Happy 236th birthday, United States!
So, here are my faves of the first half of 2012… and outside of the Top 5, it’s all kind of random order on how I feel today… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end (click album art for sound samples):
Artist – Album (style)
- OSI – Fire Make Thunder (glitch prog)
- Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (jazzy pop)
- Peter Mulvey – The Good Stuff (indie songwriter playing standards with a band)
- Damien Jurado – Maraqopa (indie rock)
- Celldweller – Wish Upon A Blackstar (electronica)
- Sigur Rós – Valtari (ambient icelandic)
- Emily Wells – Mama (chamber hip-pop)
- Floratone – Floratone II (jazz)
- s/s/s (Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, Serengeti) – Beak & Claw -EP- (interesting)
- Storm Corrosion (Steven Wilson & Mikael Akerfeldt) – Storm Corrosion (ethereal proggy departure)
- John Zorn – The Gnostic Preludes (jazzy experimental)
- John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio (Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn & Joey Baron) with John Medeski – Templars (noise rock)
- Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 2 (drone)
- The Chance Brothers – Growing Concern (indie rock)
- Regina Spektor – What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (pop)
- Ani DiFranco – Which Side Are You On? (folk pop songwriter)
- Buckethead – Electric Sea (gentler instrumental guitar)
- Bad Veins – The Mess We’ve Made (indie rock)
- Cosa Brava (Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, etc) – The Letter (rootsy jazz adventure)
- David Krakauer plays Masada Book Two – Book of Angels, Vol. 18 (Pruflas) (klezmer jazz)
I didn’t get a few that already came out this year (yet) and whatever “et cetera” that the cool kids are listening to these days; but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.
The 2nd half of 2012 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… a few more from John Zorn, Mike Patton & Luciano Berio’s Laborintus II, Ben Folds Five’s reunion studio album, Ric Hordinski’s Arthurs Garden (physical CD, though the download came out a bit ago), the Dusted debut from Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt, Erin McKeown’s kickstarter, and I’ve heard rumors of a new Nellie McKay disc for the Fall.
Favorite concerts of 2012 (so far):
- Penn & Teller and Cirque’s Zumanity in Las Vegas, Jan 18th & 20th
- Secret Chiefs 3 in Eugene & Portland, Feb 6th & 7th
- Nellie McKay’s I Want To Live! in Eugene & Portland, Mar 2nd & 4th
- Puscifer in Portland, Mar 14th
- Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 in Eugene, Mar 18th
- Radiohead in Seattle, April 9th
- Roger Waters presents Pink Floyd’s The Wall in Portland, May 22nd
- Beck in Bend, May 27th
(click pictures below for review links)
As I start this post, I will say that this is all very subjective and really put together for my own purposes. I’ll also state that, yes, some of the music below does have some vocals (i.e.- the Goddamn Electric Bill & Mike Patton CDs). For the most part, it’s sequestered to a track or two on a long CD of mostly instrumental goodness. My list, my rules, and/or my breaking of the rules. With that being said, all of the artists below tend to be in the jazz and instrumental frame of reference anyway.
As said before… I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my fourth year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, Facebox pages, yadda yadda yadda. Some of these also made it on to my 2011 Mix CD (free streaming/download).
OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…
Note: Ric Hordinski’s Arthur’s Garden (which made it on my 2011 Mix) is technically a 2012 release, hence its absence above.
Where do I get most of these jazz and other instrumental releases? My #1 favorite source for jazz is Downtown Music Gallery in New York. Manny and Bruce and their great staff are superb… and being the official distributor for John Zorn’s Tzadik doesn’t hurt my affection for them. I usually do a monthly Tzadik order (if the releases strike my fancy), and they have a ton of other non-Tzadik jazz and avant-garde releases as well.
And, no, I’m not affiliated, I don’t get a commission, and beyond my initial “big tax refund / gotta get caught up on Zorn order of 2005,” I haven’t gotten a discount with DMG. I just love and support what they do.
Enjoy the New Years’ weekend!! Be safe! See you in 2012.
My Other Favorites of 2011 Recaps:
- Fave Concerts & Photos of ‘11 are recapped *HERE*
- Fave EPs/Vinyl/Live/DVDs/more of ‘11 are *HERE*
- Fave Vocal Albums ‘11 are *HERE*
- Old Years:
Happy belated 235th birthday, United States!
