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Top Fifty Songs of the Year Mixtape

December 27, 2011

I’ve rarely been on-the-ball enough to get my year end lists done by December 31, but this year I made a concerted effort to have all my 2011 reviewing done early. As a result, I was able to put together not just a top 20 albums list, but a top 50 songs mixtape and a top 11 songs list. Here’s the mixtape, organized generally from fast’n’loud to slow’quiet. Hear all of the songs at their links, with one exception of a purchase link (#27). The other lists will come over the next few days.

1. “Nights Like This” – Icona Pop
2. “Bass, Not an 8-track” – Oh Look Out
3. “I Don’t Want to Go To Sleep Either” – FM Belfast
4. “Now That I’m Real (How Does It Feel?)” – Chad Valley
5. “Ten-Twenty-Ten” – Generationals
6. “Sticks & Stones” – Jonsi
7. “Norgaard” – The Vaccines
8. “Just Me and My Canseco Rookie Card” – Banquets
9. “Axiomatic” – Bottle Up and Explode
10. “Yeah (Crass Version)” – LCD Soundsystem (Live at Madison Square Garden)
11. “Good in Green” – Saturday Sirens
12. “A Dream of Water” – Colin Stetson
13. “No Reservation” – Del Bel
14. “Box-Type Love” – Run Dan Run
15. “What Once Ran Wild” – Wild Domestic
16. “Movement” – Dam Mantle
17. “Saw You First” – Givers
18. “Glass Deers” – Braids
19. “Cassette 2012” – Delay Trees
20. “James Franco” – Hoodie Allen
21. “Black and White” – Generationals
22. “Kam” – Oh Look Out
23. “Prowl Great Cain” – The Mountain Goats
24. “Hobo Chili” – Attica! Attica!
25. “Montauk Monster” – Laura Stevenson and the Cans
26. “Down to the River” – Cameron Blake
27. “We Will Never Have Tonight Again” – Sandra McCracken
28. “Turbulence” – Of God and Science
29. “Nothing But Love Can Stay” – Afterlife Parade
30. “Stones” – The Collection
31. “The Region of the Summer Stars” – Come On Pilgrim!
32. “Fever” – The Collection
33. “The Healthy One” – Laura Stevenson and the Cans
34. “Some Boys” – Death Cab for Cutie
35. “Girls Girls Girls” – John Lepine
36. “At the Grindcore Show” – Common Grackle
37. “Simple Girl” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
38. “Dear Annabeth” – The Duke of Norfolk
39. “Kitchen Tile” – Typhoon
40. “Women in the Kitchen” – The Fox and the Bird
41. “Song for You” – Jenny and Tyler
42. “Find You” – Brianna Gaither
43. “Someone Like You” – Adele
44. “Through Your Eyes” – Jenny and Tyler
45. “No Silver” – Chris Bathgate
46. “Shoeboxes” – David Ramirez
47. “Unwed Fathers” – Carrie Rodriguez and Ben Kyle
48. “I Wish You Didn’t Feel Like My Home” – Matt the Electrician
49. “In Parts” – Run Dan Run
50. “Putting the Dog to Sleep” – The Antlers

Wild Domestic introduces post-jam into the lexicon

December 22, 2011

It’s appropriate that Wild Domestic was introduced to me as a “post-jam band.” While their song moods on their five-song, 38-minute self-titled debut skew toward the dark/artsy vibe that post-rock bands have made a name of, the off-the-cuff melodies and tight instrumental interplay recall .moe. Wild Domestic tightropes the line between the two idioms incredibly well in several tunes: “Universally Known/Already Forgotten” features a brilliant guitar melody that builds into a full rock section before dropping into a jam-friendly structure, while “What Once Ran Wild” turns a gymnastic performance from the drummer (constant eighth-note toms for over four minutes) into a hypnotic foundation for yearning guitar and vocal melodies. (The band has vocalists available; they just often choose to not sing.)

When the members can keep both sides of their spectrum in full view, their sound is balanced and unique. When one side of the sound takes over, it’s at the expense of Wild Domestic’s songwriting clarity. “In a Well Lit Room” is nice, but there’s a bit too much guitar noodling and rhythm section vamping for my taste. “Cowboy Boots and Casual Suits” eschews the quick tempos and full sound that marked their first two winners for a slow-building, pensive post-rocker. The atmosphere created is quite pretty, but the track lacks the inspired momentum of their best work. Closer “Gusty Winds May Exist” is also in the latter vein, although things start to gel toward the five-minute mark of the seven-minute piece.

Wild Domestic‘s jammy post-rock vision is one that I would love to see developed more. They’ve established a sound they can build on and delivered two nuggets of excellence; that’s a job well done on a debut.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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