Tuesday, December 25, 2012

And the winners of my 2012 music awards are?

2012 Concert Photo of the Year

Welcome to my (now annual) year end music review post. If you have the patience to read all of it, you will see:
- My ten awards with winners and runners up
- Embedded Spotify Playlist of my Top 50 Songs
- More explanation of how I chose my award winners
- Photos of note I posted to Instagram from the shows I attended
(FYI: My 2011 Music Award Post)

1. The “Perpetual Repeat” Song of the Year: "Passages" by Exitmusic
Runner up: "Swimming Pools (Drank)" by Kendrick Lamar

2. The “Share with All Friends” Album of the Year: Myth by Beach House
Runner up: Adventures In Your Own Backyard by Patrick Watson

3. The “If Every One Could Be Like This” Concert of the Year: My Morning Jacket at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park
Runner up: Explosions in the Sky at Chicago Theatre

4. The “Phoenix” Becoming Too Big To Not Easily See Again: Walk The Moon
Runner up: Alt-J

5. The “Franz Ferdinand” Must Now See Every Time They’re In Town: M83
Runner up: Geographer

6. The “Bon Iver” Regret of the Year: M83's DJ Set at Spybar Lollapalooza Afterparty
Runner up: Mute Math at Summerfest

7. The “Medulla” Most Disappointing Album: Shields by Grizzly Bear
Runner up: Four by Bloc Party

8. The “Should I Quit You” Most Disappointing Concert: Bloc Party
Runner up: Pretty much my entire Lollapalooza afterparty strategy & execution

9. The “Shadenfradue” Guilty Pleasure Track of the Year: "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen

10. The "Buy an iPod stereo for the car" Best Decision I made in 2012: Returning to Milwaukee's Summerfest after too many years away.
Runner up: My overall determination to see acts like Explosions in the Sky and Patrick Watson knowing 100% of the way I would be giving the other ticket to a friend for free.

This reply from Aleksa Palladino on Twitter helped her cause
 1. The first full calendar year under a Premium Spotify subscription created an embarrassment of riches for me. It also made it very difficult for any song to maintain that perpetual repeat status past winners have acquired. Past year winners were also able to separate from the pack after seeing a live performance of the song, but with other candidates from Beach House and Patrick Watson getting in front of me this year, something special was needed. Which is probably why the tweet from Exitmusic helped it edge out a very strong field. Not to mention, seeing them at Subterranean with less than 25 other fans, in perhaps the cheapest show of the year, was a perfect storm.  Not to mention, I love Boardwalk Empire and have equal feelings towards Aleksa Palladino.

2. My first listen of Myth created the standard all albums of 2012 were to be judged in my mind. My appreciation has yet to waver in repeat spins and was able to hold off a significant charge from Patrick Watson. Maybe if I had seen Patrick  Watson twice in 2012 (as I was able to see Beach House) he could've prevailed. It's also an upset because of the Canadian nature to Patrick Watson - usually music from Canada has the inside track.

3. Every time I see My Morning Jacket in concert they reinforce why I always mention them when asked to list my favorite bands. Add in a gorgeous night and the first time I saw a show at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park created an unfair fight - even in a year in which I saw Radiohead. My favorite band not named Broken Social Scene (Radiohead) wasn't even able to get the Runner-up mention because the audible quality and nonstop set by Explosions In The Sky that exceeded my lofty expectations that have been generating since first hearing their sound on Friday Night Lights. Rounding out my top five shows of the year is the Exitmusic night mentioned earlier and the top-to-bottom awesomeness of seeing The Chain Gang of 1974 / Geographer / Miniature Tigers at Schubas. The Scubas show was early in the year, and it cemented the value of Spotify in my budget. It was the first time I was able to fully familiarize myself with the full discography of an entire bill in the weeks between ticket purchase and event.

4. Walk the Moon has a song playing in a commercial or a technological device. That's the 21st Century path for success. In the last show of 2011 I saw them open for Fitz & the Tantrums - in an exhibition that won the entire crowd. I barely got into their return to Chicago when Lincoln Hall sold out and already have a show in early 2013 that sold out before I realized they were coming back.

5. I will see M83 as long as my age allows. And by that I really mean: as long as I can deal with people younger than me.

