Archives For Music

Bookmark this and save it for your next conference (or weekly meeting). It’s not easy to find good, upbeat, CLEAN music. Look at the top songs of 2016 – 1 out of the top 10 could be played at a weekly meeting. The rest are explicit.

I put together the playlists we play before and after meeting at our 2017 Cru Winter Conference.
And I thought it might save you all a lot of time to share those on here.
A couple notes:
  • We aim for 10 minutes of music while students come in (at night, we do 9 minutes followed by 1 minute of an epic “sit down song” – for the last couple of years we’ve used “Waking Up” off of the Oblivion soundtrack)
  • 5-6 minutes of music while students walk out
  • For the after meeting playlists, make sure to have a song that starts strong. It’s the signal for students to get up and leave, so you want it to start loud, not ease into it.
  • Pre-meeting night meetings, we aim for upbeat, danceable songs (hip hop and pop-py sing-along songs that people know)
  • Pre-meeting morning meetings, same thing, just a little more chill – Ride by Twenty One Pilots is a perfect morning pre-meeting song. Everyone knows it. Kind of upbeat. But not too obnoxiously upbeat.
Here’s all the songs we used in one playlist:

Here they are:
Here’s a slew of songs to use during a refection times:
And a bunch of possible songs you could use for competition games during the meeting (like, we do a mattress surfing competition, etc). I can’t vouch for all these being clean/appropriate (like Bangarang is great til he drops an F-bomb at the end):
And here’s some other good songs that we didn’t use but are appropriately clean and upbeat:

Top Songs of 2016

January 1, 2017 — Leave a comment

An annual tradition on my blog – My Top 100 Songs of the Year.

To further explore amazing music, here are my Top Songs from 201520142013201220112010 and 2009 (click “Follow” at the top of Spotify if you want to add any of the playlists to your sidebar of playlists)

There weren’t any clear “song of the year” candidates in 2016. I like every song in the top 8 equally.

2016 was the year of experimental/weird indie pop – with Yeasayer, Animal Collective and M83 all turning in a slew of great songs. Also really liked Phantogram’s album. But really, 2016 was Twenty One Pilots‘ year. By FAR my kids’ top album of the year. And as much as I’m a hipster music-snob and pretty much hate anything that is on the radio, I begrudgingly REALLY like Twenty One Pilots. Easily the best album of the year. Every song is different and good. Those two dudes have a knack for crafting perfect pop songs. AND their lyrics are super solid – with most songs referring to God.

Despite my hipster tendencies, my top 100 songs are actually really fun to listen to. If you follow indie music at all, you’ll find that most “Top Songs of The Year” are trying really hard to be cool and prove their hipster-ness. My Top Songs list is Indie Music for the Masses – Indie Music that’s actually enjoyable to listen to (not grating avant-garde or sleep-inducing-singer-songwriter).

Most of these songs are Indie-pop, Indie-rock, or Indietronica.

Here are my 100 favorite songs of 2016 (click to play individual tracks or here to play the full list in Spotify): 

