January 3, 2012

Abbey’s Favorites of 2011





I’ve already shared my favorite songs with you and told you a little bit about my personal MVP, but here are a few more of my favorite things from 2011.

My Favorite Albums of 2011:

1. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues 2. Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers – Starlight Hotel

3. Charles Bradley – No Time for Dreaming

4. Dolorean – The Unfazed

5. Bryan John Appleby – Fire on the Vine

6. Gardens & Villa – s/t

7. Other Lives – Tamer Animals

8. Radiation City – The Hands That Take You

9. Alabama Shakes – s/t EP

10 (tie). Quiet Life – Big Green

10 (tie). Gem Club – Breakers

My Favorite Musical Moments of 2011

1. Mavis Staples Singing “The Weight,” “You Are Not Alone” and “Freedom Highway” back-to-back-to-back at Bumbershoot


Mavis Staples at Bumbershoot ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

2. Kelli Schaefer and Her Mom Singing “Gone in Love” at Cathedrals II


Kelli Schaefer and Mom ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

3. Being Front Row for Charles Bradley at the Aladdin Theater During MFNW



Charles Bradley ::: iphone photo by Abbey Simmons

4. Pickwick Performing (and performing with Pickwick) at our 5th Anniversary Show

5. Slack Fest (all of it)


Whalebones at Slack Fest ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

My Favorite Videos of 2011:





My Favorite Thing I Forgot to Include on the Appropriate Best of List: New Carissa’s Wierd



These new Carissa’s Wierd and the subsequent 7” out on Hardly Art this year, definitely should have been on both my favorite songs and favorite EPs / 7” / cassette of the year list, but absolutely slipped my mind. This is not acceptable.

My Favorite Thing Sound on the Sound did in 2011: Written Here with Bryan John Appleby

December 14, 2011

Abbey’s Favorite (Almost Entirely Local) Songs of 2011



Kelli Schaefer ::: photo by Dylan Priest



Having fallen deep down a used-vinyl sized hole this year, I managed to completely miss most of the national blog buzz bands and mp3s making the press release copy&paste rounds of 2011, those things that so often fill end of the year lists. But considering the immense output from our little corner of the country, I don’t feel I suffered or starved for new songs to keep me company. These are the forty songs from 2011 that were my soundtrack and that I played on repeat. I’m not bold enough to say they are the best songs of 2011, but they are my favorites.

While this list is not enumerated, my very favorite song of the year, Kelli Schaefer’s heart-aching-to-the-point-of-breaking “Gone in Love,” is at the top with some other absolute favorites. “Gone in Love” is a song that has not lost its emotional wallop despite hundreds of listens and many live performances over the last 12 months. And every time I see Kelli sing it, I can’t stop my chin from quivering. “Gone in Love” isn’t just one of my favorite songs of 2011, it is one of my favorite songs.

That’s hardly true for every song on this list. Every year has its one-hit wonder and I have no shame in saying I played the hell out of 2011′s. Whether its a song that stays with you for decades or a song you only blast until the end of the year, I hope you might discover a new favorite of your own by taking a listen to some of mine.



“Gone in Love” – Kelli Schaefer “Before the Night is Gone” – Zoe Muth and Her Lost High Rollers “Montezuma” – Fleet Foxes “Letters” – Lemolo “I’m Not Leaving” – Big Sur

“I Found You” – Alabama Shakes “I’m Losing Myself” – Robin Pecknold / Edward Droste | download “Father’s Clothes” – Grand Hallway “Leaves, Trees, Forest” > “Rows of Houses” – Dan Mangan “Boys” – Bryan John Appleby

“The Round” (From the Basement) – Pickwick “Park” – Radiation City “Twins” – Gem Club | download “Mute” – Joshua Morrison “My Silver Hand” – Case Studies | download

The rest of my favorite (almost completely local) songs of 2011 (more…)

October 31, 2011

My Most Played: October 2011


Nothing has enchanted me more in October than this video of Noah Gundersen and his siblings covering CSNY’s “Helplessly Hoping,” one of my favorite songs of all time. This frills free cover takes full advantage of the reverb of the room and the Gundersen’s familial honeyed harmonies accentuates everything I loved most about the original, while showing me something new to love about the song. If that’s not the definition of a great cover, I don’t know what is.

But it wasn’t the only thing I listened to all month.

Feist – Metals Dude YorkGangs of Dude York and Satanic Vs. Dan Mangan – “Leaves, Trees, Forest” Jesse Sykes & The Sweet HereafterMarble Son Numero Group – Eccentric Soul:The Deep City Label Gem ClubBreakers Typhoon – Daytrotter Session CataldoPrison Boxing Kelli Schaefer – “The Well” (Doe Bay Session)

September 29, 2011

My Most Played: September 2011


As for the first two tunes, my niece is due any day now, in fact she was due on Tuesday and in the weeks leading to her arrival, I’ve listened to these songs so many times BMI is going to start charging me. Tom Petty was right, the waiting IS the hardest part.

Tom Petty – “The Waiting” Justin Townes Earle – “Can’t Hardly Wait” Kelli Schaefer’s Doe Bay Session Been Here All My Days Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost Gem Club – Breakers Dan Mangan – “Leaves, Tree, Forest” Canon Bros – “Out of Here” Robin Bacior – Rest Our Wings Numero Group Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues Quiet Life – San Luis Opisbo Damien Jurado – “The Loneliest Place I’ve Ever Been is In Your Arms” Champagne Champagne’s Doe Bay Session Richard Swift – “Lady Luck” S – I’m Not As Good As You Avians Alight – s/t Apricot & the Beginners Sera Cahoone’s Doe Bay Session

The Lonliest Place I’ve Ever Been (Is In Your Arms) by saintbartlett

September 27, 2011

Win A Copy of Gem Club’s Breakers – Out Today!


Hardly Art is having a banner year, and the release of the hauntingly beautiful Gem Club’s Breakers – out right now – is a part of that.  Sad, crisp, delicately picked to pieces by piano – the album is gorgeous in that most crystalline of ways.

The good folk at Hardly Art have given us the opportunity to give away two copies of the Breakers CD to a couple of are very, very lucky readers.  All I need you to do is drop your favorite gem stone (and why) in the comment board below, and we’ll pick a few winners and call it a day.

Don’t sleep on this album, the sadder aspects of your brain will be angry if you do.

Gem Club – Breakers

Gem Club – Twins

September 1, 2011

My Most Played: August 2011


Lana Del Rey – “Video Games” (Not keen on the video, or her in the video rather, but the number of times I played this song this month is embarrassing) Gem Club – “TwinsLemolo – “On Again, Off Again” and “Fort Warden” Dolorean – “Don’t Leave Town” Boyfriends – s/t 7” Keaton Henson – Metaphors 7” Cumulus – s/t EP Carissa’s Wierd – “Meredith and Iris” Wild Ones – “You’re A Winner” Aquairum Drunkard – Clifton’s Corner mixes Damien Jurado – “The Loneliest Place I’ve Ever Been (Is In Your Arms)” Big Sur – “I’m Not Leaving” Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune Lowlands – “Give Me Love” Cataldo – Prison Boxing Richard Swift – Blanch Runderton Presents: “Smelly Iceburg”

Blanch Runderton Presents: “Smelly Iceburg” by Richard Swift