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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Off Topic: My Favorite Music of 2021

 My Favorite Albums of 2021


1. Devin the Dude - “Soulful Distance” - this was my first time hearing Devin the Dude’s music and this album is incredible! I can’t believe more people haven’t been talking about it! Laid back, super soulful, Houston hip-hop stoner masterpiece!

2. Various - “Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America: A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute” - this was my intro to Allen Ginsberg. Really blew me away and has sent me down the path to read his books. The album features poetry readings by Ginsberg with experimental musical backing from some true greats in the art, indie rock, jazz, electronic, and experimental spectrum - members of Sonic Youth, Mickey Hart, Andrew Bird, Devendra Banhart, Bill Frissell, Yo La Tengo and many other artists that were very new to me.

3. Amyl and the Sniffers - “Comfort to Me” - 70s inspired punk rock from Australia driven by slightly more metal riffs than on the first album plus more self-assured, and take-no-shit from anyone powerful vocals of Amy Turner.

4. Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson Paak) - “An Evening with Silk Sonic” - killer 70s soul/funk throwback from 2 of the best, most energetic frontmen in music today. I don't know how anyone could not like this album. It's fun, dancey, groovin’, and just sexy as fuck plus you’ve got Bootsy Collins as the narrator between songs - how can you go wrong?

5. Cassandra Jenkins - "An Overview in Phenomenal Nature" - a dreamy ethereal cosmic kinda-folky record that you can get lost in for days. Meditative, blissful, and beautiful...

6. Ryan Adams - "Big Colors" - I really enjoyed this album but not nearly as much as Wednesdays. Production-wise - it was easily one of his best, with a fuller palette of sounds. His voice has never sounded better either. The songs are great too but not quite on the same level as his best albums, ranks somewhere between the middle for me in comparison to all the others in his catalog. But like many of his albums, they do tend to grow on me over the years (ex: Love is Hell, 29, Cardinology)

7. Brandi Carlile - “In These Silent Days” - I became a big fan after the last album and this one continues the hot streak for me. Features some really moving and beautiful tunes that pull on the heartstrings. Along with Ryan, Jason Isbell, and a few others, I'm forgetting, she’s one of the best songwriters of this generation (imo).

8. James McMurtry - “The Horse and the Hounds” - probably the best twangy alt-country songwriter in Austin, JM is a true songwriter’s songwriter who cuts through all the bullshit and tackles the tough topics. This might be my favorite album he’s released and he’s put out a lot of albums!

9. Natalie Bergman - “Mercy” - hallelujah I’ve been saved, possibly the first “christian rock’ album I’ve ever liked, not really rock though, kinda soulful with elements of dub reggae and indie pop.

10. Jesse Malin - “Sad and Beautiful World” - amazing pandemic record, double-album - half are rockers and half are more on twangy folky pop-rock side but with his New York vibes, his best songs since the early 2000s. Jesse’s always great but this one’s really special!

11. Viagra Boys - “Welfare Jazz” - Arty punk music from Sweden with skronky sax solos, hypnotic synthy basslines/drum machines, a singer that sounds like Iggy Pop. Didn’t like this as much as their first album but I definitely applaud the effort, still one of my faves of the year.

12. Daniel Lanois - “Heavy Sun” - this is one dude I’d love to hang out with for a day, a genius producer who is clearly in his element on this album, gospel-tinged organ-driven soul with a whiff of subtle new orleans funk thrown in. Sorta cinematic Sunday morning vibes..

13. Jeff Rosenstock - “Ska Dream” - a re-recording of Jeff’s 2020 album - “No Dream”, a total throwback for me and maybe the only ska album I’ve really liked since the 90s. I even prefer it to his last one. Just plain fun! Funny lyrics! Dancy punk grooves! Jeff’s got a great voice too!

14. Dave Harrington, Chris Forsyth, and Spencer Zahn - "First Flight Redux” - An album that’s sorta outside the norm of what I usually listen to but basically these guys made a jazz record in 2020 that was made up of 2 very long tracks. Then this year, Dave Harrington recut, resequenced, remixed and redubbed the songs. I prefer this new version much more. It's almost a completely different album! It's jazzy but there are elements of sonic youth guitar sounds, reggae, funk, and more.

15. The War on Drugs - “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” - this one’s still new and growing on me but I’ve listened enough to know I love it. The group’s major-label debut - things are a little more clear and clean production-wise but not so much that it changes their vibe as a band. Not a weak song on the record.

16. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - “Raise the Roof” - this was a case of having super high expectations in my head but no matter what was released - they probably couldn’t ever be met. I loved this pair's first album so much! This new one is very very similar featuring some nice deep-cut cover songs, that same desert smoky twang vibe. Everything is still there that was on the first album, but it's not as fresh sounding to me. Sounds like they just made a really great album of leftovers from those sessions. Still really good though.


