Mike’s Top 10 albums of 2018 (imho)

So 2018 was an up and down year musically  but as it happens every year when I look back I realize that an up and down year can produce some great music. My spotify mix (created by some algorithm) seemed to think I was primarily interested in country rock and to some extent , I was, but as you’ll see in this list my favorites, as in most played, are all over the spectrum.

1. Honestly this album could have been written in as #1 the day it was released. Its no secret I’ve become a huge Frank Turner fan. His live shows are amazing and on this record he diversified his style without sacrificing the passion. FT produced a perfect elixir for our tumultuous times with Be More Kind. Here’s an alternate live version of Little Changes

2. I’ve become huge fan of the Wild Feathers over the course of three stellar albums. The crisp harmonies , multiple vocalists and crack musicianship won me over. They are the closest thing I can imagine to a modern version of the Eagles, except from the South. From “Greetings from the Neon Frontier”:

3. i knew one song by Lucero before I saw them open for Frank Turner this year but what I saw prompted me to dig in to their catalogue and now I’m hooked. This band from Tennessee  has been around for years . Their 2018 album “Among the Ghosts” has been in constant rotation for me since its release in August

4.The Record company followed a good first record with a great second album. This songs just blew me away (involuntary dancing alert)

*bonus track cuz its soooooo cool ( a Beastie Boys cover) not on album

5.This seemed to be the year when I “discovered” bands that have been around a while. This album caught my attention literally a couple weeks ago and blew up my top ten list. Rock, pop with some R&B influence for good measure. Cant stop playing this song from from the album “Take Good Care”

*bonus- My 19 year old with her own college radio show loves this song……but I found it first

6. This years top ten is chock full of FTRP (Frank Turner related product) in the sense that I first encountered these bands because they toured with him. Here’s another one. The Arkells are a great band from Canada that reminded me of Fitz and the Tantrums who made this list a few years ago. Great pure pop music

7. Death Cab for Cutie “Thank You for Today” Ive liked a song here and there by this band but I like this album top to bottom, especially this one.

8. The Vaccines are a London based indie band. Their album “Combat Sports” is great English pub rock. This song demands demands a sing-a-long every time I hear it

9. Some bands have the ability to make you feel like you’re standing in a small club listening to them play. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats do just that. This song channels Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in the best possible way.

10. One of my favorite songs of the year came off Ryan Culwell’s album “The Last American”. He captures the feeling of everyday people struggling to get by the way Bruce Springsteen did on Darkness and Nebraska

 

Thats just a smattering of some of my favorite albums of the year. Wishing everyone a great 2019.

Thanks for checking us out,

Mike

End of 2018 Wrap Up

Well we’ve reached the end of 2018, the inaugural (half!) year of our blog that we started this past June.  It’s been a blast sharing our love of music with the world, especially the music blog community.  We’ve tried a few different types of things, some have panned out while others haven’t, but we have lots of great ideas for 2019.  Here’s some interesting stats looking back at 2018 (interesting at least to us!):

Since Mike’s wife Wendy created the original site in June and called Mike’s bluff about starting a music blog, our little project has had 3785 views (full disclosure: about 1000 of those views are by Paul and Mike) , from 1612 visitors, from 35 countries on 6 continents (we guess the researchers in Antartica don’t have time for music blogs!), with 616 likes and 264 comments. Our most viewed submission was our piece entitled “Remembering Rich”, fitting as our missing third amigo is with us in spirit always, especially in all things musical. We profiled 213 songs in our Song of the Day.

One of the best things about starting a music blog has been connecting with fellow music lovers all over the country and the world!  We want to send a big thank you to all for being so welcoming, inspiring, thought provoking and encouraging to us this past year.  While we have shared and conversed with many, we especially wanted to call out and thank Jim at Music Enthusiast, hanspostcard at slicethelife, Christian at Christian’s Music Musing, hotfox63, Aphoristical at Aphoristic Album Reviews, Vinyl Connections, Steve for the Deaf, The Soul of A Clown, and High Fives & Stage Dives.  Thanks for all the great music.

Our goals for 2019? Keep enjoying music, pestering our readers and followers with our thoughts, more original content and more concert reviews (we still owe you a John Hiatt, Steve Earle and Mumford & Sons review).

As a big thank you to everyone, here’s a Spotify playlist of all 213 songs that were featured on our Song of the Day feature – new music, classic favorites, slower contemplative stuff, and other songs we just love.

We’ll see everyone on the other side of New Year’s Day in 2019!

Mike and Paul’s Music Blog Song of the Day Spotify playlist

 

Paul’s Favorite New Music of 2018 Part 2

Ok, let’s round out my list of favorite new music from 2018.  For Part 1, see here

Meg Myers – Tear Me to Pieces

Heard this on an NPR earlier this year and was blown away by the intensity of the emotions – about getting into a situation which you know you will regret but doing it anyway.

 

Hatchie – Sure

Another Australian singer/songwriter from her debut EP Sugar & Spice.  I love the huge atmospheric pop feel of this song about the mixed up feelings at the end of a relationship (or is it the end?)

 

The Wild Feathers – On My Way

Another band my co-blogger Mike turned me onto.  One of my new favorite bands.

