December 31, 2013

Records of the Year: 2013

Here are my top 5 in reverse order, followed by another dozen or so.

FIVE. HAIM: Days Are Gone. If you follow me anywhere, it's no secret I think this song is one of the best musical moments of the year:

FOUR. Sleeping At Last: Atlas. Ryan is always pushing the envelope. I never get tired of hearing the creative string arrangements, or extremely thoughtful melodies. But what I mostly appreciate about Ryan's music is that it just makes me feel.

THREE. Local Natives: Hummingbird. These guys are just good musicians and good songwriters.

TWO. The National: Trouble Will Find Me. I wasn't sure if "High Violet" could be topped, but these are great songs.

ONE. Volcano Choir: Repave. These songs pull on my heart strings really heavily. The line "Can't believe your father left his land" from "Alaskans" gets me choked up almost every time.

And in no particular order:

  • Phoenix: Bankrupt. Although it's not nearly as strong as Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, it's a really strong effort. And their Blogotheque videos were pretty special. Buy it here.

  • Gregory Alan Isakov: The Weatherman. When this record released, I wore it out. Wore it out! It has a calming effect. Buy it here. (And I am excited to show you our SerialBox session coming with him soon.)

  • Phil Wickham: The Ascension. Phil and Pete put so much thought into these songs and how they are presented to you. It's really a work of art. Buy it here.

  • Washed Out: Paracosm. In the early fall, this record was a productivity go-to. I love the ethereal nature of it. Buy it here.

  • The Lone Bellow: The Lone Bellow. "Brooklyn Country" is a fitting genre description for The Lone Bellow. For me, they also fall in the genre of people that you simply want to win. And the lyric, "A tree I'll grow to let you know my love is older than my soul" ... are you kidding me?! GOLD! Buy it here. And check out the SerialBox session here.

  • Gungor: I Am Mountain. I listened to this record for a month straight. A totally fresh batch of songs. Totally eclectic and totally perfect. Buy it here.

  • Active Child: Rapor EP. Consistent. This EP he released this year is a staple in our home. Buy it here.

  • Hillsong United: Zion. Seeing the live version of these songs in April was special. Buy it here.

  • Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City. Hard not to give props to these guys for a great collection. Buy it here.

  • Junip: Junip. Subtle tension & melancholy. Crossed off the list of bands I wanted to see live. José did not disappoint. Buy it here.

  • Daughter: If You Leave. One of the clearest and most hauntingly beautiful female voices in music. Buy it here.

  • Trent Dabbs: The Way We Look at Horses. One of Nashville's finest. Just enough twang. Just enough folk. Love it. Buy it here.

  • CHVRCHES: The Bones of What You Believe. I was a latecomer to the CHVRCHES party, but their show sealed the deal as a fan. Buy it here.

  • Night Beds: Country Sleep. A certain "wallowing" sound that strikes a chord in me. Excited to release our SerialBox session with them too. Buy it here.

For a Spotify playlist / compilation of my favorites from records throughout this list, go here.

Some great EPs from the year:

(If you're interested in last year's list, go here. Additionally, this is my public apology to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for not including The Heist last year. Buy it here!)

August 16, 2013 – San Diego, California

Let There Be Streams!

I noticed this week an unusual amount of streaming unreleased records from some great artists. Here are few that stuck out to me which I've really enjoyed:

May 6, 2013 – San Diego, California

Music: Seth Philpott & "Bad Hearts"

Seth Philpott's newest EP, "Bad Hearts", is out today!

I have been a Seth Philpott fan since 2005. We've played music together. We've shared lots of meals, and lots of laughs. And I can't stress to you how genuine he is as a person, as a writer, and as a performer.

But these new songs are really special. Seth's songs have always impressed me, but this round feels like he has really found his stride.

These songs show hints of Martin Sexton. There is an excitement which comes along with fresh instrumentation, and each song's energy is captivating. Not to mention that his self-described artistic direction of a modern country gentleman is perfectly personified in each track.

You've probably heard me talk about him before as he wrote one of my all time favorite songs called "Here With You".

My point is: I love his music, and I want you to know about it.

And if you like "Bad Hearts", check out his previous EP, "Good Hearts". I can't urge you enough to support good independent music and buy it.

Check out the video for "Off With My Head" (well done Andrew Hudson!):

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your day and enjoy "Bad Hearts"!

December 30, 2012

Records of the Year: 2012

I have always meant to compile a list of my favorite records from the past year. Music in general is too valuable to me not to share ... especially when it's music I love!

So here are my top 25 records of 2012. I'll start with the top 5 and then share the next 20 in no particular order. Enjoy!

FIVE. David Ramirez: Apologies. David is the definition of raw talent. I heard it put really well earlier this year when a friend said, "That guy is on the Ryan Adams level." I couldn't agree more. The songs get better and better. Buy it here.

FOUR. Sigur Ros: Valtari. This was the perfect record for Sigur Ros to release in keeping with their trend of giving the world music for thought, for inspiration, and to separate each listener from the world's distractions. Buy it here.

