Favorite Albums of 2012: Locals Edition

I tried to cut my list of favorite local releases down to the best of the best and ended up with 6 records. So that’d what I have here. I’m incredibly lucky to live in an area with so much great music and so many opportunities to see them live. All told I’ve seen these bands 41 times this year. Pretty awesome.

JKutchma & The 5/5ths, Pinhook, Durham NC, 07/06/12
1. JKutchma – Pastorals
Band I saw the most this year; favorite album of the year. The title track “Pastorals” was the song I didn’t know I needed this year. “And no I’m not proud of all that I did, In search for destination now I’m back where I begin. All my transgression oh how I remember each. But if I lived again without them, would I have found this peace? I’ve been wrong more than I’ve been right. My fault, I won’t deny. I hope at heaven’s gate, they make saints. Cause I tried, I tried, I tried. I been so wrong. But I tried.”

Spider Bags, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 1/14/12
2. Spider Bags – Shake Your Head
I dare you to listen to the opening tracks “Keys to the City” & “Simona La Ramona” and try not to dance, laugh, remember why you love music, sing along. I’m pretty sure it is impossible.

Midtown Dickens, Brickside Festival, Jameson Gallery, Durham NC, 03/24/12
3. Midtown Dickens – Home
This album sounds like Durham to me. And I mean that in all the best ways.

Gross Ghost, Pinhook, Durham NC, 06/02/12
4. Gross Ghost – Brer Rabbit

American Aquarium, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 11/29/12
5. American Aquarium – Burn.Flicker.Die
I’m so incredibly proud of these guys for all the hard work they’ve put in to their success, for the touring and the growth, and the fact that this album is just darn, darn fine. Some of these songs have been kicking around live for years and it shows in the delivery. Both a familiar step for the band and a big leap forward. All of that notwithstanding, this album might just belong on this list for the Backsliders cover alone.

Red Collar, Motorco, Durham NC, 05/19/12
6. Red Collar – Welcome Home
I love this band, full stop.

10 favorite non-local releases tomorrow.


Favorite Posts of the Year 2012

As I geared up for all these end of year posts, I realized that I hadn’t posted here for a month (before yesterday) and much of the fall was sporadic at best.
There are probably two reasons for this: first, the tinnitus makes it harder to fall asleep and so I’ve been sleeping in a little later in the morning, eating into my writing time with sleep, precious sleep; second, this winter I’ve been writing more. With no purpose or designs to do anything with the writing, just writing stories or truths or somewhere in between.
Due to that I started thinking about my favorite writing I did on this blog this year. So, with way too much introduction and ado, here are those posts:
Music related:
DTFH Reflections – “I love this scene because it isn’t about what is trendy or hip or popular. It is quite simply about music and people who love the heck out of music: making music, enjoying music, singing along, arms flung over shoulders, belting it out.”
Amendment One related:
Before the vote – “I have stories of the world not being awesome. Of being teased and bullied at schools, made to feel unwelcome in churches, losing friendships, questioning everything about myself because I wasn’t “normal.” And sadly, the bubble of my family being awesome wasn’t always big enough for me or my fears to fit inside.”
After the vote – “Time passes, there is always more work to do, and with work things improve.”
Tinnitus – “Y’all are more boisterous, more invigorating, louder, nicer, friendlier, and more on so many counts – more than the high note is loud.”

Year End Stats 2012

In 2012 I saw less shows overall than in 2011 (for reference). But it’s still an epic number of shows and was another amazing year in live music in Durham and in Raleigh and in Chapel Hill. I didn’t even see most of it (though I came closest in Durham) but, bow howdy, I saw a lot of it.

I saw 171 shows at 41 venues in 2012 (this counts each day of a festival as a single show): 121 shows in Durham, 21 in Raleigh, 20 in Chapel Hill, 6 in Carrboro, 2 in Hillsborough, 1 in Asheville.

Counting each set by band I saw and shot 465 sets in 2012: 323 bands in Durham, 81 bands in Raleigh, 44 bands in Chapel Hill, 10 bands in Carrboro, 5 bands in Hillsborough, 2 in Asheville.

Looking at the venues I shot the most out of the 41 total venues: I shot 48 shows at Pinhook, 22 shows at Motorco Garage, 21 shows at Motorco, 13 shows at Local 506(exact same number as last year), 6 shows at Casbah. I went to as many shows at Bull City Records as I did shows at the Cradle (5 each) [n.b. show stats for Raleigh are low because of how I calculate festivals]

Going by number of band sets, not shows: I shot 114 sets at Pinhook, 68 at Motorco Garage, 57 at Motorco, 28 sets at Local 506, 24 sets at Casbah, 18 sets at Kings, 17 sets at Duke Coffeehouse (includes Jameson Gallery), 15 sets at Slim’s.

Amazingly, I don’t think they are tired of seeing me at Pinhook or Motorco.

All together I saw 326 bands this year, down 30 bands from last year. 269 of those bands I saw only once. 47 of the bands I saw between 2 and 4 times. And 10 of the bands I saw 5 or more times: 
Band – # of shows
JKutchma (w/ the 5/5 or solo) – 12*
Almost People – 9*
Spider Bags – 8
Midtown Dickens- 7*
Red Collar – 7*
Wood Ear – 7
Phil Cook & His Feat – 6*
Mount Moriah – 5*
Hammer No More The Fingers – 5*
Eno Mountain Boys – 5

Bands with an asterisk I also saw more than 5 times last year. So that either means I’m very fond of those bands or they play all the time or both (usually both).
JKutchma (w/ the 5/5 or solo) is the act I’ve seen play the most two years running.

The  non-local band I saw the most this year was Lucero, 4 times.

And, yes, if anyone is curious, I’m happy to share the excel spreadsheet where I store all this info if you are curious about the nitty gritty details or want to look at lots of pivot tables.

In summary, I saw and shot a ton of shows and bands. I shot in venues all around the area and also really focused on shooting in Durham. I got to see many of my favorite bands play a bunch, some of my favorite bands not nearly enough, and just about everything in between. I found new music, new friends, new angles, new light, and so much more at shows

And between now and the end of the year, I have posts coming to try and pull from that magnitude of music: my favorite shows, my favorite photos, my favorite videos, my favorite albums, my favorite concert moments, etc.

Girls Rock NC, 11/19/12

Girls Rock NC, Pinhook, Durham NC, 11/19/12

Girls Rock NC, Pinhook, Durham NC, 11/19/12

Girls Rock is awesome.

full photo set here

Hiss Golden Messenger, 11/16/12

Lovely album release show for Hiss Golden Messenger at Pinhook on Firday night.

Phil Cook & His Feat, Pinhook, Durham NC, 11/16/12
Phil Cook & His Feat

Ama Divers, Pinhook, Durham NC, 11/16/12
and Ama Divers opened up.

full photo set here

Jorrit Dijkstra and Jeb Bishop, 11/15/12

I am 110% in favor of more early shows in Raleigh.

Jorrit Dijkstra and Jeb Bishop, Neptune's, Raleigh NC, 11/15/12

And 110% in favor of shows at Neptune’s.

Jorrit Dijkstra and Jeb Bishop, Neptune's, Raleigh NC, 11/15/12

Fantastic stuff.

full photo set here

Spider Bags, 10/25/12

Spider Bags

Bad Lovers, Duke Coffeehouse, Durham NC, 10/25/12
Bad Lovers

Sad Horse, Duke Coffeehouse, Durham NC, 10/25/12
Sad Horse

Working my way through some shows I didn’t post. This was a particularly good one at the Coffeehouse last month.

full photo set here