Honorable Mentions

Guided by Voices - “Earth Man Blues”

Aaron Lee Tasjan - "Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan"

Django Django - "Glowing in the Dark"

Jon Hopkins - Music for Psychedelic Therapy

John Hiatt with the Jerry Douglas Band - “Lefrtover Feelings

The Flatlanders - “Treasure of Love”


My Favorite Songs of 2021


My Favorite Reissues/Archival Releases of 2021

The Black Crowes - "Shake Your Money Maker 30th Anniversary Edition"

George Harrison - "All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition"

R.E.M. - New Adventures in Hi-Fi 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

John Coltrane - “A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle”

The Grateful Dead - “Listen to the River: St Louis ’71 ’72 73’”

The Replacements - “Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash” Deluxe Edition

The Rolling Stones - “Tattoo You” 40th Anniversary Edition


My Favorite Concerts I Saw in 2021

1. ACL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Concert @ ACL Moody Theater w/ Wilco, Alejandro Escovedo, Lucinda Williams

2. The Heartless Bastards/The Tender Things @ The Mohawk, Austin, TX 5/27

3. Toad the Wet Sprocket @ Paramount Theater, Austin, TX 10/20


Favorite New Discoveries (Pre-2021)

Neil Young - "Archives Volume 2" (2020)

Various - "Studio One DJ Party" (2019/Soul Jazz Records)

Chris Crofton - "Hello It's Me" (2018)

Dan Wilson - "Recovered" (2017)

Staple Singers - "Faith and Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976" (2015)

Various - "Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton: This is Stones Throw Records" (2014)

Todd Snider - "Time as We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker" (2012)

Giant Sand - "Provisions" (2008)

Madonna - "Celebration" (2008)

Pernice Brothers - "Live a Little" (2006)

Various - "Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album" (2005)

Mariah Carey - "Greatest Hits" (2001)

Minutemen - "Introducing the Minutemen" (1998)

The Delfonics - "La La Means I Love You: The Definitive Collection" (1997)

Bill Fox - "Shelter from the Smoke" (1997)

The Roots - "Illadelph Halflife" (1996)

Various - "Appalachian Stomp: Bluegrass Classics" (1995)

The Bottle Rockets - "The Brooklyn Side" (1994)

Nick Lowe - "The Impossible Bird" (1994)

Various - "Beat the Retreat: Songs by Richard Thompson" (1994)

The Bottle Rockets (1993)

A Tribe Called Quest - "The Low End Theory" (1991)

James Brown - "Star Time" (1991)

Billy Ocean - "Greatest Hits" (1989)

Prince - "Lovesexy" (1988)

Nic Jones - "Penguin Eggs" (1980)

Warren Zevon - “Stand in the Fire” (1980)

The Damned - “Machine Gun Etiquette” (1979)

Kiss - "Dynasty" (1979)

The Raincoats (1979)

John Prine - "Bruised Orange" (1978)

Kate Bush - "The Kick Inside" (1978)

John Prine - "Common Sense" (1975)

Willie Nelson - "Shotgun Willie" (1973)

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" (1972)

Miles Davis - "Tribute to Jack Johnson" (1971)

Muddy Waters - "Folk Singer" (1964)

Duke Ellington, Charlie Mingus, and Max Roach - "Money Jungle" (1963)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Off Topic: My Favorite Music of 2020

My Favorite Albums of 2020


1. Ryan Adams - Wednesdays
- I knew Ryan would come back and release more music someday but I had no idea it would be this soon or this amazing! I'm still digging into this record but so far, I think it might be my favorite album yet (which is saying a lot)! There's a heavy classic 70's singer-songwriter vibe I get from this album - early Neil Young, Paul Simon, Bert Jansch - they all seem to be in here! "Walk in the Dark" has also made me cry buckets of tears more than any other song I've ever heard. "Wednesdays" won't get many positive reviews and coverage in the press based on his past actions, but it's too good of an album to ignore! Key Track: "Walk in the Dark"

2. Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher - A very close 2nd on my list, this is another amazing album that I highly recommend listening to on headphones. Not only are the songs top notch but the production really shines - bringing out the beauty of the songs without interfering and overdoing it. It's quiet and somber Elliott Smith-style tunes. Key Tracks: "Graceland Too"

3. Run the Jewels - RTJ4 - When I heard they were working with Rick Rubin - I was so stoked for this! And it does not disappoint! Far and away my favorite hip hop album of the year! Key Track: "Out of Sight"

4. Bonny Light Horseman - debut album from new group featuring Tony-Award winning songwriter Anais Mitchell, Eric Mitchell (of the Fruit Bats), and Josh Kaufman (Muzz, Josh Ritter, Bob Weir). This one has a kind of early 70s English folk rock/Fairport Convention vibe. Key Track: "Bonny Light Horseman"

5. Chuck Prophet - The Land that Time Forgot - Over the last 10 years, Chuck has quietly crept into my list of all-time favorite songwriters. He's just soooo consistently good and this record is no exception! He's an old-school songwriter with a Tom Petty-like vocal and plays a bubbling stew of classic blues, country, folk, and rock n roll. Definitely check this out and go see him live! You won't be disappointed! Key Track: "High as Johnny Thunders"


6. Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways - One of Dylan's best albums of the last 2 decades. This is a full sounding record with Bob singing in his usual crooner style and backed by an ace band that bring out the essence of these songs. An important record that reveals itself slowly over time. Favorite Track: "I Contain Multitudes"

7. Haim - Women in Music Part 3 - Another cool and breezy, eclectic, indie/pop/rock/reggae/folk record from this California sister trio. Key Track: "Another Try"and "Summer Girl"

8. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Reunions - This one has slowly grown on me although I prefer his last 3 albums over this. Key Track: "Running with Our Eyes Closed"

