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Top 25 Albums Of 2015: Part 1

December 10, 2015

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Now that I’ve completed my Top 50 Songs of 2015 list, it’s time to rundown my Top 25 Albums of the year.  Entries 15-11 are just down below.  Jump back tomorrow for the final 10 selections.  Enjoy.

PS – As always, this list is made up of stuff that I legit listened to a lot throughout the year.

25) Carly Rae Jepsen – E-MO-TION

There are a couple of tracks on Carly Rae Jepsen’s E-MO-TION that aren’t great, but overall it’s definitely one of the most fun albums that I came across in 2015.  If you’re into lady-led pop jams from the 80s/90s, you need to become one with CRJ’s latest LP.

:Carly Rae Jepsen – Let’s Get Lost:

24) Joanna Newsom – Divers

If Joanna Newsom’s Divers had come out earlier in the year, I think it might have ended up higher on my list.  Like her other efforts, this album is beautiful but dense, and it needs to be digested over lots of listens.  In another month or two I’ll be able to decide whether it’s really good or really great.

:Joanna Newsom – Leaving The City:

23) Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

Protomartyr’s The Agent Intellect isn’t exactly what I would call an easily accessible rock album.  On the bright side, if you fully commit to it you get back a rather rewarding experience.

:Protomartyr – Why Does It Shake:

22) Desaparecidos – Payola

Payola is exactly what I wanted Desaparecidos to deliver on their sophomore effort – it’s loud, inspired, angry and crazy infectious.  Here’s hoping they don’t stick to the 13-years-between-albums thing that they currently have going on.

:Desaparecidos – City On The Hill:

21) Gal Pals – Velvet Rut

While it still bums me out that Gal Pals jumped from Austin to LA, I do like that the move got them to finally put out a debut full length.  Velvet Rut is 29 minutes of garage pop perfection.

:Gal Pals – Ex-Marionette:

20) Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

This is the fourth year in a row that Thee Oh Sees have managed to crack my Top 25 Albums list.  I don’t mind.  They make me want to be a louder person.

:Thee Oh Sees – Web:

19)  Sweet Spirit – Cokomo

I’ve jammed Sweet Spirit’s Cokomo a lot since it was released back in October.  It’s an upbeat listen that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

:Sweet Spirit – Baby When I Close My Eyes:

18) Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter

Joanna Gruesome‘s Peanut Butter is a completely schizo (but really fun) album.  They continue to be one of the best noise pop acts around.

:Joanna Gruesome – Honestly Do Yr Worst:

17) Sweet Talk – Double Perfect

Sweet Talk are one of the best bands in Austin, and Double Perfect is one of the year’s best straight up rock albums.  You need it.

:Sweet Talk – Witness:

16) White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again

These fellas out of Kentucky really delivered the goods on their debut LP, White Reaper Does It Again.  It’s nothing but super catchy garage punk tunes.

:White Reaper – Make Me Wanna Die:

15) Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

A 29-track, 93-minute rock opera from the one and only Titus Andronicus?  Yeah, there was never a chance that The Most Lamentable Tragedy wouldn’t be on this list.

:Titus Andronicus – Dimed Out:

14) Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up

Colleen Green’s musings throughout I Want To Grow Up are both insightful and relatable.  Also, there isn’t a single track on it that isn’t catchy.

:Colleen Green – TV:

13) Leon Bridges – Coming Home

Leon Bridges pretty much owned 2015.  Coming Home is a warm, inviting effort, and it may just be the year’s most accessible album.

:Leon Bridges – River:

12) Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer

Admittedly, it took me a little while to fully come around on Foil Deer.  I think I was expecting a simple extension of Major Arcana, but their sophomore LP is way more than that – it’s them really evolving, expanding their sound and becoming an overall better band.

:Speedy Ortiz – Raising The Skate:

11) Ratatat – Magnifique

I think Magnifique is Ratatat’s best album.  From start to finish it’s loaded with really interesting sounds, and all of the songs move incredibly well.  I left it on repeat a lot in 2015.

:Ratatat – Cream On Chrome:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2015: Part 1

November 30, 2015

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Hey!  It’s time to start counting down my Top 50 Songs of 2015.  As always, the entire list is made up of tracks that have steadily been in my rotation since I came across them.  Enjoy.

