2011 was an interesting year in my life. My twenty fourth round trip around the sun saw its fair share of twists and turns, ups and down. The one constant was music. It was a year of my life fully saturated in sound, and that made it arguably the best 365 days I can remember. Struggling to find a first post for the new year, I figure I may as well stick to the theme of reflection that accompanies the first few days of any new year. So, rather than focus on specific albums, tracks, or what not, I’ve decided my first post for 2012 will be a rundown of my favorite music related things or subjects.
Local Music from a friend who found his identity and own sound by stepping away from the safe collaborative confines of a band and embarking on his own project. I am proud of this guy and excited by the prospects the future holds for him.
9. Pretty Lights Music
I attribute my initial interest in electronic music to Daft Punk, but I have to credit Derek Vincent Smith with removing my prejudice against electronic music. I’ve been able to watch his Pretty Lights project grow exponentially over the last 12 months. New Years Eve in Denver was a rager, and I am intrigued at what is to come with a record label that continues to grow and add talented artists.
8. Mayer Hawthorne
I cannot thank the friend who made me listen to Mayer Hawthorne enough. I needed the exposure to the love and romance that overflows from the Michigan native’s soul. Simply put, Mayer Hawthorne reminded me it is more than okay to form an emotional attachment to music and hype it even if it is not groundbreaking, overly complex, or weird. He may have put an end to some of my pretentious proclivities.
7. Three Nights of Phish in Denver
As the resident Phish Phan here at the Fridge, I am constantly keeping an eye out for tour dates from these veterans of the road. Initially, the list of Summer dates was terribly disappointing for my schedule. No stop at Deer Creek. A midwest run through Michigan and Ohio at a time that was not conducive for me to make a trip back home. Fortunately, the band announced a three night run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park over Labor Day weekend to close out their summer tour. Three epic nights of solid song selection and buttery melodic jams. These three nights scratched a live music itch in a way no other act can touch, resulting in me writing damn near 6,000 words.
6. Hip Hop
We saw some pretty awesome hip hop released this past year. Odd Future, Shabazz Palaces, Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, and A$AP Rocky amongst others. More impressive or overwhelming was the number of free mixtapes that flooded the internet last year. Good things loom on the horizon for hip hop. Below are a couple of my favorite free mixtapes from last year you may have missed.
Blu | No York
Flash Bang Grenada | 10 Haters
BLKHRTS | BLK S BTFL
5. The Fridge
Shameless self-promotion? Perhaps. I couldn’t deny our modest site a shout out. Despite being an editor and having a personal interest in this little venture. The Fridge was not my idea, and I have to extend a gracious thank you to fellow editor Brock Jones for getting me involved. 2011 would not have been the year it was without the Fridge. I would not have attended nearly as many shows, nor constantly been digging for new tunes.
4. The Interwebs
The impact of the internet on music can never be overstated. It provides us with an infinite resource for finding new music. It has pushed the music industry to reexamine the status quo in order to continue to survive and thrive. Any force that pressure an institution, such as the music industry, to avoid succumbing to complacency is a force I welcome.
I would also like to give a shout out to one specific site, You’ll Soon Know, for providing me with a constant stream of new, under the radar tunes that often found their way into weekly Free Music Fridays.
I celebrate the two year anniversary of my move west in the coming months. The prospect of relocating to the Rockies had me initially excited to get away from Indiana to a music hub like Denver. Yet, I could never have dreamed how much more music would enter my life and how much more important it would become simply from moving out here. I thought my love for Bluegrass would expand greatly being here, but so much more music spanning every genre has entered my life fostering a love for all sound. Red Rocks, Boulder Theater, the Fox Theater, the 1st Bank Center, Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, the Ogden, the Fillmore, the Summit, and with so many other fantastic venues there is always great live music to be heard.
It took me a minute or two to grow fond of the off-kilter head nodding beats of Flying Lotus, yet once I did it was game over. I found my new favorite artist. Naturally, I began exploring releases from his Brainfeeder imprint. Honestly, I have not encountered a bad release from the label, and some of the best music I have been exposed to recently has been released by Brainfeeder. Thundercat, Teebs, Lorn, Samiyam, MatthewDavid, and so many more I wish I had the space to name. The sky is the limit for Brainfeeder and the list of artists with releases on the label is expanding to include artists outside the so-called LA beat scene.
Moving into a house with multiple turntables may have had the greatest impact on the amount of music I listened to in 2011 outside of the genesis of the Fridge. Vinyl spurred be start dropping dollars on music again by giving me a tangible piece of media. My affinity for vinyl probably stems from the same sentiment making me prefer books to e-readers. I need something real to feel in my hands, and there is something in collecting and digging for vinyl that I just cannot find in purchasing CDs.