9. Sturgill Simpson - Cuttin' Grass Volume 1 - This is one of the funnest albums of the year. Sturgill re-recorded a ton of his old songs with an ace bluegrass band. Some of the new versions are even better than the originals. Key Track: "Living the Dream"

10. The Third Mind - Somewhat of a super group that includes Americana songwriter/ex-guitarist for the Blasters/X - Dave Alvin, and three guys from the Counting Crows/Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven camps. This is an excellent covers record drenched in late 60's psychedelia and extended early rock jamming. I became a Deadhead this year and this album definitely hit the spot for me! Includes great renditions of songs by Alice Coltrane, 13th Floor Elevators, Tim Buckley, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and more.. Key Track: "Morning Dew"

11. The Chats - High Risk Behaviour - Great young funny, snotty punk from Australia! Key Track: "Pub Feed"

12. Bruce Springsteen - A Letter to You - Bruce revisited some of his leftover lyrics from the mid-70s for this inspired collection. No big surprises, just a solid set of songs given the E Street Band shimmer. Key Track: "If I Was the Priest"  


13. AC/DC - Power Up - 2020 was full of wonderful sad music, political songs, and complex angsty rock. But sometimes, you just want to hear something tried and true - no-frills rock music. AC/DC are the peanut butter of rock - there are no surprises and you know what you're going to get every time they release a new album. But unlike many bands that repeat their formula, AC/DC never gets stale. This is a welcome comeback and a rare album I NEEDED to hear this year! Favorite Track: "Shot in the Dark"

14. Pearl Jam - Gigaton - When I first heard the single "Dance of the Clairvoyants", I totally flipped out! It was an exciting change of direction for the band with Eddie Vedder breaking into David Byrne-inspired vocal theatrics. Unfortunately the rest of the album didn't match this change for me but there's still plenty to love on it. My favorite PJ record since their self titled album from 2006! Key Track: "Dance of the Clairvoyants"

15. Bob Mould - Blue Hearts - Even at the age of 60, Bob continues to rock harder than most punk rockers 1/3rd his age. A very angry, very now record! "American Crisis"

16. Guided by Voices - Mirrored Aztec - The new GBV lineup continues to put out great albums (this year they released 3 of them!). This one was a bit more eclectic and had my favorite album cover as well. Favorite Track:"Bunco Men" and "Math Rock"

17. Idles - Ultra Mono - a pummeling aggressive post-punk record from one of the best live acts on the planet! Key Track: "Mr. Motivator" 

18. Drive-By Truckers - The Unraveling - A companion to their excellent 2016 album - 'American Band' and their first of 2 new albums released this year. Understandably this one goes even deeper into politics and racial divisions. Luckily the songs are also great. Favorite Track: "Thoughts and Prayers"

19. Mike Viola - Godmuffin - Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer and Ryan's old bandmate from the Shining has released a ton of great solo music over the years. This is a quirky album recorded at his home and another highlight. Favorite Track: "All You Can Eat"

Honorable Mentions
Calexico - Seasonal Shift
Tyler Childers - Long Violent History
Destroyer - Have We Met
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
Eels - Earth to Dora
Guided by Voices - Surrender Your Poppyfield and Styles We Paid For
Kacy and Clayton with Marlon Williams - Plastic Bouquet
Khruangbin - Mordechai
Laraaji - Sun Piano
Theophilus London - Bebey
Joel Plaskett - 44
Protomartyr - Ultimate Success Today
Kenny Roby - The Reservoir
Tobin Sprout - Empty Horses
Chris Trapper - Cold Water Waltz
Jeff Tweedy - Love is the King
X - Alphabetland

Albums that could have made my best of list but I need to listen to them more:
Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Drive-by Truckers - The New OK
Fontaines D.C. - A Hero's Death
Future Islands - As Long as You Are
Gorillaz - Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez
Megan Thee Stallion - Good News
Thurston Moore - Hashish
Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension
Taylor Swift - evermore and folklore

My Favorite EPs of 2020
1. Semisonic - You're Not Alone
2. Khruangbin and Leon Bridges - Texas Sun
3. Channel Tres - I Can't Go Outside
4. Viagra Boys - Common Sense

My Favorite Songs of 2020


My Favorite Reissues/Archival Releases of 2020
Slim Dunlap Band - Thank You Dancers: Live at the Turf Club 4/27/02
The Grateful Dead - Dave's Picks Volume 33: Dekalb, IL 10/29/77
The Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead 50th Anniversary Reissue
Lou Reed - New York
The Replacements - Pleased to Meet Me Deluxe Reissue
The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup Reissue
Pearl Jam - MTV Unplugged
Tom Petty - Wilflowers and All the Rest
Wilco - Summerteeth Deluxe Reissue
Neil Young - Homegrown

My Favorite Concerts I Saw in 2020
1. Kamasi Washington @ Empire Control Room, Austin, TX 3/8
2. Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express @ Continental Club, Austin, TX 3/13
3. Jomo and the Possum Posse @ The Farout Lounge, Austin, TX 6/6/20


