HAPPY NEW YEAR/THE BEST OF 2014
Greetings from the tip-top of 2015! 2.5 days into it, and I'm feeling pretty alright about this year. Here's hoping you and yours had a fantastic new year and wonderful holiday season all around.
But hey, what's a music site without a best of list these days? Pretty worthless, right? Like, why even make a site if you aren't going to make a list! Thankfully for you, I compiled some of the best songs to hit my ears and live shows to hit me in all three dimensions in 2014 for you behind this little clickaroo. Just be a lamb and go ahead and click the link below and let's talk about the BEST THINGS OF 2014.
THE BEST OF 2014
Probably of foremost concern to you right now, I launched this site after years of talking about doing it. I'm incredibly grateful to the bands and artists who have taken the time to chat with me about their creative process, inspirations, and for picking out some incredible guest DJ sets; it's been an eye-opening and humbling experience, and has pushed me in different creative directions within my own musical endeavors. Major thanks to you folks for listening, too! Hopefully you glean something out of it as well. I hope 2015 will hold some equally insightful conversations with inspiring, creative folks, and I hope you'll be along for the ride.
I'll skip the hyperbole about what record was the biggest genius masterpiece of the year. There were some really great songs written this year that I'm glad found their way to my ears. Here's a collection of some of those. I hope you enjoy 'em, too.
2014 was a pretty incredible year for live music, at least in my little world. The month of October, in particular, was unreal for me. I got to see two of the finest live bands in history reunite (Rocket From The Crypt and The Constantines), caught a somewhat rare Pissed Jeans show on the West Coast, and saw one of the finest bands on the face of the planet (Sloan) play a double-set at the Tractor Tavern that was probably the best setlist I've ever seen them play. My best friend John Cobb flew out to Seattle for a long weekend for my birthday in September and got to witness Bumbershoot for the first time. I missed out on the Replacements (still kicking myself over that) but got to see the best crowdsurfing cigarette pass ever by Mac DeMarco, the last set ever by The Lonely Forest and the Wu-Tang Clan...well, the Wu-Tang Clan showed up. I saw Thee Oh Sees for the first time ever (yeah, I know) and consider myself a changed person. The New Pornographers played a set of way-too-perfect pop that highlighted selections from what may have been my favorite record of the year (Brill Bruisers). Blake Mills put on an absolute guitar clinic at an intimate show at Columbia City Theatre, and topped it off by whisking Fiona Apple in the back door to sing a couple songs. The Blood Brothers reunited and thrashed the Showbox as effortlessly as they did at their prime. Zeus played stadium anthems from the 70's to a small, appreciative crowd at Chop Suey. Michael McDonald lost his voice, and Toto made a bunch of people clap on the 1's and 3's at a casino north of Seattle. I didn't have the crab leg buffet that I was expecting. Major Games teased me with a bunch of songs that I cannot wait to have in recorded form on a steamy August night at the Replay Lounge in Lawrence, Kansas. Farmer Dave Scherr celebrated a mystical birthday out in Joshua Tree, complete with lizard on his shoulder and a grip of incredible bands that made for maybe my favorite day of music all year. I missed seeing Failure by about 10 minutes, but got to design a couple posters for them, which evened things out a little bit. Stephen Malkmus covered Rush. The Kings of Leon were terrible, and someone had measles at the show. I played a couple shows with Sonny Votolato and covered some Black Sabbath songs with Black Whales. One of my best friends and musical conspirators, Zach Norton, moved to New York. I miss him a bunch, and I still kinda hate New York.
In sports, the Kansas City Royals went to the World Series. Typing these words out still doesn't make any sense to me. I was lucky enough to get to fly back to Kansas City and hang out with a bunch of my friends for a week and a half during the series. While I didn't go to any of the games, I was more than happy to get to be caught up in the energy of it all, and seeing my little hometown all done up for the national spotlight was a gigantic thrill for me. You're looking better than ever, KC. Keep it up.
On a personal note, I designed a whole lot of silkscreened posters for some rad bands, and worked more and more on my forthcoming solo record (The Royal Firecrackers). I had this grandiose plan of having the album done by the stroke of midnight on new year's eve, all wrapped up neatly with a nice little bow. Unfortunately, I missed that mark. BUT! I've taken a bit of time away from recording to formulate some of my ideas a little better, and I'm excited to start digging into my little studio a bit and hopefully get the record done by the spring or early summer. Knock on wood, wontcha?