Best of 2011: Soul Albums

>> Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This list is a little short. And if it were any other topic I would scrap it all together. I hate putting out lists of less than at least 10 items, but this list needs to be shared. As it has easily become the honest to goodness music of my year.

Here are my top five, hand clapping, foot stomping, head swaying, and all out sing along at the top of your lungs Soul Albums of the year.

Now, alot of people lump Soul and R&B together. I however, see a distinct difference. I hope by the songs I share, you will too. Because it's such a short list, I'm gonna give each artist a bonus track. Two for one.

One other note, three of the five below are Northwest Products. There is a crazy Soul movement up here in the rain. If I were a betting man, I'd wager this is the next musical trend to root in Seattle and blossom out. Enjoy.

1. Pickwick - Myths
Now this was originally released as three separate EP's but combined into one extended EP with a couple new songs recently. It is easily one of the best things I have ever heard. This is the number one band on my list to see live. Considering they are local, and how many shows I go too, it still hard to believe I've missed them.
"Window Sill"

"Hacienda Motel"

2. Allen Stone - Allen Stone
Another Northwest artist that is making spectacular noise. The best thing about him, well, besides his voice, is the fact that it looks like it doesn't belong to him. His craft is so perfectly honed that he can dress like Kurt Cobain, with locks of gold, oversized glasses and it all works. Works hard. I think if a bill was put together with Pickwick, Allen Stone, The BGP, and Tess Henley (#4 below) it would be looked back on in history as the start of something grand in NW Soul.


3. Adele - 21
A lot of people consider Adele more of a pop or R&B singer. But I say those people are not listening hard enough. That lady clearly has Soul just oozing out of her. And, as one of the most successful artists out there these days, I should revolt against her and whatnot. But, come on. You've heard that voice, that passion. No one can hate Adele.
"Someone Like You"

"Rolling In The Deep"

4. Tess Henley - Easy To love
Now, this is actually a rerelease from her record of the same name in 2008, but with 4 new tracks, and what sounds like some remastering, it is too special not to be included. Below you will see one of the new tracks, and a song from 2010's EP release The Appetizer. I realize this is breaking trend on the list so far, but I need for you to see what she can do live so you can picture the Bill I mentioned above. Hopefully, if enough people picture it, it will happen.  

"What You Won't Do For Love"

"The Boy In The Window"

5. Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do
All Soul singers have a little throwback in them. It is a necessary evil. Buy Mayer Hawthorne absolutely embraces it. Now, honestly, this album may be better then number 5. But, with Allen Stone spinning prior to picking this up, I probably have not given it enough of a chance. However, that does not mean it does not merit this inclusion. It is a special record that I think will only get better with time.

"The Walk"

"Get To Know You"

Best of 2011: Hip-Hop & R&B

>> Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So, if you read my blog, and I hope you do, you will probably notice a lack of all things Hip-Hop. Now, that is not because I do not listen to it, rather it's because I fear I am not a good judge of it. Every year, my audiophile friends will suggest an album or two that I am "sure to love" and it never sticks. Take the new Lil' Wayne record this year. I cannot count how many people told me that I need to feature that record, that it was the best of the year, and yet, only one song stuck. In years past I've always ended up finding things a little off the beaten track, picking up mixtapes or gravitating to artists like K'Naan, Cage, and Atmosphere. But, I figured,  there have to be a few others out there that have a skewed view of what is right, and solid and good in the hip-hop/r&b world. So, here is what I dig in 2011.

I am not going to be so bold to actually review each album, but I'll share a track and the album cover and let it speak for itself.

Just as a side note. Big K.R.I.T. may only sit at number 13 on this list, but his song The Vent is one of the best written songs I have ever heard. In any genre.

