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Dre Okorley

Written by: Dre Okorley (12/01/11)
Click the image if you want to access the playlist of fave songs collected from my top 30. Hopefully you'll find something you like somewhere in this maze.




Circle2011's been a wild ride. Cody Payne (TDS) on his usual high, The Weeknd released 3 mixes without skippin a beat, the deaths of some really influential individuals, I started translating for Iraqi refugees, Jason's made accomplishments with the new site, our users are getting wittier, and we've had enough head-spinning comebacks in music to keep us satisfied. But despite all this commotion, I haven't taken a thing for granted. 2011 has not only proven that genres thought to be dead are more confrontational than ever, but that it's an open door to myriad possibilities. Music's headed somewhere, and as each year brings us something different it's clear that creativity has no end. In saying that, I've grown tired of being a brick wall to difference; I'm prepared for all types of musical transformations with a completely open mind. A special thanks goes out to all the artists and industry folks that have made this year so alive.



Favorite EOTY List Complaint and My 10 of 2011:

You're a hipster


1. The Roots - undun
A young child is doing a back-flip over a blown-out mattress on the cover of undun, courtesy of Brooklyn photographer extraordinaire Jamel Shabazz. We don't even know his story, nor if he even landed the flip. That alone is a wealth of endless pondering. One thing I've always looked forward to with any upcoming Roots release is the strikingly poignant imagery. Ever since that release day of Things Fall Apart, I've connected to the cosmic struggles and revolving door hell-holes of loved ones that make it almost seem like The Roots are in my own family tree. Musically, undun indulges the familiar jazz quirks, abrasively tuned keys, grand orchestral interludes, climatic string arrangements, Black Thought's gift of gab and the introspective talent of Sufjan Stevens. The frugal doses of hip hop add to its texture, but it's the group's street-oriented wisdom and soul-quaking energy that separates them from typicality. And the frenetic drumming allure of Questlove doesn't hurt, either.

2.
Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
I'm typically not a folk-head, but Frank Turner's tell-all personality pulled me in deep. On first listen, I almost held back from enjoying it. To have thrown my hands up and say: "just another guy and his guitar" would have sufficed. But I couldn't turn it off, and, he wouldn't be restrained. Perhaps part of what stands out to me is how a low-brow producer, Tristan Ivemy, made it sound absolutely explosive. The way Turner's lyrics match the backdrop of immensity add to its personable value. I honestly don't know what it's like to be a "Wessex Boy" or brave the English channel, but that's all irrelevant to me. Turner expresses himself in a way that's not simply talking at you, but with you as someone who shares common ground. Most of Turner's stories are unforgotten memories; the powerful line "[it] reminds us of the things that matter, home and heart and history" really summarizes the hard-hitting depth of this album.

3.
Fucked Up - David Comes To Life
"Hipster punk" is the first term that comes to mind for many people, especially when a band has landed in the Pitchfork spotlight. But clothing and hairstyles are irrelevant, aren't they? Discolored white tees, tattered jean jackets or not (and if you spot the singer even wearing a shirt, it's a true rarity), David Comes To Life not only exceeded the "average" LP length, but it smashed all expectations in its conceptual path. Its carries anti-pig spray paint on its shoulders and as such reverberates even more within our economically sensitive era. As a pro-working class punk opera, it couldn't have appeared at a better time while I'm headed into the post-college limbo period of my life. In other words, if you haven't listened to this album...*badum-chish*...you're fucking up.

4.
The Weeknd - House of Balloons
From his soothing vocal range to the berserk production on this is like next-level catharsis, and I don't smoke a thing. It's R&B on hypnotics and to call it otherwise would be a misnomer to the "man behind the mask." Being a first generation musician myself, it's rewarding to witness the triumphs of someone who draws inspiration not only from the big names of soul and dance, but most importantly, his ethnic background. And the humble mystique surrounding him makes his music all the more transcendental. I believe that most artists will be, if not already, driving further away from immediate stardom. Accessible major publicity will become less of a resort as artists get more unique with self-promotion. The Weeknd's Echoes of Silence, which although came out on 12/21 as a free digital download, has been labeled as AOTY by some already.

5.
Young Statues - Young Statues
The Northeast continues to provide us with a ton of fun surprises, and New Jersey's Young Statues is no exception to it. "Spacism" introduces a youth-spirited bounce, akin to the antics mastered on The Cure's "Close To Me" track. Romantic harmonies and jangly riffs are part of what drive this album into pop-folk euphoria and a damn good dance-off. I felt as if I was on the beach while listening to it at times, but then
suddenly I'd realize, "Oh right, I'm in Philly." It's fitting bedtime music, driving music, or just anything anytime music. This release debuted him as a loose cannon of unabashed talent, so I'm curious to see where he takes his next wild ride.

