Jump to content

2011 Halftime Report


Josh Hurst
 Share

Recommended Posts

Already kinda tired of seeing Bon Iver on all these lists. :)

Is it wrong that I found Bon Iver's debut and subsequent EP so grotesquely overrated that I refuse to listen to the new one? I try to be open minded but I'm digging my Chuck Taylors in on this one.

If you're not inspired by anything on the first two, you're probably not going to be into the new one-- it's pretty sonically different but the same overall vibe to be sure. What about Bon Iver disappoints you?

Personal taste. I'm not thrilled with his voice. I'm not engaged by his lyrics. And nothing grabs me from the albums, after 15 or so listens of each, the only song I can remember is "Blood Bank." Bon Iver is also in the unfortunate position of being very popular at the expense (IMO) of more deserving artists. So there is sour grapes on my part. But again, it's a personal taste thing. I don't lose much sleep at night wondering why people like Bon Iver so much.

I'm not the only one!

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blood Bank is his most narrative song, and maybe his most traditionally melodic, so I can see why that one might stick out among the others. Steer clear of his side project "Volcano Choir"-- it's even more sound-y and incoherent! I'm definitely one of the disciples, I can't help it-- but I will wholeheartedly admit to the lyrics as a weakness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Thom Jurek

Josh Jackson's top 20.

Already kinda tired of seeing Bon Iver on all these lists. :)

I'm not surprised by ONE THING on Jackson's list. Some of the lists here offer far interest in checking out things I've not heard --or heard enough--yet.

I share your sentiment on Bon Iver btw.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Current favorites:

1. Dolorean - the Unfazed

2. Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin'

3. Southeast Engine - Canary

4. Mick Harvey - Sketches from the Book of the Dead

5. Ambrose Akinmusire - When the Heart Emerges Glistening

6. Urge Overkill - Rock n Roll Submarine

7. Sloan - the Double Cross

8. Okkervil River - I Am Very Far

9. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

10. Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Thom Jurek

Current favorites:

2. Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin'

4. Mick Harvey - Sketches from the Book of the Dead

5. Ambrose Akinmusire - When the Heart Emerges Glistening

7. Sloan - the Double Cross

Jason; some great records there especially these

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10. DeVotchKa, 100 Lovers

Thanks for mentioning this. I'd forgotten about this album and I decided to take a glance at it tonight. Some of their stuff is just a little too much for me, but "100 Other Lovers" and "Exhaustible" are really great songs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I guess I should be glad to notice, after reading this whole thread, that I don't share the least favorite with everyone else here (it means: lots of other good stuff to listen to - well, I guess! ;) ). So, here's how looks like my * kind of best of 2011 volume 1*.

CD1: 2011, January 17 - May 10 (79:33)

1. Anna Calvi: Blackout (4:06)

2. Tennis: Take me somewhere (2:48)

3. Fleet Foxes: Helplessness blues (5:04)

4. The Babies: Run me over (2:41)

5. Jessica Lea Mayfield: Blue skies again (3:48)

6. PJ Harvey: England (3:11)

7. Those Dancing Days: Can't find entrance (3:36)

8. Keren Ann: All the beautiful girls (5:02)

9. Ron Sexsmith: Get in line (2:27)

10. The Do: Gonna be sick! (4:09)

11. Hunx & his Punx: Lovers lane (3:35)

12. Those Darlins: Screws get loose (3:46)

13. The Raveonettes: Recharge & revolt (5:23)

14. Ezra Furman & the Harpoons: Portrait of Maude (2:46)

15. The Kills: Baby says (4:28)

16. Sonny & the Sunsets: The bad energy from L.A. is killing me (2:44)

17. Vivian Girls: Sixteen ways (2:45)

18. Times New Viking: No room to live (2:21)

19. David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights: Diamond mine (6:10)

20. Catherine Ringer: Vive l'amour (3:36)

21. The Antlers: French exit (4:03)

Comments:

Anna Calvi: there was some hype about her in Europe in the early year and my first impression wasn't positive, but having listened to the album again and again, I think it's a great one, haunting and beautiful. She's been compared to PJ Harvey but is actually different. "Blackout" is my favourite track of the album, and I happen to prefer the second half over the first, and actually the quality of the second half makes you play again the first one. It's really haunting. And I bet she's great to see live. "Devil" is also a key track of her style in my opinion.

