Monday Links

On Twitter and Facebook I share links each day to various stuff that I think is great and/or worth people’s time. But not everyone that comes here is on Twitter or Facebook, so I gather up the best of those links each Monday and post them here so everyone can get in on the fun. If you’ve missed any of the past Monday Links (or just want to waste some time), check out the archive here.

It’s about to be all Pinegrove, all the time around here, kids.

Basia Bulat, y’all.

Will continue posting everything from Julien Baker because she deserves your attention.

Very much need Phil Cook and his band to come to town. Very much.

And now, here’s Ryan Adams at Austin City Limits. Goddamn.

How about a new one from Matthew & The Atlas to round things out today? Enjoy.

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catching up

Let’s talk about tunes, guys and gals.

‘Old Friends’- Pinegrove
So, yeah, I wrote yesterday about not really being excited about music and all that last year….and then this track shows up a few days into the new year and holy hell I am all about this. All jangly heart and plainspoken truth, this one has been on repeat for a the better part of a week and is the first song from 2016 that I’ve been compelled to send excitedly to every friend who might enjoy it. Keep an eye on this band (and go grab their back catalog for a $1 on Bandcamp– it’s terrific, too).

‘Summer Salt’- Summer Salt
This sounds like a breezy summer day, which is nice cause it for sure ain’t summer outside here.

‘New Starts In Old Dominion’- Bent Shapes
This one sounds like summer, too, and I love it for that.

‘Fool’- Basia Bulat
Basia Bulat can do no wrong and I’m powerless against that voice and her charm. (I love this, obviously. There’s not much to discuss.)

‘Just Like A Woman’ (Bob Dylan cover)- Jeff Buckley
Hey, you want your heart to hurt a little bit (or a lot)?

‘Meet Me In The City’- Bruce Springsteen
Just a quick reminder that Springsteen used to throw away songs that were better than most bands could ever hope to write. This one needs to be turned up loud and driven fast to.

‘Disintegration Anxiety’- Explosions in the Sky
Ohhhhh shit, guys. Explosions in the Sky is back. They. Are. Back.

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a few honest words

I posted a picture on Twitter and Facebook of something I had written to friends the other day, but I felt like I should post a little something here and flesh out what I was saying a bit more.

Growing up is weird, and time is a funny thing. Yesterday I spent some time looking through the lists of favorite albums since I started this here little blog in 2011 and was struck by just how much the albums from previous years have stuck with me and been consistently important to me since first hearing them. Granted, they were important because they had to be, because I needed those songs and those albums at that time more than even I knew, because those songs played in the foreground and background through the heartbreak and uncertainty and rebuilding and new life, because those songs were my life. The thing about albums like Typhoon’s White Lighter and Night Beds’ Country Sleep and so many of those albums I loved from 2011-2014 is that they sounded important and vital to me from day one because they had to. Where I was in life took those albums from being ‘great’ to being ‘vital,’ and that’s why they still matter and still bring back memories any time something from them comes on.

Conversely, I realized that last year didn’t have really any albums that stuck to me like those previous ones did. I loved some albums released last year, of course, but I didn’t need music in general last year like I have for so much of my adult life. It was a weird realization, especially for someone who always has music on and around. The more I thought about it, though, the more it made sense. My last year hasn’t been filled with the need to escape or the strife or drastic change that had defined so much of my adulthood. I wasn’t living somewhere that my friends weren’t or having my heart smashed or trying to put my life back together or moving away from my family or settling into a new life. I was living a happy life in a happy house with a woman I loved, hosting my family regularly and seeing friends I love regularly and working at a job that wasn’t soulcrushing on a daily basis. Music was around, but I wasn’t searching out new stuff to add to my story or help me understand it better because life was, and remains, good to its core.

Adulthood and happiness is a weird thing, you guys, and it’s not something I’m used to at all, even 10 years out of college. Who knows, maybe this year I find something that absolutely floors me and becomes vital to my life like Muchacho or For Emma, Forever ago did (and I have high hopes that something like that will happen, if only because so many artists I love and believe in and am excited about are scheduled to or rumored to be releasing albums). It didn’t happen last year, and that’s fine. Not every year has to be life-changing with a great soundtrack. Some years can just be comfortable and full of happiness and love and good times with the people you care about most with a soundtrack you already love. Music doesn’t have to be the ONLY thing to make sense in life (or way to make sense of it) for it to be an important thing.

 

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Monday Links

On Twitter and Facebook I share links each day to various stuff that I think is great and/or worth people’s time. But not everyone that comes here is on Twitter or Facebook, so I gather up the best of those links each Monday and post them here so everyone can get in on the fun. If you’ve missed any of the past Monday Links (or just want to waste some time), check out the archive here.

Let’s start this new year of Monday Links with something lovely from Del Water Gap, shall we?

Sure, it’s a new year, but I’m still stuck on that Joan Shelley record.

Really gorgeous session from Bryan John Appleby here, you guys.

Still very much into this The Band cover from Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.

And lastly, how about a couple real tremendous Tiny Desk Concerts? Enjoy.

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catching up

Oh wow. It’s been FOREVER since we did this, hasn’t it? Let’s talk about songs again, you guys.

‘All The Ways’- Wet
I didn’t do one of those ‘ones to watch in 2016’ posts because I honestly don’t know who you should be watching out for….EXCEPT for Wet. You should be watching out for them. They are about to be huge. They are awesome. This song is awesome.

‘The First Time’- Donovan Woods
Probably the album I’m most looking forward to in the first few months of 2016 is the one from Donovan Woods.

‘North & South’- Hey Marseilles
Let’s get good and sad, okay? (Goddamn do I love the sadly sweet songs Matt Bishop writes.)

‘Race Car’- John Heart Jackie
This John Heart Jackie album is shaping up to be one of the most pleasant surprises of early 2016, I think. Make sure it’s on your radar.

‘But Enough of That For Now’- Vandaveer
No matter how much I grow away from the kind of folk music that I loved so much when I started this here blog, there will always be room for the kind of gorgeous harmonies and earworm rhythms found in this here song.

‘Cut The Rope’- Del Water Gap
Horns and an organ and a harmonica? Yes, please.

‘Downtown’- Majical Cloudz
This isn’t new, really, but it’s been on repeat for about the last month. What a perfect, perfect song to find as 2015 closed down.

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my favorite songs of 2015

Alright, you guys. Below are three playlists- the first mostly pop-leaning, the second mainly sad bastard music-leaning and the third everything that didn’t fall into either of those obviously very neat categories- that contain 84 of my favorite songs from 2015. I hope you find something new to love among these tracks that helped soundtrack my year. See you next year. Enjoy!

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Sneaking Up On Solstice – a guest mix from Kayla Dawson

Oh, kids, this is a real good one put together by one of my favorite humans: Kayla Dawson. She’s from the great white north of Canada, takes real pretty pictures and is one of the most interesting and altogether good people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. This mix covers a whole lot of ground, all of it good. Turn up the volume and get lost in it. Enjoy!

I can’t figure out why the 8tracks player won’t embed in the site (I’ve tried it every way and it won’t show), so make sure you click right here and go listen to it on 8tracks proper. It’s so, so good..

What is this joy in listening to a mix for one of the last times before forcing yourself to finalize it? All the way down to the slightly awkward transition between two songs that you convince yourself isn’t that bad because you’re laying in bed after a long travel day and you must sleep. A post-home-for-the-holidays cold is coming on. Must rest. Must sleep. Must stop writing an email to your friend to nerd out about the best way to choose and sequence about 20 songs. Must stop. Don’t wanna. It was a good year, overall. This was 2015…

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