Create a soundtrack that captures the essence of your 2011 so far.

Holy Bananas! What a terrific idea WordPress!

I’ll start with the quintessential January song:

The New Year by Death Cab For Cutie

“So this is the new year. And I don’t feel any different”

Not only is this song on one of the best albums ever produced, it just makes you feel optimistic about the future. I woke up January 1st, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia visiting my best friend for a couple weeks. We spent the night at a club in a less than welcoming area of Atlanta. After 30+ futile attempts at nabbing a taxi, our only solution was to venture though the ghetto to public transportation. After we got off the train with some of Atlanta’s finest we were forced to take a minivan taxi from the Atlanta airport. It was a pretty eventful night and I am glad all of us made it home without a scratch on us or a new found gang affiliation. More from Gibbard & Company later on.

If Winter Ends by Bright Eyes

“So if there is a perfect spring that’s waiting somewhere, just take me there”

This is probably my most played song during the dreary winter months. Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes are just so good at crafting anthems for anytime of year but this song really just stands out in my mind when I think of winter. This song helped me cope when I was waiting for the tundra to thaw out.

Valentine by The Get Up Kids

“the constants aren’t so constant anymore”

I have to admit that I’m not one of those die-hard-super-duper-The-Get-Up-Kids-Fans but I really enjoy a couple of their albums. (Four Minute Mile and Something To Write Home About) There’s something about Matt Pryor’s voice that just screams, “hey, I was meant to do this”. I grew up hearing about the Get Up Kids and didn’t really give them a chance until I was around 17 or 18. Now that I’m older I appreciate their work a lot more. The last Valentine’s Day I remember actually spending with a significant other happened my senior year of high school. My boyfriend at the time was somewhat thoughtful and we went and made one at one of those Build-A-Bear stores. I probably liked pandas so much because I could relate to them seeing as how we had about the same amount of black around our eyes at any given time. I was a Myspace kid, of course. Putting trademark signs behind your name and having 15,000 “friends” can only get you so far in life.


Objects of My Affection by Peter Bjorn and John

“And the question is, was I more alive then than I am now? I happily have to disagree I laugh more often now, I cry more often now. I am more me”

I found myself listening to this song after I bought this album. I never gave Peter Bjorn and John a fair chance and fell head-first into a deep pool of regret after listening to Writer’s Block. The whole album is very positive and catchy from start to finish. PB&J (yep) crafted an album that made my morning routine a whole lot more tolerable. I am advising against listening to this if you do not enjoy catchy happy songs in your head for weeks at a time.

Finding Something to Do by Hellogoodbye

“I was getting tired of letting all my hours pass, hoping someday, somehow, someway, everything would last”

Hellogoodbye has always put out the most delightful records. I would imagine they would be possibly more delightful if I could listen to them with a significant other who would be willing to listen to music that incorporates ukuleles. Perhaps he even plays the ukulele, the sky is really the limit. Would It Kill You is a different animal. It’s cheery but as we have aged so have the members of Hellogoodbye. So much in fact maybe they have become senile since I never received a vinyl I paid for last year. Of course Hellogoodbye has nothing to do with this but I’m still waiting. Now that members of Hellogoodbye have gotten married their material is a little less..well..spastic. If you heard the mastered version of Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! then you probably know what I mean. I refuse to listen that album on the full length just because of how butchered it got with all that auto-tune. There’s a difference between auto-tune and auto-tune gone horribly, horribly wrong. If you listen to the demos you’re enjoying the actual song and not the added junk. I honestly forgot where I was going with that whole rant.

Everything I Own Fits in this Backpack by The Wonder Years
We’ve moved on again so I packed my shit and left home. It’s alright to think I still belong to something.”

You have to understand that growing up I was all about pop-punk. I would hear kids I knew were into hardcore music talking about the Wonder Years. I would assume it was some posi-straightedge-hardcore-whatever-music. I was wrong. The Wonder Years lean more towards New Found Glory then say…Terror. Not saying I’m totally against that genre of music but my days of listening to  Bane, One Dead Three Wounded, and Comeback Kid are more than over. I mean I was a kid, I was straight edge and I didn’t know any better. We all have those skeletons wearing black band hoodies in our closets right? Anyway, back to this song. The first week of August I moved to South Philly with a longtime friend of mine and her roommate. I don’t feel comfortable on my street but with the help of some pepper spray and awkward small talk with my neighbors I’m getting there. The Wonder Years are actually a really great band and it’s something me and my younger brother even both enjoy so that’s pretty great.

Helena Beat by Foster the People

“I never knew if I could face myself to change. You were pacing, I was insecure. Slip and fall, I’m dodging calls, hug the prison I’ve been living in”

I was watching an episode of CSI on demand in March and heard a song that I liked. Of course I had an iPhone back then and decided to Shazam it. It was Foster the People. Ever since that fateful night I’ve pretty much listened to Foster the People on a regular basis. Why? Why do I Waste (oh I need to stop) so much time listening to this band? They’re great. Of course their EP and their More Songs EPs available on iTunes in the early spring were a lot less spastic and more my cup of tea. Torches mastered the majority of the tracks off the EP and More Songs but let some of the really good ones slip through the cracks. People who have only listened to Torches are kind of missing out on their earlier material. FtP has become my daily soundtrack walking back to city hall after work just because it’s happy, dancey, and I left my mini-SD card reader back in Reading. I’m also to cheap to resubscribe to mobile Spotify. All the tracks off this album are good. So there. There are much better songs than Pumped Up Kicks out there, I promise.

