Spotify Playlist: The Open Road


There’s still plenty of summer left, which means you still got time to get in your car and take that road trip you’ve been meaning to take since you read ‘On The Road’. Or you can go visit your grandma who lives an hour away. Or you can go to the store and pick up some toilet paper. No matter where you’re going, you’ll need some good tunes for the road.


Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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End Of Year Report: 12 Different Perspectives On Music In 2013


If you’re a fan of mainstream and indie variations of rock music i.e. Arcade Fire, Kurt Vile, Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend, 2013 was a good year for you.

If you’re closer to my dad’s age and was still wishing for that new My Bloody Valentine and David Bowie album or that Replacements reunion back in January, 2013 was a good year for you.

If you’re Pharrell, 2013 was a good year for you.

If you’re Kanye West, 2013 was a good year for you.

If you’re a female pop star and your name isn’t Lady Gaga, 2013 was a good year for you.

If you’re a Lou Reed fan, 2013 was not a good year for you (though you probably went back through all your old Reed records and rediscovered your love for Transformer and “Street Hassle”, so maybe it was a good year).

If you like music, 2013 was a good year for you. 2013 was a good year for (almost) everyone, but there are several different way to look at this past year. Here are 12 of those perspectives as we celebrate the end of a historic year in music.

2013: The Year Of Lou Reed’s Passing


One of rock music’s most influential poets and explorers passed away in 2013, and fans around the world went back to their Velvet Underground and Transformer records and mourned. It was one of those deaths that united all people to celebrated an incredible life, for Reed was one of those few musicians that nearly everyone knew, even if they didn’t know that song they really liked is called “Walk On The Wild Side” (or that it’s about cross-dressing). Even towards the end of his life, Reed never stopped exploring the possibilities of music, and we’ll miss his sense of wonder and beauty that he found in even the ugliest of places.

Check out these 10 songs that’ll introduce you to Lou Reed.


2013: The Year Of Impressive Women


2013 was a quite a year for women in music. You had Miley Cyrus, Lorde, Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves, Beyonce, and Brandy Clark all making headlines and selling tons of records in 2013 (“tons” is adjusted to a modern time when few musicians are selling enough records to keep their jobs). We also had new music from Lady Gaga and, though Artpop wasn’t as good as we all thought it would be, it’s big news whenever a new Gaga album is released (in fact, it’s even bigger news that Artpop flopped and that the modern pop era that she helped create has moved on from her). And on the other side of the spectrum, we had Laura Marling, Haim, Savages, Sky Ferreira and more ladies making some of the best alternative music of 2013.


2013: The Year Of Nostalgia


If you told me on December 31, 2012 that in the next 12 months we would have new music from My Bloody Valentine, David Bowie, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Dismemberment Plan, Boards of Canada and Jay Z AND that The Replacements, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Postal Service, The Breeders and *NSYNC (!) would reunite and perform, I would have told you that you were crazy. Well 2013 was a crazy year indeed.


2013: The Year Of The Modern Classics


Vampire Weekend made their best album, Kanye West made his Kid A to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy‘s Ok Computer, Arcade Fire loosened up and still made an enduring rock record, Daft Punk returned with the biggest hit of their career, Arctic Monkeys became the best soul-rock band in the world, James Blake won the Mercury Prize, and we heard new music from Kurt Vile, The Strokes, The National, Kings Of Leon, Justin Timberlake, Nick Cave, Queens of the Stone Age and many more.

Yeah, 2013 was a year for modern classics.


2013: The Year Of The Rookie


Back in January we didn’t know much about Haim, Palma Violets, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, CHVRCHES, Foxygen, Disclosure, Chance The Rapper, Savages, Perfect Pussy and Lorde, but now we all know who theses guys are.


2013: The Year Of Trying To Figure Out Spotify


It’s hard to remember life before Spotify and before having the ability to stream nearly every song you wanted to hear anytime you had an internet connection. For music fans Spotify is a blessing, a free gateway to (almost) any song you want to stream. For artists however, it’s a completely different story.

In 2013 Spotify became one the dominant music streamers in America, and we began to understand its place within a music industry that desperately needs to adjust to how most people listen to music. Those who oppose Spotify’s model include prominent musicians such as David Byrne, Thom Yorke, Beck, and many more who claim that Spotify still hurts musicians with their money breakdown.

The above picture is from a Stereogum article discussing how Spotify works and how it makes money and pays back the artists.

Only time will tell if the Spotify model can last and, more importantly, if it can be changed to benefit the musicians, but in 2013 there was movement (good or bad) to determine a future for the music industry.


