2011 in Music

Once again it is time to do a musical year-in-review. I feel some of my scrobble counts are off this year due to the launch of the Amazon Cloud Player, which I’ve been using at work. Of course, my 2009 play counts were also off due to sporadic iPod syncing, but this is still fairly accurate.

’11 Artist ’10 Change
1 Cold War Kids 68 (+67)
2 The Avett Brothers 1 (-1)
3 Death Cab for Cutie 21 (+18)
4 Wilco 7 (+3)
5 Radiohead 2 (-3)
6 Kanye West 78 (+72)
7 Say Hi 8 (+1)
8 Daft Punk 34 (+26)
9 Kings of Leon 9 (–)
10 Counting Crows 12 (+2)

Right below this list of top artists is a significant number of new discoveries. In the folk scene, I’ve been listening to Ryan Adams, The Head and the Heart, and The Goat Rodeo Sessions. In the indie scene, I’ve been listening to Death Cab for Cutie’s newest album, Cold War Kids, and Florence + the Machine. Sonic Youth has been an awesome discovery — Goo is making weekly appearnces in my playlists.

TV on the Radio is the coolest band I’ve discovered this year. Their arrangements are superb, and I really like their use of horns. The first song I heard (and subsequently fell in love with) is “Things You Can Do”. The new album, Nine Types of Light, has an accompanying movie that is an essential viewing for fans of Waking Life. Also, the movie has some amazing quotes: “It’s an unspeakable name. You don’t say it, you just look at it.”

The biggest musical change this year may not be reflected in play counts, but rather in consumption practice. I’ve been going to way more concerts in the past few months including Paul Simon, Punch Brothers, Gillian Welch & David Rawlins, Taj Mahal, Cold War Kids, They Might Be Giants, Main Squeeze, End Times Spasm Band, Joe Pug, and Say Hi. Bloomington has an astonishing number of bands come through, and because it’s a smaller town, we get to see them in smaller venues.

I’ve also continued switching to Amazon MP3, which has gotten even better with the advent of the Amazon Cloud Player, with clients for Windows, Max OS X, Linux, and Android. It’s nice having easy, instant access to my music anywhere. My only complaint is that the Amazon MP3 Downloader doesn’t have a 64-bit Linux client.

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