Unboxing The Decemberists

It’s been a while since I’ve done an unboxing video, but I knew this record would be a great one to unveil on YouTube. Watch below to see the gorgeous vinyl for The Decemberists’ new album, I’ll Be Your Girl, hear a snippet of the best track on the record, and listen to me ramble on about my love for this band.

 

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Best Albums of 2017

It’s time again, time for looking back at the year in music and trying to distill it into a list of the best albums that 2017 had to offer.

This was an incredible year for music. There were so many wonderful new albums that I could hardly keep up. I kept a list of albums released that I enjoyed, and that list ended up being 76 albums long. And those are just the ones I felt were noteworthy. As I’ve been reading various publications’ year-end lists, I’ve been struck by how many albums I hadn’t even listened to yet. I might never catch up on 2017. But that’s okay, because I’ve got plenty of music to keep me busy.

Without further ado, here are my top 25 albums of 2017:

25. Partner, “In Search of Lost Time”

24. Alvvays, “Antisocialites”

23. Gordi, “Reservoir”

22. Diet Cig, “Swear I’m Good at This”

21. Julie Byrne, “Not Even Happiness”

20. St Vincent, “Masseduction”

19. Palehound, “A Place I’ll Always Go”

18. Offa Rex, “Queen of Hearts”

17. Marika Hackman, “I’m Not Your Man”

16. Jay Som, “Everybody Works”

15. MUNA, “About U”

14. Allison Crutchfield, “Tourist in This Town”

13. Aimee Mann, “Mental Illness”

12. Stars, “There is No Love in Fluorescent Light”

11. Girlpool, “Powerplant”

10. The New Pornographers, “Whiteout Conditions”

9. The Dove & The Wolf, “I Don’t Know What to Feel”

8. Adult Mom, “Soft Spots”

7. Big Thief, “Capacity”

6. Julien Baker, “Turn Out the Lights”

…and check out my video below for my top 5 of 2017!

 

The Friday Five – August 11, 2017

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It’s been a pretty good week for new releases.  We got new tunes from The National, Prawn, Florist, P!nk.  We even got a new track from a favorite of mine, Tori Amos, though I can’t say I’m crazy about the song.  It feels too sterile, too produced, to hit me in the gut the way Tori normally does.  And I suppose you could say the same for the new P!nk track — it is fairly predictable, a standard pop tune.  But her voice is strong enough to pull me in.

If you haven’t had a chance to check any of these songs out, give ’em a listen.  And happy Friday!

The National – Carin at the Liquor Store

Florist – Glowing Brightly

Prawn – North Lynx

P!nk – What About Us

Tori Amos – Up The Creek

The Friday Five – June 16, 2017

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Another great week full of music.  Check out some recent faves below.

Stars – “Privilege” & “We Called It Love”

New Stars.  How fantastic to wake up to new Stars.  There are two tracks, and I’m posting them both, because NEW STARS.

Spotify sucks and won’t embed, so click this link

Gordi – “Heaven I Know”

I’m new to Gordi, but dang, I’m loving the Imogen Heap vibes.  I spent Wednesday listening to hours of her music, and I’m hooked.

Charly Bliss – “Westermarck”

Fun tune, super fun video.

SOAR – “Fort Funston”

I kinda love music that references places (which is one of the reasons why I love Canadian music — Canadian musicians aren’t afraid to write about the places they know).  Specificity never hinders music, in my opinion.  So I’m digging this new tune by SOAR.

The Friday Five – June 9, 2017

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It’s late.  I should be getting some sleep since I’m taking a trip tomorrow to visit a good friend and see a concert, but I couldn’t skip posting five bangers for you guys.  This week has been flush with good tunes — so many that I have to save some for next week’s list.

I’m starting off with the brand new tune by Torres.  I’ve been waiting for this for AGES.  “Sprinter” was one of my favorite albums of 2015, and every time I listen to it, I just fall to pieces.  It’s a stunning record.  And I’ve been whining for months and months on Twitter, wondering when Torres would put out some new material.

And then she dropped her new track, “Skim.”  I bounced around in my cube like a maniac all day.  I posted gifs of a vintage Whitney Houston screaming and dancing.  I was SHOOK.  And the song is everything I had hoped it would be.  The video is not exactly SFW, so if you’re worried about that, head on over to Spotify to stream it.  But listen to it.  You have to.

