Posts Tagged ‘Best of 2011’

The 11 best concerts of 2011 in Central Oregon

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Four things:

1) I saw a lot of live music in 2011, and below you’ll find reviews, videos and photos of my 11 favorite concerts of the year, plus links to more on each.

2) You’ll note, perhaps, that these happened at 11 different venues in Central Oregon. I thought that was cool.

3) Why 11? Because I couldn’t bear to cut any of them to get it down to 10!

4) As long as you’re here, be sure to click over to our Near/Far page and check out the rest of our coverage of 2011′s best music, including free, legal downloads of the year’s best songs!

CHAMPAGNE CHAMPAGNE
JAN. 9, OLD MILL MUSIC LOUNGE

FULL REVIEW

Champagne Champagne. Photo by Ben.


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The 50 best albums of 2011

Friday, December 16th, 2011

It’s well-documented that I’m a huge, hopeless music geek, and I love lists. So even though I spent three pages in The Bulletin’s GO! Magazine pontificating about my favorite records of 2011, I still can’t resist the urge to (A) rank them, and (B) get them all in one place online. So here we are.

Below, find my best effort at a list of my 50 favorite records of the past year, with a few words about several of them. For some, you’ll see no words where it looks like there should be words, and maybe I’ll fill those in sometime, but for now, I’m all typed out.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading. And truly: I could talk about this kind of stuff all day, and would love to hear from you in the comments!

50. Holcombe Waller, “Into the Dark Unknown” (Napoleon)
49. White Fence, “Is Growing Faith” (Woodsist)
48. Wilco, “The Whole Love” (dBpm)
47. Telekinesis, “12 Desperate Straight Lines” (Merge)
46. Chris Thile & Michael Daves, “Sleep With One Eye Open” (Nonesuch)
45. The Very Best, “Super Mom” (self-released)
44. Mogwai, “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will” (Subpop)
43. Jonny, “Jonny” (Merge)
42. Gui Boratto, “III” (Kompakt)
41. Ryan Adams, “Ashes & Fire” (Pax Am)

40. Grails, “Deep Politics” (Temporary Residence)
39. Beyonce, “4″ (Columbia)
38. The Felice Brothers, “Celebration, Florida” (Fat Possum)
37. Das Racist, “Relax” (Greedhead)
36. Jovontaes, “Things Are Different Here” (Hello Sunshine)
35. Big K.R.I.T., “Return of 4Eva” (self-released)
34. Veronica Falls, “Veronica Falls” (Slumberland)
33. Real Estate, “Days” (Domino)
32. Wooden Shjips, “West” (Thrill Jockey)
31. Givers, “In Light” (Glassnote)

30. Clams Casino, “Instrumentals” (self-released)
As underground hip-hop’s current “it” producer, Mike Volpe is the man behind the syrupy sound of Lil B, A$AP Rocky and other rappers du jour. But on this free mixtape (and his “Rainforest” EP), those guys are nowhere to be found, giving Volpe’s ambling beats and blurry samples space to unfold in slow motion and mushroom into the staticky sky.

29. Com Truise, “Galactic Melt” (Ghostly International)

28. Tim Hecker, “Ravedeath 1972″ (Kranky)
Canadian ambient adventurer Tim Hecker’s 2011 album is a sonic monument to the quickening battle between warm, organic lifeblood — music — and the cold, digital sheen that envelops it more completely every day. At first listen, “Ravedeath” is a rippling wash of synthesized noise, sometimes sublime, sometimes harsh. But beneath the studio effects lives an Icelandic church organ that swells and sighs proudly and beautifully, as if trapped under ice and fighting to breathe.

27. Apex Manor, “The Year of Magical Drinking” (Merge)

26. Serengeti, “Family & Friends” (anticon.)
Buzzy and a bit bent, Serengeti’s introspective, observational rap style and warm, poppy beats fly in the face of hip-hop conventions: They feel like a welcoming hug and a long, deep conversation.

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Near/Far 2011: The “Bonus Disc”

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

In case you missed it: Near/Far is The Bulletin’s free, legal, two-disc compilation of some of the best songs of the year. The 2011 version — all 36 tracks of it, including Fleet Foxes, Yuck, Washed Out, Other Lives, The War on Drugs, Shabazz Palaces, Larry and His Flask, Laurel Brauns, Empty Space Orchestra, Erin Cole-Baker, Anastacia and more — can be downloaded by clicking here.

We’ve been doing Near/Far annually for the past five years, and you can still grab 2007 and 2008 here and 2009 here and 2010 here. That’s 174 awesome songs … for free. Get ‘em.

But that’s not enough! Each year, there are inevitably tracks I can’t use on the official Near/Far, either because I run out of space, or I can’t get permission to use them. So I’ve put together a “bonus disc” of great songs that didn’t make it onto the 2011 comp, and by “bonus disc” I mean YouTube playlist for super easy streaming.

Click here to listen. (Please note that some tracks — and one band name — may include coarse language.)

