These Nights are so Beautiful

Two nights ago, I found myself surrounded by new friends, listening to Mike Noyce and Luray play songs old and new, and watching a spellbound group hear stunning, stripped down versions of the songs off of Luray’s incredible album ‘The Wilder’.

I can’t say enough how much I treasure these evenings, and how much I want all of you to be able to come and share in these moments, and become part of the family. It really is a unique way to experience music, and to meet people who care deeply about incredible music.

Come on over to Facebook to see more pictures from the evening, but I thought I’d share a few with you here.

Mike Noyce

Mike Noyce

Mike Noyce (Photo by Leo Rosen)

Luray

I can’t express how grateful I am – each of those shows are so special, and Mike and Shannon (Luray) were so kind and such exceptional performers.

So, are you jealous yet? Sad you didn’t make it out to this one? Thinking you should grab a bottle (or 6) of something you like to drink, and head to the next one?

Well, guess what? You’re in luck! I’m very, very excited to announce House Show #12, featuring Kris Orlowski, whose charming and expansive folk-pop has captivated me for quite a while, with an opening set from Chicago local Gia Margaret. We’ll be opening up the space at 7:30, and music will start at 8. Make sure to be there by 8! BYOB, Suggested Donation ($12+). 914 N. California. I promise you it will be a perfect way to usher in the beginnings of spring. RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com or on the Facebook event page.

See you there!

My 10 Favorite Albums – 2013.

Over the past week, I’ve read through the flood of lists from major music blogs/publications – making a purported attempt at objectively ranking the “best” albums of the year. I can’t say that I believe in those lists, as I have no idea how you can objectively rate music, at least to a level of specificity that you can differentiate between much of the best music released over a 12 month span.

WIth that in mind, I do love taking stock of the year that’s past, and making a list of my 10 favorite albums of that time. Not only is it in hopes that you find an incredible album that you might have missed, but it gives me an excuse to dig back through so much incredible music. So, before you dig in, please note that these are in no particular order, and that the videos I include for each are just a teaser – please go investigate these albums, be it via Spotify, Pandora, or torrents – then go buy the ones that you connect with (hopefully all 10!).

1. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

I can’t say enough words about how much this album meant to me this year. An expansion of the incredible sonic depth and breadth of High Violet, with the bite of Boxer – I have listened to this album countless times this year. Favorite Track(s): “I Need My Girl”

2. Typhoon – White Lighter

Kyle Morton and the rest of the Typhoon gang created an album that’s not only vulnerable, expansive, and tremendous – but they managed to do it while staying true to all the little subtleties that made me fall in love with them in the first place. Favorite Track(s): “Prosthetic Love” and “Morton’s Fork”

3. Dessa – Parts of Speech

I love pretty much everything Dessa does. Her command of the English language, her rhythmic sensibility, the musicianship of the artists she works with. This album was wonderful, front to back. Favorite Track(s): “The Man I Knew”

4. Caroline Smith – Half About Being a Woman

Caroline Smith, former folk songstress, current purveyor of explosively beautiful indie r&b/soul. Caroline, with trust bassist Jesse Schuster in tow, and a whole slew of talented characters – really created a timeless album. Favorite Track(s): “Child of Moving On” and “Half About Being a Woman”

5. Phosphorescent – Muchacho

Three words. Song for Zula. That song drew me in, the stunning continuity, well crafted songs, and the fact that this is an A+ road trip album guarantee it a spot here. Favorite Track(s): “Song For Zula”

6. Courtney Marie Andrews – On My Page

I’ve written about Courtney a thousand times on this blog. This is my favorite folk album of the year. So many hints of Joni Mitchell, with the subtle, simmering energy of Joan Baez. Absolutely in love with this one. Favorite Track(s): “500 Nights” and “Woman of Many Colors”

7. Volcano Choir – Repave

Justin Vernon continues to explore sonic boundaries – with a very talented cast of characters behind him. Repave explores more territory vocally than Bon Iver’s eponymous album, and I found myself entranced by this one all autumn. Favorite Track(s): “Comrade” and “Dancepack”

