The Rambis Slam Dunks of 2011

There’s lots I didn’t listen to this year I would have liked or meant to hear because let’s face it, as you get older you don’t have time or patience unless your name is David and as a young boy you wanted to go by Russ.  Here are 12 records I liked a lot. I’m sorry if it looks like a mixture of the Pitchfork and Stereogum lists, but like I said, I don’t have time to find lots of music.  I might have forgotten an album or two on this list.  I apologize to those bands; I’m sure they are devastated.

12) The Antlers- Burst Apart—  A band I figured would be a one album wonder.  I liked their last album a lot, but I figured they’d go into the pile with Menomena and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, but I was very pleased to be wrong.

11) Cults- s/t—  Didn’t want to like them.  Couldn’t help it.  “Go Outside” is one of my favorite songs.

10) Explosions in the Sky- Take Care, Take Care, Take Care–  I love everything this band has ever done.  Postcard from 1952 was another of my favorite songs of the year.

9) Atlas Sound- Parallx—  I mentioned it earlier, but there’s nothing that comes from the Deerhunter camp that I don’t like.

8 Wu Lyf-  Go Tell Fire to the Mountain–  This band came out of nowhere for me.  Take elements of two of my favorite bands (EITS and Wolf Parade) mashes them together, makes a mess, and kills it.

7) M83- Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming—  Met the hype.  I’m not sure it’s better than Before the Dawn Heals Us, but I really enjoy it.  Another record my daughter likes to headbang to.

6) The War on Drugs- Slave Ambient—  I figured once Kurt Vile left this band that it would be curtains for them.  I was wrong.  Huge fan of this band and this record.  “Baby Missiles” was a standout for me.

5) Youth Lagoon- The Year of Hibernation—  My favorite new band/artist of the year.  I think.  Dude totally kills it.  Very jealous that Dave got to see him.  Sounds nothing like Bon Iver, but the record reminds me of the first Bon Iver one.  His music is both triumphant and a total bummer.  That, to me, is great music.

4) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart- Belong—  There’s so much about this record that I love.  The nods to shoegaze and mid-90’s alt rock.  And the fact that I can totally whale on my air guitar to every song on this album.

3) Fucked Up- David Comes to Life—  Such an epic record.  My 2-year old daughter can sing the words to “The Other Show”.  She’s got both the girl part and the growling part down pat.  Very impressive.  I expect big things from her.

2) Girls- Father, Son, Holy Ghost-–  I really love Girls.  I played this for my mom and she didn’t hate it.  My mom only likes Luther Vandross and Billy Ocean, so that was pretty impressive.  I didn’t tell her that Christopher Owens is a weirdo who wears belly shirts, and has a video with a dude singing into a boner.  She’s pretty judgmental, so I take little victories when I can get them, even if they are based on half truths.

1) Real Estate- Days—  This band is in the same vein as Deerhunter to me.  Not only do I love this band, but all of the offshoots of it.  This may end up being my album of the year.  Progressed nicely from their debut.  This is pretty timeless stuff.  I’m not going to listen to this when I’m 50 and know that it came out in 2011.If this counts as a record, it’s my #1

Friday Night Lights (the TV show)-  Best TV show ever.  The series finale, with Delta Spirit sound-tracking the final minutes, was spot on.

Shows I saw.  (This is literally it)

Explosions in the Sky (in Charlotte)-  My favorite live band ever.  Always a treat to see them.  It was awesome to finally not have to drive several hours to do so.

SXSW-  Super cool.  Three intense moments stand out.  Seeing Deerhunter play to a huge crowd.  Seeing my beloved Futurebirds headline the 40 Watt showcase, absolutely tearing it up.  Seeing Deer Tick and Dawes at Luster Pearl.  This was a show I had no interest in going to, but my friends dragged me to it.  Here’s how badass Dawes was, ending up with the rest of Middle Brother, Johnny Corndawg, Deer Tick, and Holy Sons on stage.

Then Deer Tick played as Deervana, and that’s something that has to be experienced.  Plus, members of Dom, Gayngs, and Aziz Ansari were all there.

TBS/Thursday (in Charlotte)– There was nothing groundbreaking about this show.  It was just a nice stroll down memory lane to see two of my three favorite bands from 2002 play together.  Turns out it’s the last time I’m ever going to see Thursday (breaking up), and probably the last time I’ll ever see Taking Back Sunday.  I would kind of lump this into what I imagine it would be like to have sex with your girlfriend from high school 10-years later.  It’s sweaty and fun, but it’s pretty shallow, and you find yourself doing a lot of faking. With that being said, if TBS played on Tell All Your Friends, and didn’t allow anyone born after 1985 to come, I’d be there.  Especially if they played with Brand New.

DVD/Live Album

Sigr Ros– Inni–  The only band I will kill to see.  This is the closest I’m going to get for a while.Songs I like that I listened to today

The Joy Formidable– Whirring–  I usually hate rock songs sung by girls, but this song was awesome.  Might be my favorite girl sung rock song ever.

Hot Chelle Rae– Tonight, Tonight–  Most likely the best song ever written.  My wife think this song is gay, but art is often divisive.

The theme song to Good Luck Charlie.  Easily the song I heard the most this year.


Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes both put out good records.  Bon Iver put out another great song with “Holocene” but neither record really had a ton of staying power.  It has nothing to do with the bands getting really popular, but  people with REALLY bad taste in music now like Bon Iver.

Looking forward to in 2012
I have no idea what’s coming out next year, but I’m going to guess
The Walkmen
The National
Brand New
A Sunny Day in Glasgow
Grizzly Bear
The Radio Dept
Beach House
Hillary Duff

1 comment

  1. Lade addition: The Wonder Years- Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I Have Nothing

    I haven’t liked pop punk in close to 8-years, but I love this.

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