2017-03-01 mixtape best of

Best Albums of 2016

Since getting a record player last year, I haven’t been as interested in keeping up with everything new. I’d do a year-end rush and listen to a ton of different things from a ton of different lists and come up with mine. I did it this year too, of course - it’s a blast to discover a flood of new music. But I wasn’t feeling any pressure to include thea releases on everyone else’s lists. If I didn’t really listen to it, it didn’t get on here. This one feels a little more completely me than past ones might have.

Every album has a Spotify link in the title. I picked 4 songs off each album, to have an even 100-song playlist for you to shuffle through. Key tracks are all gathered in a playlist at the bottom of the post. Hit shuffle and enjoy the year that was.

Andrew Bird // Are You Serious

Andrew Bird strikes this weird balance between being very pretentious and very fun to listen to. A world-class musician, he’s also incredible to see live. I got to see him at the Wilma in Missoula, MT this summer, and it’s so fun to watch someone that could mail it in and know that everyone would leave happy, but doesn’t. He was engaged with the songs, playing around with the instrumentation and experimenting with whistles and loops and whatever else he had on stage. This one is his most direct effort lyrically, and comes on the heels of having a son, getting married, and suffering through his wife’s cancer scare. Puma” goes into detail about that struggle, while Valleys of the Young” delivers some of the most affecting and relevant young dad lines I’ve heard put to music.

Key tracks: Roma Fade,” Truth Lies Low,” Puma”, Valleys of the Young”

Andy Shauf // The Party

I just found out about Andy Shauf last year, when his Bearer of Bad News made my list. What I didn’t know was that that album was orginally released in 2012, so I was surprised and excited to see him come back with another strong effort so soon. Conceptually taking place at a party and writing songs from different attendees’ perspectives, this one gets better and better with every listen.

Key tracks: The Magician,” Twist Your Ankle,” Quite Like You”, Alexander All Alone”

Angel Olson // MY WOMAN

Burn Your Fire for No Witness was a major oversight on my 2014 list, and this one predictably made nearly everyone’s list this year. Her amazing voice is front and center throughout the album, mixing sloppy, shouty garage rock vibes with hints of 50s doo-wop and alt-country.

Key Tracks: Never Be Mine,” Shut Up Kiss Me,” Not Gonna Kill You,” Woman”

Bon Iver // 22, A Million

I was beginning to wonder if Justin Vernon would ever release another Bon Iver album. He seemed visibly frustrated by the box (cabin?) his classic first album put him in, and he pretty much maxed out the direction he was headed with Bon Iver, Bon Iver. After a few years of cameoing on Kanye albums, putting out one-offs like Gayngs and The Shouting Matches, it seems like all along he was experimenting with his new sounds the most in Volcano Choir. This is a beautiful album that keeps giving the more you listen - even the distortions of voice emote. It’s a drastic depature from previous work, but it still somehow manages to sound like Bon Iver. The full album package has some incredible art direction, as a bonus.

Key Tracks: 22 (OVER S∞∞N),” 715 - CR∑∑KS,” 33 GOD”″,“___ 45 ____” (<-can’t quite format this one right)

Car Seat Headrest // Teens of Denial

For some reason I slept on this one for most of the year. His Teens of Style compliation last year barely fell off my list, but for whatever reason I never checked on this one. Too bad, because it’s awesome. He certainly wears his influences on his sleeve (Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Nada Surf and Neutral Milk Hotel, among many others), but the fun thing is that they’ll all show up in the same (7+ minute) song.
Key Tracks: Vincent,” Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales,” 1937 State Park”, Cosmic Hero”

Chris Staples // Golden Age

Chris Staples is one of those songwriters that kind of lurk in the background of your life, popping up occasionally to deliver a knock-out album, only to fade away again. He’s been around for me since undergrad, traveling to Tuscaloosa to see him perform as Discover America, then solo. A fellow early-life Pensacolian, Staples’ new one is the poppiest he’s been since Discover America and hits that perfect laid-back-but-still-attention-grabbing vibe.

Key Tracks: Golden Age,” Missionary,” Cheap Shades”, Always on My Mind”

Damien Jurado // Visions of Us on the Land

The final somewhat weird, somewhat psychadelic album in a trilogy he’s done with producer Richard Swift. If Swift is involved, odds are good I will enjoy it. Often feels like it’s being piped in from speakers from another dimension, in a very good way.

