Saturday, December 10, 2011

Earth Minutes

The first time I heard Pete Swanson's masterful I Don't Rock At All, I knew there would be nothing I loved more this year . The
restraint, focus, and harmonic labyrinths of this record are simply infinite and stand alone. Gang Gang Dance made the album of their lives with Eye Contact: an album so large, so far-reaching, and shamelessly, masterfully perfect. If Glass Jar doesn't make you fall to all kinds of pieces, I don't know what will.

There were so many similarly perfect releases this year, it was actually a struggle to even narrow my favorites down to a mere fifty. Emeralds continued their world-do
mination tour with absolutely fine releases from Steve Hauschildt, Mark McGuire, and through John Elliott's Mego-offshoot label, Spectrum Spools. Oneohtrix Point Never as the new pop music. James Ferraro in Koyaanisqatsi-style hi-fi. Laurel Halo's expansion and feminization of the Artificial Intelligence series. Julia Holter, ancient and modern. The year of Kurt Vile.. the greatest songwriter in the world. Thurston Moore unplugged and goodbye Mirror/Dash. Hype Williams and KWJAZ outta nowhere and like nothing else. Rustie.. Rustie.

Puro Instict's Dreamboat Annie: flawless. Panda Bear stretching great, gigantic, oceanic melodies out as far as they can go- once inside there's no way out. PJ Harvey deservedly winning a second Mercury
Prize for her strangest, yet strangely most uplifting record yet. St. Vincent as Eric Rohmer. Charlotte, always perfect. Seefeel and Radiohead continuing to develop and refine just what a band can sound like. Kate Bush being Kate Bush like no one else can. Bridget Hadyen's secret din. Maria Minerva's triple-threat. Clams Casino's ecstatic and dreamy ambient hip-hop.

Meg Baird's stunning, life-affirming, and meditational Seasons On Earth. Seriously, that voice.. Charlambides: still, always. The Caretaker's ragtime-Disintegration Loops sonatas. Elisa Ambrogio and Ben Chasny's celestial West Hartford parking lot love songs. The Magik Markers it's not. Group Doueh's electric desert blues. Wind In Willows: out-of-space and out-of-time. Balam Acab's cherub/mermaid lullabies.

The one thing all of these records have in common is feeling. Real feelings, genuine and pure. Here is a list of my favorites of the year, all of which have inspired me in more ways than I know how to say thank you for.

50 Favorite Records, 2011

I Don't Rock At All - Pete Swanson - Three Lobed
Eye Contact - Gang Gang Dance - 4AD
3. 50 Words For Snow - Kate Bush - Fish People
4. Smoke Ring For My Halo - Kurt Vile - Matador
5. Tomboy - Panda Bear - Paw Tracks
6. Glass Swords - Rustie - Warp
7. Hour Logic - Laurel Halo - Hippos In Tanks
8. One Nation - Hype Williams - Hippos In Tanks
9. Headbangers In Ecstasy - Puro Instinct - Mexican Summer
10. Tragedy - Julia Holter - Leaving Records
11. Tragedy & Geometry - Steve Hauschildt - Kranky
12. The Vision - Joker - 4AD
13. Far Side Virtual - James Ferraro - Hippos In Tanks
14. Seasons On Earth - Meg Baird - Drag City
15. Stage Whisper - Charlotte Gainsbourg - Because Music
16. 200 Years - 200 Years - Drag City
17. KWJAZ - KWJAZ - Not Not Fun
18. Wander/Wonder - Balam Acab - Tri Angle
19. Instrumentals - Clams Casino - Type
20. Satin Panthers - Hudson Mohawke - Warp
21. Demolished Thoughts - Thurston Moore - Matador
22. Let England Shake - PJ Harvey - Vagrant
23. Nothing - Zomby - 4AD
24. Shadows - Floating Points - Eglo
25. Seefeel - Seefeel - Warp
26. Replica - Oneohtrix Point Never - Software
27. The King Of Limbs - Radiohead - Ticker Tape Ltd
28. Severant - Kuedo - Planet Mu
29. An Empty Bliss Beyond This World - The Caretaker - History Always Favours The Winners
30. Looping State Of Mind - The Field - Kompakt
31. Not From Here - Innercity - Ginjoha
32. Overall Aura - Wind In Willows - 6'th Planet
33. Street Halo - Burial - Hyperdub
34. As The Crow Flies - The Advisory Circle - Ghost Box
35. 936 - Peaking Lights - Not Not Fun
36. Hertta Lussu Ässä - Hertta Lussu Ässä - De Stijl
37. In Dust - Roll The Dice - Leaf
38. Noble Savage - Maria Minerva - 100% Silk
39. Terra - Julian Lynch - Underwater Peoples
40. Sagara - Diskjokke - Smalltown Supersound
41. Original Colors - High Places - Thrill Jockey
42. Zayna Jumma - Group Doueh - Sublime Frequencies
43. FRKWYS Vol 8 - Blues Control & Laraaji - Rvng Intl
44. Mind Controls The Flood - No UFO's - Public Information
45. A Siren Blares In An Indifferent Ocean - Bridget Hayden - (K-RAA-K)³
46. Exile - Charalambides - Kranky
47. Get Lost - Mark McGuire - Editions Mego
48. Cinderella Stamps - Ashtray Navigations - Memoirs Of An Aesthete
49. Elemental Disgrace - Hive Mind - Spectrum Spools
50. The Spectacle Of Light Abductions - Fourth World Magazine - Pacific City Sound Visions

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