Year In Music: 2011


16. Dez. 2011, 5:30

Year In Music: 2011

This year I decided to keep a playlist in iTunes of all the music I added that was released in 2011. By December I had added more than 1300 songs, and I'm sure I forgot to add some music to the list throughout the year. The playlist was part of my attempt to catalog my whole musical experience in 2011, a feat I hope to repeat in subsequent years. I've worked up "Top X" lists for albums, songs, EP's, music videos, and concerts. Basically, I'm writing this more for my amusement and recollection than to actually release a list of what I think was the best music in 2011. I think it's incredibly conceited for any one person to try to catalog every single piece of music in a given year and call it a "Best Of" list. I know there are entire genres of music I dislike, not to mention a decent sized swath of indie music. Therefore, this is simply a list of MY favorite music of 2011. I'll probably end up making some minor adjustments to the list for grammar/forgetting certain things. Enjoy!

Top 25 Albums

This was a pretty tough list to come up with, but I'm pretty happy with it. This year I discovered twinkly/noodly emo rock, and I've quickly grown to love the genre. I spent a lot of the year listening to great bands like Algernon Cadwallader, Snowing, My Heart To Joy, Castevet, Everyone Everywhere, Grown Ups, Merchant Ships, Midwest Pen Pals, 1994!, and so on and so forth. So when it came time to make this list, it felt a little hollow since a large portion of my year was spent listening to the previously mentioned bands, hardly any of which released new music this year. Nevertheless, there were a lot of albums and bands whom I listened to this year that didn't twinkle that I still loved.

25. Neon Indian - Era Extraña

I loved "Psychic Chasms", so I was eagerly anticipating this album. Tracks like "Polish Girl" and "Fallout" only furthered to whet my appetite. I spent a lot of my September listening to the album, and in the end I definitely enjoyed it, though I was slightly disappointed by it. The second half of the album just bores me for the most part, save for bits of "Suns Irrupt" and "Arcade Blues". I liked the new shoegaze sound he has, which combined with his usual beeps and bloops sounds gorgeous, but the song quality suffers somewhat. Still, I liked the album and can't wait to hear more from Alan Palomo.

24. Ty Segall - Goodbye Bread

Just ten tracks of good ole garage rock. Ty cleaned up his act on this album and he sounds just as good. This was the last album I decided to put on this list, over four or five others, and I think it earned it. This album was just more consistent than most other albums I listened to this year, and it ROCKED, so I felt terrible leaving it off.

23. Touché Amoré - Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me

I can't even really remember when I started listening to this, all I know is I love to listen to it while out on runs. It's very intense, with interesting riffs, and, most importantly, plenty of clever lyrical gems. A couple tracks get lost due to the fact each track only last like a minute and a half, but honestly half the point of hardcore music is energy innit? Well these guys bring it, so I highly recommend this album.

22. Owen - Ghost Town

I usually don't like sparse, singer-songwriter music, but there is something different about Owen. It's probably because he comes from the "twinkly/noodly/mathy/whateveryawannacallit" scene, but there really isn't anything else like this on the rest of my list. Anyways, the first half of this album is superb, highlighted by one of my favorite songs of the year, "I Believe". The second half is good also, though it loses my interest for a bit, before grabbing it back with "Everyone's Asleep In The House But Me".

21. Johnny Foreigner - Johnny Foreigner vs Everything

Ho man, this album. I'll start off by saying I actually bought the physical CD, and it's gorgeous. Why did I buy it? Because the band pulled off a rather ingenious anti-piracy scheme. They released the album early online, with the songs slowed like 6000% of course, and labeled it "Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything ADVANCED PROMO COPY 320kbs". They then had fans spread this link all over the web, changing the title and basically making it impossible to find it online. Not that I mind buying music from Johnny Foreigner, they're an excellent band and deserve my money. Anyways, this album is the definition of sprawling and messy. Luckily, there are innumerable catchy and interesting points throughout it's 16 tracks. Half the time I really like it, and the other half I'm not so sure. Still, not a lot of albums have held my attention like this so it absolutely deserves a spot on this list.

