December 31, 2015 – Dallas, Texas

Records of the Year: 2015

ONE. Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell. There was so much anticipation for this record and it delivered in a huge way as well as massively exceeded expectations. His faint voice and light instrumentation is perfect.

Note: in becoming a continued student of the relationships of music and spirituality, Sufjan's words and songs are especially intriguing. This article is worth a read.

TWO. Leon Bridges: Coming Home. I'm a fan. I love the fresh soul he brings and tribute to Sam Cooke.

THREE.(tied) David Ramirez: Fables. David's work has always resonated well with me. I am a fan of David as a person, as a songwriter, and as a performer. For him and Noah to team up to make this record was a really great gift this year gave.

THREE.(tied) Noah Gundersen: Carry The Ghost. Haunting, beautiful, arresting, tasteful, art. That's all I got.

Note: This record had PHENOMENAL album art. Philip Harder's work on this cover is really incredible.

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FIVE. Mutemath: Vitals. I knew that Mutemath was coming out with a record, but I honestly did not expect for it to be so good. I have listened to it so much, and this song is one of my favorites of the whole year.

And in no particular order:

  • Ryan Adams. 1989. I love that he did this. I love that he didn't care. And I actually really enjoy it.
  • Sandra McCracken. Psalms. Sandra infused so many beautiful melodies into the Pslams - so thrilled for her and how this turned out.
  • Jon Foreman. The Wonderlands. Jon's writing shines so brightly through this series of EPs
  • Adele. 25. I am not the only one who liked this record a lot.
  • Matthew Perryman Jones. Cold Answer. This record seemed to fly totally under the radar, but has some gems on it.
  • Brandon Flowers. The Desired Effect. "Between Me & You" is one of my standout tracks of the year.
  • Rayland Baxter. Imaginary Man. Rayland has a super fresh voice and a lot to say.
  • Chris Stapleton. Traveller. There are only a handful of people or guideposts that I personally look to for music recommendations. Seth posted about Chris Stapleton right when the record came out and I gave it a gander then and immediately thought "What a voice!" America has also caught on and that is fun.
  • Lovelite. Hopeful Strangers. Always solid.
  • The Japanese House. All releases. TJH is one of the greatest surprises of the year. Cool vocals, some heavy emotional distortion. I love it.
  • Oh Wonder. Oh Wonder. Simple and pretty. Some great piano riffs.
  • Beirut. No No No. I never gave Beirut a listen before this year and my interest was piqued when I saw their new record released. The sonics and melodies on this record are phenomenal.
  • James Bay. Chaos & the Calm. Zero to hero in a seemingly short time and he deserves it.
  • Justin Bieber. Purpose. This is an amazingly catchy record.
  • Julien Baker. Sprained Ankle. Last "JB" of this list and a pretty important record as far as faith + music is concerned.
  • Hillsong United. Empires. Standard greatness.
  • Tobias Jesso Jr. Goon. Feels old-timey and I dig it.
  • Matthew E White. Fresh Blood. Just enough groove to keep it fresh.
  • Coldplay. A Head Full of Dreams. Getting slightly better with every listen.
  • Joy Williams. Venus. New Joy & new songs made a great combo. Some solid tracks, but "Sweet Love of Mine" is a standout.
  • Ben Rector. Brand New. Ben is a kind man and consistently putting out great work. Stoked on how this record came out.
  • Slow Meadow. Slow Meadow. The best instrumental music out there at this point.
  • Ivan & Alyosha. It's All Just Pretend. Simply solid.
  • Lord Huron. Strange Trails. Continuing down the trail they blazed.
  • Lapsley. Understudy. Quite the arresting voice.

Thanks for getting this far. A Spotify playlist of some of my highlights from these records has been compiled for you here.

And I want to hear about your favorite records. Tweet me! @p_dodd

P.S. Interesting graphic Spotify gave me this from their Year In Review function:

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July 17, 2015 – Paris, France

Weekend Links: July 17, 2015

Hi from Paris! We are loving our time in Paris - full of exploring, cafes, long lingering meals (and work for me).

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  • I was rooting for Federer at Wimbledon, and just saw this photo from the action. He plays so gracefully.

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And this is the second Friday where Fridays are the international music release date! Out today:

May 22, 2015 – San Diego, California

Weekend Links: May 22, 2015

  • Leon Bridges is a bright spot in the future of songwriting. Diggin' this video:

If you're into team collaboration, you've surely heard of Slack. I really enjoyed all of these recent commentaries on it:

September 29, 2011

Thoughts on Creating Art: Jon Foreman

Jon, you always say it so well.

Exhibit A) Recent article on the Huffington Post.

Exhibit B) Every song you’ve written.

Exhibit C) (watch video)

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