Key Tracks: QACHINA,” TAQOMA,” Exit 353”, Queen Anne”

David Bazan // Blanco

Bazan’s Blanco is something of a greatest hits” of the Bazan Monthly collections he’s put out over the last couple of years. He selected 10 songs from that output and re-recorded them with Yuuki Matthews (of The Shins and others). Some are just slightly cleaned up, while others are way more fleshed out than their Monthly versions. Regardless, I love it. He’s moving farther and farther away from his identity as former Pedro the Lion singer who said fuck at Cornerstone and left the church,” and I can’t wait for his new one this year. I’ll be seeing him in Gainesville next week, and hopefully he’ll have some copies available. It’s coming out next month (and produced by Richard Swift, in a match made in my heaven).

As a bonus, check out the Christmas album he put out this year, Dark Sacred Night. As someone who really doesn’t like much Christmas music, it’s a welcome departure.

Key Tracks; Both Hands”, Kept Secrets,” With You”, Someone Else’s Bet”

Drive By Truckers // American Band

A very important and deeply political album that has surely lost this Athens, GA band fans. It’s also gained them a few, including me, who thinks this is their best album since Jason Isbell left. Guns of Umpqua” and What It Means” in particular capture how many of us feel about politics nowadays, especially in the South. It was The Bitter Southerner’s and Dave O’Brien’s (sportswriter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) album of the year, and rightfully so.

Key Tracks: Surrender Under Protest,” Ramon Casiano,” Guns of Umpqua,” What It Means”

Everything, Everything // Get to Heaven

This album actually came out last year in the UK, but it only made it to the US this year. I loved Arc, and this improves and stretches the band’s sound in every direction. It was really hard to pick only four songs from this one. The backstory is that the lead singer binged on cable news and wrote it to try and capture the political environment in the Uk during the past year, with the rise of UKIP and the Brexit referendum. By extension, it captures the confusion, anger, and disorientation of our society as well. It moves from the strong cold rock open of To the Blade” to dance, electronica, reggae, math rock, pop and most points in between. Their drummer, Michael Spearman, is one of my favorites.

Key Tracks: To the Blade”, Get to Heaven,” The Wheel (Is Turning Now),” No Reptiles”

Hiss Golden Messenger // Heart Like a Levee

It’s hard to express how much I love this band. Their music hits some kind of resonance within me - I never get tired of listening to it. MC Taylor is part of that Durham, NC group that continues to release some of my favorite music, and Phil Cook, who’s Southland Mission made my favorite list last year, is a major part of the sound. I had the key tracks queued up for this one a while ago, but then I saw them at Club Downunder a couple weeks ago (with like 30 other people - come on, Tallahassee!) and had to change that around.

Key Tracks: Heart Like a Levee,” Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer,” As the Crow Flies”, Highland Grace”

Jeff Rosenstock // WORRY.

This was a late year listening rush discovery, I’ll admit. I hadn’t ever listened to Rosenstock before, but I immediately latched onto it. He gleefully makes music I would have loved in high school, but pairs it with lyrics I love right now. Massive hooks, group sing-a-longs, screaming, marriage, ska (!), crappy drum loops, numbers in the song titles, gentrification, digital surveillance - I’m there.

Key Tracks: We Begged 2 Explode,” Festival Song,” Staring Out the Window at Your Old Apartment”, HELLLLHOOOOLE

Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster // Constant Stranger

Despite putting Andrew Bryant’s This is the Life on my list last year, I didn’t realize his main gig was the drummer for Water Valley, Mississippi’s Water Liars. I discovered them while I was out in Montana this summer and immediately acquired all three of their albums. JPKS is the other half of the Water Liars, singing and playing guitar. This effort is more paired down than the full band, but his voice and lyrics are still outstanding.

Key Tracks: Headed South,” Laid Low,” Brake Dust”, The Dirt, The Bells and I”

Kevin Morby // Singing Saw

Morby was previously the bassist for Woods, whose album also made my list this year. Seems like the parting was mutually beneficial. This is an exceptional album from start to finish. It’s folky, but not in the traditional sense - it feels like something new, something more sophisticated, but still easy. Even his vocals feel like you can’t really pin down where they’re from. I Have Been to the Mountain” is one of the best songs of the year.