20. Seapony - Go With Me

This album made the list more based more on atmosphere than actual songcraft. Not to say the songs are bad, but there's no denying they can blend together. Luckily the highlights really stand out, with "Dreaming" and "Nobody Knows" being two of the more catchy songs I heard this year. I absolutely love the twee/lo-fi sound this band has, and honestly the fact that the songs kind've/sort've blend together ends up only adding to it's charm.

19. Jet Set Sail - Jet Set Sail

I can't believe I'm putting this album here. I hadn't even heard of this band, much less the album a week before the writing of this blurb. However, after only 3 or 4 listens I'm addicted to them. I'm putting faith in the fact that I'm pretty sure I'm gonna end up loving this album. I'm either going to hail this as a genius move or a massive blunder. Listening to the album I really can't hear any weak points, but I do hear a lot of strong points. Well I'll probably come back in like six months and leave a little edit evaluating my decision. Til then...

EDIT: Yeah, I shouldn't have put this album on the list. Not that it's bad, but there are several other albums I would certainly put before it. First off would be Loud's album "Loud?", a fantastic slice of wintery twinkle rock. I would also consider Dios Trio's album High On Bikes, though I started listening to it too late in the year to be able to justify putting it on the list. No, I think if I could go back and substitute an album in that I forgot it would have to be Smith Western's "Dye It Blonde". I listened to it at the very beginning of 2011, and almost forgot about it when I came to write this list almost a year later. I thought it was a very good album when I first listened to it, but I wasn't particularly struck by it. Listening to it lately though, I realize it's a hell of an album, with memorable song after memorable song. Hell I probably should have put it in my Top 10. Ah well, I've learned my lesson, hopefully I won't make such a mistake next year.

18. Ringo Deathstarr - Colour Trip

This is some very good shoegaze, highlighted by one of my favorite songs of the year, "So High". This album basically combines everything that was ever good about shoegaze and packs it into eleven diverse tracks. Don't really have much more to say about it, you just gotta listen to it!

17. Cults - Cults

Enjoy the album folks, cause, uh, well, live they're a bit disappointing. When I saw them they barely played 25 minutes and their lack of stage presence was evident. Oh, and Madeline Follin doesn't sound as good live. Yet I'm still going to see them again next April, in the hope they'll prove me wrong and be able to improve themselves. Anyways, this is a great album, full of great songs that standout from each other. Honestly, the album works better as a collection of songs than as a whole, but hey I'll take it.

16. The Subways - Money and Celebrity

Let it be known that I'm nothing if not a sucker for some good pop-rock music. And man did this album deliver it, with nary a bad track on it. This is honestly my favorite Subways album, since it doesn't suffer from any of the fluff found on their previous two albums. If you had told me at the beginning of the year this was gonna be on my favorite albums list I would've laughed at you. Kudos to the band on improving their sound, which many bands fail to do these days. Highlights include: "We Don't Need Money To Have A Good Time", "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", and "Leave My Side".

15. Bass Drum of Death - GB City

Just eleven tracks of down and dirty garage rock. They play their slow songs extra fuzzed out and their fast songs extra, uh, rocking out. There's not enough of that in music today. Is the album pushing any boundaries? Hell no, but who cares when it sounds this much fun? Doesn't get any better than this, really. Plus I heard they put on a sick live show. Crossing my fingers they play a show near me.

14. The Vaccines - What Did You Expect from The Vaccines?

This album would top my list for best album titles of the year. The British press way over-hyped these guys leading up to the albums release, setting them up for a massive amount of backlash. So what do they do? Give the world a nice fuck you with that title. Honestly, there isn't anything new being done here. Their sound is reminiscent of many British bands of the last ten years. That being said, they have a unique sound, one that took me a while to get used to. However, what truly sets them apart is their songwriting. Every song is sculpted to perfection, achieving what it needs to and no less. There isn't a wasted second on the whole album. The Vaccines are not aiming to achieve a new sound, just to perfect it, and they've done a great job.

13. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

I love Girls' sound, and what they're all about. That being said, Father, Son, Holy Ghost inspires mixed feelings with me. The majority of the album is brilliant, with "Alex" making my top tracks of the year, and "Vomit", "Honey Bunny", and "Forgiveness" being some of my favorite songs of this year. There also are a couple songs, unfortunately, that kinda drag too, especially "Just A Song". Not to say they don't have their interesting moments. The album also tries to jam a lot of different sounds and styles into one disc. It works in a way, but in the end the album just feels kind've disjointed. Nevertheless, like I said I love their sound and the majority of the songs were great, so therefore I feel they earned their spot on this list.

12. Cut Copy - Zonoscope

This was another one of those albums that had a lot of songs I liked, but never seemed to work as a whole. I much preferred picking and choosing songs from the album than just listening through. Maybe it's just a grower. I've found myself enjoying it more and more as the year goes on, especially after seeing them live. The songs on Zonoscpe sounded great, let me tell you, especially "Sun God". I'm trusting I'm going to come to appreciate this album a lot more in the future. I can tell it's a truly great "album experience" but it just hasn't clicked for me yet. Whatever.

11. Nodzzz - Innings

I love this band. Nice, short, extremely catchy folk rock. None of these songs lasts more than two and a half minutes, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Don't really have much more to say, highlights include: "Time (What's It Going To Do?)" and "Heyday Past Heyday Due".

10. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Lenses Alien

You have no idea how many listens it took for me to get "Why There are Mountains", Cymbals' debut album. In the end, though, its become one of my favorite albums of all time. Lenses Alien is following the same trajectory. I didn't like it when I listened to it the first few times. I've returned to it lately and am beginning to like it more and more. Cymbals has a very unique sound, with nary a chorus to be found, but plenty of melodies to be found with odd time signatures and turns in style. It's never a boring listen, and I'm sure I'll grow to like this album a lot more than I do at this point. Still, it is time to make this list, so I feel the tenth spot is it's most appropriate resting place at this point.

9. Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation

One of my most listened to albums of 2011. This one is full of lo-fi bedroom pop gems, like one of my absolute favorite songs of the year, "July". And I can't forget about "Cannons" and "The Hunt". This is very nostalgic music, you can basically apply any memories or feelings you want to it. Truly one of the best debut albums of the year, I really don't have anything bad to say about it (alright, "Daydream" kind've drifts, but it's a minor complaint).

8. Total Babes - Swimming Through Sunlight

I first heard about this band due to the fact two of it's members are also part of Cloud Nothings. I was eager to hear them, but I wasn't expecting much, thinking it was probably just some crappy side project. Boy was I wrong. Swimming Through Sunlight consists of 10 perfectly fuzzed out, lo-fi garage rock jams. What sets this band apart is that their their sound is best described as "sunny". That, combined with the juxtaposition of the standard "girl broke my heart, woe is me" lyrics (not that thats bad, I love that shit) and you get a magical album. I imagine we probably won't hear too much more from them, and I don't know if I want to, seeing as this album is just too perfect.

7. The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts

Either you like The Go! Team or you don't. They have such a unique sound it's impossible to find another band like them. That can be a blessing and a curse, since it's hard to branch out from a sound that's so unique and far removed from other music. So basically this album is judged by how good the songs are. Now, nothing is ever gonna top "Thunder, Lightning, Strike", the Go! Team's debut, which is one of my favorite albums of all time. Rolling Blackouts comes pretty damn close though. There's nary a bad song on it, and there's plenty of standout tracks. Highlights include: "Buy Nothing Day", "Apollo Throwdown", and "Yosemite Theme".

