Archives For Music

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.

 

The new Vampire Weekend album is streaming for free on iTunes and will be released Tuesday, May 14.vampires of the modern city

“Step” and “Ya Hey” are two of the best songs I’ve heard all year and will definitely be going on my “Top Songs of 2013” list once they’re released (you can watch the videos for these two below).

“Ya Hey” (read: Yahweh) is particularly intriguing.

In “Ya Hey” Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend’s 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) named it a “Best New Track” and said:

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.

The lyrics wrestle with God’s unending, unrequited love and grace for a people prone to wander and disregard a God who does not seem to answer:

And I can’t help but feel, that I made some mistake, but I let it go

Through the fire and through the flames, you won’t even say your name,
Only I am that I am.

Oh, good God,
The faithless they don’t love you,
The zealous hearts don’t love you,
And that’s not gonna change.

And I think in your heart, that you see the mistake, but you let it go

Here’s the video for “Ya Hey” with lyrics:

 

And here’s the phenomenal song “Step” off the new album:

Top 100 Songs of 2012

December 23, 2012 — Leave a comment

This is Indie Music for the Masses – the 100 best songs of 2012. 

Unlike most Indie “best of 2012″ lists all these songs are very listenable/enjoyable. I feel like most lists are trying to earn their Indie street cred by trying to list the most obscure bands that no one has ever heard of.

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

Click “subscribe” 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 2012 (click to play the full list in Spotify): 

 

What are your favorite songs of 2012?

Top 10 Albums of 2012

December 20, 2012 — 1 Comment

Click links to play in Spotify 

10. Lost in the Trees – A Church that Fits our Needs

Two great songs from this album: Neither Here Nor There and Red

 

9. Beach House – Bloom

Two great songs from this album: Myth and Lazuli

 

 

8. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal

Lots of good songs on this one – though my love of this album began to fade over the year (a little too bubble-gum-pop-ish). Obviously Little Talks is the breakout hit from this album. Other good ones: King and Lionheart, Dirty Paws, and Love Love Love

7. Passion Pit – Gossamer

Not a bad sophomore effort from one of my favorite bands. A few great songs. A few really bad trying-to-recreate-Sleepyhead songs. The best songs: Where We Belong, Take a Walk, and Cry Like a Ghost.

 

6. POLIÇA – Give You the Ghost

Loved this album when it came out. But the sameness of the songs made me return less and less to it over the year. But overall a great chill sound and album. Top songs: Lay Your Cards Out, I See My Mother, Dark Star

 

5. Ellie Goulding – Halcyon

I’ve loved Ellie Goulding for a few years now – her first album Lights is definitely worth listening to. But I think this album is even better than her first with great songs from top to bottom.  Best Songs: Hanging On and Anything Could Happen

 

4. Purity Ring – Shrines

Some GREAT songs on this album although there are some misses as well. Great songs you NEED in your life: Obedear, Belispeak, Amenamy, Fireshrine

 

3. Yeasayer – Fragrant World

Yeasayer is probably my favorite band. If you’ve never listened to them, you have to check out their best songs. They’re a band that I rarely buy their entire album because they always have a handful of very strange artsy songs that are painful to listen to. But the top 5 songs on their album are all AMAZING. Listen to these: Fingers Never Bleed, Damaged Goods, Henrietta, Longevity, Demon Road

 

grizzly bear2. Grizzly Bear – Shields

Such a good album including my favorite song of the year- Half Gate. Beautiful vocals and gorgeous music. Amazing songs: Half Gate, Speak in Rounds, A Simple Answer, Yet Again, Sleeping Ute.

 

1. Geographer – Myth

A beautiful album. Cello + Falsetto vocals + synth beats. Every single song is amazing. The best of the best songs: The BoulderVesijärvi, Kaleidoscope, Kites

 

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

flaming lips

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

That’s right – it’s Best-Music-of-the-Year time.

Time for everyone to start releasing their Best-of-2012 lists (like Paste already did).

 

I’ve been working on my two lists: Top Albums and Top Songs of 2012 – but it’ll be a few weeks before I get them all in order.

