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Top 20 2012

My 20 favorite albums of 2012, presented here without commentary because well… I’m busy making art. But I do love making these lists and it’s fun to look back and see what music has stayed with me and what I’ve possibly moved away from.

I initially didn’t think this was as good a year as last–in fact, I don’t think any of the albums on this list are better than my top three from last year–but when compiling these albums I realized that there were more artists and more music I liked this year than last. I think easier access form streaming services like Spotify played a large part in this, but the 90′s resurgence (my favorite era of music) continuing from last year was also very welcomed. No Doubt, Smashing Pumpkins, and Alanis Morrisette (who barely got edged out of this list) all had strong releases. Japandroids’ Celebration Rock, my 2nd favorite of the year, felt like it had a kind of 90′s garage aesthetic to it. Still, what I’m most happy about is the varity of genre I enjoyed this year. Even though my current obsession with indie electronic and folk pretty much dominates this list, this is the first time I’ve ever had a soul or R&B album in my top 20–let alone my top 5.

Anyhow, on to the list. For those with Spotify (which, really, if you are reading this at all you should be subscribing to), I made a playlist of these 20 albums. I also compiled a massive five hour playlist of my 75 favorite songs of 2012. If you listen to one playlist this week, that’s the one I recommend. Pretty proud with how it turned out. A song from each of the albums below is in there.

Click here for the top 20.

Here are my top 20 favorite albums of 2011. Again, not necessarily the best, but the ones I tended to go back to more than some other ones. Thought this was a pretty great year too! I had a tough time keeping the list at twenty. If anyone would like to take a listen to 60 of my favorite songs of 2011, I made a Spotify playlist you can listen to HERE. A song from most of the albums listed below (not every album is on Spotify just yet) is on there.

Click here for the top 20.

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I didn’t think 2010 was as strong a year as 2009 in terms of albums. Tons of great individual songs (Truth by Alexander Ebert, Not in Love by Crystal Castles & Robert Smith, and Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells off the top of my head) but albums as a whole felt slightly weaker and less refined than last years crop (more Phoenix please). Still, I think the twenty I picked here are fairly strong. And as always I’m probably tougher on some of my favorite bands who aren’t on the list that put out decent releases. In fact, as I was putting together this list I realized I could have kept going, so the first sentence of this paragraph might be completely out of line.

Click here for the full list

I’m slowly starting to catch up on a bunch of long overdue commissions. This one is of that classic DC task force team, The Suicide Squad!

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If you’re unfamiliar with The Suicide Squad, here’s a link to their first story (it’s pretty great). They also appeared briefly in Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier. My illo is kind of a blend of these two things.

I also made another one of those color-progress animations for it which you can view HERE (flash required).

Click here for some music stuff

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Here are my top twenty favorite albums of 2009. Also presented without commentary because this is an ART blog, not a music blog! Even though I do waver from the art posts from time to time to let you all know about music uh… artists you might want to check out. Anyhow, next post I promise I will have some new art. The cartoony sort.

Click here for the full list

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With our first decade of the new millennium hightailing it to a close shortly, there have been a lot of lists being posted around the internets of what the greatest albums of these past ten years have been. Not an easy feat! But being unable to resist a list, especially one that involves music, I couldn’t help but figure out what my own top ten was. So without further ado, here are the ten albums that not only made what I think some of the biggest impact on the music industry, but my ears as well:

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more batgirl

another b&w batgirl commission. besides my laziness to use vanishing points, i kinda like how this one came out.

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speaking of girls, this month has been a great month to be into female vocalists on the music front. it’s been a while since i posted any sort of music lists, so here are five albums showcasing the talents of some very pretty singers right now:

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now that july is prepared to embrace us with her hot, humid unforgiving hands, i thought it was due time for another obligatory music post. here are the albums i’ve listened to the most this first half of 2009:

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they only want to be your friend.

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for today’s ninja topic on drawergeeks. :)

where have i been?

samus style

it’s my first art post of 2009! here is some metroid art i did for drawergeeks‘ classic nintendo themed topic up today.