Favorite New Discoveries (Pre-2020)
Yola - Walk Through Fire (2019)
Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go (2019)
Mick Trouble - Here's the Mick Trouble LP (2019)
Richard Dawson - 2020 (2019)
Jeffrey Lewis and the Voltage - Bad Wiring (2019)
Lizzo - Cuz I Love You (2019)
The Rails - Cancel the Sun (2019)
Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising (2019)
The Beatles - The White Album - Deluxe Edition (2018)
Dennis Coffey - One Night at Morey's 1968 (2018)
Various - Confessin' the Blues (2018)
Tom Petty - An American Treasure (2016)
Various - New York Noise: Dance Music from the New York Underground 1977-1982
Various - Dylan, Cash, And The Nashville Cats: A New Music City (2015)
Hard Working Americans (2014)
Tim Maia - Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Time Maia (2012)
Chuck Prophet - Let Freedom Ring (2009)
Tom Petty - The Live Anthology (2007)
Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon - Sixty Six Steps (2005)
Dolly Parton - Ultimate Dolly Parton (2003)
Christopher Cross - The Very Best of (2002)
B.B. King - The Ultimate Collection (2000)
The Glands (2000)
The Black Crowes - By Your Side (1999)
The Chemical Brothers - Surrender (1999)
Willie Nelson - Teatro (1998)
Motley Crue - Greatest Hits (1998)
Terry Allen - "Human Remains" (1996)
Various - The Sun Records Collection (1994)
Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
John Prine - The Missing Years (1991)
Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss (1990)
Ry Cooder - Paris, Texas soundtrack (1985)
UB40 - Labour of Love (1983)
ZZ Top - Eliminator (1983)
Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast (1982)
Linda Ronstadt - Mad Love (1980)
Holger Czukay - Movies (1979)
Kiss - Love Gun (1977)
Joni Mitchell - Hejira (1976)
Richard and Linda Thompson - Pour Down Like a Silver (1975)
Richard and Linda Thompson - Hokey Pokey (1975)
Kiss - Kiss (1974)
Janis Joplin - Greatest Hits (1971)
Crosby, Stills, and Nash (1969)
Roberta Flack - First Take (1969)
Mose Allison - Mose Allison Sings (1963)

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Off Topic: My Favorite Music of 2019




My Favorite Albums of 2019

1. Purple Mountains - Dave Berman's final album before leaving this world. Filled with amazing lyrics. Sad and beautiful! The record he was born to make....
2. The Highwomen - country songwriter super group featuring Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, and Natalie Hembee. Start to finish - every song is just perfect...
3. Amyl and the SniffersYou know exactly what you're getting within the first 2 minutes of the album, An immediate in your face punk album out of Australia led by the the ferocious vocals of Amy Taylor. Doesn't let up for a second. Love it!.....
4. Wilco - Ode to Joy - Took a while to get into, On the surface these songs sound like demos but dig a bit deeper - you realize there's a lot of cool stuff going on here. Quiet and beautiful. "Love is Everywhere" is one of their best songs to date...
5. Richard Dawson - 2020 - a left-field lofi weirdo indie folk album from the UK with some overdriven guitar surprises along the way. Sings about boring everyday life in a very original way... 
6. Jenny Lewis - On the Line - maybe her best album ever (Rilo Kiley included), A sunny California songwriter album...
7. Calexico featuring Iron and Wine - Years to Burn - A welcome return! Really wish they would put new albums out every few years instead of waiting 14, As good as collaborative albums get!
8. Bill Callahan - Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest - This one gets better and better with every listen and I'm still mystified by it. Quiet, and meditative - nothing else quite like it..
9. Jamila Woods - Legacy! Legacy! - A very exciting young experimental indie soul singer, reminds me a lot of Erykah Badu...
10. Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel - Irish punk rockers. Musically it's not overly exciting but their frontman - Grian is a true wordsmith who spits out the lines like a mix of Liam Gallagher and Ian Curtis.
11. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride - had low expectations but was a very pleasant surprise.
12. Maggie Rogers - Heard it in a Past Life - An excellent electro-synthy pop debut record with some awesome production. The sky's the limit for this young talent.. 
13. Anderson .Paak - Ventura - If I'm not mistaken these songs were written during the same sessions as his 2018 album Oxnard. This is the more sexy 70's influenced smooth soul brother of Oxnard. Features some great guest spots from Smokey Robinson, Nate Dogg, Andre 3000, and more
14. Dennis Brennan and the White Owls - Live at Electric Andyland - A mainstay of the Boston blues and roots music scene for years, this is a really great set of raw blues covers (and a few originals) that sound just like the live show. If you liked the last blues covers album by the Rolling Stones, you're gonna love this!
15. Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars - His best album in quite a while, a classic sounding country/folk songwriter album with touches of Spaghetti western soundtracks and soaring strings..
16. Coldplay - Everyday - Also their best album in a long time, A very eclectic double album..
17. Jesse Malin - Sunset Kids - His best since The Heat! Produced by Lucinda Williams..

Honorable Mentions
Beck - Hyperspace
Andrew Bird - My Finest Work Yet
Tyler Childers - Country Squire
Czarface - The Odd Czar Against Us
Guided by Voices - Zeppelin Over China
Guided by Voices - Warp and Woof
Richard Hawley - Further
The Lemonheads - Varshons 2
Ian Noe - Between the Country
Various - Wilcovered (Wilco tribute album included with Uncut Magazine)

My Favorite Songs of 2019


My Favorite Reissues/Archival Releases
Neil Young and the Stray Gators - "Tuscaloosa"
The Replacements - "Dead Man's Pop"

