[guest post] 2011 in Review, Vol. 4 – Howth

It was an impressive year for the guys in Howth, an eclectic folk rock band that, until recently, was a cross-continental songwriting partnership between Carl Creighton and Blake Luley.  Things are looking pretty good for the duo with a solid debut, a batch of free singles, and a killer Dolly Parton cover already under their belts, not to mention a new EP coming early next year.  Both Creighton and Luley passed along a list of some of their 2K11 musical discoveries.  Check it out: 

Carl Creighton (Vocals, Guitar):

Steve Reich – Music for 16 Musicians

I went from using Steve Reich on Pandora as jogging music to realizing that you really should be doing absolutely nothing while listening to Steve Reich because it’s so good. I can’t believe the precision.

Minnie Riperton – Best of Minnie Riperton

It’s really good. Check it out. Pretty trippy in its own way. The production is both slick and daring.

Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz

My roommate has this on vinyl and the loud glitch noises sound amazing. I’ve become a little tired of listening to everything in headphones so it’s cool to know good headphone albums can translate to good speaker albums too.

Townes Van Zandt – Flying Shoes

I love how simple his songwriting is. Like Robert Frost. No Place to Fall is so perfect.

Henry Mancini – Martinis with Mancini

I packed my own bowl for the first time this summer in my car and this was playing as I fumbled with the wheel and a shitty lighter. The music has this mischievous feeling to it that was entirely appropriate. But I also just love how instruments come and go with little explanation.

Side note: I also listened to this New Ulm Minnesota Polka Band CD a bunch, but I don’t know the name of the band or CD. But I feel the need to list them because I probably listened to it more than any of those other albums.

Blake Luley (Guitar, other stuff):

Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

I don’t know how I slept on this album for so long. Of course I had heard all the songs for years, but I never really “got into” Wilco and sat down with this album until this summer. It served as a soundtrack to pretty much every task I did and it was probably 95% of the music I listened to this summer besides working on our stuff.

The Microphones- The Glow Pt. 2

Similar situation to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, in the sense that a few of the tracks were totally familiar to me but I hadn’t full dug into the album. I forged an obsession for the sounds and the strange (at first glance, incomplete) song structures on this album. It started in 2010 but really bled over into 2011 pretty extensively. There is such a dark warm and cohesive feeling to this whole record. It doesn’t come across at first listen because of how different a lot of the tracks are, but it is an album that really does get better with age (which I think is getting more and more rare in the modern music spectrum).

William Basinski- The Disintegration Loops

I’ve listened to this casually in brief bits and pieces over the years. Mainly admiring the general “sound” of the loops disintegrating, not necessarily wanting to sit through an hour of it. In September of this year I sat down and listened to the first part loudly in a dark room, all alone. At first it served as a way for me to clear my thoughts and just work through my life, then it become an overwhelmingly cathartic and emotional experience as I got more and more lost in the loop and felt it decaying so intensely. I can’t full describe the situation but it’s made me really enjoy these works, if nothing else, therapeutically.

The Shirelles- Greatest Hits

I may be burned at the stake for putting a Greatest Hits on my favorites list, but I don’t really give a shit. My roommate has a record of this album and would play it every time we would play board games in the family room and I was always so into it. Once I got my hands on it for myself I couldn’t stop listening. The beautiful and sometimes strange pop song structure, the perfectly contained yet chaotic string arrangements, and overall the warm and fuzzy feeling you get listening to these songs.

2 Pac- Me Against the World

This is a CRAZY rap album. First thing is the production is incredible. Super slick and musical and by far my favorite west coast rap beats. Beyond that, 2 Pac is at his lyrical height on this album in my opinion. The thing that really sold me was that it’s extremely dark and emotional in a way that very few rap records ever have been.

Side note: To not seem like a hater on this year in music I will say I throughly enjoyed the new albums by The Antlers, Atlas Sound, Wu Lyf, Yuck, and Adele.

MP3  ::  Needles & Pins

 (from Howth. Listen/Download here)

MP3  ::  I Will Always Love You (Dolly Parton cover)

MP3  ::  Deep In My Heart

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