by DJ Ones on Dec.31, 2011, under Daytime
It’s that time of the year again, and as we say farewell to 2011 and greet 2012 many of us here at WKNC reflected on what the best albums of the year were. Much like the previous two years I sent out a request to the Daytime staff to see what their favorite albums of 2011 were, and below are their top five individual favorites.
1. Sarah Jarosz- Follow Me Down
2. Chris Thile & Michael Daves- Sleep With One Eye Open
3. Bombadil- All the Rain Promises
4. The Decemberists- The King Is Dead
5. Mandolin Orange- Haste Make, Hard Hearted Stranger
1. Wye Oak- Civilian
2. The Dodos- No Color
3. St. Vincent- Strange Mercy
4. Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues
5. James Blake- James Blake
What are your favorite albums of the year? Comment below.
Walking up to Cat’s Cradle, I went to the front door like always…but I was redirected around to the side of the building. After waiting 40 minutes after the doors were supposed to open, the crowd was let in. What I walked into was not the Cat’s Cradle I was expecting: everything was gone. I was standing in a massive open space, with only the soundboard sitting between the stage and bar. At first it felt like the building was remodeled after an outside festival stage. To be honest, I was unsure what to think.
After the initial shock upon walking in, I found a spot and waited for the first band, Papa, to start. As the band began their short set, I realized that the design of the venue was not the only thing that had been revamped; the sound that came through the monitors was clear. Really clear. After some bad concert experiences, I have trained myself not to expect too much from the sound system at Cat’s Cradle, so it is an understatement to say I was pleasantly surprised to hear each instrument loud and clear!
Papa has a characteristically 50′s sound they share, to some extent, with both Nobunny and Girls. The reverb-y Jaguar, complimented by bouncy piano chords and rolling drum patterns, has become something of a staple in indie music recently. Each member of the band played well and the singing was solid, but there was something missing from the equation. The melodies often sounded a little forced and overly poppy; the crowd seemed to enjoy their set though, so it may just be me. I see a lot of potential in Papa, especially if they work on writing songs that don’t confine so strictly to pop’s barriers.
After Papa had finished and packed up their equipment, Nobunny began to set up their instruments along the front of the stage. I learned beforehand that their show was a little intense, but I was still surprised when the lead singer walked out wearing only a dilapidated bunny mask, half of a jacket, a metal-studded leather belt-vest, and briefs (something like this). Yep, no pants. He put on his guitar and proceeded to go absolutely insane. I’m talking about yelping lyrics that may or may not have any meaning at all, while strumming hard enough to induce an aneurysm. The band excited a large part of the crowd standing towards the front of the stage, but as I looked behind my spot somewhere in the middle, I saw a lot of faces that weren’t buying into the whole spectacle of it all. I guess you were either really into the act or not.
As soon as Girls stepped onto the stage, the crowd gave them a serious amount of applause; I was pretty startled by how loud the cheering was. They started off their set by playing a bunch of songs from Album, their 2009 release. Chris Owens was friendly, talking about how he was trying to change up their setlist for each show on the tour.
Coming in with a few upbeat songs from the Broken Dreams Club EP, the sound started to really hit me…and once they came in with Vomit, the single from their new album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, I freaked out. After the fourth-or-so verse, the band went into an intense, abstract noise jam, one of my favorite concert moments of the year so far.
After a few more cuts from the new album, the band left the stage to a stream of cheers for an encore. There was an even a chant: “GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!” that went on for a while.
The band came out for another amazing five or six songs; Chris said they played every song they knew. This included a loud rendition of my favorite Girls’ track, Morning Light. Towards the end of the encore, there was even a disclaimer from Chris to local media: he did not want to see a review stating that the set fell apart at the end, as they were playing an unrehearsed version of another new album track, Just a Song. I can honestly say that the hour and forty-five minute (!) set did not fall apart, nor did it drag on as some long sets do. I could tell the band was having a lot of fun, which made it great for the audience as well.
By the end of the show, the newly deconstructed Cat’s Cradle didn’t feel weird anymore. I can’t wait to go to another show there!
