Sub Pop Staff's Top Picks of 2011 - L Swain
The end of every year means wading through the “Best Of” lists of numerous internet jack-offs, both trusted and despised. Each year Sub Pop (that’s us!) contributes to this somewhat disgusting custom, but this year we’re doing things slightly differently. 2011 means that we’re in the fucking future, so this year we have created Spotify and Rdio playlists for you so that you can actually listen to the shit we like while you read about it. Like, whoa, right? Without further ado, here are the Top 10 lists by the staff and interns at Sub Pop Records. Check back next week for top 10 lists from some of our friends, and then check back the week after that for top 10s from our bands!
Yes, you need an account to listen, but a lot of time went into this, so just sign up already.
1-Pulp at Primavera
2-PJ Harvey-All and Everyone
3-Kurt Vile-Baby’s Arms
4-The Horrors-Still Life
5-The Kills-Future Starts Slow
9-Quimet y Quimet-Best meal of 2011.
10-Alex Turner-Stuck on the Puzzle (soundtrack super jam from Submarine)
01. The Sandwitches – Mrs. Jones’ Cookies
02. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo
03. Shannon & the Clams – Sleep Talk
04. Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972
05. Tim Cohen – Magic Trick – The Glad Birth of Love
06. Grave Babies – Deathface
07. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life
08. Grouper – A I A : Alien Observer
09. A Winged Victory for the Sullen – s/t
10. Woods – Sun & Shade
11. Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler / The Dream
Best live shows: Ty Segall, Davila 666, Nu Sensae, White Lung, Thee Oh Sees, Pictureplane, Lovers, Big Freedia, Fucked Up, Fresh & Onlys.
Honorable mention: Demdike Stare, The Babies, Hunx & Tuffy, up all night in Austin, up all night in NYC, Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx, Factory Floor, Clap reissue, Bill Cosby & His White Pudding Pops, James Blake, A$AP Rocky, Iceage, Grass Widow, Case Studies… everything on Hardly Art and Sub Pop that I refrained from putting in the proper 10.
1. Upgrading from my Razor to the I-Phone
3. The Big C
4. Long Tamarind rolls
5. The Georgia Gold at Lottie’s
6. Finding How To Make It In America
7. Bacon wrapped jalapenos
9. Flying first class to and from Greece
10. Clean bistro floor
Adele – 21
The Antlers – Burst Apart
Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
Colin Stetson – New History of Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
Gil Scott Heron & Jamie xx – We’re New Here
Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/The Dream
We Were Promised Jetpacks – In the Pit of the Stomach
Best of 2011, or whatever, in order of no order.
1. Bon Iver- Bon Iver
2. Kurt Vile- Smoke Ring For My Halo
3. Gillian Welch- The Harrow and The Harvest
4. A.A. Bondy- Believers
5. Mr Gnome- Madness in Miniature
6. Yuck- Yuck
7. Porcelain Raft- Gone Blind
8. We put out some pretty good stuff too- J Mascis, Fleet Foxes, Male Bonding, Chad VanGaalen, Mogwai, Washed Out, Vetiver, The Head and The Heart, Mister Heavenly, Dum Dum Girls, Fruit Bats, these are a few of my favorite things.