So, here are my faves of the first half of 2011… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end (click album art for sound samples):
Artist – Album (style)
- Murat Eyuboglu & My Brightest Diamond – Letters to Distant Cities EP featuring the words of Mustafa Ziyalan (spoken word/indie rock)
- Over the Rhine – The Long Surrender (folk-americana)
- Radiohead – The King of Limbs (anti-radio rock)
- David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion) – Strange Negotiations (indie rock)
- dredg – Chuckles and Mr Squeezy (modern progressive)
- Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (drone metal)
- Tides from Nebula – Earthshine (postrock)
- Garage A Trois (Skerik & Co) – Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil (groove jazz)
- Kevin Moore – Shine (Küçük Kıyamet Soundtrack) (movie score)
- Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (postrock)
- Reptet – At the Cabin (horny jazz)
- Goddamn Electric Bill – Jazz (organic electronic)
- Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (postrock)
- Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom – Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes (instrumental klez-rock)
- Tres Mts (Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam & dUg Pinnick of King’s X) – Three Mountains (rock supergroup)
- Eisley – The Valley (modern rock)
- Michael Kelsey – Submerged (Midwest guitar virtuoso)
- Trey Parker & Matt Stone / Original Cast Recording – The Book of Mormon (sacrilegious broadway)
- Elysian Fields – Last Night on Earth (lusty indie-pop)
- Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean (whispy indie rock)
I didn’t get a few that already came out this year (yet)… the new Hiromi, Gangpol & Mit, and whatever “et cetera” that the cool kids are listening to these days; but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.
The 2nd half of 2011 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… a few more from John Zorn, (including The Dreamers Xmas CD & the Rovo Sax Quartet collaboration), Secret Chiefs 3 Book of Souls (maybe), Maynard James Keenan’s Puscifer (2nd album), some digital releases from A Perfect Circle, the doomy Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Opeth‘s 70s throwback album, Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson‘s 2nd solo album, My Brightest Diamond is wrapping up one in the studio (will it be out in 2011?), Ani DiFranco always has something coming out (it’s been a while though), probably something from one of Mike Patton‘s other bands (Fantômas live DVD, Tomahawk’s 4th album, more?), and I’m sure another dozen or more that I’ll dig from Tzadik.
Favorite concerts of 2011 (so far):
- Erik Friedlander plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two – The Shedd, Eugene, Jan 8th
- Reptet – Luckey’s, Eugene, Jan 14th
- The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl) – The Woods, Portland, Jan 28th
- Nels Cline Singers – Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, Jan 30th
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Crystal Ballroom, Portland, Feb 18th
- U2 – Qwest Field, Seattle, Jun 4th
- A Perfect Circle – The Schnitzer, Portland, Jun 29th
(click pictures below for review links)
So, the year end recaps are in process (instrumental list maybe later today or Friday) … I needed something to fill the gap… here are some artists who are expecting to release new material in 2011 (some are carryovers from 2010’s anticipation), all of which I’m looking forward to…
Kevin Moore‘s Shine (digital out now, CDs en route), dredg has one due at the end of March, Over the Rhine‘s The Long Surrender, Earth‘s Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (in February), Iron & Wine‘s Kiss Each Other Clean, Mogwai‘s Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will, Reptet‘s At the Cabin, My Brightest Diamond‘s as of yet untitled (she’s in the studio), a bunch of new stuff from John Zorn, Derek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 2 (10 cover songs for 2011), maybe the Secret Chiefs 3 will finally release Book of Souls (it’s their “Chinese Democracy”), Eisley‘s The Valley, Jelly Jam with Ty Tabor of King’s X/John Myung of Dream Theater/Rod Morgenstein of Dixie Dregs, Goddamn Electric Bill‘s Jazz, A.N.M. featuring Doug Pinnick of King’s X and Jimi Hazel of 24-7 Spyz, Ken Andrew and Co’s Digital Noise Academy (maybe), Silverchair are working on one (didn’t hit in 2010), Radiohead have put in studio time in 2010 (maybe something out by year’s end), Glen Phillips likely has a few in the hopper (RemoteTreeChildren #2? new Toad? new WPA? new solo?), Opeth is in the studio, Steven Wilson with Mike Portnoy & Mikael Akerfeldt (of Opeth) too, Sufjan Stevens tribute album (due out in March), more chapters from Celldweller‘s Wish Upon a Blackstar, new tracks from Billy & Maynard’s A Perfect Circle, Mike Patton‘s electronic Fantômas or Peeping Tom #2, and… Ani DiFranco – I mean, it’s inevitable… right? Well, not always, she totally missed 2010 (as of now, no studio albums out in 821 days / 257 since a live EP on Record Store Day 2010).
Plus many more great albums due out in 2011, I’m sure.
“obliquity of the ecliptic is the
reason for the season.“
On today, tomorrow, and the next 180 or so days, have a wonderful day that is now longer than the day before. If there’s anything else going on this weekend… well, have fun. Hopefully you are warm, fed, and with loved ones.
Oh, and if you celebrate Christmas, here’s a traditional Icelandic Christmas song for you, covered by Sigur Rós [courtesy of SR’s official webpage]:
- ég fæ jólagjöf (original) <- listen to this one first
- ég fæ jólagjöf (Sigur Rós’s cover, live in 1999) <- much different
♪♫ ég fæ jolagjöf
einn pakka frá afa og ömmu
og líka frá pabba og mömmu ♪♫
And finally… don’t eat the red snow…