My Top 20 from 2016

2016It seems my mixes celebrating the music from each year have become less obligatory over the past few years, I’m not going to make amends, but I did enjoy quite a bit of music this year. My wife and I were listening to one of my old “Best of Year” mixes last week as we were doing far more driving than even I prefer and she commented on how good a year that was for music and I thought how every year is a good year for music if you know where to look. This year is no different, some groups I’ve been listening to for a decade or more put out some new stuff and I’ve stumbled across some new ones that have been put on heavy rotation on my Google Play Music playlists. Listed below are 20 favorite tunes from the past year.

  1. Andrew Bird | Left Handed Kisses (with Fiona Apple)
    • Mr. Bird began writing a song about why he doesn’t usually write your average love song, when a second voice kept inserting itself in his writing. I love am a huge fan of the duet and this song is a great combination of voices. (Video)
  2. Animal Collective | Golden Gal
    • I’m hit or miss with this group, but I dig this new tune. (Video)
  3. The Avett Brothers | Ain’t No Man
    • Catchy stomp/clap tune by these folk rockers. If you missed them on Austin City Limits – go watch. (Music Video)
  4. Band of Horses | Whatever, Wherever
    • My favorite album by these guys since 2010’s Infinite Arms. I was thankful Delta chose this as a featured album on our recent Thanksgiving trip to South Korea. I put this on repeat and drifted in and out of sleep – it made me love the album even more. (Video)
  5. Fruit Bats | Absolute Loser
    • This isn’t the voice for everyone, but I really enjoyed their new album. (Video)
  6. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam | A 1000 Times
    • This is a fun combination of artists, and this catchy tune has been on heavy rotation recently, hopefully it’s pop doesn’t lose it’s flavor as time goes on. (Video)
  7. The Head and the Heart | All We Ever Knew
    • It has been fun watching this group grow and create a bigger sound to fill up the larger arenas they play these days. (Video)
  8. Ingrid Michaelson | Hell No
    • This is a fun break-up song, with a great video featuring the Deaf West Theatre.
  9. Kings of Leon | WALLS
    • Probably the song that got the most repeat listens. My favorite songs from these guys are the slow build introspective numbers that sit an wallow in emotive feeling. (Video)
  10. Ladyhawke | Wild Things
    • Coming out of New Zealand, this is a bit more pop than I usually listen to, but I really enjoy this album and it has a great 80’s synth-pop sound, if you hadn’t guessed from the name of the band. (Video – Rollerderby!)
  11. The Naked and Famous | Higher
  12. Pete Yorn | Lost Weekend
    • Another great tune from another great album by Pete. (Video)
  13. Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop | Every Songbird Says
    • Iron & Wine duet album? Yes, please. (Video)
  14. Sara Watkins | Move Me
    • 1/3rd of Nickel Creek, this is her 1st solo album and it’s not quite as bluegrass/banjo-y as her roots would suggest, though on this album that is not a bad thing. (Video)
  15. St. Paul and the Broken Bones | All I Ever Wonder
    • Rock & Soul or Alternative Soul – whatever you want to call it, it’s good. (Video)
  16. Vandaveer | A Little Time Off Ahead
    • Another fun song by these guys, they keep getting better.(Cartoon Video)
  17. Weezer | King of the World
    • I don’t know how they keep putting a hook that I want to listen to over and over again in every album they put out. I really enjoy their newest self-titled album. (Video)
  18. Whitney | Golden Days
    • This has a fun throw-back vibe and sounds to me like a heavy summer evening. (Video)
  19. The Wild Feathers | Overnight
    • How much good mid-tempo rock these days doesn’t have a throw-back vibe. (Video)
  20. Young the Giant | Something To Believe In
    • Catchy up-beat pop rock. This is not so much like me to like something so not-depressing, but it’s good stuff and that’s hard to argue with. (Video)

You can listen to the entire mix over on 8Tracks: 2016 Mix or if you prefer you pull up a playlist of all the videos over on YouTube or watch them below.

