I am still working through music my dear friend Anthony has shared with me over the past 10 years — I think I asked him to stop in 2008, so I could catch up. This week, I asked Anthony if he’d contribute to my blog with his favorites of 2015:
Something I’ve noticed among a lot of my peers, friends and acquaintances. An unscientific large percentage saw their pursuit of music stop right after college graduation. I can understand this as people get busy with jobs, kids, pets and life in general. While I understand, I can’t relate.
I’ve been actively seeking out music for the last 31 years. Even before, I loved listening to the radio. My 9th grade year, 1984 was when I discovered bands like Joy Division, The Cure, R.E.M. and The Replacements and the curiosity to keep learning never abated.
Oddly, I’ve never been in a band and never really had the desire to. While I enjoy concerts and shows, I have always preferred listening to music at home or with friends to being at a live venue. I get asked often for recommendations and often end up asking the person more questions about what they like and ultimately end up annoying about 6 out of every 10 people who ask me about music.
I’m going to share a few records from this year which I really have enjoyed. I’m positive there are plenty of online reviews which will add more detail about them.
Father John Misty — I Love You Honeybear
Father John is a guy named Josh Tillman who has recorded a few albums under this moniker as well as under “J Tillman.” He was also drummer in Fleet Foxes for a while. This record is a throwback to 1970’s AM Soft Gold. He’s urbane and witty, but also heartfelt and sincere. Making a folky roots record in 2015 can be painfully derivative. Making a collection of great songs is timeless no matter the year. This is like a good pot of gumbo, let the temperature subside so you can taste all the layers. Don’t approach it hungry, let it invite you in over a few listens. The producer is Jonathan Wilson who has made a few fantastic records of his own over the last few years.
THEESatisfaction — EarthEE
People don’t realize that Seattle is a hotbed for fantastic hip hop. Conscious hip hop which bends styles of music into a rich combination of sounds and poetry which really defies words. You just have to listen. The two women in THEESatisfaction have created a flowing record of psychedelic, post modern music which I’ll probably have my head fully around in say, October. There are quite a few guest spots on this from their peers in this movement. If you think “I don’t like rap,” give this a try.
Viet Cong — Viet Cong (self-titled)
I love darkwave/post-punk more than any other genre. I’ll listen to bad albums by bad bands who wear their Bauhaus influences on their sleeve. When great albums by great bands like Viet Cong come along, I’m over the moon. This isn’t simple derivative copycatting here. This is an album carefully thought out and sequenced. It has a true beginning, middle and end. Like any good post punk record, it makes you nervous and jumpy with the mix of futuristic angularity and low-fi basslines and rhythm. This delivers everything I look for.
What are your favorites from 15?