6. And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs

And So I Watch You From Afar is truly a unique band. They're kind've post-rockish, but the're so dynamic and bombastic it's unfair to slap that label on them. Basically, they just craft high energy, very technical post-rock influenced rock jams. Man that sounded pretentious. They're also a very accessible and fun band to listen to. Gangs is basically just a continuation of ""And So I Watch You From Afar", their debut album, but nobody is gonna complain. They've got a great sound, and they nailed it again with Gangs. Each song is catchy, memorable, and full of energy. Truly one of the best albums of 2011.

5. Yuck - Yuck

Definitely one of my favorite bands of 2011. Yuck really hit the sweet spot with their sound, perfecting that "90's sound". All I know is I enjoy every one of the songs on their debut album immensely. Don't even get me started on the six bonus tracks that came with the deluxe version of the album, which are just as good as anything on the album. No, really. They just wrote too many songs, and they happened to have too many fuzzed out songs, so they threw 'em away, basically. Kind've a shame, reminds me of Oasis back in the late 90's. Oh, and they put on a pretty good live show too.

4. Cloud Nothings - Cloud Nothings

I'm not really sure who I like more, the old lo-fi Cloud Nothings, or the new bubblegum pop Cloud Nothings. And then there's the new, serious Cloud Nothings that's going to emerge with the release of their sophomore album this January. But I digress. I was basically addicted to Cloud Nothing's debut album early this year. Like I said before I'm a sucker for catchy pop-rock, and man does Dylan Baldi bring the hooks. Nothing new here of course, just 11 catchy as fuck songs about girls, heartbreak, and, uh, well, more girls. Perfect.

3. Algernon Cadwallader - Parrot Flies

This is the only major twinkly/noodly emo band that actually released an LP this year, but man what a fucking amazing album it is. Seriously, Algernon is my most played band on here by far, and this album is one of the major reasons why. I'm addicted to their sound, it's redonkulously catchy and listenable. There's no bad songs, though there's one or two that aren't quite as good as the others. Still, the standouts more than makeup for this. Highlights include: "Pitfall", "Uniform", and "Chewed Up and Spit Out (In A Bowl)".

2. Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

Los Campesinos! is my favorite band of all time, period. No doubt. I'm seriously in love with them. Why? There's a lot of reasons, but really it boils down to Gareth Campesinos!, the band's front man and lyricist. He injects something into the music that hits me hard. This band would be nothing without him. He sings about depressing things, with the resigned air of someone who is fed up with the pain but knows he will be back for more. He is nothing if not completely honest and straightforward, which works great with the style of LC!'s music. Their last album "Romance Is Boring", was an immensely difficult listen, though ultimately rewarding. It was a maturing of their sound, with very stark and depressing lyrical imagery throughout. Their sound was also a lot thicker, which I liked. "Hello Sadness" takes these same qualities and puts it in a far more accessible form. "Hello Sadness" may be my favorite LC! album because of that. I think "Romance Is Boring" will always be the quintessential LC! album for me, I think due to the fact that it's just a maelstrom of emotion, energy, and depression, which pretty much sums up LC! But "Hello Sadness" is just an easier listen, which I can appreciate more often than craziness of "Romance Is Boring". So where does LC! go from here? Honestly, if they were to break up I would of course be heartbroken, but not necessarily disappointed. At this point it doesn't seem like they have much more to say. But I of course have immense faith in Los Campesinos!, so I eagerly await their next move. Oh, the album itself. Yeah, it's great, it works as an ALBUM, ya know? Yeah sure, there are songs that aren't as good as other songs, but it comes together as a whole, which is more than you can say for 99% of albums out there. This is how all music should work. But it doesn't, and it's why LC! is my favorite band.

