twenty-five albums & two novels for 2011.

I am not much of a diarist.  So far as I can tell, the two real purposes I maintain this blog are (1) to recommend music (and this is the primary reason I have come to perform maintenance on it today) and (2) to, well, maintain a sort of portfolio of writings that I have personally deemed worthy of self-publication (if you are here for the cat videos, you’ve come to the wrong place).  However, the period of time that has occurred since my last writing (where I aptly made my leaving town mixtape available), has been momentous.

At the end of June, I quit my (part-time) job and packed up and left Austin (which, as far as I can tell, is the greatest city in the history of civilization) for my hometown, and, still having yet to defeat that (library) job market, I moved in with my parents.  I was pretty much living the American dream.

In late July, I had an interview with Harris County Public Library (my third for this particular library system) at the branch library at which I (or whoever got hired) would work.  And i remember leaving that interview with the distinct feeling that that job, and that library, belonged to me, and that I belonged to them.  Three days later (barring a failed background check and/or drug screening), it was so.  I found an apartment across the street from the library in early August and started work a few days later.  It is the best job I have ever had.  And I save so much money on gas.

I was unemployed for forty-six days.  I am one of the lucky ones.

In October, my girlfriend of a year and a half returned, voluntarily, from her adventures abroad and – again, voluntarily – moved in with me – here, uprooted, in Greater Houston.  I am one of the lucky ones.  In Late November, I proposed to her.  Since then, things have been pretty much as awesome as before, just with a 10,000% increase in how frequently one or both of us is asked, “So, when’s the wedding?”, and an increasing amount of comfort using the word fiance.

Here is another reason I consider myself lucky:  I am capable of discernment.  I take particular pride in my musical discernment – that is, my ability to tell good music from not good music.  One of my Professors in library school often mentioned the quote, “Never apologize for your reading taste.”  I have ambivalent feelings about this quote.  On the one (let’s call it my right) hand, the librarian in me thinks, yeah, I mean, these people’s horrible reading taste is what keeps public libraries extant, but on the other hand (call it Lefty), the discerning part of me thinks, can’t people just read good books?  And if we shouldn’t discriminate reading taste, should we also not discriminate tastes in music and movies?  And, well, how is that even possible?

We should all be so lucky as to be discerning, and maybe we all are.  Maybe I have just discovered the primary difference between an E student and a S student.

All of that to say, I have discerned two year-end lists for your perusal, (1) twenty-five albums and (2) two novels for 2011.  Per usual, the lists are comprised of albums/novels which I listened to/read during the year – these albums/novels were not necessarily released this year.  I personally think it’s more telling.  I’m not trying to make a time capsule for 2011; I’m trying to make a time capsule for my 2011.  (Maybe I am a diarist.)

Twenty-Five Albums for 2011:

(25)

Nothing is Wrong by Dawes (2011)

(24)

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys (2011)

(23)

Disintegration by The Cure (1989)

(22)

…Endtroducing by DJ Shadow (1996)

(21)

Maximum Balloon (2010)

(20)

The Queen is Dead by The Smiths (1986)

(19)

Odyssey & Oracle by The Zombies (1968)

(18)

Gloss Drop by Battles (2011)

(17)

Nine Types of Light by TV on the Radio (2011)

(16)

Astro Coast by Surfer Blood (2010)

(15)

The King of Limbs by Radiohead (2011)

(14)

Relax by Das Racist (2011)

(13)

BiRd-BrAiNs by Tune-Yards (2009)

(12)

I Am Very Far by Okkervil River (2011)

(11)

The 1975 CBS Demo Session by Talking Heads (1975)

(10)

Cults (2011)

(9)

Unknown Mortal Orchestra (2011)

(8)

Check Your Head by Beastie Boys (1992)

(7) (FIRST TIER)

Kaputt by Destroyer (2011)

(6)

Cape Dory by Tennis (2011)

(5)

w h o k i l l by Tune-Yards (2011)

(4)

Days by Real Estate (2011)

(3)

Yuck (2011)

(2)

Elephant Eyelash by WHY? (2005)

(1)

Treats by Sleigh Bells (2010)

Treats is an album unlike anything I have ever heard before.  Listen to it.  And while you’re at it, listen to all of these.

Two Novels for 2011:

(2)

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (2010)

(1)

The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace (1987)

NOTE: I also read Infinite Jest, Consider the Lobster, and 3/4 of Oblivion.  All of them are well worth your time and patience.  But The Broom of the System, hands down, is my favorite of the four.

As always, I welcome counter-lists and -suggestions.  Thanks for your time.  Keep it real.  Et cetera.

 

P.S. Happy twentieth birthday to my brother, Anthony.

Advertisements

Twenty albums for the half-year.