 

George Ezra – Shotgun

English singer/songwriter George Ezra’s sophomore effort, Staying at Tamara’s has his biggest pop hooks to date, and that’s a good thing.  I could have picked many from this album.

 

John Hiatt – Over the Hill

34 years and 22 albums in, John Hiatt is still turning out amazing, funny, soulful music – truly an American treasure.  From his latest, The Eclipse Sessions. I had the thrill of seeing him twice in concert this year.

 

Frank Turner -1933

Frank Turner’s latest is his most ambitious musically to date, but still includes the kind of punk folk that I have always loved about him.  When I saw him earlier this year in Baltimore, he opened with this number, and absolutely blew the roof off the stage from the get go.  About the scary times we are living in. Bonus live version below!

Well that’s it – I am looking forward to discovering lots of new music in the new year and sharing it with you all!

 

 

 

Paul’s Favorite New Music of 2018 Part 1

Its been another great year for music, both reconnecting with the classic songs I grew up with, older songs I love, and discovering new music.  I really feel that one way to stay young is to seek out all the great new artists and music that’s being continually made.  So here are some of my favorites from 2018 in no particular order (but I will save my favorite for last).  These are the songs and in a couple cases whole albums that connected with me this past year.  I’ll do this in 2 posts, here’s post 1.

Skinny Lister – Thing Like That

I first got into this self described “shanty punk” band when they opened for Frank Turner a few years back and saw them live earlier this year.  This song is their statement about all the craziness that has been happening in their own country re: Brexit and in the US with the election of Trump.

 

Amy Shark – I Said Hi

Great pop song from an artist getting a lot of attention down under in her native Australia. She’s been quoted saying this song is “It’s an anthem for anyone who is waking up everyday fighting for what they believe in and challenging the universe!”  And its catchy too!

 

Miya Folick – Thingamajig

Off her debut album Premonitions, this hauntingly beautiful song is all about saying your sorry and truly meaning it.

 

The West Coast Feed – You Belong to Me

I first heard about this 9 piece self described “swagger rock/soul” band off a fellow music blogger’s site (but I am forgetting who!).  I love the video where they completely upend the laid back cocktail party.  If this doesn’t get your toes tapping, there is no hope!

 

Liz Brasher – Body of Mine

This quote from this Memphis based artist says it all: “I don’t like rules, and I don’t like to be put into a box.  I make music that’s garage rock meets the Delta blues meets gospel meets soul. It’s southern music — my version of southern music.” This sultry song sums it up perfectly.

 

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

My partner in crime Mike turned me onto this Denver based band.  I love the old school soul/R&B vibe of this song off their album Tearing at the Seams

 

Post 2 coming soon….

 

 

 

It’s Christmas Eve!

Ah, settling in for a nice evening with family and Christmas movies…

Wait, what’s that noise?!?

MUST BE SANTA!!

I’ve said before that one of the great things about doing a music blog is getting turned on to music I may not have heard of before – perfect example, Thom at The Immortal Jukebox posted a wonderful entry last night on Christmas (here), and included this video.  I knew Dylan had done a Christmas album but had not checked it out.  I have no idea why he is wearing a wig in the video, or what’s going on with the altercation and chase at the end of the video, but the look that Dylan and Santa exchange at the end is priceless.  My new favorite Christmas song and video!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

 

A few of my favorite Christmas songs

Christmas songs – there are as much a part of the holidays as all the other traditions – at least in our house.  Start with the canon of songs, perhaps a couple dozen or so?  This leads to endless variations on the same songs, some of which are horrendous, most just shrug your shoulders eh?, and few good ones.  Of course, I realize that what fits in that last category varies widely – as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.  Here are some of my favorites.

Eurythmics – Winter Wonderland

From the very first A Very Special Christmas benefit album from 1987 – I really love Annie Lennox’s vocals on this track, and very Eurythmics take on this classic

 

Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

Sixty years old this year, this song by Johnny Marks (who also wrote Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) has always seemed a modern addition to the canon (even though it is 60 years old, when rock was in its infancy).  Brenda Lee was 13 years old when she recorded it.

 

Chet Atkins, Jingle Bell Rock

Originally recorded in 1957 by Bobby Helms, this instrumental version by Chet Atkins was first released in 1961.  Somehow hearing the song without the lyrics and just Atkins playing makes it a better song imho.

 

Vince Guaraldi Trio – Christmas Time is Here

I could pick any song off this album, the soundtrack to the 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas.  One of my favorite Christmas shows with a real message, and an thoroughly original set of songs that worked perfectly.

 

Pretenders – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Another choice from A Very Special Christmas, Chrissie Hynde’s vocal take on this 1944 classic of the canon makes this song one of my favorites.

 

Bruce Springsteen and the E. St. Band – Santa Claus is Coming to Town

If you know me, or have followed this blog for any length of time, this isn’t a surprise – how could I include a list of favorite Christmas songs without including Bruce’s version of this classic! –  of course I am biased, but I think this is one of those rare occasions where the cover version meets or exceeds the original!  Just love this version!

Anyway, again, very best wishes to everyone for a joyous holiday season!

Take it away Bruce!