Best of 2015: Albums

BEST OF

Love and disappointment and success and miscalculations and friendship and the beach sand that gets stuck in the cuff of your raw selvedge denim. 2015 was both a reasonable year and totally insanely bonkers. Plus, I chose some albums that probably land me firmly in the adult contemporary-demo. Still, here’s my list …

10. Leon Bridges – Coming Home (Columbia)
9. Sleater Kinney – No Cities to Love (Sub Pop)
8. El-Vy – Return To The Moon (4AD)
7. Playdough – We Buy Gold
6. Ryan Adams – 1989 (Pax-AM)
5. Langhorne Slim – The Spirit Moves (Dualtone)
4. Twin Shadow – Eclipse (Warner)
3. Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect (Island)
2. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down (Matador)
1. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)

Honorable mentions: Wilco – Star Wars, Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves, CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye, Eels – Royal Albert Hall, Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us, Passion Pit – Kindred, Purity Ring – Another Eternity, John Foreman – The Wonderlands,

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'Midnight' Mongolian Time – Coldplay

Using Youtube’s Vevo as the delivery mechanism, Coldplay quietly dropped a brand-new track without any fanfare or publicity. It would almost be an “underground” move if we didn’t have to watch a Chili’s commercial before hearing the song! Let us know what you think via comments and emails.

Lovesongs: The National Vs. U2

u2-invisible-video-608x346Two bands that often get criticized for being overly beloved yet overly bland, often unfairly IMHO, just released new videos. They are both love songs, in entirely different ways. U2 are fresh off of raising over $3 million for The Global Fund with the free iTunes release of “Invisible,” a song that was immediately pleasant but is definitely a grower and lyrically the refrain “There is no them/there’s only us” becomes more profound the more you think about it. Tonight the band will be the first musical act to appear on the Jimmy Fallon-hosted Tonight Show.

I spent a bunch of time this summer driving around Missouri listening to The National. A friend of mine was really missing his long distance girlfriend and therefore “I Need My Girl” was on heavy rotation. It’s a great song and now it gets a proper release as a single (with a new b-side!). Madonna once sang “I’m in love with love” but this is a much better sentiment than that.

Stream Beck's Morning Phase a week early

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Via NME:

Beck is streaming his new album ‘Morning Phase’ ahead of its official release.

The Los Angeles singer-songwriter is letting fans listen to the record a week early via NPR. Click here to listen to the album before its release on February 24.

Beck recently revealed that some high profile collaborations could be made available later in the year. He told Billboard he set the tracks aside to focus on his new record but they could see the light of day before the end of 2014, “time willing”.

Via Billboard, the musician also opened up about his back catalogue and the “safe” decisions he made on some of his earlier records.

“If I had more [confidence], I probably would have felt emboldened to make more interesting music earlier on, or really go for it in an artistic or songwriting sense,” he told the magazine. “I’ve seen that kind of confidence serve other people really well. I really admire it. Like, I hope my kids have some of that kind of confidence that enables you to take risks.”
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/beck–2/75534#d4ljrBUZL2TkckL4.99

The Vault: unreleased Radiohead

RADIOHEADBSIDES

In the year 2000 I paid $27.99 for the Radiohead bootleg 2000 at Stick It In Your Ear Records in downtown Springfield, MO. It’s hard to remember a time when fanatical devotion led me to drop as much as $30 just to hear some new songs, demos and unheard live recordings from my favorite band.

Anyway, romantically, those days are gone but it doesn’t mean that the music can’t live on in our hearts. Even with an official B-sides double album, Thom Yorke and co. haven’t come close to strip-mining the past for loyal fans. I’m sure Bob Dylan could lend some advice. BTW – I just realize that I own nearly every single “official” single/ep and then some varied unauthorized bootlegs as well.

Radiohead – Lift (live at Pinkpop) download


Radiohead – Anyone can play guitar (live Human Rights bootleg) download

Amplive – Video Tapez (ft. Del the Funky Homosapien) download

#GRAMMYs 2014

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I put the hashtag in the title because, you know, when a cultural “event” is happening on a certain night it only seems appropriate to participate in some form or another. So our contribution is this playlist of Grammy nominees past and present … it gets more current further down the list you go, ironically I really DID dig The Rolling Stones “Doom and Gloom” which is the furthest thing from current if you know what ai’m sayin.