Sunday, December 30, 2012

Good Stuff 2012

So here it is, the obligatory "year in review".  I don't have the typical "best of" list for you or any of that crap.  Instead, I thought I'd recap the live shows that we saw this year (since those are always highlights) and then tell you some of the stuff I loved the most this year.  That's it, short and sweet.  Well, probably more sweet than short, I've never been known for my brevity.

We saw four live shows this year.  I know that's not very many for a lot of people, but for me it was a huge increase.  Hopefully 2013 has even more shows in store for us!  (We already have tickets to see Matchbox Twenty in February, so that's a good start)  In February we saw Matt Nathanson at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, KY.  Rachel Platten opened for him and it was a great show (as always).  It was far and away my favorite show of the year because we met Aaron Tap after the show.  I was totally star struck and probably didn't say anything intelligent to him, but he was very friendly nonetheless and it was totally cool to be in his presence.  Maybe someday I'll run into him again and be able to string more than 2 words together in a row, that would be cool. 

In June my sister and I sold merch for the aforementioned Rachel Platten when she came back and played Headliners as a headliner.  Madi Diaz opened for her and they really put on a great show.  So good in fact that our next show was a week later when we went to see Madi open for Harper Blynn at zBar in Louisville.  She is so great that we just went to see her. We both had to work the next day so we only stayed for one song of Harper Blynn's set. 

Our final show of the year was Dr. Dog at Marathon Music Works in Nashville.  The openers for this one shall remain nameless to protect the sucky, but I cannot say enough about Dr. Dog live.  They are absolutely amazing and I loved every second of it.  Which leads me one of my great loves of 2012 - Dr. Dog.  If you're not familiar with this band, I suggest you get that way.  I have 4 of their albums so far and I have yet to hear them make a sound I don't love. 

I've also been very into Paula Kelley's work this year.  I can't get enough of her vocals and all of her arrangements are genius.  Every time I listen to anything by her I hear something new and wonderful in it.  And it's not only the music, her lyrics are so intelligent and crafty - seriously, what's not to love about this woman?  On a related note, I've also been totally obsessed with Betty Goo (which, admittedly makes me kind of sad since they're not active anymore).  Betty Goo was fronted by the multi-talented Aaron Tap and they are just awesome.  I love the quirkiness of them and I love that it feels like 90's rock (which it is) but with so much more soul and brains.

I've also come to really love Simon and Garfunkel this year.   Yes, I'm aware that I'm about 40 years late to that party, but better late than never, right?  They are just so amazing, there is a reason their music has stood the test of time.  Another band wagon I'm a little late to is Carbon Leaf.  Their music is so good, so heartfelt, and they seem like such nice guys.  I highly recommend you give them a listen.

A measurable amount of 2012 was spent in record stores.  I've been collecting vinyl this year and there are few things I like more than leisurely browsing through racks of old vinyl.  Our local record store (Joe's Records) is my favorite in the area, but it was blown out of the water when I visited Grimey's in Nashville, TN.  However, Joe's is 10 minutes from my house and Grimey's is 3 1/2 hours away, so I'm pretty sure Joe's will get the majority of my business. 

Finally, my absolute favorite musical thing of 2012 is Ryan Schmidt's White Horse - EP.  It was released January 10, 2012 (the day before my birthday, coincidentally) and I've been listening to it all year.  I just love it.  It's raw and emotional and stripped down - just wonderful.  I get the feeling that we're not going to get another record from Ryan that sounds like this one and that's okay.  I'm just glad to have this one.  I like that so far all of his records sound different, you can hear him feeling his way around and finding his voice.  It's such a fun journey to listen to.

Here's a few more artists who's work I've loved in 2012 that you shouldn't miss:
- The New Complainers
- Jesse Macht
- Boy Wonder
- The Black Keys
- Violent Femmes
- Plants and Animals
- Rooftop Suicide Club (this one may be tough to find, but totally worth it if you can get it)

Okay guys, that's it for me for 2012.  This year had a little bit of everything - some fun, some hard times, some great music, some total crap, some awesome experiences and some low-key peaceful days.  Overall it's been a totally decent year.  I hope 2013 is even better for all of us. 

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