My favorite music of 2012

January 5th, 2013

Best of 2012 Cover

I see I’ve gone another year without posts.  Oh well, having a personal blog was so 2007 anyway.  My only real goal is to keep making my “best of” lists each year, and once they’re made I might as well share them.  See below for the gems I discovered this year.  I’ve got 14 tracks on my list.  I really love about half and I genuinely like the other half.  See if you can tell which ones are which.

  1. Lost in the Light – Bahamas – Barchords  I found this one early in the year and instantly knew it was a keeper.  This is actually my album of the year too. It’s just one Canadian guy (Alfie Jurvanen) who goes by Bahamas.  He sounds to me like a lovechild of M. Ward and Jack Johnson.  The whole album just has a great mellow vibe I enjoy listening to from beginning to end.
  2. Lord Knows – Dum Dum Girls – End of Daze EP I included a DDG song I liked on last years mix.  This year I found one I love.
  3. Came Out of a Lady – Rubblebucket – Omega La La  Must Love Horns.
  4. Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) – Regina Spektor – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats  I like Regina and I’ll search a new album for a few good songs.  Her newest album does have a few good songs and this is my favorite.  Guaranteed to put you in a good mood (or annoy you).
  5. Prize Fighter – The Killers – Battle Born (Deluxe Edition) See exact same description as song above.  Replace “Regina” with “Killers.”  However, this song is actually ONLY available on the Deluxe Edition.  I’m fancy like that.
  6. Guttersnipe – Bhi Bhiman – Bhiman A surprisingly simple and redundant acoustic song, but this dude has a great and very unique voice.  Infectious.
  7. Cough Syrup – Melanie Martinez – The Voice I try to make sure I include a curve ball or two in the list each year.  My wife happened to have The Voice on TV and I happened to be in the room at the same time.  I liked this girl’s version of this song.  The song is a cover (Young the Giant), so I downloaded the original first.  Melanie’s is better.  It’s way overproduced and kind of predictable, but still very likable.
  8. Typhoon – Crooked Fingers – Breaks in the Armor I think Crooked Fingers have been around forever.  Maybe their old stuff is great, but I haven’t had time to dig.  This song is cool.
  9. The Honest Truth – Typhoon The only way to follow a song called “Typhoon” is with a song by a band called “Typhoon.”  At this point I’m too lazy to look up albums for all the songs I found off of Paste Magazine.
  10. Our Hearts – Firehorse  Not to be confused with 80’s band Firehose or the other 80’s band Firehouse.
  11. Magic Summertime – Eleni Mandell – I Can See the Future  Sounds old timey.  I like.
  12. Rules – Jayme Dee – The Hunger Games  As far as I can tell this girl doesn’t have any other material worth listening to.  From her website it looks like she has done a lot of covers, and her song choice makes me want to barf.  But I still like this song.  Also, she’s cute.
  13. *I’m Not Driving – Luxe Pop – One Bulb Room  Kind of like Interpol, but with better pop sensibilities and a better drummer.
  14. *Place to Lay My Head – Penny Western – First  Shameless.
  15. Take Me Out of the City – Dawes – Dawes Besides including a curve ball or two each year, I also like to include a “Fuck the Haters” pick.  Here you go – you know who you are.  This song was actually released in 2009 –> Double “Fuck You.”

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 new year!



My favorite music of 2011

January 15th, 2012

2011 was a busy year for me, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve posted nothing on this blog since last year’s “best of..” list.  Apologies to my throngs of blog fans.  Not sure 2012 will feature many more blog posts, though I may tinker with advertising on here just so I have a better understanding of how that works.

In any case, here’s my favorite music from the last year.  Just like last time, a song doesn’t need to have been released in 2011 to be included on the list.  I try to choose mostly 2011 releases, but I think of this more as my “mix tape of the year,” and if I discover some oldies during the course of the year, they are still welcome on the list.  And also like last year I did a bit of cramming to put this list together, so I may not be able to tell you much about the artists or the other songs on these albums.  Big thanks to Pandora and Paste Magazine as my two primary sources for discovering music.  Here goes:

