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

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Cardinals Lose It

Ah, Arizona got a break back in 2001 when the Diamondbacks won the World Series. The Cardinals haven’t really had a great team much of ever, but this year through the playoffs they were stellar and gave us all some hope. They even had some great moments of the Super Bowl, the end of the first half of play it looked like they really had something, until the surprising pick and even more surprising 100 yard run that changed the game. They had lots of chances there in the second half also, but it was not to be. Made me think of the Suns, but then I really don’t want to go to the basketball end of Arizona these days. Steve Kerr, the now General Manager of the Phoenix Suns has changed that team, and I liked where it was heading with the coaching and players before he brought in Shaq and ran off the coach. Well, there’s always next year. Here are a few songs in honor of the festivities of yesterday. The first track is a KoL number that I just can’t get enough, I’ve posted it before and I’ll probably post it again, it comes up on my iPod chances are it’s gonna get repeated. The second track is a classic 70’s tune to which nobody should feel guilty listening, though some might. And finally a Rouse rarity, which is never a bad thing.

Arizona|Kings of Leon
Arizona|Mark Lindsay
Pittsburgh|Josh Rouse

Kings of Leon

You ever get a song stuck in your head, only it’s a good thing? I can’t get this Kings of Leon song out of my head, and I love it. I really do dig a song that starts out with a steady guitar riff and slowly builds. My friend Brian has been trying to indoctrinate me into the fandom of Kings of Leon for years. I’ve never disliked them, in fact every time I play their stuff I really get into it, but I always forget and then they don’t make it into my mixes and afterwards I kick myself because of it. These guys are modern southern rock at its best. Watching the film Cloverfield and listening to the music from it has reminded my why I need to remember them. The first song is awesome and is the one that’s been in my head for weeks, the other two were featured in Cloverfield.

Arizona|Kings of Leon
Taper Jean Girl|Kings of Leon
Pistol of Fire|Kings of Leon