December 2010 Archives

Top 10 Albums of 2010

Very promising start to the decade: 2010 had a group of solid albums (with the exceptions mentioned later on) and was overall far better than 2009. Lots of first timers this year.

Bit of housekeeping: 2009 only had 9 albums, and I said I'd add a 10th at some point. Well, I got lazy and never got around to adding that last album until now. I'm not going to get into revisionist history and reorder the list to add this album, but if I were to completely redo the list, it definitely wouldn't be 10th. 2009 updated!


10. LCD Soundsystem- This Is Happening: I never know what to say about electronic music, so I'll leave it at that.

Favorite songs: One Touch, I Can Change, Dance Yrself Clean


9. The New Pornographers- Together: I had to listen to this album a lot before deciding that it wasn't Challengers Part II. I'm not really sure where the band is going musically and I feel like they're on the verge of jumping the shark altogether. But this album is pretty solid, with the exception of tracks 4-6. Listen to the album while skipping those songs and tell me it isn't better. Really what I think I want to hear is a Dan Bejar/Neko Case album.

Favorite songs: Daughters of Sorrow, We End Up Together, Up in the Dark


8. Broken Bells- Broken Bells: I was never a fan of The Shins. I thought they were overrated for what they were. So I was surprised by how much I've enjoyed this album. 
Does Danger Mouse make everything better (with the exception of The Black Keys)? Maybe I'll have to go back and listen to The Shins again.

Favorite songs: The High Road, The Mall and Misery, The Ghost Inside


7. David Usher- The Mile End Sessions:  I've always thought that David Usher was at his best doing primarily acoustic stuff. By far his 2 weakest albums are more pop-rock leaning with questionable production choices. The bulk of the songs on The Mile End Sessions come from those albums. Take away the crap production and slow things down and the songs are vastly better. The best songs, "Everyday Things" and "Kill the Lights", both from his last album, are almost unlistenable in their original versions.  The one new song, "Fall to Pieces", is another highlight, and hopefully a glimpse into what his next album will be like.

Favorite songs: Everyday Things, Kill the Lights, Sparkle and Shine


6. Spoon- Transference: I'm surprised by how few lists this album is showing up on. I think that it's not getting the credit it deserves because unlike Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the band isn't doing as many new things (like using horns). But this album is great from top to bottom, just like the last 4 Spoon albums. They never have or will be the flashiest band out there, but no one does minimalist groove driven indie rock better.

Favorite songs: Nobody Gets Me But You, Trouble Comes Running, Out Go the Lights
 

5. Janelle Monae- The ArchAndroid: It takes some serious talent and ambition to pull off as many different genres and styles as Janelle Monae does on this album.You listen to this album and you can hear the showmanship that she is bringing to the table. Old school showmanship that involves not oversinging, using real instruments and quality songwriting.

Favorite songs: Locked Inside, Cold War, Tightrope


4. Emm Gryner- Gem and I: I've been waiting for this album for 3 years. In that time it went from being a "normal" Emm Gryner album to a duets album. I was a little reluctant at first because the pre-duet versions I'd heard were so good, but there was no reason to be. The collaborations are all solid and bring a wide variety of voices into the mix.

Favorite songs: Boy With an Affliction, Top Speed, Troublesome


3. The National- High Violet: At a loss for what to say about this album. It seems darker and almost more ominous than Boxer, which may be why I like it more.

Favorite songs: Conversation 16, Afraid of Everyone, Runaway


2. Beach House- Teen Dream: When I first heard Beach House, their music seemed good but the songs were almost indistinguishable from one other. On Teen Dream, they found variety and lightened the mood enough to keep me from falling asleep while listening. It still sounds like Beach House, just a better version of Beach House. "Norway" was easily my favorite song the first half of the year, partly because it reminds me of a kind of awful Fleetwood Mac song that's a guilty pleasure of mine.

Favorite songs: Norway, Silver Soul, Zebra 


1. Robyn- Body Talk: This year, Body Talk was my go-to album when I couldn't decide what to listen to. Full of well-crafted pop/dance songs from top to bottom, it seemed that I had a different song stuck in my head every day. If the general listening public had any sense, this album would be a massive hit. Even the songs from the 2 mini albums that didn't make it to the full length are some of my favorites from this year. The acoustic versions of "Hang With Me" and "Indestructible" prove once again that a well written pop song will still sound great even when it's stripped down.

Favorite songs: Indestructible, U Should Know Better, None of Dem


Dishonorable Mention:

The Black Keys- Brothers: Of course they've become more popular than they've ever been after releasing one of their worst albums. It's all downhill from here.

Vampire Weekend and any company using their music in their commercials: DIE

Looking Forward to in 2011: Adele (loving the first single), John Vanderslice, PJ Harvey, Sondre Lerche

New Years Eve Friday Five

Last day of the year, so let's get retrospective!

5 things that happened to me in 2010 that didn't suck:

  1. Got a new phone that isn't a piece of crap
  2. Had my work mentioned on Emm Gryner's journal *insert fangirl giggling here*
  3. Went to a wedding that I actually enjoyed
  4. Cut my hair so it's the shortest it's been in ~10 years without immediately regretting it.
  5. Saw my mom twice in one year
Happy New Year!

WIP Wednesday: Future Edition

Since this was a bit of an off Christmas for me, I made sure to keep an eye out for crafty ideas for next Christmas, when (hopefully) I'll have my own place again. One thing I plan to make I actually saw in a store. It was some pretty simple modern garland that was made up of large circles of patterned paper connected to each other with clips. I should've taken a picture but didn't. But I figured it would be pretty easy to DIY with some scrapbook paper and cardstock. The day after Christmas I went to Joann's and picked up a bunch of Christmas paper pads for 70% off. I'm also thinking of using the paper to create a banner like this one. I love everything in that picture. I'll also make some trees similar to that, which I found a tutorial for here. And then there's a wreath. I've never had one before, but always like they way they look. I'm thinking about doing something like this, partially because it gives me an excuse to buy yarn. (Side note: I'm becoming more and more minimalist as I get older but I always want to buy more craft stuff. It's ridiculous).

