Sunday, December 30, 2018

Best Tracks of 2018 | Vol. 14

Hey, hi! Its my one BLOG POST of the year where I put out my annual edition of [AA]'s TOP TRACKS OF THE YEAR! and remind everyone that I should "just stick to beer", and when I do that, the beer people say, "just stick to dadding", and when I do that, my kids tell me that mom does everything better. That's probably true. Bloggers aren't even real people.

So, with every last ounce of creative energy and physical strength just to hold my shit together in 2018, I am ready to plunge you, loyal Avenueling, headlong into a very tepid year of music, with an overall sheen of desperation for humanity. You know its dark times when I considered putting both Florida Georgia Line and Maroon 5 on this list just to have enough songs to populate it. And while that last sentence isn't even the slightest bit true, if either one had put out something reasonably catchy this year, they probably would have parlayed it into a Super Bowl gig. Hell, maybe they did, I don't know. Lemme check. Well, fuck. 

Anyway, the point is, it wasn't a banner year for indie-rock, -pop, -country, or -rap (save for Kasey Musgraves doing her usual kickassery). But even that wasn't enough to make anyone feel all groovy during a government shutdown and baby-jailing crisis. 

Anyway, I bet all of this sunshine REALLY makes you want to listen to my TOP TRACKS OF 2018, but I'll reasonably assure that you'll enjoy it a bit more than this miserable prose. Plus, it's a good re-calibration for an undoubtedly amazing 2019. I mean, there's nowhere to go but up, right?

(listed by ranking)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Best Tracks of 2017 | Vol. 13

Not to imply that I ever give this blog any less than my full attention, but its been a busy year and also a very comically stupid year. For anyone doing a 2017 year-end recap, STOP. It's a folly to document ANYTHING with the stench of this year on it, so let's just try to keep this bath salts buzz rolling as long as we can, yeah? You know who I blame? The fucking Patriots. No, not the MAGA dipshits you'll find in the dregs of your Facebook feed with bedazzled American flag trucker hats and Crocs yelling at peaceful protesters on SportsCenter. 

The football Patriots. 

After their 87 point comeback in 12 seconds during UFC 51 against the big dumb freedom-hating Falcons, the whole country basically went to a deep, dark place with every bad thing that happened in this country after that emanating from there. Hell, the Pats even gave the rotted pork loin sitting his fat ass in the oval office an actual Super Bowl ring. How about that? Doesn't that just make you want to die? 

And its a good thing if so, because we're all on Hyperloop One headed towards nuclear winter, anyway. Get used to sustaining off kombucha and Ed Sheeran records because the end of days is nigh. Anyway, here's what I listened to this year while wishing for even someone as punchable as Jake Paul to be our new Dear Leader. 


Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016's Best Tracks | Vol. 12

Typically, this is the time of year where I get to do my pro bono publico writing; some charity print to dust off the pages of this hastily graying website, which originally (and goofily) was founded to register the thoughts of an aspiring music blogger. Instead, it got re-dedicated somewhere along the line to a different topic entirely, leading to some other rad things; some big opportunities that felt (and still do!) like the crest of the mountain.

But charity in this age seems like a chore, it being the very eve of Trump's America. And I'm weary of traveling for the holidays. And this list becomes obsolete in seven hours or thereabouts, so I'm on a strict deadline. But its mostly because I just want to dad-out and drunkenly listen to vinyl with my beautiful and interesting wife when my kids finally fall into their temporary comas for the night. So I'm busy. But not so busy that I can't present the Best 101 Songs of the Year for the 12th time.

I hope you enjoy.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Best Tracks of 2015: Vol. 11

Sure, I could parse every moment of 2015 and compartmentalize them into sections of the year that played out in my favor, while others did not.  Then thoughtfully prose on about why certain events, whether positive or negative, rocketed a song's cachet into the top 50 or the top 25 or even the top 10.  But that would be recapitulation of the last 10 years since the alpha list of the Top 101 began in 2005 -- and also take up a shit load of time like it did last year when I was still only mono-offsprung and duties like this were kept to kill the spare time between an actual career and a hopeful one instead of recent dad duties like reprogramming my four year old to stop being a hater and coddling the next ultra-entitled mecha-millennial two-month-old.