My Favorite Concerts I Saw in 2019
1. Guns n Roses @ ACL Fest, Austin, TX 10/4
2. Amyl and the Sniffers @ The Weather Up, Austin, TX 3/16
3. Iron and Wine and Calexico @ Stubbs BBQ, Austin, TX 9/28
4. Alejandro Escovedo with Don Antonio, James Williamson, Wayne Kramer, Joe Ely, John Moeller, and John Perry @ Paramount Theater, Austin, TX-  1/5
5. Wilco @ ACL Live Moody Theater, Austin, TX 10/27
6. Nick Cave In Conversation @ ACL Live Moody Theater, Austin, TX 10/5
7. The Lemonheads/Tommy Stinson @ Barracuda, Austin, TX 5/31
8. Jeff Tweedy @ Paramount Theater, Austin, TX 3/4
9. Viagra Boys@ The Weather Up, Austin, TX 3/16
10. Roky Erickson @ The Weather Up, Austin, TX 3/16
11. Nicki Bluhm @ Carson Creek Ranch, Austin, TX 11/2
12. Amyl and the Sniffers/ Mujerss Podrides @ Barracuda, Austin, TX 7/13
13. The Raconteurs @ ACL Fest, Austin, TX 10/4
14. Roots of Creation @ Carson Creek Ranch, Austin, TX 11/2
15. James McMurtry @ Continental Club Gallery, Austin, TX 9/17
16. Aaron Lee Tasjan @ Waterloo Records, Austin, TX 10/17
17. Strand of Oaks @ Continental Club Gallery, Austin, TX 10/23
18. Tyler Childers @ ACL Fest, Austin, TX 10/4
19. Asleep at the Wheel @ ACL Fest, Austin, TX 10/4

Favorite New Discoveries (Pre-2019)
Viagra Boys - "Street Worms" (2018)
Channel Tres - "Channel Tres EP" (2018)
Cigarettes After Sex (2017)
Lou Reed and Kris Kristofferson - "In Their Own Words" (2017)
The National - "Sleep Well Beast" (2017)
Various: "To the Outside of Everything: A Story of UK Post Punk 1977-1981" (2017)
Rodney Crowell - "Close Ties" (2017)
Jonny Fritz - "Sweet Creep" (2016)
William Tyler - "Modern Country" (2016)
Jesse Winchester - "A Reasonable Amount of Trouble" (2014)
Various - "Country Funk Volume 2" (2014)
Czarface (2013)
Various - "This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark" (2011)
Janelle Monae - "The ArchAndroid" (2010)
Jesse Winchester - "Love Filling Station" (2009)
Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby (2007)
Beastie Boys - "To the 5 Boroughs" (2004)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - "Nocturama" (2003)
Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, and Guy Clark - "Together at the Bluebird Cafe" (2001)
Loudon Wainwright III - "Last Man on Earth" (2001)
Rodney Crowell - "The Houston Kid" (2001)
Various - "New Orleans Funk: New Orleans: The Original Sound of Funk 1960-1975" (2000)
The MC5 - "The Big Bang: The Best of the MC5" (2000)
Stevie Wonder - "At the Close of a Century" (1999)
Roky Erickson - "All That May Do My Rhyme" (1994)
Beastie Boys - "Ill Communication" (1994)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - "Let Love In" (1994)
Swervedriver - "Mezcal Head" (1993)
Beastie Boys - "Check Your Head" (1992)
Loudon Wainwright III - "History" (1992)
Various - "Deadicated: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead" (1991)
The Blue Nile - "Hats" (1989)
Jesse Winchester - "The Best of Jesse Winchster" (1989)
Beastie Boys - "Paul's Boutique" (1989)
Paul McCartney - "Flowers in the Dirt" (1989)
Bruce Hornsby and the Range - "The Way It Is" (1986)
Various - "Repo Man" soundtrack (1984)
Paul McCartney - "Paul McCartney II" (1980)
Motorhead - "Ace of Spades" (1980)
Circle Jerks - "Group Sex" (1980)
Marianne Faithfull - "Broken English" (1979)
Iggy Pop - "New Values" (1979)
Michael Jackson - "Off the Wall" (1979)
Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers - "L.A.M.F." (1977)
King Crimson - "Larks' Tongue in Aspic" (1973)
Junior Wells' Chicago Blues Band - "Hoodoo Man Blues" (1965)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Off Topic: My Favorite Music of 2018


My Favorite Albums of 2018


1. Brandi Carlile - "By the Way, I Forgive You"
2. Kacey Musgraves - "Golden Hour"
3. Parquet Courts - "Wide Awake!"
4. Viagra Boys - "Street Worms"
5. MGMT - "Little Dark Age"
6. John Prine - "The Tree of Forgiveness"
7. Janelle Monae - "Dirty Computer"
8. Leon Bridges - "Good Thing"
9. Alejandro Escovedo & Don Antonio - "The Crossing"
10. Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore - "Downey to Lubbock"
11. Paul McCartney - "Egypt Station"
12. Jeff Tweedy - "Warm"
13. David Byrne - "American Utopia"
14. Mike Viola - "The American Egypt"

Honorable Mentions
Thee Oh Sees - "Smote Reverser"
Guided by Voices - "Space Gun"
Czarface & MF Doom - "Czarface Meets Metal Face"
Khruangbin - "Con Todo El Mundo"
Delvon Lammar Organ Trio - "Close But No Cigar"
The Wild Pink - "Yolk in the Fur"
Starcrawler
Lera Lynn - "Plays Well With Others"
Superchunk - "What a Time to Be Alive"
Gorillaz - "The Now Now"
Father John Misty - "God's Favorite Customer"

