Arts Desk

Our Music Coverage in 2011: So, How’d We Do?

This is the time of year when we look back on the arts with the benefit of short-term hindsight. Over the last week, Marcus J. Moore, Ryan Little, Michael J. West, Ramon Ramirez, and I have listed what we think is the best D.C. music of 2011. To judge by our overlapping taste, some of the year's most worthwhile recordings came from Oddisee, The Caribbean, More Humans, yU, and Deleted Scenes. Hip-hop, indie rock, EDM, and jazz all had strong, if not revelatory, years. Local music fans have nothing to hang their heads over.

From week to week, though, our print arts section presented a less obvious narrative of local music. Earlier this week, I combed through every One Track Mind, local album review, and music feature we ran in 2011 to get a sense of our biases and oversights—what we got right, what we got wrong, and what we missed.

Our music coverage remains heavily titled toward indie rock, punk, garage rock, and post-hardcore. Hip-hop probably comes next, but while Oddisee, Black Indian, and Pro'Verb got squibs in print—and X.O. got a full review—plenty of the year's most notable mixtapes never got mentioned beyond Arts Desk. I'd like to see more full-fledged mixtape reviews in 2012, especially since the line separating mixtapes from albums keeps getting blurrier and blurrier.

Two of the biggest success stories in local EDM didn't nab print mentions (although they were all over Arts Desk): Volta Bureau and the Future Times label. Oops. We missed some notable experimental releases, too. Our go-go coverage was mostly pitiful. And not enough of West's and Mike Paarlberg's and Steve Kiviat's excellent online jazz and classical and world-music coverage (respectively) migrated to our weekly edition. (For the most part, we ignored the area's abundance of pop-folksy singer/songwriters, but, yeah, that won't change in 2012.)

On the plus side: We wrote about a shit-ton of local music this year, didn't we? And despite our obvious biases, we covered a pretty good amount of sonic ground. We had 10 (10!) cover stories or cover packages about music—almost a fifth of City Paper's cover stories this year.

Now comes the part where I ask a question I usually hate reading at the bottom of blog posts: But what do you think? (Give me a break. It's December.) Check out the overview of our coverage below, and tell us in the comments.

One Track Minds

Trumpet Grrrl, "Amaryllis"

Hays Holladay, "It's a Boy"

Phonic Riot, "Libertina"

Benoit & Sergio, "Walk & Talk"

The Jolly Bros., "Eyes on the Horizon"

The Ash Lovelies, "Vernon Street"

Kevin Pace Trio, "7524"

Bear Witnez, "Can't Hold Me Down"

Lenorable, "Metamorphosis"

Darkest Hour, "Savor the Kill"

Will Eastman and Micah Vellian, "No Sleep"

Maimouna Youssef, "Black Magic Woman"

The Sweater Set, "Downstream"

Richard Chartier, "Transparency (Performance)"

Nunchucks, "Zebra"

Tittsworth and Alvin Risk, "Pendejas"

Fell Types, "Where You've Been"

Cigarette, "100 Tears"

June G., "Supa Star"

Outputmessage, "N.Y.R. (Reverse)"

The Gift, "Corpse Reviver"

Rival Skies, "Destroyer"

Empresarios, "Happy Track (Thomas Blondet and Second Sky Remix)"

Mittenfields, "Goliath FTW"

Muhsinah, "Champ"

The Chance, "Into the Night"

Herman Burney, "Portrait of a Rose"

Sad Bones, "Backyard Dream Killer"

Regents, "Cinder Machine"

Dot Dash, "I'm Going Home"

Darren "D Streets" Harper, "Game 2 U"

Paperhaus, "Diamond Days"

Mobius Strip, "Battery Cage"

Martyn, "We Are You in the Future"

The Caribbean, "The 65 Cent Dinner"

Awthentik, "Purified Madness"

Brian Settles and Central Union, "Gardenias"

The Jet Age, "Some Nights"

Noyeek, "Pulling Away"

Pree, "Lemon Tree"

Deathfix (next week!)

