Greetings and Salutations, friends!!
Happy 2016!! While I had some wonderful times, and met some wonderful people in 2015, I'll admit to being pretty happy to see that year in the rearview. It was a tough one, and I'm glad to be shut of it. But here we are, reborn with a fresh slate! Let's make it a great one together, yeah?
First, to business: I'm already over 15% of the way to my initial fundraising goal to make my first record, and there's time left for those of you who haven't contributed yet! I remind you: $10 or more gets the record weeks before it's released, $20 or more gets a hand-numbered, signed CD copy, and there are plenty of other cool packages too!! The power to make this record is in YOUR HANDS (or, more accurately, your wallet); please pop over and contribute, and tell your friends to do the same!
While it was uphill, I will say I enjoyed a lot of music last year; while I intend to write about most of these in more depth, here's a bunch of records I recommend from 2015, in no particular order:
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly: just genius level work. Capital-I Important AND bangin', which is a tough combination to pull off. This dude has no ceiling.
Drive-By Truckers - It's Great To Be Alive: an exhaustive, energetic live record from one of America's finest rock band/road warriors. 35 songs, 3+ hours, and it didn't even hit a bunch of my favorites from them.
Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material: okay, it's a little candy-coated for my tastes, but this record is a country songwriting masterclass. Just hook after hook piled with lyric on top of lyric. Wonderful.
The Lone Bellow - Then Came The Morning: great songs, great harmonies, great production. Good live band, too. This won't be the last we hear of them...
Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free: it's not Southeastern, but nothing is (also: go get Southeastern if you don't have it). Still a great record from one of the best songwriters walking the earth.
The Figgs - Other Planes of Here: hooky powerpop from America's foremost hooky powerpopsmiths, with a surprisingly psychedelic edge. A striking addition to their already-pretty-great formula.
Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit: best title of the year. Songwriting like nobody else on the planet. Guitar chops and hooks for days. Love it.
Father John Misty - I Love You Honeybear: it's not so much that I LIKE this record, per se... but it's not really like anything else out there. Cringeworthy at the same time as it's hilarious. Got a lot of spins as I attempted to figure it out.
My Morning Jacket - The Waterfall: truth be told, I haven't liked an MMJ record since Z, but this one works pretty well for me.
Ryan Adams - 1989: did Ryan Adams NEED to remake Taylor Swift? No. Did it all work? No, not really. But the parts that do ("Out Of the Woods," "All You Had To Do Was Stay" in particular) are spectacular.
Nathanial Rateliff & the Night Sweats - S/T: a new discovery late in the year. Is it a bearded white dude ripping off old Stax records? Yup. But the songs are pretty great, and Stax released it, so... Yay cultural appropriation, he cheered uneasily?
Brandi Carlile - The Firewatcher's Daughter: just lovely. Rootsy and rockin', this one just feels good.
That's all for now, I suppose... Let me know what you were listening to, and go pledge!!
Hugs and smooches,