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All That You Shouldn't Leave Behind In 2011

Photo Illustration: Jim Hill
Photo: Stuart Moreton Flickr - Creative Commons

Sometimes it feels like there isn't enough time in the day. Or in a year for that matter. 2011 was an incredible year for music, almost too much to keep track of. In the waning moments of '11 here's three you should take with you into the new year.

While I'm at my desk, my gaze is always interrupted by the stack of albums that litter it. An organized chaos of piles deemed 'great', 'middle of the road', 'sorry Charlie', and dominated by one pile: 'To be listened to'. A pile where escape is either through an infrequent listening bender or by recommendation. Count Portland, Oregon's Typhoon amongst the latter. Almost weekly inquiries from a friend finally drove me to check out A New Kind Of House during the holiday.

I owe an album that came out in March an apology. I should have listened to it earlier.

All 12 members have put together a swelling album with each tracking building and receding. Textured and orchestral, all 5 tracks have something to offer you if your need for indie rock has moved from away from the sparse or lo-fi sound. My only complaint is that it's over too soon, A New Kind OF House is out now on Tender Loving Empire.

Pop Quiz: Name a band based in Montreal that features a hammer dulcimer, vibraphone, a harp, and a pump organ. The correct answer is The Barr Brothers. Andrew and Brad Barr released their folk-pop debut in September. With such new indie folk heavyweight releases this year from Fleet Foxes and Dawes, it can be easy to be lost in the shuffle. Don't make that mistake. Unless you're in the Great White North or stateside in the North East in February where they're touring, you'll need to catch them on their self-titled release.

The English throw back trio Kitty, Daisy, & Lewis have the chops and the retro sound that has been finding its way into rock this year. That'll continue into 2012, but not everyone is going to have pedigree of rock 'n roll parents (these sibling's parents are a guitarist/producer and drummer) or the long hours growing up across the pond listening to the likes of Johnny Cash. Their musical tutelage includes, early rock, surf, ska, R&B, rockabilly, country AND western, and it all comes through in their 2nd album Smoking In Heaven. If you need a 2011 sound that could have come straight out of Sun Records, then this is it.

Happy Listening & Happy New Year...

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