Best of 2011: (Some of the things on this list might have been created earlier than 2011, but being that I live in my own little shmience bubble, 2011 is when their existence became known to me.)
Best websites of 2011:
Jukesy.com – Jukesy.com is a website that pubs itself as a mash-up
between last.fm and youtube. The user searches for a band, an album, or a song, and Jukesy combs through the two websites and pulls up all relevant material. You can then create a playlist from the material it pulls up. If you’re like me and you use youtube to listen to songs, this is a great application because you don’t have to constantly go back and forth between windows, pulling up new songs, letting them load, and then hitting play. It’s especially great for when you’re going to a concert and you’re not really familiar with the band – you can just search them in Jukesy, hit play all, and you’ve got a ready-made playlist.
Drinkify.org – Drinkify.org is a super fun website that tells you what to drink when listening to specific bands. Here are some of my
“The Gogol Bordello”
– 4oz. Akvavit
– 4oz. Lemon juice
– 8oz. Ogogoro
(Oh jah totally drinkify – I’ll just go ahead and pull out my stash of Ogogoro.)
“The Beats Antique”
– 1 bottle gin
(I just like that everyone else is measured in ounces but apparently when listening to Beats Antique you’re going to need an entire bottle of gin)
“The Jukebox the Ghost”
(That right there is true hipster status)
The pure power of this website is impressive – I have yet to stump it in terms of finding an artist they don’t know.
Best songs of 2011:
Block After Block by Matt and Kim – It’s hard not to love something created by two people as happy as Matt and Kim. Their enthusiasm for their music, their fans, and life in general is palpable. The music video just seems so appropriate because in my mind wherever Matt and Kim are present is going to be an automatic impromptu dance party.’
Sexy and I know it by LMFAO – this song just cracks me up. Every time. I’m hoping that someday I will be cool enough that I can honestly say, “This is how I roll – animal print pants outta control.” In the meantime as I wait for that to happen, I’m just going to do the wiggle constantly.
Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes – Something about this lyric “I was raised up believing, I was somehow unique, like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes unique in each way you can see, and now after some thinking I’d say I’d rather be, a functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me” speaks to me and my 20-something-ness angst of figuring out what I’m doing with my life. I also have to give mad props to Fleet Foxes for deciding that they were going to bring hymnal music into style.
Limit Break by Deadmau5 – I never loved Deadmau5, but after seeing all his rabid fans at Lollapalooza, I had to begrudgingly give my respect – anyone who can inspire enough confidence in their fan base such that their fans are actually willing to sit down, make themselves homemade dead mouse heads and then wear them in 100 degree weather while being surrounded by thousands of moshing fans is pretty darn impressive. And this song is just so so danceable.
Bizness by Tune-Yards – This song remains my favorite from Tune-Yards simply because it was the very first one I heard from her, and I’m still amazed that a human being can produce those noises.
Best concert of 2011:
I had to restrict myself to just one because otherwise I was going to go on and on and on. It was a difficult decision – I went to more concerts in 2011 than I have been to in all the other years of my life combined – but I have to say that the Hideout’s 15th birthday celebration with Mavis Staples and Andrew Bird was my favorite concert of 2011. I had been dying to see Chicago native Andrew Bird play since I moved to the city a year and a half ago. Unfortunately/fortunately, the other Chicago native headliner of the night, Mavis Staples, completely stole the show from Andrew Bird. The 72 year old legendary gospel singer (a genre I had never even really bothered to think about) spent a full hour at this outdoor festival just wailing out in her gorgeous husky voice an unexpected mix of songs ranging from Down in Mississippi to the Grateful Dead’s Friend of the Devil. She was obviously a favorite of the uber cool Hideout too, because they built her her very own Pepto-Bismol pink throne on the stage. She remains the only artist I have ever seen who effortlessly incorporated banter with the crowd into her songs, as she was singing them. The combination of Mavis Staples and the mind boggling 20 foot mesh whale that “swam” through the crowd while Andrew Bird sang, making whale noises in time to the music, cemented this concert’s status in my mind as best of the year.
So with that, goodbye to 2011 the year of “why not?” and hello to 2012 the year of “no shame!”