Wednesday, April 8

B-sides: _A time to give thanks to music news and events of 2011_

Courtesy of lilja Birgisdóttir

Andrew Bain / Daily Bruin

Blaine Ohigashi

Can you hear the sounds of the season? That’s the sound of relatives getting in the car for a long road trip toward a family reunion that may or may not feature some bickering. There are hopeful gobbles of turkeys around the country wishing they were the turkey pardoned by the president, chosen to live out the season at Disneyland.

It’s Thanksgiving time, ladies and gentlemen. And before the turkey lulls us all into a food coma the likes of which we have never experienced before, I thought I’d share some of the music news and events I’ve been thankful for this year. So before I get too creamed corny (sorry, obligatory Thanksgiving pun ““ it’s out of my system now), here I go.

The first landmark piece of music news that I am thankful for from this year came this summer, when Spotify came to the United States. For music lovers such as myself, the latest and greatest musical British invasion was a day to celebrate.

Pesky advertisements aside, the new streaming service provides something that students were sorely lacking: a free and legal way to stream music. And though some albums are missing from the service’s catalog, it is for the most part a wonderful way to listen to new music and even stumble upon artists you’ve never heard of before. My latest find is Johann Johannsson, just one more in a long line of brilliant Icelandic musicians.

I am also thankful for the return of some of my favorite bands from hiatus or breakups. One is Lydia, an alternative rock band that returned from a breakup with “Paint it Golden,” an album that rivals the 2008 album “Illuminate” in beauty and scope.

And the other is especially close to my heart. Those of you who have been reading this column from the beginning probably already know what I’m about to say. Sigur Rós recently announced that it will be releasing a new album in the spring. Apparently, the band has hinted that it’s a minimalistic album, which would be quite a change of pace from the Icelandic group’s previous and more energetic album, “Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust.” But to be honest, I’ll probably love the album no matter what it sounds like.

In light of the fact that roughly half of this column so far is devoted to Icelandic musicians, I might as well say that I am thankful for Iceland, which seems to be a garden ripe with a surplus of musical talent.

Finally (and bear with me as I get sentimental), I’m thankful for the musicians and music lovers themselves. In a world frequently pricked by political thorns and social unrest, music is a constant. It is a force that brings people together without fail.

At any given concert, I bet you could find a Bruin rocking out next to a Trojan, an atheist swaying next to an evangelist or a vegetarian floating away into a song next to someone who’d eaten nothing but bacon all day.

All because music is for everyone, from children to college students and onward. It’s what enables me to write this column. It’s what enables me to sing along with a song that, somewhere, thousands of miles away, somebody is singing along to just as fervently.

What music event or news from the past year are you most thankful for? Email Bain at [email protected]

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