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

Scarlett & Yorn

Interestingly enough I heard a leaked track from this upcoming album a couple years ago – and loved it. The female that was duet-ing with Pete sounded familiar and I even thought at one point that it might be Zooey. Nope – Scarlett. Is Pete losing all of his indie cred for duetting with someone that has been so dissed by her take on Waits classics? I hope not. I actually quite enjoy Scarlett, well and her voice as well. I wrote about her album – HERE. I’m really not a fan of the complete album of Waits tracks, but I never really thought that was the correct venue to showcase her vocal talents. This – This seems like the correct way to show off her sultry voice. This may album probably won’t have any of the quirky cool of ‘She & Him’, but I’m looking forward to the September 8 release of this album titled Break Up. According to Amazon it is “in the spirit of Serge Gainsbourg’s recording with Brigitte Bardot. The album re-enacts the tempestuous course of a love affair on the rocks.” There is video and more information on the album’s web page HERE. For me it seems the best of both worlds, watching Scarlett while listening to Pete. Is there a bad part of that equation?

Relator|Pete Yorn/Scarlett Johansson
Shampoo|Pete Yorn/Scarlett Johansson

Back & Fourth

Pete Yorn’s album Back & Fourth just dropped last week and I’ve been enjoying it greatly. This album is more akin to the EP “Westerns” in my mind than his previous “trilogy” of LP’s. It’s got more of an acoustic vibe, even when it rocks it up a bit, which I prefer to the direction the other albums were taking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of those albums and have always enjoyed his voice. This new album just might be my favorite so far.

Paradise Cove|Pete Yorn
Country|Pete Yorn
Bonus:
Dancing In The Dark (Springsteen Cover)|Pete Yorn

Drive My Car

I’m not sure what to say about this, as they say “a picture’s worth a thousand words”. Well, there are a few thousand word in this post that are just inaudible. By way of Neatorama(great site of just cool stuff all put together in a lovingly blogging way), which by the way – can there be a cooler name for a website?. Firstly we have the stormtrooper driving a Lotus Exige down the highway, that’s just cooler than words by itself, but wait – there’s more.

Yes, that’s the Sith Lord driving a black Ariel Atom. I mean seriously, can you picture him driving any other automobile? Yeah, I couldn’t think of anything better myself. That brings us finally to a picture that is so far beyond words that it’s truly awe inspiring in its depth and feeling.

Drive My Car/The Word/What You’re Doing|The Beatles
Drivin’ My Life Away|Eddie Rabbitt
Driven To Tears|The Police
Drive Away|Pete Yorn