1. Atmosphere - The Family Sign

2. Frank Ocean - nostalgia, ULTRA.
"Strawberry Swing"

3. Drake - Take Care
"Lord Knows"

4. Jay Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne

5. The Weeknd  - House Of Balloons
"The Party & The After Party"

6. Wale - Ambition 
"Slight Work"

7. Pusha T - Fear of God Part 1 & 2 
OK, so this one needs a bit of an intro. Pusha T, of Clipse, opted to be a genius this year. First, stepping out on one of my favorite hip-hop duos is a bit risky. But then he went and released Fear Of God, as a free Mixtape, and I knew all was right in the world. He later followed it up with an actual release, Part II, and his prowess was only on further display. He is a man on his own track, and he owns it.
"Open Your Eyes" (From Part 1)

"Amen" (From Part 2)

8. Lupe Fiasco - Lasers
"I Don't Wanna Care Right Now"

9. We F.A.M. - Reality Check

10. Talib Kweli - Gutter Rainbowstor

11. Toro Y Moi - Underneath The Pine
"Still Sound"

12. The Cool Kids - When Fish Ride Bicycles
"Bundle Up"

13. Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4Eva
"The Vent"

We're On Twitter!

>> Monday, November 28, 2011

I know we are like way late on this train, but we are on Twitter now. Come follow us and stay on top of what we have coming up. If we gather enough of a swell, we are going to try and start doing contests and giveaways. You know you wanna. 

Band of the Week: Schuyler Fisk

There is something undeniable about Schuyler Fisk. Something palatable. Something unflinchingly engaging and utterly beautiful about her timbre. I have been a fan of hers since I caught the dramatically underrated flick I'm Reed Fish back when I only knew her as that cute girl from now Day and Orange County. But, she picked up a guitar in that flick and changed everything. Since then, I have picked up everything she has released and have yet to be disappointed.

This blog does not even touch on her FM Radio stuff, which I shared two weeks ago and is already my 7th most popular post ever. Right now, I cannot get enough of Schuyler Fisk.
Here are 5 of my favorite tracks.

"Blue Ribbon Winner"

"Miss You" 

"If You Were Gone"

"From Where I'm Standing"

"Givin' Up"

Song of the Night: "Ease Your Mind" by Matthew Mayfield

>> Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hart of Dixie is becoming a musical mecca in the TV world. No other show is introducing me to fantastic music like this one is. First it was FM Radio, which was one of my most popular posts to date, and now, there is Matthew Mayfield. This is one of those songs that I equate to a blanket. You just wanna wrap yourself up in it, and humble in its warmth. 

From Hart of Dixie, season 1, episode 7 "The Crush and The Crossbow" I hope you enjoy....

"Ease Your Mind" by Matthew Mayfield

Songs of the Day: "Cafe Lights" & "Elegy" by Hey Marseilles

I have long been a fan of Hey Marseilles, as they are easily one of the best bands in the northwest currently. But, they started to fade to the back of my mind recently, with so many other new bands up here in the NW stepping up and releasing music, all while Hey Marseilles stayed quiet. That is, until now. Released this month, Hey Marseilles is treating our ears with a fantastic 2 song EP that is just the perfect reminder of why I named them number 2 on the Best Noise in the Northwest, Now list. If this is a taste of what we can expect on their next full length release, then we are all in for something special.

"Cafe Lights" by Hey Marseilles

"Elegy" by Hey Marseilles

Also, here is a video that I should have included in my Best of 2011: Music Videos blog last week. It just slipped. My Apologies.
"Cigarettes" by Hey Marseilles

Best of 2011: Cover Songs

>> Saturday, November 26, 2011

Well, well, well. And on we go.

To continue the grandness that is 2011, we are now moving onto the Best Cover Songs. This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, as it has become one of my life long passions to collect the cream of the crop of cover songs. Here is my collection of fantastic 2011 cover song gems.

1. “Hello” – Lissie (Lionel Richie)

Taking a song that is basically a joke now a days and honestly making it amazing, is a feat within itself. Singing it like this, is heartbreaking.

