Music Favorites from 2014


Twenty-fourteen is nearly in the books, so you know what that means. A pile of music that you probably won’t get around to listening to. Anyway, the goods are up and ready to be shared. Hit the magic HYPERLINK and a few minutes later you’ll have nineteen songs collected for you listening enjoyment.

I didn’t manage to pull together any liner notes this year. I’ll leave it to you to speculate why any particular song made the cut. Usually, the answer is no more complicated than I liked it. My sense is that there is a little something in here for everybody, but no doubt my sad-bastard tendencies shine through.


Let me know if you have come across any music that you really enjoyed from 2014.


2013 Mixtape


Lots has changed for us in twenty-thirteen, but one thing hasn’t… the end o’ year mixtape. I’m going to go ahead and fess up. This hasn’t been my best effort, and for that I can only offer my sincerest apologies. Searching out the very best in music didn’t rise to the top of the priority list. Somehow, writing a thesis, applying to doctoral programs, having a job, raising a family, spending time with friends, moving across an ocean, commencing studies, and generally getting acclimated to everything new, didn’t leave much time for culling the “best of the best.”

But never fear. As an obscure little band from my new country of residence once sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” You’ll find an original contribution or two on here, but mainly these are all songs/bands that came recommended by someone else. In a year in which I’ve been dependent on the generosity of others in an unprecedented way, it only seems fitting that my mixtape reflects a similar dependency.

This LINK gets you the goods.

Before you treat yourself to aural delight, the usual disclaimers apply. These are songs that are more or less new to me in 2013; not necessarily new in 2013. This playlist is right at 80 minutes and should in theory fit on a standard length CD. The time parameters meant that a whole host of songs were left on the cutting floor. Some honorable mentions go out to… Polica, MIA, Sleeping at Last, Avetts, The Head and the Heart, Canopy Climbers, Two Door Cinema Club, Andrew Bird, Glen Hansard, Iron and Wine, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Rector, and so on. Enough with the introductions, let’s get on with it…

  1. Dustin O’Halloran – An Ending, A Beginning // This has all the elements of a proper lead off song. A title that alludes to what has transpired in the past year. Properly down-tempo, which sets the tone for the entire mix. Instrumental. Like I said, just right. This song apparently comes off a Bonobo project of some kind. I think it was @taylorhall who first showed me the goodness of Bonobo.
  2. Loch Lomond – Wax and Wire // So there is a guy who I like watching on youtube who does tricks and stuff on bikes. His name is Danny MacAskill and he’s amazing. One of the pastors at our church in Aberdeen suggested that I check out his “Way Back Home” video. In addition to being blown away by his cycling prowess, the music was fantastic. By the way, Danny is Scottish and so is Loch Lomond. Good stuff.
  3. The Jezabels – A Little Piece // This is the other song on the bike video. Not Scottish though. Aussies.
  4. Lurgan – Wake Me Up (in Gaeilge) // I don’t think I’ve got the names right, but I’m not sure. So someone named Avicii sang a song that went crazy. Alison went to Ireland for a blog thing and got to see the song covered by a young Irish band that covered it singing in their ancestral language.
  5. One Direction – Right Now // I’m sure you are wondering what alternate Chino-verse you are living in when 1D bumps the Avett Brothers, but the “struggle” is very real for the father of a fourteen year old girl. There is no denying that after seeing “This Is Us” early this fall, I’m officially a Directioner.
  6. Alt-J () – Tessellate // I believe this was a 2012 release, but I was introduced to it early this year by @KandaceCity. This album was on heavy repeat throughout the year and may very well go down as my favorite.
  7. Bastille – Pompeii // This one came recommended by my good friend, Ben Land. This song also begins a string of songs that all have mild (or not so mild) imperialistic allusions.
  8. Lorde – Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears Cover) // As the family and I were getting used to driving around Aberdeen, which was no small feat considering that the steering wheel and the side of the road on which one drives is “wrong,” we listened to Lorde’s “Royals” on the radio exactly 1009 times. I can not hear it one more time, but I’m liking this one from the Catching Fire soundtrack. So true… everybody does want to rule the world.
  9. Lissie – Mountaintop Removal // Lissie is a favorite of MP’s and mine. I’m not entirely sure, but I think this is a critique of materialistic impulses that are true in many places but especially true in ‘merica.
  10. Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill // This one comes to us via my friend and office mate, @KevinHargaden. He has brought many very good things into my life, but this “song” possibly tops the list. “Thou shalt not judge Lethal Weapon by Danny Glover.” I think you need to see the video to truly appreciate it.
  11. The National – Graceless // I’m a devotee of The National. They make music. I listen to it. I like it. It’s that simple. This wasn’t always the case, but my good friend Bobby Harrison encouraged me to stick with them, and now they have stuck with me.
  12. Volcano Choir – Alaskans // Another good friend (@jacobslaton) sent me the latest Volcano Choir album as a gift. What a fine gift it is. Jacob, pour one out for me around the firepit.
  13. Andrew Belle – Dark Matter // A few years ago, Bobby and I would listen to Andrew Belle in the office. A year or so later, Alison and I saw a show of his. His new album is a not quite as “sad bastard” as the last one, but I still like it.
  14. Royal Teeth – Wild // This is another Bobby recommendation. It is nice when a friend knows just the sort of music you’ll like and sends those recommendations your way. Keep em coming.
  15. Ed Sheeran – I See Fire // So I think this is the first song I’ve ever heard by Ed Sheeran, and it will probably be the last. However it was this song’s destiny to be on my 2013 best of’s. From the moment the first words were sung at the closing credits of the second Hobbit film, I was hooked.
  16. José González – Stay Alive // This is the third song on the playlist form a soundtrack. I’ve been looking forward to seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I’m looking forward to it all the more knowing that Mr González is lending his talent to the film.
  17. Greg Laswell – Comes And Goes In Waves (2013 Remake) // This one is sort of cheating. It is a song from a few years back, but when I found out that he reworked one of my favorite songs of his, I couldn’t resist including it.
  18. Denison Witmer – Right Behind You // @bob_davidson introduced me to Witmer’s song-crafting several years ago. He rounds out pretty well a quartet of ultra sleepy man tunes.
  19. Gungor – Finally // Needs no comment.

