- "Carrie & Lowell" live ... basically magic:
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.
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.
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:
"Active listening requires that you interrupt when you need a clarification, and it requires that you ask a truly difficult question when the speaker is finished." -Seth Godin from "Active Listening."
I am really interested in the conversation created around Sufjan Stevens and writing about faith.
Only about a week left to support Victor Athletics on Kickstarter! Don't miss out.
Really excited about what Joel Limpic and Park Church are doing with their new project centered around the Apocalypse of John. Get involved!
Beautiful scene from Globe's "Strange Rumblings":
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:
- Jose Gonzalez. You check check out the record now via NPR Music's First Listen. And let this get you excited.
- 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)
- This Thomas Senf photo of Patagonia is insane:
- Really loved getting to see The Last Royals this week. Check out their video:
Hopefully the NCAA Selection Committee sees Baylor Men's Basketball the same way these facts line up.
I caved. I am finally a Daytrotter subscriber. $2/month is already totally worth it.
Congrats to GQ's Best New Menswear Designers! Fun to have some sort of connection to 3 of the 4 brands. Excited for all of them.
Just old stuff from Sufjan's hard drive:
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