Here we have a rather eclectic winter playlist. Starts out a little folky, moves to some chamber pop, then to some more electronic sounding songs. Some of these tunes are old favorites, some are new favorites, but of course all fantastic. Hope you enjoy!
Okay folks, here are my top 12 albums of 2011. It’s kind of a weird number, but that’s what happens when there has been so much good music this year!
1. Bon Iver by Bon Iver
2. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
3. Strange Mercy by St. Vincent
4. James Blake by James Blake
5. Watch The Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West
7. Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars
8. Summer Echoes by Sin Fang
9. The Goat Rodeo Sessions by Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan, and Edgar Meyer
10. Beautiful Mechanical by yMusic
11. We Are Rising by Son Lux
12. El Camino by The Black Keys
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
King of Limbs by Radiohead, All Things Will Unwind by My Brightest Diamond, Early in The Morning by James Vincent McMorrow, The Head and The Heart by The Head and The Heart, and The Rip Tide by Beirut
This year I made it to a point to go to a lot of shows. Some were awful, most were good, but there are a few that really stood out. Here are my nine favorites from this year:
1. Bon Iver- My thoughts on the show
2. My Brightest Diamond- My thoughts on the show
3. St. Vincent- My thoughts on the show
4. Son Lux- My thoughts on the show
5. The Welcome Wagon- My thoughts on the show
6. Kopecky Family Band- My thoughts on the show
7. The Civil Wars- My thoughts on the show
8. Lord Huron- I saw these guys back in April opening for Rural Alberta Advantage, and I cannot wait to see them again. The already small set was cut short due to technical difficulties, but the songs they did get to play pulled me into their folksy beach tunes right away.
Let’s just say seeing Bon Iver was one of the best shows I have ever been to.
Just kidding, but in all honesty, it was brilliant, loud, and spectacular. I am going to bullet point this little write up. I am lacking the energy to make fluid transitions, haha.
•THE DRUMS (and all the instruments, really): Oh my goodness, I don’t generally notice drums a whole lot (sorry drummers), but the drums were phenomenal. I think every band should just have two drummers. During the first song, Perth, the song exploded when the drums came in. I think a lot of the time it seems like drums are just used to hold the rhythm/beat of a song, but I think the band really must have made a conscious effort to make them stand out. Same goes for the horns and saxophone, and really each instrument in the set. I don’t know how they did it, but each instrument had a solo or a stand-out moment…it was awesome.
•The lighting and overall visuals: Were epileptic and gorgeous. Seriously, there were several times as I watched that I thought I might go crazy watching the lights for too long. When the guys were just jamming it would get crazy intense and white lights (almost strobe-like) would flash on and off. Since the new album has been so well-received, I’m assuming they’ve made a lot of money off of it which has allowed the band to create a higher production show (they had an entire semi unloading before the show…LOTS of gear!). Although I appreciate the calm, simple set up of some shows, I cannot imagine this show without the beautiful lighting and set. Also- during Blood Bank, the lights all turned to red and it was absolutely breathtaking.
•re: Stacks: The band left the stage for this number and let the crowd hang out with Justin alone for a bit. Just like the rest of Bon Iver/Justin Vernon admirers, I appreciate how emotional and soul-bearing For Emma, Forever Ago is, but dang, seeing Justin up there pouring his heart out live was so eye-opening for me. I stood there watching him sing those words and it just brought me back down to earth a bit. To think about the sadness he must of been going through as he wrote that album is devastating. It’s always good to be reminded of how human we all are and that everyone has terribly rough times- even if you’re a “rockstar”.
•Wolves: One of my favorite moments of the entire concert- I have goosebumps thinking about it right now-was towards the end when Justin invited everyone to sing “What might have been lost” while the band wailed on their instruments. It competes with Skinny Love as the most unifying moment in the concert, I think.
•Just in general: I love the band as a whole. The members all seem so cohesive and awesome. They seem like they really, really care about the music and put everything they have into it. I’m astounded at how perfect everything sounded…that has to take some nasty talent when you have nine people on stage. I’m really glad this album was so much bigger and grander in terms of sound that For Emma. I love that album, but to me, this album is just about perfect and it was even more perfectly executed live.
Here’s the setlist. Only thing I was bummed they didn’t sing was their Bjork cover of Who is it and that they didn’t play Woods.
2. Minnesota, WI
4. Creature Fear
6. Hinnom, TX
9. Blood Bank
10. re: Stacks
13. For Emma
14. Beth Rest
15. The Wolves (Act I and II)
16. Skinny Love
Other favorite moments from the day-
•Holocene and Minnesota, WI, and Calgary were definitely highlights for me as those are my favorite tracks from the new album.
•During the day my friends and I ran into the whole band on a few different occasions while we were walking around town before the show…it was so, so, so fun to talk to them. If you want the lowdown on those encounters, message me.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have a chance to see Bon Iver play if you haven’t already…it’ll rock your musical life a little bit!
Bon Iver at The Pageant- September 11, 2011
Bon Iver tomorrow!
5 Things I am Excited to See/Hear:
• I am so excited to hear Justin sing Hinnom, TX. I love his falsetto, but In Hinnom, his voice is so sultry and wonderful.
• I am really hoping they play their Bjork cover of “Who Is It”. I have listened to that song non-stop the last few days.
• Colin Stetson and his sax. The way he plays is just incredible!
• Getting to see CJ Camerieri and Rob Moose. I’ve seen CJ play before with Sufjan Stevens, but I have never seen Rob Moose live. They both play for a ton of bands/musicians I listen to like My Brightest Diamond, Son Lux, yMusic, Sufjan Stevens, The National, The Welcome Wagon and others, so it is pretty clear that they are quite the musicians.
• In general, just hearing the new album (and the old) live. I am quite confident it will be among the best concerts I have ever been to.
Look out for a concert write up within a week or so of the show. I have a big paper due next week, so I can’t guarantee it will be up by Tuesday or anything, but most definitely by next Saturday or Sunday.
I follow a lot of people on twitter, and it seems as though the people in the Bon Iver clan have been talking a lot about this band Polica. I thought to myself, hmm, I haven’t heard much about them, who are they? So I clicked the link and found something pretty great.
They seem to have a synthy-pop thing going on, and female vocals, which sounds pretty rad. From the tweets I am reading, they played their first show tonight and were well-received. They only have 161 followers on Twitter and 245 fans on Facebook, so they must be pretty new to the scene.
And, Mike Noyce of Bon Iver is featured on one of their songs “Lay Your Cards Out” so that’s pretty cool too.
Chill music for this [nearly] Autumn evening!
Just aired- Justin and James are sneaky- they sure are making a lot of buzz and executing the release of this song quite well. This song is awesome, by the way. An perfect mash-up of their two styles.