1. Fucked Up - David Comes To Life

You may be asking, "How is any album above Hello Sadness after that massive, overblown, god worshiping paragraph this guy just wrote?" Uh, have you listened to David Comes To Life? Shits insane. I'm normally not into music like this, and admittedly Damian Abraham's style of singing is a bit of an acquired taste. But this album is amazing, and epic, and it fucking rocks. It's endlessly complex, and mysterious, and energetic. There are 18 freaking songs on it, and none of them suck. Not even close. I'd say I find only one or two songs on the whole album to be about average. And those are still very good. Most of them I think are amazing, and I find myself returning to half of them they're so good. An album like this shouldn't work, it's so massive and complex it should collapse in on itself. But somehow Fucked Up makes it work, and I take my hat off to them. This is truly the best ALBUM, as a whole experience, in 2011, hands down. I'll be listening to this one for years.

Top 25 Songs

Alright, it took way too fucking long to type out those album blurbs, and I'm not sure I have a lot to say about each individual song, especially since it would get repetitive fast, Therefore, I'm only going to comment when I think necessary. Sorting a top 25 songs out of 1300 is rather difficult, but I think I did a good job. I imagine I left out a song or two so don't be surprised if the list changes.

25. Tokyo Police Club - Little Sister (Feat. Orianthi)

An odd choice I know, especially since it's a cover of a Queens of the Stone Age song. But I'll be damned if I heard a funner song released by any band this year, especially in the indie world. Plus, this song blows away the original version completely, it sounds so much better with TPC's style.

24. Tellison - My wife's grave is in Paris

23. Park Jefferson - a homemade portland

22. Girls - Alex

21. Owen - I Believe

20. CSTVT - Rogers Alexandra

19. Ringo Deathstarr - So High

18. Cartel - Lessons in Love

Yeah yeah, it's pop punk, blah blah blah. I have, and will always maintain that Cartel is a brilliant band.

17. The Strokes - Under Cover of Darkness

16. Mallard - Kelsey Q. vs. The Holland Tunnel

15. Los Campesinos! - By Your Hand

14. Gauntlet Hair - Top Bunk


13. The Go! Team - Buy Nothing Day

12. Toro y Moi - Still Sound

Man, was I only the person that thought Underneath the Pine sucked? This song was one of the few bright spots on that album.

11. Algernon Cadwallader - Pitfall

I love how the song feels like it's gonna spin out of control and just collapse at the end. Easily one of the most emotional songs I've heard this year.

10. Cut Copy - Take Me Over

9. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Belong

8. James Blake - Limit to Your Love

7. Fucked Up - The Other Shoe

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Nothing But Our Love

5. Youth Lagoon - July

4. Baths - Overseas

Uh, not sure how this track got so over looked by everyone but sweet Lord almighty it's gorgeous. Seriously, if you listen to only one song on this list, listen to this one. Blows me away.

3. Old Gray - Her Tongue Was Tattooed On The Back Of Her Teeth

The best "twinkly" song released in 2011, in my humble opinion.

2. Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks

Say what you will about the band and the song, Pumped Up Kicks is just so damn catchy it dominated 2011. Indie kids loved it, mainstream radio loved it, everybody loved it (yay hyperbole!). Seriously, this really is the song of the year.

1a & 1b. Purity Ring - Ungirthed / Lofticries

Yeah I cheated, but I had to. There's no way I could choose one song over the other. I was playing this 7" constantly over the summer. Extremely catchy, and it's nothing like I've ever heard before. And DAT BASS. Sorry. There's been no doubt in my mind the last couple months that this would be my choice for song(s) of the year. Here's to a full-length in 2012.

Top 10 EPs

My definition of EP is rather broad. I include anything more than a single, and less than an album. So that would include mini-albums, EPs, splits, demos and 7"s. That's mostly just to accommodate the twinkly/noodly scene, which dominates the list. While not too many twinkly artists released LPs this year, they sure as hell released a lot of EPs. This is mostly since it's a very DIY scene, and also cause a lot of the bands are just kids my age jamming in their garage. It's a lot of work to release an LP, ya know? Anyways, I had a lot of trouble with this list, but I got it down and it's STACKED.

10. Toro y Moi - Freaking Out

A nice recovery after "Underneath the Pine". *shudder*

9. Look Up - Fall Demo

Very uplifting twinkly rock. Hope to hear more at some point.

