By Mike Turner
Well, it’s that time of year again. The time where lazy editors get even lazier writers to crank out lists of boring old same old same old repeats of what the writer has already gone over. Imagine my surprise when I was told I better turn one of these lists in or find another place to write for. I can’t afford to lose my big chunk of change I get for each one of these effortless pieces of brilliance that you are being graced with that seem to get knocked out rather quickly when the electric or cable bill is coming due. So with all that set up above, get ready for what might have been the most boring and what should have been exciting moments of 2011.
1. Wild Flag’s debut album has taken women all the way to the top and proves they can write an album as uninspired, predictable, and shallow as any man. I almost wonder why they didn’t credit the boyfriend who wrote these songs in the first place, at least then all the cock-rocking guitar machismo would make sense. These indie-rock veterans could learn a lot from the scrappy bay area duo Bam! Bam! who should have been everywhere you look already.
2. Wilco farted out a new album in 2011 which I think you got for free when you bought a pair of khaki dockers. Still puzzles me why people buy this warmed-over three times Eagles garbage. The press spent a lot of time going on about Wilco not because the album is any good, but more on the fact they are still around. Meanwhile Rose Melberg started a new band Brave Irene to not much notice which is kinda sad because her album is short and to the point, and if memory serves me right she’s been doing this even longer than Wilco.
3. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart which already have a name that makes me sick to begin with released the most tepid, lukewarm yet aiming for the stars but shooting themselves in the foot, pop record you’ll hear all year. Super-slick production that wipes clean every bit of the bite and fuzz out of the guitars leaving it more like nibble and fizz. Lyrics straight from the hipster greeting card section of a Target store. They should have used as much noise as possible to bury the 8th grade prose even deeper in the mix. I’m talking lyrics that make Noel Gallagher seem like Morrissey here, people. Meanwhile in Gainesville Florida the band Rex Or Regina have created a demo that has my ears still ringing as loud as when I saw them play live in October.
4. Chillwave is sticking around like a bad haircut. Hard to believe in these times folks want to hear music with no feeling, emotion or humor. The whole scene seems to be music made by pretty people without any substance, well I guess that isn’t new. However I did have the pleasure to discover a new synth duo in Athens under the name Roberta & Charlene. There might not be messages in their music either, but who else is writing songs about glamor and being a working gal? I hope my dream of coming up with guitar parts for their songs will one day come true. Since this scene’s heavy hitters like Toro Y Moi and Washed Out are from the south comparing them to Roberta & Charlene is like comparing a can of Lipton Iced Tea from a vending machine to a real mint julip.
5. Along with Chillwave the other big hit of 2011 was Bon Iver. How the recycled music of the unholy trinity of Christopher Cross, Chris DeBurgh and Chris Rea has become so hip only tells me that the end of days are truly near. The fourth and final sign will be when that very special asshole (more than likely living somewhere like Toronto or Vancouver because it’s time for Canada to have another breakout band already) figures out the perfect formula of nostalgia, goofiness, hairdo, and just-don’t-give-a-fuck of Huey Lewis & The News’ Fore, and sets into motion the destruction of all life as we know it. Thanks Canada. Until then you can take notice of yet another band Katie Crutchfield came up with to pass the time post-PS Eliot and Bad Banana which shows there is a future for music outside of the Arthur soundtrack.
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