  1. Pinecone Lovely – Gustafer Yellowgold – Gustafer Yellowgold’s Have You Never Been Yellow?  Not sure how I discovered this one, but I liked what I heard and I downloaded it.  Then I saw that iTunes listed the genre as “children’s music.”  Then I paid attention to the lyrics.  I like to think it’s total coincidence that this song appealed to me the same year that I became a father.  In any case, I like to try to never be genre biased, so if I like a song I’ll include it in the list.  See what you think.
  2. The Walk – Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do Mr. Hawthorne is this year’s nominee for the “I can’t believe he’s a white guy” award.  The song is very soul/R&B with slightly edgier lyrics, but the photos I’ve seen of the singer look more like a guy who could star in a Judd Apatow movie.
  3. Screws Get Loose – Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose This one is a snarly girl rock song.  I like it now; I might find it annoying by this time next year.
  4. The Commander Thinks Aloud – The Long Winters – Ultimatum Slow but not plodding, hints of old Pink Floyd maybe?  It’s kind of a mood piece, so don’t worry too much about the lyrics.  Just put it on and space out.
  5. BlackNight – The Dodos – No Color eh, I’m tired of describing each song
  6. Million Dollar Bill – Middle Brother – Middle Brother This album is the collaboration between the guy from Dawes, the guy from Deer Tick and the guy from Delta Spirit.  Lots of good songs on the album, but this is my fave.  There’s also a very similar version of the same song on the Dawes album, but I prefer hearing all 3 different vocalists.
  7. Bedroom Eyes – Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams I wanted to hate a band called Dum Dum Girls, but dang if this song isn’t catchy.
  8. Free My Mind – Katie Herzig – The Waking Sleep Maybe the most unlikely inclusion in this year’s list.  This song has a lot of poppy & electronic elements, and it’ll get stuck in your head.
  9. Cats and Dogs – The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart I’m a sucker for “ooooh’s” and this song has a lot of them.  Plus I saw this band live this year at the Variety Playhouse and they made a good impression.
  10. Shadow – Gringo Star – Count Yer Lucky Stars The opening guitar riff makes me think it’s going to be an annoying song, but once the first chorus kicks in I’m hooked.
  11. A Little Bit of Everything – Dawes – Nothing is Wrong Dawes was the focus of much debate earlier this year among my music snob friends.  We saw Dawes and Blitzen Trapper share the stage at the Variety Playhouse.  Most of my friends preferred BT and even dissed Dawes.  I felt the exact opposite.  This Dawes song could very well be the worst offender in the eyes of those friends, but I find it very endearing – even if it is over-earnest and borderline melodramatic.  Plus you gotta like a song that features a shout-out to mashed potatoes.  Suck it music snob friends.
  12. Morning Thought – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.  – It’s A Corporate World I’ve seen this band on lots of “best of” lists.  This is a genuinely good, catchy, interesting song.  Too bad the band name and album title are terrible.
  13. I Don’t Wanna Go To The Party – Marvelous Darlings – Single Life This year’s most rockin’ inclusion, so turn it up.  (I just noticed that I’ve got both Darlins and Darlings on this list).
  14. Hobby Girl – Mannequin Men – Mannequin Men Good garage rock track with the sentiment “you should get a hobby, girl.”  Surely this can’t be the first song written about this sentiment.
  15. Palomino – Mates of State – Mountaintops I just realized how frequently Mates of State make my “best of” lists.  I’m by no means fanatical about this band, but they put out catchy songs and there’s always a hole they can fill as I put these lists together.
  16. Sydney (I’ll Come Running) – Brett Dennen – Loverboy I like Brett Dennen.  This album was only fair, but this track is a catchy gem.  Still, BD should consider getting some new glasses.
  17. Don’t Carry It All – The Decemberists – The King is Dead When the Decemberists are on, they’re hard to deny.  I thought this one offered the right mood to wrap up the CD (if you should feel like listening to this list in order).

Download link below:

DOWNLOAD ZIP of all tracks HERE

Hope you enjoy, please let me know what you think.

My favorite music of 2010

January 9th, 2011

I just went back and looked at my 2010 posts, and sadly I think there were only 6 posts all year.  I can’t promise that I’ll do much more in 2011, but I can say that this year I have good reason.  I have a new job that I’m genuinely enjoying, and I’ll have a baby daughter any day now.  So the blog might have to take a back seat.  BUT at a minimum I hope to be back a year from now with my favorite tunes of 2011.