Top 20 from 2016.zip

New Releases (8/25/09)

Okay, maybe I post about the great Ingrid Michaelson more often than well, anybody else at the moment. August 25th was the release date of the newest album by Ms Michaelson as well as the new albums from Imogen Heap(formerly of ‘Frou Frou’) and Colbie Caillat. These three albums all had one thing in common for me, they were all three fell a bit short of my expectations. Was I expecting too much? – Highly possible. I would say the one that fell shortest of my thoughts going into it was that of Ms Caillat. Her previous album “Coco” was a laid-back, fun, album with great melodies with hooks that last for days. I just don’t think the new one, “Breakthrough,” has that catchy grab you and won’t let you go tunes that get stuck in your head, but you enjoy every minute of it. The new single has some fun stylings and will last the radio for a while, I just wanted maybe one or two more. Ms Heap, this album, “Ellipse,” started out with a great number that I quite enjoy, it feels like it takes up where her last album, “Speak For Yourself,” left off – and that’s a great place to be. I feel like it just slowly went downhill from there, lacking the electro-pop wall of vocal sound that I so enjoy from her. Ingrid’s new album, “Everybody,” has some great tunes – the new single, “Maybe,” is another great single and I love it, there are a number of other fine tracks – most particularly my favorite “the Chain,” which is a great building number with a round. This of the three albums was probably the one that I just had too high expectations, her last album just has no tracks I skip, this one may take a few listens before it gets to that level.

First Train Home|Imogen Heap

Fallin’ For You|Colbie Caillat

The Chain|Ingrid Michaelson

Twitter?

Do you Twitter? (Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?) I don’t see the point and it seems a bit egotistical. Recently I heard that Christopher Walken was Twitter-ing, but it turned out to be a Blog site where people could twitter under his name, but has since been put on hold because of the lack of validity. It seems that Ingrid Michaelson has similar opinions on the whole thing, according to her wonderful Bliggity Blog. You can stream the lovely song here by clicking the play button or head over her webiste and do the same or download the song over at her website: IngridMichaelson.com.

Twitter|Ingrid Michaelson

Failed Love Songs

Looking toward the upcoming “festivities” of Valentine’s Day, it comes up that there are probably more songs about unrequited love (or at least as many) as there are about falling in love or being in love. In this category you’ve got everything from ‘Layla’ (clapton) to ‘You’re Beautiful’ (blunt) to ‘Girl from Ipanema’, so it’s possible if you’re not really listening to the lyrics there may be a “love” song that is a bit more twisted than you thought it was. Most people are pretty quick to make a song about “them” even when it is completely about something else. Why people play ‘Every Breath You Take’ and the like at weddings is still a complete mystery to people that have actually listened to the lyrics. Hello – a bit creepy to be “our song”, but it’s funny how songs are so subjective to the listener. I for one have always enjoyed the sad, depressing songs just as much, if not, more, than the heart felt happy love song. ‘Lover, You Should Have Come Over’ is probably my favorite song in this category as well as ‘The Scientist’ – though these seem to be rather at one point requited, but not so much anymore. There is also the great Ben Fold Five anthem ‘Song for the Dumped’, but that ends up on the angry after a break-up side of things. So, here’s a smattering of songs that might fall under this category, or at least close. Possibly the greatest of which is the wonderful tune by the fabulous Conchords.

I’m Not Crying|Flight of the Conchords
Breakable|Ingrid Michaelson
Landed|Ben Folds
Lover, You Should’ve Come Over|Jeff Buckley
Now That It’s Over|Everclear

Christmas 2007

So every year it’s tradition to buy one new Christmas album, but is it just me or is that difficult when there’s not a new one I want to buy? I did finally buy one, but that’s another blog. There are quite a few artists that this year have released Holiday singles and most of these are straight to iTunes. And why is it that at least half of the new Christmas songs are just covers of the ones we’re either sick of or ones that only the original artist should cover? Anyway, I guess I’m in a cynical mood today, but either way, what do you think of these new songs? Also, you can hear a new Holiday song by Ingrid Michaelson, it’s streaming over at her MySpace page -> HERE, it’s quite nice.

Mistletoe|Colbie Caillat
Carol of the Bells|The Bird And The Bee
Don’t Shoot Me Santa|The Killers
Happy Xmas (War Is Over)|Maroon 5