In other words, creativity has got to be preserved within this limited-functioning brain of mine, as the imminent exhaustion of A1 dadding and B-minus husband'ing creeps, my residual imagination is now reserved only for paying gigs.  For that, you can read a proper list here in the Austin Chronicle

Thusly, here is [AA]'s Top 101 of 2015 without the stale practice of any kind of introduction, a vainglorious portion of personal reflection, or bombastic self-promotion to read [AA] in the form of print journalism.  Enjoy, yeah?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

[AA]'s 10th Annual: Best 101 Tracks of 2014 | PART IV of IV | The Top 25

Part I (101 - 76)
Part II (75 - 51)
Part III (50 - 26)

… So this brings us to the Top 25, which is all anyone who's a list-hound like I am cares about.  Maybe you clicked a few of the artists with familiar names just to see if something escaped your radar, but otherwise, this is the cream of the cream.  Everything below is clickable and none of it contains the word/s 'Broken' or 'Bells'.

But a bit of advertising before I let you drown in the narrative of 2014's melody:

Expect more brewery profiles on [AA] -- not an Iliad of work, mind you -- but some stuff to rouse the overgrown toddler that is the Austin beer scene.  Things are in the works for profiles on Jester King, The ABGB, and Oddwood Ales, along with our disclosure of the "Official Beer of Austin".  If you don't see something you like on [AA], do not be discouraged, as the piece may have been elevated to The Austin Chronicle, which we've begun contributing to infrequently. 

Yes, [AA] is still our pet project -- the secondary fermenter if you must.  But if you're really interested in smelling the boil, listen to Draught Punk, and follow [AA] on Twitter.

PART IV of IV | The Top 25 of 2014

25 - Slow Club | Tears of Joy from Complete Surrender: No Slow Club after 9PM iffin you want to stay a person without triplets. Its that sexy.

24 - Hamilton Leithauser | I Don't Need Anyone from Black Hours: Thats right Hamilton, you don't need anyone to help you make an unofficial Walkmen album. Indefinite hiatus, sure, but definitely awesome.

23 - Damon Albarn | The Selfish Giant from Everyday Robots: Hard to imagine that critics were harsh on Damon Albarn's solo effort, but I thought he aced it.  The imagery with the song title, piano, voice, and lyrics is truly heroic.

22 - B├śRNS | Electric Love from Candy: LA-based Electro-rock by way of Michigan, this shockingly solo (because of the density) act came from so far outside our sonic scanner, we were forced to recalibrate our music mediums.

21 - Timber Timbre | Hot Dreams from s/t: Huge tip-o-the-hat to our friend Matthew at Song, By Toad for presenting this song on one of his Toadcasts this year.  If you are looking to subscribe to something awesome, witty, and musically vanguard, you should adhere to his podcast on iTunes.

20 - Father John Misty | Bored In The USA from s/t: Man, we thought this song was a huge joke at first, but when we had the time to properly dissect it, we realized its misunderstood genius, because, frankly we can relate.  The Billy Joel homage is subtle and classy.

19 - Twin Shadow | To The Top from s/t: Uplifting, gospel-y music, which to us, means its a good song to drink a beer in the shower to.

18 - Phantogram | Black Out Days from Voices: Absolutely floored us during this year's SXSW on a meager two-song set.  Black Out Days at 9am is like a double Monster Energy injection.

17 - Lykke Li | Never Gonna Love Again from I Never Learn: Lykke Li continues to expose our weakness as sensitive pussies who absolutely adore beautiful arias about love.

16 - Morrissey | Staircase At The University from World Peace is None Of Your Business: The thing about Morrissey is that he is so hatable like Jamies Winston, and yet so fucking excellent like Jamies Winston.  We just don't even …  yet, we continue to pledge our unencumbered devotion to Him.

