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***January Thirty First Two Thousand and Twelve***

    

I've looked into my crystal ball and I see...another half-assed website update.


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The instagr.am photos of the month...


Burt, observing his kingdom.  Cary, NC. 


Hinshaw trail.  Cary, NC. 


Mouse, staring contest.  Cary, NC. 


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Links:

This is a couple of months old but Deerhoof put a live album on their website that you can download for free.  Just pop
over here, it's right on the front page. 

A couple of interesting tumblrs -
 - On this one they take classic album covers and photoshop out the dead members.  Worth a quick look.  Hasn't been
   updated in a while though. 
 - I laughed a lot over this one - Jay-Z and Kanye lyrics transposed over fitting stills from the show "Parks and Rec".  If
   you're not watching that show and worshipping at the altar of Ron Swanson, there may be no hope for you. 

Interesting documentary on North Korea slave labor being used to log Siberia via Vice.  They do great work in this
realm. 

Some music reviews were hastily written, notably on artists such as Mark Sultan, George Jackson, Kurt Vile, Jeff the
Brotherhood, Bleached, Bass Drum of Death, and more. 

A couple of photo journal entries were posted, nothing groundbreaking, some random fall leaf photos and a few snaps
of the cute beagle we briefly fostered named Buster. 


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This should have been posted with my other best ofs, but....
Best Shows of 2011!

1.   Archers of Loaf at the Cat's Cradle 1/15/2011.  I saw them three times but the first "secret" reunion show was the
best.  Here is a review of one of the other shows. 

2.   Jeff the Brotherhood at Slims 9/8/2011 (Hopscotch).  This was the second time I saw them this year, but it was light
years better than the first time (which wasn't bad).  Slims ain't big but the whole place was engrossed.  Also, my leg got
molested by some random skanky girl. 

3.   M83 at Kings 10/29/11.  I always assumed I'd never get to see these guys live.  Met all my expectations. 

4.   Lovers at The Pinhook 5/26/2011.  There is no band I listened to more in the first half of the year.  I actually slightly
postponed my vacation to Puerto Rico to make sure I didn't miss this.  

5.   J Mascis & Kurt Vile at the Cat's Cradle 4/10/2011.  The solo Mascis show slightly edged out the full Dinosaur Jr
show for two good reasons - I absolutely loved the solo Mascis album from last year, and the gig also had Kurt Vile as
the opener.  But the full Dinosaur Jr show is certainly worth mention.

6.   Moonface at Kings 7/22/2011.  Me and the other twelve people there were completely engrossed with this show
by the former(?) Wolf Parade memeber. 

7.   Handsome Furs at Kings 04/17/2011.  Another Wolf Parade off shoot.  Another awesome show.  This time, with a
smoking hot girl in the band as an added bonus. 

8.   The War on Drugs at Kings 10/11/2011.  Saw them once and it was ok.  Then they put out "Slave Ambient", I listen-
ed to it obsessively, and saw them again - really awesome this go around.  It's like being familiar with the songs helps
or something. 

9.   Guided by Voices at City Plaza 9/9/2011 (Hopscotch).  the final show of their "reunion".  Despite it being on a huge
stage in front of a sea of dickbags, I still had a blast. 

10. Beirut at the Cat's Cradle 12/8/2011.  The new record is so goddamn catchy, and it just works incredibly well live. 

11. Obits at Kings 1/12/11.  This feels like forever ago, but anything featuring Rick Froberg will make any list I make. 

12. Future Islands & Ed Schrader's Music Beat at the Cat's Cradle 11/27/2011.  I never get tired of the Islands, always
an amazing time.  As an added bonus, they bring Ed Schrader with them on all of their tours now and I like him nearly
as much. 


Local shows of note:

Bandway at Deep South 9/9/2011 (Hopscotch).  They're not considered the greatest band of all time for nothing.

The Reigning Sound & Last Years Men at the Local 506 1/16/2011.  Still seems weird considering the Reigning Sound
"local".  Weird but awesome.  Last Years Men continue to thrill my ears. 

Bowerbirds & Mount Moriah at Motorco Music Hall 6/5/2011.  This was the first time I'd seen Bowerbirds in ages.  I saw
Mount Moriah a ton of times and I never ever got tired of them. 

Polvo at Kings 3/19/2011.  I wish they played more often, but I'm ust still so happy they are back together. 

Superchunk & Veelee at the Cat's Cradle 3/4/2011.  Sadly, Veelee broke up.  they were a local favorite.  Whereas
Superchunk is an all-time favorite. 

TOW3RS at multiple venues on multiple dates.  Saw them a bunch of times, and they get the award for my favorite
new band. 