Debut ‘Album’ not redefinition of rock
Album – Girls
True Panther Sounds
By DJ Goof
San Francisco’s Girls combines the dreamy, surf-rock of the Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys with modern day lo-fi indie pop. The band’s debut album, titled “Album,” consists of relatively simply arranged songs that are quick to grow on you. The album paints a portrait of the young, free-spirited allure of San Francisco with lyrics touching on love, longing and drug addictions. Band member JR White’s production on the album creates an expanding departed atmosphere that is pulled back to earth by lead singer Christopher Owens’ direct lyrics. Owens’ lyrics roughly touch on his sad, incredible childhood.
Owens was born a follower of the Children of God cult. He spent most of his adolescent years alongside his mother and the cult drifting around foreign countries where he was exposed to prostitution while shielded from the outside world. Among an assortment of other rules, the children were only allowed to listen to music that was accepted by the cult’s elders. He was given his first guitar by Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer, also a member of the cult, and performed songs on the streets to raise money. At the age of 16, Owens saved up enough to flee his situation and move to Austin, Texas where he fell in with its post-punk music scene. Eventually, he found himself in San Francisco where he met White and Girls was born.
The album opens with “Lust for Life.” Here, bee-bop background vocals lay the foundation for Owens’ playful delivery of “I wish I had a father / Maybe then I would have turned out right.” This leads into “Laura,” an upbeat pop song that eventually opens up into a spacey jam of lead guitar and ambient vocal effects.
“Hellhole Ratrace” is a slow, genuine tune about pushing forward. Owens sings, “I don’t want to cry my whole life through / I want to do some dancing too / So come on and dance with me.” As the song progresses, distorted guitars and high pitch synthesizers rumble in as a backdrop but Owens’ tone remains cool and casual. The slight tension between the two keeps the song in focus for its near seven-minute length.
“Summertime” is another one of the gems that make up “Album.” Here, JR’s production offers layering effects that continually transform the song’s otherwise simple arrangement.
“Album” is not a redefinition of rock by any means. Instead, it is a perfectly packaged collection of familiar sounds and sincere themes that is sure to squeeze its way into a few top 10 lists before the year’s end.
Brian Corum, front- man for everyone’s favorite Lonnie Walker, has graciously given us his top song list this week.
“I couldn’t put any kind of order to this list so these are just 10 of my favorite jams right now,” Corum writes.
2. Girls – Lust for Life
“This song is ridiculously catchy and the first line is a guy singing, ‘oh I wish I had a boyfriend’ which I’ve caught myself singing out loud before and in turn have gotten some strange looks from people.”
3. Fleetwood Mac – Not that Funny
“It’s got this weird tone that comes in and out of the mix and I really like the snarl in Buckingham’s vocal delivery.”
4. The Rentals – Sweetness and Tenderness
“I hadn’t really listened to the Rentals much since high school, but I played the album Return of the Rentals the other day while driving and was over-flooded with sweet memories.”
5. Americans in France - Nose Job
“I really like the snotty nose brat aesthetic that this band does so well — and they are local. I got the album Pretzelvania, and I think it’s great. We’re playing together on Sept. 5 at Tir Na Nog too, along with a new band called AntiBubbles. I’m real excited about this show!”
6. Gillian Welch – By the Mark
“The best song about Jesus Christ, ever. So pure, and her voice. I love her voice.”
7. Talking Heads- Animals
“Super paranoia — this song is pretty strange even for the Talking Heads. It’s filled with a bunch of jagged rants about how the animals are laughing at the human condition.”
8. Angelo Badalamenti – The Straight Story Soundtrack
“The Straight Story is one of my favorite David Lynch films. It’s tame compared to a lot of his stuff, but you can still tell Lynch made it. The score fits so great, too.”
9. Magnetic Fields – Kiss Me Like You Mean It
“The line, ‘come here baby and kiss me like you mean it,’ sounds like it should be an old Humphrey Bogart quote.”
10. Cluster – Zum Wohl
“The album Sowiesoso was playing at Schoolkids one day while I was looking around and I ended up buying it instead of everything else. It’s a super warm sounding electronic album, great to work to, and I thank Brad for talking me into buying it.”