Up and Coming Music List: 2012 Edition

>> Friday, March 23, 2012

Inspired by Stevie's Up And Coming Book List, I am going to start the same thing with my music purchased for the year. I found this to be really useful in both 2010 & 2011, that I am now completely reliant on it for 2012.

My favorite blog to write is my year end music review. And it be honest, I start it in January of each year. I start collecting music as soon as possible, and use a smart playlist to amass them all in one place for easy listening and examining.

Below you will see a quick list of the albums I have picked up so far this year (October 2011 - Current).  I will try to update them every month or so. If I have an opinion of the record, will post a quick note, but keep in mind, I may change mine. I realize this list can get exceptionally long by the end of the year, and I appreciate you reading it. Thanks. I hope it serves you in expanding your 2012 music collection.

I have included YouTube links this year. Just click on the name of the artist to hear a sample song from the mentioned album.

Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
I have been told for years that I need to get into Andrew Bird. That he is right up my alley. But I hate taking music advice from people, so I rarely give in. But this year, after hearing a snippet of Danse Caribe I decided to take the chance, and so far, so good. Musically it is very strong. But no song has swept me away... yet.

Ben Kweller - Go Fly A Kite
One of my favorite records of 2012. Ben Kweller has taken a huge creative step, Songs like Gossip and Full Circle shine bright while nothing else on the album dims. Solid solid works. Strong contender for the end of the year top 13.

The Black Keys - El Camino
This record came out in late 2011, and it raced up many of the best albums of 2011 lists. Which, in my opinion is very short sighted. You cannot truly examine a record in less than a month and determine its merit. The record is not bad, but it cannot hold a candle to their 2010 release "Brothers."

Casiokids - Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen
Some songs drive me up the flucking wall, some songs I crank up.

Chairlift - Something
Chairlift. What I say about Chairlift. Chairlift is like shaved ice on a really hot day. Really satisfying, but not filling. And I don't mean that as a slight.

Choir Of Young Believers - Rhine Gold
I just got this today. But I could not be more excited. Their 2009 release took over my life. This was number 10 on my 12 in 2012: Most Anticipated Albums list, and I cannot wait to dive in to it.

Damien Jurado - Maraqopa
Damien Jurado is a NW product, and the pride of the indie Seattle music scene. And rightfully so. Up until recently, I didn't "get it" with him. But, after seeing him live a few times, it sank in. His newest album, Maraqopa, is his best. He, somehow, after being on the scene since the 90's, is still finding a way to grow.

Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit
Just got it today, too early to judge.

Dia Frampton - Red
This record, from the runner up of the Voice last year, took me by surprise. I expected to find it chalk full of canned pop songs with an indie edge, but thankfully, I was wrong. The depth and subtle touch on this record is uncannily strong for a major label debut.

Drake - Take Care
This record has fallen off for me since I got it in late 2011. I loved it first, but now I find it to be a bit shallow and one note. That one note is great, but to stretch it to 19 tracks gets a little tired.

Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams
It's like if you took southern cali beach rock and shoved them into a garage. And it works, one of my dark horse favorites of 2012.

First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
Officially has front runner status. One of the best records of 2012, First Aid Kit has found their maturity without losing what made them special. Still the best two part harmonies I have heard in the last 5 years.

fun. - Some Nights
I can't make up my mind here. Their 2009 release "Aim & Ignite" has become one of my all time favorite albums, so I am having to overcome my own expectations to give this record a fair shake. I can tell you this, Why Am I The One and Some Nights Intro are easily two of my favorite tracks of the year.

Good Old War - Come Back As Rain
You know how I said that First Aid Kit as the best 2 part harmonies? Good Old War is right up there in the 3 part harmonies race. This record has an earnestness that has been missing from music since The Tallest Man On Earth last released a record. I am in love with this record.

Gotye - Making Mirrors
I wanted to hate this record. Somebody That I Used To Know is everywhere, and as great as that song is, and it is fucking great, its overabundance is rather annoying. But, so far, this album is more good than bad, although there are a few songs that miss the mark, the ones that hit are pretty special.

Ingrid Michaelson - Human Again
Who knew Ingrid Michaelson could pull this record off? I didn't that's for sure. I only picked this up during a half asleep middle of the night buying spree. I didn't even remember it until it shuffled on while driving to work the next morning. But, wow. This record is spectacular. Seriously, she is one of the strongest song writers out there currently. This is the surprise album of the year. Almost a surefire lock for top 13.

Jennifer O'Connor - I Want What You Want
Quiet grace and beauty. This record begs to be played. Give it a chance.

Josh Ritter - Bringing In the Darlings
I just picked this up. Too early to judge.

Julia Stone - Let's Forget All The Things That We Say
Julia Stone needs to stick with Angus. There is nothing wrong with this record, and I bet that if this was the only album she had put out, and if Angus and Julia Stone didn't exist, I would probably love this, but knowing what I know, and knowing how great she can be, this just falls short.

K'naan - More Beautiful Than Silence
Strong, but short. Come on K'naan, give me more that 5 tracks, I've been waiting 3 years already. But, still, K'naan is the man.

Katie Herzig - The Waking Sleep
I like this record a lot. I has a unique perspective, but does not feel off-putting of non fans.

Los Camesinos! - Hello Sadness
Disappointing. I am not sure if it is the changing members, or the turn in the writing, but nothing has caught up with that debut record.

Lost In The Trees - A Church That Fits Our Needs
Just got it. Too early to judge.

Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy
Nada Surf is still out there making tunes. I was not surprised to find this out, but I was surprised to actually like the music. And it's not at all like I remembered it being in the 90's. Yeah, it's standard alt rock, but the writing is strong, the musicality is solid, and it is a very decent record.

