5. Wheeler Brothers at Mohawk in August

Memorable in a bad way. How a bad crowd can ruin a show. Redneck glory is not my idea of a good time. Haven’t wanted to see the band again since.

4. Keep Shelly in Athens at Empire Auto in November

Part of FFFNites, this aftershow was killer. I missed their early show at FFF that day, which was their first-ever performance in America. So I caught the second, and the first non-festival performance, which was probably more exciting anyway, because I was about seven feet away from singer Sarah P., max. They were so embarrassed by their fans: stay adorable, mysterious Grecian duo!

3. Weezer at Stubbs in June

Are you effing kidding me? I thought I’d never ever get to see The Band That Saved Me From Country Music play a single song from Pinkerton live. Not only did I get to see the entirety of Pinkerton, I also got to see live versions of Jamie, Suzanne, Longtime Sunshine, and so much more. I scream-sang along the whole time.

2. The AMP Launch Party and Benefit at Moody Theater in March

My first time at a new venue, an amazing lineup, and being up at the front with people I love.

Also, the hilariously terrible and frightening Blue October set was certainly memorable.

1. Gang Gang Dance, at Mohawk (Prince Rama opening) in October

Ethereal, energy permeating the crowd, surreal to see some of those sounds created live after I first caught a glimpse of the band through a free postcard in KΓΈbenhavn.

A totally nutty opener, as well. It’s awkward when you trust fall and no one catches you.

Don Armando’s Second Avenue Rhumba Band – I’m an Indian Too

More of this, please, universe.

New Bright Eyes! I’m so excited. NPR is streaming the new album until it comes out.

I had heard the Shell Game before, and loved it. Not to get ahead of myself, because I’m only two or three songs into listening, but this is making my ears jump for joy. It’s so different from The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (is that what it was called?) mostly because of how refined Conor’s voice is (or how much more produced it is?), but also because he sounds happy instead of distrustful and angsty while still keeping that raw energy that I love. Ch-ch-check it out, friends.

I hope this song is intended as a parody of the auto-tuned, lazy crap that scares me away from the Top 40 most of the time. Please, someone fill me in on the joke, because otherwise, Snoop, just stick to rapping about weed. And please put a shirt on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-Fj33r2qdc (if you dare)

You know, it’s that time again. None of these lists will be in any particular order, nor are they based on anything but pure whim. This is the music that I really, really dug this year.

Albums of 2010*:

  • Caribou: Swim
  • The Tallest Man on Earth: The Wild Hunt
  • Deadmau5: 4×4=12
  • Beach House: Teen Dream
  • Gorillaz: Plastic Beach
  • Midlake: The Courage of Others
  • The Octopus Project: Hexadecagon
  • Band of Horses: Infinite Arms
  • Broken Bells: Broken Bells
  • Yeasayer: Odd Blood

My favorite live shows of the year

  • The Tallest Man on Earth, at Antone’s
  • Beach House, at ACL
  • Big Sam’s Funky Nation, at The Parish
  • Sleigh Bells, during SXSW
  • Autobody, at The Parish, during Free Week and in March
  • T-Bird and the Breaks, at Mohawk during Free Week
  • Deadmau5, at ACL
  • Ratatat, at Stubb’s
  • Neon Indian, at Emo’s
  • Julian Casablancas, at La Zona Rosa

Songs from 2010

  • Fujiya & Miyagi – Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue
  • The Tallest Man on Earth – The King of Spain
  • Owen Pallett – Lewis Takes Off His Shirt
  • Lil Wayne ft. Nicki Minaj – What’s Wrong With Them (Why? Because I study to it.)
  • Beach House – Zebra
  • Discovery – So Insane
  • Florene – Deal With It
  • Teen Daze – 90s Kids (Millionyoung remix)
  • Lil Wayne ft. Eminem – Drop the World (Rebirth)
  • Bassnectar ft. Nelly Furtado – Magical World

Other great music-related happenings in my life this year

  • Seeing “Strange Powers,” the Magnetic Fields documentary (partly filmed in Austin!), with a director Q&A afterward
  • Discovering Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist
  • Continuing to live in Austin, where I always feel like the music fairy has just visited
  • Leaving behind the Israel tour bus and its five terrible, horrible songs on repeat, and, a month later, getting them out of my head

Of course, this end-of-the-year compilation time is one of my favorites because it makes me revisit a lot of albums I didn’t get to this year that other people loved. I have so much new stuff to listen to for my upcoming road trip!

Only two finals to go! Part of my distraction technique (to keep me distracted from the fact that I’ve been sitting for like 14 hours a day for far too many weeks on end, not a reasonable thing like preventing me from being distracted, obviously) is to slowly but surely decorate for Christmas!

I learned the power of Christmas decorations when I was studying abroad where the sun goes down at 3:30 p.m. during December. Christmas lights up the night, which is important when night lasts for most of the day, too. Christmas also lights up my little apartment, dreary with the repetition of finals studying. And what better background for Christmas decorating than Christmas music!

My favorites include old standards (Greensleeves, O Holy Night), instrumentals (What.Up. Mannheim Steamroller!), and most of what Pandora turns up on the Christmas Canon station. I tend to leave the poppier stuff to the people shopping at malls I won’t go near again until Christmas is over. I mean, I’m not going to pretend that Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You” wasn’t my ringtone for a month my sophomore year of college. But I’ve also been scarred by working retail during the holidays. A lot of really, extremely terrible Christmas music is out there, guys. A. Lot.

Much to the displeasure of my neighbors, I spend much of December belting out the lyrics to Christmas songs I don’t know in my tuneless voice, repeating the words I do know over and over again and skipping over that whole “verse” part of the songs. Could that be why I have a massive sore throat today? What do YOU listen to at Christmastime?

Big Day for music, friends. At least, big day for music Jess digs.

The time has finally come. New. Daft. Punk.

Disney selloutsAND, AND, new Deadmau5

4x4=12I would say it’s like Christmas, except that instead of listening to these in full jam mode, I’m listening to them while studying for finals. Not quite the same.

Still. Big day.