Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NPR Top Albums of 2011

NPR is asking folks to vote for their Top Ten Albums of 2011.

NPR's own list is here:

I didn't use the write-in option, just chose from the albums offered by NPR, and man, it was hard!!!

Sadly, I landed up leaving out Tune-Yards, The Decemberists, The Fleet Foxes, The Smith Westerns, and many other bands that had GREAT albums in 2011...

hey! is it too early to say there is now a renaissance of sorts in both Americana/folky stuff and psychedelic garage-y stuff???

My final list:

Arctic Monkeys
Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst)
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Iron & Wine
PJ Harvey
Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO)
Jeff The Brotherhood
Wild Flag

P.S. I'm leaving off The Black Keys since I just got it the other day, so for me, it's NOT one of my top albums of 2011... at least not yet....

Arctic Monkeys To Tour U.S. arenas with The Black Keys...

They are a two-piece and they play The Blues...
                                                  The Black Keys from Akron, Ohio...
They currently have the top selling album in the country...

(scroll down to see my Black Keys photos, Patrick's Pitchfork interview, and videos of The Black Keys on Colbert and Saturday Night Live)

Arctic Monkeys touring giant U.S. arenas next Spring with The Black Keys... not sure if I should feel happy or sad... oh well.. does this mean the days of being able to see Arctic Monkeys in small U.S. venues are, uh, over???

similarly, how do i feel about The Black Keys becoming so HUGE in the past year or so? mixed feelings, mixed feelings.... glad "one of ours" made it (and hats off to Dan and Patrick for being outstanding and bringing The Blues to a whole new generation...), but a little wistful to "lose" them to The Mean Ol' World...

from The official Arctic Monkeys site:

Arctic Monkeys are pleased to announce they will be touring North America in March 2012 with The Black Keys.
The tour will begin in Cincinnati on the 2nd March 2012 and wraps up in Norfolk, Virginia on the 23rd March 2012.
2nd March       US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, OH
3rd March       Joe Louis, Detroit, MI
4th March       Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH
6th March       Cumberland County CC, Portland, ME
7th March       Boston Garden, Boston, MA
9th March       Verizon, Washington, DC
10th March      Wells Fargo, Philadelphia, PA
12th March      Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
13th March      Bell Centre, Montreal
14th March      Air Canada, Toronto, ON
16th March      Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
18th March      Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
19th March      United Center, Chicage, IL
20th March      Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
23rd March      Ted Constant Center, Norfolk, VA
Tickets will be available from Friday 9th/Saturday 10th December – ticketlinks to follow next week.
Videos i shot of The Arctic Monkeys:

Black Keys videos i shot:

I have a lot of still shots of The Black Keys too (no, not The Black Eyed Peas, dammit)(i heard recently that a Black Keys VMA was mislabeled as "The Black Eyed Peas"... hahahahaha). Patrick is incredible to shoot. I also caught Dan's solo tour. That solo album is pretty tight too... don't know how many people got to hear it...

Dan is a GREAT guitarist.... and Patrick is an incredible drummer...

all photos and videos by Michael Donnelly (mikedx1) for ThisSmallPlanet/NewMusicToday.
please credit when reproducing or publishing.

from Pitchfork:

The Black Keys' Patrick Carney Talks El Camino, BlakRoc, Black Eyed Peas

"I'm naturally full of shit. I'd rather be organically full of shit."