THREE. Milo Greene: Milo Greene. I was a latecomer to this party, but these songs and arrangements strike something inside of me I can't yet place. Maybe it is the fact I wish I had written these songs. Buy it here

TWO. Matthew Perryman Jones: Land of the Living. As a Kickstarter backer for this record and spoiling myself by listening to it for the first time driving through California mountains, the brilliance of this record would be just as present if I listened to it in a junk yard. Most of my favorite combinations of lyrics and melody from the year are on this record. Buy it here.

ONE. Michael Kiwanuka: Home Again. The best sound I heard this year. It amazes me how different guys with guitars enter the music scene with unique sounds, but the production and instrumentation on this record blow me away more than any other. It is the freshest collection of songs I have come across in a long time and is well-worthy of being number one on this list. Buy it here.

  • Lord Huron: Lonesome Dreams. Having loved the vibe their record puts out, I was pleasantly surprised when their live show had more of an "islandy" feel than I expected. Buy it here.
  • Paper Route: The Peace of Wild Things. Rock geniuses with incredible programming talent. And they have so much energy live. Buy it here.
  • The Tree Ring - Brushbloom. I Iove so many things about this record: the ode to San Diego's nature and topography, the incredible arrangements, subtly perfect harmonies. Listen here and buy here or here.
  • alt-J: An Awesome Wave. I had the chance to watch them play a few weeks ago and their live set rivaled their record, which says a lot. Buy it here.
  • Lecrae: Church Clothes. An incredible record to run to, there is no surprise how it charted Number 3 on the Billboard 200. So much truth so well said. Buy it here.
  • Sara Watkins: Sun Midnight Sun. Sara is full of raw talent. As far as acoustic & folky instruments make music, her collaboration with Blake Mills produced one of the best collections I can remember. Buy it here.
  • Sucre: A Little Bird. I almost forgot to include Sucre on this list, but I wore this out when it came out in April. So glad for melodies like these. Buy it here.
  • Asgeir Trausti: Some sweet Icelandic word. Austin and Jordan told me about Asgeir Trausti after their autumn trip to Iceland. They described him as an "Icelandic Bon Iver" and I listened to it for a few weeks straight. I couldn't get enough, especially of Leyndarml. Unfortunately, you can't purchase this record, but you can listen to it here.
  • Walk The Moon: Walk The Moon. This band is making pop-rock cool again. Watching their set in November was captivating. I walked in to the House of Blues just after they started their set and everyone was moving. The energy was palpable. This record is a great representation of what I saw that night. Buy it here.
  • Lovelite: In Three Persons. Lovelite & Tyler Chester are a "power team". The songs all have specifically incredible qualities, but my favorite is " Every Breath is a Chance". Listen to and buy it here.
  • Frank Ocean: Channel Orange. You can't go very far these days without hearing about Frank's first record. What I appreciate about this record the most is there are no rules (i.e. a 10 minute song). Buy it here.
  • John Mayer: Born & Raised. John Mayer can do no wrong. This record is timeless. His playing could not be more perfect. His honest songwriting couldn't be more transparent. I love it. Buy it here.
  • The Digital Age: Rehearsals. New circumstances pushed these guys to new territory, and I love where they're going. Lots of sound for fans to be excited about. Buy it here.
  • Taylor Swift: RED. Continually impressive that she writes these incredibly catchy songs herself. You know you like her too. Buy it here.
  • Greg Laswell: Landline. Greg is such a great songwriter. Love how he approaches his craft. The record's title track is a highlight for me. Buy it here.
  • Father John Misty: Fear Fun. I loved the latest J. Tillman record, and have kept my loyalty even among a name change. Buy it here.
  • J. Thoven: City Maze. There is a bright future ahead for this 5-piece group of guys. Aside from being genuine people, their knack for good songs is developed way past the level you would expect a new band to be at. You will be so pumped when you see their SerialBox Presents session. Buy and listen here.
  • Lauren Chandler: The Narrow Place. You might have seen my thoughts on Lauren's EP recently, but I am so stoked on how this EP turned out. Worth several listens after you buy it. :) Buy it here.
  • Hauschka: Substansial. As a novice writer, I would have a hard time describing to you the circumstances and emotion when I first heard this record. However, it couldn't have been any more picturesque. Although it didn't come out this year (2004), I played it enough to be on my "top records list" for the next 3 years. Buy it here.
  • Young Oceans: Young Oceans. Music with spiritual value is rampant, but Young Oceans stands out to me above the rest. Listen to it and I think you'll know what I am referring to. Buy and listen here.

Thanks for reading! Excited for the year of music ahead.

December 21, 2012 – San Diego, CA

Songs for Christmas

After the "Advent Songs" post the other day, several people asked for some direction on Christmas music. Here are a few things that jumped to mind immediately:

I love Evan's work on "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" below and I love every guy playing an instrument in this video.

Brad & Luke did an amazing Adventure Drums video of a song that may take some of you back:

As far as some incredible Christmas records to enjoy these last few days before the big day:

And although Dave Barnes also has a great Christmas record, his Christmas Extravaganzas are hilarious ... especially this year's.

Also, for myself this year, I put together a Spotify playlist to always have updating. Check it out here: Feliz NaviDODD

(Also, check out some fun Christmas videos from 2010.)

Feliz NaviDODD. Merry Christmas and have a great holiday!