Makeup For The Silence

The digital home of music writer Jesse Richman

Makeup For The Silence

Tag: 2011

Simple Math II – The Raw Data

So how did I spend my limited listening time this year? As of December 27, 2011:

  • By my count, over the course of this year I listened to exactly 250 LPs / EPs / splits / compilations released in 2011.  
  • There were 3,306 songs added to my iTunes library this year got at least one play (this includes older music added this year).
  • In total, songs added to my iTunes library in 2011 received 7,982 plays
  • My albums with the most track plays were:
  1. Go Radio – Lucky Street (319)
  2. Panic! At The Disco – Vices And Virtues (214)
  3. Sparks The Rescue – Worst Thing I’ve Been Cursed With (211)
  4. Tancred – Capes (193)
  5. Dredg – Chuckles And Mr. Squeezy (171)*

 *it’s funny how skewed these results get due to my reviewing; I don’t think I’ve  given that Dredg album a single listen since I wrote my review

  • My most played songs were:
  1. Go Radio – Kill The Beast (57)
  2. The Bigger Lights – Bullet Believers (Rah Rah Rah)  (38)
  3. Sparks The Rescue – Saturday Skin (38)
  4. Panic! At The Disco – Always (33
  5. Go Radio – Lucky Street (33)
  • I wrote 37 album reviews this year (as well as 10 short, lighthearted reviews of holiday singles for the annual PropertyOfZack Christmas Extravaganza).  By my own rule, each album I review gets no fewer than 10 listens over the course of no less than one week

This is all focusing on 2011 releases, but of course I spent plenty of time this year both revisiting old favorites and digging into new-to-me music from years past.  I’m not going to try and figure out how and where I spent this listening time; my last.fm account (feel free to add me) was out of commission for the first half of the year or so, and that totally skews any data I try and pull regarding my overall year.  I will say that there was a good two month stretch where I was listening almost exclusively to Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’s back catalog; my newly-developed OMD obsession will be as strong a musical memory of this year as any current release.

In addition, I spend a lot of time listening to music live, and I feel like that counts as much (if not more) than listening to CDs.  I won’t argue that a live performance is necessarily better than a recorded album – they’re two very different arts, and both can be great or lousy, and just because a band is lacking in one of these forms doesn’t make them less enjoyable in the other, at least not to me – but it’s definitely something different, and should be included here as well.  

  • I attended 108 shows this year (including three festival-style shows – all 3 days of Bamboozle, the Long Island stop of Warped Tour, and the Poughkeepsie dates of A Very GK Holiday).
  • At those shows, I saw (by my inexact count) 363 different sets played. 

The full list of albums and EPs from 2011** that I’ve listened to this year, alphabetical by artist, is after the cut.  Unfortunately I don’t have any way of pulling the info from my Foursquare checkins other than by hand, so I’m not going to try and figure out which bands I saw this year or how many times I saw each (though I may go back and do this sometime in the future, if I’ve got a little time to kill).

**I think these are all 2011 releases; I’m excluding anything I’m pretty certain is older, as well as rereleases, but I’m not about to go and crosscheck all of these.

