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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April 30, 2015 – San Diego, California

Links: April 30, 2015

  • Loving the new Lord Huron record. I hope you've had a chance to listen.
  • Lovelace Made is open for business! Take a look around. Proud husband over here.

  • Things for Apple Watch looks pretty sweet.

  • I've mentioned this before, but I am thankful for this reminder:

"God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves." -A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

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February 11, 2015 – San Diego, California

Anticipated Records: 2015

After watching some of the Grammys this past weekend and collectively reflecting with music fans everywhere on music in the year past, I got excited about making a list of the records I am really looking forward to hearing this year from artists who have (at least) hinted there is new music to come this year:

  • The Lone Bellow. This record already came out, and people are taking notice. Cool move for them to work with Aaron Dessner from the National.
  • Local Natives. They are only getting better with time.
  • John Mayer. Come on! Nothing better than a good Mayer record, so hoping this one is good.
  • Macklemore. Highly anticipated follow up. I hope the energy stays the same.
  • Frank Ocean. More hype to follow.
  • Coldplay. I am not sure the extent of this release, but they usually put out gold, so I feel good about it. (Goldplay ... see what I did there?)
  • Lord Huron. Their first release was so solid and loved by so many other artists (including this one), that big things are expected here. First single is a good glimpse:
  • Sufjan Stevens. I have never been more excited a vinyl coming. (It's clear ... another pun.)
  • Sandra McCracken. An honest take on the Psalms that will be really refreshing for everyone who listens.
  • Josh Garrels. Josh has been posting bits and pieces here and there.
  • Hawai. Now that they have changed their name from JThoven, everything is in line to go well for these guys.
  • Phil Wickham. Every release gets better, and with Phil and Pete working together again, great things are destined to happen.
  • Passion Pit. They just released a trailer for their new record on Pitchfork which was short, but got me excited for April.

BONUS A few great records that are already out that I really recommend you check out:

  • Cody Culberson. Tyler Halford has been super hard at work with Cody, and it is paying off big time.
  • Father John Misty. J. TIllman is definitely shaking up the boat -- and it's a good thing.

Let me know what the records you are looking forward to most are on Twitter! (@p_dodd)

September 25, 2014 – San Diego, California

New Music: September 2014

September has been an unusually rich month for new music, and here are some highlights for me:

  • Ryan Adams | Ryan Adams. After listening the first time through on NPR, I knew this record would be in my top 3 for all of 2014. I only buy vinyls of records I already love, and I bought the vinyl the day it came out.
  • Delta Spirit | Into the Wide. I've loved keeping up with these guys since the Noise Ratchet days, but this record shows their maturation in the best way.
  • Lecrae | Anomaly. A huge congrats to him on charting #1 on Billboard!
  • Alt-J | This Is All Yours. I have only given this a quick listen, but so far I like what I hear.
  • The Tree Ring | Ten Rivers. Going to a farewell show for one of your favorite bands is never fun, but The Tree Ring has continued to give their community great songs. (See photo below)
  • Robbie Seay | Psalms, Volume 3 - EP. Robbie is an amazing songwriter and so consistent.

Then came some surprises with new singles from Damien Rice and Ben Howard.

And in a historical and controversial move, this other small band made their record available for free.

And with that, I deem this a rich musical month.

For anyone interested, I made a September playlist comprised of some of my favorite songs from all of the aforementioned records on Spotify. Enjoy.

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Photo of The Tree Ring from their farewell show by Phillip Harder.

November 15, 2013 – San Diego, California

Weekend Links: November 15, 2013

A huge congrats to some great launches from great people, all of which I couldn't be more proud of:

A few things have gone down this week which have reminded me that good guys win!

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  • Just reliving the Junip show from a few weeks ago. Gosh. So good.
  • This is crazy, but I love it:

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