9. I’ve listened to a lot of Allman Bros, Thin Lizzy and Lynyrd Skynyrd this year.
10. Got to see From Ashes Rise play again, it had been too long. They’re the best.
11. Starfucker- Reptillians
12. The new M83 has a couple jams on it.
13. Oh No Oh My- People Problems
14. My Goodness- My Goodness
Bakers 10 records both new & reissued that I bought & liked a lot this year. Alphabetically:
Mahmoud Ahmed – Jeguol Naw Betwa (Mississippi)
Bloodloss – Lost My Head for Drink (Dirty Knobby)
Broken Water – Peripheral Star (Perennial)
Condiminum – Warm Home 12" (Condominium)
Cruddy – Negative World (12xU)
Fungus Brains – Ron Pistos Real World (Load)
L’orchestre Kanaga De Mopti – Kanaga De Mopti (Kindred Spirits)
Shabazz Palaces – Black Up (Sub Pop)
Shin Joong Hyun – Beautiful Rivers & Mountains (Light in the Attic)
Sonskull – Wiped Clean (Perennial)
Total Control – Henge Beat (Iron Lung)
Records from last year that hooked me this year:
Hype Williams – Find Out What Happens (De Stijl)
Kemialliset Ystavat – Ullakkopalo (Fonal)
No Balls – Less (Who Can You Trust/Streaks)
Something that I just got & think I am going to totally love end of ’11 & beyond:
Opika Pende Africa at 78 RPM Box
Other great stuff:
Camping w/ Cassidy
Tour w/ Uzi Rash
Getting rid of cable TV.
Living in a house again / playing records late etc.
Riding bike & ditching car.
Getting to know Vancouver
Lopez & Shaw Islands
1. CHEVEU- 1000 (Kill Shamen/Born Bad)
2. KURT VILE – Smoke Ring for My Halo (Matador)
3. UV RACE- HOMO (In the Red)
4. THE BEETS- Should Have Stayed Home (Captured Tracks)
5. The RAPTURE- In the Grace of Your Love (DFA)
6. ALL LPS on KRAZY PUNX (Pudding Pops, German Measles, Silver Shampoo) duh.
7. WAX MUSEUMS- Eye Times (Trouble in Mind)
8. BLACK LIPS- Arabia Mountain (VICE…etc..)
9. TY SEGALL- Goodbye Bread (Drag City)
10. COP CITY/CHILL PILLARS – Held Hostage on Planet Chill (Florida’s Dying)
11. TOTAL CONTROL- Henge Beat (Iron Lung)
12. OBN IIIs- The One and Only (Tic Tac Totally)
13. CASS McCOMBS- Wit’s End (Domino)
14. Magic Trick – every release this year.
15. Black Marble
Here’s my Top 10 list! I did songs instead of albums because this is like the 4th one of these I’ve had to put together recently and I wanted a change of pace. You might have a hard time spotify-ing some of the more obscure inclusions.
Food Pyramid – The Sundance Kid
Born Gold – Wrinklecarver
Big Spider’s Back – Black Chow
High Places – Altos Lugares
M83 – Steve McQueen
Jacuzzi Boys – Libras and Zebras
Shabazz Palaces – Recollections of the Wraith
Pictureplane – Trancegender
Weed – Release Party
WU LYF-Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
PJ Harvey-Let England Shake
Waters-Out in the Light
Fleet Foxes-Helplessness Blues
Cass McCombs-Humor Risk
Iron and Wine-Kiss Each Other Clean / Walking Far From Home EP
Woods-Sun and Shade
Kurt Vile-Smoke Ring for My Halo
Wild Flag-Wild Flag
Shabazz Palaces-Black Up
Smith Westerns-Dye it Blonde
Lord huron-Mighty EP
Random Axe-Random Axe
Blitzen Trapper-American Goldwing
Youth Lagoon-Year of Hibernation
Mikal Cronin-Mikal Cronin
10 things that Slayed me (Bekah Zietz) in 2011:
Zola Jesus Conatus
Kurt Vile Smoke Ring For My Halo
Bon Iver Bon Iver
Pure X Pleasure
Buying Syl Johnson’s Complete Mythology
Getting my Namaste on in India.
Seeing Charles Bradley at the Wild Buffalo in Bellingham, WA.
2) Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)
3) Ishilan N’Tenere – Guitar Music From The Western Sahel (Mississippi Records) – I think this was maybe out December of 2010 at the record shop, but then out officially in 2011. Super rad comp. Kind of like Tinariwen. Listen here
4) Black Twig Pickers/Glenn Jones – Even To Win Is To Fail/EastMont Syrup (Thrill Jockey) – Limited edition RSD release. “Double A-side LP from modern primitive folk guitarist Glenn Jones and country blues/string band excellence from Black Twig Pickers with Charlie Parr.”