To get you warmed up, here’s my “Best 50 Songs” lists from 2010 & 2011 (as a playlist on the free music service Spotify):

Best Songs of 2010

Best Songs of 2011

 

Here’s a list of some albums I’m considering for best albums of 2012 (in alphabetical order – click to play for free in Spotify).

 

What have been your favorite albums and songs of 2012?

 

photo courtesy of kk+

None of this is earth-shatteringly-good. Most of it is very simple. But hopefully it saves you some time or gives you ideas.

Spiritual Interest Survey

We’ve put a lot of effort into streamlining our Spiritual Interest Survey card. We do it with 3000 freshmen/students the first week of class – so we want it to be quick and effective. Click here to download the photoshop file so you can edit it to fit your needs:

1 Minute Questionnaire

Cru Card

Our Cru Card that we use for our weekly meeting is similar but a bit different.

1 Minute Questionnaire

Simple Cru Flier

Nothing special. But I always think it’s fun to see what other campuses do for promo.

Cru and dorm studies - blog

We used to do them in color but have found that b/w is just as sharp looking IF:

  • You print them on card stock
  • Have them “cut to bleed” (so that there is no white border)
  • Don’t print them at FedExKinko’s (find a good local print shop)

 

First 4 Weeks Calendar

Always fun to see how other ministries operate. So here’s an overview of what our First 4 Weeks calendar looks like.

1st 4 weeks of class Calendar 2012 final

Intro Video for Weekly Meeting

Here’s a video we show at the beginning of our meeting the first few weeks. It serves two purposes:

  1. It functions as a cue to sit down and be quiet (there is intentionally space at the beginning to give everyone a chance to sit down).
  2. It communicates a little about who we are and what we’re about

 

Canadian/P2C staff: here’s a Canadian version you can use (you can download it there). I added more “eh’s” to contextualize it.  : )

 

Fall Retreat Brochures

Here’s a post with 3 different Fall Retreat Brochure designs we’ve used.

Fall Retreat 2010 powerpoint slide

 

Cool Music

Cru Cookout playlist 12I created a Spotify playlist that we use at all of our freshmen cookouts and our weekly meeting.

It’s a mix of Indie Rock, Dance (think: Rihanna), and Christian Hip Hop.

We pay $10 for the month of August to get Spotify Premium so you don’t have annoying commercials.

As I’ve said before:

While cool, upbeat music may be #27 on the list of important things about a weekly meeting, it’s important nonetheless.

What’s the first thing students encounter when they come to your meeting? Your music that you’re playing before the meeting.

And what happens when they hear Newsboys or Rebecca St. James pumping out of your speakers? You immediately confirm their worst suspicions that you are cheezy and out of touch with their reality.

As much as I am not a big fan of hip hop nor dance music, at our weekly meeting we include quite a bit of hip hop/dance. I run the music at our regional winter conference and can conclusively say that hip hop & dance makes a marked difference on the “vibe” of the crowd. It makes your meeting a party. Literally. People dance.

 

What about YOU?

Do you have any stuff your campus uses that would be helpful to share? Link to it in the comments!

It’s a special SXSW Free Music Edition of Music Mondays.

For those of you who can’t afford $599 tickets to SXSW (not to mention airfare and hotels). . .

Here’s a ton of free, legal songs from many of the bands that are playing at SXSW:

 

An additional free-of-charge tip:

  • Be sure to check back frequently with Google’s new, all-things-media store Google Play. Everyday they have a different album for 25 cents. I’ll repeat. An entire album. 25 pennies. Even I will buy Coldplay Mylo Xyloto for 25 pennies (they’ve also had Lady Antebellum, Guns n Roses, et al). They also have a daily book for 25 cents (Moneyball is today’s).
  • AND Amazon seems to be matching every day’s music deal (if, like me, you prefer Amazon’s much simpler though not-nearly-as-simple-as-iTunes downloads).

Let us know in the comments about any other great music deals we’re missing out on (SXSW related or otherwise)!

Music Monday

March 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here’s some of the best albums so far in 2012 that you can stream for free right now (click the title to go to the respective sites to stream. Click on Spotify Link to listen in Spotify):

Speaking of Bon Iver, it would be well worth 24 minutes of your life to watch/listen to this beautiful, minimalistic performance: