Monday, December 31, 2012

End-of-year musical wrap-up

I haven't posted lately just because things have been pretty quiet.  Winter break is on: sleeping in, long nights and dark days full of snow – holy crapola, did you know it snows a ton in Cornstate? – and leisurely syllabus planning, manuscript prep, and most luxurious of all, reading.  But since the year is ending, why not post some more music and attempt to construct a narrative of 2012 with it?

January: I listened to this album over and over this past winter, when I had begun the new year on a very low note.  I owe Colin Meloy one for this. 

February: Like I said.

March:  I've been a Gillian Welch fan since the late 1990s.  She and David Rawlings may never really outdo their work on Time (The Revelator), but the album they put out last year, The Harrow and the Harvest, was pretty damn good anyway.  Listened to it a lot as well this winter.

April: Landed my current job, and enjoyed a very brief fling.  Fiona Apple's album wasn't yet released, but what the heck.

May:  Nifty album.  Good tonic for heartbreak.

June: Let us now depart from recent album releases and emotional review.  I just want to highlight some music that I recently acquired, and am enjoying.  But I can tell you a story about this one: when I went to scout housing in Tinytown this summer, I heard a Nashville cover of this song in a restaurant.  Honestly, the cover could have been worse, but I was annoyed not to hear the original, superior recording by Sonia Dada.  I went back to my hotel room and tried to purchase the mp3, to no avail: it did not exist.  I was wroth.  I just happened to check Amazon again this week, and found it, newly transformed into mp3 form!

July: Damien Rice is a strange brew, for my taste.  I question some of his stylistic choices, but his songs are pleasing anyway.  This is probably my favorite from his album, O.

August: Ray LaMontagne is another artist I have mixed feelings about.  I think he falls back on a small bag of tricks a little too often, and frankly, a lot of his lyrics are pretty dumb.  Lucky for him that he has a great voice and pretty good session musicians backing him up.  (Am I the only one who thinks that LaMontagne is in danger of turning into another Van Morrison someday?)

September: Death Cab for Cutie has grown on me slowly over time.  I just bought Narrow Stairs after listening to much of it on Pandora.  This song is what really sold it for me.  Incredibly depressing, but too good and trenchant not to love.  (NB: I really am not depressed nowadays.  My taste in music has always been like this.)

October: As much as I like Sarah Jarosz's work, I must guiltily admit that I tend to favor her exquisite cover versions of other people's songs.  She's got a bunch of great ones, but this might be the most flawlessly beautiful.

November: Finally, a double dose of yet another of this year's musical obsessions of mine, Crooked Still.  I occasionally feel like Aoife O'Donovan should be extraordinarily grateful for amplification technology, since her sweet little voice would be completely swallowed up in a concert setting with a full suite of instruments.  But with the mikes in place, it's a nice combo.  Crooked Still is especially good at arranging old fiddle tunes, in my opinion.  I want to jig around my kitchen every time I hear one of these songs.

December: Seriously, they do fun things with old-timey fiddle tunes!  (Have you noticed that I'm a sucker for cello music?  I've only recently figured that out.)

What will the new year bring, anyway?  More of the good, less of the bad is my hope.  I hope that the unbloggable misery of this past year will soon be a distant memory, and that the little and not-so-little triumphs that I share on this blog will multiply.  And, thinking of some good friends who are themselves on the market for the first time, I hope that others of you will also have some worthwhile triumphs to share.

And for heaven's sake, come and visit!  I have a couch!  It's comfy to sleep on!

Happy New Year, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. I can't listen to these since I'm still at my parents' house, so remind me that it's up later.

    I'm glad you are having a mellow and relaxing break! Keep up the sleeping and the resting.