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    « It Surrounds Everything: Russ's Best Records of 2011 | Main | Marley's music of 2011 »

    The Year of Coping: Kristin's 2011 Music 

    Did you know that Limp Bizkit released an album this year? No?

    Well, good on you, but that's indicative of the kind of year it's been for music. REM broke up, Red Hot Chili Peppers are somehow still making embarassing albums (are they trolling us?) and nearly every new release I anticipated let me down (the new Gaga, Watch the Throne, the Decemberists).

    2011 is the year I spent hiding from music, burying myself somewhere between 90s nostalgia and modern comedy. It was a good hiding place.

    The Afghan Whigs were there:

    They're going to play shows next year and I like to think that my sheer need for this to happen made it manifest.

    So was Soul Asylum also in rotation:

    The overall theme of this desperate wish to create or find a wormhole that would transport me back to the 90s is the lack of sincerity in most of today's music. I just want you to say it and mean it, whatever you're conveying. I can't take meta-meta-meta-meta anymore.

    Take Frank Turner, for example. He's been around for awhile, but I just discovered him this year. Andrew Jackson Jihad opened for him--I had gone to see them, but ended up weeping in the front row of Turner's set, just overcome. I went back and listened to his back catalogue and was so excited at the raw emotion I found, not under fourteen different layers of irony.

    2011 forced me to reckon with the fact that Amanda Palmer can make mistakes. Lots of them. I love her, I always will, she has given me numerous musical gifts and I believe she can come out of whatever the hell crap she stepped in. Please, girl, please take this back:

    There's probably no incentive in the world that I could be offered to sway me to download this. What a mess. Yes, that was last year, but I don't think she's managed to come back from it and I find it sorely troubling.

    I would much rather listen to Mouserat, an awesome new band, who sound like "a mix between Matchbox Twenty and The Fray" according to their lead singer, Andy Dwyer. I only really agree with the Matchbox Twenty part of that statement, but I REALLY love Matchbox Twenty.

    I will never deny Rob Thomas and his crazy-eyes.

    Again, the 90s. I'm not sorry.

    Okay, let's reach for the things I liked that were in 2011 proper. I already mentioned Frank Turner, who put out a stellar album called England Keep My Bones.

    Liz already mentioned and posted a video from one of my other year-end favorites, Wild Flag. Welcome back, Carrie Brownstein, my lord how we've missed you.

    I still like first three songs on Watch the Throne, but that's it. I should just take the rest off of my iPod because of the speed records I break skipping them when they come up in shuffle.

    I was pretty broken up about that album. See? But then...

    Donald Glover/Childish Gambino mended my hip-hop heart.

    From the Freaks and Geeks EP in March:

    Freaks and Geeks from Donald Glover on Vimeo.

    And then the full album, Camp, with tighter production and a little more focused/fearless. I cannot stop listening to ALL of this, as opposed to picking individual songs (though I definitely have my favorites, "Heartbeat," "Fire Fly," and "Backpackers" coming to mind immediately). The video for "Bonfire" is amazing, though it's a shame that most of its YouTube comments are people complaining wtfthishasnothingtodowiththesong:

    No, it doesn't. But it's fucking fantastic. It was a great way to end a sketchy year.

    Step it up in 2012, hunnnnh? It might be our last.

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