Its been a week since we dropped our best of list and I have to say that the songs are sitting pretty well with me so far. Sure, there were some tough calls but I never really understood the value of putting out a top 50 or even 100 songs of the year. What exactly is the value in that? As the adage goes, when you prioritize everything, you actually prioritize nothing…
That said, Brandon and I were sitting around the table last week trying to figure out just how many bands we had seen since January when the topic of best shows came up. Interesting question and it got us thinking that a post might be in order. Unfortunately, we don’t have video for every one of our top shows either because we simply haven’t uploaded it yet (LAZY) or….well, someone (*cough*cough*me) was singing too loud during the show and absolutely ruined the video. Ok, but for the record that was one show out of hundreds so I really don’t feel too bad.
Here are my top 5 shows of 2012 in no particular order;
Papa – (opening for Milo Greene @ the Rhythm Room)
We have seen Papa four times over the last year and something outrageous like six shows over the last year and a half. Suffice to say, we love Darren and Danny. That they happen to be completely down to earth, approachable, and funny only makes their music that much better. Not surprisingly, they also put on an incredible show as you can see for yourself. (I still get chills watching this video)
Tennis – @ the Crescent Ballroom
Tennis is another band that we have seen multiple times this year and loved every show. While we would have liked to throw “Origins” up for our dear friend Caylee (truce accepted. =), this is the one we had uploaded so enjoy. (bonus: you can hear Brandon singing his falsetto in the background at the start of the video)
Nurses – (supporting Stephen Malkmus @ the Crescent Ballroom)
At the first Nurses show we hit in 2011, they played with Dominate Legs and like 11 people showed up. Kinda sums up Phoenix’s indie scene – definitely growing but still has a ways to go. Growing pains aside, Nurses are an incredible band and Dracula was probably the most under-appreciated album of 2011. Come back soon guys.
Hi Ho Silver Oh – (house show @ the flowerhouse)
Ok, the video sucks and the sound certainly doesn’t do them justice but I’m telling you that Hi Ho Silver Oh is one great damn band. Besides being our first house show ever, this one has sentimental value because Roxy, Kevin, Jon, and Casey have become such great friends over the last year. Yep, another group of great people who I could sit around and chat with for hours without ever touching on music. Like Papa, I want nothing but good things for Casey and the boys because 1) they are super down-to-earth people and 2) they write great songs. They are based in L.A. so if you happen to be able to catch them live, do so. (i’m including their video for I confessor below to offset the crappy video above)
TIE – Twin Shadow @ FYF Festival in L.A. (video is from the Crescent Ballroom show two days later in Phoenix)
TIE – The Cults @ the Rhythm Room
This is cheating but it would be hard to leave out the FYF festival or the Cults from this year’s list. The FYF fest because of the sheer number of great acts that we saw, which included Father John Misty, Twin Shadow, The Chromatics, Yeasayer, Papa, Beirut, Purity Ring, Future Islands, and Tanlines just to name a few. The Cults because, well…they are the Cults and the Rhythm Room is smaller than your typical walk-in closet. Yes, it was dark as hell for the Cults and the FYF fest was awfully hot but it certainly didn’t take away from the sets any.
Honorable Mention: TV Girl’s private skype show for Brandon on his birthday, Friends, Wilco.
I also have to give a big shout out to Stateside Presents and the Crescent Ballroom for consistently bringing great indie acts to Arizona. The folks that we know at both these organizations, from Ernie and the doormen to the great barstaff to our dear friend Corrina, have been nothing but wonderful to us. Thanks for another great year of shows and here’s to 2013.
What were your favorite sets of 2012?
I came across this graph by the fine folks at theworldsbestever.com and thought I would repost it here for anyone who might have missed it.
The graph itself shows the geographic concentrations for each of the artists constituting Pitchfork’s top songs for 2011. (for the record, I’m not clear if it’s the artist’s home location or current location) Take a look.
It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that New York is sitting at the top of this graph with around 27 songs in Pitchfork’s “best of” list but can we get some love for the Westsideeee? The West Coast had 4 out of the top 8 listings with both of my hometowns (Seattle and the Ya Area respectively) represented. Also, check out lil’ Eau Claire (WI) coming in above Portland, Austin, Chicago and Madison. Good for you.
What does this all mean? Well, if your interested in becoming the next Pitchfork “It” band, don’t move to Halifax. (you and Southern Shores are going to have to scrap otherwise) Also, this should solidify yet another year with New York and Los Angeles at the top of the Greyhound enabled, teenager runaway capitals of the US list.
Ok, so I don’t know if there is actually a list for teen runaway destinations but maybe Fodor’s or Lonely Planet could track this for their magazines? Who wouldn’t read articles titled This year’s top teen runaway destinations for 2012 or The ultimate runaway bucket list for 2012??? Sold.
As Alex mentioned earlier, 2k11 was yet another solid year for music. It seems we’ve witnessed the plunge of indie-wave into the mainstream spotlight as bands like M83, Phantogram, Youth Lagoon, and Neon Indian are now more accessible to a larger audience than ever before. Really the only downsides to this year were the horrific Grammy nominations (5-time Grammy nominee Skrillex……………….?), and that torture of a song ‘Pumped up Kicks’ by Foster the People.
Regardless, I’ve compiled a list of songs from 2011 that resonate with me as we move onto the new year. Eliminating songs for me is risky business, and I dislike when I have to pick and choose because I’m totally an ‘in the mood’ listener. Thus, my list shuffles from chillwave to guitar-based jams to melancholy songs fit for your ‘sleep’ playlist. My hope is that you take these at face value. Enjoy!
Real Estate – “Green Aisles”
Gardens and Villa – “Orange Blossoms”
TV Girl – “Baby You Were There”
Cults – “Bumper”
Youth Lagoon – “17″
Class Actress – “Weekend”
Toro y Moi – “Still Sound”
Ducktails – “Hamilton Road”
Phantogram – “Don’t Move”
Friends – “Friend Crush”
Nurses – “Trying to Reach You”
The Donkeys – “I Like The Way You Walk”
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “How Can You Luv Me?”
Rostam – “Wood”
Cass McCombs – “County Line”
Brandon’s top 5: TV Girl – Baby You Were There, Real Estate – Green Aisles, Friends – Friend Crush, Nurses – Trying to Reach You, Phantogram – Don’t Move
Alex’s top 5: SBTRKT – Wildfire, Washed Out – Amor Fati, White Denim – Street Joy, Nurses – Fever Dreams, Mr. Little Jeans – Suburbs (Arcade Fire Cover)
Honorable Mention: Gauntlet Hair – Top Bunk
Brandon and I just finished up the best of show for 2011 and we couldn’t be happier with the songs that made the cut. The actual podcast will be up shortly for download but here is the list.
Brandon’s Top 5
TV Girl – Baby You Were There
Real Estate – Green Aisles
Friends – Friend Crush
Nurses – Trying to Reach You
Phantogram – Don’t Move
Alex’s Top 5
SBTRKT – Wildfire
Washed Out – Amor Fati
White Denim – Street Joy
Nurses – Fever Dreams
Mr. Little Jeans – Suburbs (Arcade Fire Cover)
Gauntlet Hair – Top Bunk
Disagree? Post your comments below and tell us what you think.