15 - Damon Albarn | Heavy Seas Of Love from Everyday Robots: One of our favorite pseudo-subgenres of music is something called Northern Soul, which is essentially just underground 1960s Detroit Soul that was embraced by Englanders.  This song, though not true to Northern Soul form, is a cool bluesy tribute.

14 - Interpol | All The Rage Back Home from El Pintor: El Pintor didn't absolutely jump out at us as a stellar record, but this leaked single sure as fuck did.  Wowow.

13 - Real Estate | Talking Backwards from Atlas: This song is so simply arranged and so smartly self-aware, that it is 2014s 'most perfect' song.  Its the same formula that makes something equally simple, yet perfect -- like a pale ale -- top Best Of lists by simply holding form.

12 - Warpaint | Disco//very from Warpaint: Our stripper song, if we were ever to be in desperate financial need for lawyerin' school.  Dibs.

11 - The Rural Alberta Advantage | On the Rocks from Mended with Gold: Canadians, man -- when they're neglected, they can write a tune like a burr in the loins.

10 - Wild Cub | Shapeless from Youth: When [AA] are the executive producers of a John Hughes reboot, like Ferriss Bueller or Sixteen Candles, this will be our lede. 

09 - Phantogram | Celebrating Nothing from Voices: This will make your sex mix that is one song long.

08 - Sun Kil Moon | Ben's My Friend from Benji: The most limp-dicked, whitest song ever created, which makes it a fantastic narrative that is entirely lovable because we love blue crab cakes and The Postal Service too.

07 - Run The Jewels | Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) ft. Zack De La Rocha from Run the Jewels 2: Good thing for RtJ they released their amazing album when they did because they almost didn't make this prestigious list.  Forever h/t to John @partyends for championing them since the beginning.

06 - Spoon | Rent I Pay from They Want My Soul: Album of the year?  Yeah, probably. But the tease of this song in the run-up to They Want My Soul was the best 10 seconds of audio this year.  Damn, that was seriously infectious.

05 - Tokyo Police Club | Argentina (Parts I, II, III) from Forcefield: An eight-and-a-half minute TPC song sounds like the worst gag ever, but man, if you can take it seriously, it really becomes a clever song.  We were VERY serious about it at the [AA] offices in 2014.

04 - FKA twigs | Two Weeks from LP1: Without question, the one song on the entire list that will make you feel cooler having heard it.  Lyrically and musically, the gem of 2014.

03 - The Orwells | Who Needs You from Disgraceland: Despite the depressing act of business waged on fans of this song, its has massive cultural cognizance that is truly genius when one considers it was written by 17-19 year olds.  Its an amazing record on an amazing album.  Lets just hope Apple doesn't abuse it.

02 - Future Islands | Seasons (Waiting On You) from Singles: There was just no truly discerning diagnostic measurement between track #2 and track #1 in 2014.  This was on heavy and frequent rotation all throughout our year, and nary was there a moment when once started, it didn't have the opportunity to finish.

Which brings us to [AA]'s #1 song of the year, an enormous honor shared with the following tracks since 2005: 

2013: Daft Punk | Doin' it Right 
2012: Beach House | Myth
2011: Wu Lyf | We Bros
2010: LCD Soundsystem | Dance Yrself Clean
2009: Fanfarlo | The Walls are Coming Down
2008: MGMT | Time to Pretend
2007: Radiohead | Videotape
2006: Phoenix | Consolation Prizes
2005: Sigur Ros | Hoppipolla

… which is ...

01 - Taylor Swift | Shake It Off from 1989: Holy shit, right?  We totes know!  Nothing is gonna make you mooove like this chorus, and above everything else at the music branch of [AA], we value musical kinetics. Truly, Taylor Swift adheres to the indie-approved style craved by the scene kids and the guilty-pleasure awkwardness of beer dads alike; Swift has earned herself the distinction of a true crossover artist.  Haters gon' hate, hate, hate.

Happy new year, happy listening in 2015.  Drink everything.