2. “I Can’t Make You Love Me/Nick Of Time” – Bon Iver (Bonnie Raitt

Taking a song I genuinely love, and making into something that is so unique and special, and yet not ruining the soul of the song is everything this cover achieves.

3. “American Wedding” – Frank Ocean (The Eagles

This is not so much a cover as it a regimentation. But, if you listen to it, you will understand how fantastic, and creative Frank Ocean is.

4. “Hospital Beds” – Florence + the Machine (Cold War Kids

The Original song here is one of my all time favorites. So, logically I should hate the cover right? I wish. It would make things so much easier.

5. “Million Dollar Bill” – Dawes/Middle Brother 

I do not know who had this song first. Dawes or Middle Brother, so I have posted both for your enjoyment. Middle Brother is a side project of a couple of the guys of Dawes, it appears on their record first, but the live recordings of the song are out there for Dawes first, so it's a toss up. We all win.

6. “Losing My Religion” – Dia Frampton (R.E.M

This is the one and only time you will see me posting a music clip from a reality show on this blog. I am adamantly against it. Don't get me wrong, I watch them all, but I cannot say, ever, that the songs are worth sharing on a regular basis. However, this song by Dia Frampton from The Voice is so incredible, it needs to be included here.

7. “Pursuit of Happiness” by Lissie (Kid Cudi

Lissie is on a roll, and she has one more chance to impress you below in the honorable mention.

8. “Oh Boy!” – She & Him (Buddy Holly)

There was a release this year where some of the biggest names in tunes rerecorded Buddy Holly songs. The album is eh, but there are two tracks worth a share, and here is the first.

9. “Your Song” – Ellie Goulding (Elton John

Another song that has become somewhat of a joke, that gets new life.

10. “You’re the One That I Want” – Angus & Julia Stone (Olivia Newton John and John Travolta

Sometimes I listen to this song and love it, other times, it kills me. But, I think I like it more often than I hate it, so it makes the list.

11. “Lovesong” – Adele (The Cure

This song is so Adele I didn't realize it was a cover until someone pointed it out to me. It is a cover song that I honsetly full-out love better than the original.

12. “Dearest” – The Black Keys (Buddy Holly)

The other Buddy Holly cover that deserves mention. The Black Keys can do very little wrong.

13. “Hiding My Heart” – Adele (Brandi Carlile

Adele is having a good ass year. She is everywhere and she constantly takes other peoples songs and makes them her own. This Brandi Carlile song is great on its own, but Adele made it special.

Honorable Mention
“Bad Romance” – Lissie (Lady Gaga)

"Delicate" & "9 Crimes (with Lisa Hannigan)" by Damien Rice

>> Friday, November 25, 2011

The rain pattering, the thick breaths, and shortened days mean two distinct things. Winter is rolling in here in the Pacific Northwest and it's Damien Rice time.

I love nearly all Damien Rice stuff, so finding something to share proved to be a bit difficult. So, realizing that both of his landmark records consist of ten near perfect tracks, I just picked a number at random (I have an ap for that) and went forth. So, I present with you the first track off each record for your winter tucked in enjoyment.


"Delicate" by Damien Rice

"9 Crimes" by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan

"I Can't Make You Love Me/Nick Of Time" by Bon Iver (Bonnie Raitt Cover)

>> Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The next list I am doing for the best of the year is my collection of the Best Cover Songs. I thought, I'd use today's song of the day as a teaser for whats to come.

Bon Iver channeling Bonnie Raitt. This is why I love cover songs.

"I Can't Make You Love Me/Nick Of Time" by Bon Iver (Bonnie Raitt Cover)

Best of 2011: Music Videos

>> Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So, this last weekend I wrote up my list of the best live tracks of 2011. I think it was a good list, and looking back, only really had one glaring omission, A song that rightfully should have been included somewhere in the top ten, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis "Otherside (remix ft. Fences)." I f'd up on that one. Sorry guys.

