Music

My Top Songs of 2015

Courtney Barnett

For some reason 2015 was for me the year of the female rocker. Every year, I try to listen to new music and not fall into the trap of listening to the same White Strip songs over and over again. (Not that they’re not good, but variety is the spice of life, or whatever.)

Anyhow, the top songs I enjoyed from 2015 turned out to be from female rockers, lead by Courtney Barnett. If you haven’t checked her shit out, I highly recommend it. Not each of these songs were released in 2015, but most were:

(If the embed doesn’t work, try this link.)

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Music

My Top Albums of 2014

Best albums of 2014

It’s been an interesting year in music for me. So much great stuff tumbling out of Spotify, it’s been hard to keep up! (I did pull together mixes based on my favorite tracks from the spring, summer and fall.) With all of these great songs, there really haven’t been many albums that have kept my attention.

But the one that did were great! Here were my favorites:

Ex Hex – Rips

I love the meta description from their website: “Ex Hex is what your older brother’s friends listened to. It’s what your babysitters listened to.” My description (to my brother): the Ramones crossed with Sleater-Kinney. (His response, “isn’t that what Sleater-Kinney is?”)

St Vincent – St Vincent

As discussed before, it’s an electronic, rock, vocal mix of songs that really catch me.

Spoon – They Want My Soul

Great album from one of the all time great bands. If you haven’t read the New York Times Magazine article on them, I suggest you check it out.

Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

Loungy (loungey?), moody and strange. Caused my assistant to come into my office and say “what is that you’re playing.” But captivating at the same time.

Real Estate – Atlas

These ‘surf rock’ dudes fill an important ecological niche in my household: great sounding music that isn’t too ‘hard’ for the kids and Veronica. Managed to push Jack Johnson off the radio.

I took a quick gander at Metacritic and it seems that some top albums are represented on their Best of 2014 list: St Vincent was #2 and Ex Hex was #18. Well, at least I didn’t like A.K.A. by Jennifer Lopez, their lowest rated album of the year!

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Music

Spring Mix 2014 Style

Neon Trees, one of the bands featured on my Spring 2014 Mix

Spring of 2014 has been a great one for new music. Past favorites like Beck, The Black Keys, Ray Montagne and The Roots all released new albums, and I discovered new to me favorites like Neon Trees, Cloud Nothings and The War On Drugs.

Most of all, Man Man’s 2013 song Head On [Hold On To Your Heart] was played over and over:

Anyhow, here is the mix of music I really enjoyed this spring, all just for you:

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Music

Oh, St Vincent!

St Vincent

For the past week or so, pretty much the only music I’ve been listening to can be heard on St Vincent’s new album, eponymously titled St Vincent.

It’s an electronic, rock, vocal mix of songs that really catch me. The song Birth in Reverse, is a bouncy dance track, littered with mini-guitar solos and electronic fuzz, and it’s about … well, who knows what:

Like a birth in reverse
What I saw through the blinds
You could say that I’m saying phenomenal lies
On the cosmic eternity party line
Was a birth in reverse in America

But it’s as catchy as hell.

For more about St Vincent, check out Sasha Frere-Jones’s piece in the New Yorker, or take a listen yourself:

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Long Form, Music

My Favorite Tracks of 2013

I can’t believe it’s late January, and I haven’t published this blog yet.

Anyhow, 2013 was a year of transition for me in the way that I consumed music. I guess you can say I went “all cloud” by basically only listening to Spotify and no longer buying MP3s from iTunes or Amazon.

Being liberated from buying and downloading music seemed to widen my taste and give me many — perhaps too many — options to chose from.

The full playlist can be found here, but here are some highlights:

Daft Punk – Lose Yourself to Dance and Get Lucky

Was this the year of Daft Punk or what? After being an underground or indie band for a long time, they broke out and then whamo, Get Lucky goes through the roof. These songs will always say “2013” to me.

More Pop and Dance Sounds

Perhaps this comes with having a broader palette available, or perhaps a sign of the time, but a whole bunch of pop and dance tracks jumped out at me this year:

I know Blurred Lines is so pop, but it’s also a great song. I’m totally sick of it by now, but hopefully it will sound good in 2015.

I’m not exactly how to categorize St. Lucia, except that Pitchfork called them “electro-pop”. All Eyes on You is a catch tune that has interesting lyrics unless you look too closely at them:

Know that I will take what I can
When you are there standing by
Soft, spoken in the dead of night
All eyes on you

But enjoyable none-the-less.

Alternative Rock and Indie

You know I’m not really sure what goes in what categories anymore, but in 2013 there were quite a few great tracks by bands who only use uppercase like CHVRCHES & MGMT

Some of my long-time favorites Of Montreal, The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand put out albums that while not changing the world, were worth listening to and featured some great song:

and then of course the was Lorde, who wrote and performed the shockingly great Royals:

Hope you like the songs, and let me know what your favorites of 2013 were.

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Music

Of Montreal’s lousy with sylvianbriar

of montreal

If you haven’t listened to Of Montreal in a while, I don’t blame you. Their last few albums had some good tracks like Feminine Effects and and, well, hmmm, but were basically unlistenable.

Anyhow, Kevin Barnes must have read my texts because in this new album, he actually writes songs that have a structure that’s pleasing to the ear. The new album is filled with songs that are filled with his typical dense lyrics about who knows what exactly

From Obsidian Currents:

There is a virus in your tenets / Don’t be naive, you know it’s true / And if you don’t protect yourself / Obsidian currents / Will devour you

But it’s catchy, interesting and a fun album. Worth a listen to.

Pitchfork rated lousy with sylvianbriar a 7.4 (out of 10), quite a step up from their previous reviews of 5.8 and 4.6 for Daughter of Cloud and Paralytic Stalks.

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