Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstlist 2011

Tunes to warm your soul.

The Horrors - Still Life
James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream
The National - Think You Can Wait
The War On Drugs - Come To The City
Other Lives - For 12
Kurt Vile - On Tour
Wilco - Black Moon
Real Estate - Green Aisles
Beirut - Goshen
Bon Iver - Wash.
Radiohead - Codex

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Best of 2011

When starting the process to write my annual year-end essay, my initial thoughts were drawn to the extreme highs and lows that came my way during the past 12 months. But really, when you get down to it, that's what this life is all about...a personal reaction to how you handle success and adversity. At least I'd like to think so. The idea of happiness and enjoyment cannot truly be realized until an order of balance provides one with perspective. To that end - it seems only natural that years are defined by their highlights and lowlights. Luckily for us, we have the ability to recall many of these moments by the greatest of communal experience: music.

The great inventor, Thomas Edison said, "Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." That's a beautiful thought, right? Essentially that success is often determined by a willingness to persevere through times of discomfort in order to see what greatness awaits you. Challengers of predetermined thought and habit have potential for personal gain and rewards...but I believe the greatest reward lies within an individual's methods of support - it's typically these that allow one to soldier on during times of adversity. For purposes here, I'll whittle those support methods down to a mixture of: friends, family, faith and music (generally speaking, entertainment).

This past October, the world lost a great architect of innovation. An individual who by all accounts, chose not to let practicalities or bumps in the road stand in his way of accomplishing goals. For me personally, his determination has proven to be life changing - allowing instant access to the world at the swipe of a finger. His ideas made it possible to activate and heighten any given experience while allowing instant sharing of those same experiences with others. Imagine how different your life would be today...if he simply, gave up.

Musicians/bands/artists are creating and progressing their craft at a level not experienced by many generations; a technological renaissance, if you will. Innovations make it possible to listen to (and share) music at a rate never before imagined. Through whatever music medium you most enjoy, it's become easier than ever to access and tap into personal soundtracks. This in turn, enables us to: smile upon, learn from and/or grieve in any given experience we wish to recall.

The past 12 months have also brought about an obvious and forward undertone of restlessness. Whether it be political, economical or personal - there is an undefinable variable at play. We know things need to get better but we're having a tough time determining how we get there. Like similar circumstances before us, music continues to play a major role in expressing frustrations and representing one's ideas and agendas; capturing relatable emotions for others to understand and as a result, allowing some sort of clarity and comfort.

The makeup of a year differs from person to person and really, tastes and methods of dealing with adversity and success differ as well. The through line for us all, is that this life at times is both very difficult and enjoyable. Two polar opposite emotions in which we are all connected. Sharing and reflecting upon life's highlights and lowlights is only human in nature; it's one thing that we can all agree upon.

Next year will undoubtedly be challenging and with that, rewarding, too.

Below are my favorite tracks that accompanied the many memories that made up my 2011. I encourage you to share yours as well.

Thanks for reading and cheers to a successful year ahead,


Top 10 Songs of 2011

10) Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
9) White Denim - Street Joy
8) Radiohead - Lotus Flower
7) Other Lives - Tamer Animals
6) Girls - My Ma
5) Bon Iver - Calgary
4) Destroyer - Song For America
3) Cass McCombs - County Line
2) M83 - Midnight City
1) Cut Copy - Take Me Over

Best Albums of 2011

10) White Denim - D

9) Radiohead - The King of Limbs

8) M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

7) Beirut - The Rip Tide

6) Other Lives - Tamer Animals

5) Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

4) Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

3) Cut Copy - Zonoscope

2) Bon Iver - Bon Iver

1) Destroyer - Kaputt

Honorable Mentions

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
James Blake - James Blake
Real Estate - Days
Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest
The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient
Atlas Sound - Parallax
Wilco - The Whole Love
St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
Cass McCombs - Wit's End
The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

A few tunes to keep ya warm.

On another note - Best of 2011 should be wrapped up and posted in the next couple days.


Alabama Shakes - Hold On
Miike Snow - Devil's Work
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross Feat Karen O - Immigrant Song

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sunday Morning Soundtrack

White Denim - Anvil Everything
The Black Keys - Run Right Back
Future Islands - Before The Bridge
Michael Kiwanuka - Tell Me A Tale
Birdy - 1901