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i don’t play a lot of video games, but man i love nintendo. it’s the only consule i’ve ever owned, mainly so i can just play the next zelda (the best!) or mario games. as much as i love the awesome cast of characters nintendo has created though, i’ve honestly never played metroid. but it just so happens to be jen’s all-time favorite video game franchise- so this is for her. it was also good practice at drawing tech, which i don’t ever draw. ever. but it was still kinda fun. hopefully i didn’t offend any samus loyalists out there by giving my own slight take to her armor.

(oh- and jen and i’s current nintendo distraction is lego star wars: the complete saga. yeah!)

MUSIC!

i’m really into ingrid michaelson right now (is it too late to add  be ok to my best of 2008 list?). and this video is super cute.

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…for me to list my top albums of 2008!

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it was a strange year, since a lot of my regular favorite artists released new albums last year, but very few of them are on this list. not that any of those albums were that bad, they just didn’t exceed what i thought they were capable of. instead this list consists of mostly new artists i got into (because, i suppose, there were no expectations), and there  were a bunch of them! because of this, i’m listing my top twenty this year instead of the usual ten (i just felt bad for leaving so many favorites out).  here we go!

  1. only by the night (kings of leon): maybe a little too over-produced for some people, but to me kings of leon finally fine tuned their sound and created their best album to date.
  2. dear science, (tv on the radio): i’m not sure tvotr can put out a bad album…
  3. with a buzz in your ears we play endlessly (eng translation) (sigur ros) : same goes for  sigur ros. if the second half of this album didn’t wind down so much, i would have made it my number one.
  4. the stand-ins (okkervil river): wasn’t overly impressed with their last album, but this one really sucked me in. and now i appreciate their last album more.
  5. vampire weekend (vampire weekend): took me a while to understand what all the fuss was about (as usual), but i get it now.
  6. consolers of the lonely (the raconteurs): yes, jack white sure knows how to make a great rock album, but i think brendan benson helps bring out the best in him.
  7. keep your eyes ahead (the helio sequence): so underrated, especially after listening to their previous albums. i read that brandon summers damaged his vocal chords so bad before releasing kyea that he had to essentially learn to sing all over again. it really worked in his favor i believe.
  8. narrow stairs (death cab for cutie): wasn’t sure about this one at first, but it slowly crept into my system where now i think it might just be one of their best.
  9. common reaction (uh huh her): okay- it’s poppy, but i love it. i can not get enough of these girls.
  10. at mount zoomer (wolf parade): i’m biased of course, because spencer krug is one of my favorite artists, but this was a fine follow-up to apologies, if not quite as good as that or sunset’s spirit lover.
  11. oracular spectacular (mgmt): the album title says it all. i have a feeling it might have “a current sound” to it when i go back to this in a couple years, but right now, it’s still awesome. i’m curious to hear what mgmt does for a follow-up.
  12. the glass passenger (jack’s mannequin): not my usual flavor of tea, but this album was so fun and melodically consistent that i couldn’t stop listening to it. always putting me in a good mood, it was one of my most played albums of the year.
  13. thirst for romance (cherry ghost): just… a good album. i don’t know what else to say.
  14. only as the day is long (sera cahoone): beautiful, beautiful sophomore release.
  15. fleet foxes (fleet foxes): you kinda had to figure they would be on this list somewhere. although i almost enjoyed their sun giant ep more than this full release.
  16. keep color (republic tigers): another underrated album of 2008. with keep color, this band accomplished what more experienced bands than them have failed to in recent years.
  17. heal for the honey (brooke waggoner): an excellent debut full-album following an equally excellent ep. plus i’m a sucker for female artists with a great voice and mad piano skillz.
  18. perfect symmetry (keane): for their third release, keane actually managed to put out an album that combined the best of their previous two releases creating a very accurately titled album. i kinda thought they might go the way of third-eye-blind, but perfect symmetry says otherwise.
  19. volume one (she and him): zooey and ward is possibly the best team-up since cookie dough and ice cream.
  20. a hundred million suns (snow patrol): i’m still a fan of this band, despite their incredibly over-played success. i just miss the days when they were just mine! million suns kinda plays toward their current popularity in a lot of ways, but lightbody and crew try just enough radio repelling experiments to keep original fans like myself happy. and i still love lightbody’s ever positive romantic lyricism.

i also need to mention two great ep’s came out last year as well:

  1. the sun never sets on the cool kids (mumford and sons): without a doubt my favorite new band of 2008. if they make a full-album this consistently awesome, i can already tell you it’s going to be placed number one that year.
  2. white lights (deas veil): why only five songs, deas veil?? i need more!

