I had no hope whatsoever for this year musically speaking, after all 2011 had brought albums from Radiohead, Björk, Portugal. The Man (I’m still waiting for them to release their yearly album before 12:00 a.m. tomorrow), The Strokes, and a lot of bands I grew to love a lot. So I thought, “What record could make this year this year exciting?” I really never thought that this year would blow my mind this year and it did with a lot of surprises like Cloud Nothings, The Vaccines, Chromatics, The Men, among others. Of course, there were some dissapointments this year from bands I really liked a lot (I’m looking at you Muse, Bad Books, and Two Door Cinema Club!), but even with that I can say it was a good year musically speaking. And well… I just made a playlist with the 30 songs I enjoyed the most this year with some of my new favorite artists… Hopefully someone will take some of their time to listen. Enjoy!
What’s so special about Grimes? I mean, just listen: her music is weird, the voice is kind of annoying; and let’s face it: she is no that hot to have the kind of success she’s having (vía Lana Del Rey). Well, I have asked myself all these questions since I first discovered her on February and it’s pretty simple: her music is very catchy and she’s got attitude. I mean, really, I even saw her at a festival in March and she fucked it up because most of her gear went music in her trip to Monterrey… and she had one of the best sets of the night. We might never discover what’s Grimes’ secret (a pact with the devil, maybe?) but I really thank her for giving us this great album. Best track: “Oblivion”
09. Trust – TRST
This Canadian band made a very dark and soothing record, but even with that I probably danced the most to it this year. TRST is one of those albums that should be playing at every gay bar around the world, it’s such a shame that most gay people don’t appreciate good music. Best track: “Gloryhole”
08. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
It seems like these days people can not speak about The Gaslight Anthem without thinking of Bruce Springsteen (with whom they have shared stage a couple of times) and Handwritten certainly demonstrates why perfectly. Fallon and co. have always shown some kind of influence from The Boss and other old musical acts in their music and somehow this fourth album followed that same line without any problem. For some reason I am not tired on hearing TGA’s take on vintage music. Handwritten has everything from classic Gaslight Anthem to gospel-kind (evoking Fallon’s side project The Horrible Crowes) to the beautiful pair of acoustic songs at the ending. Best track: “Too Much Blood”
07. Passion Pit – Gossamer
This catchy, electronic pop band did an okay job on Manners, their 2009 debut album, but I never thought their music was such a big deal until I heard this. Gossamer takes the same formula Passion Pit used on their debut but improves everything in such a classy way. Plus, for what I’ve seen in YouTube, their live sets became even better that what they were on their earlier years. Best track: “Cry Like a Ghost”
06. Circa Survive – Violent Waves
This album came as a surprise for me. Since 2010’s Blue Sky Noise I did not know what to expect from the next Circa album and they basically traded the accessible sound they had embraced for something much more progressive, which is something to thank for. There was an important factor on this change of style between Violent Waves and BSN: Circa Survive’s sudden drop off Atlantic Records, which is something that Anthony Green constantly references. However, the most recurring theme on this record is Green’s experience as a father (something that is heavily used on this year’s solo record). It is incredible to see how a band can grow up, musically and lyrically, as much as CS did in this eight year period. Best track: “Phantasmagoria”
Oh, Atlanta. This day started off with walking off the bus in the morning to a short line of people already waiting. Turns out, that was a good indication of what was to come. The show sold out and unfortunately, some people had to miss out. Ryan Russell came out and filmed an acoustic set outside with the people waiting, so hopefully some of you looking for tickets who didn’t find any got to see at least that. (To see that: www.nervousenergies.com)
The changing of the set list every night makes for a different show every day… the Ableton tracks have to be made, the transitions have to be worked out (…and it’s hard for a photographer to get her barrings! Normally, by a week in I can time every jump and sway like clockwork, but with 40+ songs to work with, it’s not in the least bit predictable.) But this tour has been filled with some of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life; full of passion, and relation, and love, and all the good things that music has to offer. I hope if you haven’t made it out yet, that you can. There’s something pretty beautiful happening out here, and we want to share it with you.