And lets not forget one of my all-time favorites Pipe that I saw at least a couple of times.  Tonk are awesome classic
country and always worth seeing.  I love that our versions of punk bands, Spider Bags and Whatever Brains, are so
goddamn weirdly awesome.


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Crooked Fingers
with Mount Moriah
Kings
1/6/2012

I've seen both of these bands many, many times.  And pretty much every time I get a chance to see them again, I'm
there, in front, singing along, taking photos, and being an annoyance.  It's what I do. 

I walked into Kings just as Mount Moriah started.  The show was sold out and already pretty damn full, but I still sidled
up the side and right into a front row spot.  As per usual, it was Jenks and Heather and a rotating cast of supporting
players.  I might have seen the bassist play with them before but don't hold me to that, the myriad of musicians that
have graced the stage with this outfit are starting to blur together.  They played a great set, typical of most of their
shows - mostly selections from their most recent record and I think one of the tracks from their "The Letting Go" EP. 
I've seen them perform these same songs many times now, but it never gets old...it would be completely impossible
to ever get tired of hearing Heather sing.  As has been said many times, she could sing the phone book and I would
still enjoy it. 

Much of what I said about Mount Moriah could also be said about Crooked Fingers - no matter how many times I've
seen them or some variation of solo Eric Bachmann, I'm always eager to see them again the next time they come
through town.  I had actually just seen Bachmann & company a couple of months prior at the Cat's Cradle, but as soon
as I saw this Kings show go on sale, I bought a ticket.  They played a lot of their most recent record "Breaks in the
Armor", peppered in with a few older gems like "Crowned in Chrome" and "New Drink for the Old Drunk".  The new
record is really damn good by the way.  The encore was particularly good, with them performing "Your Control" stand-
ing at the front of the stage completely unplugged, with Bachmann's bandmate and girlfriend Liz Durrett tackling the
Neko Case portion of the song.  And then he finished it off with a stellar take on one of the all-time best Archers of
Loaf songs, "Chumming the Oceans".  I can't think of a better ender.

Hopefully both bands play again soon, I'm itching to see them live again. 


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PC Worship
with Whatever Brains
Slims
12/14/2011

There were promises, promises of an early-ish show starting at nine and Whatever Brains going on first.  This meant
I got my ass out of the house early, and what the hell, let's eat a tasty burger at Chuck's next door before the rocking
begins.  Let it be known they make a damn tasty burger, even if it is a bit expensive. 

The show did actually start early, probably closer to 9:30 though...still early enough for my old man tastes.  Whatever
Brains were luckily opening the show - I would have expected them to headline or play next to last, but, you know, fuck
it.  The whole band piled on to the tiny stage and put out a blistering set of their weirdo art punk that I love so much. 
I guess the really young keyboardist is moving away and this was his last show with them for the time being at least. 
Probably going to cut down on the amount of underage ladies hitting on the band, but that might be a good thing. 
Anyways, yadda yadda yadda, they rocked the fuck out, lots of songs from their last record, some random weirdness,
a weird dude who video'd the whole show in a cell phone right in front of me, lots of assflap punks in attendance, and
yet another successful viewing of one of the best local bands in existence. 

The next group up was PC Worship, from New York or Brooklyn or one of those tall building places.  I guess they
played at this past Hopscotch but I missed it...let's be honest, I missed a lot of bands.  There's only one of me.  Their
sound was a bit all over the map, but not in a bad way - my three word description would be "punk skronk doom",
sounding like slow, sludgy Seattle rock ala Tar at times, the dark punk of Sex Church other times, the occasional
Kraut-rock moment here and there, and a sax player that had clearly listened to a fair amount of Rahsaan Roland
Kirk.  But all of this took a backseat to the fact that there was a dude in the band who played cassette tapes as an
instrument.  He had this crazy homemade rig with four or five tape decks wired into a mixer, the whole thing looked
like a high school science fair project.  It even had a little light show with an incandescent bulb and a colored spinning
translucent disc that he flipped on a couple of times.  The dude had a grip of tapes, each one seeming to have diff-
erent tones or notes on them, and he'd load them into the different tape decks, manipulating them through the broken
out tape deck windows by pressing on them and tweaking the mixer.  Words aren't really doing it justice, but it was
the damnedest thing I'd ever seen.  

There were a couple of other bands after that, but I had to go back home and work.  Boo work.  Boo jobs.  Yay
rock-n-roll.


