First off, let me say thanks to all of my readers, daily or otherwise. Your readership and comments and musical participation have been a true joy. After I hit the 365th blog, which will not be for a few months, don’t worry… I have not yet decided what to do. The music will of course continue, just perhaps not on a daily basis.
While this has been almost always a pleasure for me… Yes, a few days it did feel like pulling teeth… my teeth… It is a lot of work. And on days when the number of readers is low, it is a bit… depressing… On the days you get hits in the hundreds you jump for joy… But it is literally a roller coaster.
Continuing depends on a lot of things… but generating some kind of income is a key factor… I also have hopes to do some kind of radio program in the New Year… perhaps starting with an internet show… We shall see…
If I had to ask you for one holiday wish or gift, it would be to spread the word and help me get more subscribers, more readers and more people who love music as much as we all do. I want to get so many more people involved in the conversation. This is essential. The idea of this blog was to share music and to open up a dialogue. I truly believe that music, like love, is a universal language and can bring the world together. I say that honestly and with only a hint of naiveté. But let’s face it… it is also to have a huge number of people reading my words and responding and hopefully having it lead to bigger and better things… I ain’t gonna lie… We write because we have to write… but if a writer writes in the woods and no one reads his words a tree falls on him silently and then a bear shits on him.
Happy Holidays to all of you… My gift has hopefully been this blog. Please know that it comes from my heart and my soul. Each entry has a part of me that I give you freely and openly. Music is a passion and sharing it is my bliss, my joy.
So without any further ado…
Here is my list of the best albums released in 2011… and also a list of bands and artists I have been really listening to a lot… Enjoy and Happy New Year!
Marc’s Muse – The Best Albums of 2011 (In order they were released… mostly… except for my Top 10, which you will have to “tune in” tomorrow for… Ooooh!!!)
White Lies – Ritual (This indie rock band from London came to me courtesy of Tuti. Thanks, brother! Great stuff!!!)
Amanda Palmer – Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under (Not sure how I came to find her… I never really listened to The Dresden Dolls but I fricking love her stuff… Actually I think it is because Ben Folds produced and played on Who Killed Amanda Palmer.)
R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now (It’s not just that this is their final studio album… it is also really good. We’ll miss you boys.)
The Vaccines – What Do You Expect From The Vaccines? (Was this from Tuti? Might have been… not sure… Great punk/pop. Saw them play at Amoeba, too. Dig ’em.)
Glasvegas – Euphoric/Heartbreak (Indie rock band from Scotland… duh… I think this came from Rob and Alan… Their sophomore album rocks!!!)
The Strokes – Angles (Welcome back, boys… This is a damn good album!)
The Pigeon Detectives – Up, Guards And At ‘Em! (These guys were discovered by me, courtesy of Little Steven… They are pure punk/pop at its best… And searching for their stuff led me to bands like Kaiser Chiefs and The Rifles!)
Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What (Back to form… back to delicious form… and aside from the sound at Gibson sucking crap, you were really great… now go on tour with Art, would ya???)
Foo Fighters – Wasting Light (I just want to pal around with Dave Grohl… Can someone arrange that, please. This has to be one of the best and most fun bands out there.)
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 (Kim, my friend in Chicago, somehow had this way before it came out… or so it seemed… She told me I must listen and so I did… and loved it… Have always dug the boys and this is another great effort.)
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (Alan and Rob claim that Alan had these guys on his radar before I brought them up… Maybe… But I know I really pushed them…
The Cars – Move Like This (The Cars are back… at least with their old sound, which is a good thing… They are still probably the most boring live band ever… but on record… this new wave band is like no other!)
Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong (It is NOT just because the two brothers are Goldsmiths… this band is only getting better and are an awesome modern take on the Laurel Canyon, folk-country-rock sound).
Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys (This one seemed to fly under the radar for me and a lot of folks… even though it did get nominated for a Grammy… and I am still taking it in, to be honest… but I really, really like this band and this lush album.)
Eddie Vedder – Songs For Ukulele (Is it because I just bought a ukulele and am fascinated with the instrument… or is it because Eddie Vedder is powerful and moving… both… and all of the above… This is a great solo effort!)
Bon Iver – Bon Iver (Pronounced Bahn Ee vehr… his simple but so deep folk sound is powerful and stunning… Not sure how is nominated a a new artist Grammy as this is his second album… but okay… )
Incubus – If Not Now, When? (This is all about Cousin Jeff!!! He loves this band and made me listen. This one seems to be getting ripped from a lot of longtime fans who don’t ever want their bands to change, but I really like it. Is it edgy and like their old stuff? No… Is it poppy and very produced… sure… but I dig it, so sue me.)
Little Dragon – Ritual Union (This summer I got back to Chicago for the first time in years… How I love and miss that city… It was hot as hell, but hanging out with my friend Kim and her/my Aunt Edna made it worthwhile… Plus, she was the one who hooked me into Spotify… thank you, thank you, thank you… and Little Dragon and Koop… Thanks again!!!)
Portugal. The Man – In The Mountain In The Cloud (This group came from my brother, Dan. Really dig this alternative band and this album.)
The Head And The Heart – The Head And The Heart (A little Mumford and Sons… a lot of that great indie folk sound that is so in right now.)
Wilco – The Whole Love (This is another one that I am still forming in my mind… but I always love Wilco and whatever they do… and this album is growing on me… a lot…)
Ben Folds – The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective (There is a one-disc version that is just a greatest hits collection… and a three-CD package that has live and un-released tracks… It made me realize how much I absolutely LOVE Ben Folds… his talent, his musicality, his witty and sarcastic and satirical lyrics… and then his deep, truthful and utterly revealing lyrics… With either is some of the most beautiful music you will ever hear… He is my rock star Doppelganger… I want to hang with him… Seriously… He and I need to be buds!)
Jane’s Addiction – The Great Escape Artist (Perry Farrell impresses me on so many levels… musician… promoter… Jewish Rock star!!! And now this groundbreaking band is back with a fantastic record!)
Lindsey Buckingham – Seeds We Sow (This album… great! Seeing him live… even greater! He is the most underrated guitar player out there… but his voice and his wail are so amazingly powerful!)
Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials (I first discovered her from Jennifer at the Woodland Hills branch of the LAPL. This was before anyone really knew who she was… Cool for me. Thanks for that one and a bunch of other great recs!!! This new record is more focused and just stunning. Her voice is beautiful but so unique.)
So those are my top albums for 2011… Please tell me if I missed anything. Well… wait until you read my Top 10, as I did leave some off this list to build a little mystery and excitement!!!
Check back for that tomorrow. Ooooh!!!