Torres – “Skim”

Beth Ditto – “We Could Run”

Hot damn!  Another excellent track from Beth Ditto’s fresh solo album.  (Also check out “Fire,” ’cause GIRL.)

Alvvays – “In Undertow”

Oh man.  I love Alvvays.  I picked up their self-titled album while on a trip to Canada last year, and it still gets a lot of play during my workday.  Looking forward to their new album.

Waxahatchee – “Never Been Wrong”

The Crutchfields have superpowers.  I’m convinced of it.  Everything they do is amazing.  Check out the second offering from Katie’s upcoming album, “Out In The Storm.”

Iron & Wine – “Call It Dreaming”

Call me the whitest hipster ever, but I can’t help it.  Sam Beam’s voice just does something to me.  I actually got teary toward the end of this video, y’all.  But then again, I think that a lot of Iron & Wine songs make me cry.  I’m a sensitive hipster.

The Friday Five is back!

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Yes, the rumors are true.  After many months, the Friday Five is making its triumphant return!  Okay, well, triumphant might be a tad dramatic for a feature that probably has a total readership of two (my wife and my mother).  But it’s long overdue, especially because of the constant flood of incredible music that this otherwise-horrid year has been producing.  I’ve had to cut back significantly on my vinyl purchases (that whole building a new house thing, plus the ever-increasing cost of new vinyl), but I keep a list of everything I want so that I can slowly peck away at it when I get gift cards or have a few extra bucks.  And that list is HUGE.

This week’s selections are all new releases from some excellent bands.  Click on the name of the band if you like what you hear, and consider supporting them with a purchase.

Adult Mom – “Drive Me Home”

The newest record from Adult Mom, “Soft Spots,” has been in heavy rotation for the past few weeks.  It’s an incredibly strong, solid offering, and I love the way the sound expands and contracts and expands again as the album progresses.  This song takes the cake, though.

Big Thief – “Mary”

I hadn’t heard Big Thief before the release of their recent hit, “Mythological Beauty.”  I consider that one of my favorite songs of the year, and hoped that each subsequent track premiered would also drag me in and slay me with equal brutality.  I can’t say “Mary” destroyed me quite as completely as “Mythological Beauty,” but I’m weakened and crawling.

Tall Friend – “Oats”

Tall Friend is another new band to me, but I was immediately drawn to the sound.  It reminded me of Told Slant, and O, and Florist.  And then I found out that Emily Sprague (of Florist) was actually involved in the performance and production of Tall Friend’s upcoming album, so it suddenly made sense.  This song alone has me itching to click that pre-order button.

Offa Rex – “Blackleg Miner”

I’m down for anything The Decemberists do.  When they first announced their collaboration with Olivia Chaney, Offa Rex, I knew that I’d love it.  The band is really at its best when paying homage to the sea shanty or Appalachian music, and Offa Rex continues in that tradition, covering old British folk standards.  Seriously, if you didn’t know any better, you would think “Blackleg Miner” was a bonus track from “Castaways and Cutouts.”

Broken Social Scene – “Skyline”

Who else is incredibly excited about the return of Broken Social Scene??  I don’t even need to introduce this song.  Just listen.

Holiday Sampler: December 2

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This is hands-down the best version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” ever recorded. I stumbled upon it when I first listened to what has become one of my favorite holiday albums, “A Merry 1940s Christmas.” When I heard this track, I was in love.

December 2: Pearl Bailey & Hot Lips Page, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

The Friday Five – November 18, 2016

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There’s been a lot of great music coming out recently.  I’ve accumulated quite a list of tracks over the past month or so.  Here are five that I’ve been enjoying.  What has everyone else been listening to these days?

1.  Lucius – “Pulling Teeth”

You can’t really go wrong with Lucius.

2.  Austra – “Utopia”

Dang, am I happy she’s back.

3.  El Perro Del Mar – “KoKoro”

I’ve just recently started listening to El Perro, and damn, it’s so good.

4.  Allison Crutchfield – “Dean’s Room”

I am so, so looking forward to this album coming out in January.

5.  Cavegreen – “Witches Dream”

So new to me, and so freaking good.

Three Canadian Bands You Should Know, Part 3

There’s an endless supply, I tell you. So many wonderful Canadian artists that aren’t as well known in the US or abroad. Everyone should hear them and have the chance to revel in their beautiful music. And that’s why I’m here, serving up a dish of Canadian music every single week (except last week, when election hell broke loose). Enjoy!