Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy 2012 (The Year We All Die)!

I vaguely remember, through a haze of presents and Presidentes, promising a bunch of blog posts while I was on vacation.  That simply didn't happen.  Instead of spending my break writing for WOS, I spent my break "researching" for the blog.  This is a fun thing to do when one's blog is alcohol themed.  So what follows is a crapload of miscellanea that may or may not make sense to anyone except me, and that's perfectly fine.  The rough outline is as follows:

  1. Top 10 songs/Top 10 albums of 2011
  2. Things I did after I left the children but before the "holidays" (i.e. 12/16-12/23)
  3. The holidays (12/24-12/25)
  4. Things I did after the holidays but before I went back to the children (12/26-1/2)

So, without further ado, I bring you Wines Over Somerville's 2011 review of music.  I am fairly obsessed with music and spend a great deal of time looking for new music that I will like.  The last 12 months have been a very good time for me in that respect.  For many of my findings, I'm indebted to friends (you know who you are) who have turned me on to blogs such as This Song is Sick, TGIF Jams, and Sunset in the Rearview. Other than that, I just browse iTunes and see what happens.

Top 10 Albums of 2011 (meaning the album was released within the calendar year):

10(t): Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
Kurt Vile has a laid back, smoke-infused alt-country/americana sound that is very easy to listen to and appreciate.  This is an album to listen to after dinner with a glass of rye and a cigar.  It also makes a great Saturday morning hangover cure.

10(t): Drive-By Truckers - Go Go Boots
To say I have a soft spot for DBT would be an understatement.  IMHO they are one of the finest bands in America right now.  Their material deals with the demons of the south (demons that country music would like to pretend doesn't exist).  Definitely check out "I Do Believe."

9: Robbie Robertson - How to Become Clairvoyant
Robbie Robertson is better known as the frontman of The Band.  I had zero expectations for this album and yet it delivered.  It's definitely not The Band, but there are moments where their sound is unmistakably present.

8: Wilco - The Whole Love
Wilco is another legendary band.  Formed by Jeff Tweedy (of alt-country inventors Uncle Tupelo), they've been spewing out great albums (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot anyone?) for 15+ years.  This might be their best album yet.

7: The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
A little bit Lady Antebellum, a little bit Bon Iver, a little bit Allison Krauss/Robert Plant, The Civil Wars deal, logically, in conflict and paradox.  And it sounds wonderful.

6: M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
This is like crack for your eardrums.  I can't say anymore.  Just listen to it.

5: Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne
Watch the Throne can be viewed either as a tremendously ambitious hip-hop album, or a narcissistic failure depending on your opinion.  I'm going with the former.  Tracks like "No Church in the Wild", "New Day", "Murder to Excellence," and "N*ggas in Paris" more than make up for some lackluster tracks.

4: Glasvegas - Euphoric///Heartbreak\\\
I fell in love with Glasvegas' eponymous debut a couple of years ago, so this was an immediate download upon release.  It keeps the spirit of the first album, and songs like "Shine Like Stars" and "Whatever Hurts You Through The Night" are haunting and expansive.

3: The Black Keys - El Camino
Love the Black Keys, and this is easily their best album.  Polished yet rough, with shades of Zeppelin throughout.

2: The Decemberists - The King is Dead
Though this came out in January, I immediately know it would command a high ranking on this list.  This is their most mature effort and is inflected with folk and alt-country.  It's infectious.

1:  Bon Iver- Bon Iver
By far and away my album of the year.  It wasn't even a close contest.  From start to finish this album is gorgeous.  In my opinion it blows away "For Emma, Forever Ago."  The sounds are haunting and the lyrics are poignant yet hard to completely make out.  It's a dreamlike state, but a dream you want to stay in forever.  And then there's the 80's synth/Phil Collins inspired Beth/Rest to close it out.

Top Songs of 2011 (meaning the album that contained the song was released in 2011)

10: The White Panda - Mo' Free, Mo' Fallin'
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers meets Notorious B.I.G.?  Yes Please!  There is no way this should work.  No way.  And yet...

9: Glasvegas - Shine Like Stars
Glasvegas, this summer, was one of the best concerts I've ever been to.  His voice is the real deal.

8: The Knocks - Brightside
It's probably impossible to dislike this song.

