Sunday, December 18, 2011

Top 10 of 2011 Contenders

I've narrowed it down to these albums:

The Strokes - Angles
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
Foster the People - Torches
Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys
Bon Iver - Self Titled/Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne
Black Keys - El Camino
Bright Eyes - The People’s Key
Ryan Adams - Ashes and Fire
Laura Marling - A Creature I Don’t Know
The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
Red Hot Chili Peppers - I’m With You
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Still have to listen to Coldplay and Red Hot Chili Peppers again before I make a top 10.

What album was your #1 this year?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Album Review: The Black Keys - El Camino (2011)

First off, let me just say that the fact I’m writing an album review for something that just came out yesterday should say a lot. If you’re an avid reader, you know how late I am with these things.

The Black Keys have come back strong with El Camino. There was a lot of pressure for Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney to come back with something bigger and better than the powerhouse of 2010, Brothers, their major label debut and sixth disc of their career. And they did just that.
The album starts off with a typical Black Keys song and their debut single, “Lonely Boy”: high energy, with Auerbach’s gritty guitar and Carney’s crashing drums. Not to mention, women woes in their lyrics: “So you tore my heart out / and I don’t mind bleeding / any old time to keep me waiting, waiting, waiting...” “Lonely Boy” is a great choice for a single and a great song to start the album off. When I heard it, I thought it was so good, I feared El Camino could be one of those albums where only the single was good and the rest was kind of “eh” because they’ve put so much energy into making the debut so good - I’m looking at you Brandon Flowers’ Flamingo, Jimmy Eat World’s Chase This
, Interpol’s Our Love to Admire and anything else they’ve done after that. It’s not just the artists I’ve mentioned though, it happens to a lot of Rock acts these days, especially if it’s an album releasing after a huge hit.
They then continue on with some songs that have potential to be classics: “Dead and Gone,” “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Little Black Submarines” and “Run Right Back.” Seriously, the first half is just back to back with really amazing songs - creatively and technically. All of them I’ve just mentioned (and I feel the same way with a lot of songs by The Black Keys,) sound like something not created in this time period - it really feels like it’s the 1960’s or even 1950’s Blues. The Black Keys are so important to current music, I think, because of that - they’re doing something that’s on a completely different level than most bands out there. Popularity and being “well-liked” doesn’t influence them at all - it all comes from within them. The other band I also strongly feel that way about is Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s - very different sound from The Black Keys but they seem to have very similar views on making music and etc.

Anyway, I digress, as I often do.

Other songs to look out for include “Sister” and “Nova Baby.” I’m not sure yet since it only just came out yesterday, but I’m pretty sure this is my favorite Black Keys album yet...and I know since it’s so new, I might get flack for saying that since Brothers and Rubber Factory are the end-all, be-all of the Black Keys discography. But give it a couple listens and then get back to me. You might start to see where I’m coming from. The thing is, there are a couple of songs on Brothers where I’m like, “okay, I can listen to this once or twice and then I’m tired of it,” such as, “The Go Getter” and “Unknown Brother,” but El Camino NEVER ceases to loose it’s steam. Every track has something really interesting about it and something to get you hooked. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 22

Day 22 - A Song that You Listen to When You’re Sad

Now that I think about it, A LOT of Fiona Apple.

Also the wonderful and truly missed, Amy Winehouse.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Andrew Bird announces New Album and Tour

Pitchfork just reported that Andrew Bird has announced a new album for March 2012 titled Break It Yourself. Sounds kind of angry for Andrew Bird, no?
He's also going on tour later this month with one of his opening acts being Laura Marling...unfortunately there aren't any New York dates with her so enjoy it for me, West Coast! Check the story out HERE.Photo from

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 21

Day 21 - A Song that You Listen to When You’re Happy

Honestly, when I'm listening to music, I'm generally happy so this is kind of a loaded question (as cheesy as that sounds). So I'm just going to go with two songs that I've been listening to a lot lately...

The Black Keys "Gold on the Ceiling"

This song is amazing!! One of my favorites on the newly released today, El Camino.

The Flying Burrito Brothers "Sin City"

I've been listening to A LOT of Flying Burrito Brothers/Gram Parsons lately. I saw this documentary Lost Highway Records released: The History of American Country - here it is on YouTube - and when they talked about Gram Parsons, they basically said, "No Gram Parsons = No Ryan Adams" so obviously, I was intrigued. My boyfriend also really likes him so I knew that there was something there I would probably like. And it's very true, no Gram = no Ryan. It's such a bummer that Gram died so young because he would have been probably still making great music.

Friday, December 2, 2011

What did I just watch?

Check out The Killers' new single, "Cowboys Christmas Ball." Yeah, you read it right. I still can't believe they actually released this and thought "This will totally sell! No one's gonna think we're loony tunes, they'll think we're geniuses!" I have news for you, Brandon Flowers, it's the former. And P.S., I think he's had a little work done since last time I've seen him...

Watch the video here on Stereogum. (And thanks to my friend Melissa for bringing it to my attention!)

A lot of news about The Black Keys!

I am so excited for El Camino. The album comes out next Tuesday and from what I've heard, it's pretty amazing. It seems like they definitely haven't let their fans down.
Listen to five new songs here on their website and check out their tour dates! I know I'll have to go see them. Photo Courtesy of