coveted green

just_push_me.jpgi’m a little late on this because of europe and hospitals and stuff, but my brother-in-law’s band, coveted green (for which he plays lead guitar for), released their first album last month. and they’re pretty good! the album has a very 90′s alternative rock feel to it and i liken their sound to a slightly heavier “yourself or someone like you” era matchbox twenty. i encourage you guys to check them out and, if you like what you hear, support them by buying their cd!

here’s one of their tracks:

coveted green – “t-shirts”

because i haven’t posted about music in a while, here are some of the bands i’m really into right now:

she & him- i think i’m in love with zooey deschanel. what i mean is, i love you jen, but i also love zooey deschanel.

sigur ros- takk was my favorite album of 2005 and now með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly) is probably my favorite album of this year so far.  these guys just know what i want to hear in my music. namely, swells and great melody.

the helio sequence- and broken afternoon is probably my favorite song right now. i can’t get enough of this band.

cherry ghost- thirst for romance is a great album.  pure and simple.

thomas newman- this awesome summer movie season (as well as xfm’s cinemagic station) has revitalized my love of scores, and wall-e is the one playing on repeat right now. newman’s strength is emphasizing emotion, and wall-e is great at this. (also good- but more fun- is kung fu panda by hans zimmer and john powell!)

the verve- has everyone heard the new single yet??  august 19th cannot get here quick enough!

and yes, i saw hellboy.  loved it.  more on that later.

well, now that i got a few projects out of the way and have made some good lead way on some other things, i can finally start participating in drawergeeks again. woo! this week’s topic was the lone ranger.

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i sorta struggled on this one. i don’t know about the rest of you but cowboys and gunslingers are hard! so many bells and whistles and holsters to think of. and don’t get me started on horses. apologies to anyone that actually knows how a saddle and harness attach to a horse (i was about researched out at that point).

MUSIC! bands/artists i’m into right now:

mgmt- i think they put addictive chemicals in their music.

the frames- finally saw once a little while ago and am shocked i’m just now finding out about these guys.

need to breathe- they opened for third day a couple months back and i think it’ll be the last time they simply open for somebody again.

murder by death- this was perfect lone ranger drawing music. thanks to keath for this one.

sera cahoone- thanks to kean for mentioning her. really, all i need is a banjo and a harmonica to make me happy.

ralph stanley- ’nuff said.

iron man is finally out!

jug band

i got so busy over the weekend that i didn’t get a chance to post the drawing i did for friday’s drawergeeks. i present to you, the mullets!

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the subject was rednecks, but i think mine came out a little bit more hillbilly then redneck. i’m actually a big fan of jug band music. there’s a wonderful earthy energy to it all. big fan of the banjo too.

in the spirit of music, this feels like a good time to list what my ten favorite albums that came out in 2007 were. they may not have been the best albums, but they were the ones i found myself listening to the most often. listed in semi-particular order, with no linking because linking takes too long.

  1. Sunset Rubdown – Random Spirit Lover
  2. Radiohead – In Rainbows
  3. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
  4. Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City
  5. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Baby 81
  6. David Crowder Band – Remedy
  7. Modest MouseWe Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  8. Kings of Leon – Because of the Times
  9. Deas Vail – All The Houses Look The Same
  10. Travis – The Boy with No Name

if your favorite album is not on there, it means i did not hear it or it’s number eleven.

remedy

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so last night i went to one of the best rock concerts of my life to see the david crowder band. it’s the second time i’ve seen them but this was my first full show (with the also amazing the myriad (these guys ROCKED!) and phil wickham). david crowder band has been my favorite band ever since my dad introduced them to me over a year ago and once i realized christian music doesn’t entirely suck now. and man- if you ever get a chance to see them, don’t miss the opportunity. even if you aren’t into christian music- these guys put on one fantastic concert.

and although i love, love, love their music and crowder has to be one of the most entertaining and humorous worship leaders out there (who else can include a keytar (as seen above), a guitar hero guitar (reprogrammed to actually rock), a banjo and megaphones all into one show?), it was the awesome atmosphere of the evening that really made the event.

