Friday, January 27, 2012

I still haven't made the quiche, a mixtape: resolves, gchat, top albums

Dear Kristin,

Abridged to save face.  Still embarrassing.

The shapes cover the resolutions I'm too embarrassed to show you.  Which is saying a lot, because this list is embarrassing.  50 books where a book over 400 pages equals two?  Write to exhaustion?  It's somehow both too highbrow and too ridiculous.  But this is what it is--a personal list.  Bear that in mind.  I was writing it as reminder to myself, one I couldn't imagine away because there it was, on paper.  And then I told you about it and my mom and then I thought, eh, blog.

So, the shapes: they're more like goals and not the type I can really control.  Writing-related, employment-related.  That sort of thing.  I just felt a wee bit too sadsack with them out there.  Plus, the shapes rather do the trick, yes?  I think they convey the just-out-of-reachness of those particular resolves.

The quiche, of course, is not out of reach.  I'm just saving it.  I hope you understand:

And I'm still saving that quiche. 

Also, another year-end wrap-up for you.  My most played albums!  The post's title is a bit misleading.  I'm not calling them "best" or "favorite."  I'm not sure there is a best, a knock-your-socks-off number one.  There was no National this year, no Walkmen, and even Bon Iver didn't make another For Emma, Forever Ago.  Which I get.  Don't just repeat yourself!  Do something new!  And he did! It's really good, but not year-changing.  At least not my year.

Trends:  This year, as I said in my Top 24 songs post, was the year of the song.  And the year of the promising album.  The album that bodes well for the artist's next album.  Making this year a preview of next year's (or, more likely, 2013/14's) main attractions.  So many of these albums are different riffs on the same near-nostalgia.  It's new, has to be new (because the sound is too complicated to actually be from the 90s or 80s), but it reminds me of so much old. And yet over half of my top albums were from newcomers or bands/singers who were, despite there decades in the business, new to me.

So, my most played.  Here was what my top ten looked like in December:

CLICK ME!  I made some mistakes.  A hasty top ten--click above for songs/samples.

And now it's mid January and I've changed my mind on the last four.  Hence the most played.   It's just a little less fickle:

10.  Big Deal - Lights Out
This got moved from 6th position to 10th because it reminds me of high school.  The sweetest part of high school.

Meaning it's somewhat slight.  A great, sweet slight!  But slight is not perfect. I've been listening to it less.  I do, however, see it with me five years from now, excited when it pops up on my shuffle.  Great debut.  They remind me of a less nuanced XX.

9.  WU LYF - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
My Titus Andronicus for the year, if Titus were more annoying, backed by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and they polished their instruments with magic.  Until the next Titus LP, though, they're something of a growly, spirited replacement.  Will I be playing it next year?  Yes.  Will the album last like Titus's Monitor or my Tom Waits collection? Unlikely.  But it's good enough fun for now.  Another new band.  (Jackson, by the way, detests this CD.  He actually prefers Pistol Annies to WU LYF.)

 They might be jerks.  Some odd moves there at the end.  David didn't seem to mind though.

8.  Yuck - Yuck
Is this our band of the year, our find?  I know the internet found it first, but I can't help but feel like we found them too.  Like we were part of the first and could pat ourselves on the back for it if being the first to hear something mattered in the age of the internet, which it doesn't.  This is also high school to me, My So Called Life and almost adulthood.  The hardest part of high school.

Could be Yuck.

7.  Josh T Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen
This will always be my kind of country.  Townes tinged:

This man is irreplaceable.  Townes's first song. 

Josh T Pearson just does it longer and like he's talkin' at you, continuing a conversation you almost wish you hadn't started because damn.

6.  Youth Lagoon - Year of Hibernation
Slow DANCE.  Moody DANCE.  Like he made this CD in his basement and cried but then got over it and tweaked some things and invited his friends over for a laser light show. 

The big five remain unchanged.
5.  King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
Sometimes I think I know music and then King Creosote comes around and he's totally new to me but he totally has 40 albums to his name.  He sure showed me.  Also, he's Scottish and I dream of meeting him in that pub on the album's first track, having a chat and drinking ale and breaking into song and falling asleep on at the bar. Like so:

 But less cripplingly sad.  Not King Creosote but, rather, cripplingly sad Shane MacGowan of The Pogues.

4.  James Blake - James Blake/Enough Thunder
The new easy listening.  Do you hate me for saying that aloud?  Complicated and perfect all day music.  Engaging, but you could read a book with it on.  You'd be missing out--missing out on album's introspective whisper--but it can be done.

3.  Destroyer - Kaputt

This is what I imagine the American Apparel main office is like 
More so the first part than the aquatic old man part.

2.  Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Shimmers, more new easy.  Big music that combines the familiar and foreign.  So much has been said about Justin Vernon.  We've talked and talked.  I'll not say more:

And yet there is more to say.  Bon Iver + Bon Jovi = Bon Joviver.

1.  Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Girls.  Photo from Pitchfork
Surprise!   I PICK GIRLS!  A tight and varied rock and roll album by the boy I love, that awkward rascal, writer and nervous singer Christopher Owens.  Listen to the whole shebang and pretty much everything else on hypemachine.  Bye-bye.

Why I kicked off my original 7th place, Atlas Sound:  I wanted it to be last year's Halcyon Digest, an amazing album by another Bradford Cox band, Deerhunter, and it's just not.  It's good, quiet, but no.

Why I kicked off my original 9th place, Cass McCombs:  I wanted it all to be County Line and it's not.

Runners Up:
Cat's Eyes - Cat's Eye; They are my eleven. I no longer need Nancy Sinatra.  What I need is here and smarter. And then sometimes it's something even better:

Fucked Up - David Comes to Life; What "rockopera" means to me:

Another filling the Titus void (and probably a more straight comparison).  I'm still falling for these guys.

Jay and Ye - Watch the Throne; it's not My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in scope, fullness, or consistency, but it can be just as fun.  I'd need to cut it in half to really love it, though.

Middle Brother -  Middle Brother; This will last for us, but it's nothing out of the ordinary:

Good Deertick meets other good aspiring southerners (Dawes and Delta Spirit).

But we are ordinary girls, after all.

J. Benny

P.S.  Again, for more listening, the music blogger's top 5 of 50.  Which, tragically, I don't have license to listen to in the UK.  So listen for the both of us.

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