100        Family And Genus – Shakey Graves

99        Swim Against the Tide – The Japanese House

98        The Moment – Tame Impala

97        Arizona – Frances Cone

96        Everything All At Once – Local Natives

95        Crazy Eyes – Brother Moses

94        Strangers – Psychic Twin

93        Gemini Feed – Banks

92        Waving Goodbye – Sia

91        Sunday Love – Bat For Lashes

90        Do You Remember – St. Lucia

89        Prophecy Gun – Yeasayer

88        Gold – Jorgen Odegard Remix – Imagine Dragons, Jorgen Odegard

87        Dead Alive – The Shins

86        Wings of Love – LIV

85        Time – Mint Royale, Tom Cane

84        LIFE – HEALTH

83        Drifting – On An On

82        Way To Go – Empire of the Sun

81        Never Going Back – Caveman

80        Cheap Thrills – Sia

79        The Sound – The 1975

78        Silly Me – Yeasayer

77        I Can Only Stare – Sleigh Bells

76        Human – Caveman

75        Free – Broods

74        80 West – Caveman

73        All in My Head – Porcelain Raft

72        Club Aso – Palmistry

71        Two Vines – Empire of the Sun

70        I Was Wrong – A R I Z O N A

69        Celestial Creatures – Wild Beasts

68        For U (feat. Charli XCX) – Miike Snow, Charli XCX

67        8 (circle) – Bon Iver

66        May I Have This Dance – Francis and the Lights

65        A 1000 Times – Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam

64        High And Low – Empire of the Sun

63        Ablaze – School Of Seven Bells

62        Choose Me – James Blake

61        Bird Set Free – Sia

60        Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers, Daya

59        Broken Glass – Sia

58        I Feel The Weight – Miike Snow

57        Gone – Day Wave

56        Way Back Home – Cameron AG

55        Here’s To Us – Ellie Goulding

54        Lane Boy – Twenty One Pilots

53        22 (OVER S∞∞N) – Bon Iver

52        Easier – Mansionair

51        Conrad – SOHN

50        Tear In My Heart – Twenty One Pilots

49        I Need A Forest Fire – James Blake, Bon Iver

48        Same Old Blues – Phantogram

47        Sledgehammer – Rihanna

46        Mother Emanuel – Local Natives

45        Turning a Hand – Francis

44        Past Lives – BØRNS

43        Run Run Blood – Phantogram

42        Past Lives – Local Natives

41        Burn the Witch – Radiohead

40        Radio Silence – James Blake

39        Get Right – Jimmy Eat World

38        American Money – BØRNS

37        River – Bishop Briggs

36        Heathens – Twenty One Pilots

35        I Need Your Light – Ra Ra Riot, Rostam

34        Turn It Around – HAERTS

33        Warrior – AURORA

32        Doubt – Twenty One Pilots

31        Friends (feat. Bon Iver) – Francis and the Lights, Bon Iver – favorite part= “I’m Francis!”. Worth watching their goofy music video featuring Kanye

30        Chariots – Paper Route

29        In a Black Out – Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam

28        What Is Left to Solve – Rogue Wave

27        Cruel World – Phantogram

26        Golden Gal – Animal Collective

25        Divine Simulacrum – Yeasayer

24        If You Should See – Wye Oak

23        Hocus Pocus – Animal Collective

22        Trouble – TV On The Radio

21        Fairly Local – Twenty One Pilots

20        33 “GOD” – Bon Iver – pretty disappointed with Bon Iver’s album, overall. But a few solid songs.

19        You’re Mine – Phantogram

18        Malachite – Lydia Ainsworth – Lydia opened for Yeasayer when we saw them this fall in Tulsa and had some great songs. Eagerly anticipating a full length album from her.

17        Loan Shark Blues – Yeasayer

16        Ride – Twenty One Pilots

15        Warning Call – CHVRCHES

14        Lying in the Grass – Animal Collective

13        You Don’t Get Me High Anymore – Phantogram

12        Polarize – Twenty One Pilots

11        Used To – Mutemath

10        Watching the Waiting – Wye Oak – got to see Wye Oak in Kansas city this summer. She’s super talented and amazing live.

9        Fountain Of Youth – Local Natives – this song reminds me of the crazy election season with it’s lyric “I have waited so long, Mrs. President”.

8        Go! (feat. Mai Lan) – M83, MAI LAN

7        I Am Chemistry – Yeasayer – you’ll never hear a better song about the gas C4H10FO2P (sarin gas) and other toxic chemicals

6        Dream Awake – LIV – an early single from one of my most anticipated albums for 2017 from supergroup LIV – made up of two of  my favorites, Lykke Li and Miike Snow

5        Do It, Try It – M83 – give this song a chance. Super weird at first progressing to what M83 does best – epic soundscapes

4        FloriDada – Animal Collective – another super weird song. But you can’t help but have a smile on your face and tap your toes as you listen to it. And surprisingly deep song on the Dadaism and the elite’s snobbery toward Floridians.

3        Take Me Home – Phantogram – easily the best cover song this year. Who knew Phil Collins could be so cool?

2        Hometown – Twenty One Pilots – a great song from the best album of 2016. They did a smaller concert in NW Arkansas (which is an absolute miracle – NO ONE comes to Arkansas). I took all 5 of our kids to the show and they LOVED it (It was a few days after we got back from our summer in East Asia so we didn’t have tickets – we just scrounged up a few at the gate!). Those two dudes are legit entertainers and great musicians. My kids wouldn’t let me play anything but Twenty One Pilots in our van ALL fall. Seriously. “DA-AAD, can you put on Twenty One Pilots – this music is boring!”

1        Cold Night – Yeasayer – we got to see Yeasayer in concert in Tulsa and they were absolutely amazing – cementing their status as our #1 alltime favorite band. I thought their new album was pretty disappointing – but still a few gems on it.

Would love to hear – What were your favorite songs from 2016??

Top 100 Songs of 2015

December 25, 2015 — Leave a comment

Our family listened to over 100,000 minutes of music in 2015 (20% more than 2014!) from 1009 different artists. Out of the 2,216 different songs I listened to I’ve narrowed it down to the top 100 songs of 2015. There weren’t any clear “song of the year” candidates this year. I like pretty much every song in the top 5 equally – it was tough to pick a #1.

In 2015, women ruled the Indie music world – with 7 of my top 10 songs. According to Spotify, Purity Ring and Chvrches were my two favorite bands of 2015. Those two female-fronted bands (as well as Grimes!) have a huge presence in my top 100 and were easily my favorite groups of 2015.

Biggest shocker – a Mumford song in my top 5 (for most of the year it was my #1)! Totally risking my indie-street cred.

