Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 50 Songs Of 2011

Top 50 songs of 2011, pretty simple released this year and only one song per artist. Anyway here it is...
1. Tyler, The Creator - Yonkers (Goblin)

2. Black Lips - Family Tree (Arabia Mountain)

3. Girls - Vomit (Father, Son, Holy Ghost)

4. M83 - Midnight City (Hurry Up, We're Dreaming)

5. TV On The Radio - Will Do (Nine Types Of Light)

6. Joy Formidable - Whirring (The Big Roar)

7. Mastodon - Stargasm (The Hunter)

8. Atlas Sound - Mona Lisa (Parallax)

9. The Weeknd - Loft Music (House Of Balloons)

10. Yuck - Shook Down (Yuck)

11. The Horrors - Still Life (Skying)
12. Cut Copy - Where I'm Going (Zonoscope)
13. The Strokes - Under The Cover Of Darkness (Angles)
14. Fergus & Geronimo - Wanna Know What I Would Do? (Unlearn)
15. ...And You Will Know Us BY The Trail Of The Dead - Weight Of The Sun (Tao Of The Dead)
16. Fleet Foxes - Sim Sala Bim (Helplessness Blues)
17. The Kills - DNA (Blood Pressures)
18. EMA - Milkman (Past Lyfe Martyred Saints)
19. Radiohead - Lotus Flower (King Of Limbs)
20. Liturgy - Harmonia (Aesthetica)
21. TV Ghost - Cancor (Mass Dream)
22. Wilco - One Sunday Morning (The Whole Love)
23. Today Is The Day - Death Curse (Pain Is A Warning)
24. PJ Harvey - Words That Maketh Murder (Let England Shake)
25. Shabazz Palaces - An Echo From The Hosts That Profess Infinitum (Black Up)

26.Fucked Up - Queen Of Hearts (David Comes To Life)
27. Active Child - Hanging On (You Are All I See)
28. Toro Y Moi - Go With You (Underneath The Pine)
29. Manchester Orchestra - Virgin (Simple Math)
30. Kurt Vile - Baby's Arms (Smoke Ring For My Halo)
31. Okkervil River - The Valley (I Am Very Far)
32. Battles - Ice Cream (Gloss Drop)
33. Florence And The Machine - No Light, No Light (Ceremonials)
34. Beirut - Santa Fe (Rip Tide)
35. The Roots - Make My (Undun)
36. Frank Turner - I Am Disappeared (England Can Have My Bones)
37. Wooden Shjips - Flight (West)
38. Veronica Falls - Found Love In A Graveyard (Veronica Falls)
39. Beastwars - Damn The Sky (Beastwars)
40. Bright Eyes - Shell Games (Peoples Key)
41. Elbow - Lippy Kids (Build A Rocket Boy)
42. Kimbra - Settle Down (Vows)
43. Washed Out - Amor Fati (Within And Without)
44.The Wax Museums - Sunburn (Eye Times)
45. Raveonettes - Evil Seeds (Raven In The Grave)
46. Death Grips - Guillotine (Exmilitary)
47. Cults - Abducted (Cults)
48. James Pants - Clouds Over The Pacific (James Pants)
49. Jahn Maus - Cop Killer (We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves)
50. Cat's Eyes - The Lull (Cat's Eyes)

Top 50 Albums of 2011

Finally 2011 is over and with that my top 50 albums, a lot of nice stuff this year including an album thats stuck as number one for a long time. I don't want to do the "this year is better than last" cause it probably had just as much great music as last year but just different genres having a stronger or weaker year.

1. Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise

2. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

3. Mastodon - The Hunter

4. Atlas Sound - Parallax

5. Wilco - The Whole Love

6. Black Lips - Arabia Mountain

7. Radiohead - King Of Limbs

8. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

 9. The Horrors - Skying

10. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

11. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
12. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead - Tao Of The Dead
13. The Kills - Blood Pressures
14. Shabazz Palaces - Black Up
15. Cut Copy - Zonoscope
16. Yuck - Yuck
17. Fucked Up - David Comes To Life
18. Fergus & Geronimo - Unlearn
19. TV Ghost - Mass Dream
20. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
21. Wooden Shjips - West
22. Toro Y Moi - Underneath The Pine
23. Today Is The Day - Pain Is A Warning
24. Okkervil River - I Am Very Far
25. Florence And The Machine - Ceremonials

