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it’s that time again – my favorite/best(?) albums of 2013

10 Dec

drake_jpg_630x400_q85 Every year I struggle with same question: Are my favorite albums of the year also the best? Well, I decided long ago that the “favorite/best” concept was going to be my organizing principle, not copping to the music critic imperative to list “really cool” records that you listen to once or twice and file away forever. Here ya go. I listened to the Drake album every day since it was released. Some days twice.

1 – Drake, Nothing Was The Same

2 – Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

3 – Courtney Barnett, The Double EP – A Sea of Split Peas

4 – HAIM, Days Are Gone

5 – Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold

6 – Ariana Grande, Yours Truly

7 – Kanye West, Yeezus

8 – David Bowie, The Next Day

9 – Laura Mvula, Sing To The Moon

10 – Jonathan Wilson, Fanfare

11 – Chance The Rapper, Acid Rain


Runners up:
Jagwar Ma – Howlin’
Danny Brown – Old
Disclosure – Settle
Primal Scream – More Light
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God
Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety

In case you’re wondering:
1 – I don’t get Lorde. Sorry.

Some of my favorite songs of the year are on this spotify playlist. Listen below:

some sunday old school jawns (big pun, yo yo, ice cube, new edition)

14 Jul

heard some of these “old school” jams on the radio today in philly. dig in.

Listen: Jagwar Ma

2 Feb

Screen Shot 2013-02-02 at 6.25.34 PM
Australia’s Jagwar Ma have returned with a new single, “The Throw.” The band evoke the trippy-sunshiny musical vibes of Madchester legends Happy Mondays with a Primal Scream cherry on the top, but with tighter, funkier beats. “The Throw” throws down for a little under seven minutes but should have gone 14. Watch the video for it below. Lasting pleasure, indeed.

indiana wants me

31 Jan

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 10.36.03 PM sultry. mesmerizing. intimate. dramatic.
meet indiana

The Return of The Changes

28 Jan

The Chicago indie-pop band The Changes have returned with its first new album since 2005 called American Master, the followup to their debut, Today Is Tonight. Back when the band self-released its debut EP they were blog rock darlings. They had a new-wavey pop sound and a handful of catchy, catchy tunes including “When I Wake,” “Her, You And I,” and “When I Sleep” that were blogged to near death; at the time they were the poster band for the “blog-rock” genre. While Pitchfork was not kind terribly kind to the band when they released their debut full length, The Changes had a groundswell of blog rock energy from the tastemakers. The music blog space doesn’t put a high priority on “artist development” with its “here today, gone tomorrow” mentality, and sadly, The Changes dropped off the minds of it’s growing music blog fan base. Google them now; they’re difficult to find. That said, the band has returned with an album that’s true to their sound. In an e-mail exchange I had with The Changes lead singer Darren Spitzer he humbly reflected on the past; “Putting the entire arc of our journey into perspective, especially with this new release, we’ve accomplished more than I think we expected from the outset.” The band recently started a Facebook page, and their album is available to buy here.

WFIL Boss 30 November 1969

16 Dec


Best/Favorites of 2012

15 Dec


2012 closing thoughts:

  • 2012 was a great year for music. Was it better than 1976 or 1968? Probably not. But damn it was good.
  • There’s a lot of great SONGS these days, but not so many drop-dead-incredible-change-my -life-records. Overall, bands need to make better albums. And they all need to be like four songs or 15 minutes shorter.
  • Bands need to make more EP’s. In the digital age where the market makes the conversation, there’s really no such thing as an album cycle anymore. Even if labels want you to believe that. There’s just a fan cycle. And fans love their bands all the time; not just when new records come out.
  • Music blogs are overrated. Music bloggers, though, are not – especially the ones who are really fans and passionate about the music, rather than pageviews. Find them and follow them and trust them. This is where shit happens.
  • Don’t believe the hype. Because it’s hype that is driving the singles market that –  long term – rarely creates artists that have a long lasting impact on pop culture. We now exist in a (mostly) one hit wonder economy showcased by ephemeral, fleeting moments of  cool jams but no real importance. And it’s brutal. 2012 continued this disturbing trend.
  • 2012: hip-hop was better than rock.
  • 2012: Bruce Springsteen continues to prove it all night.
  • 2012: the most over-hyped overrated album: Fiona. hands down. go ahead. sing me one song from that record.
  • 2012: I’ll give Neil Young a pass on that Americana record cause he redeemed himself with Psychedelic Pill.
  • 2012: comeback of the year: Jimmy Cliff. hands down.
  • 2012: I couldn’t pick just ONE best album. Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean made the best albums. Comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. What they have in common though is this: they are both amazing storytellers and incredible songwriters. These records alone could probably get me through 2013 easy.
  • 2012: below is my list of favorite/best albums and one of those spotify playlists of favorite/best songs.
  • My tips for 2013? Stay in school. Have faith in Fleetwood Mac.
  • Thanks for listening.

Top 12 Albums of 2012

1 – (tie) Good Kid: M.A.A.D City by Kendrick Lamar and Channel Orange by Frank Ocean

2 – Boys and Girls – Alabama Shakes

3 – Home Again – Michael Kiwanuka

4 – Field Report – Field Report

5 – Kill For Love – Chromatics

6 – Revolution – Dr. John

7 – Kaleidoscope Dream – Miguel

8 – Some Nights – fun.

9 – Mala In Cuba – Mala

10 – The Money Store – Death Grips

Best/Favorite Songs of 2012

stream the new album by the white album, conquistador

25 Sep

i fell in love with the indie-folk trio from copenhagen, the white album, the second i put my ears to their first collection of songs last year. the band has returned with another excellent collection of acoustic songs that you can stream below.

i’ve moved….

8 Jun

as you probably have noticed, lots less action going on here because i have officially moved to Some Velvet Blog.2, on tumblr here. please take a moment and check it out, and follow me if you’d like. you can also follow me on twitter @somevelvetblog

Preview the next episode of Shaking Through with Cat Martino featuring Sufjan Stevens and Chris Powell of Man Man

15 Apr

This coming week will see the release of the next episode of Shaking Through, the “birth of a song” online music initiative from Weathervane Music and WXPN. Last month featured Boston’s Faces On Film that was curated by Marissa Nadler. Over two days, Faces On Film recorded “Waiting For GA.” The entire process was recorded and documented here. Next week’s episode featured singer-songwriter Cat Martino. She recorded her song “I Promise” with help from Sufjan Stevens and drummer Chris Powell from Man Man. The session was recorded at Miner Street Recordings on March 17-18th and was produced by Brian McTear. Below, watch a preview of the session.