Wednesday, December 30, 2009


With my "Favorite Album" list, my top 2 albums were probably my 2 favorite albums but beyond that, it was all just a collection of albums that I thoroughly enjoyed and, somewhat randomly, gave a placing. So with my favorite songs (a first for me), I'm just going to post my favorite tracks in a random order. Making lists out of musicians' art seems kind of wrong anyhow...

Animal Collective - My Girls
A perfect song about contentment in a time of recession. Prophetically released before the market "really crashed." I know I just said making lists seems kind of silly but this takes home the trophy for my favorite track of the year.

Matt & Kim - Daylight
A carefree song with perhaps the most infectious beat I've heard all year. This song could not be any funner.

Phoenix - 1901
On an album full of singles, 1901 stood out a little bit more. If you're not listening to this band yet, then shame on you because you are not as happy as you could be.

Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
I couldn't quite get into Grizzly Bear's whole album (acclaimed Veckatimest) but this song is beautiful and lovable on the first listen.

Yo la Tengo - Gentle Hour
Maybe my favorite song on the Dark Was the Night compilation. Beautiful and swirling with lyrics like: It's such a pleasure to touch your skin / To touch your skin / It's such a pleasure to touch your heart / To touch your heart / I can hardly wait.

Neko Case - This Tornado Loves You
Neko has been on my "respected but not really enjoyed" list for a while but her album Middle Cyclone released a few fantastic tracks including this one about a destructive act of nature who can't help but sing about it's love.

Bon Iver - Blood Bank
I love Justin Vernon and his Bon Iver project/band. This song is classic Bon Iver.

Regina Spektor - Laughing With
Regina is great. And I respect it when a non-CCM musician sings about a higher power (a la Kanye's Jesus Walks) with tact and earnest intent.

Wilco - Wilco (the Song)
I think Wilco will be remembered decades from now. This self-referential track moves beyond cheesy and moves straight to awesome.

Andrew Bird - Anoanimal
This song is just so cool. Andrew Bird continues to make creative, unique music that he performs all by himself. And the "coolness" of his solo performance is only "cool" because he actually makes good music.

Vampire Weekend - Horchata
Vampire Weekend is fun. This track points to a sophomore release just as fun as the first.

Discovery - Osaka Loop Line
Gotta love a collaboration between Ra Ra Riot and Vampire weekend members. And I love the crashing distortion.

The Avett Brothers - The Perfect Space
Manchester Orchestra's Where Have You Been might be my favorite song, period. What I love about that song is that is mixes hard and soft moments so well. The Avett Brothers' The Perfect Space does the same on this song with some fabulous lyrics to go along.

Noah and the Whale - Blue Skies
It's hard to take any song from NatW's new album apart from the complete album but this song does a decent job summing up the entire album. Following up a poppy, feel good album, this album, The First Days of Spring, mournfully details the aftermath of a break-up with the hope of spring and blue skies somewhere beneath the outer layer.

Sufjan Stevens - Movement III & IV
I was ready to dislike Sufjan's "soundtrack to a highway" album (an all instrumental album tagging alongside a film about New York's BQE highway system). Somehow, I ended up loving it. Movements III and IV showcase a transition from a happy, looping song straight into a heavy electronic piece that makes me love music.

Dirty Projectors - Stillness is the Move
This song is only making it onto my list thanks to other "year-end" lists (yeah you, Dauthan). Regardless, the guitar riff, the vocals, the pounding beat ..... perfect.

That's it folks. Happy listening. I'm sure I've forgotten a few of my favorites but that's why blogs are great (always edit-able).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 in Music

OK, so the album covers didn't come out like I wanted... the Facebook album has better quality pictures if you are so inclined for better resolution.

I listened to a lot of music this year. Enough to actually make a top 10 list a difficult choice (and putting a lot of good albums on the "honorable mention list"). Anyhow, here are my favorite albums of the year:

Other albums that got a lot of play:
Come, O Spirit! – Bifrost Arts (Various)
Blood Bank – Bon Iver
Daisy – Brand New
LP – Discovery
Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear
Grand – Matt & Kim
Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk
The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale
Manners – Passion Pit
Intuit – Ramona Falls
Far – Regina Spektor
The BQE - Sufjan Stevens
Unmap - Volcano Choir
Wilco (the album) – Wilco

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Worldviews, Literature, Truth

I learned something in college. All truth is God's truth. After hearing this phrase countless times, it stuck. And I think it's true.

It transformed the way I took in pretty much all media. There's a lot of fantastic, weird, beautiful, inspirational, memorable things out there. The process of finding God's truth amidst His creations' creations is one worth going through.

I stopped judging whatever I was taking in based solely on a "morality scale" a while ago. I reasoned it more important to get the whole picture than to simply be offended with specifics.* I'm OK with looking at a rough, dirty wall if I have the chance to catch glimpses of light coming in through the cracks.

So anyways, I read a couple of books this year. I haven't much else to do.

The first is Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. I loved this story. It was forever long. It went super in-depth on a number of characters. She used her characters as archetypes, but the characters evoked empathy. She made architecture seem interesting. Basically, in my opinion, it was a well written story. That's the truth I found in this book. Our God created the whole idea of "stories" and I think her presentation of one was spot on. Unfortunately, I wasn't really down with her general thesis of the greatness of the individual man. Although there are those individuals who occasionally do great things, I think we need each other.

In comes the second book: Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. I've already blogged about this book a little bit but it agrees with The Fountainhead in that humanity has a lot of potential. It differs by proposing that we all need each other. Despite the harm that can come from a lot of human constructs, we are also the answer to much of the harm. And this is where I agree/disagree.

I certainly agree that we, as humans, can do a lot of good for each other. But (here's where I may disagree) at the core of every person, we are in need of a savior. I'm not certain of Steinbeck's exact theology, but his story is chockfull of beautiful examples of a redeemed society that looks out for each other; I'm just not sure where he finds redemption.

Those are my recent truth findings.

*That is, until the issue of pornography comes into play. And, if you were wondering, some examples would be the glorification of violence in movies like 300 or the crude jokes in most Judd Apatow movies.