Anyways, onto the topic of today. While I am scouring the internet for those chillbump inducing live clips, I often stumble upon actual music videos. You know, the shit MTV used to play. And sometimes, they really don't suck. The videos below range from self-produced to label-made. From cheesy awesome to beautifully poignant and artfully crafted. I hope you enjoy this hard and fast proof that video has not killed the radio star.

1. "Elephants and Little Girls" by Loch Lomond

This video is basically one of the most skillfully made videos I can remember in a long time. It is basically a once shot of choreographed angst with moments of joy. If you watch one video on this list, pick this one.

2. "We Are Young" by fun. (ft. Janelle Monae)

I am not sure this is a real music video. Considering the band doesn't appear once in the thing. I think it was just a promotional thing to get the audio out there. But the clip is so entrancing, and f'd up that you can't help but watch, and then watch again. The girl sits there, peeling an apple, going through every emotion possible. It's of acting prowess that is hard to match in a music video.

3. "The Greeks" by Is Tropical
Clearly, this video is not for everyone. But, its pretty bad ass.

4. "Up All Night" by French Horn rebellion

This is that awesome cheese I mentioned above.

5. "When I'm Alone" by Lissie

My love of 2011. One of the very few "true" music videos on this list. Actually seeing the band play the music is not always entertaining. Unless you own the screen like Lissie does.

6. "Big Jet Plane" by Angus and Julia Stone

Just watch, its longing set to music.

7. "Wings" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This video was a project that we mentioned way back when. Such an epic song deserved an epic video. Well done boys. The best song about shoes, ever.

8. "Belongings" by Clock Opera

Understated beauty.

9. "Comes In Waves" by Psychologist

This video is f'd up awesome. If you just watch the video, and not take in details, its maybe not the most entertaining thing in the world. But, if you watch closely, throughout the whole thing, you will not be able to turn away, although you may want too.

10. "Cats and Dogs" by the Head and the Heart

I love when a band can have a sense of humor about themselves. And THATH prove in this shot just how much fun they would be to hang out with.

11. "Heartbreak Heartbreak" by The BGP

This song and video make me happy. I have since tried to sit inside of my own shopping cart, I do not recommend it. Getting in is easy, getting out a bitch.

12. "Simple Math" by Manchester Orchestra

Leave it up to Andy Hull to actually take you on a journey like this through a song. It is strikingly beautiful.

13. "Colours" by Grouplove

Talk about an epic music video. And a hell of an introduction.

14. "Honey Bunny" by Girls

The video fits the vibe of this track to a tee. When I first heard the song, this is the imagery that generated in my skull.

15. "Two Cousins" by Slow Club

Another video where the band does not make an appearance. Shows a lot of confidence in the song to allow two nondescript dancers take over the whole video. And I love it.

16 "If Truth Be Told" by MNEK

Its another dose of awesome cheese, with eighties sprinkles.

17 "White Nights" by Oh Land

This video tosses everything to see what sticks. And lucky for us. most of it does. It is a mind beding video that you want to watch over and over.

18. "The Shrine/ An Arguement" by Fleet Foxes

This one, you just have to watch.

 19. "Muscle Relaxants" by The Rural Alberta Advantage

If you know the frenetic energy of this band, this video will give you even more appreciation for their music. Just beautifully shot.

20. "Open Air" by Lemolo

Do it yourself has never looked better. And I'm not just saying that because the ladies are hot, well, not only that, but because it is just so starkly gorgeous that the video makes the song just about leap off the screen.

21. "My Machines" by Battles

It's funny how you can dislike a song until you watch the video.

Song of the Day: "Shells of Silver" by The Japanese Popstars

>> Monday, November 21, 2011

Spotted: A decent song on an otherwise tanking show (Gossip Girl)... more on the artist featured on this song soon...

