I made a new trailer for my brand new YouTube One channel! This 1 min trailer autoplays for all non-subscribers (heathens) on my main channel page.
My new website is now live! Here’s an introduction with yours truly as the tour guide. The new LV has more of my personal side in it, and it has more writing involved as well. But there’s still that zaniness seen in the past, so do check it out along with all my new videos (Extreme Rules recap, SotC review, ….um, this video).
So, since my new website is still TBA, I decided to do a quick little “Best of 2011” feature here on Tumblr. I often remember years by the things I’ve listened to, played or saw; i.e. the things I lived vicariously through for better or for worse. In layman’s terms, my personal favorite music, games and movies. Without further adieu…
2011 - BEST OF MUSIC
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: The Dear Hunter - “The Color Spectrum”
It’s amazing what a blind buy can do. I bought Act III by The Dear Hunter several years ago but didn’t think much of it. I liked it, but it didn’t blow me away. After hearing about Casey’s proposed idea for The Color Spectrum - a set of EPs set to the mood of a color - I was intrigued, but not exactly interested. I noticed it came out one day and bought the compilation at Best Buy. Several months later I downloaded the full version. Then I bought the clear LP at Park Ave Cds in Florida. Then for Christmas I was given the full version on CD. I wish I was able to nab the 9LP colored vinyl set when it was available, because it’s a glaring omission in my collection. Perhaps one day…
Anyway, this album is amazing. If you like good hooks, wonderful songwriting with equally wonderful lyrics, do yourself a favor and get this album. Even if it’s just the compilation and not the full 36-song thing - it’s one of the most varied and replayable albums I’ve ever listened to. It has elements of pop rock, classic rock, prog rock, electronica, big band, folky acoustic, blues, drum/bass and other genres I’m probably forgetting. It’s accessible, varied, thoughtful and at times extremely catchy music infused with different moods categorized by a color. There’s something for everyone on The Color Spectrum.
How about the runners-up in the music category?
- Steven Wilson - “Grace for Drowning” *close runner-up*
- Hiromi - “Voice”
- Tides From Nebula - “Earthshine”
- Explosions in the Sky - “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care”
- Opeth - “Heritage”
- Bon Iver - “Bon Iver”
- Mastodon - “The Hunter”
- Hotel of the Laughing Tree - “Terror and Everything After”
- Blackfield - “Welcome to my DNA”
If it wasn’t for The Color Spectrum, Steven Wilson’s latest opus “Grace for Drowning” would’ve taken the top spot. Grace is one of the best records he’s ever done. It’s an emotional roller coaster of an album that has its sensitive side but isn’t afraid to show its teeth, as seen in the 23-minute progressive masterpiece, “Raider II”. I really recommend anyone who likes beautiful soulful music to check out “Postcard”, at least.
And as for the others? They’re all good in their own ways. Hiromi is one of the most technically sound experimental jazz pianists out there. “Voice” only solidifies her amazing ability. Bon Iver’s newest record after the classic “For Emma Forever Ago” changes the sound a bit to more textural scapes rather than primarily isolated acoustics. Opeth get in touch with a completely death metal and growl free 70s prog throwback record in “Heritage”. It’s split the fanbase up, but I really enjoyed all the new instruments and sounds it had. They’re masterful musicians. And if you’re into instrumental rock, check out both Explosions and Tides’ new albums and prepare for ride.
My only disappointment this year was Dredg’s new album. It came out on my birthday and it really upset me that they’ve seemingly gone in the wrong direction. I’ve been of the opinion that they get worse with every album (El Cielo’s their masterwork and is the exception) so I don’t know what to expect out of these guys next time around. But, it had some okay chill songs I suppose.
2011 was a great year for true music. In 2012, I’m looking forward to Porcupine Tree’s 11th, Anathema’s new one, Storm Corrosion, possibly Tool (finally?), and several others I know I’m forgetting!