26. Septic Flesh - The Great Mass 
27. Washed Out - Within And Without
28.TV On The Radio - Nine Types Of Light
29. The Weeknd - House Of Balloons
30. Liturgy - Aesthetica
31. Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
32. Bright Eyes - Peoples Key
33. Tyler, The Creator - Goblin
34. Beirut - The Rip Tide
35. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints
36. The Psychic Paramount - ll
37. The Roots - Undun
38. Battles - Gloss Drop
39. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
40. Kendrick Lamar - Section.80
41. Dodos - No Color
42. Kimbra - Vows
43. Beastwars - Beastwars
44. Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place
45. Raveonettes - Raven In The Grave
46. Antlers - Burst Apart
47. Cats Eyes - Cat's Eyes
48.Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts
49. Wu Lyf - Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
50. Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Belong

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 12 Months Of Music: February

February was another busy month for me gig wise with a couple of absolutely phenomenal shows. Not only that but we got the first of the really hyped albums come through, as well as some surprisingly good releases that I myself wasn't expecting. What we ended up with was arguable the best month of album releases this year and my current favourite album of 2011.

Live Shows

The first of the two live shows I'm talking about is Sufjan Stevens at Wellington Opera House. It was a phenomenal show more for the visual aspect of it all (though songs were still great), something I had never seen before. A review of it I did here

A great moment was the closing song which was this one

The other gig which really excited me was the Melvins/High On Fire show, having been a fan of Melvins for a bit I was massively keen to see this show as I could only assume it would be a quality show. It was and being two from the front of Buzz made it easy to take some poor quality it was also a chance to see his overall ability. A review of it here


One of the most highly anticipated albums of 2011 was released in February and that is the self titled release by electronic musician James Blake. Originally I liked it, then quickly thought it was only decent and until I revisited it months later I truly dug the sound of the album. The marquee song on the album is one that took a while to really enjoy but I guess I like it a lot more now.

An album that hasn't left my top 10 since I have listened is that of Tim Hecker's Ravedeath 1972, the heavy drone and ambient sounds has made it a real gem of 2011.

While it might be forgotten by some, the new Radiohead album King of Limbs is another great release by the band and easily one of the best albums of 2011. The electronic influence on this album is incredible and allows to show a band that continues to move and create trends while never sounding stale and old.

Finally another album which will probably be on a bunch of peoples top 10 is that of the new PJ Harvey album Let England Shake. This album is great and was rewarded with a Mercury award (eat shit Adele), my favourite on the album is Words That Maketh Murder.

Last but not least my current favourite album of this year Nicolas Jaar's Space Is Only Noise, which is still an amazing piece of music. Flows beautifully, the minimalism is superb and it gets me everytime.

Other albums worth a mention was the debut album from Indie rock band Yuck and the new release from Bright Eyes which was one of my favs from early this year not so much now).

Monday, December 19, 2011

The 12 Months Of Music: January

January had many great moments for me musically, for the most part it was seeing great bands some that will never grace these shores again. With that being said there were some pretty solid albums that early on, some that are seen as some of the best this year.

Live Shows

First off was Big Day Out which had so many great musical moments, particularly that of LCD Soundsystem a band I love and now aren't together. I wrote a review of my Big Day Out experience here.

The moment that still defines the greatness of Big Day Out this year was when LCD played this song.

Another gig I was at during this time was that of Joe Cocker/George Thorogood, I'm definitely not what you would call a Cocker fan instead went purely for Thorogood. It was a nice show Thorogood was fun, hes a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine the cheesiness of his songs are great so to see him play some of his classic tracks was fun.

I also got the chance to see some of the bands that made my top 50 of 2010 at Laneway Festival at the end of January. It was great seeing such bands as Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffitti, Deerhunter, Foals, Beach House, Warpaint and a few others. Review of it here 


One that seems to be way over with the faggots at Pitchfork is the new album Kaputt by Destroyer an album I just see as pretty good. His songs sound beautiful and while I like them its not as if I'm ever really interested in listening to his stuff.