Best of 2011: Live Music Clips

>> Sunday, November 20, 2011

I spend an assload of time on YouTube. I mean, outside of my upload channel, I am always scouring the site for the best new music. It is the easiest outlet for this music addiction I have, and when I find beautiful, gritty, chillbump inducing live tracks, I get myself all in a tizzy. Here are an assortment of my 21 favorite of live tracks from 2011.
Read More After The Jump

Song of the Day Mulligan: "Blame" by Right Away, Great Captain!

>> Friday, November 18, 2011

OK. So I KNOW I just posted a song of the day less then an hour ago. But, then I refound this, and realized I never shared it. And it is just so much tonight that I cannot help but get it out there.

This is a track from one of my all time favorite side projects (Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra) that I found as a free sneak peek of the upcoming 3rd and final release. I found it this about a month back, when I was going through a blog drought/pout. I refrained at that time, and now I regret.

It is the kind of song that crawls into your heart and spoons your soul. Yeah, I just said that.

"Blame" by Right Away, Great Captain!

Song of the Day: "By Your Hand" by Los Campesinos!

I almost missed this record. And boy would I have been sore about it. Those of you who have been reading the blog for the last couple years will recognize these guys as former frequent flyer. They released two records in 2009 that managed their way into my year end top 13. Two! Their subsequent release had a few outstanding tracks, but lost its way a bit. However, this new release "Hello Sadness" seems back on track and fanfuckingtastic.

This video also, does not suck.

"By Your Hand" by Los Campesinos!

Song of the Day: "The Fox" by Niki and the Dove

>> Thursday, November 17, 2011

I f'd up. When I wrote my best Dance/DJ/Electronia songs blog, just a few days ago, I f'd up. I left Niki and the Dove off my list. I can think of 2 tracks that should have been included. But, rather then rewrite the whole damn list, I am just going to post one of the songs as a song of the day. 

"The Fox" by Niki and the Dove

If you like this, you should also check out the song "Gentle Roar."

Song of the Day: "From The Woods" by James Vincent McMorrow

>> Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I feel like this guys should have bigger name recognition. Up there with the other great current singer song writers, like Ray LaMontagne, or Bon Iver, or Andy Hull. But, somehow, he is always lost in the shuffle. I hope this song unshuffles him from at least one reader, because he is fantastic.

"From The Woods" by James Vincent McMorrow

Song of the Day: "In These Arms" by The Swell Season

>> Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There are some, not many, but some bands that you just all out miss. This, is the world of Addi, is one of those bands. I picked up Marketa Irglova's solo release a bit back, and although, it is, in itself, a very strong album, I keep holding my breath, hoping Glen Hansard will pop up somewhere. But, to no avail. Anyways, today, I missed Glen and Mar. I missed The Swell Season.

"In These Arms" by The Swell Season

Song of the Day: "Jamie Marie" by Girls

>> Monday, November 14, 2011

I like the new found maturity I am finding in Girls.

If you just take that sentence, and not realize that the Girls is a band, it changes the whole focus of this blog. But, once you take a breath, and stop cougar hunting, you'll find a new depth of this often one-note, albeit, fantastic band. This band has never been afraid to explore their world lyrically, but has often lacked the vulnerability needed to truly emote the heart of their songs. But with this new record, they have found that you can often get just as loud of an impact with a whisper as with a scream

"Jamie Marie" by Girls

Best of 2011: Dance/DJ/Electronica Songs

I was going to write out a list of like the best all out dance songs. But I was recently reminded the other day, I can't dance. I have also recently discovered that my lack of dance skills also translates into a dysfunction in identifying a true "dance" song. Apparently, just because a song has a "good beat" does not mean one can dance to it. Who knew?
So, I mutated this list to include my kind of "dance" music. It's all about the stuff that has an electronic backbone. This is my best Dance/DJ/Electronica songs of 2011. Keep an eye out for a few of these songs to end up on the overall best songs of 2011 list, including a possible number 1.