Key Tracks: Cut Me Down,” I Have Been to the Mountain,” Destroyer,” Black Flowers”

Local Natives // Sunlit Youth

I’ve loved Local Natives since their first album, but this one was a grower. Hummingbird was a darker affair, but this one is full on bright lights, with a purposefully more positive vibe throughout. Another one of my favorite drummers here, and their vocal harmonies are a sound you can’t find just anywhere.

Key Tracks: Past Lives,” Fountain of Youth,” Masters,” Coins”

Mandolin Orange // Blindfaller

A simply beautiful bluegrass album. These songs feel like they were just breathed out of the band, especially Wildfire.” This song captures the modern-day small-town Southern experience like few others do:

Civil war came, civil war went / Brother fought brother, the south was spent / But its true demise was hatred, passed down through the years

It should have been different, it could have been easy / But pride has a way of holding too firm to history / And it burns like wildfire

Key Tracks: Hey Stranger,” Wildfire,” Lonesome Whistle”, Gospel Shoes”

Mitski // Puberty 2

This one moved on and off my list more than any other, but ultimately I couldn’t around how freaking great the good songs were. Your Best American Girl” has one of the highest emotionally-crushing lyrics/sonically-crushing chorus drop pairings in recorded music history.

Key Tracks: Happy,” Your Best American Girl,” Crack Baby”, A Burning Hill”

Mount Moriah // How to Dance

Once again, bands from Durham keep hooking my ears. Heather McEntire’s voice is what brings me into this album, almost like a young Dolly Parton. The spare, angular guitar lines and simple drumming separate them from similar-sounding bands, and stems from the members’ backgrounds in punk, metal and experimental jazz. Saw them in Savannah a few months ago, and look forward to seeing them again in about a month at the Word of South Festival here in Tallahassee.

Key Tracks: Light Up,” Stratosphere,” Used To,” Best Of Intentions”

Pinegrove // Cardinal

These guys came out of nowhere, New Jersey to make what might be my most-played album of the year. All the songs just sort of shamble along, with the guitar, bass, drums, pedal steel and banjo weaving in and out of each other behind Evan Stephens Hall’s wordy lyrics and spot-on vocals. Haven’t gotten tired of it yet.

Key Tracks: Old Friends,” Cadmium,” Aphasia”, Waveform”

Radiohead // A Moon Shaped Pool

I haven’t really liked a full Radiohead album since There, There, if we’re being honest. In Rainbows had some great songs, but there was nothing for me in King of Limbs. This one, however, is truly great. It’s quiet and subtle, and rewards close listening with new details on every track. An extremely welcome change of pace.

Key Tracks: 1922,” Great Tide,” Belong,” Anybody Else”

Shearwater // Jet Plane and Oxbow

The last one to make the cut - I just couldn’t shake the hugeness of some of these songs. They’ve been lodged in my head since I first heard the album earlier this year. They sound monumental, if that’s a thing. The band’s resigned to the current state of the world, but hopeful at the same time.

Key Tracks: Quiet Americans,” Backchannels,” Filaments”, Glass Bones”

Sturgill Simpson // A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

Took them long enough, but Sturgill finally got some mainstream acknowledgment with a Grammy a few weeks ago. He should have gotten one for Metamodern Sounds in Country Music too, but we all know the Grammys run about 3 years behind. Written to his young son, the lyrics obviously strike a chord with me, but it’s the Dap-Kings horns and decidedly un-country groove that keeps you coming back.

Key Tracks: Keep It Between the Lines,” In Bloom,” Brace for Impact (Live a Little),” All Around You”

TW Walsh // Fruitless Research

The drummer for Pedro the Lion in a previous life, immortalized in the lyrics I trust T William Walsh / And I’m not afraid to die”, he makes a solo breakthrough on this group of songs. If I had to pick an album of the year, this would be it, without question. It’s a perfect record, like a techno-folk Neil Young with a better voice, impossible to pick only 4 songs from. Every single song is strong as hell, and listenable an infinite number of times. I love everything about it, and I can’t recommend it enough. Check out the solo album previous to this, Songs of Pain and Leisure, and his band after Pedro broken up, The Soft Drugs. While your at it, go contribute to the Kickstarter for his new album coming this year too.