A band that will be here January of 2012 who I'm almost certainly going to catch is Deerhoof which released Deerhoof vs. Evil an album which just screams consistent Deerhoof, its not anything different in sound but I fan of these guys will definitely dig it.

Cut Copy released Zonoscope which has been one of my favourites this year, after the massively loved In Ghost Colours there was pressure for them to keep up the good work and they have. This was my favourite on that album

Noteworthy bands that released an album were The Decemberists (oh the disappointment), The Go Team (still fun), Ulcerate (NZ Metal reprazint)

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Things Crowds Do

Going to a lot of gigs like I do, you start to notice quirks that some in the crowd do, sometimes it can almost ruin a show for you. Then when I show is either boring or just a shitty support act, the stupidity of those around you can be the only thing that can get you through the the boring 30-40 minute set.

With this in mind I'm going to talk about the shit I've noticed a lot recently at gigs. One, those that really makes me laugh is when someone is leaving their spot during a performance, its bad enough your moving and annoying all those around you. But the real funny part is how people think that if they head bang furiously out of time with the music while staring at you with the "yeah this is awesome" look makes it alright to inconveniently get in the way as you watch the gig.

The amount of times I've seen it is enough for me to laugh at them now cause I really don't care enough that are trying to be cool about it. Another one which is annoying but much more stupid is couples at gigs, this really is only a problem for certain reasons. The major problem I have is the guy always feels like no one is allowed touch them, I don't mean guys going in for the grope (I guess theres a case that he should beat them down) but when people accidentally bump into them. I've seen this more and more at metal gigs, couple take prime position three from the front, band starts and the surge forward does as well, boyfriend gets angry and tries to pick fights with people around him. It usually ends with them going down the back and cuddling while errbody else gets to have fun.

It seems like "awkward" is a popular word to use these days much like all the "the awkward moment when..." lines that popped up recently. Well when I saw Doomriders at San Francisco Bath House the opening act I Exist from Australia were playing, they were more a Hardcore, core in general type of band as opposed to the more hard rock tendencies that the headliner were. Anyway during I Exists set this guy started doing weird windmill kicks and shit, I believe it was hardcore dancing although I'm not totally sure, all I remember is that this dude looked like he wanted to beat everyone up with karate kicks and spinning but he didn't actually touch anyone, more and more we just stared. It did make the band much more tolerable so thank you "dancer".

Finally the last crowd thing  has basically kept me away from the festival cause its certain to be true and that is "bros". No not people of Maori descent, but those singlet wearing, sunglasses frosted tip fags that congregate at New Years festivals such as Rhythm and Vines. I don't think I could take it (even drunk) them saying "bro that was phat, meeeeean bass" for multiple days. I guess the only positive is usually the bands there blow so they deserve each other really.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Back and Forth

On Saturday TV3 showed the Foo Fighters documentary, now I didn't watch it cause its Saturday night but I had seen it only a few days earlier. This isn't the first time its been shown on free to air television with TV3 also showing it just after the new album Wasting Light came out (review of it here). I admit that I'm not the biggest of fans of this band but at the same time I'm a sucker for a documentary on any band whether I like them or not.

It's weird, I've been pretty critical about this band, not cause I think they suck but because the progression of the band into a far too radio friendly act disappoints me. Dave Grohl seems like a nice enough guy and this again is presented well in Back and Forth, he takes you through everything from the early beginnings of how they got together all the way up until the completion of the latest album.

I really enjoyed the first two Foo Fighters albums, I really enjoyed the raw edge to the music in the early days the production wasn't nearly as squeaky clean as it has become. Everlong to me is one of the greatest rock songs of all time, definitely up there so to think I'm merely a hater then you are mistaken.

A moment that really sticks into my mind was when bassist Nate Mendel decided he was going to leave the Foo Fighters and re join a reformed Sunny Day Real Estate. At this stage the only two from the original were himself and Dave, he made the phone call to which Dave told him to tell the rest of them he was leaving cause he was going to get drunk. Nate rung back the next morning to tell Dave he wasn't leaving anymore and I get the impression the way the band was going it would've ended there. After all when Dave went on tour with Queens Of The Stone Age he later admitted he almost ended the band.

