Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pre-10am Music

My freshman year of college, I played Imogen Heap's "Hide & Seek" just about every morning. Perhaps that annoyed my roommates to no end even despite their complaints whenever I didn't play the song. Anyhow, that song now reminds me of my early colleges years and mornings (and, let's be honest, The OC).

My sophomore year, Damien Jurado's "And Now That I'm in Your Shadow" played most mornings.

Since then, I've found the value in a number of albums that sound great pre-10am. You know the albums I'm talking about. They're good independent of time of day. But they also capture that gentle rise to full consciousness.

This morning, Iron & Wine's collection of B-sides and rarities, "Around the Well," did the job quite well. More specifically, Beam's cover of "Love Vigilantes."

Any others to add to the list?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Gospel Starts as Silence

Before the Gospel is a word, it is silence. It is the silence of their own lives and of his life. It is life with the sound turned off so that for a moment or two you can experience it not in terms of the words you make it bearable by but for the unutterable mystery that it is. Let him say, 'Be silent and know that I am God, saith the Lord' (Ps. 46.10). Be silent and know that even by my silence and absence I am known. Be silent and listen to the stones cry out.
-Frederick Buechner, "Telling the truth: The Gospel as tragedy, comedy and fairy tale"

The chapter I'm reading from "The Rest of God" also focused on silence and listening. Perhaps I should be learning something here...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Best Tracks of 2011

The following are my fave tracks from 2011. I don't listen to nearly as much music as Dauthan so my list isn't going past 15 tracks but I still think it's a solid group. I like making this list in addition to my fave albums as there are a few tracks that stood out on albums that didn't quite make my albums list. Anyhow, lists, lists, lists.

The playlist can be found on Spotify.

15 | Cults | Abducted
14 | The Head and the Heart | Rivers and Roads
13 | Wye Oak | Holy Holy
12 | Tune-Yards | Bizness
11 | Lykke Li | Rich Kid Blues
10 | Bon Iver | Calgary
09 | Foster the People | Pumped Up Kicks
08 | Florence + the Machine | Shake it Out
07 | James Blake | Limit to Your Love
06 | My Brightest Diamond | Be Brave
05 | Givers | Up Up Up
04 | Youth Lagoon | Posters
03 | M83 | Midnight City
02 | Noah and the Whale | L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
01 | Fleet Foxes | Helplessness Blues

Friday, December 9, 2011

Best albums of 2011

Welp, time for end of the year lists! Here's my fave fifteen albums from the year. As always, I'll probably regret a decision made here within a week but such is life.

About as mainstream indie as you can get (maybe the Juno of the music world) but who can't resist the catchiness of just about every song?

Sweet vocals on top of poppy beats. And who doesn't love a twinge of throw-back thrown in?

Haunting and swirly and beautiful. A little bit of a Beach House vibe?

Perhaps not my favorite overall Noah and the Whale album but with tracks like L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. and Tonight's the Kind of Night, how could this album be left off?

Laid back but catchy at the same time. After looking up the lyrics, a lot of depth too. I wish the vocals were a little more accessible, no?

Sometimes you just need a good all-around band, you know?

These guys just have so much fun and energy. Have you not started singing along?

Man, Beam just keeps pulling out the stops with each release. What's coming next, a techno album, perhaps?

Probably the most listenable Decemberists album which has resulted in probably the most listened to Decemberists album that I own. Not too vanilla for ya, is it?

The whole album kind of makes me feel like I'm shopping in a store where I cannot afford the clothes. Other than that, I love the looping beats. And do they not have one of the most controversial/best album covers?

So much music on the double-album! And so much good music! Who doesn't love some French electro-pop?

This little known band played a fantastic show here at Taylor. Although their EP was originally self-released late in 2010, I'm going to count it as a 2011 release due to their new label re-releasing it this spring. While the beats lean on the silly side, the lyrics don't avoid weight. Have you seen their crrrazy music video?

Mm, mm, mm. I didn't know what to think about the new album. After a couple listens though, I was sold. And really, who wasn't?

That voice. And those beats. How can you argue with that?

Who would've thought they'd come back so strongly?

Who knew!?

Who knew Severus Snape and Hans from Die Hard were the same character? I sure didn't until watching half of Die Hard last night.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Resty Rest

Timely reading: I started reading The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan recently. I’m usually pretty weary of Christian nonfiction (well, most current Christian literature) as it usually simplifies things a little too much. But I’ve been enjoying this one.

The book focuses on the need for Sabbath and rest (as implied by the title). The second chapter then focuses on our thoughts towards rest. While we often relegate our level of rest towards our present circumstances (summer, mid-semester, exam week, etc.), real change starts in the way we consider our time. We’re called to renew our minds (Rom 12:2), not necessarily avoid all responsibility.

This comes at a time when I’m excited to move into an academic break (until February, no less). My first thought is that my circumstances alone will give me rest. But, as I read and think about it, the way I view time are what’s actually going to give me rest. Well, perhaps better said: changing my view of time will allow God to give me rest.

So hey, as you persevere through exams, find times to rest when you can. And looking into break, take the time to actually take a Sabbath.

Rest up.