Album Reviews

Laughing Man, The Lovings ('63-'69)

U.S. Royalty, Mirrors

Chain & the Gang, Music's Not for Everyone

The Caribbean, Discontinued Perfume

Carol Bui, Red Ship

Title Tracks, In Blank

Vandaveer, Dig Down Deep

Pygmy Lush, Old Friends

Joe Lally, Why Should I Get Used to It

Blow Your Head, Vol. 2: Dave Nada Presents Moombahton

Macaw, Celadon

Wale et al, Self Made, Vol. 1

Father's Children, Who's Gonna Save the World

Thievery Corporation, Culture of Fear

See-I, See-I

Ben Williams, State of Art

Blue Sausage Infant, Negative Space

Meredith Bragg, Nest

The Plums, The White LP

The Funk Ark, From the Rooftops

X.O., Told You So

Wild Flag, Wild Flag

Deleted Scenes, Young People's Church of the Air

Edie Sedgwick, Love Gets Lovelier Every Day

Faith, Subject to Change Plus First Demo

Void, Sessions 1981-1983

John Fahey, Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You

Wale, Ambition

Tone, Priorities

Office of Future Plans, Office of Future Plans

yU, The EARN

Screen Vinyl Image, Strange Behavior

Features

Memory Machine: Was Dismemberment Plan the Internet’s First Buzz Band?

Ground to a Halt: Magrudergrind’s Scion Deal Alienated Its Peers, But Does It Matter?

Back in Hack: Journopalooza, Where the Boys on the Bus Become the Boys in the Band

Bruise Cruise: A Supposedly Punk Thing I'll Never Do Again

Best of D.C., including Best Instrument: Bass

Ballad of a Mixtape

A Tale of Two Warehouses: Life in Eckington Is Harder for a Go-Go Space Than a Punk Venue

For the Nobis, Home Is Where the Hemp Is

Summer Music Guide: Jonathan Slye's Positive Force

Summer Music Guide: Fancy Hearing You Here

Summer Music Guide: Lionize's Merchandise Savior

Summer Music Guide: Mount Pleasant, Unmuted

Summer Music Guide: The National Symphony Orchestra's Video-Game Summer

Remuneration Breakdown: Why Zep Fest Was Canceled

Sweetgreen's Sweet Spot

Patriarch Games: The Cornel West Theory’s High-Stakes New Album

State of the Reunion: It's the Golden Age of Hardcore Reunions. How Punk Is That?

[Your Band] Played Here: An Oral History of Fort Reno

Kicking and Streaming: Why Indies Tolerate Spotify’s Minuscule Royalties

Fillmore Silver Spring: The End of the World as We Know It?

D.C. Nein? DC9′s Nearly Smooth Return to Business as Usual

Where's DJ Rane?

Dave Mann's Very Own D.C. Rock Scene

Full Disclosure: Fugazi’s Live Series Is a Lot More Than Angry Banter

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  • Jen

    This is amazing! All in one place. So many good tracks. Thank you

  • Toby

    Wale's CD is one of the top 3 of the year. He is considered to be one of the best new rappers in the game. As locals we should praise not hate on him. City Paper should be ashamed for such an ugly and distasteful cover.

  • cb

    For the most part, your little rag is good for one thing. The bottom of my bird's cage.

  • Amber-Therese Foster

    (For the most part, we ignored the area's abundance of pop-folksy singer/songwriters, but, yeah, that won't change in 2012.)

    Wow....really??

    This statement is really sad...you are missing a huge community of talented artists by excluding this group...and it's even sadder that there is no intention to change that this year. Artists like Justin Trawick, Ted Garber, Brian Franke, Shane Gamble, Keith Center, Jason Masi, Rene Moffatt, Andy Zipf, Nate Ihara and more are well-deserving of support & press. Disappointing, WCP!

  • Derp

    @Amber, you left out "boring, uninspired, and derivative"

  • http://www.joncarroll.org Jon Carroll

    "For the most part, we ignored the area's abundance of pop-folksy singer/songwriters, but, yeah, that won't change in 2012"

    Wow. Anyone so proudly and flippantly dismissive has got to be just cooler than horseshit.

    JC

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