1. "Belongings" – Clock Opera

2. "Up All Night" – French Horn Rebellion

3. "Same Damn Time" – Beat Connection

4. "How Can You Luv Me" by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

5. "Comes In Waves" – Psychologist

6. "Starry Eyed" – Ellie Goulding

7. "Silver Screen" – Beat Connection

8. "White Nights" – Oh Land

9. "The Greeks" – Is Tropical

10. "Slow Motion" – Holy Ghost!

11. "Need You Now" – Cut Copy

12. "Still Sound" – Toro y Moi

13. "Midnight City" – M83

14. "All Night Long" – LMFAO

Songs of the Day: "Lead Me Home" & "Be My Only" by FM Radio

>> Sunday, November 13, 2011

I have been waiting to post these songs as a song of the day since 10/17/11. As, Lead Me Home was used in the ending scenes of an episode of Hart Of Dixie. A show that I am only slightly embarrassed to admit I have not missed an episode of. But, if the show keeps championing music like this, I think it is going to be a good journey that I will no longer be embarrassed to embark upon.

As of two days ago, this song, as well as the other below (featured on Ugly Betty), were unreleased and highly sought after. I am glad to present them both to you hear, perhaps for the first time, as I uploaded them onto YouTube. Enjoy

FM Radio is the side project of Schulyer Fisk and Tim Myers. Now, as big of a fan as I have become of Schulyer Fisk, and as much as I respect OneRepublic (his former band), I think this should become the main project. With noise this lovely, its hard to defend this being on the backburner.

"Lead Me Home" by FM Radio

"Be My Only" by FM Radio

Best of 2011: Live Shows

>> Saturday, November 12, 2011

And on we go.....

Earlier this week, we went over the list of the best album covers of 2011, and now, as promised, I am going to discuss with you my favorite live concert experiences of 2011. Should be a good time, stick around. 

1. The Rural Alberta Advantage at The Tractor Tavern, Ballard WA. (Land of Pines and Lord Huron in support)

I wrote about this as one of my Show of the Day entires a while back, and, to be honest, a lot of this blurb here, is going to be stolen from that, as it was written in the moment, and a much better glimpse of the all out awesomeness of that show. The best show I have been too, not just in 2011, but ever. Here is what I had to say....
The Rural Alberta Advantage blew my fucking mind. There is not a lot more to say. That band can put on a show. I know I mentioned that Land of Pines were clean, but RAA put them to shame. Rarely does a band live up to the live recordings. Never does a band surpass them. Until last night. The RAA blew their record out of the water. Now, I have loved their 2009 release "Hometowns" hard. But I was having trouble falling for more then a track or two of their 2011 "Departing" release, but after the show, I listened again, and again this morning, and it is now a front runner for my top spot of the year. It's crazy how much a show can impact a record. But to get onto the show itself there are a couple points I would like to make:

First, Amy Cole, keyboardist, xylophonist, and single drummer extraordinaire, I love you. You win.

Second, My co-blogger's asshole husband and I have debated about this band and their drumming. We were certain that either the group was using drum machine for their fills, or utilizing studio tricks to get that crisp crazy timing. And holy fuck were we wrong. That was the most impressive drumming I have ever seen. And to be honest, I might still win the debate, I think he might be a robot, which, technically speaking, is a drum machine. Seriously, listen to the drumming in the third track below. I win.

Third, A little under 4 weeks ago, I posted the song "Good Night" and my SotD. And I was certain from moment one, that it was one of those great album songs, that would never see the dark of night at a show. But, I got the best birthday wish ever when the band pushed through the crowd, stood on three chairs and did an unplugged, nearly prefect rendition to a packed, breath-held tractor tavern. It will easily become one of my favorite concert memories. We win.

It really was, and still is, a concert that we talk about with the highest esteem. Often followed by the words, "best show ever."

