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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September 1, 2015 – San Diego, California

Links: September 1, 2015

  • You probably haven't heard about Ryan Adams covering T. Swift's 1989, have you?
  • Super talented Marc Scibillia put out a new EP a few weeks ago. Diggin' it.

  • I so dig Ben Weiland's new reel.

  • And as long as we are talking about Gundersens, Abby's new record is so peaceful.

  • A little past two months of having Friday as international music release day. How are you feeling about it?

  • How all websites look the same.

  • "A different part of our brain is activated when we think about what's possible as opposed to what's required." -Seth Godin dropping knowledge as always

  • Ryan did an amazing job directing the music video for "Jealous Love" from Noah Gundersen.

August 21, 2015 – San Diego, California

Weekend Links: August 21, 2015

  • A huge congrats to Aaron Lieber for winning the Surfer / RED Film Contest with "Wild." Take a look at the amazing film:

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December 31, 2014

Records of the Year: 2014

ONE. Blake Mills: Heigh Ho. Blake Mills' show at El Rey in September was one of the best I have ever seen, and I don't say that lightly. The instrumentation, the songs, and the talent on display were all top notch.

TWO. Ryan Adams: Ryan Adams. This record was like a ice cold glass of water on a hot day: exactly the right thing at exactly the right time.

THREE. The War On Drugs: Lost In The Dream. This record showcases some amazing tones and great production. I probably listened to it 25 times in a row after the first time I put it on.

FOUR. Beck: Morning Phase. I hadn't listened to Beck too much before this year, and this record as a complete work was really impressive to me.

FIVE. Sturgill Simpson: Metamodern Songs in Country Music. Recording live-to-tape is getting more and more rare, and this team knocked it out of the park with that process. I love how this record sounds.

Here are several other records I really enjoyed this year in no particular order:

  • Hozier. Hozier. I'll just say this: I am not the only person who has him on a year-end list.

  • Delta Spirit. Into the Wide. Total rock'n'roll.

  • Young Oceans. I Must Find You. I needed this record this year. The song "I Must Find You" was really great for re-centering and late nights.

  • Copeland. Ixora. I love that these guys came back -- but the April Fool's announcement threw me.

  • Coldplay. Ghost Stories. Continually solid and dominating their niche.

  • Field Report. Marigolden. Singer-songwriter music that feels really fresh.

  • First Aid Kit. Stay Gold. Great songs, good melodies, good harmonies. Sounds like Eisley + country, and Lacey and I loved it.

  • Taylor Swift. 1989. Her marketing people deserve some kind of award as well.

  • Tycho. Awake. Some of my favorite instrumental music in the last decade. Love it.

  • Crowder. Neon Steeple. Solid all-around record.

  • Luke Reynolds. After the Flood. Just heard of this guy recently, and I really like the tunes.

  • Colony House: When I Was Younger. Proud of these 3 ... they have been hard at work for so long. These are all really solid songs.

  • SOHN: Tremors. Incredible voice and great programming.

  • Brooke Fraser: Brutal Romantic. New territory for Brooke, and it's a good direction.

  • Matthew & the Atlas: Other Rivers. New discovery this year for me. Great for working late at night.

  • St Lucia: When The Night. These songs get me playing the air drums really hard.

  • Noah Gundersen: Ledges. Noah really put his best into this record. Excited for people to start seeing our #SerialBoxTV episode with him.

Thanks for reading! I made a Spotify playlist of some of the highlights here.

I want to hear about your favorite records. Tweet them at me here: @p_dodd

November 10, 2014 – San Diego, California

Links: November 10, 2014

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  • I am proud to be included on the compilation put out by Living Water for their 10Days campaign.

  • My friend Ryan just released a new web app called Emphasis where music fans can create entirely custom, one-of-a-kind t-shirts featuring their favorite lyrics from their favorite bands. Take a look!

  • José González writes music that moves me. He just released a preview of his new record coming in January.

  • Keller challenges me with every work he releases. In light of the quote I ran across from his new book on prayer, I can't wait to pick it up:

"Prayer is both conversation and encounter with God ... We must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace, and the struggle of asking his help, all of which can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence."

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