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Ah, it’s that time of year again for me to write about another year of Randomville. The holidays usually make it difficult to find the time to write this piece each year. I’m just amazed I got it done before January this year!

Before I reflect back, I’d like to mention a few of the new improvements that we did to the site. The biggest change of course is that we are no longer known as “Randomville: Killing indie cred, one reader at a time.” The reason: Nobody could ever figure out what that meant! Now we are known as “Randomville: If you have a voice, we want to hear it!” And what does that mean, you ask? Click here. So we have a new tagline and logo.

We also made a few upgrades with the new rotating image at the top, an easy to use menu bar, and now we have a mailing list that is free to sign up for and it’s easy to do. Members of our mailing list get an email about once a month highlighting some things we have going on, and sometimes getting exclusive contest priveledges.

Speaking of contests, this year we gave away free albums, posters, and all kinds of swag from bands like The White Stripes, Nobunny, Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin, Man Man and others. Be sure to come back in 2012 as we plan to continue on giving away free stuff! Obviously, the White Stripes albums came from our partnering label of the year, Third Man Records. We can’t say thank you enough to Jack White and his record label for the cooperation we had in 2011. Up next for 2012: We’re getting down with Barsuk Records!

Another new thing we did this year was volunteer at Seattle’s KUOW radio station (their local NPR station) by answering telephones during a pledge drive. Look for Randomville to do more of this in the future!

As always, WE THANK YOU, THE READER for continuing to visit Randomville and we have plenty of interesting things lined up for you in 2012. Come back to find out!

In the past I have usually gone back and broken down each month over the year, highlighting some of our bigger and more unique stories. And while I always do give praise to my wonderful staff, this year I have chosen to highlight some of the work that each of them have done individually.

And with that, 2011 in review:

Allen Cooley= Allen reviewed our band of the month for February, the female Japanese band 5,6,7,8’s.

Amy Nile= Amy wins our Rookie of the Year award! She jumped in with two feet for the second half of 2011 delivering articles about Sean Penn’s J/P HRO charity. Oh and she went to Kenya to report about an amazing charity that helps out women with AIDS. I never left the state of Washington this year. Not to mention she is an amazing editor!

Nile brought us back stunning images of Kenya

Brian Halloran= Brian turned in a piece about Cincinnati’s Amy Scalia, the founder of the uber-popular CincyChic. He also helped out with our year-end singles story.

Amy Scalia

Daniel Wagner= Dan updated an article about running that he had written a few years ago, plus he helped us out in March with reviews of songs by Yuck, Todd Snider and more.

Wagner, sadly during his final race

Eli Badra= Although Eli does write a lot of articles, he also does a lot of work behind the scenes with generating story ideas, contacting record labels and editing. He’s a valuable asset to us for sure! A few of his stories this year include: An interview with Flat Duo Jets’ Dexter Romweber, highlighting The Fischer House Project in May, and reviewing an arrabMuzik album.

A young Dex Romweber. Romweber was a huge influence for Jack White.

Jeremy Martin= Another new comer, Jeremy runs his own show called The Heritage Hour up in Michigan. He took time out of his busy schedule to interview Yonder Mountain String Band, and introduced us to The Adam Ezra Group. Looking forward to a year number two Jeremy!

Yonder Mountain

Ken Grand-Pierre= Ken had been working on the Ash: A to Z stories since 2010 and they finally came to an end in April. He finished it by conducting possibly our biggest interview of the year with Tim Wheeler himself! Ever wonder who Paperkraft Kastles are? Ken explains it all here.

An artists' amazing rendition of Tim Wheeler

Lisa Knight= I think Lisa officially attended 2,617 concerts this year. It seemed like every other time I checked my email she was inquiring about another show. Some of those included The Gourds, The B-52s, Vicci Martinez and  Old 97’s. I hope you took ear plugs with you Lisa.

The Gourds live in concert

Mackenzie McAninch= Last year I never would have imagined fighting crime with a super-hero, having a concert end with the singer diving into the frigid Puget Sound, climbing a glacier, or witnessing the best concert of my life. That all happened for me in 2011. Wow.

Getting close to the top of Mt. Rainier

Nathan Lind= Having been here since the beginning back in 2004, Nate has been a part of many of our Singles Club stories. First he helped out in March commenting on Made in Heights, The Joy Formidable and more. Then he got all Santa Claus this month to review The Twilight Singers, Alabama Shakes and more.

Twilight Singers, live in concert

Pam Inglesby= Portlandia got wildly popular this year and Pam told us about that back in May with a profile of Carrie Brownstein. Pam also introduced us to Roof Sex on YouTube. Yes, you read that correctly.

Check out Three Little Bops courtesy of Inglesby:

Zoe Saurs= Zoe was my tag-team partner at Bumbershoot. I guarantee that between the two of us, we produced more than any other duo from any other publication. Good luck proving me wrong on that one. Besides that, she joined Nate this month and in March for reviews of Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, Motopony, and Miles Kane among others.

Saurs gave the song “Austere” by The Joy Formidable a 5 out of 5. Did you?

Lastly, we can’t forget the photographers! Thank you to Arielle Lee and Ambar Choudhury for their amazing photos at Bumbershoot which included The Kills, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Mad Rad, and STRFKR. Lauriel Schuman got exclusive and gorgeous shots all weekend at Sasquatch! with front row shots of Foster the People at an acoustic show, Fitz and the Tantrums, The Decemberists and Flogging Molly just to name a few.

Kore Ionz by Arielle Lee at Bumbershoot


My Goodness by Arielle Lee at Bumbershoot


Phantogram by Ambar Choudhury at Bumbershoot


The Kills by Ambar Choudhury at Bumbershoot


Mark Foster of Foster the People by Lauriel Schuman at Sasquatch!


Robyn by Lauriel Schuman at Sasquatch!


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