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    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.


    Marley's music of 2011

    A collection of songs and albums I found myself listening to this year. Some came out this year, some didn't. All are worth sharing. Here we go.

    Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" (Eff you, Bon Iver). This one is first because I have no idea where else to put it and I just wanted to put it out there that this is a good song by a female artist and Bon Iver is boring. 


    That one Adele song...tried the rest of the She's got the
    love Amy's got the squalor ...

    Speaking of...I've been listening to a fuckton of Amy Winehouse for obvious reasons. RIP Amy, sniffle (unironic sniffle!!). 


    None of the new tori cuz I'm a bad bad aging fangurl...and dont get me started on how Tori is aging. Her face does not look right.


    Britney "I Wanna Go" is Femme Fatale's "Toxic"... actually the whole album is pretty good, even that song that sounds exactly like Supertramp's "Logical Song" is ok.

    Robyn, obviously, but let's not forget this Robyn+ RyeRye remix because it's pretty amazing. (Nothing beats the "Call Your Girlfriend" dance but I fear this is being lost in the shuffle and it shouldn't be)

    The Gaga record because it's perfect in how it is flawed (every song is 3 songs, it's all over the place, the lyrics are really ridiculous and contrived in some places, etc etc... but it's Gaga so it's all forgivable since you can listen to it while working out).

    An illicit copy of the Sleep No More soundtrack including tracks I've named "creepy drone sounds," "entrance music for a film," and "creepy 30s speakeasy" (This version of Peggy Lee's "Why Dont You Do Right" with record crackles in the background=perfection) ...And because they operate in a similar vein, I'm lumping Esben and the Witch into least "Marching Song." (Not so down with the video but just listen.)


    The Throne, straight through twice and only twice, but "N*ggas in Paris" 3 times at the show in Atl
    ("Talk amongst your friends"). Also props to those dudes for slowing it down in the beginning Salem-style.

    Oh Land before she got famous and went to the movies with Katy Perry... whatever I have a picture with her at SXSW 2011 before that happened

    This JoJo Durk remix

    SPF 5K especially this not play it for your parents or even your open-minded aunt....but you should play it at your next dance party

    Honorable mention for Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun's "We Were Wild" since I got to see it performed at Cameo in Brooklyn and Star Bar in Atlanta (the day before the video below was made, it's not great but you get the idea).

    2nd honorable mention to Nicki Minaj because I can't put just her verse of "Monster" (again) and this video has her singing with Rihanna near an airplane wreck (weird "Fly"-association but ok) and then fighting ninjas. So, for general weirdness and wigs--kudos to Nicki. Also way to spread out 1 album in 2 years--this song is the 8th single (8th!?) and was released over a year after the first single. Dang.

    And my bfs band, Silent Drape Runners, the most bloggable band ever.


    Liz's Top 10 Albums of 2011

    This year was a great one for music. I had a really hard time paring down the list of stuff I liked to just 10 (sorry, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Wye Oak, and The Naked and Famous), which NEVER happens. Here, loosely ordered, are the records I found myself listening to over and over again with undiminishing enjoyment:

    1. Handsome Furs - Sound Kapital

    Handsome Furs - Repatriated by subpop

    Husband-and-wife duo Handsome Furs made a bold move on their third album, relying on primarily synthesizers and drum loops with an occasional guitar track thrown in for good measure. Touching on themes of isolation and political unrest, Sound Kapital nonetheless makes for a great dance album at the same time.

    2. Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials


    Florence Welch really went all out with the orchestration and production on her second album, and boy has the effort paid off. From the inspiring single "Shake It Out" to the defiant "No Light, No Light," Ceremonials solidifies the fire-haired crooner as a force to be reckoned with.

     3. Wild Flag - Wild Flag

    Blah blah supergroup, blah blah Sleater-Kinney, blah blah four ladies. We've all heard the hype, but this album just straight up ROCKS, period. Forty minutes of face-melting, balls to the wall (ironic!) riffs and rhythms, supplemented by hook-laden harmonies? Yes, please!

