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Liesel’s Yearly Favorites: Six Favorite Discoveries of 2011

31 Dec

Hey everyone, it seems like I’m about to go out for New Years! So here are some quick reminders before I write this blog! There are less than 30 hours left to donate to The Extraordinary Contraptions kickstarter and six days to donate to Penny Dreadful Productions’ Remnant! Both are great Atlanta based Steampunk projects that deserve your support!

Anyway, these are my six favorite things that I discovered this past year!

6.) Shovels and Rope

I had heard of these two for some time, but never really listened to them until I saw them open for Butch Walker and the Black Widows this past tour. A combination of two solo projects from Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, Shovels and Rope is a duo that proves that you don’t have a whole lot to make old school country/bluegrass with a big sound and heart. Playing with a junkyard drumset, guitar, and a little harmonica, the two tell stories as old as time, but in a fresh and exciting way. If Shovels and Rope are coming to your town, I highly suggest taking a look!

5.) Archer

Archer is probably the wrongest animated show to come on in years, but that’s why it’s so amazing. A mix of Arrested Development and James Bond, Archer tells of the misadventures of Sterling Archer and his fellow coworkers at ISIS. While Sterling is a hilarious character who is the ultimate self server, a lot of the humor comes from the others at the ISIS office. While Mallory Archer is pretty much the same as Lucille Bluth, she’s still the perfect example of the ultimate non caring mother. Probably my favorite characters in the series though are Human Resources head Pam Poovey, a woman of size who can hold her Jaeger better than anyone else, and Dr. Krieger, a scientist with the weirdest interests. So wrong, and so funny.

4.) Murder By Death

I blame this all on my dear Corbin. He kept mentioning this band, so I decided to finally check them out at Steampunk World’s Fair. Despite a very tiring and emotional day, I was fully entranced by this band telling stories of death and revenge. Much like Shovels and Rope, Murder By Death tell stories that are old as time. Sometimes with a supernatural twist, but always with a shot of Whiskey in hand. I enjoyed them so much that not only did I download most of their albums, I even saw them when I traveled to Alaska. Now THAT was a party.

3.) The Hunger Games

As I said in my blog about the books I enjoyed this year, The Hunger Games seems like such a simple concept on the surface. Years after the fall of America, the new government forces two children from each remaining district to face off in a yearly battle to the death for purposes of entertainment. However, once you read the books, it become so much more than that. It becomes evident that the Capitol put these games in place to punish the districts for something now long passed and squelch any hope of rebellion. When Katniss Everdeen becomes an inadvertent hero in her games, the series soon becomes a story about the terrible price one pays in war.

2.) Adventure Time and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

I should probably list these two separately, but they often feel like two sides of the same coin that it feels hard to separate the two. Both stories tell colorful tales in fantastical settings about the power of Friendship. For Adventure Time, it’s a surreal tale of a young boy and his dog as they travel around the land of Ooo. However, it’s very evident how important Jake is to Finn as well as the other friends he’s made along the way, including two very awesome girls named Bubblegum and Marceline, showing that boys can befriend girls and they aren’t just a personality-less accessory for their adventures. For Friendship is Magic, the story is more female focused, as Twilight Sparkle has to record the various lessons she learns about friendship she learns during her adventures. From here, we get a very diverse ensemble cast of fillies. They’re all very different, but they’re friends all the same. With their colorful natures and tales of Friendship, is it easy to tell why I think these two shows take place in the same universe.

1.) Parks and Recreation

Even while I was in the middle of this show, I was wondering where it had been my whole life. A bright and optimistic show done in a documentary style, it follows Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Leslie Knope as she tries to make her town of Pawnee a better place to live. The characters are rather loveable in a strange way and the stories are extremely well written. Overall, it’s a show that makes you love and care about the characters and the world they’re apart of. We’re not laughing at them. We’re laughing at the situations they get it. Like you do with friends you love and care about.

 

Happy New Year, everyone! Have a safe night tonight and tomorrow, I’ll be writing about things to look forward to in 2012! See you then!

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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Books, Music, Television

 

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