The 2012 Music Experience

2012 was a rich year in terms of exploring music, listening to new artists, attending concerts and randomly browsing Youtube in search of good musical surprises. Well, sometimes all I got was crap but I guess that’s how things work: crap helps you appreciate the good things even more when you find them.

Julia, who’s very much into finding gems and is kinda like my music guru, also helped me with what pleases my ears. She’s very good at it and deserves to be thanked. 🙂

So here’s what actually made my year:

Mumford & Sons
I started listening to the band last March and I literally fell in love with them. I think not a single day has passed since then that I haven’t listen to one of their songs. Most of the time I put their music in my car on my way to work, and the magic operates: I get in a good mood instantly. For work. W.O.R.K. I know, right? Anyway, here are two of my favorite songs from their albums “Sigh No More” and “Babel”:

Florence + The Machine
Florence’s not new for me but 2012 marks the first time I attended one of her concerts. She was on stage at the Mainsquare Festival in Arras, France, last summer. It had rained a lot that day and I had mud all over my jeans. I was freaking cold, I couldn’t find my friends and I was lost in a huge crowd full of people who looked as terrible as I did. Then Florence came up on stage, started to sing, and as she was finishing “What the Water Gave Me”, a miracle occured: the rain stopped and a ray of sunshine appeared. The audience cheered with joy and it was just magical! It’s one of these moments that you know is gonna stay with you for the rest of your life.

Owen Danoff
‘I’ve been following Owen on Twitter for a bit more than a year now. He graduated from Berklee College of Music and has also a strong musical family background. Whether he makes his own stuff (he released his 2nd EP album in  Jan. 2012), records brilliant covers or supports fellow partners in crime, he’s full of talent and energy. Plus he’s got what I call “the nice guy look” – and i’m totally saying this in a good way! – which I think makes the whole thing (music, lyrics and singing) very sweet and genuine. And really, his very young age is not to be taken too seriously because he’s a prolific singer/songwriter/performer, and  for me it’s just proof that he’s got a very promising career ahead of him. And damn it, I’m definitely not born on the right side of the planet because it’s gonna be very tricky for me to attend one of his gigs any time soon. So keep posting videos on Youtube, man!

Mike Squillante
One thing leading to another, it didn’t take me long to hear about Mike Squillante since Owen plays and sings in a few of his videos. Mike is also a singer/songwriter, as well as a hell of a performer! Just like Owen, he is a Berklee graduate, and if I can trust what I read about him on the Internet, he does pretty much everything, from making his own music to the recording and arranging/editing process. For sure, he’s a star in the making! Wait, one last thing: *hair*. ’nuff said… 🙂

[Oh my God, Lauren Ruth Ward’s voice!!!! ♥ ♥ ♥]

Jed Whedon
Though I’m a bit familiar with Joss Whedon’s work, I didn’t know much about his brother Jed. Jed, among other things, co-wrote the web-series musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” and also worked on the TV show “Dollhouse” before it was cancelled. Once again, Twitter is how I heard about his album “History of the Forgotten Things” (released in 2010) and “This Girl” (released a few weeks ago) made with his terrific wife Maurissa Tancharoen. I can’t really find words to describe his music. One thing is sure, though: my favorite way to listen to the albums is when I’m lying on the couch or in bed at night, with my eyes closed. Without necessarily being melancholic, there’s an introspective ethereal atmosphere in the songs that drags me into some kind of comfy state, and I just like that feeling.

Bon Iver
Justin Vernon’s voice is no longer to be ignored. His band, Bon Iver, is getting more and more famous and I’m close to being outraged every time I hear people who don’t know them yet (which still happens occasionally) (dammit!). Bon Iver is intimacy and introspection at the highest level. They transcend musical genres and have the ability to get hold of my mind in a way that sometimes scares me -which is why I never *ever* listen to their albums when I’m driving. So last July, my music guru (who’s also guilty of making me listen to Bon Iver in the first place) and I, saw them live in Paris. I was pleasantly surprised to see that their performance was very different from what we got from the albums. That’s amazing how songs take a whole new dimension when they’re performed on stage, with other nuances and beats and modulations. Live shows offer a different perspective to the audience and I feel like I reexplored Bon Iver’s repertoire that night. I really had a wonderful time!

There’s not much to say beside the fact they make me happy every time I listen to them. Belgian band, British singer, 2 albums (“Dubois Died Today” and “Something You Might Like”) and catchy pop/rock songs. There’s nothing else to add, really. Worth listening to.

No doubt 2013 will be even more intense as far as music is concerned. I now work in an open plan office and listen to my MP3 player all day long to cover the background noise, so I’ll certainly have plenty of time this year for new musical experiences, like the ones below that are also part of my 2012 favorites.