20 Songs For September 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Every month I make a playlist of the songs, old and new, that I listened to the most this month, and I write about why I picked each each song. At the bottom is a Spotify playlist with all these songs.

Grandaddy – “A.M. 180”

(This month Grandaddy announced that they were making a new album. It was the perfect excuse to go back through their discography and rediscover some great songs that I forgot about. Under the Western Freeway and The Sophtware Slump are the two albums you want.)

The New Pornographers – “Use It”

(I don’t listen to the New Pornos a lot, but when I do I really get into it for a couple of listens. Twin Cinema is a great starting place for newbies.)

Elvis Costello – “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”

(This month I went through a pretty intense, albeit brief, early Costello phase. This is one of his best singles off his debut album.)

Tweedy – “Nobody Dies Anymore”

(This is one of those songs that you can listen to a million times and each time you hear something new that will blow you away, whether it be in the cryptic all-meaning lyrics or in the disarmingly simple arrangements. This is also a great “Summer is ending and Fall is finally here and it makes me sad but it also makes me glad” kind of song. Sukierae has really grown on me and I can see it gaining some sort of cult status, much like how 808s and Heartbreak was a low key influential album until Pitchfork decided to do a thinkpiece about it.)

Blink-182 – “What’s My Age Again”

(Because I turned 23 this month…)

IGBO – “Creamy”

(It was on one of my Friday Mixtapes, yet I still love this song oh so much.)

R.E.M. – “King Of Birds”

(See my note about Elvis Costello.)

Craig Finn – “Newmyer’s Roof”

(I’m a big fan of this album, especially this song. It’s a genuinely strong song that tackles 9/11 and doesn’t try and force or exaggerate any dishonest feelings for the sake of imagery or patriotism.)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – “Bottled In Cork”

(Ted Leo was one of those musicians I always heard about from friends to check out. For one reason or another I never did, but this month I was finally given a specific starting point: The Brutalist Bricks. It’s a fun album, bouncing around between different styles and, like the best rock & roll, it never takes itself too seriously. If you like this then you’ll want to check out the rest of his work.)

Bob Mould – “The Descent”

(I ignored this album when it came out 3 years ago because I wasn’t a Hüsker Dü fan back then. Now I know better, and Silver Age is a worthy solo album that makes a case for Bob Mould The Songwriter instead of Bob Mould The One Guy In Hüsker Dü.)

The Libertines – “Anthem For Doomed Youth”

(Anthems For Doomed Youth is a great album in the same way that the most recent Strokes albums are great; it’s good music that has virtually no hype or press trying to turn it into an event. All you have is the music, but for some people that’s not enough. Oh well. It won’t convert you into a Libertines fan, but for the rest of us it’s a nice thing to have another Libertines album in the world, especially one this good.)

Gillian Welch – “I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll”

(Like a lot of musician I love, I discovered Gillian Welch through Ryan Adams. She sang and played instruments on Heartbreaker and she was an associate producer and performer on the Grammy winning and essential listening O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Time (The Revelator) is a great album if you also like Heartbreaker.)

Deerhunter – “Breaker”

(I’ve always liked the idea of Deerhunter, a band that combines nearly every great genre of the past 30+ years, throws them into a magical blender, and churns out Amazing Southern Americana Gothic Rock that is brilliant down to the very jangly riffs that they steal from their fellow Georgia neighbor R.E.M. However I can never finish an album without getting bored. Both Microcastle and Halcyon Digest are considered masterpieces (and they probably are) yet I can never listen to them from start to finish. Sometimes it’s just too ~weird~ man. However “Breaker” is already my favorite Deerhunter song because it sounds like the Deerhunter that I want to fall in love with. I’m sure that this new album won’t be the masterpiece that triumphs Halcyon Digest (though you ever know), but I have a feeling that this new album will be this band’s gateway drug.)

Josh Ritter – “Right Moves”

(Josh Ritter is one of my favorite songwriters, and when he premiered a new song off his upcoming new album I celebrated by listening to all his albums. The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter is probably the album I’ve listened to the least, but I still fall in love with the wide range that this album covers.)

The Promise Ring – “Is This Thing On?”

(The best part of this year’s emocore revival is probably all the old albums that I’ve discovered from the late 90s and early 2000s. Nothing Feels Good (a very emo album title indeed) is getting a reissue, thus I play this song in celebration.)

Ryan Adams – “Bad Blood”

(Of course.)

Buffy Sainte-Marie – “Ke Sakihitin Awasis (I Love You Baby)”

(I had no idea who Buffy Sainte-Marie was when she beat out Drake at this year’s Polaris awards. So I wrote about her.)

Built To Spill – “Velvet Waltz”

(I was going to go see Built To Spill this month so I spend some time with their old albums. It didn’t work out, but at least I have a few new favorite BTS songs.)

Jeff Tweedy – “The Ballad Of The Opening Band”

(I usually try and stick with one song per artist, but this song is one of my cornerstones of my Fall Playlist, so it belongs here.)

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – “You Can’t Live There Forever”

(This Album Is Not The Masterpiece That It’s Hyped Up To Be & That’s Ok Because Because It Still Has A Lot Of Great Songs.)

Continue Reading

My Favorite Albums And Songs Of 2015 (So Far)

2015 2

This isn’t so much a list of the few albums and songs that I loved more than anything else in 2015 as it is a list of the music that I’ve listened to the most and have the strongest associations to this year. When I think of 2015, I think of these albums and songs.

Also, to say that the following albums and songs are “the best” is dumb, so I’m going to say that these are my favorites of 2015 so far aka some music from 2015 that you should check out if you haven’t already.

Here are my 10 favorite albums, in alphabetical order:

Alabama Shakes – ‘Sound & Color’

alabama-shakes-sound-and-color


 

Belle & Sebastian – “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’

595ed64b


 

Courtney Barnett – ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit’

Cournetbarnett


 

Jamie xx – ‘In Colour’

713WaG+JUDL._SL1500_


 

Jeff Rosenstock – ‘We Cool?’

a3394085170_10


 

Juan Wauters – “Who Me?”

tumblr_njzta7ChsX1sfi8q7o1_500


 

Kendrick Lamar – ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’

5c45787f8bcd449a46bc3d1b50e65cc8.640x640x1


 

Natalie Prass – ‘Natalie Prass’

Natalie-Prass-Natalie-Prass-608x608


 

Tobias Jesso Jr. – ‘Goon’

44e3ab4b


 

Will Butler – ‘Policy’

Will-Butler-Policy-608x608


 

Honorable Mentions: Algiers (‘Algiers’), Blur (‘The Magic Whip’), Father John Misty (‘I Love You, Honeybear’), Hop Along (‘Painted Shut’), Josh Rouse (‘The Embers Of Time’), and State Champion (‘Fantasy Error’).

And here are my 20 favorite songs, in alphabetical order. To make things more interesting, I didn’t include any songs that came from any of my favorite albums (because most of those songs would be on this list).

Beach Slang – “Too Late to Die Young”


 

Best Coast – “Feeling Ok”


 

Carly Rae Jepsen – “I Really Like You”


 

Chromatics – “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around”


 

Colleen Green – “TV”


 

Craig Finn – “Newmyer’s Roof”


 

Dawes – “Don’t Send Me Away”


 

Desaparecidos – “MariKKKopa”


 

Diet Cig – “Scene Sick”


 

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – “Sunday Candy”


 

Downtown Boys – “Dancing In The Dark”


 

Hop Along – tie between “The Knock” and “Happy to See Me”


 

Hot Chip – “Huarache Lights”


 

Kacey Musgraves – “Dime Store Cowgirl”


 

Leon Bridges – “Smooth Sailin'”


 

Panda Bear – “Mr. Noah”

(The single came out last October, but I heard it for the first time when I listened to this year’s ‘Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper’, so I’m including it on this list.)


 

Sam Outlaw – “Jesus Take the Wheel (And Drive Me to a Bar)”


 

Sufjan Stevens – “Death with Dignity”


 

Titus Andronicus – “Dimed Out”


 

Tobias Jesso Jr. – “True Love”

(note: this song technically wasn’t on ‘Goon’, so I don’t feel bad about including TJJ on here)


 

And in case you missed it, here’s a Spotify playlist that I update throughout the year of all the songs that I like this year.

Continue Reading

Music Journal: Albums To Look Forward To (And To Dread) In 2012

Well 2012 is a go.  Every music publication is now back on the job and looking for the best music of the new year.  To make this hunt a little easier, here are some albums that I’m looking forward to in 2012.  There’s no way to say for sure what albums will succeed and which ones will fizzle, but these are some albums to be on the lookout for.

 

The Big Pink – Future This

This could be the MGMT record of 2012.  Expect good, and trippy, things from this band this year.

 

Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

She made a scene last year with her song “Video Games”, and she was dubbed by Gawker as, “the internet’s most hated singer” for her questionable background.  However, if the new album is anything like “Video Games”, then this will be a contender for album of the year.

 

Dr. Dog – Be The Void

I don’t own any Dr. Dog albums, but this might be the first.  The band sounds like a 60s pop band that was raised in the 90s, and I really like the first single off the new album.  This could be one of the bands I rediscover in 2012.

 

Paul McCartney – TBA

Paul McCartney has the right to release anything he wants – he was a Beatle for goodness sakes!  His solo albums have been an uneven mix (Chaos And Creation In The Backyard was terrific, and so were most of the Wings albums), but like I said, this guy can release whatever he wants.  Fuck yeah indeed Sir McCartney.

 

The Shins – Port of Morrow

Everyone’s favorite Beach Boys sound-a-like indie band (this is a compliment) is back with a new album.  This is a very likable band, and I’m sure this album will be great.

 

Bruce Springsteen – TBA

Judging from the picture above, Bruce Springsteen is really excited for his new album.  Same thing with McCartney, The Boss can release whatever he wants – he’s Bruce Springsteen for goodness sakes!  His work will be cut for him though with the loss of Clarence Clemons, who was a huge part of the E Street Band.  Regardless how the album does, a year with a new Springsteen album is better than a year without one.

 

Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes

The frontman for The Hold Steady has a solo album? Sold.

 

Mumford & Sons – TBA

This isn’t confirmed to be released this year, but be prepared for the sophomore album from the little English band that took the world by storm with their excellent debut.  Hopefully the album is good, or else these lads are in danger of becoming a one-album wonder.  Fingers crossed!

 

John Mayer – Born and Raised

This also isn’t confirmed for this year, but with the way things are looking expect at least a new song from the pop-blues man in 2012.  His throat sugary had many people worried, but I’m sure Mayer has some great things in store for us.  Again, fingers crossed!

 

D’Angelo – James River

I just started to listen to D’Angelo, and if James River is finally released this year, then we are all in for a treat.  Be wary though, this album was supposed to be released years ago but has been pushed back so many times it’s starting to become like Chinese Democracy (and we all know what happened there).  Even if the album doesn’t come out, at least we have Voodoo to comfort us.

 

And here are some albums I will probably not stand in line for on release day…

 

Black Sabbath – TBA

I have a bad feeling about this.  I’m really hoping I’m proven wrong, for their sakes.

 

Adam Lambert – Trespassing

Look at the picture above.  That’s what I thought.

 

Creed – TBA

It’s Creed.  That’s what I thought.

Continue Reading