My favorite music of 2015

April 17th, 2016


Yeah, I know it’s April. We’re still comfortably in 2016, so a “best of” for last year is still perfectly appropriate and timely in my mind. Here’s my list. Download link at the bottom.

  1. Stoic Resemblance – The Helio Sequence – The Helio Sequence – This band was on my 2008 “best of” and I haven’t really kept up with them, but here’s another song of theirs I dig.
  2. Waitress – Hop Along – Painted Shut – Great vocal, so-so lyrics.
  3. Moony Eyed Walrus – Cayucas – Dancing at the Blue Lagoon – Cayucas also making a return to the “best of” list after their 2013 debut.
  4. Dearly Departed (feat. Esmé Patterson) – Shakey Graves – And the War Came – I think this is the only song I discovered listing to old fashioned (satellite) radio.  It’s kinda poppy, but darn catchy.
  5. Follow the Sun – Xavier Rudd – Spirit Bird – OK, so I have a lot of “return performers” on this list.  Xavier Rudd was on my 2007 “best of.”  This is a simple pretty acoustic song.
  6. Mexico – The Staves – Mexico – Single – Pretty lady voices singing pretty harmonies.
  7. Big Wheel – Saun & Starr – Look Closer – A little Daptone soul to change things up a bit.
  8. Tell It Like It Is – Lindi Ortega – Faded Gloryville – The verse is so good, you don’t mind that the chorus isn’t that original.
  9. South – Hippo Campus – South – EP – I’m a sucker for non-verbal vocals, and this band does good things with them.
  10. Icarus The Staves Mexico – Single – more pretty harmonies
  11. Look Closer (Can’t You See the Signs?) – Saun & Starr – Look Closer – More of the same vibe from these two.
  12. Too Late – Guantanamo Baywatch – Darling… It’s Too Late – If I weren’t so lazy, I’d see if I recognize this vocalist from another band.  Maybe one of the dudes in Middle Brother.  But who has the time for fact checking?
  13. Suicide Saturday – Hippo Campus – Bashful Creatures – EP – Again, it’s the catchy “oh ohs” that make this song for me.
  14. Sharktooth (Bonus Track) – Bully – Alicia Bognanno Feels Like – Very indie, female vocal.  I’m kind of a sucker for that recipe.
  15. Full Circle – Xavier Rudd – Spirit Bird – Buckle up, this song is a long weird journey, but one I kind of like.


DOWNLOAD ZIP of all tracks HERE

My favorite music of 2014

February 15th, 2015

Best of 2014 Cover Art

I’m now really comfortable with the fact that it takes me until February to finalize my “best of” list for the previous year. I am at peace with the fact that I look at lots of other “best of 2014” compilations and borrow from them heavily. I realize my street cred is negatively impacted by these admissions, and I don’t mind. Here’s last year’s list. Download link at the bottom.

  1. Stronger Than That – Bahamas – Bahamas is Afie – Bahamas is my current favorite. Maybe that says something about my age or testosterone levels, but I just love the vibe of both of these records. Whole album is great, top to bottom. Perfect music for making dinner.
  2. Budapest – George Ezra – Wanted On Voyage – A little bit poppy, and kind of reminiscent of Bhi Bhimian off of my 2012 best of list.
  3. Dark Side of the Moon – Chris Staples – American Soft – Super chill, but I liked it more every time I listened to it.
  4. Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) – Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford – Inside Llewyn Davis (Original Soundtrack Recording) – I do not consider myself a fan of Mumford and Sons. Maybe it’s because I’m not that big of a banjo fan, and I endorse the existence of this pedal. In any case, this song still found its way onto this playlist.
  5. 10,000 Emerald Pools – BØRNS – Candy EP – One of the many tracks I discovered from Paste. A little electronic-leaning for my normal tastes, but it still rocks.  Also, you can bet I copied and pasted this Ø in here.  I’ve got no idea how to type that.
  6. Carry Me Home – Hey Rosetta! – A Cup of Kindness Yet (EP) – Another paste find. Some of my tracks might have bad lyrics. I never really care unless they’re awful.
  7. Brother In the Night – The Weeks – Dear Bo Jackson – Kind of corny lyrics, these guys land somewhere between Kings of Leon (when they were good) and The Hold Steady.
  8. Awake – Tycho – Awake – I’m constantly building a playlist of instrumental music that I listen to while I work. I like the vibe and the mood of this one.
  9. Blank Space – Taylor Swift – 1989 – As much as I want to be a hater, I cannot. This is a pop masterpiece. “Shake it off” didn’t do it for me, but this track does.
  10. The Sticks – The Budos Band – Burnt Offering – At this point in my life, I do not like jam bands. I do not like the lazy over-reliance on that hammond organ tone (which this song starts out with). But I do love horns, and this jam just gets undeniably good pretty quickly.
  11. Call Me – St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Half the City – I saw these guys on David Letterman. The singer is white. Mind blown.
  12. Time Shows Fools – Justin Townes Earle – Single Mothers – I have a feeling if I went back and listened to this guys’ back catalog I would like a whole lot of it.
  13. Waitress Song – First Aid Kit – Stay Gold – I saw these Swedish whipper snappers in 2014. I expected a pleasant, mellow sit-down show. I was wrong – it was a very energetic crowd for a fantastic performance. The whole album is good, and I knew I’d include one of the songs off this album. Somehow I settled on this one.
  14. Language of the Dead – Delta Spirit – Into the Wide – I’ve liked this band for a while and this year’s list was running light on rock. This is a good rock song.
  15. Avant Gardener – Courtney Barnett – (Paste) The Best of 2014 – I found this track on Paste as well, and while I almost always go purchase the tracks that I like, the version available on iTunes isn’t the same (or as good) as this one.
  16. Shut In – Strand of Oaks – HEAL – No commentary, just give it a listen.
  17. Habits – Tove Lo – Queen of the Clouds – I was on the fence about this one. Seems like it might be a bit of an indie “flash in the pan,” but whenever the song starts I want to listen to the whole thing.
  18. Inside Out – Spoon – They Want My Soul – I haven’t even had a chance to listen to this whole Spoon album beginning to end, but this song has a good groove, and Spoon does grooves well.  And if you dig this song, you must check out the Song Exploder podcast episode which tells its story.
  19. Every Time the Sun Comes Up – Sharon Van Etten – Are We There – Relatively sparse backing track, heavy on the bass, lazy female vocal. Works for me almost every time.
  20. All I’ve Ever Known – Bahamas – Bahamas is Afie – The other piece of bread in this Bahamas sandwich, this seemed like a fitting closing track for the list and the year.


