This is the last Underage column of 2010. Don't cry! It's been a hell of a year, and while I'm usually all for making "best of" lists and revisiting the great shit that happened over the past 52 weeks, I'd rather devote my last installment of this year to the future, because the future looks amazing.

In just the next three months, we have these things to look forward to: new records from the Cave Singers, Say Hi, and the Get Up Kids; the Vera Project's anniversary gala and auction; a date with the Dismemberment Plan; Sound Off! 2011; a date with Blake Schwarzenbach and his new band, forgetters... Need I go on? I can!

Next year might also bring us a new album by the very talented young singer-songwriter Whitney Ballen. Her voice is stunning—imagine a less off-putting but still precious Joanna Newsom. Ballen's written both playful pop songs ("Little Secrets") and gorgeous, emotional, and sparse ballads ("California State").

For a couple years now, she's been writing and recording songs and gathering field recordings for her latest project, White Feathers, White Linens, and now she's asking for our help via the fundraising website, so she can afford to master the vinyl-only release.

"For the past two years, I've been carrying around a tape recorder with me pretty much everywhere I've gone—on vacations, on the bus, to school, to shows, everywhere, really—and I've collected recordings of conversations about intimacy, about secrets, feelings... all kinds of things," Ballen explains in a video posted on her Kickstarter page. "White Feathers, White Linens is about what I've been doing for the past few years and what I haven't shown people before."

At press time, Ballen had raised nearly $1,000 of her $3,500 goal, with about two weeks to go (fundraising closes January 5). You can pledge anywhere from $1 to $500, and your contribution can earn you anything from a handwritten thank-you note and a free song download to an invitation to a private show and a copy of the record with custom art. It could be one of the best locally released albums of the year. We just have to help her get it out there.

Happy New Year! The year 2011 is gonna be fucking amazing. recommended

Recommended All-Ages Shows

(Two Weeks' Worth!)

Sun Dec 26: The Way We Were in 1989, Whitney Ballen, Rootbox at Skylark Cafe, 7 pm, free.

Thurs Dec 30: Neurosis, Wolves in the Throne Room, Black Breath at Neumos, 8 pm, $25.

Sat Jan 1: Noah Gundersen and the Courage, Lowlands at Triple Door, 8 pm, $12.