50)  :Carly Rae Jepsen – Let’s Get Lost:  I officially boarded CRJ’s bandwagon this year.  Her latest is LP is pretty damn fun, and I think this is the best song off of it.  You’re legit stone cold if you can listen to it and not want to dance.  From Emotion.

49)  :Icky Blossoms – In Folds:  I was all about this driving, synth-filled track from Icky Blossoms before I even finished listening to it for the first time.  It’s an all-around stellar sounding song that just dominates the room.  From Mask.

48)  :Death Cab For Cutie – The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive:  This is the first Death Cab For Cutie single in a very long time that’s stuck with me.  Probably because it moves well and the band actually sounds awake in it.  From Kintsugi.

47)  :Albert Hammond Jr. – Born Slippy:  It’s nice that the Strokes are still working together, but I’d be fine if they called it quits and guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. just went about churning out more solo albums.  As shown here, the guy really knows how to write an inviting pop tune.  From Momentary Masters.

46)  :The Suffers – Make Some Room:  Houston’s The Suffers really took off this year, and I’m so very happy for them.  As for this track, I think it’s one of 2015′s most endearing efforts.  From the Make Some Room EP.

45)  :Sweet Spirit – Babydoll:  I’ve been watching locals Sweet Spirit play this live for a long while, so I love that a recorded version finally came along.  It’s definitely one of those songs that I find stuck in my head seemingly all of the time.  From the band’s self titled EP.

44)  :Jeff The Brotherhood – Black Cherry Pie:  This song from Jeff The Brotherhood features a goddamn flute solo by Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull fame) and has a chorus that mentions wanting to stab someone in the eye.  Those two things alone should warrant its placement on anyone’s year-end list.  From Wasted On The Dream.

43)  :Desaparecidos – City On The Hill:  The Conor Oberst that fronts Desaparecidos is my favorite Conor Oberst.  I think his emo-y voice is best used in tracks like one, which is an anthemic scorcher.  From Payola.

42)  :Dan Friel – Rattler:  Dan Friel is a master at twiddling knobs (not a euphemism).  I frequently put this inspired tune on whenever I need to rally up for something.  From Life.

41)  :jj – Truce:  The immense amount of attitude that’s all throughout this jj song has entertained me for much of 2015.  The whole thing is just ridiculous (and fun).  From Truce.

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Quickdraw: Desaparecidos, Sweet John Bloom, Sweet Spirit And Britt Daniel, Annabel, La Luz

May 18, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Desaparecidos – Backsell:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, returning to Desaparecidos is the best (and most inspired) thing that Conor Oberst has done in years.  Unsurprisingly, this latest single rips.  Payola is due out June 23 via Epitaph.

:Sweet John Bloom – Night Thing:  I really dig this 90s-ish bit of power pop from Sweet John Bloom.  As I’ve mentioned previously, their debut LP could end up being a really good one.  Weird Prayer is due out in June via Tiny Engines.

:Sweet Spirit And Britt Daniel – Paper Tiger:  This juiced up Spoon cover is the b-side to the one-off track that Sweet Spirit and Britt Daniel did together.  It really makes me want the two acts to join up for much more.  You can find the 7″ at Spoon/Sweet Spirit shows.

:Annabel – Having It All:  Here’s another transfixing single from the emo-leaning Annabel.  I will surprised and disappointed if their upcoming album doesn’t end up on my best-of list at the end of the year.  Having It All is due out in June via Tiny Engines.

:La Luz – You Disappear:  Ty Segall produced this new one from La Luz.  It’s a fuzzy three and a half minute surf pop effort that’s completely inviting and accessible.  Jump into it.  Weirdo Shrine is due out August 7 via Hardly Art.

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Desaparecidos

April 7, 2015

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I was really hoping that Desaparecidos would stay reunited for a while, so I more than love that the Conor Oberst-led act have signed to Epitaph and will be releasing a sophomore album (just a mere 13 years after their debut).  Not only are they a fierce, politically-charged act, but their continued existence means we all get an even bigger (and much needed) break from Oberst’s recent string of really boring country/folk albums.  Sweet, right?  In this post you’ll find the LP’s first single.  It features Cursive’s Tim Kasher and deserves to be played at a loud volume.  Enjoy.

