2) Lambchop at XX Merge – You’ll find us in the front row, grinning and gawking. One of the happiest moments of the year.
3) Extra Golden at Floristree in Baltimore – Another fucking excellent show. Pure joy, and a full cardio workout. I didn’t stop twisting, bouncing and jerking with dance-spasms once in their entire hour and a half set. Additionally, their new record, Thank You Very Quickly, is totally great.
4) Lake – Let’s Build a Roof and Karl Blau - Zebra – Was fortunate enough to play with these guys here in Baltimore at the end of our last tour. Both released excellent new records. Both gave warm and inspiring performances. Both have received absurd amounts of late-fall early-winter play in our household.
5) Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca – Have y’all heard of these guys? They’re pretty good I guess.
6) Height With Friends- Baltimore Highlands – Love to our boy Dan “Height” Keech, who has been quietly releasing a string of totally under appreciated and completely excellent records, of which this is our hands-down favorite. Featuring many talented Baltimore “Friends” (disclosure: includes minimal contributions from yours and yours truly. Don’t let that scare you off, though.) I guess you can call this rap, if you want to be boring about it, but I really like to think of it as Blues/Rap/Other. Or Other/Blues/Spoken Word. Or Other/Other/Other. Killer beats, simple delivery, minimalist lyrics- but packs a hell of a punch.
7) Cass McCombs – Catacombs – This record is the only reason I can ever imagine wanting to get married, so that I could dance to “You Saved My Life”. Wait, fuck that, maybe I’ll just listen to it thousands of times instead. BEAUTIFUL album.
8) Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion – Being from Baltimore, I have lots of great outdoor concert memories from Merriweather Post. This record is like that, minus the $45 lawn seats and shitty overpriced chicken fingers.
9) Dan Deacon – Bromst - More Bmore love. This record helped to pass a lot of darker-than-dark, late-night drives through the most desolate parts of Utah, Idaho and eastern Oregon.
10) Akron Family- Set Em Wild, Set Em Free - Our friend Amy did the flag on the cover. That’s awesome. The record is great, too.
11) Bonus: Bon Iver- Blood Bank EP- Just for that stunning last track. Best use of autotune, ever. And I even LIKE autotune.
And more: Old favorites Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, and Dinosaur Jr. all released sweet records this year. I probably didn’t need to tell you that. Yep, they’re great. Just wanted to acknowledge that we were aware of this.