2. the Head and the Heart at The Showbox at the Market. Seattle, WA. (Supporting David Bazan, Supported by Damien Jurado)
Don't worry. I am not going to be as wordy with the rest of these concert recaps, that first one was unavoidable.
Sadly, we did not catch any photographic evidence of this show, but, believe me, it was the bees knees. We, Stevie and I, got to the show early enough to take advantage of our age and dim witted peers, to get into the bar pre-show, get a number so we could get in early enough to get primo seats on the rail, just to the side of the stage. Prefect, easy going vantage. It was a no fuss concert. We even made friends, and when I say we, I mean Stevie, as she can befriend any stranger.
Anyways, we were at this show just the see THATH, who, at the time, were still small potatoes. And man, they did not disappoint. It was a special show. But, mostly, I got to go to a show with Stevie, just her and I. And we had fun. I remember the music, sure. But I remember conversations, and laughs, and good times that the music provided the soundtrack for.


3. Citizen Cope at The Triple Door. Seattle, WA. 
This was another show where it was just Stevie and I, but this one took a bit more convincing than THATH did. I have been a fan of Citizen Cope since his first record dropped in 2002. In fact, his sophomore album and a handful of songs peppered my best of the decade lists. But, you would not hear the same thing from Stevie, as she was not a "fan." But, I think the show converted her. 
Rather than have an opener, Citizen Cope, just opted to play two full sets. It was a hellofa choice. Just the man, and his guitar, and a spot light. And anyone who has been to The Triple Door, will attest, that is just not a better venue in Seattle. The show was so good that the girl sitting just to the left of me was crying. Like she was moved to tears. And, instead of laughing at her, I knew her better. It was that good of a show. 


4. Brett Dennen at The Moore Theater. Seattle, WA. (with Dawes in support)
Front row. That's all I have to say. Front row. 
Ok, I'll say a little bit more. Before show: Brett Dennen = Huge Fan. Dawes = No Clue. After show:  Brett Dennen =  Huger Fan. Dawes = Top ten record of 2011. For the rest of this recap. See the pictures below.

"Come Back Kid (That's My Dog)" by Brett Dennen

"So Well" by Dawes

5. Campfire OK at The Space. Tacoma, WA (supported by Kris Orlowski and Tony Kevin Jr) 
This is the most recent show I've had the pleasure to take in, and it was fantastic in it lowkeyness. On a small stage, overlooking the lights of Tacoma, the three bands took to the stage, and at one point, floor, and melted faces. Sadly, this show took place during the brunt of my back injury, so I spent most of the show, sitting in the back of the venue on the couch letting the waves of music wash over me while my concert going partners boogied. But, it was such a different concert going experience, that it stands out. I got to see a show from a different angle. 

 Tony Kevin Jr
Campfire Ok
"Wish You The Best"

Song of the Day: "Avalanche" by Noah Gundersen

I know it must feel like this is a Noah Gundersen fan page these days, but for some reason, I just cannot get enough of him right now. This song especially.

As anyone who is on my facebook will attest, I have been listening to this song constantly. It is so beautiful, its hard to fathom. Enjoy.

"Avalanche" by Noah Gundersen

Song of the Day: "Need Your Love So Bad" by Little Willie John

>> Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tonight, is just another night, and without music, it would end up being a waste. I want to think, Little Willie John for getting me through.

"Need Your Love So Bad" by Little Willie John

Best of 2011: Album Covers

I am all for the digital age. I get nearly all of my music via digital download these days. I love the accessibility ease of use of the format. But, there is one part of this digital world that has really started to bother me; the concept of Cover Art has fallen to the wayside. I still go out of my way to LOOK at each and every album that I download, out of respect to the artists, but I know most people, pay very little attention. So, I hope this blog wakes some people up to the realization that just because you download a record, does not mean that the cover should be obsolete, as it usually speaks volumes about the artist and the noise you are about to digest.

Below you will find my 13 favorite Album Covers of 2011. I was going to write an brief rundown of why I like each one, but, I think my opinions here, outside of the list itself, are not necessary. Just enjoy the album covers, and realize it's art. 