Speaking of which, if you follow indie music at all, you’ll find that most “Top Songs of _____” are trying really hard to be cool and prove their hipster-ness.

My Top Songs list is Indie Music for the Masses – Indie Music that’s actually enjoyable to listen to (not grating avant-garde or sleep-inducing-singer-songwriter).

Most of these songs are Indie-pop, Indie-rock, or Indietronica.

To further explore amazing music, here are a few bonus lists:

Click “Follow” at the top of Spotify if you want to add any of the playlists to your sidebar of lists.

Here are my 100 favorite songs of 2015 (click to play individual tracks or here to play the full list in Spotify): 

100. Beautiful Words – Oscar

99. I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around – Chromatics

98. New Emotion – K.I.D

97. Sparks – Beach House

96. Do You Remember – Jarryd James

95. Higher – Kwamie Liv

94. Armor – Illuminine, I Will, I Swear

93. Hideaway – Ten Sleep

92. Dancing On Glass – St. Lucia

91. Beyond Love – Beach House

90. Radar – GRRL PAL

89. Too Much – Geographer

88. Fool for Love – Lord Huron

87. The Chase – Future Islands

86, I’m Ready – Geographer

85. Keep Your Lips Sealed – The Dø

84. Evening Ceremony – Active Child

83, Sunshine on My Back – The National

82, Superego – Leyya

81. The Game – Priest

80. America – XYLØ

79. Black Sun – Death Cab for Cutie

78, begin again – Purity Ring

77, Tide Teeth – Night Beds

76, Rich (feat. Anndreyah Vargas) – Radio Edit – Cosmo Sheldrake, Anndreyah Vargas

75. True Affection – Father John Misty

74. Realiti – Grimes

73, Bros – Wolf Alice

72. Red Shifting – The Helio Sequence

71, The Fool – Ryn Weaver

70. Wild Horses – Bishop

69. Hello – Adele – not too cool to put this song on here

68. heartsigh – Purity Ring

67. Until We Can’t (Let’s Go) – Passion Pit

66, Clouds – Cut Ribbons

65. Sister – The Japanese House

64. California – Grimes

63. flood on the floor – Purity Ring

62. Home – Madeon

61. Fourth of July – Sufjan Stevens – great song. A little too slow and depressing to get much play time on the ol’ minivan stereo

60. Make Them Gold – CHVRCHES

59. PPP – Beach House

58. Upward Mobility – The Helio Sequence

57. Patience – Geographer

56. Take Care of Me – Briana Marela

55. Queen Of Peace – Florence + The Machine

54. The Emotion – BØRNS

53. Leave A Trace – CHVRCHES

52. Delirious – Susanne Sundfør

51. I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler – YACHT – this song sums up my youngest child (and many college students!) perfectly. Always bored in a futuristic world. A la Louis CK’s “Everything is amazing and nobody’s happy”

50. Highway Patrol Stun Gun – Youth Lagoon

49. Sagres – The Tallest Man On Earth

48. Don’t Need Nobody – Ellie Goulding

47. Heart Is Full – Miike Snow

46. repetition – Purity Ring

45. Towards The Sun – From The “Home” Soundtrack – Rihanna

44. When Your Love Is Safe – Active Child

43. Falling Apart – Geographer

42. Scud Books – Hudson Mohawke

41. Dreams – Beck

40. Running With The Wolves – AURORA

39. TURN AWAY – East India Youth

38. Holes In The Sky – From The “Insurgent” Soundtrack – M83, HAIM

37. The Guest – Geographer

36. Carry Me Home – From The “Insurgent” Soundtrack – SOHN

35. Mountain At My Gates – Jono Ma [Jagwar Ma] Mix – Foals

34. Gosh – Jamie xx – Give this song a chance. Incredibly infectious.

33. Lost It To Trying – Paper Towns Mix – Son Lux – one of my girls’ favorite songs of 2015

32. Warm Blood – Carly Rae Jepsen

31. AhHa – Nate Ruess – probably my kids’ favorite song of 2015. Bonus points for randomly quoting a e. e. cummings poem during the chorus

30. Levitation – Beach House

29. Never Let You Down – From The “Insurgent” Soundtrack – Woodkid, Lykke Li

28. Sugar Pill – The Japanese House

27. Loud Places – Jamie xx, Romy – my #1 most-listened-to-song over the last few weeks. If I’d found it earlier in the year, it may have been higher up.

26. Animal – HAERTS

25. The Dreamer – Anna Of The North

24. Water – Ra Ra Riot, Rostam

23. stillness in woe – Purity Ring

22. Butterfly – Grimes

21. dust hymn – Purity Ring

20. At Once – Beirut – a great song from a disappointing album (was really looking forward to this album from one of my favorite bands)

19. John My Beloved – Sufjan Stevens – A sincere, longing song about Jesus. You don’t hear that much in the indie world. Sufjan wrestling with whether Jesus is just a myth or alive and active. 

