Oct 2007)
    Built to Spill - The Source
    22000th track: (08 Nov 2007)
    Eels - If You See Natalie
    23000th track: (21 Nov 2007)
    Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
    24000th track: (09 Dec 2007)
    My Brightest Diamond - The Good & The Bad Guy
    25000th track: (08 Jan 2008)
    The Good Life - On The Picket Fence
    26000th track: (17 Jan 2008)
    Rogue Wave - Like I Needed
    27000th track: (28 Jan 2008)
    Blitzen Trapper - Miss Spiritual Tramp
    28000th track: (06 Feb 2008)
    Sarah Blasko - Counting Sheep
    29000th track: (15 Feb 2008)
    Nada Surf - Armies Walk
    30000th track: (26 Feb 2008)
    Kings of Leon - Black Thumbnail
    31000th track: (12 Mar 2008)
    Oh No Oh My - The Bike, Sir
    32000th track: (26 Mar 2008)
    Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
    33000th track: (06 Apr 2008)
    Sufjan Stevens - All Good Naysayers, Speakup! Or Foerever
    34000th track: (14 Apr 2008)
    Colin Meloy - a cautionary song (live)
    35000th track: (27 Apr 2008)
    Ben Folds - Effington
    36000th track: (05 May 2008)
    The Black Keys - When The Lights Go Out
    37000th track: (13 May 2008)
    Squirrel Nut Zippers - Club Limbo
    38000th track: (20 May 2008)
    of Montreal - The Party's Crashing Us
    39000th track: (10 Jun 2008)
    Snuzz - Blue Light
    40000th track: (17 Jun 2008)
    Shiny Toy Guns - Waiting
    41000th track: (05 Jul 2008)
    Jenny Owen Youngs - Fuck Was I
    42000th track: (18 Jul 2008)
    Ben Kweller - Thirteen
    43000th track: (06 Aug 2008)
    Bon Iver - Skinny Love
    44000th track: (18 Aug 2008)
    Bishop Allen - Little Black Ache
    45000th track: (27 Aug 2008)
    The National - Green Gloves
    46000th track: (03 Sep 2008)
    Ben Folds Five - Jackson Cannery
    47000th track: (16 Sep 2008)
    Eisley - A Sight To Behold
    48000th track: (07 Oct 2008)
    Ben Folds - Brainwascht
    49000th track: (20 Oct 2008)
    The Mountain Goats - So Desperate
    50000th track: (30 Oct 2008)
    Jennifer O'Connor - Next To Mine
    51000th track: (10 Nov 2008)
    A.A. Bondy - Among The Pines
    52000th track: (19 Nov 2008)
    Explosions in the Sky - First Breath After Coma
    53000th track: (01 Dec 2008)
    Jenny Owen Youngs - From Here (Live @ Tin Angel)
    54000th track: (12 Dec 2008)
    The Mountain Goats - So Desperate
    55000th track: (22 Dec 2008)
    Vedera - The Falling Kind
    56000th track: (08 Jan 2009)
    The Beatles - Golden Slumbers
    57000th track: (24 Jan 2009)
    Bon Iver - Skinny Love
    58000th track: (05 Feb 2009)
    The Decemberists - O New England
    59000th track: (12 Feb 2009)
    Midlake - Head Home
    60000th track: (27 Feb 2009)
    William Fitzsimmons - Goodnight
    61000th track: (10 Mar 2009)
    The Weepies - All This Beauty
    62000th track: (23 Mar 2009)
    Blind Pilot - Go On, Say It
    63000th track: (10 Apr 2009)
    Andrew Bird - Masterswarm
    64000th track: (29 Apr 2009)
    Jukebox the Ghost - Victoria
    65000th track: (19 May 2009)
    of Montreal - Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse
    66000th track: (06 Jun 2009)
    Horse Feathers - Working Poor
    67000th track: (01 Jul 2009)
    Carbon Leaf - Lake Of Silver Bells
    68000th track: (27 Jul 2009)
    Akron/Family - The Lightning Bolt of Compassion
    69000th track: (22 Aug 2009)
    Ben Folds - Hiroshima
    70000th track: (04 Sep 2009)
    Pearl Jam - Elderly Woman Behind a Counter In a Small Town
    71000th track: (14 Sep 2009)
    Ben Kweller - Wasted and Ready
    72000th track: (29 Sep 2009)
    Mika - Stuck in the Middle
    73000th track: (08 Oct 2009)
    Volcano Choir - Still
    74000th track: (27 Oct 2009)
    Depeche Mode - Wrong
    75000th track: (06 Nov 2009)
    Modern Skirts - Face Down
    76000th track: (14 Nov 2009)
    Kate Miller-Heidke - The End Of School
    77000th track: (28 Nov 2009)
    Andrew Jackson Jihad - Love Will Fuck Us Apart
    78000th track: (08 Dec 2009)
    Kate Miller-Heidke - Words
    79000th track: (19 Dec 2009)
    Phoenix - Love Like a Sunset
    80000th track: (06 Jan 2010)
    Telekinesis - Coast Of Carolina
    81000th track: (23 Jan 2010)
    Kate Miller-Heidke - The Last Day on Earth
    82000th track: (07 Feb 2010)
    Cloud Cult - Hurricane and Fire Survival Guide
    83000th track: (02 Mar 2010)
    The Avett Brothers - Slight Figure Of Speech
    84000th track: (26 Mar 2010)
    Kevin Devine - Wolf's Mouth
    85000th track: (03 May 2010)
    Damien Rice - Volcano
    86000th track: (07 Jun 2010)
    Hotel Lights - Nobody Let You Down
    87000th track: (01 Jul 2010)
    The Old Ceremony - Get to Love
    88000th track: (19 Aug 2010)
    The Old Ceremony - Ole (feat. Omotade)
    Generated on 26 Aug 2010
    Get yours here