1. Campfire Ok - Strange Like We Are

2. Wye Oak - Civilian

3. Noah Gundersen - B-Sides 

4. Ben Lee - Deeper Into Dream 

5. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Departing

6. Bryan John Appleby - Fire On The Vine 

7. Seapony - Go With Me 

8. The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow 

9. The Weeknd - HouseOfBalloons 

10. Summer Camp - Welcome to Condale 

11. Marissa Nadler - Marissa Nadler 

12. Yuck - Yuck 

13. Idiot Glee - Paddywhack 

Best of 2011 Primer

The Countdown Begins.

This year, for my year end music review, I decided to make it extra difficult on myself.

We have approximately 8 or 9 weeks left in the year, so I have come up with 8 or 9 mini lists as a primer for my best songs and best albums of the year lists. And, when I say, mini lists, it's just a turn of phrase, because, knowing me, I doubt I am able make any list mini.

I am going to release at least one list a week, up until the end of the year, and then, during the first week of January, you will all get a taste of what I consider the best sounds of 2011.

Here are the lists you can expect to see, in the order I hope to tackle them in:

Best Album Covers
Best Live Shows

Best Dance/DJ/Electronica Songs
Best Live Music Clips
Best Music Videos
Best Cover SongsBest R&B and Hip-Hop Releases
Best Soul Releases
Worst/Most Disappointing Releases
Best International Releases
Best EP's
Best Northwest Releases
Best 13 Albums

Best Songs

So, keep an eye out, later today, I'll have my best Album Covers up for judging.

Song of the Day Part 2: "Video Games" by Lana Del Rey

>> Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm loving on this song right now. It's haunting and raw (love that church reverb) and I even love her lack of affect on her face as she sings "it's you, it's you, it's always you..."

Check it:

Song of the Day: "Complimenting Parts" by Campfire OK

A little while back, when I made Campfire OK my band of the week, I shared five of their fantastic songs. Now, one of those five songs has really stuck with me. So much so, that I am sure it is going to end up in the top ten of my songs of the year, a list I take very seriously. So, I felt it deserved a special mention on its own.

One of the most beautiful tracks of 2011, I hope you enjoy.

"Complimenting Parts" by Campfire OK

Songs of the Day: "The Ballad of Alessandro Moreschi" and "Dance Card" by Pepper Rabbit

>> Sunday, November 6, 2011

This is my "wait, who is this" album of the year. Snuck up on me, crawled into my earhole, and planted roots. Becoming a late bloomer in the race the best of the year top 13.

"The Ballad of Alessandro Moreschi" by Pepper Rabbit

"Dance Card" by Pepper Rabbit

Song of the Day: "We Are Our Own Lies" by Smoosh

>> Friday, November 4, 2011

I feel like a f'n idiot. I clearly remember when I found out about Smoosh back in like 2003/4  I made a mental note, not to forget these sisters as the matured, But, FML, I did just that. That is, until, I remembered.

Once I remembered, I found out that I LOVE their sound now, and even more, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this song. You will too.

"We Are Our Own Lies" by Smoosh (live from KEXP)

Song of the Day: "Civilian" by Wye Oak

>> Thursday, November 3, 2011

This is one of the records that comes out so early in the year that I am fearful that it will lose its luster, but luckily for me, and the rest of the musical landscape, it has held firm, and in fact grown.

This is a fantastic little live version of the title track of one of the bright spots of 2011.

"Civilian" by Wye Oak

Song of the Day: "Falling From The Sun" by The Album Leaf

>> Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This is a song that I shared a few times last year. But it fits today. I hope you enjoy.

"Falling From The Sun" by The Album Leaf

Song of the Day: "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam

>> Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I know I generally champion new or unknown music for my song of the day. But today, I shove generally up my ass. This song, this video, change the young teenage me in ways I am only still discovering.

"Jeremy" by Pearl Jam