5) LAKE – Giving and Receiving (K Records) My favorite release of the year by far. Good good good good good.
6) Karl Blau – MAX EP (K Records) I actually get bummed every time I listen to this because I want it to last an hour longer. Probably my second favorite release of the whole year. Another favorite moment in 2011 musical memorylane was when Karl reached his $16,000 goal on Kickstarter for the Kelp Lunacy Advanced Plagiarism Society project.
7) Group Doueh (w/ Angelo Spencer and Arrington de Dionyso) at Nectar Lounge
8) Michael Hurley at 20/20 Cycle: I finally got to meet my musical hero, Michael Hurley! My fiance hosted the show at his bike shop and I giddily sold merch for him. He gave us an 8Track of his album Ancestral Swamp and some of his watercolors at the end of the night. Major life highlight.
9) Golden Boots – DBX N SPF (People In The Position To Know) Mike Dixon runs a rad label out of Olympia that presses crazy shaped records, records on plastic plates, etc. and this is one of the gems from this year.
10) Angelo Spencer – World Garage (K Records): This is kind of three rolled in one. One of my fav records and one of my fav performances this year at the best festival of the year: What The Heck? Fest in Anacortes, WA. He made a giant pinata and everyone tried to break it during his set, and there wasn’t any candy in it…just giant plastic ears.
Primavera Festival (most notably seeing Avi & friends perform interpretive dance during Deerhunter, Ewan from Peer Group’s massive crowd surf fail during Pulp, drinking champagne in the sea at 9am and jumping around like a fool to Pissed Jeans).
Two years at Sub Pop and not fired (yet)!
Mecca Bingo nights in Camden…cheap beer and hot ladies
Fergus & Geronimo “Unlearn”
Prince at Hop Farm Festival and then DJing afterwards with Blood & Biscuits and being booed at for having our set cut short by security…it wasn’t our fault!!!!
Finally getting a copy of “Pinkerton” on vinyl…Japanese vinyl at that
“Bones” by Male Bonding
Ishamel from Shabazz Palaces’ iPhone case
Meeting (and working with) J Mascis
No Age playing Wembley Arena
Top 10 Things in 2011
3 Solo Hikes in 3 Days – So what if I checked my back every few steps for bears…I still did it.
California – Napa, Sonoma, Stinson Beach, San Francisco x 2.
Friends – YA YA!
Halloween Weekend – Tequila, 3 parties, and 2 visits to Smith in 1 night.
Kombucha / Synergy – same fussy.
Lake Washington / Denny Blaine – summer savior.
Montmarte – finally discovered this gem and it changed my entire opinion of Paris.
The Opera Bar – 3 nights in a row with great new friends and colleagues.
The Packers -Superbowl Champs and currently undefeated (knock on wood).
Portland – damn you and your food carts, awesome restaurants and shopping, rad people, and no sales tax.
Soundtrack to 2011
EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints – “California”
Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials – “Shake It Out”
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo – “Runner Ups”
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – “Intro”
Pure X – Pleasure – “Easy”
Shabazz Palaces – Black Up – “Are you…Can you…Were you? (Felt)”
The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient – “Come to the City”
WU LYF – Go Tell Fire to the Mountain – “Cave Song”
Yuck – Yuck – “The Wall”
Zola Jesus – Conatus – “Ixode”
Some things I quite enjoyed in 2011, in no particular order:
Total Control – Henge Beat LP
Human Eye – They Came From the Sky LP
The Vera Project turning ten years old
Soul Swallower – Devoured LP
Naked on the Vague – Abstract Figures 7" (and Heaps of Nothing LP, which came out in 2010 but I didn’t get until 2011)
The following musical acts in a live setting: True Radical Miracle, Rorschach, Useless Children, Iceage, Teargas, Cro-Mags, Self Com and Rose Tattoo.