2013: The Year Of The Open Letter

Sinead O'conner Facebook

In the age of smartphones and social media, it’s nice to see that musicians are keeping in touch by writing letters to each other and letting us all see what they’re saying.

Sinead O’Connor Reaches Out To Miley Cyrus To Not Whore Herself Out

Sinead O’Connor Writes Another Letter To Miley After She Compares Her To Amanda Bynes

Sufjan Stevens Corrects Miley Cyrus On Her Grammer

(But then we have this awesome Miley Sinead mash-up video that makes the whole fued ironic)

Childish Gambino Writes A Letter Via Marriott Hotel Stationaries

GoldieBlox To The Beastie Boys Concerning Girls

Jay Z’s song “Open Letter” Addressed


2013: The Year Of The Fox


2013: The Year Of The Rise And Fall Of The Harlem Shake


2013: The Year Of Pharrell


Here are some of the things that Pharrell accomplished in 2013:

  • He was nominated for seven grammy awards for this upcoming Grammys.
  • He created the first 24 hour music video for his song “Happy”, which you can view here.
  • He’s featured on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, two of the biggest hits of 2013.
  • He helped produce Jay Z, Azealia Banks, 2 Chainz, Mike Posner, Nelly, Mac Miller, Mayer Hawthorne, John Legend, The Weeknd, Aloe Blacc, Miley Cyrus, Pusha T and many more.
  • He helped produce the soundtrack for Despicable Me 2 and Man Of Steel, two of the biggest summer movies of 2013.
  • He got married and celebrated his 40th birthday (serious, the dude looks 20 and he’s 40).
  • He announced his next solo record for next year which will have the help of Columbia Records, and it’ll feature “no rapping”.
  • He seems like a real chill guy.

So yeah, Pharrell won 2013.


2013: The Year of Creative Album Releases


In 2013 there were many popular musicians who were either willing (or desperate) to make their album release THE event of the year, which required a lot of creativity (and money). This year was full of creative releases that built up so much hype, or in some cases there was no time for hype to build. Here are some examples:

  • In 2013 Arcade Fire became The Reflektors and released cryptic messages via chalk on walls and performed with big heads on The Colbert Report and released the album on YouTube for one day that was matched to the visuals of the movie Black Orpheus, one of the key inspirations behind Reflektor.
  • Jay Z and Kanye, both members of The Throne mind you, released major solo albums in 2013, but they both promoted their albums in the most polar opposite ways. Magna Carta Holy Grail was announced via The NBA Finals and Jay Z partnered up with Samsung to sponsor the album. Yeezus had no radio, no TV, no sponsors – only Kanye himself proclaiming he was a God on one of the most memorable SNL performances of all time. He also projected his face on the sides of buildings and premiered a softcore-porn music video on Ellen. In short, Jay Z was corporate America, and Kanye was the counterculture.
  • For their Lollapalooza set, Death Grips decided not to show up at their own show (or they never planned on showing up, we’ll never know) and then they canceled the rest of their 2013 tour. And oh yeah, they happened to release a new album (Government Plates) to a sharply divided fan base and had everyone else talking about it – it appears that from now on, whenever someone unexpectedly drops a new album, it’s called “pulling a Death Grips”.
  • Childish Gambino released a massive 72-page screenplay for this year’s Because The Internet.
  • Daft Punk unveiled Random Access Memories by premiering “Get Lucky” at Coachella which was followed by multiple billboards and SNL appearances.
  • Katy Perry promoted Prism via a gold truck.
  • Very recently, Beyonce dropped her self-titled album out of nowhere. This technique has worked with Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and other indie artists (like I said before, Death Grips), but for a pop megastar like Beyonce to do this it was potentially revolutionary.


2013: The Year of Insanely Great Music

In addition to all these artists I’ve mentioned before, we also had great music from Deafheaven, Mikal Cronin, John Mayer, MGMT, Drake, Iron and Wine, Josh Ritter, Phoenix, The Thermals, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phosphorescent and so many more. There were countless other hit songs that I didn’t include that are in my Spotify playlist of my favorite songs of 2013, and there were plenty of great records that I didn’t have room to talk about that are included in my list of my favorite albums of 2013. And of course, it was a fun year for Headphone Nation – there was never a time when there was nothing to talk about.

Here’s to a mind-blowing 2013, and here’s to what 2014 might bring us.

Happy holidays y’all.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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My 31 Favorite Albums of 2013


In alphabetical order.


Arcade Fire – Reflektor



Arctic Monkeys – AM



Bill Callahan – Dream River

Stream the record here.



Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap

Download here.


charles bradley victim

Charles Bradley – Victim of Love



CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe



Daft Punk – Random Access Memories


David Bowie's The Next Day

David Bowie – The Next Day



Dawes – Stories Don’t End



Deafheaven – Sunbather



DJ Koze – Amygdala



Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic



Jason Isbell – Southeastern



John Mayer – Paradise Valley



Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience



Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park



Kanye West – Yeezus



Kings Of Leon – Mechanical Bull



Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze



Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle



Mikal Cronin – MCII



My Bloody Valentine – m b v

Stream the album here.



The National – Trouble Will Find Me



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away



Of Montreal – Lousy With Sylvianbriar



Rhye – Woman



Savages – Silence Yourself



Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time



Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana



The Strokes – Comedown Machine



Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the 

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Playlist: 20 Songs For September 2013 (Via Spotify)


In the end of September we heard the end of Breaking Bad (Badfinger), the beginning of a promising career (CHVRCHES), a couple of comebacks (Mazzy Star, Kings Of Leon, MGMT). And of course, there was plenty of great music old and new.

Here are my 20 songs for September 2013.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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New Album Releases: Kings Of Leon – Mechanical Bull


The story of Kings Of Leon tends to begin with their excellent debut Youth and Young Manhood and the band’s rise as a dirty (and lovable) southern rock band that was perceived as a CCR for the millennial generation. Then the story goes on to follow the band’s rise to stadium rockstars i.e. Only by the Night and “Sex on Fire”  in which the band traded in their rock and roll heritage (and some would also say their credibility) for U2 comparisons and radio airtime. Then there comes their tragic fall with Come Around Sundown, an album that, though not necessarily bad, was a little too polished and wasn’t as catchy as Only by the Night. Soon the band was experiencing internal conflict, and that, combined with the commercial backlash of Come Around Sundown, hinted at the possibility of a breakup.

If this story is true, and that Kings Of Leon are in an all-or-nothing situation to prove their relevance as a rock band in 2013, then Mechanical Bull can be seen as their redemption album. Fans who still believe that the band could make another Youth and Young Manhood will find some solace in songs like “Supersoaker”, “Rock City” and “Temple”, which serve as proof that the band can still write great rock songs. For everyone else, this album has plenty of memorable moments, but nothing is as single-worthy as “Sex on Fire”, but for the sake of the band that’s probably a good thing.

In a year that was already full of crazy releases, a new King Of Leon album seemed like the least likely thing to catch my attention. But I must say, Kings Of Leon have proven with Mechanical Bull that they are still relevant.

Turn this album all the way up and enjoy.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Eight Music Acts I Would Rather See At The Super Bowl Other Than Madonna

So Madonna is performing at the Super Bowl….and I’m not really excited.  Sure I’m glad the big game is coming to my former hometown, but Madonna isn’t my first choice.  She’ll be better than the Black Eyed Peas, but she won’t come anywhere near Prince (click here to see why).  Here’s my list of acts I would rather see perform in Indy for the big game in February.

Kings of Leon

The band is big enough now with plenty of great hits that they would be appealing for most people.  I just hope they don’t sound like this…


Green Day

I realize not everyone loves my favorite band, but they have enough hits to play a Super Bowl set, plus they would do well in a big stadium setting.


Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire fans make up about 12% of Super Bowl watchers, but man that 12% would go crazy.  They do kill it live though.



Everyone would love to sing along with their arsenal of big hits such as “The Scientist”


Dave Matthews Band

Why these guys? BECAUSE IT’S DAVE!


Pearl Jam

These rock vetrans still kill it live, and it would be hard for anyone not to sing along with “Even Flow” and “Alive”, even if nobody understands what Eddie Vedder is singing about.


Eric Clapton

A guitar God performing songs everyone knows?  Sounds good enough for me.


Jay Z

Songs like “99 Problems” would be perfect for a Super Bowl halftime show.  He could even bring Kanye with him for a couple of songs.


So if the commissioner for next year’s Super Bowl is reading this, here are your options.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Grammy Nominations: Who Should Win, Who Will Win, And Who Got Snubbed

The Grammy nominations have been announced, and there were a lot of pleasant surprises.  Some things I expected (Kanye West and Adele with the most nominations), but there were some genuine shockers (Bon Iver getting so many nominations, Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy not up for Album of the Year).  Here is the list for the most prominent awards and their nominees along with who I think should win, who will probably win, and who I believe got snubbed out of a well-deserved chance at this year’s Grammys.  Also to clarify, Song of the Year means that it was the best written song and the award goes to the songwriters.  Record of the Year is the best sounding song and goes to the performers and producers.

