2010: My Albums of the Year

Castevet and Into It. Over It. (really just one dude-bro with mad skillz) released, what might be, my favorite split of the year. Both are amazing and worth checking out.

As the year winds down, I thought I’d share my favorite albums of the year. You’ll probably be disappointed by my exclusion of a lot of stuff, but my year was mostly spent reading books/articles on ridiculously specific topics, like Guatemalan Mayans, acculturation, and immigrants’ eating habits. I, apparently, didn’t have a second to spare for Kanye’s new album which still sits in my long “New Music” queue. Also, also, also, I liked the Arcade Fire’s new album for a total of about 5 minutes. I think it was during the first time I heard “Ready to Start”. Also, there are things I’m almost certain none of you will even believe I like or would put on this list, but what can you do? Nothing.

My list might not be as inclusive as many as y’all’s might be. I’m obviously no music journalist. I’m pretty much writing as a fan boi. Be gentle with me. Anyway, all of these things, I feel, are pretty established if we know each other personally. Ramblllllle.

Some that almost made the list were Beach House, The National, Ben Folds’ project with Nick Hornby, and Bob Nanna’s project Certain People I Know. I loved the EP, but will anything ever come out of it? Snowing‘s new album JUST came out. I’m sorta undecided (You should listen to that link regardless because they’re fucking amazing). Anyway. Here we go.

RVIVR – S/T – I’m really bad at explaining what music sounds like or what I liked about music without sounding like a complete moron. Despite this impediment, I’ll say that RVIVR is the punk band I always wanted to be in. They’re gritty, strong, and have a great sense of melody and arrangement. The musician’s personalities shine through their music. It’s something that a lot of people can’t pull off. This isn’t the reason you should listen to RVIVR. It’s just a good reason to root for them. You’ll find yourself singing these songs to and from work.

Circa Survive Blue Sky Noise – This was probably the most surprising album of 2010 for me. I was expecting a giant pile of shit to be completely honest. On Letting Go was nothing in comparison to Juturna, which is one of my favorite albums ever, and I thought the trend would continue. But, something happened. Something beautiful happened. This album seems to have put Circa back on track, and I’m loving it.

Das RacistShut Up, Dude – All I gotta say is, if you sample Billy Joel we can be besties.

Grown Ups More Songs – Probably one of my favorite bands in recent memory. 2010 was the year Grown Ups released their first LP after the promising Songs EP. Although being substantially more polished and missing some of the quirkiness from the EP, the album is a great example of what a great punk band is in 2010.

CastevetThe Echo & Light – The first I ever heard of Castevet was last year after the release of Summer Fences. Their first album was good effort, but it missed something. It missed a sort of cohesion that I feel they gained in The Echo & Light. Maybe it’s because Echo & the Light attacks more that we can hear how tight Castevet’s musicianship really is. I was really impressed.

Joie De VivreThe North End – I’m pretty sure Joie De Vivre got me through my Summer semester. It’s emo at its best. That’s definitely not a bad thing… well, maybe to some of you. They gingerly step through beautifully crafted soundscapes crafted through intricately layered arrangements. It’s really great schtuff, and awesome to read to.

The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza Danza III: A Series of Unfortunate Events – A silly band with serious musicians, Danza is just fucking brutal. I can’t stress how much I love brutal shit. The more ridiculously bone-crushing and absurdly heavy, the better. Danza is out of control in concert and in the studio. You just have to listen to it.

Shapes Stars Make These Mountains Are Safe – Every time I show someone this band, they immediately mention Explosions in the Sky. I think it’s really unfair. These guys actually make an effort to make their music interesting. It shows too. Their second album is a fantastic study aid. :)

Dillinger Escape PlanOption Paralysis – After I saw Dillinger for the first time this year, I should have just gotten a shirt that said “I saw Dillinger Escape Plan, and then I fucking died.” The musicianship is just incomparable. Calculating Infinity will always be one of my favorite albums of all time, but this Dillinger Escape effort doesn’t disappoint in the slightest.

Alright, well, I hope you guys check some of this stuff out and enjoy all of it! :D Yes, even Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza. I would love to write more about what happened this year in music, but there just isn’t enough time.

Happy Holidays,

dago

Music Post # Whatever

La Dispute kill it on their new split with Touche Amore. :)

I haven’t posted anything concerning what I’ve been listening to since like June-ish.  So consider this a music post.

I was inspired to write this post by a band named RVIVR.  They’ve got this sound I just want to put in my pocket and carry around with me to show people.  I want to say, “Here. This is so fucking good.”  They are comprised of the remnants of Latterman and Shorebirds.  I never listened to either one very much, but I am going to make sure I do very soon. Anyway, here it is:

I’ve also been listening to Evan Weiss’s (formerly The Progress and Up Up Down Down) solo project Into It. Over It.  He just did a split with one of my favorite new bands Castevet.  52 Weeks, supposedly written in 52 weeks, is a wonderful collection that mixes tender love songs and rockin’ broken-heart anthems.  Here’s some stuff from the Castevet/Into It. Over It. 7″ split.

In anticipation of FunFunFun Fest, which will feature a reunited Cap’n Jazz, I’ve been familiarizing myself with the far reaches of the Cap’n Jazz tree.  I’ve decided Make Believe is probably my favorite descendant of the CJ tree outside of Promise Ring and Joan of Arc. Anyway, personally, I think this is Tim Kinsella at his best. :)

Been listening to a lot of Bill Evans, as well.  I finally got my own copy of Waltz for Debby. I was convinced stores were pricing it way too high for an unpopular album from the 70s.

Some notable releases, Tallest Man on Earth released a pretty good LP this summer.  A brutal note, Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza’s new album is fucking phenomenal.  Darby and I got our hands on the new Pack of Wolves album, and we’re going to go see them this month.  I’m so stoked.

It seems like I will only go to a show if it’s metal/brutal/legitasfuck.  I ended up going with my friend Allison to see the Toadies.  The bands that opened up were great, especially Girl In a Coma and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, but Toadies completely sucked it up. I have decided that I will never see another 90s band live again–with the exception of Cap’n Jazz in Nov.  90s bands are currently in this transitional phase where they’ve convinced themselves that their music is still relevant and want to push their “new” music agenda at their concerts.  Eventually, they’ll find that people go to their shows to hear them perform the songs and tracks that made them amazing.  It’s not that their new music may be bad, but that’s not why people showed up to Dia de Los Toadies.  They wanted to hear stuff from Rubberneck and Hell Below, Stars Above.  Popular bands from the 90s, like groups from the 70s and 80s have found out, will have to choose their craft and artistic integrity for dollar figures.  I don’t know which one I would pick.

-dago