    Last.FM Milestones89000th track: (18 Sep 2010)
    TV on the Radio - DLZ
    90000th track: (15 Oct 2010)
    Band of Horses - Compliments
    91000th track: (11 Nov 2010)
    Cloud Cult - The Ghost Inside Our House
    92000th track: (04 Dec 2010)
    Ben Folds - Saskia Hamilton
    93000th track: (21 Dec 2010)
    The Old Ceremony - All at Once
    Generated on 15 Jan 2011
    Get yours here

    Last.FM Milestones94000th track: (02 Feb 2011)
    Ben Folds - Rockin' The Suburbs
    95000th track: (24 Feb 2011)
    Elliott Smith - Cupid's Trick
    96000th track: (27 Mar 2011)
    Bright Eyes - Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh
    Generated on 27 Mar 2011
    Get yours here

    Last.FM Milestones97000th track: (15 Apr 2011)
    Cold War Kids - Skip The Charades
    98000th track: (11 May 2011)
    Jukebox the Ghost - Empire
    99000th track: (04 Jun 2011)
    Kevin Devine - Brother's Blood
    100000th track: (25 Aug 2011)
    Manchester Orchestra - Mighty
    Generated on 06 Sep 2011
    Get yours here

    Last.FM Milestones101000th track: (11 Sep 2011)
    Fatty Gets A Stylist - The Tiger Inside Will Eat The Child
    102000th track: (30 Sep 2011)
    Bright Eyes - Middleman
    103000th track: (17 Oct 2011)
    Elizabeth & The Catapult - Taller Children
    104000th track: (04 Nov 2011)
    A.A. Bondy - Black Rain, Black Rain
    105000th track: (25 Nov 2011)
    The Rosebuds - Go Ahead
    106000th track: (11 Dec 2011)
    Blind Pilot - Just One
    107000th track: (01 Jan 2012)
    Los Campesinos! - Every Defeat a Divorce (Three Lions)
    Generated on 02 Jan 2012
    Get yours here

    108000th track: (13 Jan 2012)
    Eels - Your Lucky Day In Hell
    109000th track: (31 Jan 2012)
    The Avett Brothers - Laundry Room
    110000th track: (23 Feb 2012)
    Ben Folds - Belinda
    111000th track: (12 Mar 2012)
    The Album Leaf - Blank Pages
    112000th track: (04 Apr 2012)
    Gotye - Easy Way Out
    113000th track: (26 Apr 2012)
    Jukebox the Ghost - Somebody
    114000th track: (14 May 2012)
    The Mountain Goats - Onions
    115000th track: (05 Jun 2012)
    Bon Iver - Minnesota, WI
    116000th track: (22 Jun 2012)
    Jukebox the Ghost - Oh, Emily
    117000th track: (23 Jul 2012)
    The Avett Brothers - Ten Thousand Words
    118000th track: (09 Aug 2012)
    Dawes - Bedside Manner
    119000th track: (05 Sep 2012)
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Simple Girl
    Generated 08 Jan 2013
    LastLabs Milestones

    120000th track: (24 Sep 2012)
    The Avett Brothers - Down With the Shine
    121000th track: (13 Oct 2012)
    Sufjan Stevens - Futile Devices
    122000th track: (30 Oct 2012)
    The Avett Brothers - Murder in the City
    123000th track: (11 Nov 2012)
    The Avett Brothers - Down With the Shine
    124000th track: (01 Dec 2012)
    Jens Lekman - The End of the World is Bigger Than Love
    125000th track: (22 Dec 2012)
    Death Cab for Cutie - Underneath the Sycamore
    126000th track: (07 Jan 2013)
    Hotel Lights - String of Racehorses
    Generated 08 Jan 2013
    LastLabs Milestones

