A few months ago Bums Logic’s own Todd Levinson Frank converted ownership of a wide collection of albums from various recording artists to me. My first confession: despite the fact that TLF had passed the music onto me months ago, it was only recently that I loaded the music on my iPod. While most people are quick to add new music to their libraries, for some reason it took me a few months to get around to it. On a side note, this is something that TLF knows about me all too well, as he once suggested a list of people to follow on twitter that I still have yet to ‘follow’ but I digress.
I added this image in the hopes that you would read it and thus taking up at least five seconds of your time. Thanks for reading.
The list of artists in the collection that Todd provided is rather expansive and that stands as one of the reasons that I delayed the full addition to my music library. My point: if I were to add all of them at once, it is unlikely that any of the artists would be given the undivided attention that they deserve. Bands pour so much time and effort into their recordings and giving their work only a simple cursory listen is nearly equal to a slap in the face. Think about it. Suppose you spent time on a project of any particular discipline wouldn’t you be a bit put off if everyone simply provided it a perfunctory amount of their attention? I know I would.
I can imagine that many of you are thinking, ‘Wow, that is some confession. I hope you feel better after alleviating such a huge burden.’ Well as I stated earlier, that was my first confession. You see there is more.
It’s always so tough to pick only 10 records.
Let’s start our look back on a great year in new music with a list of the Top 10 Albums of 2011 that we actually wrote reviews for here on Bums Logic. This crop of reviews represents some of the core material published as we launched this new site in 2011 and we thank you all for listening and reading along.
Next week we’ll add another dozen or so favorites from this year that we didn’t write about…. and then maybe think of an excuse to add others, or combine them into one master list and rank them in order. Or not.
So here’s our Top 10 Albums (That We Reviewed) From 2011, in no particular order, and all with links to our original reviews:
Tom Waits – Bad As Me
Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Here We Rest
Wilco – The Whole Love
Mastodon – The Hunter
Stephen Marley – Revelation Pt.1: Root of Life
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Pt.2
G. Love – Fixin’ To Die
Sonic Youth – Simon Werner a Disparu
The new Bon Iver record just doesn’t sound like anything else. Nowadays it seems that’s the last frontier: unique originality. There’s only so many notes. You’re not going to think of anything that Miles Davis or Leonard Bernstein didn’t already come up with. Everything else is Beatlesque or ripping off the Stones (who were rip-off artists).
So while it used to be good enough to just sound like something that was already considered great and successful, at some point being completely new and “indescribable” was the new benchmark. It wasn’t enough to combine genres, the best artists could defy them.
It probably started with invention of hip-hop and rap music in the late 70’s and it’s subsequent explosion in the 80’s. Sure, they literally and physically combined genres, but it didn’t sound like anything else ever. Later, Radiohead came along. Their earliest work was guitar-drums driven, but they morphed into something from the future. Something indescribable. You might make the case that more recent critics darlings My Morning Jacket have that “dude you just gotta hear ’em” factor that would put them in this category.
Interestingly, both Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James have something else in common: they like to do a lot of their work in falsetto, their high vocals often serving as either an attraction for fans or a deal-breaker for the listeners that just don’t like it.
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