My Favorite EPs of 2018
Avi Jacob - "Surrender"
Underworld and Iggy Pop - "Teatime Dub Encounters"

My Favorite Songs of 2018

My Favorite Reissues/Archival Releases of 2018
Neil Young - "Roxy: Tonight's the Night Live"
The Beatles - "White Album"

My Favorite Concerts of 2018
1. Paul McCartney @ ACL Fest 10/5
2. Robert Plant and the Sensational Shapeshifters/Lucinda Williams@ ACL Live at Moody Theater, Austin, TX 10/1
3. Ryan Adams/Exile on Bourbon Street @ Saenger Theater, New Orleans, LA 5/5
4. Guided by Voices/Park Doing @ Mohawk, Austin, TX 6/20
5. David Byrne @ ACL Fest 10/5
6. Maggie Rogers/Mallrat @ Stubbs, Austin, TX 10/23
7. Thee Oh Sees @ Hotel Vegas, Austin, TX 4/30
8. Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives @ Antone's, Austin, TX 2/16
9. Parquet Courts/Ty Segall/Ron Gallo/A Giant Dog @ Stubbs, Austin, TX 4/26
10. Brandi Carlile@ ACL Fest 10/6
11. The Revolution @ ACL Fest 10/7
12. Metallica @ ACL Fest 10/6
13. John Hiatt and the Goners @ Paramount Theater, Austin, TX 1/20
14. Janelle Monae @ ACL Fest 10/7
15. Alejandro Escovedo @ Continental Club, Austin, TX 6/29
16. Nick Lowe and Lost Straightjackets/Jimmie Vaughan Trio @ Antone's, Austin, TX 9/26
17. Jack White/A Giant Dog @ Austin 360 Amphitheater, Austin, TX 5/2
18. The Texas Gentlemen @ Hula Hut, Austin, TX 3/14
19. St Vincent w/ Tuck and Patti @ ACL Live at Moody Theater, Austin, TX 2/23
20. Bill Callahan at Central Library, Austin, TX 2/9
21. The Relatives @ ACL Fest 10/7
22. The Texas Gentlemen @ ACL Fest 10/7
23. Luna/Flaural @ ACL 310, Austin, TX 4/6
24. Jackie Venson @ ACL Fest 10/6

Favorite New Music Discoveries (Pre-2018)
Various - "To the Outside of Everything: The Story of UK Post-Punk 1977-1981" (2017)
The Texas Gentlemen - "TX Jelly" (2017)
Count Vaseline - "Tales from the Megaplex" (2017)
Sza - "Cntrl" (2017)
Laura Marling - "Semper Femina" (2017)
Oh Sees - "Orc" (2017)
JD McPherson - "Undivided Heart and Soul" (2017)
Lana Del Rey - "Lust for Life" (2017)
Los Straightjackets - "Whats So Funny About Peace, Love, and Los Straightjackets" (2017)
Jason Loewenstein - "Spooky Action" (2017)
Greta Van Fleet - "From the Fires" (2017)
Kamasi Washington - "Harmony of Difference" (2017)
King Krule - "The Ooz" (2017)
Alejandro Escovedo - "Burn Something Beautiful" (2016)
Yorkston/Thorne/Khan - "Everything Sacred" (2016)
Childish Gambino - "Awaken My Love" (2016)
Various - "Punk 45: Les Punks: The French Connection. The First Wave of Punk 1977-1980"
Grimes - "Art Angels" (2015)
Sufjan Stevens - "Carrie and Lowell" (2015)
Prince - "Art of Official Age" (2014)
William Onyeabor - "World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who is William Onyeabor?" (2013)
Calexico - "Spiritoso" (2012)
Solange - "True" EP (2012)
Various - "Eat to the Beat: The Dirtiest of Them Dirty Blues" (2006)
Rodney Crowell - "The Outsider" (2005)
Buddy Miller - "Universal United House of Prayer" (2004)
Rodney Crowell - "Fate's Right Hand" (2003)
Elf Power - "Walking with the Beggar Boys" (2003)
Beastie Boys - "Ill Communication" (1994)
Beastie Boys - "Check Your Head" (1992)
Beastie Boys - "Paul's Boutique" (1989)
Elvis Costello & the Attractions - "Trust" (1981)
Joe Ely - "Honky Tonk Masquerade" (1978)
Suicide - "Suicide" (1977)
John Prine - "Sweet Revenge" (1973)
Bobby Charles (1972)
Willis Alan Ramsey (1972)
Les McCann & Eddie Harris - "The Swiss Movement" (1969)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Off Topic: My Favorite Music of 2017


My Favorite Albums of 2017

1. Ryan Adams - Prisoner
Surprisingly this marks the first time that a Ryan Adams album has made the #1 spot on my annual favorites list since this blog started in 2011! With musical nods to Tom Petty, The Smiths, and mid-80's Bruce Springsteen, Ryan perfected the sound he was going for on his last album - creating more concise, less rough-around-the-edges, deceptively simple tracks that showcase his guitar chops better than ever before. "Prisoner" was the only album from 2017 that I continually kept going back to again and again........ Key Tracks: "Doomsday", "Shiver and Shake", "To Be Without You", "Outbound Train", "We Disappear", "Tightrope".

