10.) Beach Fossils @ SXSW
With seeing over sixty live performances, it's hard to stand out as the clear favorite of such a large music festival. I caught Beach Fossils twice and left stunned both times. Having seen Beach Fossils several times before SXSW, I was blown away by how much they had grown as a live band and taken their calm, driving guitar songs and transformed them into an unforgettable live experience.
09.) Mountain Goats "All Eternals Deck" Vinyl Release
The most beautiful and clever vinyl release goes to The Mountain Goats who not only had sleek packaging with a gorgeous inner sleeve to hold the thick 180 gram pressing, the release was layered with limited blue (120) and clear (880) editions scattered throughout the release (some are still out there!). Fans who pre-ordered the record received a limited hand made cassette with demos from the record. Arguably one of the best Mountain Goats records in their close to twenty year career was honored properly with a stunning vinyl release.
08.) Dave Berman's Blog
Nobody took the news of the Silver Jews breaking up harder than Hank and I here at WLFY, but Berman took to blogging to fill in the void. Filled with poetry, videos, essays, and interesting stories...Menthol Mounatins is a wonderful and educating daily read from one of the great musical minds of our time.
07.) Paper Crane Collective
I'm a little biased here, because I'm one of the 27 (and counting) music bloggers that makes up the Paper Crane Collective. With regularly scheduled sections by each blogger, the content concerning music pumped out by this talented collective will not be found anywhere else on the internet. Check It Out.
06.) Van Dyke Parks Does Daytrotter
I'm still not sure how Daytrotter wrangled Parks to do a session, but it's welcomed with opened arms. This is the equivilent of having Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen do a Take Away Show...it's unimaginable. No need to imagine, it's real.
05.) Tom Vek Returns
After releasing his indie rock masterpiece "We Have Sound" in 2005, Vek disappeared without any explanation. Just as quickly as he left, he reemerged with a new album announcement and impressive new track/music video that signals Vek wasn't ever gone, he was just reloading his talent. With the announcement, Vek's album shot up the WLFY list of anticipated records of 2011.
04.) Matthew Friedberger 'Solos" Project
The most ambitious and fun creation for music fans of 2011 comes in the form of eight, yes eight, solo albums from Fiery Furnaces mastermind Matthew Friedberger. It's a gift that keeps on giving as a new vinyl is shipped every two months. The first two records showcased Friedberger only using the piano on the first and the guitar on the second. Limited to 700 copies (already sold out) this is quickly becoming the gem of my vinyl collection and every two months I wait impatiently for the mailman to deliver unexplored sound.
03.) The Deloreans "American Craze"
Our favorite discovery of 2011 comes from Louisville's The Deloreans. It fits right in with this new hip trend of looking to the early 60's pop vocals as inspiration, but does so better than the rest. It's the bands understanding of the time period and roots in studying classical music that makes their compositions complex, fun, and catchy. I highly recommend ordering "American Craze" on vinyl, along with their super limited 7" "Buffalo" (150 copies on pink vinyl). Bands like The Deloreans are why Hank and I run this blog, to constantly find new bands that surprise us in the best ways possible.
02.) Radiohead "Codex"
In the whirlwind of debate surrounding the new Radiohead record, the track "Codex" slipped past silently. Only being released for a few months, "Codex" has already jumped into my top five Radiohead tracks of all time. The breathtaking emotion and visual aspects of this song remind why Radiohead became such an important band in the first place. Press play and let Thom take you into another world.
While Tympanogram is not a blog that was created in 2011, they really hit their stride and found a strong voice this year. The site features three to four posts a day, each one concerning a specific band and MP3. This is not just a run of the mill music blog posting mp3's for hits, each post delivers high quality writing and deep thought behind why they are featuring a specific artist. Featuring music ranging all genres, there is something on the site for everyone. For those looking for something more than just right click download, Tympanogram offers a quick way to get your music and an education on each band/artist/track. In our opinion it's a daily must read.