Top 10 Disappointments of 2012

In 2012 I was not impressed with these ten things. 10. Beach House: I’m going to blame myself on this one. It took me a long time to get into Beach House’s last album, Teen Dream. A really long time. So when Bloom hit my ears and it sounded like rejected B-sides from their last recording, I was crushed. A lot of my friends like … Continue reading Top 10 Disappointments of 2012

Who To See At Lollapalooza 2012

Well we’re just a week away from another Lollapalooza festival coming to town here in Chicago. It can be a dizzying time for first-timers and veterans alike. Being the hottest summer in the city’s history certainly isn’t going to help matters. To help guide you along your way, I’ve put together a custom schedule to make sure you don’t miss any great sets that you may have otherwise. Obviously your tastes may not mesh with mine (for example if you’re really into the “untz,” you probably don’t want to check out some of what I’m offering up here. The schedule I made goes all the way from opening on Friday until the closing moments of Sunday night. If you like what I have here, please do check these bands out. If not, have a good time regardless. Be safe, don’t drink so much beer that you forget where/who you are.

FRIDAY

The opening day has the least amount of overlap, which means you should be able to see everyone you want without missing anything. I’ve never understood people who just camp out in the front of one stage so that they have good seats for whoever the headliner is (guess what, for half the price of a one-day pass you probably could have bought a ticket to see whoever it is and not have to sit outside for 9 hours to get a good seat).

12:00-12:45 First Aid Kit-These Swedish sisters do folk music about as well as anyone else right now. I’ve seen their live set, and it’s fantastic.

1:30-2:15 Yellow Ostrich-I know a lot of people are gonna say “Whoa whoa whoa! Michael Kiwanuka is playing during this slot.” That’s true. If you’re really into him, I suppose you could go check it out. For me, he’s the kind of guy that I see in an intimate venue, not outside at a festival. Yellow Ostrich, on the other hand, plays great music for a fest. They toured with Okkervil River for a while last year, if that gives you an idea of what they’re like.

2:15-3:15 Dr. Dog-I’ve been unapologetic in my enjoyment of Dr. Dog. Some people consider them to be kind of lazy because they tend to play a lot of similar sounding stuff. That may be true, but it’s good stuff. And, I think they made some leaps forward on their newest record Be The Void.

4:00-5:00 Metric-I’ve had a real change of heart since Metric’s new record Synthetica came out. I’ve never seen them live, but I hear good things. They’ve been a group for a long time now, so I have no doubt that they have a tight stage show.

5:15-6:15 The Head And The Heart-Everybody’s favorite indie folk band from the northwest. I must admit I’m a little torn here because Passion Pit starts at 6:00 all the way across the park, and that show could go down as one of the biggest trainwrecks in history.

6:15-7:30 The Shins-As much as I didn’t like the latest offering from James Mercer and company, I do still enjoy the first three records The Shins released, and for that alone I recommend seeing The Shins over Dawes.

7:30-8:30 M83-There isn’t really anything else going on at this hour, and it seems like they put on a pretty exciting set from the videos I’ve seen.

That leaves a closing set by The Black Keys. Honestly I would probably just take off early so I could hit one of the after shows. Friday night means Frank Ocean at Metro among other great acts.

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10 Bands To Watch In 2012 Mid-Year Report

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Back in the first week of January I put up a list of some bands I thought you should keep your eye on for breakouts this year. Some of them were educated guesses, others hopes, and quite a few longshots. Now we’re about halfway through the year, and many of these bands have already delivered some good stuff. Not all of them, mind you, but a good amount. Let’s go over some of them in the order in which I originally listed them.

1. Dastardly-I put them at the top of the list for a couple reasons, chief among them being that I know they have the talent to be something special. At the beginning of the year they released an EP called Bury Me In The Country which featured “Brief Thoughts On Death,” one of my favorite songs of the year so far. In August they’re releasing another EP, Ballads In Blue. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear it already, and it is completely different from what I expected. I tried to describe it a few days ago, and I don’t think I made much sense. Basically I think it sounds like Rodgers & Hammerstein filtered through David Lynch…if that tells you anything.

2. Bhi Bhiman-The biggest success on the list by a large margin. When Bhiman, Bhi’s second album, came out it was met with great reviews by The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, NPR, and Paste among others. I called it the second he opened his mouth last year at SxSw that he was gonna make it. So far this year he’s opened for Josh Ritter, John Prine, Martin Sexton, Joe Pug, and Rosie Thomas and played headlining gigs at some well-known venues around the country. Next week he stops in Chicago for the fourth time since January.

3. Adam Arcuragi-Also garnering much critical acclaim was Like a fire that consumes all before it…Adam Arcuragi’s latest album that came at the end of January. This was my introduction to his style, which he refers to as “Death Gospel.” He toured the US in support of the album, then headed over to Europe for a streak of dates. He also put out a great Daytrotter session back in May that you can check out.

4. Sons Of An Illustrious Father-In 2011 they delivered the album of the year, One Body. They took a bit of a break for a while and now they’ve headed out on their first big tour. They’re hitting Chicago on July 20th with The Canoes and The Buddies, so I’m eagerly awaiting that. They are down a member, as Sofia Albam left to play with her new band Thorn & Shout.


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Top 25 Tracks Of 2012 (so far)

Last week I posted my top 25 albums released so far this year. This week I’m once again foregoing my regularly posted Revolving Top Ten and providing you with my Top 25 Tracks so far. You’ll probably notice quite a bit of overlap between albums and songs. That’s to be expected. If it’s a top 25 album, chances are there is at least one top … Continue reading Top 25 Tracks Of 2012 (so far)

Top 25 Albums Of The First Half Of 2012

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It appears that everyone and their sister is putting up a mid-point top 25 list already, so I figured what the heck. I’ve heard 25 albums this year, maybe I should make a list. Fortunately I’ve been keeping a weekly top ten on the site every week since February, so I don’t have to think about my top ten at all. There have been a lot of albums that have come close to making the list, or been on and fell off shortly after. This is their time to shine, as they are all still very much worth your time. Not quite all of these have been reviewed on the site-I honestly don’t have time to post about every record I listen to, but I get close. For the most part these are names are ones you’ll recognize from previous posts. If not, you need to start doing some listening. Links to reviews will be provided.

25. MetricSynthetica

24. Hoots & HellmouthSalt

23. SharksNo Gods

22. Of MontrealParalytic Stalks

21. IslandsA Sleep & A Forgetting

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