8. Luray – The Wilder

Luray is the project of Shannon Carey (sister of Bon Iver’s Sean Carey). Similar to Sean, and his solo project, Luray is a beautiful exploration of ambient, banjo-laden folk/americana, and it is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. Take the time and listen to this one. Favorite Track(s): “Tidalground” and “The Wilder”

9. Pickwick – Can’t Talk Medicine

I know, it came out really early this year. But Pickwick put out an album I’ve never set down for more than a week at a time all year. This is just a big, awesome, fantastic record. Let the video speak for me. Favorite Track(s): “Hacienda Motel” and “Halls of Columbia”

10. The Avett Brothers – Magpie and the Dandelion

I wasn’t that impressed by last year’s Avett Brothers album – but Magpie and the Dandelion reminded me why they’re one of my favorite bands. They went back to a lot of what worked so well about I and Love and You – a simpler, more melodic approach, interrupted by their signature folk-punk sound. Favorite Track(s): “Morning Song” and “Souls Like The Wheels”

Special Mentions:

Hey Marseilles – Lines We Trace

Night Beds – Country Sleep

Josh Ritter – The Beast in it’s Tracks

At the end of the year, I look back, and really, my takeaway is that more and more incredible music comes out each year – and it’s all about finding what you connect to. What makes your heart beat faster? What makes your breath catch? Hopefully this list gives you something new to add to that list.

Much love y’all!

Feeling Grateful

As I look back on the past year, and even the past decade, I find so many things to be grateful for. As I think about the moments, the adventures, and the people, there are so many songs I connect to those events, a soundtrack, if you will.

So I thought I’d make a playlist. 50 of my favorites from the last 10 years or so. Hit shuffle, and enjoy.

So grateful. Thank you all.

and everything i saw/came bursting into life

I don’t think I’ve posted a Take Away show since that fantastic set of Kodaline songs earlier this year.

Well, I couldn’t wait to share this one as soon as I saw it. Shot in an abandoned disco in Paris, Paul Thomas Saunders fills the entire room with an unfathomably haunting voice, and incredible, piercing lyrics.

we were just young blood/
waiting for a fight…/
the broken and unloved/
huddled side by side…

 

 

Also, don’t forget – our next house show is with Small Houses and Ty Maxon. Don’t miss it! August 17 at 914 N. California. RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com

“Byegone”

It’s been a rough couple weeks, and on top of that, I’ve been in a post National album coming out music depression. After listening to that album about a thousand times, I’ve been hungry for something new.

Thank god for the first single off of Volcano Choir (Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Collections of Colonies of Bees)’s new singe “Byegone”. THeir new album comes out on 9/3/13 – and if this track is any indication, I couldn’t be more excited. This track indicates a ton of growth from Vernon – it reminds me of many of the sounds, themes, and sonic ideas I’ve loved about Vernon’s other projects, all rolled into a brand new exciting beast. Take a listen (or 15) and get excited.

Also, don’t forget. I’m presenting this blog’s first “house-style” show with Kalispell and Brendan Losch on June 30th at 7:30. Spots are limited, and I’d love to see you there. RSVP at musicmeansfamily@gmail.com, and I’ll give you all the details.

 

Peace!

you’re fireproof/nothing breaks your heart

New spring mix is being reviewed in my ears as we speak. However, it’s been held up a bit because I can’t stop playing the new album from The National. I honestly can’t say enough about how incredible it is. Take a break from your day to watch them play ‘I Need My Girl’ – one of my favorite songs off of the new album:

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: The National: I Need My Girl.

I’ve found myself feeling really vulnerable lately (which The National can do to me). When that happens, I almost always find myself coming back to The Avett Brothers. There is a wonderful, frenetic yet soothing quality to their music for me. Watch this gorgeous video of ‘Laundry Room’ from Cardinal Sessions.

 

And last but not least for this little update, City and Colour had a Daytrotter session released today, and it’s stunning. Listen to it here. And then get a Daytrotter membership. Best money you’ll spend in a while.

I’ll be back soon with this mix – gotta put it out before ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ is released next week and I get lost all over again!