Pensacola by Manchester Orchestra

“I’m tired of talking to a wall when I could talk to someone else. It’s been seven days without a word and you’re with someone somewhere else”

Manchester Orchestra, where do I been? Where have I been? (no one got that) Manchester Orchestra is in my top 3 favorite bands of all time. Everything they’ve ever released has just been pure gold in my mind. Andy Hull & company can do no wrong. I finally got the chance to see them play earlier in the year with my best friend and it was honestly one of the best shows I’ve ever attended. This was my favorite track of their newest release Simple Math. It’s probably the peppiest one besides April Fool. During the show some less than classy individuals who were behind me decided that they could sing the song better than Mr. Hull and proceeded to do so. I was not happy. Manchester Orchestra is in one word, wonderful.

Palomino by Mates of State

I have to admit I haven’t listened to Mates of State since I was 19 or so. This is when I discovered good indie-esque music like Her Space Holiday and Say Hi To Your Mom off the same indie-playlist torrent I was obsessed with for months. I kept hearing good things about this album so I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did, Mates of State just have the ability to put you in a great mood. I have no tagline because I don’t really need one. You can listen to it for yourself. I’m just going to warn you right now how truly infectious this song is, you’ve been warned.

All of This by The Naked and Famous

“I could have made this work but all I had was the hope that pieces would take shape. And we could watch them all fall into place”

More and more this is becoming a “top tracks of 2011” list, and that’s okay. The songs I listen to most do somehow form a soundtrack for my year. You know when you’re sure something could all work great. All you have to do is stop being so shy and say what you want to. It’s so easy…right? No, it’s not. Letting yourself become a passive party ensures one thing, you won’t get what you want. You’ll also regret being so passive down the line. Basically go for it! (in all aspects of life) All of This is probably my favorite track off TN&F’s album Passive Me, Aggressive You. All of This, (not to be confused with the depressing Blink-182 song of the same name) is just lyrically the best song on the album and the easiest to relate to. The Naked and Famous are just so dancey. This entire album is great and I don’t understand how more people I know don’t listen to them. So this is a recommendation, listen to them.


Dig Up the Dead by Mansions

“Nothing in my bones can say just where you’ve been. Nothing in my bones can let me start again. I’ll start again.”

Dig Up the Dead is the newest album from Mansions. Mansions is primarily Christopher Browder playing some pretty great music. I went to see Mansions a few months ago and ended up being (not so) fashionably late. I got there during the second half of this song (the last song) and was CRUSHED. I then spent the night being continuously being chatted up by strangers until I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business came on. Dig Up the Dead came out about a week before I saw them and it’s really something special. The singer of Mansions and a member of one of my favorite bands, Weatherbox collaborate on a project aptly titled “Manbox”. Yeah…Manbox. I would suggest giving Dig Up the Dead a good listen though.

Monday Morning by Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie is actually my favorite band of all time. From You Can Play These Songs With Chords to their newest release Codes and Keys, they’ve done no wrong. Transatlanticism is my favorite album of all time and I can’t see that changing anytime in the near future. I had higher expectations for Codes and Keys than what I was met with. With every playthrough of this album I gained more appreciation for tracks like “Doors Unlocked and Open” which has since became on of my favorites off the album. The first one to stand out to be besides the single was Monday Morning. A little before Codes and Keys was written Gibbard claimed he defeated alcoholism and married Zooey Deschanel. (Even as a straight female I’m kind of jealous of him, the woman is a goddess) Ben Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel are just the most powerful of the indiest-indie power couples. Deschanel has a project with M. Ward called She & Him which is also very very worth checking out. She sings, she acts, and is adorable. She has a great song written about her as well? Zooey Deschanel, I am jealous of you and I’m not jealous of anyone.

Choir Vandals by The American Analog Set

I cannot find anything particular about this song that relates to my year thus far.That being besides the whole “I just want to be someone you know” in regards to the Jewish looking boy with thick-rimmed glasses I see periodically at city hall on my way home from work. I heard a Ben Gibbard cover of it once and just fell in love with it only to realize it was in fact a cover..I liked the song so much that I actually downloaded their music and pretty much fell in love with them.

Don’t Say Oh Well by Grouplove

“So do you got that sweet devotion? oh will you follow your heart’s plan? Oh why not jump in to that ocean and run your fingers through your hair”

I honestly can’t remember how I first found out about Grouplove but I’m very glad I did. Every song off their self-titled puts me into a great mood. The subject matter of this album seems to be all about how they’re making it in their genre. They’re probably my newest musical discovery that I’m actually still really into a week later. I will definitely be buying tickets the next time these guys are in the area. Great energy makes great music.

I really wish I could do this justice. I really wish I could give you strangers/friends who care enough to read this/people who secretly hate me but read this anyway a better view but you probably wouldn’t care anyway.

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