Best of 2011

Posted in Music on January 1st, 2012 by Tom

My best of 2011 is all done, though a tad bit late. Apologies.

It was a good year for the blog though, with some 40-odd posts, nearly all music related, making this the year to beat in terms of content production. It’s still a little unevenly paced still, but we made it through the year without any huge gaps in updates, which I’m quite proud of!

Without further ado, I have linked to the big list of the top albums of 2011. Below, for purposes of aggregation, is my Hype Zeitgeist widget.

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Belong

Posted in Music on September 28th, 2011 by Tom

I’m going to level with you, handful of internet readers: I was very busy for August, and then I’ve been kinda coasting for September. That ends today. I have a backlog of albums to at least mention that I’ve been grooving hard to since the middle of the summer, and if you take a peak at the music calendar, October has great new records coming out almost every single week.

A torrent of awesome music is about to hit us, and I want to be reasonably caught up when it does. Thus, the next few entries will be Tom’s Summer Recap. These albums came to characterize my summer, but maybe you’ll get some mileage out of them this fall! Up first in this series is the Pains of Being Pure At Heart’s Belong.

I’ll begin by saying that the cover art for this really creeped me out for a while. It’s a kid painted all impressionist-y on a canvas in weird High Contrast Filter colors. Weird, right? Not that I have a big problems with it in the end though, because I enjoyed the music on the album so much. It took me a straight-up week to figure out the correct characterization of this band, and I finally landed on a slightly edgier version of the Dream Academy’s cover of the Smiths’ ‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’.

That gives you a rough idea of what to expect here, but let’s just dispense with the comparisons and drop a track:


‘The Body’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

The Body‘ is a fantastic primer for what Belong has to offer. There’s certainly something distinctly airy about singer Kip Berman’s vocals in concert with the keyboard backing, but unlike songs by artists with a similar vibe which just sort of ‘float’, this song really builds and goes somewhere. The presence of the percussion as well as the tempo, in conjunction with the use of a fairly rockin’ guitar solo are what really cement this as a must-listen track on Belong.

Other tracks on the album don’t work quite as well on their own, in the sense that they’d be a little out of place on the radio. That’s probably on account of the fact that the album is uniform almost to a fault. Not to say it’s bland, but there is very clearly a stylistic aim for this record, and nearly every song hits that mark.

Title and opening track, ‘Belong’, is a fairly rousing outcast’s anthem that doesn’t skimp on the distortion, while additional stand-outs are ‘Even In Dreams’, ‘Too Tough’, and my personal favorite, ‘Heart In your Heartbreak‘.


‘Heart In Your Heartbreak’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

I should make a public declaration that I love this song. I mean, not this song, but ‘this’ song. Wherever I am, whatever is going on in my life, doesn’t matter. You wrote a catchy pop song about your long-lost love? Done. I instantly love that song, almost without fail. The above is no exception. The killers guitar riffs at the mid-point and keyboards at the end don’t hurt at all either.

In the end, it really boils down to if you’re in the mood for music that sounds like this. If you are, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart have written you a great album chock-full of the stuff. A few tracks that transcend even that to become some of the best indie pop-rock this year.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong

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