2. Beck - Colors
I wasn't sure what to make of this album on the first listen as it sounded waaaayyyy too poppy for my taste however "Colors" has continued to get better with each listen. This is futuristic, challenging pop music for party animals. Over 20 years into his career, Beck remains on the cutting edge of modern music........ Key Tracks: "Colors", "Seventh Heaven", "I'm So Free", "Dear Life", "No Distraction", "Wow", "Up All NIght", "Fix Me".

3. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
The Nashville Sound marks the 3rd classic album in a row from alt-country songwriter - Jason Isbell. As much as I love Ryan Adams, no artist's songs hit me in the gut more than Isbell's. Heart-wrenching songs that are perfect for sitting in a dark room by yourself, drinking whiskey, and doing some soul searching........ "Last of My Kind", "Cumberland Gap", "Tupelo", "If We Were Vampires", "Anxiety", "White Man's World", "Molotov", "Hope the High Road".

4. LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
Hypnotic, infectious, and sexy as hell - LCD Soundsystem returned with their first new record in 7 years and it didn't disappoint. This is 80 minutes of driving electronic music to get lost in...... Key Tracks: Other Voices", "I Used to", "Change Yr Mind", "Tonite", "Call the Police", "Emotional Haircut".

5. Guided by Voices - How Do You Spell Heaven
GBV put out 2 really great albums this year but this one gets the nod for me. More concise and less of the lo-fi experimental filler found on August By Cake. This is one of my favorites in their massive catalogue..........Key Tracks: "The Birthday Democrats", "King 007", "Boy W", "Steppenwolf Mauseleum", "Diver Dan", "Pearly Gates Smoke Machine", "Low Flying Perfection", "Paper Cutz", "Nothging Gets You Real"


6. Spoon - Hot Thoughts
Futuristic arty rock, full of cool synth sounds, instrumental segueways, definitely one of my favorite Spoon records...........Key Tracks:  "Hot Thoughts", "Do I Have to Talk You Into It", "Shotgun", "Pink Up".

7. Alex Cameron - Forced Witness
Full of cheesy synths, funny lyrics, electronic drums, sax solos, crooner vocals. This is 80s pop reconfigured with a low budget and a smirk. Features guest spots from Angel Olsen and Brandon Flowers. Really enjoyed this!.......Key Tracks: "Candy May", "Country Figs", "Runnin' Outta Luck", "Stranger's Kiss", "True Lies", "Stufmuffin96", "Politics of Love".


8. St. Vincent - Masseduction
This record came out late in the year so I haven't had as much time to delve into it as others but has definitely grown on me more with each listen. Less guitar heavy than her last one........... "Masseduction", "Los Angeles", "Saviour", "Slow Disco"

9. Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives - Way Out West
This marks the first Marty Stuart album I've heard and was not what I was expecting at all.  Produced by Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), this is a very cinematic album full of cosmic country, surf rock, Tex-mex rock, desert, and drugs. Damn fine Americana!.......... "Lost on the Desert", "Way Out West", "Old Mexico", "Time Dont Wait", "Air Mail Special", "Torpedo", "Whole Lotta Highway"

10. Dan Auerbach - Waiting on a Song
Perhaps the happiest album on my best of 2017 list! Dan Auerbach is backed by an all-star band and delivers plenty of feel-good, sunshiny rock that my 3 year old also happens to enjoy. Moments on the album bring to mind George Harrison and Jack Johnson....... "Waiting on a Song", "Malibu Man", "Shine on Me", "Never In My WIldest Dreams", "Cherry Bomb", "Stand By My Girl"


11. Howe Gelb - Future Standards
I started to listening to a little more jazz music this year focusing on Theolonious Monk, Bill Evans, and a lot of quiet, more stripped down piano jazz. This album was an excellent entry point into the genre! Howe Gelb is best known as the singer in the band Giant Sand. But on Future Standards, he steps away from the guitar and croons his way through some really intimate, late night, new self-penned classics.........."Terribly So", "Irresponsible Lovers", "Ownin' It", "Impossible Thing"

12. Future Islands - The Far Field
Although this record doesn't feature the hits of the last one, overall I would say this is much more consistent. The songs are still full of rhythmic pulsating bass and drums, shimmery synths, and Sam Herring's distinctive Elton John-esque vocals. Also features a guest appearance from Debbie Harry....... "Time on Her Side", "Beauty of the Road", "Through the Roses", "North Star"

13. The Magnetic Fields - 50 Song Memoir
If you're not already a Magnetic Fields fan, this might be a little too much Stephen Merritt to handle. This stunning 5 disc, 50 song set, features 1 song for every year of his life and offers plenty of dry-witted dark humor than fans have come to know and love........ "Wonder Where I'm From", "Come Back as a Cockroach", "No", "How to Play the Synthesizer", "Danceteria", "Ethan Frome", "Weird Diseases", "Have You Seen It in the Snow", "Be True to Your Bar", "Surfin'", "Stupid Tears", "You Can Never Go Back to New York"

14 . John Moreland - Big Bad Luv
Great tear-jerkin country music. Jason Isbell and John Moreland remain 2 very bright lights in country music today. This was the other big tearjerker record for me this year........"Sallisaw Blue", "Old Wounds", "Love is Not an Answer", "Lies I Chose to Believe", "Slow Down Easy", "It Don't Suit Me", "Latchkey Kid"

