|Photo Credit: Kate Wurtzel|
Well, sort of. After a few movies, I thought a larger narrative arc might be in order. Watching a series run would kill more time while my body fought off whatever it was I had. I settled on the fantastically acted Breaking Bad, which, despite being excellent, might not have been the best way to combat the isolation of my pre-holiday quarantine. It’s dark premise (a chemistry teacher starts cooking meth to pay for his cancer treatments) wasn't particularly uplifting, especially in a single 48-hour marathon viewing. By season three, I was a probably a little depressed, and certainly drained of any potential holiday cheer. Physically, though, I felt much better by its end, and I eagerly anticipated the upcoming celebrations with my newly-expanded family for the holidays.
Now, the Little One is asleep, by belly's full of tamales, the Doctor is chillin' with baby Jesus, and I am finalizing the blog’s 2011”best-of” list with a good feeling. This is concluding last month’s post, where I also provided the parameters for selection. The list isn’t limited by style or label or release date – they merely need to be outstanding albums that I came to appreciate in 2011. Most of them have previous, more in-depth posts that are linked to the artist's names below. Have at thee…….
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest: The clincher with Grizzly Bear was when I discovered that their psychedelic pop wasn’t just the product of studio manufacture. Their album actually captures the potential of their live persona quite well, especially in the vocal department.
James Blake - James Blake: As a listening experience, Blake’s full-length debut teeters on the thin border between serenity and distress. It’s a stirring 21st century head-trip that absolutely must be experienced in a quiet, hi-fi setting.
Tyondai Braxton – Central Market: The question still hangs in the air: “Who is Zappa’s logical successor?” This incredible album from the former Battles member is at least a part of the answer to that difficult and complex question.
Radiohead – The King of Limbs: What many critics have called their most challenging album in years is also, I think, one of their best. This textured and (dare I say) sexy album never fails to throw out new levels of depth.
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues: For me, The Fleet Foxes seem to provide the soundtrack for major life changes. Helplessness Blues continued this tradition, grounding me during a year whose beginning bore very little resemblance to its end.
Thanks to everyone that has followed the blog this year, especially those who shared it or made listening recommendations. I hope that I have had the good fortune to return the favor by introducing you to something new.