18. Let It Happen – Tame Impala

17. Letter By The Water – The Japanese House

16. sea castle – Purity Ring

15. Easily – Grimes

14. Clearest Blue – CHVRCHES

13. Sedona – Houndmouth

12. Keep You On My Side – CHVRCHES

11. Come Find Me – Emile Haynie, Lykke Li, Romy

10. Eventually – Tame Impala – a great, sincere breakup song

9. Flesh without Blood – Grimes

8. Never Ending Circles – CHVRCHES

7. Space Song – Beach House

6. The Thunder Answered Back – Eskimeaux – super quirky and really good. 

5. Snake Eyes – Mumford & Sons – was my favorite song of the year for much of the year 

4. Belly of the Beat – Grimes – it was hard to pick my favorite Grimes song. In the last couple months, I’ve had Grimes on repeat. She’s super talented – she plays and produces everything you hear on the album (instruments and vocals).

3. Lemon Eyes – Meg Myers – really wanted to put this one at #1. Amazing debut song for her and best indie rock song of 2015.

2. stranger than earth – Purity Ring

1. Down Side Of Me – CHVRCHES

 

IMG_0160
The only concert we went to all year – Chvrches in Kansas City!

Would love to hear – what were your favorite songs of 2015??

Top Albums of 2015

December 19, 2015 — 1 Comment

Here are my favorite albums of 2015. I’d love to hear from you what your favorite albums were.

Here’s my top albums from previous years: 2014201320122011 and 2010

Click links to play in Spotify

Tame Impala

tame-impala-currents6. Tame Impala – Currents

Had only had a little exposure to Tame Impala before this album but they definitely took it up a notch with this album. A couple great songs on this album:

sufjan carrie5. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell

I actually loved (and still listen frequently) to Sufjan’s experimental electro-album Age of Adz. So I was a little disappointed to hear that he was returning(regressing?) to a more stripped down acoustic sound. The verdict? In my opinion, not as good as Adz. Especially in terms of repeat listens. It’s a beautiful, dark, honest, depressing album about Sufjan coming to grips with the death of his mom (who abandoned him as a kid). But I don’t find myself going back to it very often. It’s just not very fun (at all). But there ARE some hauntingly beautiful songs. Part of the reason I don’t get to listen to it very often – my kids and my wife hate it. So our minivan is rarely blessed with the beauty of Sufjan. A couple of the best songs on the album:

A sincere, longing song about Jesus. You don’t hear that much in the indie world:

 

depression cherry4. Beach House – Depression Cherry

A chill album. Minimalist and beautiful. So many great songs. Not fun. But moving. Their music makes you feel like you are floating in space or relaxing in a hammock by the ocean.

A few of the best:


GRIMES-ART-ANGELS-COVER-ART3. Grimes – Art Angels

Grimes wins weirdest cover art of 2015. About half the songs are too weird to enjoy. The other half are amazing indie pop. She is one talented woman – she plays and produces everything you hear on the album (instruments and vocals). These are definitely my most listened to songs of the last few months:



purity ring2. Purity Ring – another eternity

It was very difficult to decide #1 and #2. Both amazing indie-pop albums packed with incredible songs. Chvrches just has a little more realness and emotion and depth. But Purity Ring has better beats. A tremendous improvement in this their second album (their first album had a few good songs and lots of bad ones). So many great songs. Hard to pick even a few to mention since they’re all so good:



chvrches1. Chvrches – Every Open Eye

Chvrches first album was really good. This one is bigger and deeper – a more expansive and polished sound. Not a bad song on the album. Definitely my family’s favorite album of the year (I was a little more divided between Purity Ring, Chvrches, and Grimes).

Some standout songs:



Would love to hear – what are your favorite albums of 2015?

Top 100 Songs of 2014

December 23, 2014 — Leave a comment

Though this wasn’t a great year for albums, it’s been a better than average year for songs. Seriously- any of the top 60 songs on this list could have made it into the top 10. So many good songs.

Most of these songs are Indie – Indie-pop, Indie-rock, Indietronica.

To further explore amazing music, here are a few bonus lists:

Click “Follow” at the top of Spotify if you want to add any of the playlists to your sidebar of lists.

