Thursday, January 12, 2012

Music of 2011

One last recap of 2011 before I am ready for the new year. (Yeah, that always takes me several weeks!) Music! I always enjoy putting together posts about music I listened to over the last year, but it is a big task to pull together, so I've been procrastinating a little. (Once I wrap this up I can recap my Christmas trip to Chicago and the last few knitting projects I've finished!) This year I thought I'd do it by selecting a few categories: Portland - so much good stuff here; My Usual Favorites - their new albums are so good;  New Favorites - More in this category than the others; To Check Out - Stuff that's high up on my list that I haven't really listened to the full album yet; and lastly Spillover - albums that didn't come out last year, but I started listening to, and stuff I'm still listening to from last year.


AgesandAges - Alright you Restless
This is just one of those albums that I have to put on when I need cheering up. So many people singing together I think is what has that effect on me, but also I like the lyrics. I knew I'd have to check them out when I heard Kevin Robinson from Viva Voce produced the album.

Viva Voce - The Future Will Kill Us
I'm sad I haven't actually since them live again since we've been back in the northwest! They are so much fun to see play, I highly recommend it. The Analog Woodland Song is so good.

Wild Flag - Wild Flag
Very cool to see this on a lot of the best of 2011 lists for the year. I got to see them play a free in-store show, but unfortunately didn't act quick enough to get tickets for a real show. Ah well, hopefully since they are Portland based I'll have more opportunities this year.

My Usual Favorites

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Tom Waits - Bad As Me
Both of these are so good. I think they'll take me a while longer to fully absorb.

New Favorites

tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l
Fascinating to listen, seems like she has such a diverse range of influences. I just found they did a Tiny Desk concert, which I will be checking out right after I finish this post.

Eleanor Friedberger - Last Summer
Both Eleanor & Matthew Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces came out with solo albums this year. We saw her open for The Kills at a MusicFestNW show and several songs stuck out and convinced me I needed to get the album.

Say Hi - Um, Uh Oh
Another album to put on to make me happy. I love the video above because it's filmed in Seattle and many of the shots are outside a school-turned-condo building very close to where we used to live.

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Tell Me
She's from Ohio! And not all that old and very impressive. I first heard her on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. 

Thao & Mirah - Thao & Mirah
I already liked them both quite a bit, so this is such a good pairing. Here they are covering Salt'n'Peppa with Carrie & Fred on the Portlandia tour. Too fun!

To Check Out

Beyonce - 4
Seems to be getting especially good reviews this year, and I've been mildly obsessed with the videos for Countdown and Run the World (Girls)

TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
I've been meaning to check them out more intently for a while. I enjoyed their performance with Tinariwen on the Colbert Report. Also I think there's a song about caffeine? I actually got this album off of emusic, we just need to get the files moved off my computer and into the right place for listening...

Charles Bradley - No Time for Dreaming
Same deal with this one, it's time to start listening! We saw him this year as part of MusicFestNW, and he was just so good. It felt perhaps like the closest you can get to seeing James Brown.


Y La Bamba - Lupon
We have seen them live a bunch of times since we moved here and bought their album last time we saw them, so even though it was released in 2010, we listened to it a lot in 2011. In addtion to the video above I highly recommend their Tiny Desk Concert on NPR.

Bhi Bhiman - The Cookbook
Introduced to his music when we saw him open for Joan As Police Woman at Mississippi Studios mid-year.  We were impressed. The video for a song from his new album (coming in 2012) is pretty cool, using stop motion to create a moving collage.

Breathe Owl Breathe - Magic Central
This made my list for 2010, but I've still been listening to it a lot in 2011. We saw them at the workshop barn stage at Pickathon this year, where they talked about their songwriting, and played some songs of course.

I'm feeling like it was an especially good music year this year, so I maybe adding quite a few things to my "to check out" list in the near future. Here's a few best of lists I'll be referencing:

Pitchfork's Best Albums of 2011
KEXP DJ's top 10 lists for 2011
KCRW DJ's top 10 lists for 2011
Willamette Weeks's Best New PDX Band 2011

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