    4. Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia

    Exuberant. That's the only way to describe "The City," the buoyant first single from Patrick Wolf's latest offering. For my money, it's just as infectious - if not more so - than Cee-Lo Green's "F*** You," not to mention more radio friendly. The song is the leadoff track on Lupercalia, and the record's all uphill from there.

    5. Boy & Bear - Moonfire

    This Australian indie folk quintet is my favorite new discovery of 2011. Their gorgeous, 'round-the-campfire-esque harmonies gave me chills when I saw the band live at the CMJ Music Marathon, and Moonfire is so well-produced that the songs, which blend country, folk and rock influences, feel just as intimate on record.

    6. The Sounds - Something to Die For

    Released all the way back in March, the Swedish group's fourth album, and strongest to date, still sounds as fresh to me as it did the first time I heard it. A nonstop, hook-laden dance party, Something to Die For gets my vote for Most Earworms of 2011. And it's tied with Handsome Furs for best use of a synthesizer.

    7. R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now

    What would turn out to be the legendary group's final album is their strongest effort in years. Sure, there are a few throwaway tracks, but Collapse Into Now as a whole trumps everything else R.E.M. has released in this century. On the final track, "Blue," Patti Smith helps the boys exit on a high note.

    8. We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Ships

    Brooklyn trio We Are Augustines have released the best Bruce Springsteen album of 2011. Kidding aside, the group embraces and breathes new life into the Americana tradition of blue-collar storytelling through song. Thematically, the record primarily revolves around the suicide of singer Billy McCarthy's brother, James, and its pure rock 'n' roll tracks manage to be both raucous and touching at the same time.

    9. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

    On her polarizing latest effort, Polly Jean Harvey tackles the history of imperialism and war throughout the world, and in particular the involvement of her native England in various conflicts. A timely record written and recorded against the backdrop of the U.S.-led and Britain-abetted war in Iraq, Let England Shake plays out like a love letter to someone or something that is treasured despite flaws that are too great to be overlooked. Viva el autoharp!

    10. The Jezabels - Prisoner

    The Australian group's highly-anticipated debut full-length is a grower. The album is enough of a departure from The Jezabels' previous three EPs that, upon first listen, I worried they hadn't lived up to their potential. But by the second or third spin, I realized they were just pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, and the result is tremendous. With several songs topping out at more than five minutes, Prisoner offers enough breathing room to showcase the talents of each of the four band members, and singer Hayley Mary's voice is still as goosebump-inducing as ever.


    Lana Del Ray, Bowery Ballroom, 12/5/11

    A Photograph Of a Polaroid Of A Terrified Girl: On Lana Del Ray, Bowery Ballroom, 12/5/11

    I’m not sure what I was expecting from seeing Lana Del Ray live. My opinion on her music since the beginning has been that shared by many others, namely a measured distaste for her “borrowed nostalgia” (to use James Murphy’s words). But, well, the tickets were free and I’d had the chorus of her ubiquitous single “Video Games” stuck in my head for days (“heaven is a place on earth with you/tell me all the things you want to do”—not a message that’s a very good look right now, for music or society in general, but admittedly pretty damn catchy), so I figured why not? It’s not like I had anything else to do.

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    Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow

    Editor's note: We're thrilled to present a review of the new Kate Bush album by longtime friend of soldout, Atlanta writer and poet Collin Kelley 

    One word for 50 Words for Snow: Perfection

    By Collin Kelley

    In 2005, Kate said during an interview that she might surprise everyone and release two albums in one year. Six years later, she made good on the surprise by releasing the fan base-dividing Director’s Cut in the spring and the brilliant (and near universally praised) 50 Words for Snow in the autumn. Although there are just seven songs, the album clocks in at more than hour, with Kate giving each song room to breath and then some. Kate’s piano is front and center on this album and the wintry soundscape she creates is expansive, elegiac and a little melancholy. In a word, perfection.

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