8. Park Jefferson - Weekdays

Apparently these guys got a lot of flack for this EP, which I suppose I understand, but it's totally unwarranted. It's a lot more polished and their sound changed a bit, but it still twinkles. Not to mention the songs are all very good. Haters gonna hate.

7. William Bonney - William Bonney / Droughts Split

Couldn't really tag an album for this one cause, idk it's tough to find official information about it. The important thing is I know what the split is called and I've heard William Bonney's songs from it, which is the only half I listened to. Seriously, Jack Senff is my favorite screamo singer. Damn good stuff. And the songs aren't bad either. Everybody went gaga over the Good Vibes EP, but I felt it was kind of bland except for the song Good Vibes. The split, on the other hand, has three awesome songs on it that are superior to anything on Good Vibes. Too bad they're on hiatus, I really want to hear more music after this.

6. Wavves - Life Sux

Man I thought King of the Beach was awesome, so I was looking forward to this EP, though my expectations were low. Wavves took a turn in the pop punk direction on this EP and I loved it.

5. Park Jefferson - Bicycle Sunday/Park Jefferson Split 7"

Again, I only listened to the Park Jefferson half of this split, which consists of a whopping two songs. What a pair they are though. "One For the Road" shreds and "Dude, It's Saturday" hits like a punch to the gut.

4. My Heart To Joy - Reasons To Be

A fitting farewell for this band, I think I like their sound here better than on "Seasons In Verse".

3. Old Gray - Do I Dare Disturb the Universe

"Her Tongue Was Tattooed On The Back Of Her Teeth" sort've overshadows everything else on this EP, but the other three songs are damn good too. "Instrumental" uses a clip from "The Network" which is a bit cliché but it works.

2. Mallard - Of The Thick

Didn't even know that was the official title of the EP til like two minutes ago. Huh. Well, twinkly rock didn't get better than this in 2011, plain and simple.

1. Park Jefferson - childhood

Childhood contains my number one, two and three top played tracks on I honestly don't why, I didn't consciously think "holy shit this is good", I just kept scrobbling and scrobbling til one day I realized Childhood was the obvious choice as my favorite EP of 2011. These songs, while of course catchy, have an emotional depth that makes them inherently more listenable than most other music I have. Something about it keeps drawing me back over and over. While I find a lot of songs catchy, I think the true test of a song's greatness is how many times one can listen to it before it gets old and you're sick of it. I still haven't gotten sick of any of them, even after 40+ scrobbles, so they must be pretty damn good.

Top 10 Music Videos

Alright I really shouldn't be making this list at all. I don't care about music videos at all, and I hardly watched any this year. I did watch some though, so I basically just threw them together in a list to show people the videos I did enjoy.

10. Fucked Up - The Other Shoe

No idea what's going on in this video but I like it.

9. Los Campesinos! - By Your Hand

Love the point at the end where Gareth stick the tube of gas in the bag over his head. Pretty much sums up him and his ethos.

8. Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

"I have the weirdest boner right now..."

7. Times New Viking - No Room to Live (Damn video wouldn't embed, so there's the link)

Sometimes I can't make it through this video, it's so bright and jumpy. So much skill and time went into it though, gotta give credit where it's due.

6. Slow Club - Two Cousins

This is the first video on this list I consider essential. There's something mesmerizing and beautiful about it, even if it is a simple concept.

5. Foo Fighters - White Limo

Ah Dave Grohl, how I love thee. It's too bad "Wasting Light" was, well, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't terribly good either. Let's call it meh. The man still knows how to make a damn good music video though. White Limo is cheesy good fun done right, as only Dave Grohl could do it. Oh, and it has Lemmy in it. Nuf said.

4. Cloud Nothings - Nothing's Wrong

Oh god I love this video. Actually I love all of Cloud Nothings videos, go check them out if you have some free time. In the end, this one takes the cake. I have no idea what's going on, but that's half the fun. And it's a damn lot of fun to watch indeed. It's got thrills, chills, spills, and even a heart rending moment at the end :'(

3. Los Campesinos! - Too Many Flesh Suppers

An unofficial video, but it's one of the best I've seen this year. "Too Many Flesh Suppers" is one of the most underrated LC! songs, and one of my favorites by them. This video is a perfect companion for it.

