Illustration by Marc Wagner
It's been a busy few months around here (with the refreshing of the show and whatnot), but like all things good, to those who wait ... well, good things have a way of coming about. The last time we connected, I was busy compiling all of my favorite tracks and albums of 2011. And while 2012 has been very fruitful so far, before I can get on picking and sharing said fruits, I thought I should do a little garden weeding.
See, it's hard to keep up with all of the new releases and sometimes good albums fall between the cracks or get brushed aside for a more shiny album cover. Below the jump you'll find 20 gems from 2011 that 1. I hadn't heard until 2012 or 2. I'd set on my wood pile to be chopped at a later date. I hope you find a couple you like. Heck, I hope you enjoy them all. And as always, let us know in the comments what tunes have your toe tapping. Or at least tell us what type of music is helping your plants grow faster.
- The Music Director
Blind Pilot - "We Are The Tide"
The strange thing about We Are The Tide is that I thought it was coming out in 2012, so imagine my surprise when, a week before I saw Blind Pilot open for The Shins, I realized that they released this album in September, 2011. Oops.
Caroline Smith & The Goodnight Sleeps - "Tanktop"
This song comes straight from the Flowerman himself as it's been featured on Tour before. The tragedy is that he was provided with false information, so until recently, Caroline Smith's jam has been masquerading around the Garden as Mates of State - "Plaomino".
Caveman - "My Time"
Fun fact: Not only is this song not performed by a real caveman, but it's performed by more than one man. Shouldn't they at least go by "Cavemen"?
Destroyer - "Chinatown"
In a massive case of judging a book by its cover, I've avoided Destroyer in the past. I thought, "Destroyer? I don't have time for metal right now." Well, I couldn't have been more wrong about the genre. In fact, founder Dan Bejar is a member of New Pornographers - I guess he just likes to throw people for a loop with his band's names.
Diego Garcia - "You Were Never There"
Back in 2005 I picked up an album called Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid by a New York City band called Elefant. I liked it. This spring, I thought to myself, "I wonder what happened to Elefant?" So I didn't a little Google search. It turns out that their lead singer, Diego Garcia, had just released his first solo record. I liked it.
Fly Golden Eagle - "Psyche's Dagger"
I don't have much to say about this song other than it's a joy to listen to and it has a vocal breakdown that everyone secretly craves in the bridge of a song.
Gotye - "State of the Art"
By now, most everyone has heard of Gotye since he blasted on the American scene with his geometrically sound music video for "Somebody That I Used To Know" featuring Kimbra. In case you didn't know, he's written more than one song. I know, right?! Here's a love song to a machine. Seriously.
Ha Ha Tonka - "Usual Suspects"
Back in my concerts coordinator days at SDSU, I booked a band called Amsterband to play our Welcome Back Bash. By the time they showed up in the fall, they changed their name to Ha Ha Tonka and that's about it. They still had their great American Ozarks sound.
M83 - "Midnight City"
Of any album on this list, this album bugs me the most. Only because it would have made my top albums of 2011 had I not been so stubborn in putting off listening to it. Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is a two-disc masterpiece, according to me.
Middle Brother - "Middle Brother"
This is my idea of a super group. Middle Brother is John J. McCauley III of Deer Tick, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit. That's all I have to say about that.
The War On Drugs - "Come to the City"
Here's a band that has nothing to do with Nancy Reagan, but everything to do with a guy who sounds a lot like Kurt Vile. Probably because Kurt Vile used to be in this band. But who influenced whom? We'll never know.
Wye Oak - "Civilian"
At first, I thought this song was sad, so I didn't listen to the whole album. I still think this song sounds sad, but I approve the album. I need to trust bands from Balti-MORE.