Playlist: 20 Songs For December 2014


This month’s playlist comes a little earlier than usual, since I will be away from my computer from Christmas till New Years.

Here are my 20 songs for December 2014:

1. Mad Season – “River Of Deceit”

2. J Mascis – “Me Again”

3. Galaxie 500 – “Decomposing Trees”

4. Eels – “It’s A Motherfucker”

5. Jake Bugg – “Broken”

6. Elliott Smith – “Everything Reminds Me Of Her”

7. Buena Vista Social Club – “Chan Chan”

8. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Into My Arms”

9. Bikespeed Champion – “Overgrown”

10. Intimate Stranger – “Imaginary Conversation #1”

11. Ryan Adams – “By The Way”

12. Sunny Day Real Estate – “Seven”

13. Beyoncé – “Blow”

14. Vulfpeck – “Fugue State”

15. Goldfrapp – “Strict Machine”

16. Spoon – “Out Go the Lights”

17. The Libertines – “Can’t Stand Me Now”

18. D-Angelo & The Vanguard – “The Charade”

19. Guillemots – “Little Bear”

20. Aimee Mann – “Wise Up”

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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Mid-Year Report: My Favorite Albums of 2013 So Far

2013 has been very kind to the inner rock and roll loyalist in me.

When I’m talking about rock and roll I’m not talking about four dudes playing loud guitars with no electronics, though there was plenty of that in 2013 which I also loved. I’m talking about the idea of an album crafted by your favorite band meeting some sort of expectation or a new band coming out of nowhere with a debut that blows you away. The past couple of years have been great for music, but there were only a handful of true classic albums that’ll stand the test of time, though I’m sure I’ll be eating my words in 2029 when I’m reviewing the reissue of a Yeah Yeah Yeah’s album.

But the first half of 2013 is already full of classic albums that we know now are fantastic. We had comeback albums from classic artist (David Bowie, Daft Punk, My Bloody Valentine, The Strokes), career-peaking albums from established artists (Vampire Weekend, Kanye West), and we’ve heard albums that will finally bring bands from the underground and possibly into long(er) careers (Savages, Deafheaven, Kurt Vile). And even take away all the critically praised albums, there were plenty of other albums that were just great, albums that even if they weren’t life changing were still worth shelling out fifteen buck for.

2013 is already the year of the classic album, and I’m not the only one who is relieved to hear that. Here are my favorite albums of 2013 so far in no particular order:

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City


I could go on all day about Vampire Weekend’s maturity from Columbia lads to adult New Yorkers and how this album comes full circle to their realization of all our expectations of this band destined to make the best popular music not made by Paul Simon. And believe me, I really want to. But I won’t. Partly because it’s too easy to judge Vampire Weekend based on how far they’ve come from Oxford Commas to Diane Young, which most other reviewers (including myself) have done.

But my main reason is simple and innocent enough – Modern Vampires of the City is just a great fucking album. Forget their quirkiness, forget their cleverness, forget their backstory – just focus on the music. Listen to every note, harmony, and lyric and hear how everything is crafted with the upmost care and that these songs are true works of art. Gone is any sense of pretentiousness and instead we have an earnest album from a band finally hitting their stride.

If nothing else, listen to “Hannah Hunt”, which as of now is my song of the year, and just sit back and be grateful that a band in 2013 could make something so great.

Read my full review here.


Kanye West – Yeezus


Here’s something that won’t shock you – I love Yeezus. I love Kanye West being Kanye West at his most Kanye West, I love this anti-pop album that’s both abrasive yet instantly likable, and I love to see haters shake their heads at Kanye simply for being Kanye. Here’s something that might shock you – Yeezus it not the album of the year. Not even close. Well how about Kanye’s best album? Nope, that’s still My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

But still Yeezus is so far (and will be) the most fun album to talk about in 2013 and it will still stay fresh in our ears come around December. Whether you love or hate this album you probably already have a strong opinion on it, which makes Yeezus the ultimate pop album and Kanye the ultimate pop star.

Read my full review here.


The Strokes – Comedown Machine


Comedown Machine is my favorite Strokes album. I know that I’m supposed to say that Is This It? is my favorite, but that album has been wrapped up in so much legend that I think we like the idea of that album more than the actual music. Comedown Machine is great because the songs are strong and The Strokes actually sound like a band again having fun playing with each other. If the band decides to split for good, then this wouldn’t be a bad way to end things.

Read my full review here.


Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience


I’ve always liked the idea of JT doing a classic throwback blue-eyed soul album, but at first 20/20 left me uninspired. Now I’ve seen the errors of my ways. The most impressive thing about this album is how JT manages to sound modern yet classic at the same time. This is partly due to some fantastic production, but you have to give credit to JT for being able to appeal to rock fans and pop fans with the same song. The album is very hit and miss and most of the songs are too long, but when JT hits it’s a home run.

Read my full review here.


The National – Trouble Will Find Me


Trouble Will Find Me is the sound of The National becoming the arena indie-rock band they were always destined to be and having nothing left to prove, so of course this is the most National-sounding of National albums – gloomy, beautiful, and depicting every day worries as if they were life or death. Even if it’s too moderate for its own good, a good National album is still better than most albums released in any given year.


