Saturday, December 20, 2014

You tiptoe for ages and lose yourself

I know nobody reads blogs anymore. I don't either. But, I still want to post my list of favorite albums of the year. I didn't listen to as much music as I usually would. Being out of the country for two months kind of takes you out of things, and you miss a lot. I wouldn't trade it for anything though. I loved spending that much time in Baja. I'm a little sad I'm not there right now. I've still got a list though. Here it is. Go listen. Go love.

Honorable mentions category (and let's face it, my number 10 should probably be here too, but nothing else really jumped ahead of him): Tweedy - Sukierae (too many mediocre songs, shouldn't have been released as a double disc), Vance Joy - Riptide (I wanted to like it more than I did, but that single is pretty good), The Dodos - Beware of the Maniacs (good, but I didn't listen to it enough), Lana Del Ray - Ultraviolence (same), and The War On Drugs - Lost in the Dream (this should probably be my #10, but whatever, I'm sure they're not all that disappointed in my rankings).

10. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

I met Ryan Adams this year. My girlfriend and I were driving down the street and I saw this guy with crazy hair and a jean jacket and I said, "That's Ryan Adams" so we pulled over and followed him into a store on Main Street and introduced ourselves. Can you say stalker? As you might imagine, it was super awkward and weird. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford tickets to his show that night, so that was the end of it. Cool story, bro.

9. Phantogram - Voices

I like Phantogram a lot, but unfortunately, they will forever be linked to an ex-girlfriend of mine in my mind. Typically that kind of thing doesn't bother me (I'm not the type of person to throw away photos, stop listening to favorite songs, key things into ex's cars, etc. when going through a break-up, more of a just sit in the shower and cry kind of guy - LOL). Still, for whatever reason, listening to this album reminded me of her, so I didn't play it as often as it probably deserved.

8. Sea Wolf - Song Spells No. 1 Cedarsmoke

I doubt these guys will ever top their debut album in my mind, but everything they've put out has been solid. I convinced a few friends to go with me to see them on their last tour. None of them had heard of the band, but trusted my taste. We stood out in 12 degree weather for over an hour (some stupid thing with the venue), but they killed it, and gained five new fans in the people who went with me. I wish I lived somewhere that got shows like that now. Instead I have to drive to Minneapolis or Chicago. The local Ryan Adams show was an anomaly.

7. TV On The Radio - Seeds

I didn't realize these guys had a new album out until I saw 'Happy Idiot' on Spotify's list of top 100 indie tracks. It's a catchy tune. Give it a shot. I think I was more into this album the first few times I listened than I am now, so it may not stand the test of time, but it's pretty good for now. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'll still like it in five years. I hope so. I'll at least like the single, so I suppose it's worth it.

6. Kishi Bashi - Lighght

This album released on the day I crossed the border to go do field work in Mexico for two months. It was touch and go as to whether my download would finish before we got to the border gate, after which my data plan would stop working, but it finished. Thankfully. As much as I love Baja, it's a little weird to just be pulled out of your life for two months. There's not enough time to stay on top of music and movies and such. I can't complain. Beaches. Fish tacos. Gorgeous scenery. If you don't follow my instagram account, go take a look:

5. Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

The band's first album since they broke up back in the late 2000s. I was so excited to hear they'd gotten back together. Even more excited when I heard the song 'Trainwreck 1979.' It's basically my life story. "I was born, on a highway, in a train wreck" and later "there's nobody I can blame, the story's still the same. I'm never satisfied, it's a problem with my brain." I really do want it all. Too bad money and time always seem to get in the way with that. I can't complain. I've had thousands of miles of road trips this year. Literally.

4. The Black Keys - Turn Blue

For some reason, my girlfriend wasn't as thrilled as I was when I called her in and said, "You've got to listen to this song, it's so good!" then played 'Gotta Get Away.' Weird. I kept waiting for the band to release this whole album on Spotify, but they only released two songs, so eventually I just bought it. Their strategy payed off and they're like $10.99 richer (minus their cut to iTunes). Savvy business move The Black Keys.

3. Delta Spirit - Into the Wide

To be honest, I'm not sure if this ranking will stand. I knew about this album early in the year, but somehow forgot to pick it up when it released. I think I was in Baja. Tough life, I know. I've had it on repeat for the past two days though, and I love it. It could probably switch places with The Black Keys and the world will still keep spinning. That's not a risk I'm willing to take just yet though. Humanity can thank be by sending $100 bills.

2. Spoon - They Want My Soul

This was my favorite album cover of the year, and this is their best album in several years. I have some friends who just moved to Albuquerque who invited me to come out and go to a show with them, but again, that stupid time and money thing. It's a long way to go for a show, but I did once go from SLC to Long Beach to see Great Big Sea, so it's not unprecedented. There's that time and money thing. My girlfriend and I keep buying lottery tickets, but never winning. One night I stood in the front door looking at a lightning storm and she yelled at me saying I'd get struck if I didn't come in. I told her if I did to run out and buy more lottery tickets, then come back and tend to my charred corpse.

1. Kasabian - 48:13

Kasabian is one of my favorite bands of recent years. Every album is amazing. So when I saw that this one was coming out I got super excited, only to be disappointed as they kept pushing the U.S. release date back. Still, I saw they were playing a show in Chicago in October and bought tickets before I even talked to my girlfriend about whether she'd want to go. (I knew I could find someone else if she didn't.) We went. Midweek. Even though both of us missed classes we were supposed to attend. Worth it. They started the show off kind of off, probably because the lead singer was high as hell, but they finished strong (after he walked off stage, presumably for another bump of coke or something). Best show I saw since Empire of the Sun in 2013. My girlfriend and I both danced until we were sore, then remembered that we're old and probably shouldn't get that carried away. Whatever. I'm gonna be the old guy with a walker and an oxygen tank at concerts. 

So there you go, if you happen to have someone you still need to buy Christmas presents for this year. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and that 2015 treats you well.