Key Tracks: Young Rebels,” Fundamental Ground,” Counting Cards”, The Glow”

Whitney // Light Upon the Lake

If anyone made a truly timeless album this year, it’s these folks. Everything is perfect, catchy and warm. Was probably my go-to summer album, driving around Flathead Lake on my way to Kalispell or Glacier. Great places come to mind when listening to this one.

Key Tracks: No Woman,” Golden Days,” No Matter Where We Go”, Polly”

Woods // City Sun Eater in the River of Light

The horns, the bass, the guitar lines - I kept coming back to this album more and more throughout the year. This band hadn’t really interested me that much in the past, but this effort sets them apart. More reggae and dub influences wear really well here.s

Key Tracks: Sun City Creeps,” Morning Light,” Can’t See at All”, I See in the Dark”

2016-08-21 mixtape montana

Hello, Summer 2016

Seeing as the leaves are about to start changing here in western Montana, I should probably go ahead and post this. Thoroughly road-tested and approved for good times.

Ugly Cherries // PWR BTTM
The Mansion // John Vanderslice
I Have Been To The Mountain // Kevin Morby
Wow // Beck
Young Rebels // TW Walsh
King Of The World // Weezer
Spin // Bad Bad Hats
White Sheet // Bellows
Old Friends // Pinegrove
Same Drugs // Chance The Rapper
Street Trash // Tobacco
Ain’t No Man // The Avett Brothers
Julep // Punch Brothers
Future People // Alabama Shakes
Nothin’ No // David Vandervelde
Hello Sunshine // Relatively Clean Rivers
No Matter Where We Go // Whitney
Past Lives // Local Natives
Belly Of The Beat // Grimes
Colours // The Avalanches
Everything // Megafaun

Listen on Spotify

2016-01-23 mixtape best of

Best Songs of 2015

Ok, yeah, so this has been ready for like months, but I haven’t posted it because I’m lazy. Anyway, best 50 from the past year.

California // Grimes, from Art Angels
Nausea // Jeff Rosenstock, from We Cool?
The Knower // Youth Lagoon, from Savage Hills Ballroom
Satellites // Bill Ryder-Jones, from West Kirby County Primary
Used To // Mutemath, from Vitals
Cause I’m A Man - HAIM Remix // Tame Impala, from Currents
She Takes Me There // Promised Land Sound, from For Use And Delight
Running Late // Flyying Colours, from EPX2
Boys Life // Small Black, from Boys Life
Dream Lover // Destroyer, from Poison Season
Cheap Shades // Chris Staples, from Cheap Shades EP
Anybody Else // Phil Cook, from Southland Mission
Getting Ready To Get Down // Josh Ritter, from Sermon On The Rocks
Before The World Was Big // Girlpool, from Before The World Was Big
Depreston // Courtney Barnett, from Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Think…
Leave A Trace // CHVRCHES, from Every Open Eye
I Want You Final // Andrew Bryant, from This Is The Life
Compound Fracture // My Morning Jacket, from The Waterfall
To The Top // Twin Shadow, from Eclipse
Good Help (Is So Hard To Find) // Death Cab For Cutie, from Kintsugi
A New Wave // Sleater-Kinney, from No Cities To Love
City On The Hill // Desaparecidos, from Payola
I’m Ready // Geographer, from Ghost Modern
Stoic Resemblance // The Helio Sequence, from The Helio Sequence
Baby Blue // Action Bronson feat. Chance The Rapper, from Mr. Wonderful
Don’t Wanna Fight // Alabama Shakes, from Sound & Color
The Best Room // Modest Mouse, from Strangers To Ourselves
Competition // The Dodos, from Individ
begin again // Purity Ring, from begin again
Style // Ryan Adams, from 1989
Multi-Love // Unknown Mortal Orchestra, from Multi-Love
Bored In The USA // Father John Misty, from I Love You, Honeybear
Snakeskin // Deerhunter, from Fading Frontier
24 Frames // Jason Isbell, from Something More Than Free
Pretty Pimpin // Kurt Vile, from b’lieve i’m goin down…
Half Dome // Toro y Moi, from What For?
Can’t Deny My Love // Brandon Flowers, from The Desired Effect
Where Are U Now // Jack U with Justin Bieber, from Skrillex and Diplo present Jack U
Run Away With Me // Carly Rae Jepsen, from Emotion
Desire // DILLY DALLY, from Sore
Dreams // Beck, from Dreams
Pray For Rain // Pure Bathing Culture, from Pray For Rain
This Is Not A Party // The Wombats, from Glitterbug
Texas Funeral // Hop Along, from Painted Shut
Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, with Crescendo) // EL VY, from Return To The Moon
The Gift Of Sound // Little Comets, from Hope Is Just A State Of Mind
Summer Dress // Ryley Walker, from Primrose Green
Hometown Hero // Andy Shauf, from The Bearer Of Bad News
Alright // Kendrick Lamar, from To Pimp A Butterfly
Mostly // repeat repeat, from Mostly