6.
Aficionado - Aficionado
It truly evades me as to how such a theatrical indie act hasn't blown up at all. They possess a ridiculously high amount of natural professionalism many artists fiend for; it's not seven playground kids who tossed seven random instruments together just for the hell of it. Rather, it's a collective of seven crafty minds who coordinate their art without sacrificing its fun and catchy aspects. I can't imagine that their live sets are anything short of electric. If luck is on their side, they'll attract more attention fast.

7.
Trap Them - Darker Handcraft
The d-beat brand of hardcore music is definitely an underdog slayer on AP. Darker Handcraft's loud and heavy formula isn't a cliche production stunt like other bands of their niche. Its rattling rhythms serve their own purpose... I can feel every bold tone, the togetherness despite its spastic momentum, and an intense urgency that grabs you by the throat. If you've immediately written this off, give it a chance anyway. There are at least five albums on my list most users here wouldn't have assumed I listen to.

8.
Raekwon - Shaolin vs Wu Tang
I'm a sucker for sound effects from movies, ninjas and samurai swords, doom and gloom, etc. being a filmmaker, and I can't really think of any other 2k11 hip-hop release that fused such production gems so radically. A lot of the rhymes on this racked my brain visually, which I can thank Wu-Tang Clan's cinematic flavor and the rugged, colorful conscience of Shaolin for.

9.
I Am The Avalanche - Avalanche United
Only two words can nearly sum up my immediate reaction to this: absolutely floored. After what seemed like a millennium-long wait, we'd pretty much already forgotten about the Drive-Thru sponsored setback. Vinnie's upbeat outpourings over Social D tinted rock in the hands of his band brothers makes the record title an indisputable truth; their teamwork and camaraderie radiates from every dimension, through every single track. Not many albums touched this one in being nearly among AP's unanimously high-ranked punk releases of the year.

10.
White Lies - Ritual
A sizable group of critics decided to give this album a brutally low score. Could it be, that since I have more UK albums in my list than usual that my sensibilities are blocked? Or, just maybe… P4K can fly a kite . Personally, this was my only go-to "solitude" album. It has that eerie and melodramatic feel to it-- two things that aren't what I'd usually associate with having magnetism, but I go back to Ritual all the time. It also manages to capture the essence of Joy Division in some ways which is always a plus.


Took down a few quotes below from the rest of my top 30 that reflect me
.

11.
ASAP Rocky - Live Love A$AP "[I'm] a weirdo, but I'm real though."
12. Bastions - Hospital Corners
13. Shad - Besides
14. TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
15. Shabazz Palaces - Black Up
16. Kendrick Lamar -Section.80
17. The Men - Leave Home
18. H2O - Don't Forget Your Roots (tribute album)
19. Into It. Over It. - Proper
20. Hundredth-Let Go "Question everything,cause nothing’s what it seems...freedom isn’t free."
21. Foundation - When the Smoke Clears
22. LWL-Holy Shit "
I remember singing songs about nothing,but they meant everything."
23. Jill Scott - The Light of the Sun
24. Front Bottoms, The - The Front Bottoms
25. Ages - Sleep on It
26. Fireworks - Gospel "I'm not counting the grays on my head...they're silver linings instead."
27. Polar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride
28. Rise Against - Endgame
29. Heartsounds - Drifter
30. Set Your Goals - Burning At Both Ends

Best EPs of 2011:

1. Turnover - Turnover
2. Roc Marciano and Gangrene - Greneberg
3. Trash Talk - Awake
4. Punch - Nothing Lasts
5. No ID - Cocaine 80s
6. Shad/City & Colour - Two Songs
7. Gallows - Death is Birth
8. Hot Water Music - The Fire, The Steel, The Tread / Adds Up To Nothing
9. Daybreaker - The Northbound Train
10. Misser - Problems. Problems. Problems.

Honorable Mentions:

1.
Sick of it All - Nonstop and interview
2. Title Fight - Shed
3. Gameday Regulars - But It's Hell in the Hallway
4. Adele - 21
5. Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra.
6. Laura Stevenson and the Cans - Sit & Resist
7. The James Cleaver Quintet
8. Feist - Metals
9. Guttermouth - Guttermouth Goes On Vacation (Documentary)
10. LYU
- "Without You Here"

Biggest Letdown of 2011:

Lemuria
- Pebble

Best Reel of 2011 (end of 2010, but it was nominated as 2011's Best Foreign Film):
Incendies

Big Surprises of the Year:

1. The Occupy movements
2. Arab revolutions
3. Working at AbsolutePunk
4. Etta James' terminal leukemia and Max Soria's death
5. Birds in Row signing to Deathwish Records

Most Entertaining Things of the Year:
1. Latterman reunion
2. Angela Davis chill time
3. Gorilla Biscuits and Absolution reunion in NYC
4.
Hardcore for Haiti and LGBT Benefit DVD
5. Descendents X-mas sweater

10 Most Anticipated and Planned Reads:

1. Propagandhi
2. Kendrick Lamar
3. Fallen From The Sky
4. Wu-Tang Clan
5. No Trigger
6. Five Iron Frenzy
7. Trash Talk
8. Ceremony
9. The Menzingers
10. Gallows

Gil Scott Heron's autobiography
The Darker World: A People's History of the Third World
by Vijay Prashad
Arabic of Khartoum Reference Grammar
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Your Favorites This Year:
So what music, movies, books, etc. did you think were best of the year?
Which ones were incredibly over-hyped...who should all we be keeping an eye on?

