Fleet Foxes

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It’s been pretty quiet around here for awhile (so quiet that we’re pretty sure just our mom’s are checking this thing at this point) (hi moms!), but even though we haven’t been writing all that much, we promise we’ve still been listening to loads of good music. So putting this list together has been a good chance for us to finally put down how we feel about some of the great stuff we’ve heard this year. We just hope it’s as fun for you to browse through as it was for us to pull together!

Before reading on, just a quick note about a record that’s not on this list: The Head & The Heart’s debut record saw a major label release this year (on Sub Pop), and although we’ve probably listened to that absolute gem of a record more than just about any other this year, we didn’t include it on account of it being on our year-end list for 2010, since they self-released it that year. But just know this: under different circumstances, The Head & The Heart would most certainly top this list. So if you haven’t heard them yet, let that be your invitation! Because they are so great!

So with that out of the way, we’re ready to unveil our Top 21 Albums of 2011. Just remember that this list represents our favorite albums of the year, and not necessarily the best albums of the year. If we had to pick what we thought were the very best albums critically, this list might look a little different. But we’re not critics, so we’re not going to worry about who made the greatest artistic strides or whatever this year. These are simply our very favorite albums of the year: the ones that made us laugh, cry, dance, smile, press repeat, wet our pants, etc. Basically, this is what we’ll remember when we look back on 2011.

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Neat!

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This is neat!

Yesterday Robin Pecknold (of Fleet Foxes) quietly released three new songs via his twitter (because it’s 2011 and why not release music via twitter?). In the past Mr. Pecknold’s released solo material under the White Antelope moniker, but these are just plain ol’ Robin Pecknold songs – all except for the first one, which is a plain ol’ Robin Pecknold song + a pinch of Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste, and yes it’s as pretty as you’d expect. Take a listen below, or download all three HERE.

mp3: Robin Pecknold – I’m Losing Myself (feat. Ed Droste)
from the EP Three Songs

mp3: Robin Pecknold – Derwentwater Stones
from the EP Three Songs

mp3: Robin Pecknold – Where Is My Wild Rose
from the EP Three Songs

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And “Welcome Chris Tobler Back To Blogging Day 2011” continues! All I can say about this is, YES.

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Joanna Head

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of seeing Joanna Newsom perform in Bloomington at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater (which is also where I saw this guy – I have a pretty good association with this place). She was, of course, fantastic. Opening was Robin Pecknold (of Fleet Foxes), who’s not only incredibly talented in his own right, but pretty charming to boot. He only played seven songs, but I could have listened to the man for hours.

When Newsom took the stage I was immediately surprised at how dynamic and personable she is. You see, I was first introduced to her by my wife when Ys was new, and as much as I enjoy that record I think it’s whimsical epics made me picture her as a little more… strange I guess? Maybe a little esoteric? I’m not sure. All I can say is that the pleasant and completely personable girl who took the stage in a colorful sundress took me by surprise. The incredible show she put on, however, was not a surprise, and was every bit as great as I’d hoped. The whole night was fantastic, and you can read my quick rundown after the jump.

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Robin

Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold said this in an interview with Pitchfork:

“I’m just trying to write– this sounds so stupid– but just trying to write good songs, and not worrying about what style they are.

“[…]Maybe a good song isn’t as exciting as a totally new style of music. But there are so many millions of songs to be written, but there are only so many genres; there are only so many times you can combine or reinvent a genre. So I feel like the song should be what I’m looking for. And I feel like we have two or three songs for the new album that I think are good songs that should exist in the world, so they’ll be on the album. And then there are some that you justify to yourself: “This is a new kind of music,” or “this is so complicated.” Those probably won’t end up on the album.”

I can’t think of a more honest or positive way to write music than that. The interview, which covers everything from Pecknold’s writing process to his man-crush on Neil Young, seems to further validate my initial impression of Pecknold and his band when we first saw them at Sasquatch in ’08, and I wrote “[they] seemed to be just real people with a real love for making music”. I’m excited to see where they go from here.

Read the whole interview HERE.

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