Listen on Spotify

2016-01-06 mixtape best of

Best Albums of 2015

Here it is, my long-anticipated, eagerly-awaited yearly take on the best music of the year. Every album has a Spotify link in the title. Best 50 songs coming soon. Key tracks are all gathered in a playlist at the bottom of the post. Hit shuffle and enjoy the year that was.

Alabama Shakes // Sound & Color

The thing I love about the Alabama Shakes is they take the Muscle Shoals sound and expand on it, instead of just trying to emulate it. Some of the popular releases this year, like Leon Bridges, were enjoyable to listen to, but too on the nostalgia nose for me.

Key tracks: Don’t Wanna Fight,” Future People,” Miss You”

Andrew Bryant // This Is The Life

Was turned onto this by The Bitter Southerner, one of my favorite web magazines. A singer-songwriter from Water Valley, MS (just outside of Oxford), this album is just comfortable.

Key tracks: Keep It Together,” I Want You Final”

Andy Shauf // The Bearer Of Bad News

Found out about this one from a tweet by David Bazan. Wonderful atmosphere and story-telling, and certainly makes the case for more clarinet. Wendell Walker” is one of the more visceral songs I’ve ever heard.

Key Tracks: Hometown Hero,” I’m Not Falling Asleep,” Wendell Walker,” Jesus, She’s A Good Girl”

CHVRCHES // Every Open Eye

Not much of a departure from their debut, but that’s a-ok with me. They do what they do incredibly well.

Key Tracks: Never Ending Circles,” Leave A Trace,” Make Them Gold”

Courtney Barnett // Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

The universal praise is well-deserved. The music is great, the lyrics are smart, and the whole thing is consistently entertaining. Check our her older EPs.

Key Tracks: Pedestrian At Best,” Depreston,” Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party”

Not really an album, but a set of singles released over the first 5 months of the year. Doesn’t matter - I’m a sucker for anything Bazan is involved with. One artist I consistently and deeply relate to. You can listen to the whole thing on Soundcloud (which you should). Can’t wait for his new one coming this year.

Key Tracks: Oblivion,” Someone Else’s Bet,” Over My Eyes”

Death Cab for Cutie // Kintsugi

Not really sure why this one was passed over by everyone. I think it’s a great album, a nice return to the earlier, stripped-down Death Cab. Maybe people didn’t like the idea of a revenge album about Zooey Deschanel.

Key Tracks: No Room In Frame,” The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive,” Good Help (Is So Hard To Find)”

Deerhunter // Fading Frontier

I had heard Snakeskin” earlier and loved it, but didn’t get into the rest of album until later in the year. Just high-quality, chill indie rock.

Key Tracks; Living My Life”, Duplex Planet,” Snakeskin”

Desaparecidos // Payola

Emo-punk protest song Conor Oberst might be my favorite Conor Oberst.

Key Tracks: The Left Is Right,” City On A Hill,” Radicalized,” Te Amo Camila Vallejo”

Father John Misty // I Love You, Honeybear

What a combo - beautiful music, deeply cynical yet hilarious lyrics, a bizarre aesthetic. Love every bit of this.

Key Tracks: Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)”, The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.,” Strange Encounter,” Bored In The USA

Flyying Colours // EPX2

Australian shoegaze! You should be sold by now and I should not have to write this blurb. Recommended for floating off somewhere.

Key Tracks: Wavygravy,” Running Late,” Not Today”

Jason Isbell // Something More Than Free

Did not hit me like Southeastern did, but still fantastic. Not too many better songwriters out there.

Key Tracks: 24 Frames,” Children of Children,” Something More Than Free”

Josh Ritter // Sermon On The Rocks

Really good change of pace for Ritter, and a lot of fun to listen to. Fades a little towards the end - probably could have been 10 tracks. Regardless, it’s Josh Ritter, and it’s solid.