Tennis: totally my cup of tea (sixties background), the more so as they chose the name of my fave sport and their first LP was released on my birthday. I had already chosen a track for my 2010 comp, "Pigeons" from the album, previously released as an EP but it was a different version from the album actually. So I take that off and choose the delightful LP opener for 2011.

Fleet Foxes: not my cup of tea, but "Helplessness blues" is a great track, that reminds of course of the best hours of C.S.N.Y. with a Band thing. Great vocal harmonies in the second part of the song. Strong enough to be included in a 2011 mix.

The Babies: the band where Cassie Ramone of the Vivian Girls uses to play and sing as well with a guy from Woods (another band). This year is obviously a rock'n'roll one (and it started to grow last year - to me anyway) with this rich Brooklyn scene. I keep reading Tim Sendra's reviews on AMG about that and other shoegaze/indie/garage/twee acts. I enjoy the lively energy of all those bands. They do nothing new, but I'm glad they keep doing it, as it's still a thrill to hear real drums and bass and guitars and screams and this wild thing called "rock'n'roll" going on.

Jessica Lea Mayfield: so far, my discovery of the year, and my favorite album as well. It's her second (I guess I should look for the first, too), tastefully produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. I so enjoyed this production that I purchased some Black Keys CDs since. It's weird how I enjoy to listen to this JLM record: the blend of her vocals with the way the sound is worked is a ceaseless pleasure to my ears, a total perfection. She sings really great, with a voice that is just between sweetness and acidity, as I tried to describe for early records of Laura Cantrell in another thread. The more I play this LP the more I love it. It's a grower. Oh, this CD is called Tell Me and was released through Nonesuch.

PJ Harvey: my other big favorite right after Jessica Lea Mayfield. PJ didn't do much to me in the 90's (she's considered as a major act of this decade), but I'm glad to say I love Polly Jean now, with this record and the previous one (that i purchased since). There was a turning with White Chalk in my opinion, which is a masterpiece as much as this new one called Let England Shake. And I think that it'd be a huge mistake to not select "England" as one of the most beautiful tracks of the year already. It's less catchy than some other songs of the album at the first spin, but God knows how beautifully haunting and heartbreaking it is. I don't even recall a more beautuful homage to England actually.

Those Dancing Days: well their album isn't great, but the song "Can't find entrance" is happiness from start to finish. The chorus on synthesizer could last one hour long and I wouldn't even get start to be sick of it. They used to release singles like these in the 80's. You know, just joyful and danceable singles. They don't do it anymore (to these ears anyway).

Keren Ann: third big favorite LP of the year. And it's the first I listen to from this lady that I used to find more boring than anyhting else before, but I'm probably wrong. I should listen to some previous ones to change my mind. Anyway: 101 is filled with great songs and tunes, soft, intimate, comfortable. Listening to Keren Ann must be kinda like crossing clouds far above. You know, high on the mountains, when you cross clouds your eardrums turn to cotton. Some melodies are just getting their way deep into your heart and recalling secret souvenirs of snow.

Ron Sexsmith: I only like two tunes from his new album. The opener is one of these, always a sweet pleasure to hear.

The Do: there are many couples making bands these days. The Do is one of them, and I hadn't heard of them before their second offering, Both Ways Open Jaws. I immediately liked their sound and creativity, and some songs. What I didn't know is that their previous album is better again. The female singer is great, she's called Olivia Merilahti.