  1. Aaron Gillespie – Anthem Song
  2. Aiden – Disguises
  3. Aiden – Some Kind Of Hate
  4. The Airborne Toxic Event – All At Once
  5. Alkaline Trio – Damnesia
  6. All Time Low – Dirty Work
  7. Amely – The Raleigh Sessions
  8. Anarbor – The Mixtape
  9. Animals As Leaders – Weightless
  10. Any Time Today – Any Time Today
  11. Asking Alexandria – Reckless And Relentless
  12. A$AP Rocky – LIVELOVEA$AP
  13. Balance And Composure – Separation
  14. Basement – I Wish I Could Stay Here
  15. Battles – Gloss Drop
  16. Bayside – Killing Time
  17. Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding
  18. Between The Buried And Me – The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
  19. The Bewitched Hands – Birds & Drums
  20. The Bigger Lights – Battle Hymn
  21. Bilal – Airtight’s Revenge
  22. Blood On The Dance Floor – All The Rage
  23. Brian Posehn – Fart And Wiener Jokes
  24. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
  25. Brighten – I’ll Always Be Around (EP)
  26. Britney Spears – Femme Fatale
  27. Butch Walker – The Spade
  28. The Cab – Symphony Soldier
  29. Cartel – In Stereo (EP)
  30. Cash Cash – Love Or Lust
  31. Cassette Kids – Nothing On TV
  32. Cher Lloyd – Sticks And Stones
  33. Childish Gambino – Camp
  34. Chris Carrabba – Covered In The Flood
  35. The Cinema – My Blood Is Made Of Airplanes
  36. Circa Survive – The Myspace Transmissions (EP)
  37. Clive Tanaka y Su Orquesta – Jet Set Siempre 
  38. Close To Home – Never Back Down
  39. Cobra Starship – iTunes Session (EP)
  40. Cobra Starship – Night Shades
  41. Cold Cave – Cherish The Light Years
  42. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
  43. ††† (Crosses) – † (EP)
  44. Dance Gavin Dance – Downtown Battle Mountain II
  45. The Dangerous Summer – An Acoustic Performance of “Reach For The Sun”
  46. The Dangerous Summer – War Paint
  47. Dave Melillo – Future Focused (EP)
  48. Dave Melillo – Thinking Of You
  49. Death Cab For Cutie – Codes And Keys
  50. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
  51. Decoder – Decoder
  52. Demi Lovato – Unbroken
  53. Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows – Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows
  54. Dia Frampton – Red
  55. Divided By Friday – Prove It (EP)
  56. Dot Dot Curve – Dot Dot Curve
  57. The Downtown Fiction – Let’s Be Animals
  58. The Downtown Fiction – Pineapple (EP)
  59. Drake – Take Care
  60. Dredg – Chuckles And Mr. Squeezy
  61. Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now
  62. Edelweiss – Pre-Columbians EP
  63. Eisley – The Valley
  64. Every Avenue – Bad Habits
  65. Falling In Reverse – The Drug In Me Is You
  66. Family Force 5 – III
  67. Farewell Fighter – The Way We Learn (EP)
  68. Fireworks – Gospel
  69. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
  70. Forever The Sickest Kids – Forever The Sickest Kids
  71. Four Year Strong – In Some Way, Shape Or Form
  72. Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones
  73. Frank Turner & Jon Snodgrass – Buddies
  74. Freezepop – Imaginary Friends
  75. The Friday Night Boys – Everything You Ever Wanted: The B-Sides
  76. The Front Bottoms – The Front Bottoms
  77. Fucked Up -David Comes To Life
  78. Further Seems Forever – Acoustic (7")
  79. Gallows – Death Is Birth (EP)
  80. Gates – The Sun Will Rise And Lead Me Home
  81. The Get Up Kids – There Are Rules
  82. Glassjaw – Coloring Book (EP)
  83. Go Radio – Lucky Street
  84. Good Problems – Be Eccentric (EP)
  85. Good Problems – I’m Changing My World (EP)
  86. The Graduate – Every Other Time: B-Sides From Only Every Time (EP)
  87. The Graduate – Sea Legs
  88. A Great Big Pile Of Leaves – Boom! (EP)
  89. Great Cynics – Don’t Need Much
  90. The Greater The Risk – Say What You Never Said (EP)
  91. Gym Class Heroes – The Papercut Chronicles II
  92. Hawthorne Heights – HATE
  93. Hey Monday – Candles (EP)
  94. Hey Monday – The Myspace Transmissions (EP)
  95. The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
  96. An Horse – Walls
  97. Hot Chelle Rae – Whatever
  98. The Human Abstract – Digital Veil
  99. I Am The Avalanche – Avalanche United
  100. I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business – Gold Rush
  101. I Fight Dragons – KABOOM!
  102. I See Stars – The End Of The World Party
  103. The Icarus Account – Love Is The Answer
  104. If By Yes – Salt On Sea Glass
  105. Innerpartysystem – Never Be Content (EP)
  106. Into It. Over It. – Proper
  107. Into It. Over It. – Twelve Towns
  108. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
  109. Jack’s Mannequin – People And Things
  110. James Blake – James Blake
  111. Jamestown Story – Find A Way
  112. Jesse Barrera – You’ll Feel Alive (EP)
  113. John Nolan – Songs I Didn’t Write (EP)
  114. Jonah Matranga – You’re All These Things And Then You’re None
  115. Joyce Manor – Joyce Manor
  116. Just Kait – Here We Go Again
  117. K. Flay – I Stopped Caring In ‘96
  118. Kevin Devine – Between The Concrete And The Clouds
  119. Kevin Devine – Nevermind
  120. Kids Of 88 – Sugarpills
  121. Kula Shaker – Pilgrim’s Progress
  122. La Dispute – Wildlife
  123. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
  124. Late In The Playoffs – Everything I Know (EP)
  125. Lemuria – Pebble
  126. Lights – Siberia
  127. Lights Resolve – Feel You’re Different
  128. Lindsey Buckingham – Seeds We Sow
  129. Little Bombs – Little Bombs