:Desaparecidos – City On The Hill:

Payola is due out June 23 via Epitaph.

Bonus Video:

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Throwback Thursday: Saddle Creek

May 15, 2014

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My Throwback Thursday for this week is the Saddle Creek 50 compilation.  Put together to celebrate the label’s 50th release, the effort has two songs (an album cut and one exclusively for the compilation) from each band that was on the roster in 2003.

Saddle Creek 50 helped jump start my still-strong love for the label.  At the time I was only aware of Cursive and Bright Eyes, so it was fun to discover both of their side projects - The Good Life and Desaparecidos – along with other stellar acts like Rilo Kiley, The Faint, and Azure Ray.  And they were all signed to the same roster!  Definitely an exciting time for the “just figuring out indie music” version of me.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 2

December 3, 2013

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Because it would just be totally weird to skip part two of my Top 50 Songs Of 2013, here it is.  Enjoy.

40)  :Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Sacrilege:  I can’t at all figure out what overall direction the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are heading in, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.  I gave this weird track a lot of plays in 2013.  From Mosquito.

39)  :Desaparecidos – The Left Is Right:  To be honest, I equally dig each of the four songs that Desaparecidos released this year.  I listed this one simply because it reminds me the most of the band’s 2002 effort, Read Music/Speak Spanish.  From The Left Is Right/Anonymous 7″.

38)  :Terry Malts – I Was Not There:  Terry Malts and this fuzzy pop punk gem of theirs muddled up a good portion of my summer.  Fortunately, I didn’t mind.  At all.  From Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere.

37)  :Eat Skull – Space Academy:  Way back in January I called this Eat Skull effort the first great rock track of 2013, and in the time since then I’ve only grown even more fond of its swirling guitars.  You need this if you like noise.  From III.

36)  :The Callas – Anger:  The great thing about the Callas on this track is that they give you two of the things that tend to make rock n’ roll a lot of fun -  a good hook and shit ton of attitude.  I approve.  From Am I Vertical?.

35)  :Sleigh Bells – You Don’t Get Me Twice:  I thought that perhaps I was done with Sleigh Bells, but then this raucous anthem came along and reminded that when inspired, not many are as fun as they are.  From Bitter Rivals.

34)  :Metronomy – I’m Aquarius:  This might be my favorite Metronomy song ever.  If you can manage to not adore it whenever the “shoop doop” part kicks in, then there might be something wrong with you.  From Love Letters.

33)  :Tennis – Mean Streets:  Tennis have now completely moved away from sounding like they just got off a sail boat, and I love it.  I really didn’t think they had a slinky dance pop number like this one in them.  From the Small Sound EP.

32)  :Tony Molina – Breakin Up:  This little pop tune from Tony Molina is just a minute and half long, but it packs some great songwriting and a really nice guitar solo.  Talk about being efficient.  From the Six Tracks EP.

31)  :Charles Bradley – Strictly Reserved For You:  With Sharon Jones battling cancer, I looked to Charley Bradley for my soul fix, and he didn’t fail me.  This is one of his better songs.  From Victim Of Love.

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Quickdraw: Desaparecidos, The Samps, The Blow, Frankie Rose, Diarrhea Planet

August 5, 2013

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Today’s music does not believe that Saturday night’s alright for fighting.  Enjoy.

:Desaparecidos – Te Amo Camila Vallejo:  Of all the acts that have reunited in the last year or so, it seems like Conor Oberst’s Desparecidos has been met with the least amount of excitement.  Bummer.  I think they’re a great punk band.  This track is one side of their latest 7″, which is available now.  See them play the Mohawk on October 30.

:The Samps – Overnight Lo:  This is a really slick effort, and it makes me wish The Samps would release music on a more consistent basis.  For now, though, I’ll just have to settle for a compilation of sorts (it has 2010′s EP and a few unreleased tracks) called Macrochips And Microdips that’s due out August 28 via Big Love.

:The Blow – Make It Up:  Once I was able to move on from how I’m old and it’s been seven years since The Blow released Paper Television, I found this track to be a real charmer.  The dance act will release a self titled album on October 1 via Kanine.  Catch them at Red 7 on November 2.