Hunx & his Punx: rock'n'roll. Such bands remind me of the Flamin' Groovies, New York Dolls, etc. They sound so enthusiastic, so warm, so spontaneous. The ten tracks of their album (Too Young to Be in Love) sound like lost gems of another era. But it's a band of today. And they don't do it for money (who buys rock'n'roll records today?).

Those Darlins: rock'n'roll again. They like punk, country, girl groups, etc. They sound fresh and wild. The title track is irresitible.

The Raveonettes: this is rock again, but more dark. Another couple, lead by a man called Sune Rose Wagner. Their name comes from their love of the Ronettes (Ronnie Spector was even a guest on one of their previous albums).

Ezra Furman & the Harpoons: Ask Andy. :) But I must say "Portrait of Maud" is the only song I like from their last record. For the tune essentially. It reminds of another one, by the way, but haven't found which one yet.

The Kills: that band (another couple again) isn't my cup of tea, but their latest album sounds great. I mean, the sound is great. As for the songs, only two or three make it for me. One of them being "Baby says", I enjoy the propulsive and fuzzy guitar work.

Sonny & the Sunsets: Ha! There are still bands like these around today? They sound like The Seeds! So their album is called Hit after Hit, and i'd say it's half the case, which is a fine point already. Some really catchy tunes and wild beat, and some inventive and exciting stuff like "The bad energy from LA is killing me", which is indeed an instrumental killer.

Vivian Girls: Well, they well deserve a close second inspection from those who don't think highly of them so far, because this third LP is a really great rock'n'roll one. Actually my fourth big favorite of this year so far. Now, it's not comfortable music and won't please all of your friends giving a visit in the house (unless they're Stooges addicts of course). Their voices aren't exactly ear-pleasing, it's wild stuff (you always find more noisy, too). Cassie Ramone deserves credit for her guitar playing.

Times New Viking: I appreciate their originality, but the album is hard to listen to (the sound really garage). One catchy track nonehteless, "No room to live". Will try other listens of the album, too.

David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights: I'm not familiar with the work of this guy, but I've purchased a compilation of his previous band, The Clean. I discover Kilgour with this album, and observe some similarity with Neil Young & Crazy Horse in the way he spreads melodies with his guitar, especially on stuff like "Diamond mine", my chosen cut.

Catherine Ringer: a star over here in France, the singer of cult duet les Rita Mitsouko. Her first solo LP since the death of guitarist Fred Chichin. Catherine Ringer is like a cross of Edith Piaf and Sparks (Russell Mael's voice is pretty close to Catherine's one), but it's already short to say that. Impossible to classify actually. "Vive l'amour" is a charming song.

The Antlers: "French exit". Happens to be my favorite tune of the album. And happens to be an apt title to end the mix of a French dude. :)

The year goes on, I have other CDs to listen to: Devon Sproule, Kids on a Crime Spree, Seapony (hey Kyle, that's a twee one), Ladybug Transistor, John Gold, Marissa Nadler, Jolie Holland, The Ettes... and coming in september among other stuff: Laura Marling, Mates of State, St Vincent... Some of them will probably play a song on 2011's volume 2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As mentioned in years past, I appreciate threads like these when I have some discretionary spending money, usually at year's end. With Borders winding down its operations, now's a good time to scrounge up some dough, all in the name of getting music at substantial discounts. The trouble is that Borders probably doesn't carry most of the titles mentioned, and if it did, probably sold out of whatever stock it had. But it's fun sometimes to go on a CD hunt at the local bricks-and-mortar stores.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Um... did we lose some posts here during the change-over? I swear there were some recent posts here with updated lists. I'm looking for one that Andy Whitman had posted.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Good heavens, this Dawes album is a stunner the first time through.

"A Little Bit of Everything" is immediately one of the best songs I've heard this year. I'm glad I'm typing instead of trying to talk, 'cuz I'm all choked up right now.

Thanks for the breadcrumbs, Andy.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...