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"Say what you want about America, thirteen bucks still gets you a hell of a lot of mice! "

Admiral Radley - G N D N.  Newish / side project of Grandaddy's Jason Lytle and some of the other dudes in the
band, in conjunction with some members of Earlimart.  Not as good as Grandaddy, but decent. 
The Thread

Allo Darlin' - Dreaming.  Lovin' this band these days.  Yeah, they pretty much sound like Camera Obscura, but I don't
count that as a problem. 
Kiss Your Lips
My Heart Is A Drummer

Explosions In The Sky - Trembling Hands.  From the latest album...and the only track not eight years long. 

Jamie Lidell - Game For Fools.  When the dude sings some classic-style soul songs, I can dig it.  The rest of his
material...meh. 
Multiply

Magic Kids - Hey Boy.  Maybe not the most original pop band, but the songs are so damn catchy.  One track sounds
like the Turtles, the next the Beach Boys, another like the Pernice Bros, etc. 
Hideout

Pontiak - Algiers by Day.  Another band wearing a lot of different influences on their sleeves...Pink Floyd, Hawkwind,
Oneida, and tons more.  Good band.
Beach

The Rosebuds - Cover Ears.  These tracks are from the most recent album by this formerly married duo, the whole
record seemingly documenting the break-up.  "Woods" is one of the best songs they've ever written.
Woods

Veelee - Animal Dreams.  Another great local duo that was also a couple, but sadly the end of their relationship also
meant the end of the band.  (The pairing of these two together was completely accidental, I don't put nearly that much
thought into this sort of things.)





***January Seventh Two Thousand and Twelve***


  
It's time to celebrate POINTLESS YEAR END LISTS!!!


Top 11 records of 2011!!!
(These are kinda sorta in order, as much as I could make them so.)


1.   M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Mute)
It's pretty simple - I don't think I listened to anything else as much as this M83 album.  Nearly every song of this
double-album is gold.  Getting to finally see them live didn't hurt the high ranking either. 
New Map
Steve McQueen
This Bright Flash


2.   Mount Moriah - Mount Moriah (Holidays for Quince)
That voice....beyond mesmerizing.  And every song a gem.  I see big things for these locals.  The shows are
already getting crowded, see them while you still can in an intimate setting. 
Lament


3.   Jeff The Brotherhood – We Are The Champions (Infinity Cat)
I liked this record a lot, a weird combination of pop and stoner metal.  Then I saw them live, and they shot WAY
up my list.
Bummer
Diamond Way


4.   The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)
This might have been the best start-to-finish album of the year, the one you listen to completely every time.  So
it kinda sounds like a Tom Petty cover record...big deal. 
Baby Missiles
Brothers


5.   Beirut - The Rip Tide (Pompeii)
I've listened to Beirut for ages, but this was the first album b them that full grabbed me.  The managed to finally
combine their love of ethnic folk music sounds with pop hooks, and I easily listened to this album more than
anthing else they have produced. 
Santa Fe
The Rip Tide



6.   USX - The Valley Path (Neurot)
With each passing album these mountain rockers continue to hone their sound, and they've now reached the
point where they are damn near impossible to classify.  I've zoned out to this fabulous release many times.
(No MP3s - the damn album is just one long song, and I don't wanna upload the whole album.)


7.   J. Mascis – Several Shades of Why (Sub Pop)
Dude, J Mascis.  the man is pure gold in my eyes.  Pretty much anything he puts out will figure high on any
year end list I create. 
Is It Done
Not Enough


8.   Future Islands – On The Water (Thrill Jockey)
No, it's not as strong as their last record "In Evening Air", maybe a little more introspective, a little more
experimental...but it's still pretty damn enjoyable. 
Before The Bridge
Give Us The Wind


9.   Moonface - Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I'd Hoped (Jagjaguwar)
One of two Wolf Parade side projects on my list, this finds Spencer Krug combining organs and key-
boards and electronic drums into some surprisingly organic music.  Organic and incredibly delightful.
Return to the Violence of the Ocean Floor


10. Richard Buckner - Our Blood (Merge)
What I said about J Mascis pretty much applies here - Richard Buckner can do no wrong in my book,
and anything he puts out will be a favorite of the year. 
Escape
Traitor


11. Handsome Furs - Sound Kapital (Sub Pop)
The second of the two Wolf Parade side projects, and a great reason to post nudity.  This time it's
Dan Boeckner and his crazy hot wife Alexei Perry, doing their own impression of what it would sound
like if Bruce Springsteen had a dance pop band. 
Memories of the Future


Top 16 honorable mentions of 2011 (in alphabetical order):
13 & God - Own Your Ghost (Anticon)
Bon Iver - Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)
Crooked Fingers – Breaks In The Armor (Merge)
Destroyer – Kaputt (Merge)
Fucked Up – David Comes To Life (Matador)
Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost (Matador/True Panther Sounds)
Low – C’mon (Sub Pop)
Obits – Moody, Standard and Poor (Sub Pop)
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs (XL/TBD)
The Rosebuds - Loud Planes Fly Low (Merge)
Russian Circles - Empros (Sargent House)
The Twilight Singers - Dynamite Steps (Sub Pop)
Total Control - Henge Beat (Iron Lung)
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)
Gillian Welch - The Harrow & the Harvest (Acony)
Wye Oak - Civilian (Merge)

(I swear I'm not getting paid by Sub Pop...they just released a lot of records I liked this year.)