Of Monsters And Men - Into The Woods
This album is a beautiful mess. Little Talks & Love Love Love are special special songs, but the other two on the EP miss the mark. That is only a 50% success rate. However, considering how great the two successful songs actually are, I still call this one a win.

Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
I have only spun through this whole record once, so I am not comfortable putting words down on it yet. But so far I really like it.

Real Estate - Days
Another late 2011 release that ended up on a bunch of best of lists, but this one I can agree with. It is not a unique perspective on rock and roll, but it is a strong outing that does not have any missteps.

The Roots - Undun
Too new to judge.

Samantha Crain - A Simple Jungle
I love Samantha Crain. She could release a track of her sneezing into a microphone and I would probably buy it. But, with that said, objectivity, this is a great EP, I cannot wait to find out what she has in store for her next full length.

School Of Seven Bells - Ghostory
I bought this because I liked the name of the album. "Ghostory." And the driving airy electrop pop rock jarred me. Actually jarred me. I was all like "WTF music!?" and I have been a fan ever since.

Sleigh Bells - Reign Of Terror
Still trying to figure out the big deal.

Tim Myers - Technicolor
One half of FM Radio, who is putting out an album shorting, Tim Myers is a bad ass. This record, and the subsequent stuff he is doing along with Schuyler Fisk for FM Radio is killer. This album has quickly become one of my favorites. I have some concerns about its longevity, but for now, hell yes!

White Rabbits - Milk Famous
Too new to judge, but excited to get started.

Xiu Xiu - Always
I dislike this greatly.

Zola Jesus - Conatus
Even though it was released late in 2011, This is right up there with First Aid Kit as the early front runner for the record of the year. I cannot get the album out of my head.

Song of the Day: "Life's A Party" by Tim Myers

>> Saturday, March 17, 2012

Today is St. Patrick's Day, so I am sure you are expecting me to throw something Irish at you, but, I buck trends. This has been my good mood tune lately. And I figure that is what this holiday needs. Good Mood Tunes.

I know I do not blatantly recommend albums. I share what I like and leave it at that. But I honestly think this is one of the best records of 2012. As one half of FM Radio, I knew Tim Myers had skills, but this versatile record surpassed all my previous expectations and made me ever for excited for the upcoming Schuyler Fisk collaboration.

"Life's A Party" by Tim Myers

Song of the Day: "Not Quite Happiness" by Good Old War

>> Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This band. This f'n band, man. They are earnest, deliberate and steadfast. Not a single melody or harmony is accidental. Every lyric, note, and blended voice is intentional. Not a second off key.

I just love this band. Just listen.

"Not Quite Happiness" by Good Old War

Song of the Day: "Ever Since (Chasing a Ghost)" by Jonathan Russell

>> Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wow. This blog has been dead, and I apologize. I got super sick and didn't have it in me to sit in front of a computer. But, now with health on the horizon I am going to jump back into things.

So, if you've been reading this blog, you'll be well aware of my affinity for the Head and the Heart, and this song falls right in line with that love. Jonathan Russell, the often bearded frontman, recently did a solo show in Freemont to celebrate Leap Day, and from what I can see, it was fantastic.

This is a new song that has been popping up at the occasional THAT show, and every clip I've seen has been great. But this solo video takes the cake.

"Ever Since (Chasing a Ghost)" by Jonathan Russell

12 in 2012: TV

The 12 in 2012 Series Continues!
12 in 2012: Best & Worst of What I'm Watching & What Everyone Else is Watching...

In January I took a trip back to my beloved Brooklyn {Shout-out to Becky for letting me crash at her place!} and all everyone was talking about was Downton Abbey. What the hell is Downton Abbey? Only the greatest show ever (according to all my much hipper friends) since, oh wait, the other show(s) I'm not watching that everyone loves. In the back of my mind I was thinking did I DVR Whitney?? Could it be that I have the worst taste in TV or are my friends secretly watching all my favorite shows too? Furthermore I have the same reaction when I hear people aren't watching Portlandia- c'mon! So this blog is a look at what I'm watching from the awesome to the awesomely shameful and what everyone else is watching that I find equally awesome and shameful.

Everyone should be watching...

1. (Tie)

1. (Tie)

Could I have picked more different shows for my number 1 spot? If you need an excuse to watch either of these... Fred Armisen even better than on SNL and, ladies, Jax. Nuff Said.

2. Top Chef

I watch my fair amount of contestant shows but TC is arguable one of the best ones- real talent, the judges aren't annoying, and the challenges are actually exciting to watch.

3. Modern Family

Who doesn't watch Modern Family?

4. How I Met Your Mother

HIMYM to us loyal followers- even though Lilly and Marshall moved to LI I'm still watching.

You May Want to Check Out...

5. Up All Night

I ADORE this show. For those of us heading towards our 30's or already there- this is our show.

6. The New Girl

I wanted to hate this show. I like Zooey okay but it's really the guys on this cast that have me checking in on this show.

7. 90210

Yes I know it's not everyones cup of tea but my BFF and I enjoy the fashion and sometimes the plot lines.

8. Once Upon A Time

I love the premise for this show- fairy tale characters sent to modern times- I keep it on my DVR list but its not my go-to show.

What I'm ashamed of watching (but still do!)...

9. The Bachelor

Yea... there's not much I can say about this except for I love to Watch!

11. Project Runway AllStars

So I'm usually a fan of PR but the All Stars seasons of shows just kind of suck.

12. Whitney

Yes. I know. Judge me. It's my guilty pleasure.

What Everyone Else Is Watching (or so they say)...

1. Downton Abbey

2. The Walking Dead

3.Boardwalk Empire

4. Game of Thrones

5. Breaking Bad

6. Mad Men

7. True Blood

8. Parks and Recreation

9. Glee

10. Smash

11. Homeland

12. The Voice