(20)

I Am Very Far by Okkervil River (2011)

(19)

The Queen is Dead by The Smiths (1986)

(18)

Circuital by My Morning Jacket (2011)

(17)

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes (2011)

(16)

Disintegration by The Cure (1989)

(15)

Astro Coast by Surfer Blood (2010)

(14)

Showroom of Compassion by CAKE (2011)

(13)

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys (2011)

(12)

Nine Types of Light by TV on the Radio (2011)

(11)

Nothing is Wrong by Dawes (2011)

(10)

Cults (2011)

(9)

Dye it Blonde by Smith Westerns (2011)

(8)

The King of Limbs by Radiohead (2011)

(7)

BiRd-BrAiNs by tUnE-yArDs (2009)

(6)

w h o k i l l by tUnE-yArDs (2011)

(5)

Kaputt by Destroyer (2011)

(4)

Cape Dory by Tennis (2011)

(3)

Yuck (2011)

(2)

Elephant Eyelash by WHY? (2005)

(1)

Treats by Sleigh Bells (2010)

Six albums for April 2011, with audiovisuals

(1)

Yuck (2011)

(NOTE: This is the only album I purchased this month.  The rest I got from libraries.  [Have you heard of these things?] And it just so happens to be my favorite for the month.  Coincidence?)

(2)

Treats by Sleigh Bells (2010)

(3)

Crazy Rhythms by The Feelies (1980)

(4)

The Lady Killer by Cee-Lo Green (2010)

(5)

¡Simpatico! by Velocity Girl (1994)

(6)

Leisure by Blur (1991)

(NOTE:  Someone [I’m guessing male, Class of 1994 or so] donated these last two to the library, along with Beastie Boys’ License to Ill, among other like albums.  That’s textbook philanthropy, people.)

March Shoutout:

BiRd-BrAiNs by tUnE-yArDs (2009)

No joke, this is the music of a genius at work.

Four free albums for March 2011, with audiovisuals.

I spent exactly zero dollars on music this month.  There were a few albums that I picked up from my local libraries (I would argue that my most noteworthy overall March aquisition is The Cure’s Disintegration), and there was one that a friend of mine “exchanged” with me for CAKE’s Showroom of Compassion (Middle Brother’s self-titled debut.  It’s good.  They’re a modern day CSNY.  But if you enjoy this album, you should really just be listening to Dawes’ North Hills, Delta Spirit’s Ode to Sunshine, and Deer Tick’s War Elephant.  Those three debuts are much, much stronger, and much less road-weary, than Middle Brother.).  But really, a lot of the better albums that I acquired this month were albums that I stumbled upon while surfing the World Wide Web, and that are still out there at sea (or whatever), free to you and me and everyone.  So, here are four albums that will cost you zero (0) dollars to acquire for yourself, with links for your convenience:

(1)

MixDisc2 by White Denim

This is a mixtape that White Denim just put out.  And it’s pretty amazing.  It’s a great insight as to where White Denim is coming from musically, and, for me anyway, a great resource for discovering new music and artists.  White Denim’s official page is filled with freebies, including last year’s Last Day of Summer.

(2)

House of Balloons by The Weeknd

(3)

Freaks & Geeks EP by Childish Gambino

(4)

Radical by Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All

A good deal of Odd Future’s discography is available for free on their Tumblr account.  If you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, Odd Future is my brother’s generation’s Wu-Tang Clan.  The gf and I saw MellowHype (and Tennis, and Smith Westerns, and Yuck, and Bass Drum of Death) at the Fat Possum’s “I’m an Alcoholic and I Hate You” day party at SXSW.  It was terrifying.

Cheers, the internet, and thanks.

Seven albums for February, with audiovisuals.

(1)

Kaputt by Destroyer (2011)

(2)

The King of Limbs by Radiohead (2011)

(3)

Zonoscope by Cut Copy (2011)

(4)

Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne (2008)

Part two, with slight overlap:

(5)

Elephant Eyelash by WHY? (2005)

(6)

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by Wu-Tang Clan (1993)

(7)

Eyes of Veritas by Gilbere Forte (2011)

You can pick up the Eyes of Veritas mixtape right here.

Cheers, February 2011, and thanks.

Ten albums for January 2011, with audiovisuals:

(1)

Showroom of Compassion by CAKE (2011)

(2)

Cape Dory by Tennis (2011)

(2.5)

Dye it Blonde by Smith Westerns (2011)

(4)

Libraries by The Love Language (2010)

(5)

Marquee Moon by Television (1977)

(6)

Surfer Rosa by Pixies (1988)

(7)

Night Ripper by Girl Talk

(8)

The Monitor by Titus Andronicus (2010)

(9)

Tanganyika by Davis Levels (2010)

My cousin Steve is in Davis Levels, so maybe I’m biased, but I think their six-song debut, Tanganyika is pretty legit.  They’ve got it up for streaming at their bandcamp page, and for “purchase” at a name your price cost.  What have you got to lose, 50 MB?  Don’t you have an external hard drive?  Doesn’t your phone have thirty-two gigs of  storage?

Once again, this album can be found right here.

&

(10)

Duran Duran (1981)

Cheers, January 2011, and thanks.

With all due respect,

grawlsy.