At the end of it I found myself realise that this band had many more ups and downs than I realised.The fact they had this all play out in the public because of the fame Grohl had already garnered made this an even more intriguing watch.

Finally here's a cool documentary on the warm up tour the band did playing in peoples garages, very cool idea!

Friday, December 9, 2011

What To Choose: New Order or Bon Iver?

Now in theory this is a very easy decision, why would anyone wanna pick Bon Iver over the freshly reunited New Order?  well its more because I already have a ticket to one. Bon Iver is playing two shows in Wellington I have a ticket to the first night on February 27 which happens to be the same night as the New Order show in Auckland. A simple solution to this would be to get a Bon Iver ticket to the show on the 28th but if I'm in Auckland then I'll stay another night to see these guys.

Yeah the Black Lips are playing one show in Auckland, I missed them last here in Wellington and now with one of my favourite albums of this year under their belt in Arabia Mountain its even more enticing. While this post started as a decision, while writing this I've already decided who I'm going to see. Those that go to Bon Iver I hope its great, I hope someone will tell me all about it cause I'm definitely willing to miss it over missing a band I didn't realise were even back together until about a week ago and now  I have essentially one last chance to see.

Sure a case can be made about this not being the real New Order with Peter Hook off doing Joy Division shows without the vocalist, guitarist, drummer, but really at this stage fuck Peter Hook.

I ain't missing shit...don't sell out fast!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Late Album Review: Foster The People - Torches

This album has a weird story attached to it, its pretty hard not to have heard of these guys until now and I had heard but stubbornly I didn't listen. Not cause I was trying to be cool and saying they suck cause everyone likes them but because of how I was told about them. It was 8am on a Friday morning and I got a txt from a friend asking if I had heard the song Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People, I hadn't but it was 8am and I was planning on getting up at 9. either way I listen but really heard nothing cause I was annoyed about being woken up and essentially boycotted the band on the basis of this...until now.

When I listen to this I feel like its a safe simple sound the band is producing, it reminds me of MGMT but less experimental they aren't trying to push any boundaries with this. On one side that frustrates me that they seem to be a watered down version of them and at times Passion Pit (remember them?). On the other the simplicity of it all works as they are only trying to make a simple and fun indie pop album which they have succeeded in doing.

The album begins with Helena Beat, a nice fun track to start it off and its one of favourites on this album, the beats nice and helps with the simple dance track its built up to be. After this is Pumped Up Kicks a song I was once recommended, I've heard it a few times and I don't know why but I just don't dig it at all. The start reminds me of Gorillaz and the overall track to me is far too much of MGMT for my liking.

Another track I enjoyed was Call It What You Want which I believe is all over the radio now? anyway I do like it's just a little bit weird and isn't quite as safe as Pumped Up Kicks. The biggest mistake you can make with this album is assuming the album revolves around the sound of Pumped Up Kicks I did this to a degree but thankfully for me anyway the album really doesn't sound like it at all. The slower tracks such as I Would Do Anything For You, Miss You and Warrant are still solid in that the songs don't at all change from the overall idea the band is trying to portray.The stand outs for me are Helena Beat, Call It What You Want and Life On The Nickel, the fact they look to be a little different from some of the more safe MGMT/Passion Pit like songs does make it easier.

The album was nice, not too long either but its hard for me to get past the feeling that I've already heard this band before I had even got through half the album. Its safe indie pop with nice synth and definitely some influence from bands who have done something similar over the last few years and that is really the only problem for what is a fairly fun album.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Late Album Review: Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde

This is one of a few albums from this year that has fallen through the cracks and I never got round to listening to which is weird cause it wasn't like I didn't hear it was released. Anyway I only just got round to listening to this a day or so ago so its pretty fresh in my mind, I also don't remember reading anything about the album so I don't have any expectations on what its going to be like.

Dye It Blonde is the second album from Indie rock act Smith Westerns, their debut self titled release was a pretty solid album so I was curious to see if there was any jump in quality. The first song on the album Weekend starts with some nice fuzzy riffs and a nice upbeat tempo, once the sweet vocals of Cullen Omori come in the song is really sounding nice. The second song titled Still New is much softer, with a louder riff popping up and having its moments, without the riff the song is a little plain and boring. Back comes the fuzzy guitar sounds and the song is another cracker, the piano adds a nice touch to the overall sound.