Album of the Year

Adele – 21

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Lady Gaga – Born This Way

Bruno Mars – Do-Wops & Hooligans

Rihanna – Loud

Who Should Win: None of these.  I’m very unimpressed with this selection.  The only album here I’ve heard is Wasting Light which is a great album, but there were much better albums that came out this year.

Who Will Win: 21, because that’s what most people heard all year.

Who Got Snubbed: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. This was truly the album of the year.  It was commercially successful while still being artistically strong.  The Purple Rain of our generation (might not be a good comparison musically, but hopefully you get what I mean).

Record of the Year

Bon Iver – “Holocene”

Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”

Mumford & Sons – “The Cave”

Bruno Mars – “Grenade”

Katy Perry – “Firework”

Who Should Win: “Holocene”.  The production of this song is gorgeous and is matched with an equally gorgeous vocal work from Justin Vernon.  A highlight from a truly great album.

Who Will Win: “Rolling in the Deep”.  It was impossible to escape this song, and unfortunately I bet most people have never heard “Holocene” (for those people, please click here).  But then again, I said the same thing about Arcade Fire at last year’s Grammys.

Who Got Snubbed: The Strokes – “Taken For A Fool”.  Listen to the song here and see if you agree.

Song of the Year

Kanye West – “All of the Lights”

Mumford & Sons – “The Cave”

Bruno Mars – “Grenade”

Bon Iver – “Holocene”

Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”

Who Should Win: “The Cave”.  This is such a great and uplifting song, something that has been missing from popular music for a long time.

Who Will Win: “Rolling in the Deep”.  Same reason as why it’ll win Record of the Year.

Who Got Snubbed: The Head And The Heart – “Down In The Valley”.  A simple yet powerful song.  Click here to make up your mind on it.

Best New Artist

Bon Iver

J. Cole

Nicki Minaj


The Band Perry

Who Should Win: Either Bon Iver or Nicki Minaj.  Both have been around for a decent time making quality music, but they are now getting due credit.  I’ll be happy just as long as J. Cole, Skrillex, or The Band Perry doesn’t win the award.

Who Will Win: This is a tough call.  Probably Nicki Minaj but there’s a decent chance for Bon Iver.

Who Got Snubbed: The Head And The Heart.  I’m not sure if they would be eligible, but this is a solid band with a promising future.

Best Rock Album

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Jeff Beck – Rock ‘N’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul

Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown

Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You

Wilco – The Whole Love

Who Should Win: The Whole Love.  I’m so glad Wilco gets recognition from the Grammys.  This was by far my favorite album out of all of these, and I actually listened to all of these (expect Jeff Beck).

Who Will Win: Wasting Light.  The album did well commercially and it really is a great album.

Who Got Snubbed: The Strokes – Angels.  This might not be the band’s best album, but it was better than most of the albums on this list.

Best Alternative Album

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys

Foster the People – Torches

My Morning Jacket – Circuital

Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Who Should Win: Bon Iver.  For goodness sake please give Justin Vernon a Grammy.

Who Will Win: No Idea: This is a hard call because all these albums did equally well commercially.  Radiohead is probably the most well known band here, but they don’t deserve this Grammy.

Who Got Snubbed: Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues.  This album had my vote for the best album of the year so far.  Though my opinion may have changed, this album still deserves a Grammy.

Best Rap Album

Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne

Lil Wayne – Tha Carter IV

Lupe Fiasco – Lasers

Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Who Should Win: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  The least the Grammys can do for Kanye is to give him this award to make up for not being nominated for Album of the Year.

Who Will Win: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  I have faith that the Grammys won’t screw this up, but anything can happen.

Who Got Snubbed: Nobody.  That’s because MBDTF deserves this award.

Other Thoughts On This Year’s Grammys

James Blake should have been nominated for Electronica Album of the Year.

Congratulations to Fleet Foxes for being nominated for Folk Album of the Year.

So how did I do?  Are my predictions accurate or way out of line?  Comment below or Tweet at me (@BradyWGerber) and let me know who should bring home the big trophies at this year’s Grammys.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Kings Of Leon “Shreds”

For the record this video is not real.  The maker of this video ingeniously combined this video of them playing with different audio.  The amazing part is how real this video seems.  This honestly could be one of the funniest things I have ever seen on Youtube.

There are plenty of other “Shreds” on youtube to check out, including hilarious spoofs of Phish, Creed, and Eric Clapton.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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