    Last.FM Milestones127000th track: (28 Jan 2013)
    Jukebox the Ghost - This Year
    128000th track: (19 Feb 2013)
    The Avett Brothers - The Fall
    129000th track: (19 Mar 2013)
    Hotel Lights - The End Of The Tour
    130000th track: (09 Apr 2013)
    Ben Folds - The Secret Life Of Morgan Davis - Alternate Mix, 2001
    131000th track: (23 Apr 2013)
    Grouper - STS
    132000th track: (02 May 2013)
    Elliott Smith - Say Yes
    Generated on 24 Aug 2013
    Get yours here

    Last.FM Milestones133000th track: (15 May 2013)
    Mumford & Sons - Whispers in the Dark
    134000th track: (12 Jun 2013)
    Ben Folds - Losing Lisa
    135000th track: (04 Jul 2013)
    Ben Folds - Jesusland
    136000th track: (26 Jul 2013)
    Big Bang Boom - Brothers
    137000th track: (11 Aug 2013)
    Big Bang Boom - Green Light
    138000th track: (24 Aug 2013)
    Chris Garneau - Home Town Girls
    Generated on 24 Aug 2013
    Get yours here
  • Number of times my #1 weekly artist.

    8. Dez. 2009, 9:35

    In alpha order so I don't have to mess with it much when I update.

    Commentary: The big winners don't surprise me at all. There are a few surprises that are on the list all together. Some how low they are, and some that are simply just counted. A few days of listening of things from my past are in here. :)

    Last Update: December 8, 2009.

    Amanda Palmer4
    Andrew Bird2
    Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire1
    Andrew Lloyd Webber1
    Animal Collective1
    Au Revoir Simone1
    Band of Horses2
    Belle and Sebastian2
    Ben Folds16
    Ben Folds Five16
    Ben Kweller1
    Ben Lee2
    Big Bang Boom1
    Billy Joel1
    Bishop Allen3
    Blitzen Trapper1
    Bloc Party1
    Bon Iver 1
    Breaking Benjamin1
    Built to Spill4
    Claude-Michel Schonberg1
    Casiotone for the Painfully Alone1
    Cloud Cult3
    Colin Meloy1
    Corn Mo1
    DeYarmond Edison1
    Eef Barzelay3
    Elliott Smith10
    Elton John1
    Green Day1
    Hotel Lights7
    Immaculate Machine1
    International Orange2
    Jeff Buckley1
    Jenny Owen Youngs1
    Jukebox the Ghost5
    Kate Miller-Heidke1
    Kevin Devine8
    Manchester Orchestra1
    Maria Taylor1
    Mates of State1
    Modest Mouse1
    Mitch Hedberg1
    Mute Math1
    My Morning Jacket1
    of Montreal5
    Oh No Oh My1
    Okkervil River1
    OK Go1
    Passion Pit1
    Regina Spektor2
    Rilo Kiley3
    Shout Out Louds2
    Sigur Ros1
    Squirrel Nut Zippers1
    Steven Curtis Chapman1
    Sufjan Stevens2
    Tapes 'n Tapes1
    The Avett Brothers5
    The Beatles3
    The Decemberists1
    The Dresden Dolls4
    The Flaming Lips2
    The Good Life1
    The Honorary Title1
    The Mountain Goats3
    The New Pornographers2
    The Old Ceremony1
    The Polyphonic Spree4
    They Might Be Giants1
    Ted Leo and the Pharmacists1
    William Fitzsimmons1

    29. Nov. 2009, 10:39

    Brooke and I went all the way out to North Carolina to partake in what will likely be one of the top most musical events of my life (right up there with the Ben Folds Five Reunion last year.) Granted I have a somewhat sick addiction to North Carolina bands (that does stem out of Ben Folds Five). Anyway, SnuzzFest afforded us to see some bands that I never, ever, EVER dreamed of seeing live. Let alone Master Snuzz himself. Brooke, Mel and I did get a special treat December 2007 when Snuzz played us a few songs in his living room, but for such a musical genius we of course felt blessed (but a little cheated too.) So getting to see Snuzz preform live was. Huge. HUUGGGE. A huge wagering point into making the flight from Chicago to just be in North Carolina for 48 hours. And worth every damn penny. But before we actually get to SnuzzFest itself, let's talk about the night before.

    We got to NC without a hitch, despite being a small hitch at the hotel. We checked in fine and all that, but when we went up to the room to open the door, the card didn't work. Maintenance came and got us in and then also noted that our smoke alarm was beeping that that battery was ALSO dead. So Mr Man fixed it. Then Brooke and I slept. It was awesome. We were tired.

