Ask me in six months what I missed from 2011 and I may be able to give you a decent sized list. As of today though? I am still pretty clueless. It usually takes me awhile to fully comprehend the breadth of what I am missing out on, though its always a safe bet to assume “a lot.” So here’s what I can think of so far that I missed, or perhaps experienced, but never really got around to posting about:
1. The Roots: Undun
This is mostly because the Roots released their eleventh studio album so close to the end of the year. By the time the “best of lists” were going up I had only listened through it maybe a handful of times. In retrospect though, I think “The OtherSide” would definitely have made my list of top singles. And as a whole, Undun would have at least topped my own (mental) list of the year’s top hip hop releases.
This one is still sinking in for me. Luckily Will did a great job of posting about it already so I don’t feel bad for missing it when it came out. Not too long ago I turned the lights out, laid on my bed, and listened to Ravedeath in its entirety. And I have to say that I was intrigued by Hecker’s masterful ambient noise orchestrations. I look forward to spending more time with it next year. Pretty disappointed I missed Hecker’s show at the Southern Theater this year though.
3. Jon Fahey: Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You: The Fonotone Years (1958–1965)
You can’t really accuse of missing this the first time around, being that I wasn’t alive during Fahey’s Fonotone recording years. I am guilty, however, of taking awhile to getting around to listening to this year’s collected and reissued boxset. And though I love what I have heard so far, I have only just scratched the surface of the massive five album collection. I have a feeling I will be listening to this one well into 2012 and beyond.
4. Case Studies: The World is just a Shape to Fill the Night
Despite every inclination I have that tells me I should think otherwise, I just keep getting more and more into Jesse Lortz’s folk project Case Studies. Case Studies perform stripped down folk ballads that often involve Lortz’s woebegone vocals accompanied by the sweetly pretty female harmonies. It’s the oldest trick in the book but in this case it always gets me right in the gut. And while I did post a song from it awhile back, I would like to reiterate that I think The World is just a Shape to Fill the Night is worth a listen. Case Studies – The Eagle, or the Serpent by sacredbones
5. Wizards Are Real
Finally caught up with this new local band a week or so ago and I was pretty blown away. Pedal steel, bass, sax, and drums have never sounded this good together before. Do yourself a favor and check out these guys soon.
I am still kind of coming to terms with this record but it is growing on me and quickly. In an age where “rap” seems to mean a bunch of fluffy pap (see: Drake) its refreshing to hear a record as gritty and dark as this one.