Man CD (2012)


It is that time of year again. Man CD time. Most of you here already know what this is all about. For those of you who don’t, the concept is simple enough. A group of men turn in a song that they enjoyed (the most?) over the past year. The songs are then compiled and arranged, then lo and behold – Man CD.

Ok, that’s about it. HERE is the link to the goods. HERE is a link to a pdf that just has the track listing and who submitted them.

I feel the need to explain my submission. I don’t believe it was anything close to my favorite song, but I did feel that it was an appropriate lead off song for the group of men who put Man CD together. Honestly, the VIDEO is better than the song… sort of.

Four for Friday

I’m not sure what you have done over the past few months without “Four for Friday” to scratch that music itch. I’m trying out Soundcloud. If you hate the Soundcloud format, let me know and I might change it.


Four (quick picks) for Friday

No uninspiring graphic.

No banal commentary.

Just music.

Delta Spirit – California

Carolina Chocolate Drops – Country Girl[audio:]

Shearwater – You As You Were [audio:]

Gungor – This Is Not The End [audio:]


Four (from around the web) for Friday

Today’s edition of Four for Friday is a little gathering up of some stuff from around the intranets…

1) In about a week, I’ll be heading west with eighty friends for a little organized madness in God’s country. This video is inspiring me to keep my skis on the snow as much as possible.

2) Jonas David – Let Me Live // Time to get my mellow on.

3) As you are listening to the above song, take a moment to read some thoughts on a “sanctified imagination” by Kevin Vanhoozer.

My concern is that many Evangelicals are suffering from malnourished imaginations.

Reading is a kind of strength-training that flexes the muscles of our imagination.

I need a sanctified imagination as I seek each day to improvise my life to the glory of God.

Of course, the whole piece is worth reading.

4) You probably remember the magazine National Geographic. I used to love flipping through the pages and looking at all of the stunning photographs.

As all of life has been shifting toward digital, there is a chance that this venerable publication has become something of yesteryear. I don’t know how the magazine is fairing (I haven’t seen one in years), but they seem to have found their niche online. They are still doing what they have always done well… putting incredible photographs out there for the world. My favorite feature they have is their “Photo of the Day.”


For those of you who came looking for tunes, I feel a little bad about short-changing you. Here’s a little extra something.

Tim Fite – Joyriding

Four (feat.) for Friday

I’m sort of a sucker for the “feat.” in a song title that means one musical artist has agreed to work with another. Here are a few that I’ve come across recently. I realize that for some the definition of “artist” is being stretched beyond credibility here. So be it.

Greg Laswell – Come Back Down (feat. Sara Bareilles) // Nice collaboration here.

Skrillex – Summit (feat. Ellie Goulding) // It is what it is.

The Beatards – Get Lite (feat. CSWS) // I’m sort of slow, but is there a chance that these young men are talking about using mood enhancing substances?

Ane Brun – Worship (feat. Jose Gonzalez) // I enjoy most all of the music that Mr. Gonzalez makes. This song is no exception. Video is sort of interesting.

Four for (a Youthful) Friday

We live in a culture obsessed with youthfulness. This is neither a novel idea nor is it really open for discussion. It is a fact.

I don’t want to get all philosophical and morbid about it, but I’m pretty sure that all our attempts to hold on to youth stem from our fear of dying. It is amazing how much money we spend on postponing death or erasing the signs that indicate we are aging (i.e. getting closer to dying), as if somehow it could be avoided.

With that cheerful thought, I bring you four songs that underscore the point I’ve just made. They are all “young” songs, and I don’t mean Neil.

fun. – We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae) // Currently, numero uno on iTunes singles chart. Maybe you’ve heard it.

Punch Brothers – Who’s Feeling Young Now? // Sound sort of familiar? Punch Brothers’ frontman, Chris Thile, used to be with Nickel Creek.

Death Cab for Cutie – Stay Young, Go Dancing // Strange juxtaposition of “death” and “young.”

The Band Perry – If I Die Young // I think you know how much it kills me to put a pop “country” group on here, but the “death” and “young” thing again was too much to resist.

Join me next week when I’ll encourage all of us to reflect on the decimation of the ozone layer.

Four for Friday

Sorry, missed a week or two of Four for Friday. I know you’re life has been empty and hollow as a result. If you need to blame someone, blame Suzanne Collins. You’ve probably never heard of her, but she has written a relatively obscure trilogy that you might find interesting.

Ok, on to the music….

Lana Del Rey – National Anthem // I’m not familiar enough with Ms. Del Rey to know if this is meant to genuinely reflect her own beliefs or if it is a cultural critique. Surely it is the latter.

The Lumineers – Ho Hey (Fuel Session) // Hard not to like this song. Looking forward to their album release sometime in March.

Buxton – Boy of Nine // This is like lots of music I listen to (The Head and The Heart, Seryn, Typhoon) which is why I like it.

White Denim – Street Joy // From their wiki page… White Denim is a four-piece rock band from Austin, Texas. Their music draws influence from dub, psychedelic rock, blues, punk rock, progressive rock, soul, jazz, experimental rock with home-based recording, jamming approach, intense looping work and unusual song structures. Not sure what any of that means.