  130. The Little Indians – Let’s Split / What Makes You Grin (7")
  131. LMFAO – Sorry For Party Rocking
  132. A Loss For Words – No Sanctuary
  133. Lydia – Paint It Golden
  134. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
  135. The Maine – In Darkness And In Light
  136. The Maine – Pioneer
  137. Man Overboard – Man Overboard
  138. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
  139. Maniac – Mania
  140. Mansions – Dig Up The Dead
  141. Marianas Trench – Ever After
  142. Maritime – Human Hearts
  143. Mayday Parade – Mayday Parade
  144. MC Lars – Indie Rocket Science
  145. Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Go Down Under (EP)
  146. Meg & Dia – Cocoon
  147. Mike Posner – The Layover
  148. Mod Sun – Blazed By The Bell
  149. Mod Sun – In Mod We Trust (EP)
  150. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck
  151. Moving Mountains – Waves
  152. My Favorite Highway – As/Is: The Storytellers Tour Live
  153. The Narrative – Kickstarter EP
  154. Never Shout Never – Time Travel
  155. Nick 13 – Nick 13
  156. Nightmares For A Week – Don’t Die
  157. Noah And The Whale – Last Night On Earth
  158. Nocturnal Me – Two Faced (EP)
  159. Now Now – Neighbors (EP)
  160. Nowe Gloaming – Shuttle Plume 
  161. O’Brother – Garden Window
  162. Of Legends – Stranded
  163. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – History Of Modern
  164. Owen – Ghost Town
  165. Owl City – All Things Bright And Beautiful
  166. Panic! At The Disco – Vices And Virtues
  167. Patrick Stump – Soul Punk
  168. Patrick Stump – Truant Wave (EP)
  169. Pianos Become The Teeth – The Lack Long After
  170. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
  171. Places And Numbers – Travels
  172. Protest The Hero – Scurrilous
  173. Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
  174. Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’
  175. Ratt – Infestation
  176. The Ready Set – Feel Good Now (EP)
  177. Relient K – K Is For Karaoke
  178. R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now
  179. Rhett Miller – The Interpreter: Live At Largo
  180. Richard Benjamin – Patience Is A Virtue
  181. Rise Against – Endgame
  182. The Rocket Summer – Bryce Avary, His Instruments And Your Voices
  183. Roy English – FearLove
  184. Runner Runner – Runner Runner
  185. Sainthood Reps – Monoculture
  186. Santah – White Noise Bed
  187. Saves The Day – Daybreak
  188. Set It Off – Horrible Kids (EP)
  189. Set Your Goals – Burning At Both Ends
  190. A Skylit Drive – Identity On Fire
  191. Social Distortion – Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes
  192. Sparks The Rescue – The Worst Thing I’ve Been Cursed With
  193. Squid The Whale – A Worrisome Voyage Through Inclement Weather
  194. Stamps – Stamps Ventures Of A Lifetime (EP)
  195. Stay – American Cherry Bomb
  196. Stephen Jerzak – Miles And Miles
  197. Steve Moakler – Watching Time Run
  198. The Story So Far – Under Soil And Dirt
  199. The Strokes – Angles
  200. The Summer Set – Everything’s Fine
  201. The Summer Set – What Money Can’t Buy (EP)
  202. The Sunbeams – The Ocean, You And Me
  203. The Swellers – Good For Me
  204. Taking Back Sunday – Taking Back Sunday
  205. Tancred – Capes
  206. Tancred – String & Twine (EP)
  207. That’s Outrageous! – Teenage Scream
  208. There For Tomorrow – The Verge
  209. Thrice – Major/Minor
  210. The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West) – Watch The Throne
  211. Thursday – No Devolucion
  212. Tiger’s Jaw – Two Worlds
  213. Title Fight – Shed
  214. Tonight Alive – What Are You So Scared Of?
  215. Touche Amore – Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me
  216. The Trace – The Trace (EP)
  217. Transit – Listen And Forgive
  218. Transit – Something Left Behind
  219. TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
  220. Tyler, The Creator – Goblin
  221. Unicorn Kid – Tidal Rave (EP)
  222. VersaEmerge – Live Acoustic (EP)
  223. VolHolla! – Villains
  224. Washed Out – Within And Without
  225. We Are The In Crowd – Best Intentions
  226. We Still Dream – Chapters
  227. Wilco – The Whole Love
  228. William Control – Novus Ordo Selcorum
  229. Wim – Wim
  230. The Wonder Years – Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing
  231. The Xcerts – Scatterbrain
  232. Yellowcard – When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes
  233. You, Me And Everyone We Know – Things Are Really Weird RIght Now (EP)
  234. Young Statues – Young Statues
  235. Young The Giant – Young The Giant
  236. Various Artists – The American Scene / Daybreaker (Split)
  237. Various Artists – Fences / Mansions (Split)
  238. Various Artists – Germs Of Perfection: A Tribute To Bad Religion
  239. Various Artists – Handguns / Forever Came Calling (Split)
  240. Various Artists – Run For Cover: Mixed Signals
  241. Various Artists – The Muppets: The Green Album 
  242. Various Artists – Never Shout Never And The Maine (Split)
  243. Various Artists – Punk Goes Pop 4
  244. Various Artists – SPIN Presents Newermind: A Tribute Album
  245. Various Artists – Such Gold / A Loss For Words (Split)
  246. Various Artists – Such Gold / Into It. Over It. (Split)
  247. Various Artists – A Tribute To Alkaline Trio
  248. Various Artists – Vs. The Earthquake
  249. Various Artists – Motion City Soundtrack / Trampled By Turtles (Split)
  250. Various Artists – Fueled By Ramen Winter Rarities Vol. 2