one of the things that crowder said that really resonated with me was that “if we all lived like we sang, the world would be a better place”. and he’s so obviously right. praising God for two and a half hours with hundreds? a thousand? however many people can fit into the hard rock down here… doesn’t mean anything if we don’t go out and live by that example out here on this planet. the tour is called the remedy tour for more reasons than that’s just the name of their new album. crowder and friends are sincerely trying to make the world a better place in the way all people should be making an effort to do everyday. crowder even wrote up a specific list for everyone there with ways to help out the orlando community. that’s awesome! how often do you walk into a rock concert and find ways to help people! just the small things. like giving towels and socks to a nearby shelter like we all did last night. that’s all it takes. and it doesn’t take very long. just live like you love God. even if you don’t quite know him yet. i think you have a fairly good idea of how he’d want you to live if you did. live like you sing!

i’m the busiest i’ve ever been in a long, long time, so i have no new art to show you today (though i do hope to have some stuff to show you/announce soon!). i’d be stressing out to no end if i didn’t know God has his hands on my (very sore) shoulders helping me along. but i need to make more of an effort to return his grace to his creations at every opportunity. among all the pixies and siths and drawergeeks, i don’t say how much i love God often enough on this blog. and i guess this is that post.

so thank you Christ for all the blessings i don’t deserve, for making each year better than the last and for the AWESOME concert we were at last night. and help me return the favor out there. :)

not really a vehicle lover so here’s a pimped out pixie instead for drawergeeks pimp your ride topic.

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it’s the first cool day here in tampa! i’m finally starting to get into the fall spirit- still my favoritest of seasons despite not many color changes here in florida. there’s a crispness in the air, the humidity level lowers, and a ton of my favorite bands decide to release their new albums.

speaking of which, has everyone downloaded the new radiohead yet? you really don’t have an excuse since you can pay however much you want for it. i was listening to it on my way to work this morning and, despite it’s short audio length, think it’s a perfect album for this time of year.

miss cleo was the topic of this week’s drawergeeks. my cleopatra battles the evil xerxikes, invaders from the planet xerx.

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yeah- i made that up. i have no idea where xerx is. or if there even is a xerx. or even if they are evil. if there are xerxikes somewhere out there and they are a peaceful race, i’d hate to start spreading rumors. so don’t listen to me!

new david crowder is out this week! i’ll be picking that up with the new athlete album that is also out. and maybe the new foo fighters. there’s also new iron and wine, jose gonzalez, eddie vedder, band of horses….

sigh. that time of year i guess…

jen and i will be seeing david crowder in november. with the awesome phil wickham. who i, by taking the time to link to him, just found out also has a new album out on tuesday. jeez!

hot dog stand

drawergeeks topic this week was hotdog stand. i owe jen for helping me come up with this idea:

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bands i’m really into right now: bloc party! i still remember has been my catchy fun song of the summer. i’m so late catching on to this band and i have no idea why. their music is highly addictive. as is wolf parade’s! i’ll believe in anything has been stuck in my head for over a week now!

and at work this morning, someone brought in cupcakes with cow sprinkles. i didn’t even know they made cow sprinkles! they taste just like regular sprinkles but better because they are shaped like cows.

hooray for fridays!

average-ordinary-pinup.jpgone of my pals slash comic shop managers is putting out a comic of his own this year called average ordinary super-heroes. it’s about a slew of superheroes who would rather sit around playing video games or hanging out at the pub rather than the hard work it takes to go out and save the world every other evening. anyhoo, he asked if i would draw a pin-up for the back of the first issue and, seeing as how he helps compile my reading entertainment every wednesday, i saw no good reason to decline his request. he also told me to make sure some of my characters where in the pinup as well. so that’s his main character, gold eagle, swinging behind my own superhero- captain cow and his incredible grappling udders.

MUSIC! picked up the new black rebel motorcycle club album last week and it is thirteen tracks of pure awesomeness. BRMC has gone from a band that i just sorta liked to a band that i love in a relatively short amount of time. baby 81 is a wonderful listen all the way through, harking back to the familiar sound they built with their first couple of albums but at the same time adding the melodic strengths they grew on their previous record, the equally wonderful HOWL. the album also causes some strange nostalgia for what american rock-n-roll use to sound like. so how excited was i to find out they are going to be just a short drive away in orlando in june? very excited! woohoo! it’s concert time again!

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