DOWNLOAD ZIP of all tracks HERE



My Favorite Music of 2013

February 13th, 2014

Best of 2013 cover

I see a trend developing here – that I am only going to make one post a year, and it’s going to be my “best of” music list.  I’m fine with that.  As you can tell, I couldn’t even get this post out close to on time.  I actually did have the list 95% finished before the end of 2013, but I just couldn’t get around to finalizing it until right now.

I also have a confession – I “cheated” pretty badly with this year’s list.   I borrowed a few selections below from other “best of 2013” lists.  That’s a tempting option when you wait until late December to start assembling your lists.  But now that I’ve come clean about it, I have a clear conscience.  Enough blah blah, here’s my list…

  1. High School Lover – Cayucas – Bigfoot  This is the first track that made it into my “best of” playlist.  This band sounds a little like Vampire Weekend as the backing band.  The vocals sound sort of like a higher energy Jack Johnson who stole Jim James’ reverb.  This track is one of the most upbeat on the album, but the whole album is good.  (Unfortunate confession: I heard this song in a BMW commercial last night, which definitely lowers its street cred a bit.  But good for Cayucas for getting paid).
  2. Bad Reputation – Haley Bonar – Bad Reputation (Single)  Don’t know much about Haley Bonar, but I really dig this song.  I like the opening guitar drone, the high capo strums on the chorus and the head voice/falsetto vocal parts.  This one will get stuck in your head.
  3. Caught in the Briars – Iron & Wine – Ghost on Ghost  Great album from Iron & Wine as Sam Beam now sounds completely at home playing with a full band.  Saw I&W live in 2013 and it was a great show as well.  Surprisingly, Sam Beam is a hilarious snarky smart ass.  Didn’t see that coming.  Let’s be honest, this band could easily be classified as “easy listening,” but it’s really good easy listening.
  4. If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – The Speed of Things  I worried I was just tempted to include this track because I liked some stuff by DEJJ and they seem like a hip band, but the more I listen to this song the more I’m sure it belongs on the list.
  5. America Religious – Caroline Rose – America Religious  This track was right on the cusp of inclusion on this year’s list, but again I’ve been listening to the final list for almost two months now and this one is a grower.
  6. Brother Bryan – Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt A friend described Waxahatchee as sounding like “early Liz Phair,” which is pretty accurate.  It is also a guarantee that I would like them.  There’s a different track on this album that has some guitar that’s slightly reminiscent of early Smashing Pumpkins.  Double-win.  This one is lots of quarter notes and heavy on the bass and drums, which I also tend to like.
  7. Shake It Off – The Spinato Band – Cool Cocoon Stolen from a friend’s “best of” list.  To me this band sounds kinda like The Cars.  Catchy, very catchy.
  8. Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster – Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin Also plagiarized from another list.  Sloppy, fuzzy guitars that are tastefully done.  I need more songs like this in my life to keep me from swinging too far into indie “easy listening.”
  9. My Heart Belongs to You – Johnathan Rice – Good Graces I love the opening slide guitar riff.  I like the song OK.  The lyrics are a little simplistic and underwhelming, but I never fault anyone too much for their lyrics.
  10. Byegone – Volcano Choir – Repave  Again, borrowed from another list.  Great dynamics in this song with a big arpeggio that you can’t help but keep anticipating while listening to the song.
  11. Two Fingers – Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg  Heard a different track on the radio that I didn’t like as much.  And his name Buggs me.  But he’s 19 years old, and this song is undeniably catchy.
  12. Haunted – Leagues – You Belong Here  I like falsetto vocals when they’re done right.  I like the verse here, I like the chorus, I like the backing vocals, I like the drums and I like the opening guitar.  Lots of things to enjoy.
  13. Izze’s Lullaby – Jorma Kaukonen – River of Time  Not released in 2013 but that’s when I discovered it.  This track also doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the list, but again who cares.  I found it this year and I like it – hope you do too.

I hope you enjoy.  As always, if you like anything you hear please support the artists by buying their albums or (better yet) seeing them live.


DOWNLOAD ZIP of all tracks HERE


happy belated new year!