As 2011 wheezes it's way into oblivion we reach that time where it is customary for people to share their favourite things from the past 365 days on their Facebook/twitter/blogs etc...
Your feeds become clogged with seemingly endless lists of Top Tens ( usually comprised of the most obscure, long winded titled bands who released a sneeze in a jar on an indie label that came in 72 'colorways'), with no links, reasons or info about why the bands/gigs/sneakers/douchebags hade such an impact. It's like all your annual #ff's rolled into one.
And on that note here is ours:
But I think I will post a few highlights from 2011 over the next few days before the shiny new, sexy 2012 model wipes it from my fragile mind. Maybe Rhys will too if he can move his fingers...
I'll start with an album that was released this year, but would make my top list for any year since I bought my first Iron Maiden cassette back in the eighties ( that's right, I'm pretty old).
If you have a record player I would definitely recommend buying the vinyl, because it's when I listened to this record as an LP, start to finish that I really fell in love with it. It's not that the songs don't work on their own, it's a fine collection of standalone winners, but when you put them all together, you end up with something that is even greater than the sum of its parts.
In this new era of technology, where I can carry around thousands of songs and albums on my phone, I've reached a point where everything feels disposable, and I regularly take music for granted. Gone are the days where I would save up for an album, buy it from musicquarium and pore over the artwork on the bus ride home, memorising the lyrics as I carefully balanced my discman on my lap. I would listen to my cassette of Dookie, or my Nirvana unplugged CD on repeat for weeks at a time. I realise that as you grow older you have less space in your brain/life/heart to allow something as indulgent as music to fully consume your waking hours, but I can't help that feel that the MP3 and iPod have played a significant role in the desensitisation of my brain to music. I just have too much access to too many options, my attention deficit riddled mind can't cope.
I've just reached the ripe old age of 30, defying the odds and cheating the 27 club reserved for musical prodigies such as myself (yeah right). For my birthday I received a whole heap of treats, but one was especially awesome, my wife got me a new record player.
My last one broke and I hadn't really had it set up in a practical location for a year or more, but for the last few weeks it's been a revelation! I've listened to records top to bottom that I haven't played for years, or if I have I've skipped straight to track seven (usually the best song right?).
The new dead to me album went from being a couple of songs I quite liked to the soundtrack of every meal over Christmas!
Not sure how I've managed to digress and meander quite so dramatically but I think the point that I'm making is, listen to albums, limit your choices, give things a chance...
Back to the album:
I thought that I might be slightly biased about this as I have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with these fine young men from across the pond, and count them as extended family now. But looking beyond their handsome faces and the fact that they are just awesome people this record absolutely kills it, heck they could be puppy kicking, arrogant wretches who wouldn't give up their seat for a pregnant pensioner on a long overcrowded bus journey and I'd still love this album...
After a turbulent year or so, Static Radio NJ have taken all the sadness and loss and created a legacy that shines almost as brightly as the people that inspired it, and I know that they would be so proud of what these dudes have made.
Get hold of it and give it a proper listen (as in at least 3 times through, stream it here), you can thank me later.