2.Youth Lagoon - Montana

I can't really listen to "Montana" anymore without watching this video. The video adds something to it, especially during the rise in the music, which the video accompanies by changing shots on every beat. Perfect. This is definitely one of those tear jerker videos :')

1. Tyler, the Creator - Yonkers

Did you expect anything else? I have a distaste for rap, but Tyler's music is different. First off, just the beats he uses sound radically different from anything on the radio, and anything I've heard. And then Tyler doesn't rap (ALL the time) about money, women, bitches, etc. There's actually some personal introspection here. Game changing. Not to say I particularly like his music, but damn do I like this song, and especially this video. It blew my mind when I watched it last spring, and I knew immediately it was going to be my favorite music video of 2011. I can't disconnect the video from the song, it just ruins it for me. I guess that's what a good video does. This video is basically like a train wreck, there's something mesmerizing about it and you get sucked in by Tyler's intensity. I can't believe anybody would choose any other video as being more influential or better than this in 2011. Swag.

Top 10 Concerts

This was an amazing year for concerts, I saw so many great bands and shows. It really couldn't have gotten any better (alright I did miss the Black Keys in July, but those tickets were overpriced anyways). At first I couldn't imagine any year topping this year, though looking at my schedule for next year it's definitely possible it could happen :D Anyways, here's the list:

10. Blue Öyster Cult at Tuesdays in the Park

Welp, there goes my hipster cred. C'mon it was a free show. And we had a cowbell! Seriously, I had no idea they had so many good songs, during the show I realized I knew half of the songs they played and I had never even seriously listened to them. Those guys could play too. Basically, it was a chill concert with good friends, and I couldn't ask for anything more.

9. Foo Fighters

Alright, Foo Fighters are one of my favorite bands of all time. At this point, however, I'm far more into other types of music besides the Foos (let it be noted I still worship the ground Dave Grohl walks on). So this was a really cool concert to go to, and to hear all the hits, but it wasn't THAT amazing. Especially for $60 a ticket. And those seats sucked. Damn.

8. Jimmy Eat World

It would have been worth it to go just to watch them open up with "Bleed American". They played "Bleed American" all the way through, which was awesome, cause it's the only album i know by them, then some hits, which I'd never heard of but I liked. Solid.

7. Tokyo Police Club at Thursday at the Square

Second time I've seen these guys, and I loved it just as much as the first time. Lots of fun, etc.

6. The Tragically Hip At Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor

Ah man what a show. The Arkells opened up and rocked the place, bringing their trademark energy. Seriously, I love these guys. Too bad most people just ignored them. Their loss. The Hip were awesome, playing the hits and, well, just were the Hip. On a side note, Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf is an awesome place to see a concert. Right under the skyway, with a spacious stage and grounds, and Lake Erie at your back. During the show there were floating paper lanterns coming out of nowhere, which was weird/cool. And fireworks from over on the Canadian side. A truly memorable night.

5. Yuck

Hey, you another cool place to see shows in Buffalo? Babeville. It's located in the basement of an old church, so it has a pretty vintagey, old, intimate vibe to it. Yuck played a pretty solid set, neither disappointing nor wowing me. I mostly just loved rocking out to all the songs I knew by heart at that point.

