Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Best of 2010 Tracks Part 2

Best of 2010 Tracks Part 2

Vampire Weekend "Giving up the Gun"

Perhaps no indie rock artist hit it bigger in 2010 than Vampire Weekend, with the exception of maybe Arcade Fire.  But when I first listened to Vampire Weekend's 2010 release "Contra" I was quite honestly disappointed by what I heard.  Their self titled debut was immediately catchy and infectious, like a modern day beach boys.  As the year went on however Contra kept growing on me, and it became apparent that Vampire Weekend had evolved.  The songs were great from the first listen, they just weren't initially what I had wanted to hear.  The addition of electronic bleeps, drum machines, and dance music style stop and start beats in certain tracks took some getting used to, and were a huge leap from their previous music.  But at it's core the songs, especially Giving up the Gun, are still very true to the sound Vampire Weekend has developed.  In 2010 they were nominated for a Grammy, annoyed the hell out of us with their song Holiday in the Honda commercials this past Nov/Dec, and even had a video featuring Jake Gyllenhaal (which youtube won't let me link to here for some reason, but worth hunting down).

Rogue Wave "Solitary Gun"

Rogue Wave has been making great music for years and is easily one of the most unappreciated bands out there.  They took a huge artistic leap forward on Permalight, and if you give it a chance, it's a very rewarding experience.  All around a fantastic record.

Aidan Knight - "Jasper"

Canadian Aidan Knight's first release "Versicolour" is 8 tracks of pure folky goodness.  The track "Jasper" is certainly one of the standouts, and is available for free on his website. The whole album can also be purchased on a name your own price basis, which you gotta love.  If you like the Weakerthans, Fleet Foxes, or anything modern folk, you'll love Aidan Knight.

She & Him: "I Can Hear Music"

She & Him first came together a few years back after Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward got together on a song for the soundtrack for the movie "The Go Getter".  While no one knows what the hell the movie is even about, it really doesn't matter, because it brought Zooey and Matt together.  This song was released as a B-Side to their album "Volume 2" this past year, and had to be obtained via the "in the sun" single released in February.  I can hear music, originally penned by the beach boys, is a great song, but after hearing the She & Him version, it becomes apparent that it is superior in every single way.  This song also gets bonus points for being played at our wedding - (Thanks Ben).

James and Robert Mercer - "Spanish Harlem Incident"

As I get further in to this list I am starting to notice a trend towards cover songs.  Like all songs written by Bob Dylan, Spanish Harlem Incident is brilliantly written, and better sung by someone else.  This is where James Mercer comes in (Shins, Broken Bells front man).  This track was available on the annual "Love Songs" album released on Valentines day of each year at Starbucks and it looks like 2010 was the last year, so be sure to hunt the 2010 version down while you still can.

Have anything that you feel needs to be on the list?  Stay tuned for the next 5.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Best of 2010 Tracks Part 1.

Best of 2010 Tracks Part 1.

For quite some time now I have been wanting to start a blog focusing mainly on music, DIY projects, food, and all other things awesome. Seeing that the primary focus will be music, I thought a good place to start (albeit a little bit late seeing that it is April) would be to go through some of my favorite tracks of 2010. Starting today, in no particular order, here are 5 of my favorites. Stay Tuned for the next 5...

Spoon - "Who Makes Your Money"

Spending my college years in Austin, the hometown of Spoon, it wasn't hard to stumble upon these guys.  You could hear them playing everywhere from the radio, to the bars, to local shops.  Where their previous couple of albums prior to this (GA GA GA GA GA & Gimme Fiction) were radio ready indie pop, the band returns to a seemingly less accessible, but every bit as catchy of a sound similar to their Kill the Moonlight tracks.  Who Makes Your Money for me was the stand out Track on the Transference record.

Avi Buffalo - "What's it In For"

I have always hated it when music critics refuse to compare the sound of one band to another.  For me there is nothing better than a conversation starting with someone saying if you like "insert awesome band here" than you will love "insert new band here.  In a year where we didn't get a release from the Shins, Avi Buffalo was the next best thing.  Taking LSD before watching the below video optional.

Kids of 88 - "Everbody Knows"

I really can't remember where I first heard these guys, but I do know that they are from New Zealand and that they are catchy as all hell.  Think Black Kids and MGMT.

The Morning Benders - "Excuses"

I absolutely love that everything from the 50's era is becoming cool again.  From mid century modern furniture, to graphic design to music.  Bands like camera obscura, vampire weekend, and now the morning benders are bringing back that retro sound that is every bit as relevant today as it was 60 years ago.  You might also recognizes the below track from a recent Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial.

My Morning Jacket "All the Best"

Jim James of My Morning Jacket has arguably one of the most unique voices right now in rock music.  Seeing that MMJ seamlessly blurs the line between many genre's (folk, rock, indie, country) they were a perfect fit to cover and breathe new life in to the song "All the Best".  The track is the standout amongst several other gems on the Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows compilation of John Prine Cover Songs that came out the past year.  Others worth checking out would be the Avett Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, and Conor Oberst Tracks.