My Bloody Valentine – m b v


Radiohead had to follow up Kid A, Springsteen had to follow up Born To Run, and My Bloody Valentine had to follow up Loveless. It’s always a daunting task to make your next record when your last one is already hailed as a classic, which immediately puts a world of pressure upon a band that most of the times proves to be too much.

It’s one thing to release an album that has been in the works for nearly 20 years, but it’s a completely different for that said album to actually be satisfying. m b v sounds like the next logical album for My Bloody Valentine; a little different from Loveless but still capturing that signature swirling guitar sound that helped define modern indie-rock. Don’t worry kids, Loveless is still the band’s masterpiece, but what’s incredible with m b v is how well it stands on its own feet. There are only about two songs that remotely sound like “singles”, but no one goes to MBV for singles but for albums, and this album delivers. And if nothing else, many people will go back to discover Loveless, which is a beautiful moment for any music fan.


Daft Punk – Random Access Memories


Daft Punk’s place in electronic dance music history has never been in jeopardy, but for a while their relevance was. Their last album was made eight years ago and it was a dud and their contribution to the Tron soundtrack was weaker than anyone will admit.

So how does Daft Punk confront their weakening relevance in modern music? They made a classic throwback non-electronic dance album of course. Random Access Memories is full of dance tunes that sound like tributes to 70s and 80s dance music. An incredible list of contributors and some quality production can only do so much, but in the case of Random Access Memories they secure Daft Punk as relevant as ever. And if nothing else, “Get Lucky” is the perfect single for 2013.

Read my full review here.


Savages – Silence Yourself


There were stronger albums made in 2013, but what separates Silence Yourself from every other album this year so far is Savages’s total confidence in itself, and this is their debut album! The album is a ruthless onslaught of post-punk confronting the modern sense of losing touch in a time when we’ve never been so connected. The guitars and drums match the intensity of Jehnny Beth’s vocals who also manages to write lyrics that stand tall among a genre that is mostly known for noise. Expect plenty of great things in the future from Savages.


Other great albums to check out:

Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze


Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away


James Blake – Overgrown


Deafheaven – Sunbather


Mikal Cronin – MCII


Albums to (hopefully) look forward for the rest of 2013:

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Self Titled (July 23)

John Mayer – Paradise Valley (August 13)

MGMT – MGMT (August 20)

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks (September 3)

Arctic Monkeys – AM (September 9)

Drake – Nothing Was the Same (September 17)

Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull (September 24)

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience Part 2 (September 30)

Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues (?)

Arcade Fire – TBA (?)

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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(At Least) 7 Albums To Look Forward To In 2013

After reading Consequence of Sound’s list of their most excited releases for 2013, I was compelled to make my own list of albums I’m looking forward to listening (hopefully!) this year. A lot of the due dates and album artworks are not confirmed yet, so I’m working with what I got.


My Bloody Valentine – TBD

Mention the band My Bloody Valentine to your hipster friend and he will become bubbly and ramble on about how their 1991 album Loveless is one of THE greatest albums of all time (no, like really, like, THE GREATEST). Teasing aside (Loveless is indeed worth looking into), the band’s sudden announcement of a new album in over 22 years is causing quite the ruckus. Expectations are impossibly high, but My Bloody Valentine is a band that could actually match those expectations.  This is already 2013’s most scrutinized album, but it could also be its best.

Release date – Apparently January, since the band has confirmed that the album is 100% completed.



Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God

I have no idea what to expect from My Morning Jacket’s lead man’s first solo album, but judging from the album cover I’d say he’ll cover a little bit of everything. Hey who knows, maybe It’ll attract more My Morning Jacket fans, and that’s always a good thing.

Release date – February 5th



Atoms For Peace – Amok

The debut album from a band consisting of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea? Yes please.

Release date – February 18th



Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away

As fantastic as Nick Cave is, it seems that he and the Bad Seeds don’t have an accessible album for any newcomer interested in this living legend. Push the Sky Away might very well be that much needed album. Or it could be just another Nick Cave record, which would still be awesome.

Release date – February 19th




I first hear HAIM (pronounced like “lime”) last month from their single, “Forever”, and I immediately fell in love with these girls. A lot of comparisons to Fleetwood Mac are being thrown around, but that doesn’t quite do justice to HAIM’s well crafted indie pop that doesn’t feel in any way dated.

Release date – Sometime in March



Phoenix – TBD

Their smash 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix grabbed the entire world’s attention with their French electro-pop that could sum up what indie rock sounded like in the late 2000s, but now it’s time for their much desired follow up. No word on the overall album’s sound, but apparently it’s very “experimental”, whatever that means…

Release date – April



Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze

Vile himself described his new album as, “Just rock”. Good enough for me.

Release date – Spring


Here are some more releases that I’m looking forward to in 2013, but unfortunately I have almost no knowledge of release dates (some of these might not even be released this year).

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Arcade Fire

Cloud Nothings

Daft Punk

James Blake

Lady Gaga

Vampire Weekend


Here’s to 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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Song of The Moment: Nick Cave – “O’ Children”

This was the song that was playing during Harry and Hermione’s dance scene in The Deathly Hallows Part 1.  It’s a great song in its own right, but I will always be reminded of Harry Potter whenever I hear this song from now on.

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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