Category Archives: music

Some Musical Favorites from 2020

It was a tough year for musicians (and the rest of us), from being unable to tour, record under normal circumstances, or otherwise collect in groups. As much of music-making is a collective pursuit, this year’s list deserves particular respect.

In addition to being an in-demand actor moving from quirky roles with A List directors, Caleb Landry Jones is apparently a very decent Beatle-esque musician. How I hate him.
First saw Moses Sumney open for Sufjan Stevens at the DAR Constitution Hall. He was selling hand-made CDRs of his first EP with his mother in the hallway. Glad I snatched one up.
Mad props for my fellow WCWM alums Karen and Eric. A fantastic album released this year.
Everything you’ve heard about Protomartyr is true. A great album from cover to cover.
Katie Crutchfield’s voice can take you in a lot of different directions. This song is wistful but steady.
Super catchy tune from a local group. Looking forward to hearing more from them.
Meursault is gone. Meursault is back. Sometimes it’s called Neil. Always worth seeking out.
Despite being cocooned in their glass booths, the Mountain Goats Jordan Lake Sessions were a 2020 highlight. This is a group that are comfortable turning jam sessions into jazz poetry and vice versa.
Like a lot of musicians, Withered Hand (Dan Wilson) released a live album “Could Ya Do The Woo Woos? (Live From Newcastle)” to get some new inventory out there. Glad he did.
I’m having trouble getting Samia Finnerty’s voice out of my head. Despite the twee tones, there’s something in this song.
Another local band I’m happy to support, Nice Breeze came out with an EP this year.
Powerful and timely single from Quasi.
Having fun with Matt Sweeney & Bonnie “Prince” Billy, with a dark undercurrent.
Also nice to see so many recordings dedicated to good causes this year. Bon Iver’s PDLIF raised money for Direct Relief.
Friend of FTDO, Matthew at Song By Toad put out this fantastic release this year. Anxious and haunting. Worth checking out the Fair Mothers catalogue.
The always fantastic Tim Rutili of Califone, recorded just before quarantine.
New release of found recordings from Game Theory.
Eerie beats from master producer John Vanderslice. Despite his prolific output, there’s virtually nothing he releases that I do not immediately enjoy.
This was recorded in late March, when we thought we had already been stuck inside for a long time. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to commiserate with during the hard times.
Nice, aggressive power chords from the duo Peggy Sue. Great hook in this song. Can’t recommend enough.
Portishead cover handled with great care by Torres. Puts a nice thump in this version.


Ignoreland/Sondland

Words from “Ignoreland” by R.E.M. (with one substitution).

Further reading:

Ignoreland” Realized: Trumplandia 2017 by Paul Thomas

ee cummings “Next to of course god america i

Beware of the Bastards : On Freedom and Choice, radical eyes for equity


Ryley Walker at Hopscotch

Just quickly put together a trippy video of Ryley Walker and Nathan Bowles playing at Kings for Three Lobed’s Hopscotch 10 day party.

(It’s long and may make you feel like you need to sit down.)


Music Favorites from 2017

Out of order list of some of my favorite music releases this year. Not that you asked.

Marvin Pontiac, The Asylum Tapes

Mount Eerie, A Crow Looked At Me

The National, Sleep Well Beast

The Magnetic Fields, 50 Song Memoir

Game Theory, Supercalifragile

Godspeed You! Black Emporer, Luciferian Towers

Planetarium

St. Vincent, MASSEDUCTION

Father John Misty, Pure Comedy

Robyn Hitchcock, Robyn Hitchcock

Sufjan Stevens, Tonya Harding


Music Favorites from 2015

Below is my unscientific picks for some of my favorite music releases from 2015 (in alphabetical order).

  • Advance Base Nephew in the Wild, song pick: Christmas in Milwaukee

  • Supermoon Oh Supermoon, Vol. 1, song pick: Sarah

  • Alabama Shakes Sound & Color, song pick: Dunes

  • Moses Sumney Mid-City Island, song pick: Everlasting Sigh

  • Boots Aquaria, song pick: I Run Roulette

  • Father John Misty I Love You, Honeybear, song pick: The Ideal Husband

  • Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, song pick: An Illustration Of Loneliness (Sleepless In NY)

  • EL VY Return to the Moon, song pick: I’m The Man To Be

  • The Minus 5 Dungeon Gold’s, song pick: My Generation

  • Pfarmers Gunnera, song pick: The Ol’ River Gang

  • Laurie Anderson Heart of a Dog, song pick: The Release of Love

  • Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell, song pick: Should Have Known Better

  • John Grant Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, song pick: Snug Slacks

  • Daniel Bachman River, song pick: Song For The Setting Sun II

  • The Mountain Goats Beat The Champ, song pick: Southwestern Territory

  • Taylor Batton Taylor Batton, song pick: Until Summer

  • Father John Misty 1989, song pick: Welcome to New York


Cover Quiz

Quick quiz: which of these song covers actually exists?

  1. A. Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) playing Bill Murray’s lounge singer version of the “Star Wars” theme,
  2. A 6’8″ clown singing a Vaudeville version of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World”, or
  3. A mariachi band that specializes in the songs of Morrisey?

Answer: They are all true. Enjoy.

 


The Haden Triplets at SXSW

I am slowly posting a few videos I made in South by Southwest this year.

First up are the Haden Triplets performing “Single Girl, Married Girl” at the famous honky-tonk, The Broken Spoke.

Also, performing Bill Monroe’s “Memories of Mother & Dad” a little later in the afternoon at the Third Man Records showcase in an empty warehouse.


Why Kristen Schaal should be in all music videos


My Favorite Albums of 2012

I know the second a commit to write a list I immediately want to change it but sometimes you just have to let these things go.

I’ve included a video from one of the songs from each release because… that’s what we do now. A picture of the album cover just isn’t enough, is it?

(Hmmm. Maybe not so coincidentally, I saw all of these artists perform live during 2012.)

10. Willis Earl Beal – Acousmatic Sorcery

9. Damien Jurado – Maraqopa

8. The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth

7. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant

6. The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know

5. Shearwater – Animal Joy

4. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

3. Menomena – Moms

2. Father John Misty – Fear Fun

1. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

(This last video is somewhat NSFW.)

Max: Oh, yes, I’m a big music lover. Would you believe that I once listened to three weeks of Beethoven? Would you believe it? Three weeks!
Villain: I find that quite hard to believe.
Max: Would you believe (thinks a while) two weeks of Bach?
Villain: I don’t think so.
Max: Would you believe… one hour of Looney Tunes?


EXITMUSIC from SXSW 2012

I’m a little late putting up this video from SXSW back in March of this year. I just bought the current release from EXITMUSIC and remembered that I never posted the video from this awesome and personal performance. So here goes.


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