December, in 2011. What a fascinating exercise in musical reflection we do here. The whole thing can indeed overwhelm, and by the end of the month, sometimes cause a numbing effect that unfortunately leaves many excellent pieces underseen. So with that in mind, here are some proper shoutouts to great work done by those in the Directory B music blog family, in case you missed it:
One of the most rewarding developments in 2011 was the rise of No Fear of Pop. Run by Henning Lahmann of Berlin and Tonje Thilesen of Norway, the site represents a unique crossing in taste, complimented by eloquent writing, prolific and timely coverage, and an often prophetic knowledge of the obscure—meaning these two are tastemakers in the highest regard. And like two sane minds probably should, they’ve each made their own list. Behold, Henning’s top 30 albums and tracks, and Tonje’s top 30 albums and tracks.
Where would we be without Flashlight Tag? Over the past year, Chicago’s Tyler Andere (who recently Q & A-ed) has become synonymous with discovery. With a very specific ear for hidden, beat-laden gems, he always champions the underrated and underground sound. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his approach to this list. Eight releases (of any format), all seemingly pulled from a batch most of us were not yet aware of, and beautifully matched to found photography: here.
A long time reliable voice, Baltimore’s Pasta Primavera once again amassed an excellent and diverse selection of favorites (and that’s a rock solid top three), nicely formatted too, and playlist-ready, go.
There’s a grey area between blog and full-on web publication these days, and NYC-based The Wild Honey Pie flourishes in it, offering an ever inclusive look at the indie world climate, with thoughtful reviews and self-produced live session videos. Eric Weiner and co went big on these lists; 25 LPs, and 15 EPs, each with insightful blurb-age, and Spotify-able.
Florida-based experimental pop blog, AWD Castles (check out George’s QA), compiled straight from the heart in a pair of gif-ed out posts: one looks back on releases that “took me away”, and the other tracks that “emphasized my year.” Both, very well worth your time.
Sorrow Eternal is thoroughly breaking down everything metal in 2011.
The massively comprehensive Listen Before You Buy has been counting down (and streaming) their 31 top albums daily, one by one, all leading up to the New Year’s Eve #1. Read about the extravaganza (which also includes a contest) here, and sort through the growing archive here.
Instead of forming the usual series, Sweden’s No Modest Bear spliced his balearic-leaning picks into one seamless, 101-minute mix. And one thing we’ve definitely gathered as non-Swedish speaking NMB readers is that mixes are something Oskar is really, really good at.
Speaking of atypical, Eloise of verb/re/verb (aka the raddest 16 year-old on the planet) continues to progress the concept of blogging, this time by sharing her favorite songs inside an actual handmade zine. Each one contains 22 visual/literary pieces, and while there are a limited number of complete zines, she can mail you selected fragments upon request.
Wow. Thanks again, Dave!