Kira is a news editor. - ed.
Oh, hello there.It's been a whole lot of fun and I'd even say an honor to be added to the editorial staff this year. As a longtime reader and infrequent contributor it's been lovely to get more involved. I've had the pleasure to meet a bunch of editors and staff in person this year and I gotta say I love these fuckers. Everyone is totally weird and it's just great.
Before launching into my lists, I will put out the small disclaimer that whereas I'll always be a punk rock girl at heart (Bouncing Souls are #1 in my book), I really do love pop music. So deal with it.
Happy new year, y'all!
Top Ten Albums of 2011
John Darnielle does it again. It's a consistent release with previous Mountain Goat albums. Danielle's nasally, shaky voice is just as great as ever. Fav Track: "Liza Forever Minnelli"
Paper + Plastick
Honestly, I was a little hesitant about this album. I really didn't want it to be just another one of those "dude-in-a-punk-band-decides-to-do-an-acoustic-solo" projects. Especially because I really love the Loved Ones. I was delightfully surprised by how good and how earnest this album sounds. I think it's also good to note that the album isn't all acoustic. Fav Track: "Resolutions"
I admittedly was a little late to jumping on this boat. But I'm super glad I finally did. This debut release just absolutely nailed it. It's really exciting to think of what kind of future releases they may produce. I think one of the comments on the review probably said it best: "Awesome album, not even close to hearing it too many times." I concur. Fav Track: "Leather Jacket"
ANR: Stay Kids
I spent four years of my life in Miami and one of my favorite things to do when I lived there was to go see ANR (at the time, better known as Awesome New Republic) live. It's so great to see how far they've come. Even if I didn't have an earlier reference for them in my heart, I'd still love this album. Tried and true org'ers might not be into this. But give it a shot! Turn it up loud and dance around in your kitchen. Fav Track: "It's Around You"
Mates of State: Mountaintops
This is a band that just reminds me of college radio and I love them for it. For every time there's a story about Mates of State on the site and some people are like "notpunknews.org," I'm sorry. (But at the same time, I'm not really sorry.) This husband/wife duo is goddamn adorable. They have great harmonies and it's just catchy as all get out. Fav Track: "Maracas"
Side projects aren't always my favorite things, but Brian Fallon is just one of those artists that just can do no wrong in my book. And how delightful is that cover of the Katy Perry song? It's delightful! Fav Track: "Crush"
Paper + Plastick
Following a handful of splits and an EP, 2011 was finally the year of the proper Red City Radio full-length release. And it's a goodie. The quartet from Oklahoma City had been kicking around for a couple years before their first LP came out this year on Paper + Plastick. The Dangers of Standing Still has a healthy dose of "woahs," fast guitars, gruff vocals and sing-along choruses. It's super accessible and helps remind you how fun punk really can be. I look forward to singing along loudly with my fist in the air at one of their shows soon. Come play DC, y'all. Fav Track: "Drinking Yourself Into The Future"
What a great album. I think this is probably the most genuine album I've heard this year. It's just so endearing and I think a real crowd-pleaser. There's a little something for everyone on this album. Also, their set at The Fest was my favorite; it was the perfect end to a great weekend of friendship. Fav Track: "Neighborhood Song"
At the record release for this show I stage dived. And promptly lost my glasses, rendering me basically blind. This was in the third song of their set. Luckily, I had my prescription sunglasses and then was just that asshole wearing sunglasses on a Tuesday night at a show. I also drove home to DC around midnight wearing sunglasses and had to fight the urge to profusely apologize for wearing sunglasses to every graveyard shift toll booth operator. That all being said, this show and this album were totally worth it. Dan "Soupy" Campbell's vocals have really just gotten better over time and this is the tightest the band has ever sounded. It has everything in it that makes pop punk so great. Fav Track: "Don't Let Me Cave In"
I am not being the least little bit ironic here. I got so much joy out of this album this year. I even had a somewhat accidental Beyonc√©-themed 28th birthday party complete with 14 of my closet friends dressed up in turtleneck leotards for a photoshoot a la "Countdown." If you haven't seen this video, please do so right away. I love this album. Pure pop goodness. Fav Track: "Countdown"
Two EPs Worth Mentioning
- Look Mexico - Real Americans Spear It
- Dikembe - Chicago Bowls
Top 11 Shows I Went To in 2011In Chronological Order
- January 21, 2011:Dismemberment Plan @ The Black Cat, Washington, DC
- May 20, 2011: Against Me! @ Krazy Fest, Louisville, Ky.
- May 21, 2011: Hot Water Music @ Krazy Fest, Louisville, Ky.
- May 21, 2011: "Dane" @ Fantasy's Island Lounge, Louisville, Ky.
- June 14, 2011: The Wonder Years @ Starlight Ballroom, Philadelphia, Pa.
- July 8, 2011: Bouncing Souls @ Highline Ballroom, New York City, N.Y.
- August 6, 2011: Celine Dion @ The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nev.
- August 14, 2011: Beyonce @ Roseland Ballroom, New York City, N.Y.
- August 19, 2011: Pg. 99/Converge @ The Canal Club, Richmond, Va.
- September 11, 2011: Kid Dynamite @ First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, Pa.
- October 30, 2011: Restorations @ The Fest, Gainesville, Fla.
Top Singles of 2011I liked a whole bunch of songs this year. I've made a Spotify playlist of ‚??em just for you. Turn it up and bang your head. Here it is: Kira's Favorite Tracks of 2011.
Parting Words2011 has been delightful. I'm hoping 2012 tops it.
If I could just get on a soapbox for a moment, I'd really love to urge y'all to get involved with your community more in 2012. Volunteer for a local organization that is doing great work right in your backyard. There's this great site called volunteermatch.org a> that can help you find an organization in your community that matches your interests. I might suggest, if you live in the DC area, volunteering at 826DC. It's an organization I've helped co-found and am really proud of all the great work it does.
*gets off soapbox*
Oh, and one more thing: What Brenden Kelly was saying is so true; stop being such haters. It's really more fun to like things! Trust.