Top Tunes of 2011 According to The Torches

The Torches

Here at We Love DC we were asked to do a roundup of the year in some way, and so I decided to ask my bandmates in The Torches for some help picking some favorite tunes from 2011. The Torches are Stephen Guidry on vocals/banjo, Joe Barbee on accordion, harmonica and hollering, Jocelyn Frank on oboe/vocals, Tina Plottel on bass, Thomas Orgren on drums/vocals, Claire White on violin, and Alexia Kauffman (me) on cello/lap-steel guitar.

Stephen: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound “To Love Someone (That Don’t Love You)”: technically came out as a single last year but then was released on their album this year, which I haven’t heard all of yet. Best falsetto of the year for sure.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club: Unentitled: This is the entire album, as it’s just a bit too hard to pick out just one song from their records that I like in particular. Munly and Slim’s voices together give me similar chills to John Doe and Exene’s.

Brass Bed has an album with Feu Follett, the only indie pop/cajun split EP that I have ever heard, and although I am dear friends with the Brass Bed boys, I have to admit that my favorite track from the album is from Feu Follett, playing Brass Bed’s “Farmer Song,” probably cause it’s got accordion.

Alexia: Electric Guest is a new band that includes Cornbread Compton (founding member of Engine Down, Zetamale, and former drummer of Cursive, Har Mar Superstar and others, not to mention my former college roomate and good buddy) and Asa Taccone (co-writer of SNL digital hit “Dick in a Box,” collaborator with comedy group The Lonely Island and brother of Lonely Island member Jorma Taccone.) The duo recently co-wrote the digital short “Two Best Friends” featuring Katy Perry, Andy Samberg, Matt Damon & Val Kilmer! “Amber” was my favorite of the songs they’ve leaked out as a teaser to their 2012 release in the past year, but I can’t find it anywhere now. With a kind of downtempo almost dub feel to it, and laid back vocals it set a dreamy mood. I am super excited for their 2012 release, which is rumored to be produced with the help of super-producer Dangermouse.  “American Daydream” is a great track too, and you can listen to it here. These guys are ones to watch in the new year!

photo courtesy of Electric Guest

I discovered Purity Ring by accident this fall- I went up to New York to see Electric Guest play at the Mercury Lounge for a CMJ showcase, and Purity Ring was headlining the night. They are amazing, weird, dark, electronic avant garde and remind me of one of my favorite bands of all time The Knife. Check out their track “Belispeak“.

Thomas: David Bazan – “Virginia” (album: Strange Negotiations) Actually the only record of 2011 that found its way into my music library (so far – I tend to run at least a year behind the times). A beautiful, understated song that asks more questions than it answers, with a simple four-note hook that burrows itself into your brain.

Joe:Open Grave” by Tallahassee, and almost anything from the record Stay Sweet by The Goddamn Rattlesnake.

photo courtesy of Tallahassee

Tina: I have two favorite songs from the PJ Harvey record: “Written on the forehead” (which actually kind of has the same hook as the Rubberband Man) and “On Battleship Hill” (I really love how the guitar comes in dovetailing with the end of the trumpet’s “Charge”).

“Cherry Delicious” from the Poor But Sexy record that came out this year, “Let’s Move in Together.” We may have to give a full disclosure that our drummer is their sometimes guitar player.

“Claudia Lewis” on the M83 record!

Death Cab for Cutie‘s “Stay Young, Go Dancing.”

“Witches” by Low. “All you guys out there trying to act like Al Green… you’re all weak!”

Alexia Kauffman

Alexia was born and raised in Arlington, VA. She has been a cellist since age four, and a lover of rock & roll soon after. The first tape she owned was “Make It Big” by Wham, and the first tape she bought was Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” and she still loves both. She was a member of local synth-rock outfit Soft Complex for several years, and has recorded with bands including Engine Down and Two if By Sea. By day she works for a non-profit distributing royalties to musicians and labels. She currently plays cello, lap-steel guitar and tambourine in the DC post-folk/Americana band The Torches.

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