8. Muse - Drones
As I mentioned above, I'm not sure how much I truly liked this album. I was excited when it released because I've been a fan of the band for a long, long time. This album seemed more heavy handed and political than their others (although those definitely have those same themes). The memory that stands out is when I had my car at the shop and I had to walk to pick it up (I sped through a mud puddle and knocked the exhaust loose, like a cool teen), listening to this album the whole walk. It was hot and humid. The end.
7. Built To Spill - Untethered Moon
I accidentally happened across this album when I was trying to "educate" my girlfriend on all the cool bands she missed out on while she was on her kick of "there's been no good music since the '90s." She was on it when she first met me. I bring it up that from time to time. Ok, I do that pretty much whenever I have free time. I'm sure she never gets sick of it. Ever. (She thinks these guys are whiny, by the way.) Anyway, I didn't even realize Built To Spill had a new release, so I got really happy for about ten minutes.
6. Eagles of Death Metal - Zipper Down
This was another album that I was completely unaware existed until after I read about the terrorist attacks in Paris. This was the band that was playing when they stormed in and shot up the place. Absolutely heartbreaking. In a weird way, I felt as though purchasing this album was an act of standing in solidarity with the citizens of Paris over the next few days. Seriously, fuck anyone who thinks they have the right to take another person's life just because that person happens to have different set of values.
5. Wilco - Star Wars
I've made it very clear over the years that Wilco is probably my favorite band. I feel weird putting this album so low on the list, but I honestly haven't listened to it as much as the others. Still, these guys are awesome. My girlfriend surprised me with tickets to a local music festival where they were headlining. I had to wait a couple months after my birthday to cash in, but it was well worth the wait. I've seen Wilco four times now, and this time I was front row, center stage. Amazing experience. The next day they released this album for free because, according to Jeff Tweedy, "What's more fun than a surprise?" Thank you, Mr. Tweedy!
4. Mumford & Sons - Wilder Mind
A recurring theme this year: I didn't know about this album until I was talking with my friend on the phone and he told me how much his mom loved it. (His mom is super cool, and I may or may not have gotten caught staring at her tits once.) He sent me a copy, and I ended up liking it better than any of their other albums. So, if you've always thought these guys were "just ok" you should give this one a listen. It's really good.
3. Lord Huron - Strange Trails
Lord Huron is probably my girlfriend's favorite out of all the bands I've introduced her to (which is a lot, considering she pretty much only listened to Led Zeppelin up until then [kinda kidding, but just kinda]). Their last album was fantastic, and made many people's "best of" lists in 2012 (I was late to the game or it would've made mine as well). I think this album is even better. I like every song. That's so incredibly rare, but I do. Give it a listen, and while you're at it, listen to their first album. You won't regret it. Promise.
2. Modest Mouse - Strangers To Ourselves
Ok, so THIS album I knew about and anticipated long before its release. I pre-ordered it on iTunes, and got three songs in advance of the official release date. I listened to those three songs on repeat for about an hour and a half on a six hour road trip to Missouri to attend my girlfriend's brother's wedding. She was probably sick of it after the first three listens, but she's a good sport. Don't worry, I only made her listen to the same three songs on repeat for about a half hour on the drive home.
1. Blitzen Trapper - All Across This Land
I first tried to see these guys live in 2012, but didn't pay close attention to the concert date, double booked, and had to give my tickets away. Big mistake. My friend told me it was a top five concert experience for him (despite my insistence that he take the tickets on one condition: I didn't want to see any pictures or hear anything about the show). I saw them open for Wilco, and bought a bright yellow shirt, and saw them again this year in Minneapolis. So. Worth. It. This was another show where we were front and center, and I think I fell in love with Eric Earley when he sang 'Across the River' and I saw his eyes well up with tears. What a beautiful song. It was a terrific show, and they're an all around amazing band. Coincidentally, I'm wearing this concert shirt and listening to that song as I type this.
So there you have it. Until next time. Maybe I'll post more than twice this year. (Or maybe not. Stay tuned to find out.)