By Larry FitzmauriceDecember 6, 2011 12:45 p.m. CT
The Black Keys' Patrick Carney Talks <i>El Camino</i>, BlakRoc, Black Eyed Peas
Photo by Danny Clinch
Ten years ago, few would have guessed that the Black Keys would outlast the White Stripes, but that's exactly where we're at in 2011. The enduring blues-tinged rock duo just released their seventh album, El Camino, which was produced and written with assistance from Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton. And they aren't even close to slowing down-- they recently re-signed with their current label, Warner Bros. offshoot Nonesuch-- though constant productivity does occasionally take its toll. That's one of the topics that I touched on with drummer Patrick Carney when we spoke last week.
Carney was gearing up for the Black Keys' promotional blitz behind El Camino, which included an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" and a free NYC show broadcast on MTV Hive. (The band will appear on "The Colbert Report" tonight and "Letterman" tomorrow, too). During our conversation, we also talked about the making of El Caminobandmate Dan Auerbach's recent Black Eyed Peas diss, and what happened with that rumored sequel to theirBlakRoc hip-hop album.
"After more people start paying attention to your band, you can make a bizarre indie album if you are worried about maintaining cred, or you can make the same album you made before if you're worried about alienating your audience-- or you can just make a record that you think people will like and that you like, too."
Pitchfork: Leading up to the recording of Brothers, you were going through the dissolution of your marriage and some inter-band tension. How did the sessions for El Camino compare in terms of personal stress?
Patrick Carney: I was more relaxed by a long shot. But it was a little bit strange because we weren't expecting Brothers to be nearly as successful as it was. It wasn't that we didn't want to be successful, but after putting out records for so long, we assumed that we found our niche and were staying in it. I was a bit stressed having to process the idea of more people paying attention to the band.
After that happens, you can take a few different routes. You can make a difficult, eccentric, bizarre indie album if you are worried about maintaining cred, or you can make the same album you made before if you're worried about alienating your audience-- or you can just try to make a record that you think people will like and that you like, too. We owe it to our fans to make something that we're really proud of.
Pitchfork: What made you guys decide to make another record with Danger Mouse again after producing Brothers by yourselves?
PC: After he produced Attack and Release, we were worried about being too closely associated with anybody outside of the band, so we did Brothers on our own. But after we finished the main tracks [for Brothers], we decided to call Brian up and see if he could come up with anything else. That's when we did "Tighten Up", which was the last song we did for that album. So when it came time to make the new record, we just picked up where we left off. El Camino was written by Dan, Brian, and I, and the three of us technically produced the album together, too. For this album, the Black Keys became a three-piece band.
Watch the video for El Camino's "Lonely Boy":
Pitchfork: After MTV mistakenly put "Black Eyed Peas" on your Video Music Award, Dan told GQ that no one's going to know who they are in 20 years. Do you think people are going to remember the Black Keys in 20 years?
PC: No.
Pitchfork: Why?
PC: I don't know-- what's the difference between Rush and Led Zeppelin, other than the fact that one band is awesome and one is really annoying? Maybe we're like Led Zeppelin-- but maybe we're Rush. Everything is relative. The worst thing that can happen is for you to think that you're Led Zeppelin, but it turns out you're Loverboy.
I agree with Dan's statement, though. Twenty years from now, not many people are going to remember most of the pop stuff. I think everybody who bought a Guided By Voices record in 1995 still thinks they're very relevant, me included. But we're talking about 60,000 people, not the 10 million 12 year-olds that bought "Laughing My Ass Off" or whatever.
Pitchfork: Let's say calls you right now and asks you to collaborate on the new Black Eyed Peas album. Would you?
PC: Uh, no. Stuff like that would be tempting because it would probably mean a million dollar check. But you would have to live with yourself.
"The worst thing that can happen is for you to think that you're
Led Zeppelin, but it turns out you're Loverboy
Pitchfork: A trailer for BlakRoc 2 came out recently, but you said that the project was actually dead in the water. What happened?
PC: We decided to scrap the whole record because it wasn't as fun or as interesting as the first one. It felt gimmicky. But [executive producer] Damon Dash just had a trailer made and put it out. He's an interesting guy. There are really good things about him, and some things that aren't so good-- like releasing a trailer for a record that's not going to come out, thinking it will pressure us to release it. I think the Damon of today is a lot different than the Damon of ten years ago. He really does have an ear for hip-hop, and it's unfortunate that he's not able to exercise that more.
Pitchfork: Including BlakRoc, you've released an album in eight of the last 10 years. Does that intense work ethic ever wear on you guys?
PC: You never know how long a band can really continue to tour and be productive, but Dan and I will be musicians our whole lives. We'll always be a band, it's just a matter of how active we are. Right now, we're taking advantage of it. Maybe a year from now we'll take a break, but we still have to go to Australia and South America, so who the fuck knows.
Pitchfork: Is there part of the promotional process that's especially grating?
PC: It's not hard work, but what does get old is answering the same questions over and over. Like, "Why is there a minivan on the cover of the album?" German journalists are pretty serious sometimes, so if you just say, "Because we thought it was funny," you get dirty looks.
Once you get asked a question 50 times, you know how to sound like the most thoughtful person on earth answering it. But at that point, you're basically full of shit. And I'm naturally full of shit. I'd rather be organically full of shit.