Here are my 100 favorite songs of 2014 (click to play individual tracks or here to play the full list in Spotify): 

    1. Real Estate – Talking Backwards
    2. Dead Ceremony – Losing You
    3. Röyksopp & Robyn – Do It Again
    4. Porter Robinson – Sad Machine
    5. LIGHTS – Running With The Boys
    6. Sbtrkt – The Light
    7. Broken Bells – After the Disco
    8. Vance Joy – Mess Is Mine
    9. Broods – L.A.F
    10. The New Pornographers – Champions Of Red Wine
    11. Coldplay – Midnight
    12. Knox Hamilton – Work It out
    13. Spoon – Outlier
    14. White Sea – They Don’t Know
    15. Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me
    16. Little Daylight – Love Stories
    17. Thief – Broken Boy
    18. Maps – A.M.A.
    19. Porter Robinson – Divinity
    20. Vancouver Sleep Clinic – Collapse
    21. Lana Del Rey – West Coast
    22. Kwabs – Last Stand
    23. Waters – Got To My Head
    24. The War On Drugs – An Ocean In Between The Waves
    25. Wild Beasts – A Simple Beautiful Truth – East India Youth Remix
    26. The Horrors – So Now You Know
    27. Emile Haynie – Falling Apart
    28. Kyla La Grange – Cut Your Teeth
    29. Sylvan Esso – Uncatena
    30. Laurel – To the Hills
    31. CHVRCHES – Get Away
    32. Sam Smith – Nirvana – Harry Fraud Remix
    33. Lana Del Rey – Once Upon a Dream
    34. Caribou – Can’t Do Without You
    35. Broods – Never Gonna Change
    36. Broken Bells – The Changing Lights
    37. Ellie Goulding – Beating Heart
    38. Delta Spirit – Take Shelter
    39. Cults – Being It
    40. Phantogram – I Don’t Blame You
    41. Japanese Wallpaper – Breathe In
    42. St. Lucia – Cold Case
    43. Grace Mitchell – Broken Over You
    44. The National – Learning – super depressing…
    45. Rusko – Everyday
    46. Sia – Eye of the Needle
    47. The Rural Alberta Advantage – On the Rocks
    48. St. Vincent – Regret
    49. Lykke Li – Silver Line
    50. Tiny Victories – Scott & Zelda
    51. SOHN – Bloodflows
    52. Odesza – Memories That You Call (feat. Monsoonsiren)
    53. alt-J – Hunger Of The Pine – ironically samples Miley Cyrus at the end…
    54. CHVRCHES – Dead Air
    55. The Shins – So Now What – Sadly this song is not on Spotify. Go buy it. Very sweet love song to his wife.
    56. Sia – Chandelier – if you haven’t seen the video
    57. Trampled By Turtles – Wild Animals
    58. TV On The Radio – Happy Idiot
    59. HAERTS – Giving Up
    60. Spoon – Knock Knock Knock
    61. Lykke Li – Just Like A Dream
    62. Wye Oak – Sick Talk
    63. Owen Pallett – The Riverbed
    64. Tove Lo – My Gun
    65. CHVRCHES – It’s Not Right But It’s Okay – technically from 2013 (only one on the list) but didn’t catch it til this year!
    66. Dustin Tebbutt – Bones
    67. Sbtrkt – NEW DORP. NEW YORK – my kids loved this song – 2nd funnest song of 2014
    68. Bombay Bicycle Club – Overdone
    69. Wye Oak – Shriek
    70. Lykke Li – Gunshot
    71. Bombay Bicycle Club – It’s Alright Now
    72. Beck – Blue Moon
    73. St. Vincent – Digital Witness
    74. Bombay Bicycle Club – Home By Now
    75. Delta Spirit – Push It
    76. CEO – Wonderland – 3rd funnest song of 2014!
    77. Röyksopp & Robyn – Monument – would have been higher if it weren’t for the crappy last 2 minutes of the song
    78. Painted Palms – Spinning Signs
    79. Spoon – Inside Out
    80. Phantogram – Fall In Love
    81. Wye Oak – Glory
    82. Bombay Bicycle Club – Carry Me
    83. SOHN – Tremors
    84. Wye Oak – Before
    85. Lykke Li – I Never Learn
    86. Hooray For Earth – Keys
    87. Grouplove – Shark Attack – funnest (summer) song of 2014
    88. Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You) – their performance on Letterman catapulted them to fame. This dude’s dance moves are inspiring.
    89. SOHN – Tempest
    90. The War On Drugs – Red Eyes – the best song from what most critics call the best album of 2014 (though I disagree)
    91. Broods – Mother & Father – the song I envision my daughters singing when they go off to college – very sweet
    92. Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High) Hippie Sabotage Remix
    93. Broken Bells – Perfect World
    94. SOHN – The Wheel
    95. Phantogram – Black Out Days
    96. Grimes – Go
    97. Röyksopp & Robyn – Every Little Thing
    98. Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked – the best song from the best album of the year
    99. Iamamiwhoami – Fountain – by far, my wife’s favorite song of 2014
    100. Wild Beasts – Wanderlust – “haunted coldwave synths and lo-fi drums echo throughout” the song. Cool video of them playing this song on a 7,866 pipe organ.

    Would love to hear your top songs. What are your favorite songs of 2014?

     

Top Albums of 2014

December 23, 2014 — 2 Comments

Here are my 6 favorite albums of 2014. Why 6? Because I only really enjoyed 6 albums. Not a great year in music. Some great songs. But not a whole lot of great albums. I’d love to hear from you what are your favorite albums of 2014.