:Frankie Rose – Sorrow:  I really liked Frankie Rose’s Interstellar, so I’m happy to see her back so quick with a new effort.  This pleasant pop song makes me think her new album is going to be super lush.  Herein Wild is due September 24 via Fat Possum.

:Diarrhea Planet – Babyhead:  As of right now, I don’t think there’s an album that I’m anticipating more than the one from Diarrhea Planet.  I’m just convinced it’s going to be full of rad anthems.  This is the third single off of I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, which is due August 20 via Infinity Cat Records.

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Desaparecidos

February 12, 2013

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There are two bands from my college days that I would still love to see live.  One is the Postal Service, and the other is Conor Oberst’s Desaparecidos.  I’ll actually be seeing the former play in Las Vegas in April, but the latter keeps dodging me.  On the bright side, at least they’re about to release their second double a-side single in less than a year.  I’ll take it!  The Anonymous/The Left Is Right 7″ is due out March 12.  Enjoy.

:Desaparecidos – Anonymous:  My favorite Conor Oberst is the loud, aggressive, and politically charged one that leads this band.  This track will make you want to riot.

Bonus Video:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2012: Part 1

November 26, 2012

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The end of 2012 is drawing close, and that means it’s time to start making “best of” lists.  Below you’ll find the first part of my Top 50 Songs Of 2012.  In case you’re curious, I chose the songs from the 400+ tracks that I shared around here throughout the last 11 months.  Enjoy.

50)  :White Wires – All Night Long:  Every time I hear this pop punk gem I have to listen to the rest of their album, which is full of songs that are just as catchy.  From WWIII.

49)  :The Corin Tucker Band – Groundhog Day:  You could try to find a better voice than Corin’s, but you’d just fail miserably.  The girl can wail like no other, and I’m happy she’s been staying busy post-Sleater Kinney.  From Kill My Blues.

48)  :Bryan Scary – Ziegfield Station:  This band has long been a wonder when it comes to one-off singles that I can’t get out my head, and they kept that streak rolling in 2012 with this retro-rock track.  From Daffy’s Elixir.

47)  :Dirty Ghosts – Ropes That Way:  There was a span of about two months where I couldn’t escape this song from Dirty Ghosts.  It has such a high level of energy that it just sucks up all your attention.  From Metal Moon.

46)  :Desaparecidos – MariKKKopa:  I love that this band was able to come roaring back.  Who would have thought that Conor Oberst still had some ferocity in him?  From the MariKKKopa/Backsell 7″.

45)  :Yuck – Chew:  I may not have gotten a new album from the awesome Yuck in 2012, but I did get this fantastic one-off single.  Toss on headphones to catch all of the rather nice guitar work.

44)  :Deep Time – Clouds:  This Austin-based act (formerly known as Yellow Fever) really caught my attention with this quirky pop tune.  Not sure they’ve ever done anything catchier.  From Deep Time.

43)  :Black Bananas – Rad Times:  There’s far too much going on in this track, but I dig it anyway since it’s one of those efforts that’s just endlessly entertaining.  From Rad Times Express IV.

42)  :Maps And Atlases – Fever:  This song always manages to slap a smile on my face.  I love how upbeat and fresh it sounds.  From Beware And Be Grateful.

41)  :Miike Snow – Paddling Out:  I’ve never been much of a Miike Snow fan, but I’ve been overly attached to this track since sharing it back in January.  Watch out, as it’ll instantly make you want to dance.  From Happy To You.

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Desaparecidos

August 7, 2012

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I’ve loved all of the various indie rock comebacks that have happened over the last few years, but the greedy side of me loves to note how there’s two acts in particular that I still must see live.  One is Mclusky (unlikely to ever happen), and the other is Desaparecidos.  The Conor Oberst-lead band’s first new bit of music in a decade is the AA single MariKKKopa/Backsell, and it’s currently available for pre-order.  Enjoy.

:Desaparecidos – MariKKKopa:  This track does a special trick.  As soon as it starts you want to see whether or not Conor and the guys are still as loud and politically driven as they were 10 years ago, and then when it ends you feel dumb for ever even wondering such a thing.  Awesome.  Anyhow, who will help me bring this band to Austin right now?

Bonus Video:

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