Here are the artists in this mix: The Decemberists, Frank Ocean, Wilco, Patrick Stump, The Vaccines, Big K.R.I.T., Robin Pecknold, F–ked Up, Givers, Kendrick Lamar, Pistol Annies, Clams Casino, Wavves, Purity Ring, Purling Hiss, Archers, Peaking Lights and Jovontaes. Again, you can hear all this right here.

Also, sorry if you run into an advertisement. I tried to avoid them. Ditched Foo Fighters, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and more because of ‘em. But they’re sneaky little dudes.

What others thought of the year in music (addendum)

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

In this week’s GO! Magazine, we have four full pages dedicated to the favorite musical things — albums, concerts, instruments, whatever — of those closest to Central Oregon’s music scene in 2011.

Four full pages sounds like a lot, until you realize that I received more than 40 submissions this year in response to my annual call for everyone’s top five list.

Not only did I get a ton of lists, but they were longer and more substantive than ever before, which means two things: 1) I ended up with way more material than I could use in print. And 2) There’s a lot of great stuff in the overflow lists, which scroll on endlessly below.

So warm up your mouse finger and pan down to see what a whole bunch of local folks were into in 2011. And again, there’s more here.

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Immerse yourself in free music!

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Well hello there, music aficionado! Somehow, some way, you’ve landed at the Frequency blog and Near/Far, The Bulletin’s online hub for coverage of 2011′s best music.

Here, we’ve collected three dozen of the finest tunes of the past 12 months from both local and national acts and created a two-disc compilation of free, legal MP3s for your downloading pleasure, complete with nifty cover art. Let’s get to the good stuff:

Download “Far” by clicking here
Includes 18 songs by some of the coolest national acts of the year, including Fleet Foxes, Yuck, The War on Drugs, Shabazz Palaces, Other Lives, Washed Out, The David Mayfield Parade, Mogwai, Jeff the Brotherhood, Wooden Shjips, Serengeti, Ringo Deathstarr, Com Truise, Street Gnar and more. See the entire “Far” tracklist here.

Download “Near” by clicking here
Includes 18 songs by some of Central Oregon’s best artists, including Larry and His Flask, Laurel Brauns, Empty Space Orchestra, Erin Cole-Baker, Tuck And Roll, Anastacia, Mike Potter, Laura Curtis, Cadence, Jay Tablet, Capture the Flag, The Quons, Boxcar Stringband, Stillfear and more. See the entire “Near” tracklist here.

(Please be aware that a few of these tracks might contain some coarse language.)

Now how about some thoughts/words on music in 2011? For example:

–My 50 favorite albums of the year, including short reviews of about half of them.

–My 10 favorite local albums of the year, plus a round-up of other notable local releases here, here and here.

–My favorite concerts of the year in Central Oregon.

–The best musical moments of the year through the eyes of those closest to the scene, presented in handy Top 5 list format. Plus lots more that we didn’t have room for in print.

–My short overview of the Central Oregon music scene in 2011. (Hint: This year felt a bit unsettled to me, as if we’re in a time of transition.)

–A “bonus disc” (aka YouTube playlist) of great songs from 2011 that didn’t make it onto Near/Far.

And finally, we still have the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Near/Far compilations available for free download. That’s 138 great songs, including The Shins, Arcade Fire, Jamie Lidell, The Avett Brothers, Brendan Benson, Atmosphere, Band of Horses, Aesop Rock, Dr. Dog, Midlake, Das Racist, Superchunk and more. Just click to grab them: 2007 and 2008 / 2009 / 2010.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to send me email. I love feedback, and am always looking to improve Frequency.

The Best Songs of 2011 So Far: The Decemberists, “This Is Why We Fight”

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

As we cross over from June into July — and thus end of the first half of 2011 — I’m going to post a bunch of my favorite songs of the year so far.

To see them all, click here. And to read about my favorite albums of 2011 so far, click here.

The Best Songs of 2011 So Far: Explosions In The Sky, “Last Known Surroundings”

Monday, July 4th, 2011

As we cross over from June into July — and thus end of the first half of 2011 — I’m going to post a bunch of my favorite songs of the year so far.

To see them all, click here. And to read about my favorite albums of 2011 so far, click here.

Get it? Explosions in the sky? HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY EVERYONE!

The Best Songs of 2011 So Far: Purling Hiss, “Walking Down the Street”

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

As we near the end of June — and thus the end of the first half of 2011 — I’m going to post a bunch of my favorite songs of the year so far.

To see them all, click here. And to read about my favorite albums of 2011 so far, click here.

The Best Songs of 2011 So Far: Big K.R.I.T., “Dreamin’”

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

As we near the end of June — and thus the end of the first half of 2011 — I’m going to post a bunch of my favorite songs of the year so far.

To see them all, click here. And to read about my favorite albums of 2011 so far, click here.

The Best Songs of 2011 So Far: Adele, “Someone Like You”

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

As we near the end of June — and thus the end of the first half of 2011 — I’m going to post a bunch of my favorite songs of the year so far.

To see them all, click here. And to read about my favorite albums of 2011 so far, click here.