    Then we got up and drove into Chapel Hill. First stop, cause the son was setting was the Whatever and Ever, Amen house. ITS TINY. I mean, it was way before Ben Co had any money, so it makes sense... But I felt SO awkward standing outside, hell, IN THE LAWN of someone else's house, that just happens to live somewhere Ben Folds used to live/recorded his most popular record. Brooke can tell you, I was kinda tweaking out over it.

    Then of course, HAD to go eat at Pepper's Pizza and gawk at the terrible, terrrrrrriiiiible, painting of Ben Folds on the wall. Seriously. It's the only bad one on the wall. And it's all the same artist! We walked in and got seated right away (though it was pretty moderately busy) and Brooke and I noticed almost immediately that Animal Collective's "My Girls" (I think) was playing. And we were super pleased to discover after the track finished we were just apparently going to listen to ALL of Merriweather Post Pavilion. We sang along to whatever you can actually sing along with when it comes to Animal Collective. Ha. And noticed that some of the servers were too. Would be a cool fuckin place to work, except it's SO cheap.

    Then after eating we went and got Coldstone. Cause we could. And we were on vacation, DAMNIT. After our noms we headed out to UNC just to reminisce... but before we got there we got distracted by this AWESOME band busking. They even had a saw in the band! After a few songs we did depart for UNC just to go to Memorial Hall and feel like tourists. And go, OH this is where we saw the "Ben Fold's Five tickets" sign on the actual box office! OH this is that alleyway where Darren and Robert came out. THIS Is where we hung out with EVERYONE who was there. SHIT THIS ALL HAPPENED HERE AND IT WAS WONDERFUL. And then we left.

    Next day we got up and went to Greensboro, to a Sushi restaurant I'd previously looked up. FORGOT, whoops, to look up if it was closed on Sunday. Was. Damn. Brooke used her fancy phone to find us one that was. So there we went, and turned out it was less than a mile from The Blind Tiger. HOORAY. It was noms (expensive, but all sushi is). We headed over to the venue, and eventually got ourselves some beers (OM NOM BLUE MOON). Then took our place in the second row, also feeling awkward about standing front row at this kind of gig. Catie and Chuck seemed to be the emcees of the night. Let's talk a bit about the set up of SnuzzFest.

    SnuzzFest was set up for the AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME human being that is Britt Harper Uzzell. Seriously, that man is more than five AWESOMES but words fail to accurately describe him. Anyway. Snuzz, as he's known (though with an umlaut, that I can't be bothered to figure out how to get here on my blog) musically has recently been diagnosed with cancer. And, as a musician -and one that, for some stupid bullshit reason of the universe, never got the recognition he deserves - has no health insurance. With the chemo it's going to cost him about $50,000 A MONTH. A FUCKIN MONTH! The guy has never made more than the poverty line (according to some articles I've read about this) and so Catie and Django (of The Old Ceremony and a certain level of AWESOME) set up the first SnuzzFest, to help offset the cost. Well it went so well Catie set up SnuzzFest West (Django was out on tour with tOC). Which we had enough advance notice that Brooke and I could make travel plans. At SnuzzFest everyone plays Snuzz songs. It was all sorts of awesome. All these musicians that I've heard so much about/listened to all together in one place playing that man's songs. It was just wonderful.

    The night kicked off with Steve Williard (of Amplify This... formerly Chuck Folds Five) started out the night with "The Apology". Which was just. killer. A woman I'd never heard of before, Jessica Mashburn, apparently, covered Bus Stop's "No One," which I was super glad to hear cause it is still, to this day, a Snuzz Favorite. Doug Davis and friend covered "Carving Pumpkins" which was also phenomenal. Caitlin Cary's "Like It Matters" was also a highlight of the first set. BUT. THE highlight of set one (which was all non-band) was when Snuzz pulled the Big GMC on stage for "People at Work." I don't actually know how Snuzz and GMC met, but long and short of it is GMC has some sort of mental challenges, but Snuzz included GMC's voice overs on his record Harper. And GMC got up there and just started talking to us about how much Snuzz means to him and how we all need to pray for Snuzz cause Snuzz is his best friend. And. I. Cried. GMC had the ability to say what we are all thinking. It was so touching. Also during this set we were behind a man who had a Shut Up and Listen to Majosha t-shirt on. I was lookin at the back of this shirt trying to read it, and then went... UH that's Ben Folds' handwriting! Wait! I know these lyrics! Wait, what the fuck song is that? And could sing it but not remember what it was called. Talked to the guy eventually.... and he apparently worked sound for them back in the day. HA!