15. Steve Earle - So You Wanna Be an Outlaw
This is my favorite Steve Earle album in a long time! I've always been a huge fan of his work from the mid 90s-early 2000. This one definitely harkens back to those years. Features Brad Pemberton on drums, and Willie Nelson as a guest singer. He sounds revitalized here!........"So You Wanna Be an Outlaw", "The Firebreak Line", "New from Colorado", "Fixin to Die", "This is How It Ends", "You Broke My Heart"

16. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
This one didn't quite draw me in like To Pimp a Butterfly but is still growing on me. Has a handful of songs I really love.......... "XXX", "Lust", "Humble", "DNA"



Honorable Mentions
The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding (a grower)
Bash and Pop - Anything Could Happen (maybe the next best thing to a new Replacements album)
Son Volt - Notes of Blue (Dark Midwestern Alt-country trip that harkens back to their earliest albums)
Guided by Voices - August by Cake (double album/good fun, sometimes sloppy guitar driven lo-fi indie rock)
John Mayer - The Search for Everything (by far his best album since 2006)
Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger in the Alps (super depressing but a beautiful quiet record)
Low Cut Connie - Dirty Pictures Volume 1 (great boozy bar band rock n roll)
Power Trip - Nightmare Logic (thrash metal)
Matthew Sweet - Tomorrow Forever (If you like power pop, guitars, and soaring harmonies, this album is for you!)
Aimee Mann - Mental Illness ("Goose Snow Cone" does it for me everytime)
Flo Morrissey and Matthew E White - Gentlewoman, Ruby Man (really great covers album with songs totally transformed from their originals - Frank Ocean, Beck, Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen)
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Best Troubadour (Merle Haggard tribute album)
Kacy and Clayton - The Siren's Song (sounds like a classic 60's folk duo)
Luna - A Sentimental Education (another great covers album/Mercury Rev, Dylan, The Stones, Willie Alexander, Bowie, The Cure)
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Flying Microtonal Banana (released 5 studio albums this year! Aussie psychedelic-garage rockers, "Rattlesnake" is my jam)



Favorite EPs of 2017
Middle Kids 
Maggie Rogers - Until the Light is Fading

My Favorite Songs of 2017



Favorite Reissues/Archival Releases from 2017
The Replacements - For Sale:Live at Maxwell's 1986
Neil Young - Hitchhiker 

My Favorite Concerts of 2017
1. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit/Amanda Shires @ ACL Live at Moody Theater, Austin, TX 7/16
2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers/Gary Clark Jr. @ Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX 5/2
3. Television @ Paper Tiger, San Antonio, TX 3/20 
4. Ryan Adams and the Unknown Band/Middle Kids @ Stubbs BBQ, Austin, TX 10/5
5. Low Cut Connie/The Reputations/Jack La Botz @ Barracuda, Austin, TX 11/10
6. Jesse Malin/A. Sinclair @ 3Ten ACL Live 1/28
7. Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express @ The Continental Club, Austin, TX 3/11
8. Guided by Voices @ Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats, Rehobeth Beach, DE 9/8
9. Tobin Sprout and Elf Power @ Barracuda, Austin, TX 8/4
10. Ryan Adams and His Unknown Band @ Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, CO 6/20
11. Alex Cameron/Jack Ladder @ Sidewinder, Austin, TX 9/21
12. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit @Whitewater Amphitheater, New Braunfells, TX 9/22
13. Dan Auerbach @ ACL Live at Moody Theater, Austin, TX 11/27
13. Drive-by Truckers/Hiss Golden Messenger @ Stubbs BBQ, Austin, TX 4/8
14. Mike Watt and The Jom and Terry Show @ Barracuda, Austin, TX 5/26
15. The Lemon Twigs @ Stubbs BBQ, Austin, TX 2/14
16. The Sloths @ Paper Tiger, San Antonio, TX 3/20
17. Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express @ The Continental Club, Austin, TX 3/11

Favorite New Music Discoveries (pre-2017)
The Cactus Blossoms - You're Dreaming (2016)
The Lemon Twigs - Do Hollywood (2016)
William Bell - This is Where I Live (2016)
Leonard Cohen - You Want it Darker (2016)
A Tribe Called Quest - We Got it from Here.... (2016)
Aaron Lee Tasjan - Silver Tears (2016)
Bruno Mars - 24K Magic (2016)
Drive-by Truckers - American Band (2016)
Run the Jewels 3 (2016)
Carly Rae Jepsen - E-MO-TION (2015)
Leon Bridges - Coming Home (2015)
Alex Cameron - Jumping the Shark (2014)
Chuck Prophet - Night Surfer (2014)
Sun Kil Moon - Benji (2014)
Tommy Stinson - Village Gorilla Head (2004)
Sun Kill Moon - Ghosts of the Great Highway (2003)
Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond, 1964-1969 (2001)
Raisins in the Sun (2001)
Richard Buckner - Devotion + Doubt (1997)
Massive Attack - Mezzanine (1996)
The Dave Edmunds Anthology (1990)
Madonna - The Immaculate Collection (1990)
The Flamin' Groovies - Groovies Greatest Grooves (1989)
Bad Brains (1982)
Prince - Controversy (1981)
Prince - Dirty Mind (1980)
Prince (1979)
Prince - For You (1978)
The Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin - The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)
Andy Williams' Greatest Hits (1970)
Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon (1970)
Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman (1970)