Archive for the ‘Fleet Foxes’ Category

The end of the year marks a great opportunity for reflection. For a music enthusiast, it’s a perfect excuse to make a list of my top albums and songs of the year. This was relatively challenging for me. I tend to think and live very much in the moment. I get swept up in what’s going on around me right now. And for this exercise I had to abandon, for a second, what was playing in the moment, and reflect on what had been playing over the course of the past 12 months. I am not sure I entirely succeeded. But, alas, below I present to you my top 20 songs and top 11 albums of 2011!

Top 20 Songs of 2011

20. Long Days, Fast Years by Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

19. Someone Like You by Adele

18. Another by The White Album

17. Kiss Quick by Matt Nathanson

16. If I Wanted Someone by Dawes

15. Eagle’s Nest by Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps

14. Café Lights by Hey Marseilles

13. Everything (Overture) by Chris Bathgate

12. Anyhow… by Tyler Lyle

11. The Nature of Our Kind by Vandaveer

10. We Will All Be Changed by Seryn

9. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

8. Down In The Valley by The Head and the Heart

7. Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars

6. New York by Blind Pilot

5. Old Pine by Ben Howard

4. Blackout by Pickwick

3. 1957 by Milo Greene

2. Beggar In The Morning by The Barr Brothers

1. Honey Jars by Bryan John Appleby


Top 11 Albums

11. Gift Horse by Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

10. 21 by Adele

9. Ashes and Fire by Ryan Adams

8. Dig Down Deep by Vandaveer

7. The Golden Age & The Silver Girl by Tyler Lyle

6. The Barr Brothers by The Barr Brothers

5. Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars

4. Fire On The Vine by Bryan John Appleby

3. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

2. The Head and The Heart by The Head and The Heart

1. We Are The Tide by Blind Pilot


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In the spirit of holidays, I have been compiling lists of my favorite songs and albums of 2011. I’m currently on my 6th, and hopefully last, iteration of my list of top 20 songs of 2011 and realized that I have mistakenly not yet written about two of them:

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

The Fleet Foxes—the folk love child of Sub-Pop and the Pacific Northwest—released their sophomore album, Helplessness Blues in May of this year. While the album maintains the same golden harmonies, which steadily flow through the tunes on Fleet Foxes and Sun Giant, they are in shorter supply on Helplessness, allowing Robin Pecknold to take a commanding vocal role. The album demonstrates the band’s impeccable musicianship and unique sound, at once timeless and refreshingly new. Fleet Foxes has carved their own neo-folk niche, akin to a modern-day Simon & Garfunkel, and has paved the way for emerging neo and indie-folk groups, including the likes of The Head and the Heart. Pitchfork aptly describes Helplessness Blues as “comparatively deeper, more intricate, and more complex, a triumphant follow-up to a blockbuster debut.” The title track is the album’s centerpiece, flushed with Pecknold’s sweet vocals, introspective lyrics and undulating acoustic textures.

After some thinking
I’d say I’d rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery
Serving something beyond me.

Everything (Overture) by Chris Bathgate

Chris Bathgate’s hauntingly beautiful vocals only entered my life a few short months ago when I stumbled upon his NPR Tiny Desk concert. I was immediately struck by his somber voice, so unique in its quality, belting out the horn section of Everything (Overture). This tune comes from the Michigan-native’s record Salt Year, released this past spring. The studio version is fleshed out with horns and percussion, which perfectly complement Bathgate’s organic, melancholy voice.

Every day, my heart has saved
it withers no matter
how sad or strange

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