BOAT Bright Eyes Brown Recluse Sings Dangerous Ponies Fishboy Folklore Forbidden Friends Imaginary Scoop Kids On A Crime Spree Matt & Kim Okkervil River Oregon Bike Trails Pains of Being Pure at Heart Telekinesis! The Mountain Goats The Thermals When I Was 12

A mixtape of Imaginary Liz's Best of 2011 {so far)

Imaginary Liz's Best of 2011 pt 1

Rather than thinking of it as 2011 being halfway over, I prefer to see it as we’re all halfway to my birthday {December 24th if it’s not on your calendar already}.  To celebrate, and take stock of this year’s releases thus far, I’ve put together a mix of my favorite songs of 2011 {so far}.

This year has brought some predictably great albums from friends such as Mountain Goats, Okkervil River, BOAT, Matt & Kim, Telekinesis, Bright Eyes.  I feel like I’ve been waiting for a fresh batch of songs from Brown Recluse for years. I love every note they play and having a two hearty releases in one year {Panoptic Mirror Maze and Evening Tapestry} makes me overjoyed.

Other bands, like When I Was 12 and Dangerous Ponies, I am thankful for crossing paths with for the first time this year.

And then there are the folks that have left me wanting more more more (I’m looking at you Oregon Bike Trails and Forbidden Friends)! Huge thanks to You Aint No Picasso for bringing Oregon Bike Trails to my attention. OBT fellow,  singer/songwriter Zach Yudin, from Santa Monica, Ca., is quite the mysterious dude – only having a cassette tape release earlier this year (hand painted, limited to 50!) and a couple other MP3s swirling around the web.

Forbidden Friends, a side project by Thermals frontman Hutch Harris (with Michael Lerner of Telekinesis on drums and fellow Thermals Kathy Foster and Westin Glass backing him up), is still in the 7″ only phase, and needless to say I’m counting down to a full album of FF stuff.

In short, I can’t recommend the below songs and full releases enough. To help convince you of their brilliance, I made a virtual mix cd!

The tracklisting of my {hopefully very convincing} mix cd is:

1.  When I Was 12 – “Explicit Content” – Dear Eskimo (3:09)
{tig} {listen} {buy}

2.  Oregon Bike Trails – “Swimsuit” (3:33) 

3.  Brown Recluse – “Memory museum” Panoptic Mirror Maze (4:02) 
{mp3} {free EP}

4.  Forbidden Friends – “Tiny Hands” – Tiny Hands 7″ (2:30) 
{mp3} {buy}

5.  Folklore – “The Party” – Home Church Road (3:18) 
{tig} {mp3} {buy}

6.  Matt & Kim – “Block After Block” – Sidewalks (2:56) 
{tig} {watch} {buy}

7.  BOAT – “When Frank Black Says (No. 14 Baby)” – Dress Like Your Idols (2:15)
{tig} {listen} {buy}

8.  Fishboy – “Alyson Revere” – Classic Creeps (2:46) 
{tig} {listen} {buy}

9.  Dangerous Ponies – “You Are Dangerous” – Dangerous Ponies (3:19) 
{tig} {listen} {buy}

10.  Okkervil River – “Rider” – I Am Very Far (4:25) 
{tig} {mp3} {buy}

11.  The Mountain Goats – “Estate Sale Sign” – All Eternals Deck (2:47) 
{tig} {listen} {buy}

12.  Kids On A Crime Spree – “Sweet Tooth” – We Love You So Bad (1:54) 
{mp3} {buy}

13.  Telekinesis – “Car Crash” – 12 Desperate Straight Lines (2:40) 
{mp3} {buy}

14.  Bright Eyes – “Singularity” – Singularity (4:30) 
{tig} {listen} {buy}

15.  Pains of Being Pure At Heart – “Heart In Your Heartbreak” – Belong (3:45)
{tig} {listen} {buy}

{download high rez cover art for this mix cd and / or purchase a mix of these songs on iTunes}

Now that you’ve had a week to process what the first six months delivered, do you have a list of favorites? What’s on your Best of 2011, pt 1 mix?

Dangerous Ponies Imaginary Scoop Self-released

Favorite band alert: Dangerous Ponies {at the Comet this Wens 4/27}

dangerous ponies in Seattle

In this era of sponsored hype nonsense and corporate grassroots initiatives, it’s time to get back to the core of why we get dirty fingernails flipping through record bins and sacrifice respectable sleep patterns and clean laundry to recharge the batteries of our hand-stamped hearts.

Enter the Dangerous Ponies from Philadelphia.  A seven-piece who describe themselves as a “queer and allied band, slathered in gold and rainbows.” But, they are more than that.  Dangerous Ponies are a reminder that great things happen when calculated postures are replaced with giddy enthusiasm.

Combining the DIY-or-Die mantra of the Pharmacy and the elegant cleverness of the Starlight Mints, the songs on the Dangerous Ponies self-released, debut full-length album, would be equally comfortable at a beach dance party, house party sing along, or played from the decks of a Linda’s happy hour DJ set between Modest Mouse and Heavenly.

The opening track “We” is a fitting introduction to the band as an indie-dance party carousel ride – weaving between splashes of Tilly and the Wall and Queenish 60’s glamrock. From there they dive deep into sweeping theatric mid-song breakdowns and churning indie-rock Built to Spill guitar rifts that lay the groundwork for comparisons to Los Campesinos!, Quasi and Stereolab. (listen to the album for free on bandcamp).

The band bravely and seamlessly transitions from ramshackle to demure to bombastic, thanks to what some could write-off as happy accidents, but is actually the product of a well-oiled machine of buddies crafting songs that they want to play over and over for a room packed with friends.  Best of all is that Dangerous Ponies will be in Seattle this Wednesday, April 27 at the Comet on a marvelous bill with Stickers, Gliggerbang, and Noddy.

Ok, *actually* the best part is that their shows have been known to include glitter and audience costumes (as evidenced in this video):