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:
Nothing is Wrong by Dawes (2011)
Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys (2011)
Disintegration by The Cure (1989)
…Endtroducing by DJ Shadow (1996)
Maximum Balloon (2010)
The Queen is Dead by The Smiths (1986)
Odyssey & Oracle by The Zombies (1968)
Gloss Drop by Battles (2011)
Nine Types of Light by TV on the Radio (2011)
Astro Coast by Surfer Blood (2010)
The King of Limbs by Radiohead (2011)
Relax by Das Racist (2011)
BiRd-BrAiNs by Tune-Yards (2009)
I Am Very Far by Okkervil River (2011)
The 1975 CBS Demo Session by Talking Heads (1975)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra (2011)
Check Your Head by Beastie Boys (1992)
(7) (FIRST TIER)
Kaputt by Destroyer (2011)
Cape Dory by Tennis (2011)
w h o k i l l by Tune-Yards (2011)
Days by Real Estate (2011)
Elephant Eyelash by WHY? (2005)
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:
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (2010)
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.