6. Here's the problem - I was so entrenched in M83 fandom, I jumped at the "DJ Set" opportunity. It's just not the same: lesson learned. The entire postapolooza season was a mess with me. Choosing Bombay Bicycle Club over Trampled By Turtles, missing Band of Horses, knowingly turning my back on Frank Ocean... And why did they have to announce Franz Ferdinand at the Aragon after the other shows went on sale?!

7. Maybe I will eat my words again with Grizzly Bear. Shields is appearing on many Best Album lists, but I don't dig the majority of it. It's nowhere near Veckatimest (but what is?). My first impression of them was sour, and it's highly likely I will listen again to "Shields" and 'get it.'

8. I really loved Bloc Party back in the days of Silent Alarm and Weekend In The City. Their shows were great. The news of their breakup was met with sadness. I was so happy they were back together and touring I bought the tickets before I head the first note of Four (which was still better than Intimacy). I shouldn't have changed my last experience with them.

9. People have asked if my love of "Call Me, Maybe" is tongue-in-cheek or sincere. It's both. I think it's a good pop song at it's core, but I can't deny the miles of material I have had with the song structure. It has become my Musical Mad Lib of choice - willing to adapt it to any situation. Gangnam Style happened, but that's clearly a gimmick dance with a wonky music video that lacks the sincerity and heart of Carly Rae Jepsen.

10. My philanthropic gestures of taking friends to shows won't stop for 2013. Here's what I'm looking at for next year: Early 2013 Concert Radar

Special Music Mention of 2012:
Music + November = The cliche ROCKTOBER
Newlyweds Dayva & Neil
My cousins Joe & Tom
There's a branch of my family tree that is incredibly gifted with music ability. It was on display in full grandeur this past October at my cousin Neil's wedding. Not to sell my other cousins short, who peppered the entire weekend with their sounds, but I will never again see a groom sing songs, strum strings, beat snares, tickle keys and hold an entire reception congregation (including his wife) in the palm of his hand. The showstopper was the Newlywed Duet.

Finally, here is the Instagrammed review of my Year in Live Music:

Liza Day (Hideout in January)
Machine Gun Mojo (Hideout in January)

Islands (Lincoln Hall in March)
Fiona Apple (Lincoln Hall in March)
Chain Gang of 1974 (Schubas in March)
Geographer (Schubas in March)

Miniature Tigers (Schubas in March)
M83 (Riviera in May)
Hospitality (Empty Bottle in May)
Here We Go Magic (Empty Bottle in May)

Caribou (Tinley Park in June)
Radiohead (Tinley Park in June)
Walk The Moon (Lincoln Hall in June)
Explosions in the Sky (Chicago Theatre in June)

The Walkmen (Summerfest in June)
Mute Math (Summerfest in June)
Real Estate (Union Park in July)
AraabMUZIK (Union Park in July)
Beach House (Union Park in July)
Hey Rosetta! (Bottom Lounge in August)
Bombay Bicycle Club (Bottom Lounge in August)
Alt-J (Empty Bottle in August)

Chairlift (Empty Bottle in August)

Band of Horses (Millennium Park in August)
My Morning Jacket (Millennium Park in August)
Bloc Party (Riviera in September)
Grizzly Bear (Riviera in September)
Exitmusic (Subterranean in October)
Geographer (Lincoln Hall in October)
Freelance Whales (Lincoln Hall in October)
Beach House (Riviera in October)
Holy Ghost! (Aragon in November)
Patrick Watson (Lincoln Hall in December)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Can you hear what I hear?

Here are ten shows in the first three months of 2013 on my Concert Radar. In 2012, I took quite a number of people with me for free to shows because I had bought tickets in pairs. Speak up if any of the below sounds good to you, and if you speak up nicely there's a large possibility I'll fold and just buy your ticket.

To be honest, I think my streak of three record years in a row of show attendance will snap in 2013. My only hope is that more of my friends sign up on Spotify and have access to more music than in years past. 

Bear in Heaven | Shubas | Wednesday January 16 | $17
The Walkmen | Vic | Friday January 18 | $35
Geographer | Schubas | Sunday January 20 | $17
Toro Y Moi | Metro | Tuesday February 19 | $20
Ra Ra Riot | Metro | Friday March 1 | $20
Tame Impala | Vic | Wednesday March 6 | $30
Unknown Mortal Orchestra | Lincoln Hall | Thursday March 7 | $16
STRFKR w/ Blackbird Blackbird | Metro | Tuesday March 19 | $20
Stars | Metro | Saturday March 23 | $25
Alt-J | Metro | Thursday March 28 | $25