Key Tracks: Young Moses,” Henrietta, Indiana,” Getting Ready to Get Down,” Cumberland”

Kendrick Lamar // To Pimp A Butterfly

Can’t say I listened to this a ton, and can’t say I identify with a whole lot of it, but I can’t deny it’s impressive and important.

Key Tracks: King Kunta,” Alright,” How Much A Dollar Cost,” The Blacker the Berry”

Kurt Vile // b’lieve i’m goin’ down…

Could put this on at any time and enjoy it. An amazing guitarist + trippy lyrics. Good vibes with this one.

Key Tracks: Pretty Pimpin’,” Life Like This,” Lost my Head there”

Martin Courtney // Many Moons

The soundtrack to the fall we never had this year. Since he’s the frontman for Real Estate, it sounds…familiar, with a little more Nick Drake mixed in.

Key Tracks: Vestiges,” Northern Highway,” Airport Bar”

Mutemath // Vitals

I feel like I’ve grown up with Mutemath. First concert with my then-future wife, friends that helped manage them, first experience with a truly great live band. This is their first album in a while, and they change up their style yet again. I think it’s more successful than Odd Soul, though I would have liked a little more Darren King on the drums. Used To” in particular is like the summation of every album - the electronics of their self-titled, the brooding atmosphere of Armistice, the New Orleans soul and sway of Odd Soul. Can’t wait to see this live.

Key Tracks: Light Up,” Stratosphere,” Used To,” Best Of Intentions”

My Morning Jacket // The Waterfall

MMJ never disappoints. Some say this one doesn’t hit the heights of their previous releases, and it does sort of fade out towards the end. But the first three tracks rank up there with their best.

Key Tracks: Believe (Nobody Knows),” Compound Fracture,” Like A River”

Phil Cook // Southland Mission

A Wisconsin transplant who’s found a home in the places and music of the south, Phil Cook and his group of friends in Durham, NC are making some of the best music out there right now. When you surround yourself with folks like Sylvan Esso, Justin Vernon, and Hiss Golden Messenger, you can’t help but make good music (not that he doesn’t have experience - his old band Megafaun, for example). One of my most played albums of the year.

Key Tracks: 1922,” Great Tide,” Belong,” Anybody Else”

Promised Land Sound // For Use And Delight

Hadn’t heard of these Nashville folks before this year, but I’m glad I did. Had a chance to see them in Chicago back in November, and I should have done it.

Key Tracks: Push And Pull (All The Time),” She Takes Me There,” Within Sight”

Ryley Walker // Primrose Green

This could undermine my critique of Leon Bridges - Isn’t this just a revisiting of Nick Drake? Nope. Listen closer - this is way more jazzy and experimental than Drake ever was, with just as much skill on the guitar. Beautiful album.

Key Tracks: Primrose Green,” Summer Dress,” Sweet Satisfaction,” All Kinds of You”

Sleater-Kinney // No Cities To Love

Has a band ever come back from so long a break to make an album this tight? How does Carrie Brownstein make so much of her time? Are there really only three people in this band?

Key Tracks: No Cities To Love,” A New Wave,” Bury Our Friends”

Sufjan Stevens // Carrie & Lowell

It takes a certain mood to listen to this album and enjoy it. It’s somber, dark, honest stuff. As much as we all enjoy orchestrated Sufjan, this turn back to Seven Swans-style songwriting is tremendously affecting.

Key Tracks: Should Have Known Better,” Fourth of July,” No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”

Tame Impala // Currents

It’s so fun to watch a band just get better and better. Not sure how they top this one, but I’m excited to see them try. I’d like to see them turn back to a more stripped-back rock sound for the next one, but this one will do just fine.

Key Tracks: Let It Happen,” Eventually,” ’Cause I’m A Man”

Toro y Moi // What For?

Went out to California this past spring, and this album captures what that place was like to me. Takes me back to driving down the Pacific Coast every time I listen. No need to go back to South Carolina chillwave, Chaz.

Key Tracks: Empty Nesters,” Half Dome,” Run Baby Run”

2016-01-04

Best Albums of 2014

Here’s the list, in alphabetical order. Spotify links, all.