7: Childish Gambino - Sunrise
Gambino is quite the lyricist.  Take this: "And I'm lookin' at her butt / That's that 20/20 hindsight / My shit be Jackson, Jordan, Bolton, Keaton, Tyson: 5 Mikes." Play this loud.

6: Drake (ft. Rihanna) - Take Care
I have no idea why I like this song.  But I like this song.

5: Bon Iver - Holocene
The best track off the best album of the year.

4: Britney Spears (ft. Nicki Minaj & Ke$ha) - Til The World Ends (femme fatale remix)
This one probably calls for revocation of my "man-card," but I stand by it.  The anthem of our summer party, this one will live in beautiful infamy.  One of the best moments in song this year, when Nicki hands it off saying, "I'm Nicki Minaj, and that's Ke$ha" followed by Ke$ha just killing it.  Why do I like this crap?

3: Coldplay - Paradise
If only Coldplay weren't so damn good, I could hate them and dramatically increase my hipster cred.

2 (tie): M83 - Midnight City / M83 - Steve McQueen
I couldn't pick just one.  To decide for yourself, I recommend listening to these extremely loud.  I like to make decisions like this while listening in the shower.  Your mileage may vary.

1: Avicii - Levels
I didn't like electro/house anything.  And then I found Avicii.  Just turn this way up and try not to dance.  This is one of the best cooking songs in the world, especially if you're doing something labor intensive like making risotto or polenta.  Also check out "sunshine" which he did with David Guetta.

Now, on to what I did before the holidays.  Phew.

There were several highlights of the first week of break.  The coolest was getting to see the new Ropes & Gray headquarters in the Pru.  They've been there for a year, but I hadn't been to see them yet.  My dad proposed that my sister and I come to lunch on the 22nd and see the new digs, and it was well worth it.  The view, seen at left, was pretty spectacular, and the clam chowder/crabcakes at Legal Seafoods were also pretty good.

I also had the chance to hang out in Marblehead one evening, which is one of my most favorite activities.  Aside from an excellent showing at a local trivia night, the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly this 2007 Michel Gahier Chardonnay Arbois La Fauquette.  From the Jura region in eastern France, this wine is 100% chardonnay from a reasonably cold climate.  Like many wines from the Jura, this was slightly oxidative, a flavor profile that is unusual and can be off-putting, making the wine taste almost like a fino sherry.  However, there is beautiful lemon and pear fruit and searing acidity that make this a pleasure to drink.  We drank this alone, but I'd suggest a pairing with hard cheese as the ideal way to enjoy this unique wine

The following wines we had over the holidays...and I'm sorry I can't do them more justice, but my memories are cloudy and there are just too many of these.

2009 Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers Blanc
2005 Chateau Larose-Trintaudon

Dogfish Head Sahtea (ale brewed with Chai and Juniper Berries)
1982 and 1990 Chateau Gruaud Larose (Both fucking corked!)

The holidays were, as usual a blur, but it was great to spend time with family and eat and drink together.  Highlights included the Black Maple Hill Bourbon that we shared on Christmas Eve, and the 1995 Penfolds Grange that we had Christmas night (after the afore-pictured Gruaud Larose debacle).  On the morning of the 26th my Dad, Stepmom, Sister, and I left for Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic.  We shared a villa with my Uncle, Aunt, and 2 cousins.  The villa was set right on the 8th hole of the Teeth of the Dog golf course, and overlooked the ocean.  It did not suck.  I played a lot of golf (and had my 3rd ever 79), and drank a shitload of Presidente and Brugal.  I'll leave you guys with pictures of that, and will be back to updating this blog more regularly.  If you've somehow read this far, then I apologize for the time you'll never get back.  Happy new year and cheers!

Palm reflections in the pool on Day 1

The view from the living room of the villa over the 8th hole.
The sunsets in the Carribbean were fun for me to take pictures of.

When I wasn't golfing, this was pretty much standard operating procedure.
The 9th hole at the Dye Fore course's Marina 9.  I double bogeyed (ugh) this for my 79.

The 4th hole on the Marina 9 at Dye Fore, overlooking the Chavon River (where Apocalypse Now was filmed)

This was the sunset that greeted us as we arrived.  It pretty much set the tone.
More sunset action.

The 5th hole at Teeth of the Dog

The 7th Hole at Teeth of the Dog

No comments:

Post a Comment