Here’s my top albums from previous years: 201320122011 and 2010

Click links to play in Spotify

spoon6. Spoon – They Want My Soul

I’ve liked a few Spoon songs over the past decade but I’ve never really jumped on the bandwagon. They added a little more pop/electro sound on this album and it suits them well. Standout songs: Inside OutKnock, Knock, Knock and Outlier

 

 

bombay bicycle5. Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow

Never liked BBC until this album. Fun, Brit rock. Some of the best songs from this album: Carry MeHome By NowIt’s Alright Now and Overdone

 

 

wye oak shriek4. Wye Oak – Shriek

This one should be listened to as a whole album – the songs are OK on their own, but together the sum is greater than the parts. Great soundtrack for a gray, winter day. You’ll feel cool just listening to this album : )

Best songs on this album: Before, GloryShriek and Sick Talk

 

phantogram voices3. Phantogram – Voices

One of my favorite bands (whom I actually got to see live this year – the only good show in Fayetteville, Arkansas all year!) Great beats. Great vocals. Indie music you can dance to. Best songs on this album: Black Out Days, Fall in Love and I Don’t Blame You

 

 

SOHN2. Sohn – Tremors

Favorite new band of 2014. R&Bish sound over glitchy beats. Top songs: The WheelTempestTremors, and Bloodflows 

 

 

Lykke Li1. Lykke Li – I Never Learn

I’ve enjoyed Lykke Li over the last 5 years but she took it to the next level with this amazing album of heartbreak and regret. Every song is amazing on this short 9 song album. Here are the 5 best songs: No Rest for the WickedI Never LearnGunshotJust Like a Dream, and Silver Line

Who did I miss? What were your favorite albums of the year?

 

2014 is half over and here’s my top 5 albums of 2014 so far and my favorite songs.

Top 5 Albums of 2014 (so far)

Click to open in Spotify

  1. Lykke Li – “I Never Learn”
  2. Sohn – “Tremors
  3. Phantogram – “Voices”
  4. Bombay Bicycle Club – “So Long, See You Tomorrow”
  5. Wye Oak – “Shriek”

Not a bad year for women in indie music – 3 of my 5 top albums. And St. Vincent is many folks’ #1 album – though I couldn’t get into it. Much preferred her last release.

 

Top Songs of 2014 (so far)

Click to play in Spotify

 

If you want to dig deeper into some good music, here’s a list of my Spotify playlists for each month so far (anywhere from 20-50 songs/month):

Would love to hear what you’re listening to.

What have been your favorite albums and songs of 2014 so far?

 

Top 100 Songs of 2013

December 23, 2013 — 3 Comments

This is Indie Music for the Masses – Indie Music that’s actually enjoyable to listen to (not grating avant-garde or sleep-inducing singer-songwriter).

To further explore amazing music, here are a few bonus lists:

Click “Follow” at the top of Spotify if you want to add any of the playlists to your sidebar of lists.

Here are my 100 favorite songs of 2013 (click to play individual tracks or here to play the full list in Spotify): 