For a non-holiday project, I'll be doing something like this, since I got the postcards for Christmas. Actually, the project is the reason why I wanted them in the first place. Ideally they'll end up in my new awesome craft room with all my books.

As for stitchy things, right now I'm working on a dinosaur pattern for my nephew's birthday that's coming up in a few weeks. I'll also be doing another Phat Quarter swap that has a music theme. I've got some general ideas for what I want to do but I won't narrow it down until I find out who my partner is.

I totally failed to stitch my 12 ornaments. I completely lost interest in it and gave up. Still working on the square stitch which may be done next week. I've started to lose interest in that one too, I think because it's not a pattern I created.

Next week there will be pictures!

Xmas Eve Friday Five

Since  I already did my Christmas-related list, I'm gonna go in another direction. I was going to do a list of movies from this year that I liked, then I realized I haven't seen ANYTHING that actually came out this year. So how bout a list of movies from 2010 I'm looking forward to seeing?

  1. 127 Hours
  2. Toy Story 3
  3. The Social Network (so I can find out what this "Facebook" thing is everyone talks about)
  4. Black Swan
  5. True Grit

WIP Wednesday: Holiday Edition

Since they've started to arrive, I'll finally share my Christmas cards. My original idea was to do stitchy ones but after the whole moving/losing my craft room thing I decided it wasn't the best idea because I would've had to buy supplies that I really don't have the space for. So I made some stamped ones instead. The idea was to keep them pretty basic and modern. The hardest part was finding modern "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" stamps for the insides. I made 2-3 of each card design and there were some color variations to make them unique.

Card 1- Trees
This was a stamp my mom already had that I liked (and then stole). Just colored the trees in. Simple. Basic. BSTL.

xmas card: trees

Card 2- Ho-man
Used scraps of ho ho ho paper, and circle punches to create the "ho-man" cause I thought it would be funny. Super easy.

xmas card: ho-man

Card 3- Modern Tree
This stamp was originally an easter one I found on clearance. I removed the happy easter bit, leaving just the tree and colored the ornaments with Christmas colors instead. Upgrade!

xmas card: tree

Card 4- Loose Seal
Another one of my mom's stamps (that I didn't steal, but should have). Not only is he cute, but I turned him into an Arrested Development card. On the inside I wrote, "Beware of loose seals this holiday." Then I had to make sure to send them to people who might actually get the reference.

xmas card: seal

Here's the sentiments from the inside of the cards.

xmas cards: inside sentiments

I had fun making my cards this year, so I'll definitely do it again next year. I don't send that many cards, so I always have extra if a buy a box of cards. This way I only have to make the number I need and I can get creative with it. DIY or die!

Also, no stitchy pics because I'm experiencing some raging laziness right now. I blame the rain.

Friday Five

I'll be posting my favorite albums list in a couple of weeks. The National released an album that may or may not be my favorite of the year. In honor of that uncertainty, here's 5 of my favorite National songs.

  1. Karen
  2. 90 Mile Water Wall
  3. Available
  4. Baby, We'll Be Fine
  5. All The Wine

WIP Wednesday: Slacker Edition

Ornaments stitched in the last week: 0

I've been slacking in that department. I think I'm lacking Christmas spirit.

But on the other hand, lots of progress on my square stitch...

wip-square4

Almost done!

Friday Five-Xmas Style

Getting into the holiday spirit, here's my favorite Christmas songs.

  1. Last Christmas- Wham!
  2. Christmas Wrapping- The Waitresses
  3. Blue Christmas
  4. Christmastime- The Smashing Pumpkins
  5. Santa's Super Sleigh (not really but I needed a 5th)

WIP Wednesday: Mini Edition

Started working on my Christmas ornaments. My goal is to make 12 between now and Christmas. I'm not finishing them since I don't really have access to a lot of my non-stitchy craft supplies, so for right now I'm just stitching the fronts and backs. I did a sample one a couple of years ago (or maybe last year, who knows) that came out nicely. Basically they'll have a design on the front and back and will be stuffed.

I'm hoping this will solve my issues with Christmas crafting. It's hard for me to get motivated to make Christmas things before December, but by then I'm already decorating and busy with other holiday stuff and they never get done. I have a few unfinished projects because of this. Since I'm not decorating this year, I have the time and motivation to get some crafting in.

So here's what I've done so far....

wip-diamond

wip-tree1

wip-snowflake1

wip-snowflake2


No picture of the big square this week cause I forgot. Oopsie!

Friday Five

Friday always comes so fast! I should really plan these posts ahead of time. Anywho, since it's the end of the year, I'll be posting my favorite albums list soon. David Usher released an album that may or may not be my favorite of the year (you can listen to it here). In honor of that uncertainty, here's 5 of my favorite David Usher songs.

  1. St. Lawrence River
  2. Souring
  3. Long Goodbye
  4. In This Light
  5. Unholy, Dirty and Beautiful

WIP Wednesday: December Edition

wip-square3

Didn't make all that much progress in the last week. I blame turkey and general laziness. And possibly Plants vs Zombies.

Since it's December (where did the time go?), I'm going to start on those Christmas stitches I talked about a few weeks ago. I was going to stitch a wreath first, but now I'm thinking something else. Don't know what though. Riveting information, I know. I'm still looking for patterns and coming up with ideas for some modern looking stitched ornaments. Hopefully next week there'll be something more to show.