Quarterly report: Q12011

Q12011 report

Did I scare you? Truth is, I needed a day off and April Fools was a perfect excuse. The reality is that I don't think I can ever fully give this up because how else would I find out about all the new music that interests me? Sure, I could read rehashed press releases on many blogs from whatever artists currently happen to have the best PR and of course there's quite a few excellent genre-specialty sites covering mainstream pop, metal and hip-hop, but if there's anyone else out there covering underground/DIY indie/punk/hardcore/experimental/etc. with the same dedication, depth and breadth as IAT! please let me know so I can retire. I mean it.

Anyhow, the first three months of 2011 are now over and done with so let us now take the time to pause for reflection and for positivity's sake, let us first recount the highlights -- Peter Bjorn and John's "Gimme some" and Paper's "Mischmasch" are easily the two biggest standouts of the lot. Both superb albums, both well worth picking up. Niels Nielsen, Penny Century and Katharina Nuttall all released solid records as well, as did Maim, Iceage, Hymns From Nineveh and First Love, Last Rites. Been listening to Hexvessel and Sail a Whale a bit too, though the latter is a late discovery for me since it was released in 2010. Supersci's newest record "Timelines" from last year is another good one that I missed when it was fresh. Also still plenty to look forward to, Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words' swansong "Dreadcade" being a top pick, along with the arena-aspiring sounds of We are the Storm and Pixie Carnation and other exciting stuff like Gösta Berlings Saga looking quite promising.

As for reassessing my 2010 top picks, I'm still spinning all three on the regular -- Masshysteri, Dear Euphoria and Okkultokrati -- with no intention of shuffling them aside anytime soon. I revisited Johan Heltne's "Sara," this past weekend too and found that it's only gotten better over time. As for The Bear Quartet, as much I love them (and that's a lot), I don't feel the need to listen to "Monty Python" again for a while. Give me a year or two with that one to see where it stands against the rest of their impressive discography. Robyn, of course, remains tops, but you already knew that. I also revisited Underachiever's second demo and discovered that I totally get it now, while Faster Katt's latest is just ok when compared to the debut and Life Before Man's sole release has me wishfully thinking they'll actually get around to being an active band. 2010 was a good year and it feels good to say that my feelings on most of the records I praised has not diminished.

So while I'm still consistently fighting against burnout and the endless tide of mediocre music that makes its way to me, it's good to take a break to remember that there's still lots of reasons to be excited, both for now and for the future. There's always lots of good music, sometimes you just have to work a bit harder to find it.