        1. Andrew Belle – Pieces
        2. Empire Of The Sun – Alive
        3. Dwntwn – Stood Me Up
        4. Deptford Goth – Union
        5. Foals – Bad Habit
        6. St. Lucia – The Night Comes Again
        7. Autre Ne Veut – Counting
        8. Widower – Oh Catherine, My Catherine
        9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – If You Didn’t See Me [Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor]
        10. Jose Gonzalez – Step Out
        11. Lucius – Don’t Just Sit There
        12. Anna Meredith – Nautilus
        13. POLIÇA – Smug
        14. Say Lou Lou – Julian
        15. Vancouver Sleep Clinic – Vapour
        16. MS MR – Dark Doo Wop
        17. Young Galaxy – Pretty Boy
        18. Big Black Delta – Into the Night
        19. Leagues – You Belong Here
        20. Röyksopp – Running To The Sea
        21. Major Lazer – Get Free – feat. Amber of Dirty Projectors
        22. Haerts – Wings
        23. Young Galaxy – New Summer
        24. Phoenix – Entertainment
        25. Dustin Tebbutt – The Wolves (Reprise)
        26. Alpine – Gasoline
        27. Junip – Line of Fire
        28. Dustin Tebbutt – Where I Find You
        29. City Calm Down – Pleasure & Consequence
        30. Widowspeak – Ballad of the Golden Hour
        31. CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
        32. Social Studies – Terracur
        33. Sir Sly – Ghost
        34. Phosphorescent – Song For Zula
        35. Wildlife Control – Different
        36. Phoenix – Chloroform
        37. Yeasayer – Don’t Come Close
        38. Arcade Fire – Here Comes The Night Time
        39. Phantogram – Never Going Home
        40. London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years
        41. Arcade Fire – Afterlife
        42. Lovelife – Your New Beloved
        43. Phantogram – Celebrating Nothing
        44. Sia – Elastic Heart – From “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” Soundtrack
        45. Active Child – Evening Ceremony
        46. M83 – Oblivion (feat. Susanne Sundfør)
        47. Telekinesis – Ghosts and Creatures
        48. Local Natives – You & I
        49. CHVRCHES – Now Is Not the Time
        50. Phantogram – The Day You Died
        51. Vampire Weekend – Diane Young
        52. Caveman – Chances
        53. Cults – High Road
        54. Phoenix – Don’t
        55. Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?
        56. Lana Del Rey – Young And Beautiful – would have been higher but I hate the line “oh that body, oh that face makes me want to party”. So lame.
        57. Volcano Choir – Byegone
        58. Arcade Fire – Reflektor – somebody read some Kierkegaard
        59. POLIÇA – Tiff
        60. Cults – I Can Hardly Make You Mine
        61. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors – Radio Edit
        62. The National – Don’t Swallow the Cap
        63. Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home
        64. Youth Lagoon – Dropla
        65. Portugal. The Man – Plastic Soldiers
        66. Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right
        67. Radical Face – We’re On Our Way
        68. The Boxer Rebellion – Diamonds
        69. Autre Ne Veut – Play by Play – wait for it. Get past the weird first 1:45.
        70. Sky Ferreira – Ain’t Your Right
        71. Vampire Weekend – Hannah Hunt – some would say this is the culmination of VW’s career. In particular: 2:35-3:20
        72. The National – Demons – one of the greatest lines from a long list of self-deprecating, depressing lyrics from the Eeyore of indie music – Matt Berninger: “When I walk into a room, I do not light it up”
        73. High Highs – Open Season
        74. Phoenix – The Real Thing
        75. CHVRCHES – ZVVL
        76. Sky Ferreira – Everything Is Embarrassing
        77. SOHN – Lessons
        78. Caveman – Where’s the Time
        79. Active Child – Silhouette (feat. Ellie Goulding) – beautiful music from two great singers (trying to out-falsetto each other)
        80. Ivan & Alyosha – Running for Cover – not sure if these guys are Christians, but a great song re: the Garden of Eden and original sin
        81. The National – Sea of Love
        82. Beck – I Won’t Be Long
        83. Cults – Shine a Light
        84. Haerts – Hemiplegia
        85. Volcano Choir – Comrade – Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Enough said.
        86. Arcade Fire – It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus) – love this new sound for Arcade Fire in this pair of songs
        87. Arcade Fire – Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)
        88. CHVRCHES – Tether – beautiful as it builds to a synth-dance ending
        89. Cults – Were Before – Madeline singing “I like it like the way we were before” at :28 is one of the best moments in music in 2013
        90. Vampire Weekend – Don’t Lie – especially love the sound of 1:15-1:35
        91. Phantogram – Black Out Days – one of my favorite bands – great combo of synth-beats and vocals
        92. Dustin Tebbutt – The Breach – can’t wait for a full length album from Dustin. Beautiful song.
        93. The National – Graceless – a rare upbeat (though still depressing!) song from The National.
        94. Vampire Weekend – Step – this easily could have been song of the year. Witty lyrics. Beautiful, unique music.
        95. Local Natives – Heavy Feet – a sad, lonely song with an upbeat, driving background
        96. The National – I Should Live in Salt – at first the repetitive nature of the lyrics turned me off to this song. But ended up being my favorite off of a great album. A moving song about regret and brotherly love through conflict.
        97. CHVRCHES – Recover – the best pure pop song of the year. Upbeat but wears well over time unlike most too-slick pop songs
        98. Caveman – In the City – anthemic, rich indie-rock.
        99. Vampire Weekend – Ya Hey – I wrote an entire blog post about this song. Incredible music. Even better lyrics.
        100. James Blake – Retrograde – beautiful and sparse. One of the best moments in music 2013 when at 1:23 he drops from falsetto to sing in baritone “We’re alone now.”

Would love to hear your top songs. What are your favorite songs of 2013?

 

Top 10 Albums of 2013

December 19, 2013 — 4 Comments

2013 was a great year in music with several of the best indie rock bands releasing albums. Here are my 10 favorite albums. I’d love to hear from you what are your favorite albums of 2013.

Click links to play in Spotify

Volcano-Choir-Repave10. Volcano Choir– Repave

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s side project. Similar to Bon Iver, though not quite as good. Two great songs from this album: Comrade and Byegone

 

artworks-000057602816-6qit5q-t500x50019. Phantogram – Phantogram EP

One of my favorite bands. All four songs on the EP are great. Two standout songs: Black Out Days and Never Going Home

 

homepage_large.843c2ed58. Local Natives – Hummingbird

Best songs on this album: Heavy Feet, You & I, Ceilings.

