Friday, December 30, 2011

Music I Was Introduced To In 2011

Here we are, the end of another year, and this always brings "Best Of ____" lists, right?  There has been so much music playing in my apartment, in my iPod and in my car these days, that I will probably edit and re-edit this list more than twice.  This is more of a "Music I was Introduced To That Really Has Stuck With Me" list than a "Best Of"... but, just go with it.
1. Blind Pilot - We Are The Tide
 Blind Pilot is an indie folk band from Portland, Oregon.  The title track, "We Are the Tide" gets me moving, and tends to make it onto my unofficial "cooking dance party in the kitchen" mix.  The beat, the lyrics, the whole package works for me. "Oh man we won't last long, but we're giving it our best try."  [Click the image to listen to the title track]


2. Kurtis John - EP
This is someone that I know and admire, and someone who makes some pretty kickass music. Kurt has been a friend of mine for a few years, since his days in Renata and The Last Goodnight, and the way he blends beautiful lyrics together with his work on the keyboard and guitar always keeps me interested.  "Life has a beautiful sound" is what's written on his Twitter page (@kurtisjohn) and he definitely finds beauty in life's moments.  [Click the image to listen to the promo for his EP, which was released in July 2011]


3. Kina Grannis - Stairwells 
Can't say enough about this girl!  She's an incredibly talented musician with a beautiful voice, and is down to earth. Some friends of mine in LA mentioned her name to me a year or two ago, and then another moved out there last year and also mentioned her name to me.  Kina just performed on Ellen recently, where her amazing video was featured.  288,000 jelly beans + 2 years to produce + "In Your Arms" = a must-see video.


4. Ben Rector - Into The Morning
I've gotten hooked on this album more recently, but still, it's one that I've become attached to.  The track that really gets me going and wanting to move is "The Beat": "And then the beat comes/ and then she's moving on the dance floor/ and I wonder what she's running from/ if it'll catch her."  Definitely an album to chill to, to cook to, to have on while you're riding the T... it's got it all.  [Click the image to listen to "The Beat"]


5. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
I have to preface this by saying I've never been a die-hard Foo Fighters fan, but I've always thought they were cool.  Back when one of my favorite TV shows was still running, "Next Year" was used as the theme song (anyone remember Ed ? 2000-2004? Tom Cavanagh? Julie Bowen? Michael Ian Black? ... No one? No? Moving on...) and it was a perfect intro song for the show.  This album was graciously shared with me by my friends over at Radio 92.9 - I've been lucky enough to be involved with them in a "listener feedback" type of group, but more about that later. 

Here's what my instructions were for listening to the album: 

1.) Listen Loudly     2.) Repeat

I followed both of these directions, and really dug the album.  Dave Grohl's voice is unmistakable (how does he still have a voice after years of screaming?), and I can't stop listening.  I'm not sure why I didn't really get into this band sooner.  This album has been on Radio 92.9's fan "Best Of 2011" list, and I can definitely see why.

Okay, so this is just an intro to me, and to what I got into this year, musically-speaking.  I'll definitely be adding to this list, which is totally kosher because this is my blog, and I say I can.  So... yeah.  This is definitely a different blog than the one I have had since '07 (about a whole different topic - if you're really curious, let me know, I'll give you the link). This blog gives me the space to just let loose about my feelings about the music I'm listening to, how I'm connecting/I've connected to it, what concerts I'm checking out, what's coming up, all that good stuff.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Why A Music Blog? Who Am I?

I'm not a musician.  I'm not a producer.  I'm not a tour manager.  I'm not a roadie.

I'm a music lover, plain and simple.

Ever since I can remember, I've been needing to listen to music.  I can tell you some of my first tapes, my first CDs (New Kids On the Block; Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill).  I blame a lot of my directional-impairedness on the fact that I always had headphones on (or was reading a book) as a child, and never paid attention to where we were going... ergo, I get lost in my own homestate.  

When I was in middle and high school, I was sort of stuck in one genre of music.  If you asked me what my favorite bands were then, I would had had three responses: The Barenaked Ladies, Dave Matthews Band, and Vertical Horizon.  All talented musicians, all successful bands, but all pretty similar overall.  Sure, I listened to some other bands/musicians, but wasn't as open to listening to new things as I am now.  Once I hit college and heard all types of music floating throughout the dorm hallways, my ears were opened, you could say.

At one of the first concerts (Vertical Horizon) that I attended at The Webster in Hartford, CT, I found myself wanting to write down the setlist so that I could share it online with the message board community I had joined.  I remember feeling excited about the fact that I had found others who were just as excited about particular band, and that we could chat and share photos, stories, setlists, etc.  That night, I got to meet the co-headliner, Sister Hazel, as well as Sean Hurley from Vertical Horizon, and take photos with them... it was a moment that definitely stuck out for me, music-wise.  I knew that I wanted to experience any music that I loved live.
Vertical Horizon @ The Webster Theater, 2001 - photo by Joanna Barker

So, who am I now?  I'm in my late 20s, living outside Boston, working in the Special Education field (slowly finishing up school to get my Masters).  I'm not pretending to be a professional music critic, or reviewer, or anything like that.  I'm just a girl who has a deep appreciation for the passion that musicians put into their art, who has a connection with the music she has listened to, and is always on the lookout for new music.  Join me in my exploration of these things, and more.