Dude Behind The Record Counter never-ending stream of (figurative) cool shit
Kreng – Grimoire LP, and generally listening to a bunch of droney music that 17-year-old me would have made fun of mercilessly
SIFF reopening the Uptown Theater
Kim Phuc – Copsuckers LP
Well done, non-pixilated vinyl reissues of Void, Ratsia, Lama, Satan, Morbid, 13th Floor Elevators, Bastard, Svart Framtid
The distinguished gents of Wallaby Beat , and Burning Sands of Bondi
Honorable mention to the everlasting pleasures of The Larry Sanders Show, coconut water and the first three Blue Oeyster Cult LPs.
The Head And The Heart-working with this band at this label has been my biggest challenge literally since I started. To see all the band’s hard work pay off has been immensely gratifying. I learn something from every band I’ve worked with, but this one has been a blueprint for what’s possible.
Other Lives ‘Tamer Animals’- this music has played throughout the soundtrack to my life all year. A band that moves me and I never tire of. I absolutely love this record and this band. It was on repeat non-stop the entire time I drove from SF to Seattle in February.
Fleet Foxes ‘Helplessness Blues’ -again, a great band and one of the best records of the year.
Triumph Thruxton-deep down I’m a bad-ass white-trash biker and there isn’t a more beautiful bike than this in my opinion. Could use a few more cc’s, but I could do without the tickets too.
Seattle-not my first choice to live, but since moving here I’ve sort of fallen on love with this quirky, passive/aggressive mecca. The music scene is amazing and I actually like the weather. And coffee
Radiohead – ‘The King Of Limbs’/‘TKOL RMX 1234567, 8’.
Say what you want about this album/remix set Radiohead is unrelenting in it’s pursuit of music that challenges, entertains and ultimately influences a legion of admirers, imitators and haters. In the end it’s all about remaining true to yourself. I’m just glad they let us share in that journey.
Die Antwoord ‘$O$’-technically release in 2010, but i really played the crap out it in 2011. I’m not sure why I like this so much, but I do. I guess it’s the most punk-rock music out there right now. It’s hooky, well produced and so politically incorrect and trashy. It exists in the margins and is never at a loss for a point of view. Parody or serious musical expression, I like it.
Massive Attack live @ the Greek/Berkeley-breathtakingly good. Everything I wanted from their live show and more.
Portishead/WaMu Theatre, Seattle-again, an all-time favorite band bringing a live show that matches the sound with vision. Not an easy feat with analogue equipment and live singers. They delivered in a venue with less-than-impressive acoustics.
coffee wars-moving to Seattle I find myself drawn into a shared obsession with coffee. The snobbery rivals Napa whines and the irony of Starbucks is just too good not to appreciate. A lot of drama to justify $5.00 coffee drinks and really unhealthy bakery snacks if you ask me. Don’t get me started on Stumptown vs Hirkimer. Hats off to marketing genius, I’m hooked!
1. Maura and Mark’s wedding
2. Finally getting to work with J again
4. The water feature that Brian built
5. Vito Pepperoni’s ongoing cuteness
6. Biking Vashon
7. Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met
8. Gramercy Syrah 2009
9. Montmartre (thanks to Carly and Gabe!)
10. Tally, Coco and Mack
11. 2011 fall foliage in Seattle
12. Husky flake ice cream
13. The love triangle starring Vito Pepperoni, Chuy Pancakes and Chi Chi Coconuts
OFF Festival 2011
anything by Total Control
watching Chris Jacobs’ pal attempt bumming a smoke from John Lydon in a Kotowice, Poland hotel lobby
the quality of releases from Hardly Art and Sub Pop
my brilliant coworkers
the rest of my coworkers
waiting for 2112…I mean 2012
1. Meeting and talking with John Taylor of Duran Duran
2. Seeing Duran Duran play for the first time ever. I’ve wanted this since I was 7, which is about 30 years ago. Dreams can come true, y’all!