Best Comedy Record of the Year:
Patton Oswalt - Finest Hour (Comedy Central)



Top 11 songs of 2011!!!
These are in no order.  I uploaded all of the songs into one zip here.  Well, all the songs
but the Flaming Lips song, as it's 6 hours long and over 800MB in size.  Look it up on your
own.  It's pretty awesome. 

Mount Moriah - Lament
The Rosebuds - Woods
Girls - Honey Bunny
Beirut - Santa Fe
Bare Wires - Ready To Go!
Bon Iver - Calgary
Destroyer - Savage Night At The Opera
Radiohead - Codex
M83 - Midnight City
Future Islands - Before The Bridge
The Flaming Lips - I Found A Star On The Ground


Also:
Top 5 Records That Might Have Made The List If I Had Gotten Around To Listening To Them:
1.   Bass Drum of Death - GB City (Fat Possum)
2.   Black Tusk - Set The Dial (Relapse)
3.   Eddy Current Suppression Ring - So Many Things (Goner)
4.   Mark Sultan - Whatever I Want & Whenever I Want (In The Red)
5.   The Roots - Undun (Def Jam)


In non-musical news...
Top 11 movies of 2011!!!

(These are also kinda sorta in order, as much as I could make them so.)

1.   Drive - The more I think about this movie, the more I love it.  The pacing, the story, the cinematography, the music,
       and especially the acting are all damn near perfect in my eyes.  I've been a fan of Nicolas Winding Refn for a little
       bit now, a very under-rated director, and this is his best work.
2.   Hanna - Almost everything I said about "Drive" fits here, only it obviously had a different director.  Here's to hoping
      we see a lot more from Saoirse Ronan, because she is gold in this flick. 
3.   Moneyball - I'm glad other people thought this was a great film, because I was afraid my enjoyment of it might have
       solely because I'm a huge fan of the (currently incredibly depressing because they are so terrible with no near pros-
       pects of improving) Oakland A's.  Aaron Sorkin really has an amazing ability to make any topic riveting. 
4.   Tabloid - There is no finer filmmaker in the world than Errol Morris for my money.  This is his latest mind-twisting
       documentary, where as always things are not as they initially seem.
5.   X-Men: First Class - The X-Men were always my favorite comic (well, after "Groo" maybe), and truth be told I've
       liked all of their films, even the crappy ones.  But this one is by far the best in all regards - acting, direction, story,
       the works. 
6.   Somewhere - This seemed to get a lot of negative and mixed reviews, people saying it was too slow, nothing
       happened, etc, but I quite enjoyed it.  Not only was it a great view of LA through the eyes of a celebrity, but of an
       immature man turning into a father. 
7.   Attack the Block - Great take on the "aliens attacking the earth" genre.  They decide to land in a British project,
       and the local street kids give them what for. 
8.   SUPER - On paper a movie starring Rainn Wilson as a half-assed superhero could turn out incredibly dumb,
       but this film is very smart, engaging and well worth your time. 

9.   Tucker and Dale vs Evil - This film smartly takes the "hicks vs. college kids" horror film theme and turns it on it's
       head.  Such a fun movie, it deserves much more recognition. 
10. Trollhunter - Kind of a modern take on the Godzilla-type monster movie, crossed with a little "Blair Witch" and
       an episode of "Bigfoot Hunters". 
11. Beats, Rhymes & Life: A Tribe Called Quest - Maybe somewhat of a sentimental choice due to the massive
       number of hours of my life I've spent listening to this group, but Michael Rapaport does a fine job of making a
       documentary that I think even outsiders would find fascinating. 


Top 11 honorable mentions of 2011 (in alphabetical order):
Bobby Fischer Against The World
Bridesmaids
Captain America: The First Avenger
Everything Must Go
The Lincoln Lawyer
Margin Call
Our Idiot Brother
The Tree of Life
The Way Back
Win Win
Young Adult

Best movie I saw this year that didn't come out this year:
Red Hill

That's enough lists. 





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