4. Cut Copy

Oh yes. This is the first concert on this list that really wowed me. Midnight Magic was on first, and were a pleasant surprise. There were three trumpet players, a singer, a bassist, and a keyboard player. Odd, but it worked, and I enjoyed it a lot. Then Washed Out came on. Now I had been looking forward to them, just as much as Cut Copy. I hate to say it, but MY GOD THEY SUCKED. They barely played for 20-25 minutes and had no stage presence or energy whatsoever. Bleah. Thank god Cut Copy came on next, and what a show it was. First off, Town Ballroom was nuts, with people dancing around and enjoying the multitude of hit songs Cut Copy has. They also skillfully employed their lighting and fans, looking pretty bad ass up there. Basically, Cut Copy had their shit together, and it was awesome. "Sun God" was a treat, with the guitarist mangling his guitar and absolutely screaming into his mic, all while the venue was enveloped in a solid wall of guitar feedback, synths, and generally shoegazieness.

3. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros at Thursday at the Square

Probably the only show I'll ever see in the Square, sadly. I had a perfect spot for this show. The stage was built at the top of a stairway, with two railings leading up to the stage at equidistant lengths from the end of the stage. Their lead singer loved to climb down off the stage and interact with the crowd using these, and I just so happened to be positioned at the end of one of them. So I hugged, patted on the back, etc the singer of the Magnetic Zeros every time he deigned to venture down. Very cool. The place was nuts, seeing as it is a rather small space, and everybody wanted to see this fairly popular band. The last couple songs were electric, with the singer interacting with and coaxing the crowd. The last song, which I believe was "Om Nashi Me", the singer handed another kid and I the mic, and we basically just bellowed into the mic while the place was going absolutely insane around us.

2. Fucked Up and Wavves

What a concert. Well it didn't start off particularly good. They hired some local band to open up (last minute I presume) and they flat out sucked. They had a freaking table on stage, complete with a table cloth. Embarrassing. Basically it was just glorified hipster ramblings, nothing that deserved to open up for two awesome bands. Wavves was up next, and they rocked the place, even though Nathan Williams was throwing up the entire time. I'll give him props for performing under such circumstances. Half the crowd left after Wavves, which wasn't entirely unexpected, but they missed out on Fucked Up, who you think would be right up the alley of anybody who likes Wavves. So, as you know, Fucked Up topped my Albums list. I'm happy to report they are an awesome live band as well, with Damian Abraham absolutely kicking ass as frontman. The rest of the band kind of sat back and did their thing, which was cool since Abraham more than took care of business on his end. Dude was a ball of energy, throwing himself around and getting the crowd involved as much as possible. One of my fondest memories was a point during the show where he lost the mic, and somehow it ended up near me, so I slung it back on stage. I honestly can't remember what songs they played, I was having too much fun moshing with the ten people who actually had the balls to do it. I wasn't there to just sit and listen to the music, I was there to get involved and enjoy the music, which I most certainly did.

1. Snowing's Last Show

This is a great way to end my Year in Music: 2011 list. As I mentioned at the beginning, this year I really got into the whole twinkly/noodly scene. Sadly, in September it was announced that Snowing, one of the best bands in the scene, was breaking up. Heartbreaking, etc etc. It was announced that there would be a final show in Philadelphia, consisting of Snowing, Algernon Cadwallader, 1994!, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, and Glocca Morra. Long story short, I decide to go and end up at First Unitarian Church in Philly. Apparently it's one of the best places to see a show in the country, which I didn't really get, but whatever. As for the actual show, let's just say they don't have shows like this in Buffalo. The amount of energy was insane from the get go, with moshing, crowdsurfing etc. It ramped up with The World Is.., Glocca Morra, and 1994! After 94! I was beat, but I managed to enjoy Algernon as much as I could. Last up was Snowing. Sweet Jesus. So awesome. The only way I can describe it is that it was like a show you see in a movie or a music video. Insane crowds pushing at the stage, stage divers/moshing galore, beer and sweat flying, people crowding the actual stage around the band, and of course the actual band itself rocking out. By the end I was actually forced on the stage by the crowd and rocked out on stage with the band during their last song. It really does not get more awesome than that, ever. Obviously this show meant a lot to me, what with the amount I listened to these bands this year and the amount of emotion involved. It was, without a doubt, the perfect way to end my concert going year.


Celebrity Crush of the Year

Sandy Miranda of Fucked Up


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