3. UV Race Homo
4. HBO’s Enlightened and FX’s Louie
5. Pizza Fest 2!
6. Magic Trick live. Your mind will be blown.
7. Inviting famous people to the office. (If you are mildly famous and happen to be in Seattle, please come over! It’s fun.)
8. Shellac at VERA
9. Shabazz Palaces Black Up
10.Dogtooth and Bridesmaids
11. Kitsap County Haunted Houses + Halloween in general this year
- Still cracking myself up on a regular basis, usually over things like this
- Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney – making me crazy inspired and happy
- Breaking Bad/Enlightened/Louie – If all of TV was this good, I would never leave the house
- Bridesmaids/Blue Valentine – I am not immune to Kristen Wiig or Ryan Gosling’s charms and I don’t want to be.
- This cat cake from lauren
- Reading Bossypants in one night
- Tinariwin with dinner
- UV Race in the car
- Kurt Vile while hanging out at home
- “Rolling in the Deep” on the radio
- WU LYF on Spotify
- Raphael Saadiq on weekend afternoons
- Shabazz Palaces on headphones
- Marc Maron podcast while working on projects
- Still loving my yearly viewings of Annie Hall & After Hours
- Finally starting Etsy Store after talking about it for years.
- This guy
- And all my favorite people that always make all the difference.
Fucked Up David Comes to Life
Unnatural Helpers/Uzi Rash West Cost Tour
Trashies/Shannon and the Clams Dangle Tangle tour 2011
Jeff the Brotherhood “Mellow Out”
Shannon and The Clams Sleep Talking LP
Vito’s Top 10:
2. Stuart M
4. Sasha M
5. Sun spot near Chris’s desk
6. Summer in Worcester
7. Chi Chi
10. Short toenails
Cayle Sharrat intern & filler-inner
Banner Pilot Heart Beats Pacific
Beastie Boys Hot Sauce Committee, Part II
Fucked Up David Comes to Life
Future Islands On the Water
The Head and the Heart Self Titled
Into it.Over It.
Proper Lights _Siberia_
Mariachi El Bronx Mariachi El Bronx (II)
Nothington Borrowed Time
We Were Promised Jetpacks In the Pit of the Stomach
I think I’ve got my top ten things of 2011. It’s not really a top ten (specific to a topic) thing… is that ok? It’s just 10 things that rocked 2011 for me.
1. My new winter boots. Puddles can suck it.
2. Making a drinking game out of MarioKart N64.
3. The discovery of David James Duncan (PNW author).
4. The discovery of my macbook charger (seriously, lost it for 4 months).
5. The discovery that I can walk/bus/bum a ride anywhere. Parking can suck it.
6. Ok, let’s get honest. Red Box! You don’t even have to talk to people anymore.
7. Doe Bay Festival. I finally got hooked. Drinking in the wilderness while listening to Sera Cahoone & Damien Jurado? Yeah, ok.
8. El Cameon taco truck in Ballard. Nothing heals a broken heart like 6 tacos al pastor.
9. Buster Keaton movies.
10. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
1. The Beach Boys – The Smile Sessions
2. Middle Brother – Middle Brother
3. Weezer’s Blue/Pinkerton Tour
4. Learning how to make eggs benedict and eating it for breakfast 2-4 times a week.
5. Bloody Marys
6. My turquoise ring I got at a flea market in Portland.
7. Iced coffee.
8. Pickwick (more specifically, experiencing Pickwick play at a wedding and end up being one of the better wedding bands I’ve seen)
9. Having the same tattoo as my grandpa.
10. The Fling – What I’ve Seen
Top ten things that happened to me in 2011
1. I got adopted by some fairly nice people.