Top 6 of 2011 (The story so far)

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By Brigette Adair Herron

1. Vivian Girls – Share The Joy

This album was criminally overlooked. Although you could have a look at what this guy wrote about it.

Here’s what I wrote about it earlier this year on Tumblr:

The words are so small on the insert of Share The Joy I had to go into the bathroom to read them. I had to squint and tilt and lean over the sink. I read the words to ‘Lake House’.

“Oh my lord what a shallow home, I’m wide awake out on the lake, at 3 am I sleep again, watch the tides rise right between my eyes, It’s in my head, but I’ll be dead before the sun will rise again”.

I am floored. I don’t know if this is right, but I feel like this album was made for me. My age, my gender, my youth, and my band.  And I don’t care if I sound selfish, or petulant. If you had spent your whole life filled with people telling you about what it felt like when they found their favorite artist, making music right then, in their particular moment, you would hold it in your arms and refuse to share it too.

And do you know what? I still haven’t taken the CD out of my car. It still has a hold over me.

2. Young Lyric aka Lyrikkal

If there is ever a Collapse Board company picnic, there are so many people I wanna give a big ol’ bear hug to. People like Kelly McClure, who brought Young Lyric into my life. Normally, I would be embarrassed to say that I spent hours watching all of a nine-year-old’s YouTube videos, but these are truly amazing. Young Lyric aka Lyrikkal, from Houston TX (birthplace of Destiny’s Child), got famous on the internet for posting videos of her revamped versions of popular songs. She completely re-contextualizes each one with adorable swagger, talent and positive self-image. I just love this kind of thing. Maybe it’s because I had a little sister who would constantly entertain me with her own versions of songs, dances and sketch comedy routines. Don’t be a heartless windbag. Put your no. 2’s in the air and scribble on ‘em!

3. Wild Flag

Oh my god. The energy of Wild Flag is unbelievable. It’s exactly what the name says it is — manic, flapping, beautiful. They make you want to roll around on the floor. They make you want to lose your shit. They make you want to be a better … whatever it is that you want to be. DON’T YOU SEE? YOU ARE ALL GOING TO HAVE TO TRY HARDER!

Carrie Brownstein, Mary Timony, Janet Weiss, Rebecca Cole — if I met any of these people in person I would probably faint, or throw up. I can’t talk about it anymore. I’m getting dizzy.

4. Planningtorock – W (DFA)

This is the item on the list I am excited about the most. This record is just waiting to be gobbled up. In fact it reminds me of this Angela Carter short story, a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood, where the heroine accepts her fate of being devoured by the wolf with a sort of sexually charged glee. It is performance art gone so right. Just get an earful of this.

5. Warpaint’s live performance at Glastonbury

I thought Warpaint was going to be too straightforward for me — too melancholic, all sludge and dirge. It seemed to have that slick ambient sound that people use to patch over all the, in my opinion, good stuff. For better or for worse, I started avoiding these signifiers in music a while back. If it didn’t make me want to pick up the guitar, then my attention wandered. But, at a certain point the music being made by Warpaint began to stand apart from its signifiers. I passed on them completely after hearing a few tracks from last fall. It was seeing this live performance from Glastonbury that changed my mind. I got caught by the siren song.

Oh Warpaint, with your murderous rhythm section. That bass! Those drums! Then the singers begin to sing. They support one another, stretching the melody to places they could not reach on their own. It’s as if they are saying to one another, “Everything is fine, and I will always be here with you”. They bring out the best in one another. And that goes for the whole band, not just the singers. There is no chaos. There is no anger. Just agony, longing, and the sensation of desperately reaching out for something that you know has already gone. This music swells and retracts, with oceanic force. There is an overarching theme of water. Even the vocals wobble through some sort of weird production that makes them sound the way water looks when it ripples. If you listen closely you will become convinced that you are getting closer to uncovering the mysteries that Warpaint has hidden in some underwater cave. Of course you aren’t. You will probably just drown.

6. Paradoxical Undressing– Kristin Hersh

Rat Girl

This is a truly great memoir, music-related or otherwise. My copy is called Rat Girl because I live in America, and even though I got to read it in December of 2010, this book is just too important not to mention in this list. Since it was released in the UK in January of 2011 under the title Paradoxical Undressing, I feel like I can include it in good conscience. Hurry up and read it before the Throwing Muses retrospective Anthology comes out in September. You can read another great CB review of the book by the super-fabuloso Lucy Cage here.

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