Best of 2012

Confession: I didn’t do a great job of staying on top of new music in 2012. There was a three-month miracle where we had a really good indie radio station in the NYC area but as quickly as it appeared it converted to sports radio. One evening I’m grooving to the Wombats, the next morning it’s two guys yelling about the Yankees. A few bands that stood out in 2012 (in my admittedly limited experience) are Atlas Genius, the Wombats, Grimes, and Azealia Banks. I was supposed to see Grimes but the show got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. I was also supposed to see Azealia Banks but got in a car accident earlier that day and was soaking in a hot tub that night instead. Not really a stellar music year. However, 2012 is the year I met in person one of the members of my Holy Trinity: Kristin Hersh! Behold: She performed an all-acoustic night at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York in April. I was in bliss. First off, it’s a gorgeous space. Secondly, she was amazing in every way. She alternated reading from her book Rat Girl with performing songs and being utterly and smartly charming. She played a lot from her early Throwing Muses days, and I was so happy I was just about levitating off my chair. Fish, Hate My Way, Vicky’s Box, and so many more, all done with just her voice and her acoustic guitar. After the show she talked to every person lined up to meet her, including me. I was so starstruck when I met her that...

Best of 2011

The end of the year brings us gift giving holidays, piles of baked goods (and subsequent carb-bloat), and a party or two. But what is any of that in comparison to the year-end “Best of” lists? I generally have my list of Best Albums and/or Tracks of the Year in mind by mid-December, then lollygag, dilly-dally, and loaf my way to mid-February before I post it. Well, hold on to your hats, lovers, ‘cause it’s still 2011 and I’ve got my Best of 2011 post ready to go. The caveat is that I was completely unable to listen to music1 from May – November (give or take), so my list is short. On the bright side, this gives me more time to critique everyone else’s list, which is so much more fun that coming up with my own anyway. My favorite lists are by Pitchfork, Other Music, and Urban Outfitters (they’re offering a free download of their Top 25 picks – it’s still up as of today). Flavorwire has a cute post called Stereotyping You By Your Favorite Album of 2011 – it’s good fun. Unlike past years, I have no overwhelming favorite for 2011. If I were forced to pick one, I’d say The Weeknd and their album House of Balloons. The title track samples from Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Happy House,” so it’s kind of inevitable that I’d love it. One huge standout for Best Live Show was LCD Soundsystem in March. I was sick with a sinus infection and running a fever, and still I danced for 3 hours straight. That is some serious live show...

Best of 2010

Sure, anyone can put together a Best of 2010 in 2010. I chose1 instead to wait until three months into 2011 so that my list will be a nostalgic trip back in time, to those innocent, halcyon days of 2010 when gas was under $5 a gallon and Japan was geographically and architecturally intact2. I’ve put these songs roughly in order of my love of them. Depending on the day and my mood all of these songs have held the top spot. Looking back, though, the ones I’ve put in spots one through seven (roughly) are my absolute faves of the year. Song, band and live show of 2010 all go to The Joy Formidable. They had some tough competition especially for best live show3. I adore this band. They are amazing, put out a rock solid album, tore it up live, and are cute as buttons. Without further ado, my Best of 2010. In the coming days I’ll post lovingly about why each song made it here. For now, I hope you enjoy the music without the reasons why. __________________ 1 And by “chose” I mean “procrastinated the crap out of” 2 Mother Nature’s latest reminder that we are not in charge 3 Hats off to Hot Chip and Dandy Warhols...

Best of 2009

Listening to Oh No Ono (Eggs) This was a tougher year than usual to get every song I considered “best of” material onto one CD, so there’s some great stuff missing. The 21 tracks that ended up on the CD are the ones that first came to mind and, frankly, fit size-wise. And yes, I know PJ Harvey put out an album this year. As much as it agonizes me to not love something PJ has touched, I cannot make myself even like the album she and John Parish released in 2009. I tried hard, I swear. 2009 was the year that indie label 4AD and I fell in love all over again. The Big Pink, Tune-Yards, The National, Atlas Sound, St. Vincent, Camera Obscura, Sarena Maneesh – and that’s not even the full roster. I’m going to throw School of Seven Bells in with them just because they are clearly heavily influenced by the Cocteau Twins. I haven’t listened to so much 4AD since 1990. I caught some fantastic live shows in 2009. Highlights were The Pixies and Of Montreal. The Of Montreal show was like having a collective fever dream with 1,000+ other people. I’m so glad I had friends with me to validate that it all actually happened. The Best of 2009 Metric “Satellite Mind” Fantasies I was seriously tempted to list about half the tracks on this album as Best of. I love “Satellite Mind” a micro-fraction more than the others, so it made it here, to the top spot. My album of the year, and song of the year. Neko Case “Magpie in the...

Productive

At long last, my Best of 2008 mix is all packaged up, addressed, and waiting to be mailed to those who requested one. I figure at my current rate of Accomplishment of Tasks, where x=things to do and y=hours in day, the mixes will make it to the post office in about 4 days. Oh, wait. Read the graph wrong. Make that 40 days. I ended up with two versions of the mix, the original (v1) and the revision I made out of guilt (v2). The difference is one track: Stay Positive by The Hold Steady. As some of you know (Andy), I initially took Stay Positive off my mix because I couldn’t get the flow right, and that track was deemed the culprit. My mind was changed after reading Andy’s blog, and the reasoning behind his choice of Stay Positive as Album of the Year. I realized my embarrassing oversight and shoved it back into my mix in what I hope is an aurally pleasing place. You be the judge. My Best of 2008 mix, as follows: Bodysnatchers | In Rainbows | Radiohead – Let’s face it: Thom Yorke & Co could put out an album of arm farts and feedback (along the lines of Hail to the Thief pretty much) and I’d put a track from it on my Best Of list. Nothing that drastic is needed here, though. Love the whole album. With a Heavy Heart (I Regret to Inform You) | You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into | Does It Offend You, Yeah? – First off, love the name of the band...