    Then there was a short break when they switched over to the house band. (Which included our dear friends Chuck Folds, Steve Williard - and new dear friend Eddie Walker. HA - story with that later, also NC legend Jeff Carroll was on most, if not all songs). But while they were setting up/makin the switch Brooke and I took a bathroom break. And while we were in the back we went to write in the SnuzzFest LoveFest book. And who's standing right there, but Dean (Daddy) Folds. We'd seen him walk in, and we kinda shared the look. Haha. And I was kickin myself for NOT having my Messner Vinyl. Can you imagine having that signed by all FOUR voices on the record!? DAMN TOM MAXWELL WAS THERE TOO! You hear him laugh in Army. OH GOD WHAT WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN. (Just dawned on me as I'm writing this.) Anyway. As I'm signing the book Brooke keeps glancing at Mr Folds. And he sticks out his hand and introduces himself to us. And then remembered me (had to tell him where we met - May 30, 2008 Cary, NC) And talked about Gracie a bit, cause she was there when I met him then too. ha. Anyway, it was great. Kinda weird, but great! Then Sledge was coming on so we had to make our way back to the front.

    Sledge played "Eddie" and FUCKING KILLED IT. (In the good sense) OH MY GOD. THEN! This Scott and Molly pair got up and played the SHIT out of "Rocks in My Pocket." THEN when the night couldn't POSSIBLY get better, Chuck, looking rather fuckin awkward without a bass slung around him, led us all through Lorraine. Also big highlights were The Walrus' cover of "Shut Up Singing About the End of the World" WHO THE HELL CARED it was the second time we'd heard the song that night. IT was just as fun (and he didn't edit it. Tongue)

    Then it was time for the man of the hour Mr AWESOMEx5+ to get up there and show us how the hell it was done. Big Kids played through This House. Then his current outfit The Numbers played Adderall and Made It Through (I can't remember if there were more). Then Anthenaeum, another big NC band, got up and played, and played really really well, but I cannot remember at all what they played right now. At this point we were about 3 hours into the concert. Then Bus Stop reunited and holy Shit Evan Olson. Can you say STAGE PRESENCE? Well I just did, so there. The four of them (Snuzz, Chuck, Evan and Eddie) looked like they were having a blast for their four song set. I was thrilled to near-death when they played "You" (a favorite) AND they played "Waitin on the Bus" which has become a bit of a anthem for me as of late.

    After that the show was done. We all cheered and hollered and loved each other. Despite some rather interesting individuals being there. The point was Snuzz. I did not, really, however, need to see someone flash me (both up and down)...... May have been a LoveFest, but I'm from the North, we're prudes. HAHAHA. Anyway. Hung out with Steve for a bit, briefly with Chuck (who I loled over his Harry Potter shirt). Talked to Robert Sledge. And he remembered me fangirling on him at the reunion. HAHAHAH. Awesome. Then went over and fangirled on Eddie Walker (and presumably his wife) and got him to sign my Big Bang Boom CD. Which was hilarious. He laughed, but I think it might have been awkward for him. And then we WAAAAAAAAAAAAITED for Snuzz. I mean, he WAS/IS the man of the hour (or 4), and he apparently didn't recognize us. Eventually we got tired of him running from other people to other people and I was like, SNUZZ. STOP! COME HERE! hahaha. And then he saw that it was Brooke and I. And, oh my god, his reaction. The hug I got will be forever imprinted in my memory (and perhaps even my body). Got him to sign our copies of the Carving Pumpkins EP and then told him to sign one for Mel, which he was poised and ready to do, when someone came and stole him. AGAIN. to do some interview. So we waited AGAIN. AND SOME MORE. And then he stole my sharpie and had to track him down again (The Blind Tiger is not very big, at all) to get him to do it. But each one was personalized and awesome, cause that's how Snuzz is. We eventually said goodbye and drove back to Durham where our hotel was. And slept, not until after watching a bit of Criminal Minds (<3). And went home. And felt warm and fuzzies.

    Snuzz Amplify This Robert Sledge Ben Folds Ben Folds Five Steve Williard Bus Stop Chuck Folds Five Jeff Carroll Anthanaeum Big Kids Jeff Carroll Big Bang Boom Evan Olson
  • 40! - Ben Folds with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra

    28. Nov. 2009, 9:04

    Sat 31 Oct – Ben Folds

    So after sleeping in the hotel we got up checked out and loaded up the car. THANK GOD right then and there, before we drove out of the parking lot Brooke asks to get the address off the tickets. Tickets were sitting on the floor in the hotel room. Ran back in and got them. PHEW!!! Somewhere during the night I did tweet at Fleur and Ben that the next show would be forty. Anyway.

    The drive from Madison to Minneapolis is long. And Boring. And Long. And Boring. And Long. Have I mentioned it was Boring? We listened to good tunes, I sang a long a lot to keep from boredom, as I was driving.

