Ahh 2012 I'm so glad you're over, but before you go let's commemorate some of your better aspects.
The Albums - My one prerequisite for this category; i have to like it the whole way thru, every last song. It doesn't happen that often but when it does it usually lasts forever.
The Shins - Port of Morrow: This has got to be the most under-rated Shins album of all time. Much like Bright Eyes, completely un-noticed 2011 release The People's Key, this album seems to not be on too many people's radars or list. I'm completly flummoxed, ok not really but isn't flummoxed a great word? I love The Shins and even though this is different, it's also fresh and doesn't deviate too much from The Shins I know and love. I realize it's a whole new band but come on, James Mercer was always The Shins and I'll take Greg Kurstin, his co-producer/collaborator on this album, over a lot of other musicians. The only complaint I heard regarding this album I couldn't dispute was, "I don't like his voice." Lucky for me that's not a problem. I really feel James Mercer is experiencing a creative peak right now and I am thrilled to be a long for the ride.
Oh and if lyricists are modern day poets I would like to nominate James Mercer for poet laureate
Well I guess it's only life, it's only natural
We all spend a little while going down the rabbit hole
The things they taught you, they're lining up to haunt you
They've got your back against the wall
THE SHINS - SEPTEMBER LYRICS
Under our softly burning lamp
She takes her time
Telling stories of our possible lives
And love is the ink in the well when her body writes
Frank Ocean - Channel Orange: This album and this artist came out of nowhere for me and I was completely captivated. It's unconventional, unique and glorious. It mixes R&B, jazz, funk, pop, soul, and too many other genres to mention. It's so smart; there are so many hooks, "Too many bottles of this wine we can't pronounce, too many bowls of that green, no lucky charms....." and one-liners,"Ice cold baby ice cold" and damn if "Thinking Bout You" isn't the best slow jam of the decade. Hey you can take the girl outta PG..........Seriously listening to this album reminded me of listening to Purple Rain for the first time. Not b/c he sounds like Prince but because Channel Orange like Purple Rain touches on dark and painful themes but makes it sound so good you almost forget, hauntingly beautiful.
The Locals - The scene just gets better and better. We are so lucky to live in a town permeated with lawyers and politicians, I mean musicians and free spirits. There really is a juxtaposition of social scenes in Annapolis! I for one am extremely grateful that on any given night I can catch live music in Annapolis and many of our local bands are really coming in to their own. If you did not check out any of these local releases this year, you should, and then come out to the next show at The Whiskey, or Red Red Wine, or Middletons, or Rockfish, or Stan & Joe's or Ramshead downbar and sing and dance along!
Sweet Leda - Need The Music
Pressing Strings - Pressing Strings
Bumpin' Uglies - Free Candy
Pasadena - Nowhere Fast
Higher Hands - Stay Sharp
The Songs -
Everest - Do You Ever Wanna Have Some Fun?
Without a doubt my favorite song of the year. It was the last song on the original/unfinished copy of Ownerless I was given before they arrived for their residency. Much to my dismay when they released the album it had been cut. I don't know what the stigma was with this song but they didn't like to play it live either. They all knew it was my favorite and i was always requesting it. One night I went to visit them on the Eastern Shore and as we sat out on their dock, under the stars, drinking and smoking someone, i think Russell, broke out in to it and they all joined in and harmonized and it was one of the most beautiful, intimate moments i have experienced with a band. I will never forget it. I wish they could come back every summer.
The Shins - It's Only Life
The Shins - Bait & Switch
Frank Ocean - Thinkin Bout You
Frank Ocean - Super Rich Kids
Deertick - Miss K
Citizen Cope - One Lovely Day
Audra Mae - Little Red Wagon
The Shows -
The Killers at Firefly. Firefly in general was a phenomenal festival.
My Morning Jacket & Band Of Horses at Merrieweather. Jim James is the new Jerry
Conor Oberst at The Warner.
Everest on The RNR Rockin' River Cruise. The night of the Derecho was wild in more ways than 1
Heartless Bastards at Metropolitan Erika Wennerstrom is a rock goddess
Annapolis Acoustic Jam 3 at The Rockfish
The Books - Oh I read a lot of great books, here are my favorites
Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter This was my favorite read of the year. The title says it all.
Gone Girl - Gillan Flynn This book was disturbing but I couldn't put it down.
A Visit From The Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan This book really got under my skin, in a good way. It made me think, it made me question but most importantly it made me feel.
The Art of Fielding - Chad Auerbach I love all things baseball and this book is one of them. Amazing book with memorable, likable characters centered around the diamond.
The Movies - Someday I will go to the movies again for flicks other than The Hunger Games and Twilight, until then.............
Favorite Haunts -
THE OLD STEIN
STAN & JOE'S