For now, here’s what I was able to pull together for 2010.  As a reminder, I don’t take a strict interpretation on “best of” lists for a given year.  Rather my list reflects the music that I discovered and enjoyed listening to in a given year, and if a song didn’t happen to be released in the year in question, that’s OK with me.  I think this year only one song was released outside of 2010, but that one was released in 2004 and I don’t know how I missed it.  In any case, let’s get to the music (listed “Song” – Artist – Album):

  1. High On Your Love – Kings Go Forth – The Outsiders Are Back I don’t know much about this band, and I’m not even sure how I discovered them (though I think it was eMusic).  All I know is that the song is undeniably good and I don’t think any of my music-loving friends know about this band, which is a bonus!
  2. Patience – Mark Sandman – Sandbox This is the song that was released in 2004, and I don’t know how I missed it.  Mark Sandman was the front man for the band Morphine, and unfortunately he passed away a couple years ago.  I was a big Morphine fan, but I never knew he had a solo album.  Sandbox is a double album, and it’s hit and miss, but this tune is fantastic.
  3. Oh My God – The Cults – (Album Unknown) I don’t know how I found this song, and I don’t know anything about the band, but I like the song.
  4. In Knowing – Swimming in Speakers – Swimming in Speakers EP I also don’t know how I found this song, and I also don’t know anything about the band, but I like the song.
  5. Swimming – Breathe Owl Breathe – Magic Central I found this song on eMusic, and I’m not sure I liked any of the other tracks by this band.  The lyrics in part of the song are terrible, but the song is still charming and it’s got a tasty indie vibe.
  6. Fuck You – Cee-Lo Green – The Lady Killer I never shy away from big successful poppy songs on my best-of lists if I think the songs deserve it.  This song got a lot of chatter when it came out, and I honestly wasn’t on board immediately, but it creeps into your head and won’t leave.  I think the backup vocals are what make it so infectious.
  7. Numbers Don’t Lie – The Mynabirds – What we lose in the fire we gain in the flood I admit it, there’s a certain component of competition in this “best of” list.  I want to find songs that my music-loving friends haven’t found on their own, but really like.  This song fills that requirement for my friend and former band-mate John.  I think he’ll love it, and I don’t think he’s ever heard it.  I also happen to like it.
  8. Floating Vibes – Surfer Blood – Astro Coast I will also admit that I do some “cramming” at the end of the year to try to find good new music.  This was a result of those cramming efforts, but I think it’s a good tune.
  9. Tighten Up – The Black Keys – Brothers It’s just a good rock song.
  10. Electrocution – Nada Surf – If I Had a Hi-Fi Nada Surf made a previous best-of list, and my friend Bill introduced me to this song.  I guess this band is more than “popular.”
  11. Where I’m Going – Cut Copy – Modular Another song that I owe to my friend Bill.  I don’t think he puts together a “best of” list, so I’ll just steal his good discoveries and give him credit.
  12. I don’t Care If There’s Cursing – Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy I like this song on its own merits, but my wife does a silly dance every time she hears this song and I love it, so there’s twice the reasons to include it on this list.
  13. Evening Kitchen – Band of Horses – Infinite Arms This album was better than you thought it was.  Same is true for this song.  When I saw the band live earlier this year, this song stole the show for me… just one guitar and two vocals.  Really really pretty.  Give it another listen.
  14. This Too Shall Pass – OK Go – Of the Blue Colour of the Sky Great band, great videos, decent live shows.  I saw this band live for the first time in 2010 and I can’t tell you why the show was only good (not great), but they have a lot of really good songs and this is one of them.  And if you haven’t already seen the video, you should.
  15. The High Road – Broken Bells – Broken Bells DJ Danger Mouse got together with that guy from The Shins, huh?  Sounds like a cool idea, and this song delivers.
  16. Rill Rill – Sleigh Bells – Treats When a group claims that they “defy genres” it’s usually either a) a marketing gimmick, or b) a shitty band.  In this case the description is true and the end result is worth a listen or two.
  17. Crash Years – The New Pornographers – Together I like the New Pornographers and I wanted to put one of their songs on this mix, so here it is.
  18. Denise – Clem Snide – The Meat of Life When I lived in NY, my friends and band-mates took me to see Clem Snide at the Bowery Ballroom.  I didn’t like it.  I’ve since come around.  There are a lot of good tracks on this album (and some mediocre ones), but this is one I liked quite a bit.
  19. Taxi Cab – Vampire Weekend – Contra This album came out  in the beginning of 2010 and it was easy to almost forget them.  Plus their keyboardist seems like a douche (they all kind of seem douchey), but their songs are undeniably good and still sound different than pretty much any other current band.

Hope you enjoy, and as always if you hear something you like please support the band by either downloading their album, or better yet seeing them live.

Click here to download a Zip of all these songs

Happy New Year!