Thanks to the users and staff fam of AP.net. Let's do this again sometime.
H
it me up on twitter @dretilldeath
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 54.
03:48 PM on 12/26/11
#2
Dre Okorley
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Spot saved.
11:18 AM on 12/27/11
#3
Holly HoX!
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Oh word?!?!

So many nice picks in here. Not your typical list that you'll see floating around. Still haven't heard that new Reakwon, but I've been spinning Wu out of control lately. Bold to put undun on top, but holy shit what a dope record. For real. Can't wait to hear ?uest on the new D'Angelo album we're finally getting next year.

Dre Dre Dre for shame. No Wu Lyf? You better get on that.great list though. Oh yeah, and new Rancid next year!
12:21 PM on 12/27/11
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HanLuk
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Latterman! Repping the Station! Loved the list btw man
12:35 PM on 12/27/11
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InaGreendase
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Misser, Daybreaker and Turnover mentions on the EP list, but no Daytrader? For shame.
12:44 PM on 12/27/11
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JinxRemoving
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Excellent list! And I've totally slept on that Raekwon album, I need to fix that soon.
01:39 PM on 12/27/11
#7
incognitojones
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This is my favorite.
02:44 PM on 12/27/11
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Dre Okorley
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Oh word?!?!

So many nice picks in here. Not your typical list that you'll see floating around. Still haven't heard that new Reakwon, but I've been spinning Wu out of control lately.
Dre Dre Dre for shame. No Wu Lyf? You better get on that.great list though. Oh yeah, and new Rancid next year!

Thanks man. And funny you mention that, I just got Wu Lyf earlier today but haven't had a chance to listen yet. They're also playing here soon so hopefully I'll dig it. That name is crazy. I only ignored it for a minute cause it reminded me of "Wu Tang" and was rubbin me the wrong way, dumb I know.

Quote:
Bold to put undun on top, but holy shit what a dope record. For real. Can't wait to hear ?uest on the new D'Angelo album we're finally getting next year.
Hey, if OKplayer can do it so can I,haha. Nah but for real, it was either in the lower tier of the top 10 or top 30 for most sites. We can't have every album sounding like "Next Movement" now.
02:45 PM on 12/27/11
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Dre Okorley
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Latterman! Repping the Station! Loved the list btw man
Always, love Latterman. I'm re-editing a video I shot of one of their reunion shows and an interview I'll hook you up with when I get a min.
02:45 PM on 12/27/11
Dre Okorley
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Misser, Daybreaker and Turnover mentions on the EP list, but no Daytrader? For shame.
I can't get into Daytrader as much for some reason, I know....shame on me, haha.
02:47 PM on 12/27/11
Dre Okorley
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Excellent list! And I've totally slept on that Raekwon album, I need to fix that soon.

thanks girl. It got average responses but I think it sounds next-level (in that familiar Wu style of course.)
02:48 PM on 12/27/11
Dre Okorley
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You and I are on the same page about nearly everything. Thank yous!
02:51 PM on 12/27/11
incognitojones
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You and I are on the same page about nearly everything. Thank yous!
This is just the only one without any albums that I listened to and disliked or any of the typical AP bands I can't stand. On that same level.
03:29 PM on 12/27/11
luvsickcatalyst
wander eyes, ocean high.
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Thank you for not combining The Weeknd's mixtapes as one and recognizing that House of Balloons is the best of the three. Was really annoyed to see that on the overall AP.net staff list, especially since Thursday was so weak compared to EOS and HOB.

Overall, really cool list. Going to sub your Spotify playlist now.
03:32 PM on 12/27/11
Dre Okorley
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This is just the only one without any albums that I listened to and disliked or any of the typical AP bands I can't stand. On that same level.
Gotcha, that's good to hear.

Thank you for not combining The Weeknd's mixtapes as one and recognizing that House of Balloons is the best of the three. Was really annoyed to see that on the overall AP.net staff list, especially since Thursday was so weak compared to EOS and HOB.
Yeah I didn't really get that.

Quote:
Overall, really cool list. Going to sub your Spotify playlist now.
Appreciate it. Hopefully you'll like something in there that you haven't heard already (as you can see, it's a mix of hip hop, folk, and hardcore punk...so I'm hoping people have some open minds and patience. Always elcome to suggestions too.
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