All Die Young isw one of my favourite tracks on the album the simple indie rock piece is built around the beautiful soaring vocals throughout the track. What I love about this album the most is just it sounds like a fun album, the sounds are loud and beautiful and the band seem to really be digging what they are producing. While being fairly simple songs they change things up to avoid it all becoming samey with the fuzzy guitar riffs not being overused and the change of tempo throughout the album.

My favourite song on the album is track seven Only One the guitar sounds really nice on this track, the vocals and lyrics connect really well and the emotion Omori produces is spot on to make this really sweet. The album at 35 minutes keeps the group of 3-4 minute indie rock songs at a nice limit and they never really out stay their welcome.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Beginning of Summer and Chali 2na

Now that summer is here so is the time to bring out those albums that just scream summer album, stuff like Crazy For You by Best Coast last year. Yesterday was a perfect start to the summer and with it I spent the morning listening to fun summer albums. It started with Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

During this I even went into Rough Peel music to check out the David Dallas pop up store, now regular readers of this know I'm a fan of his music and of how hes going about it. Releasing the album for free was a smart move and this pop up store move has been smart also, its been very popular in Auckland and for one day in Wellington it worked with him being in store all day selling his merchandise.

Next album was Surfer Blood Astrocoast, it had been some time since I had last listened to it, but the first three tracks of the album (particularly Swim) really gets you into the mood for the rest of the album. Following this I listened to a couple of albums I really enjoyed from this year Toro Y Moi Underneath The Pine and Washed Outs Within and Without. Both pretty nice albums Washed Outs chill sound made it nice to enjoy in the sun.

Chali 2na

So I'm not really a fan of Chali not cause I think his music sucks but because I've never bothered to listen to it. I do dig some Jurassic 5 stuff but not nearly a big enough fan to even consider paying money to see this and the only reason I was there was the free ticket I won. Chali came out with a three piece band which was nice performing stuff off his solo albums and the crowd was definitely into it.

He did a lot of talking throughout the show first asking "who likes good music?" then "who likes hip hop?" and finally "who likes the music on the radio?" The first two questions got positive responses while the third fell to silence and lead Chali to proclaim tonight he would be his own radio station playing all the music you wanna hear. It was a nice touch but really it was annoying that he drove it down our throat the whole night about "his" radio station cause really we know it isn't an actually one.

We got some nice Jurassic 5 songs that the crowd really got into and enjoyed and Chali without a doubt looked humbled by the response he was getting at times from the crowd because they were into it from the start till well near the end. This was because he chose to give the backing band a chance to shine with solo's and it was painful to say the least. It wasn't like we didn't want to hear it but the length of the solos were so long and painful the bassist playing a bit of Come Together from The Beatles was nice and then the drummer showed himself off and I really wanted to leave. However once the keyboardist who was easily the most talented of the bunch (very nice Jackson 5 song sung by himself) started his solo it was time to leave as at about 2 hours the gig was essentially over anyway.

I enjoyed it to an extent, it was nice to see a hip hop artist play for longer than an hour but at times there was so much filler that it would've been nice to see an hour of him perform without the unnecessary stuff. It was a shame walking out knowing it was still going on and seeing the balcony was full of people, unless they got in for free also I would kind of feel disappointed by it all.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Return! 11 months of 2011

Now I've obviously been very slack over the last month so much so that I've put off returning with reviews almost every week for some stupid reason. But with the beginning of the last month of 2011 (its been a good year for music) I've decided to bring this back from the dead and try get through some of the great albums I never reviewed over the last month and even the real shit ones too. I'll also try to get through some albums that I completely forgot to check out from earlier in the year cause theres always a few that fall through the cracks.

While this is said theres still some exciting gigs to come for me this year with Explosions in the Sky being at the top of that list. Another I am interested in checking is tonight where I'll be checking out Jurassic 5 MC Chali 2na (thanks for the free ticket).

With the year coming to a close so will my list of  best albums of 2011, best songs of 2011 and worst albums of 2011. I'm hoping to be able to compile all the great moments I've had from music in 2011 and even the less than interesting ones.

So it's back and as good as a collaboration between Metallica and Lou Reed.