    Got to Minneapolis and went to the Mall of America just cause neither Stef nor my sister, Rachel, had been there before. Left after buying absolutely nothing, and went to Panera to meet up with Paul and Jenna. Ate some tasty, tasty, taaaaaaasty Broccoli Cheddar soup. (I could go for some right now!) And after Paul and Jenna left we changed into symphony clothing. and BRRRRRRR I was in a dress! BRRR. But I looked good. At least that counts, yah? Hhaaaaaaaaa

    We had fuckin AWESOME seats. Third row righttttt in front of Ben. The show was on Halloween and the symphony hall was handing out "Ben Folds Glasses" AWESOME. Several members of the symphony themselves were wearing them, among other costumes. Sam came out in a sheet. Hahahah. The program was printed that there would be no break, but suddenly during the show Ben announces that they're gonna take a quick fifteen.

    He and the conductor come back out dressed as Sonny and Cher. PRICELESS. Though, the mustache on Ben kinda made him look like a pedophile, which there's a bit of an inside joke between my sisters, Brooke, and our friend Jo about "Pedophile Ben" (long story. Not as bad as it sounds.) There were also some noteworthy awesome costumes in the audience. There was this girl there in a mullet wig, with a fake mustache and a chick-fil-a hat on and a fake name tag "hello my name is BEN" AWESOME.

    Speaking of AWESOME and the audience. After the encore the audience simply refused to leave. Brooke and I were kinda giving each other that look of, OKAYGUYSTHESHOWSISCLEARLYOVERRRRR... but it wasn't. I first saw Micheal tearing down, and was like, yeaaaaaaah it's over. Then I saw Nineyear poke his head out the other exit as the audience is still chanting ONE MORE SONG ONE MORE SONG and shake his head. And Ben came back out, no wig, but mustache still on and the rest of the costume. And played, just that, one more song. And the audience rushed the stage. It was great. I would have joined them except I was in a dress and non-tennis-shoes. Kind of moment that makes you feel like the concert will last forever. GREAT 40th show. GREAT way to end a tour (for me. not ben) and great show to tide me over til 2010.

    Here be the set list!

    Zak and Sara
    Freebird (solo)
    Ascent of Stan
    Fred Jones Part 2
    One Angry Dwarf


    Steven's Last Night in Town
    Not the Same (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lkeBZTi0Rs)
    Picture Window (solo)

    Brief Exit.... typical symphony maneuver.


    Encore 1:
    Time to Go Rock this Bitch

    AND SURPRISE! Encore 2:
    Rockin the Suburbs (solo)

    We decided to promptly leave straight after the concert, after our great night meeting with ben the night before, and cause the drive was Minneapolis > Milwaukee (drop of rachel) > Chicago (to my apartment) and then Brook and Stef had to yet go back to Addison. And Both Brooke and I had to work that day.

    Later when I got back to my apartment and rewoke up and came home from work (it was a long day) I saw that fleur tweeted me back telling me to enjoy #40 "ms chudley" OH GREAT. SO she too knows me as Chudley Cannons? How long have I been just "Allison" on theburbs? I don't remember when I changed it officially. I suppose she could have been around then, or is that what they know me as? Maybe I should have picked a Quidditch team that actually wins. :P
  • 39!

    15. Nov. 2009, 6:59

    Fri 30 Oct – Ben Folds, Kate Miller-Heidke

    The Overture Center is right across the street from The Orpheum, which is where Ben has played every other time I've seen him in Madison. Met up with Aneela and Chris once we got there, saw Lynn and Frank as well. Makkio was also at the show, after some flight issues. Bought Nikko, per his request, a copy of Kate Miller-Heidke's record. Good thing I did it before intermission, they were, once again, all out. Was going to get it signed but KMH never came out. Anyway, the show itself. Kate was FANTASTIC again as always, it was perhaps better this time around cause I knew the songs this time. She and her husband wowed the audience, I can't wait for her to come back around the US on her own headlining tour, six/seven songs is NOT enough. Brooke, Stef and mine's seats were the three furthest right seats in the second row.... and during Kate's set we could see Ben in the wings taking pictures, as well as Sam and presumably the lady friend watching backstage, as well as the Stage Manager, but I dunno that guy's name. He just works there.

    Free Coffee
    Annie Waits
    All U Can Eat
    Gone (it'd been awhile, for what used to be a standard.... and very different, imo, solo - then again I'm sure he played it back in like 02-04 ?)
    Halloween People/Rock This Bitch in a Safari Hat
    Sentimental Guy
    Best Imitation Of Myself (what a great 3 song back to back to back-ness)
    Picture Window
    Levi Johnston's Blues (he called it Levi's Blues, though)
    Bitch Went Nutz (With Sam)
    Dog (With Sam)
    You Don't Know Me (with Sam, Kate and Keir)
    Bastard (four part harmonies, which I still fuck up. >.<)
    Still Fighting It
    Dr Yang
    Zak and Sara
    Hiro's Song (on the cajon, he started on piano but couldn't remember how to play it)
    Secret Life of Morgan Davis
    Not the Same

    Hava Nagila (at SUPER SPEED!)

