So the year's almost over and like every other blog out there I'm going to take a look back at some of my musical highlights from the past year.
There's been a lot of good music out there this year, so it's been tough trying to pick the ones that really stood out - apologies to any band missed off these lists.
Alphabethead – I’d been told for years to go and see Alphabethead and once even came close to filming him live for a DVD magazine, but it fell through. This year I finally got to see him perform and had my mind blown by his turntable wizardry, his amazing mixing ability and his entertaining antics. Watching him live will change the way you think about hip hop/dance music.
Beastwars – On record Beastwars have a strong sound, but live they elevate things to another level. A Beastwars show is always an entertaining, sharp and intense experience. Frontman Matt provides most of that intensity, with theatrics that complement the bands sludgy, doomy brand of metal.
Luger Boa – Having never paid much attention to Luger Boa before, I was impressed by their professionalism and energy in their live performance. They knew how to get the crowd going, and energized the room. It’s a stark contrast to bands who amble onto stage, keep the audience waiting while they get themselves sorted out, and then crank out a set of songs like they can’t wait to get off stage. Luger Boa should be used an example to new bands as to how to put on a performance.
Shihad – Shihad are a band I tend to see at least once a year, but this year they treated us to intimate performances of Killjoy and The General Electric in full (along with a couple of older tracks as an encore, including It from their early EP Devolve). As if that wasn’t enough, they then returned to their old high school, where the band formed 20 odd years ago, to perform alongside some of the school’s current bands. It was a pretty cool thing to do and a great performance.
Foo Fighters – It’s kind of a cop out picking the Foo’s because I doubt they ever put on a bad show, and their shows never change – when I saw them a couple of weeks ago it wasn’t much different to when I saw them 3 years ago. But they are the epitome of the big rock show and do it so well that I had to include them. If you’ve never seen them before make sure you catch them at least once – their almost 3 hour sets of non-stop rock are a lot of fun.
Mountaineater – Mountaineater were another band that I’d been told for years to go and see. This year I finally managed it. They combine the best bits of HDU but take push the sound further than HDU ever did. They’re also one of the loudest bands I’ve ever seen live.
It’s always difficult trying to remember what albums I’ve heard over the past 12 months, but here’s some that have stood out.
Outrun The Buffalo – I can’t get enough of Outrun The Buffalo’s EP. It’s quirky, fun, dark, moody all wrapped up into one almost unclassifiable package. It’s also the best example from the year of a collection of songs working together and complementing each other, with the EP flowing perfectly from song to song.
Black Tusk – Savannah, Georgia, seems to churn out sludge bands like some sort of metal factory. Black Tusk do it better than most and their latest album Taste The Sin is a fine example of the sludge genre.
Sorceress – Ontario’s Sorceress released a demo this year, available on cassette or download only, and it features some of the hottest sounds in metal I’ve heard all year. Heavy, doomy, raw - it's awesome, and it's just a demo.
Mastodon – The Hunter was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a departure in style for Mastodon but still features plenty of huge riffs, layers of sound and driving rhythms. It took a while to grow on me, but it’s now one of my favourite albums.
Royce Da 5’9” – The latest album Success Is Certain has a great sound to it, never takes itself seriously and is probably the best hip hop album of the year for me.
That's it for this year. I'll be back in 2012 with some new songs for y'all to listen to and more talk on all things music. In the meantime, you can check out all my music photos from 2011 on Flickr.
What's been your favourite music for 2011? Leave a comment below and let me know.