 

 

90fa25fe7. Phoenix – Bankrupt!

Good indie pop. Not real substantive (I don’t find myself going back to this album that often – but I like the songs when I hear them). Definitely some fun songs. Best songs: The Real ThingChloroform, Don’t and Entertainment.

 

 

CHVRCHES Debut

6. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe

My favorite new band of 2013. Love their sound. Top songs: Recover (one of the best songs of the year), Tether, The Mother We Share.

 

2013-10-07-cults_gif_630x802_q855. Cults – Static

Great sophomore album from Cults. Some are put off by the 50’s doo-wop sound but there’s so many great songs on here. The best songs on the album: Were Before, I Can Hardly Make You Mine, High Road, So Far, Shine a Light.

 

artworks-000039552194-inuahw-t500x5004. Caveman – Caveman

In the City is one of the best songs of the year. A great swinging-in-the-hammock chill album. Two other great songs on the album: Where’s the Time and Chances

 

sticker,375x3603. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Not as good as their previous Grammy-winning-album, The Suburbs. Reflektor is pretty uneven. With 5 of the best songs Arcade Fire has ever made. A few decent songs and a couple very forgettable songs. Here are the 5 amazing songs: ReflektorHere Comes the Night TimeAfterlifeAwful Sound (Oh Eurydice)It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus).

 

5_21_The-National2. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

I didn’t think The National could ever come close to High Violet (the best album anyone has made in the last 5 years). “Trouble” doesn’t quite match High Violet but it is an amazing album with only a couple minor flaws. Some particularly great songs: Sea of LoveI Should Live in SaltGracelessDemonsDon’t Swallow the Cap.

 

Vampire_Weekend_-_Modern_Vampires_of_the_City1. Vampire Weekend –

Modern Vampires of the City

An amazing album from start to finish. Beautiful music with profound lyrics – nearly every song dealing with God and our looming mortality. A sample from the song Unbelievers:

“If I’m born again I know that the world will disagree

Want a little grace but who’s going to say a little grace for me?

We know the fire awaits unbelievers

All of the sinners the same

Girl you and I will die unbelievers bound to the tracks of the train”

In maybe-the-best-song-of-the-year “Ya Hey”, Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend’s secular-Jewish lead singer “flips the script of the old question ‘If God really loves us, why do terrible things happen?’ Ezra seems to be asking ‘How can God love such terrible things?’” (quote)

Pitchfork (the de facto king of indie music blogs) puts it this way:

Koenig stages a plaintive confrontation with his higher power, listing its non-believers, and shrugging: “America don’t love you/ So I can never love you in spite of everything.” This isn’t a breakup, but an attempt to see the other side in hopes of reconciliation: why should you show such love for the people who go such lengths to deny your existence, when you can’t even get any credit for it?

The scrambled, mutated voices on the hook play off the inpronounceable name of the Lord while flipping the title of perhaps the most beloved pop song of the past two decades. Such is the scope of “Ya Hey,” but Vampire Weekend put it within the grasp of anyone who wants it with another impossibly catchy song that skips along while carrying the weight of the universe.

 A few of the best songs (though, seriously- there are 10 really good songs on this album- all very diverse yet cohesive):

 

Who did I miss? What were your favorite albums of the year?

 

We’re almost halfway through 2013 and here’s my Best Music of 2013 (so far) list.

Best Albums

Everyone Needs to Buy Immediately:

Easily the two best albums of 2013 so far. The only yet-to-be-released album I can see being able to compete would be Arcade Fire (or maybe CHVRCHES’ full length album):

vampires of the modern cityVampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City (click to play on Spotify)

Amazing album. I can’t imagine anyone not loving this album. And surprisingly deep lyrically – an Unbeliever (in his words) wrestling with God and the certainty of death.

the-national-trouble-will-find-me-608x608-1368715051The National – Trouble Will Find Me

This album is growing on me with every listen. Dark and moving.

 

Take them for a few Spins on Spotify:

 

Best Songs

So many good songs this year- hard to pick among the best. I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the 50(ish) best songs so far. Click “Follow” (within Spotify) to add it to your playlists.

At the very least, go out and buy these 14 songs (or listen to them over and over on my Spotify playlist!). So good.

  1. James Blake – Retrograde
  2. Vampire Weekend – Ya Hey
  3. Caveman – In the City
  4. CHVRCHES – Recover
  5. The National – I Should Live in Salt
  6. Local Natives – Heavy Feet
  7. Vampire Weekend – Step
  8. Atoms For Peace – Default
  9. Vampire Weekend – Don’t Lie
  10. Caveman – Where’s the Time
  11. Phoenix – The Real Thing
  12. Ivan & Alyosha – Running for Cover
  13. High Highs – Open Season
  14. Youth Lagoon – Dropla

 

Share in the comments what your favorite albums/songs of 2013 have been.