    Notes/Highlights: At some point Ben commented out that his wife wanted to make sure he said to "The Great Benfolio" Which is WIChris, which, uh, if anyone was noticing, his twitter name is only Benfolio.... EITHER Fleur added Great herself as an adjective, orrrrrrrrrr one or the other of them is aware of his Burbs name..... That was great. (She did call me Chudley on twitter the other day....) Also great, but in a weird way, was the audience. It was awesome to have an audience that didn't talk through the show, buuuuuuut they also didn't sing along. And Ben was completely solo, except where mentioned, and so picking up some of the back up vocals in songs like Philosophy was a bit awkward. And I really wanted to scream; "THERE MUST BE SOMETHING BIGGER I CAN STICK IN MY BUTT" for Morgan Davis, but ALAS it was awkward. And same thing with the; "YOU WERE NOT THE SAMEEEEEEEEEE!" in Not the Same (obv) it was strange. Dog was AAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEESOME. I hope he keeps that one around for a while, though I feel like next time Ben goes on tour it'll be a lot of Foldsby stuff, cause it'll probably be in support/aligned with that record, which he's still hoping for a March release date. But three, that's right, THREE, songs were NEW for me live that night. I'd never before seen Dog, Morgan Davis and Hiro's Song. So that was awesome. During the show, after You Don't Know Me, Ben kept Kate and Keir on stage (Sam disappeared almost awkwardly) and took pictures of them interacting with the audience. Lots of fun. Kate seemed not all that thrilled about the fake peeing on stage bit........OH! Also very much worth noting, the boy sitting next to Brooke at the concert proved to be hugely important as our night goes on.

    So that'll be it's own paragraph. This boy named Justin (not to be confused with jpar0) that was sitting next to Brooke was at the concert by himself, and we kinda made concert-friend-nice with him, and after the show he came round back with us to try to find Ben. It was COLD. It's nicer out today than it was two weeks ago. Anyway. So we are standing around talking just the small group of us, and Chris gets on twitter on his phone and he sees that Ben's tweeted he's back at his hotel. WELL, Justin's friends have told him that they've seen Ben in the elevator... so we go hang out at Justin's hotel just for shits, and the chance. We were swapping Ben stories and finding out that Justin has been to LOADS of shows with us. Well at least five. Anyway, and we go up stairs to the floor that Justin theoried that Ben was on. Eventually we decided to go back down to the lobby, and tada! The Bus is outside. So we went outside. And after I think Leo and the Bus Driver realized we were there for them, the bus driver came over and told us to wait inside that Ben was still in the hotel and that he'd talk to us when he came out.

    At 1 AM, the show got out at about 11:15, Ben Folds appears in the lobby. And the first thing i said was some sort of blurt out about how he'd put it on the internet for us to see. I don't think he minded at all, really, but I didn't want to weird him out..... at least anymore than normal. Got him to sign my Rockin the Suburbs EP and kinda just sat back and watched him interact with everyone else. He told the story, during the show, about taking money from the cash register at Hardee's. At one point Chris said something about it to Ben about how he used to work there too, and Ben said that he used to make shakes for himself using mountain dew syrup. I love shakes, and I love the Dew, but Dew flavored ice cream? I am a bit grossed out.

    ANOTHER NOTE WORTHY STORY. So we're standing around just bullshitting with Ben Folds (ha!) and this older man comes up and asks us what's the big deal that's got the bus outside. Well Ben was talking (it was rather rude of the man to interrupt) and I don't even think Ben heard him... so the man asked again, basically demanding to be answered. I kinda was looking at him to please be leaving us alone... and Ben, just perfectly, and I will likely see this in my head for many moons, says; "Well, you don't have to be and ASS-hole." (note us fans to be giggling). And the man said something, can't remember what, but tried to get Ben to answer his question again. And Ben gave him this line; "You know Kenny Rodgers?" (Rogers?) "Yeah." "It's his bus. I'm one of his accountants." (or something to that nature.) The guy somehow left.... We eventually parted ways after a pretty awesome group shot (teeth!) and said we'd see him tomorrow, well, for those of us that were, and did mention that it would be the big 4-0!

    After Ben left and we were exchanging goodbyes amongst fans, and getting Justin's contact information, that same man came back and said... "I'm not an idiot, I know that wasn't Kenny Rodgers, who was that guy?" -silence- Me; "Uh, that guy was Ben Folds?" -look of nonrecognition- "Uh.... he's a platinum selling artist? Lead from Ben Folds Five? Brick?" "Well, he didn't have to be a jerk about it, I just wanted to know." CLEARLY SIR, when you didn't recognize the guy who was CLEARLY the center of attention, not to mention the one signing shit, he's not on your radar, so just fuck off and move on, next time. Eventually we all left, and slept, getting ready for the next day.
  • Andrew Bird, Two Nights!

