Top 10s for 2011: Karl Buhre (Alouatta)
In no particular order. Here's some records, some films, and some other stuff that made 2011 suck a bit less.
I pretty much gave up hope about Ryan Adams after 2002 and 2003's "Demolition" and "Rock N Roll". Uninspired rock'n roll standards isn't exactly what made my heart skip a beat when I heard "Heartbreaker" for the first time.
So I was all the more pleased, when his new album "Ashes & Fire" turned out to be his finest moment since "Heartbreaker".
Arab Spring/Occupy Wall Street
Who knew that 2011 would be a year of mass revolution? Dictatorial leadership, whether it be military or economic in nature, took quite a blow this year. And anyone who fights injustice of any kind, is a hero in my book.
Reunion! European tour-dates! I've got a ticket to Berlin, December 4th!
Life is good.
Obits/The Night Marchers
"Moody, Standard and Poor", the follow-up to Obits debut album "I blame you", was everything I wanted and more. Even further removed from the Rick Froberg canon of Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, Obits are delving deeper into the American rock'n roll stew. And it smells great!
Also, The Night Marchers released two amazing new songs on their "Thar She Blows/All Hits" 7" release.
"Så Jävla Metal"
A documentary that is, more or less, a complete chronicle of sSwedish metal history, that's highly entertaining, and made by one of my closest friends and former bandmates?
Hell yeah, it made the list!
"Tassili", Tinariwen's first release on the label, was the perfect soundtrack to the televised news of protests and demonstrations during the Arab Spring. Mostly acoustic, warm and earthy, it was the sound of a better future for the entire Arabic community.
Iron & Wine/Bon Iver
Two of my favorite (so-called) singer-songwriters, released albums that caught me somewhat off-guard. "Kiss each other clean", the new Iron & Wine album, is filled to the brim with retro-sounding rock'n dub goodness, while still retaining the intimacy we've come to expect from Samuel Beam.
On the other hand, the new Bon Iver album is still quite a conundrum to me. Maybe it's just the leap from the bedside recordings on "For Emma, forever ago" to the fully arranged, studio sound on Bon Iver that's got me feeling a bit ambivalent. The jury's still out on this one.
"Pearl Jam Twenty"
I wasn't really that into Pearl Jam back in the days, although I did like their debut album. But after watching this documentary, where Cameron Crowe chronicles their entire career from the start in Mother Love Bone, I find myself appreciating them in a brand new way. Their no-compromise attitude towards the music industry, makes most "punk" bands look like corporate dummies. Go figure...
After six years, Twopointeight finally released the follow-up to their self-titled debut. Their second album (aptly titled Twopointeight II) may lean a bit much on the broad-legged stylings of Springsteen and the like, but who cares? With impeccable songwriting, enough raw power to light up Wembley Stadium, and some of the best vocals recorded since the late Joe Strummer, this is the best punk/rock to come out of Sweden in a looooong time!
I love maple syrup and hockey just as much as the next guy, but what would really convince me to visit the North-American equivalent of Sweden, is Leslie Feist. More commonly known as just Feist, she made my head explode the first time I heard "I feel it all", off her 2007 album "The reminder". A perfect pop song, a less than perfect album.
Well, this year she released "Metals", and my head is fine. Don't get me wrong, the album is great, actually it's better than "The reminder". But there aren't any head-exploding songs on it, which is okay, but still a bit disappointing.
Karl Buhre is the singer/guitarist/mastermind of Swedish rockers Alouatta. He is currently working on the final mixes of Alouatta's debut album, as well as his own first solo recording, a four song EP. Both of which to be released some time next year.