Simple Math 2011

Manchester Orchestra – “Simple Math”

One thing I’ve learned this year is that to be part of the critical conversation, you basically have to choose to play in the same corner of the sandbox as everybody else, even if the toys there kinda suck. I don’t know whether it’s nature or nurture, and I don’t know whether it’s correlation or causation, but it seems that as a general rule, the people who are interested in a critical dialogue about music are by and large also interested in rather specific genres (and largely only in those genres) of music.  There’s a very clearly- and rather narrowly-circumscribed Canon Of The Now; its contents are ever-changing, but it’s always almost instantly apparent what’s In and what’s Out.

This year, for really the first time, I took it upon myself to engage that community in some way.  Generally by just sort of inserting myself into the conversation, but hey, I’m not above kicking down a door or two if that’s what it takes to get into the party.  (Which is not to say I’ve ruffled feathers merely for the sake of ruffling feathers; I’d at least like to think I’m above that.)  But, really, ultimately, I’m much more interested in bringing the kids over to play in my corner for a while.  I’m not sure they’ll bite; maybe I just need to really do a good job of pointing out just how interesting this corner is. Maybe I just need to find new friends to join me over here, ones who are equally unpleased with the dirty, overchurned sand over there.  Whichever of those it is, it starts with elevating the level of critical discussion of the music I’m interested in discussing; if I have a goal for 2012, that’s it.

But perhaps the biggest issue of all this is simply one of time: there’s only so much time to listen to music, only so much time to spend relistening to and really examining it, only so much time to write about it and go through that process that often generates two new ideas in my head for each one I lay out in text.  And there are so many releases that it’s quite literally not possible to have a deep understanding of more than one or two focal points at a time, and maybe a passing familiarity with a few more.  Simple math says you can’t get to it all.*

There’s actually been some discussion this past week about genre-dabblers and “token” albums – how many other r&b albums have people who love The Weeknd listened to this year? how many other hardcore albums have people who put Fucked Up’s “David Comes To Life” in their year-end lists listened to? – and I’ll admit I’ve snarked it up a bit there.  Really, though, token albums are a godsend; they’re a way to ensure you’re at least getting good stuff (if not the best stuff) from a genre you’d be missing out on entirely otherwise.  It’s not a flaw to only have a shallow understanding of certain genres; it’s a fact of life in a universe where time is finite but human creativity is near-infinite.  Which is why it seems a somewhat Sisyphean challenge to bring people over to music they might not give critical time to otherwise, but I think it’s one I’m up for.  If you spend your life tilting at windmills, but people still tell your story half a millenium later, well then maybe you were winning after all.

The irony, of course, is that this blog is specifically not intended for that kind of critical examination and dialogue; this place exists, or at least has come to exist, more for personal storytelling.  Most of that discussion, for me, happens elsewhere: my personal twitter, my personal tumblr, even to a degree in my reviews at PropertyOfZack.  I’m still working out how, or if, I want to integrate all of these together in the coming year.  I do know that one of my goals is to expand my writing to other places, and with that I’d like to push myself into other kinds of writing as well.  And ultimately, that means writing more.  It’s something I’ve intentionally carved out time for recently, but now the hard part – pushing myself to use that time to write, and not either wasting it or spending it on valuable-but-other things – begins.

*(Tomorrow, in Simple Math Part II, I’ll actually dig into the numbers)

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