    20. Okt. 2009, 5:28

    Fri 16 Oct – Andrew Bird, Dosh & Sat 17 Oct – Andrew Bird, St. Vincent Andrew Bird/St. Vincent/Dosh

    went back to mom's got ready to go downtown, girled myself up, and met up with natalie to see andrew bird. they scanned our tickets at the door and they made a funny noise. why? beeeeeeeeeeeecaaaaaaaause they upgraded our row 23 seats to row 5! FUCK YES! night one with mr bird was backed by the band. it was phhhhhhhhenomanal. highlights from night one: Opposite Day straight into Nervous Tic - seamless and both songs have developed a more rock element to them.
    Ravel Intro (which i thought was going to be plasticities when it started.)/Fiery Crash/Masterswarm/Opposite Day/A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left/Fitz and the Dizzy Spells/Natural Disaster/On Ho!/Oh No/Effigy/Not a Robot But a Ghost/Privateers/Anonanimal/Lusitania (new)/Afro Jam (HILARIOUS. i hope it's on the dvd)/Imitosis/Cataracts/Headsoak/Scythian Empires/Fake Palindromes—-/Some of these Days/Don’t Be Scared

    overall, just ffffffaaaaantastic. the entire show was filmed for a future dvd. and i can't wait to get it back. the lighting for this tour is also sssssoooooooo great. you don't see artists at andrew's level of fame with that kind of quality of lighting.

    then went home to wait for brooke to show up. then she and i went down for night two of andrew bird. st vincent opened. whiiiiiiiich surprised me how it all was live. i mean, i'm far more used to "marry me" over "actor" and most of her 45 min set was "Actor" tracks, but i was super surprised HOW guitar driven her music was live. cause it's a lot softer on record. it was nice to hear that way, but brooke's right, there were a few moments where it was too loud. and we were two rows from the back! (no fun upgrade... but in the pabst there's no bad seat). andrew was solo most of the night (st vincent backed him on a few songs, and they together even played her Marry Me) he played a few duplicate songs from night to night - effigy, tenuousness... highlights included MASTERFADE (!!), Tables and Chairs, Why?, Weather Systems, and Oh, Sister (Dylan Cover).

    yay. my first introduction to andrew bird was when MPoE came out (thanks benfolds.org!) and my first three favorite songs were opposite day, masterfade and nervous tic, so it was super awesome to hear all three in about a 24 hour span.
  • 38

    1. Okt. 2009, 4:49

    Sun 27 Sep – Ben Folds, Kate Miller-Heidke

    So this tour is seemingly completely solo. Cool. I wasn't around back then in the ben and a piano tour, so last night was exciting for me cause it was different. And Ben Folds treated us well with the set list, as well as debuting a brand new Foldsby track. Which I did record, will be on youtube eventually, but the upload page is not loading right now. So, watch this space.

    Set list.

    1 Free Coffee (no distortion or anything. I feel like it makes the song immensely sadder.)
    2 Annie Waits (during which he stopped and pulled his phone out of his pocket - maybe it went off? - and let out a quiet 'shit' and then continued the song.)
    3 Sentimental Guy
    4 Eddie Walker
    5 Used to Live Here/Rock this Bitch in Fecal Park (which RtB was not yelled for, happened naturally. some ass yelled for it later, however)
    6 Effington
    7 Jesusland
    8 All U Can Eat (Ben talked about how they used to be called All You Can Eats, then they were All You Care to Eats, and now they're back)
    9 Picture Window
    10 Belinda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZRa8WPCIyw
    11 Levi Johnston's Blues
    12 You Don't Know Me (Featuring Kate Miller-Heidke .... who has classical training, and was hilariously awesomley fantastic with Regina's part)
    13 Kate
    14 Still Fighting It
    15 Last Polka
    16 Zak & Sara
    17 Dr Yang (which without Jared - well the bass- sounds crazy. Ben talked about how he likes to write songs that can be preformed in each setting - solo, band and symphonies - but this one he had to adapt a bit to even work solo. it was different, definitely not bad, but different. so used to that blown out bass)
    18 Landed
    19 Such Great Heights
    20 Army
    21 Selfless, Cold and Composed
    22 Not the Same

    23 Narcolepsy
    24 Bitches Ain't Shit (which was being yelled for all night - college campus shows it's even more likely to be yelled for - and ben said he likes to make people happy even though he's tired of the song.... played it through, had us continue with the 'bitches can't hang with the streets' bit all the way through the end per usual, but told us he was gonna leave the stage to us still singing it, which he did, and then ran back on stage to conclude the whole event.)