Angel Olson // Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Beck // Morning Phase
Damien Jurado // Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
First Aid Kit // Stay Gold
Haley Bonar // Last War
Hundred Waters // The Moon Rang Like A Bell
Jessica Lea Mayfield // Make My Head Sing…
Lana Del Rey // Ultraviolence
Manchester Orchestra // COPE (+HOPE)
Real Estate // Atlas
Ryley Walker // All Kinds of You
Saintseneca // Dark Arc
Sam Amidon // Lily-O
Seekae // The Sound of Trees Falling on People
Shakey Graves // And The War Came
Sharon Van Etten // Are We There
Spoon // They Want My Soul
St Paul & The Broken Bones // Half the City
Strand of Oaks // HEAL
Steve Gunn // Way Out Weather
Sturgill Simpson // Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
Sylvan Esso // Sylvan Esso
TV On The Radio // Seeds
The War On Drugs // Lost in the Dream
Wye Oak // Shriek

2015-01-08 mixtape

Best Songs of 2014

Finally finished my top 50 list for this year. So much good music…had a lot to wade through. Last year I just listed them in alphabetical order, but I felt like that was pretty lame. I then tried to list them in the date they were released, but it was way too uneven. So I put a little more work in this time around, but it flows like I like it.

As usual, this list was built from monthly track lists I keep for every month. It’s basically a music diary. I tried not to let other best of” lists influence me, but I did consult a few just in case I missed anything major. The Aquarium Drunkard and David Roberts are to blame for a few sliding in at the very last, including New Pornographers and Steve Gunn. Everything else is from my ears to this screen. So here’s what we got:


Rent I Pay // Spoon, from They Want My Soul
Silver Timothy // Damien Jurado, from Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son
Forgiven/Forgotten // Angel Olson, from Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Don’t Mean A Thing // St Paul and the Broken Bones, from Half The City
Coastal // Abram Shook, from Sun Marquee
Daughters // Wild Beasts, from Present Tense
Easy (Switch Screens) // Son Lux feat Lorde, from Alternate Worlds EP
Get Well // Nothing, from Guilty Of Everything
Always // Panama, from Always EP
The Tower // Wye Oak, from Shriek
From A Cage // Haley Bonar, from Last War
Mother & Father // Broods, from Evergreen
Unkinder (A Tougher Love) // Thumpers, from Galore
Awake // Tycho, from Awake
Red Eyes // The War On Drugs, from Lost In The Dream
Say Goodbye // Beck, from Morning Phase
JM // Strand Of Oaks, from HEAL
Only Son // Shakey Graves, from And The War Came
Stay Gold // First Aid Kit, from Stay Gold
Brill Bruisers // The New Pornographers, from Brill Bruisers
Horizon // Real Estate, from Atlas
The Ocean // Manchester Orchestra, from Cope
On The Rise // Ryley Walker, from All Kinds Of You
Dress // Sylvan Esso, from Sylvan Esso
Out Alee // Hundred Waters, from The Moon Rang Like A Bell
Your Love Is Killing Me // Sharon Van Etten, from Are We There
Accelerate // Jungle, from Jungle
Jerk Ribs // Kelis, from Food
Runaway // Self, from Super Fake Nice
Nearby // Ten Tom, from See You Again
Have You Seen My Son? // Benjamin Booker, from Benjamin Booker
Do I Have The Time // Jessica Lee Mayfield, from Make My Head Sing…
Lonely Richard // Amen Dunes, from Love
Sleight Orchestra // Dawn Golden, from Still Life
Coming Down // Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, from Only Run
LOW // Young Fathers, from DEAD
Quartz // TV On The Radio, from Seeds
Hunger Of The Pine // alt-J, from This Is All Yours
Florida Kilos // Lana Del Rey, from Ultraviolence
Sugah Daddy // D’Angelo And The Vanguard, from Black Messiah
Springful // Adult Jazz, from Gist Is
Color Decay // Junius Meyvant, from Color Decay single
Takmit // Saintseneca, from Dark Arc
Gold // James Vincent McMorrow, from Post Tropical
Blue Mountains // Sam Amidon, from Lily-O
Milly’s Garden // Steve Gunn, from Way Out Weather
Gimme Something Good // Ryan Adams, from Ryan Adams
Living The Dream // Sturgill Simpson, from Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
Down In The Morning We Thought We’d Never Lose // Frontier Ruckus, from Sitcom Afterlife
Flume // Coeur de Pirate, from Trauma

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