2015's Greatest Hits

More so that recent years, music has been a central part of my life in 2015.  These are my favorite tunes and memories from 2015. 

2007 Edition
2008 Edition
2009 Edition
2010 Edition

2011 Edition
I skipped 2012 for reasons I'll write about one day.
2013 Edition
2014 Edition

Live Shows

I had a goal of at least one live show per month in 2015.  While I didn't get one in each month, I'm pretty sure I saw 12+ shows on the year...which isn't too shabby considering the circumstances -- kids, work, etc.

The best show of the year was Baroness at Local 506 just a few weeks ago.  They're an all time favorite band that I had never seen live.  The house was packed and the energy was unbelievable.  And of course Baroness destroyed it.

A few other standouts are Hiss Golden Messenger (at Haw River Ballroom, an amazing venue), The Sword (great, great show even though the new record wasn't that great), and Diarrhea Planet.

Kelly's favorites had to be Guster -- after which we had drinks and convo with the band, nice guys! -- and Jump, Little Children, her all-time favorite band that did a short reunion tour this year after a 10 year hiatus.

 DBTs @ the Cradle

DBTs @ the Cradle

 Jump, Little Children @ Visulite in CLT

Jump, Little Children @ Visulite in CLT

 Kelly loving Kylesa @ Motorco

Kelly loving Kylesa @ Motorco

 DIarrhea Planet @ King's

DIarrhea Planet @ King's

 Pusha T @ Hopscotch

Pusha T @ Hopscotch

 Chatting up John Dyer Baizley of Baroness @ Locat 506

Chatting up John Dyer Baizley of Baroness @ Locat 506

 Jason Isbell with Ponzi @ DPAC

Jason Isbell with Ponzi @ DPAC

 Guster with Kelly and Shawna @ Lincoln Theater

Guster with Kelly and Shawna @ Lincoln Theater

 

Favorite Records

Purple -- Baroness
I'm not sure I've ever looked forward to a record quite like this one...and did it ever deliver.  The band was in an awful bus accident in late 2012 that left every member of the band with very serious injuries.  To recover from something that horrific, re-group the band with new bass and new drums, and then create art this powerful, this epic, this f*cking tight is truly inspirational.  Many of the songs speak to the accident and the recovery process.  I've loved this band for a long time, since Red in 2007 -- seeing them in Chapel Hill in December was definitely the highlight of the musical year for me.

Southland Mission -- Phil Cook
I knew of Phil Cook via Megafaun and Hiss Golden Messenger, but didn't know that he released solo stuff.  This record he put out in the Fall is so, so, sooo good.  Definitely an Americana throwback feel and great songs.

Run the Jewels 2 -- Run the Jewels
I listened to a TON of rap in 2015 -- probably no band more than RTJ, but also Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Future, Pusha T, Chazz French, Action Bronson, J. Cole, and others.  Not really sure why the sudden re-interest in hip hop -- maybe because it is a Durham thing or maybe because it scratches the same itch as metal or maybe because I'm just a badass.  Looking forward to RTJ3 in 2016. :)

Good Graphics -- Rozwell Kid
Much like Diarrhea Planet, these guys are a 90s guitar pop throwback.  Catchy hooks, great harmonies, and clever lyrics.  Not sure if they'll ever be a national act, but I highly recommend this EP and their 2014 record Too Shabby.

Honorable Mention:

  • Benji -- Sun Kil Moon -- super depressing 2014 album that I listened to a TON.
  • American Sharks -- American Sharks -- really tough stoner metal.
  • Beat The Champ -- The Mountain Goats -- John Darnielle never disappoints.
  • To Pimp A Butterfly -- Kendrick Lamar -- obviously.
  • Star Wars -- Wilco -- also obviously.

American Titans

I played in the band for the first time since business school in 2015.  My friend Joe called me, asking if I knew of a bass player interested in jamming.  I replied that I own a bass that I can reasonably play -- so we got together and it all got started.  

The American Titans are a three-piece -- Joe (vox, guitar), Mark (drums), and me (bass, vox) -- that plays high energy guitar pop, punk, rock.  It has been amazingly fun for me to play bass -- which I've never played in a band.  It actually took me a while to stop playing bass like guitar and figure out how to lock in with Mark and actually serve the song.  And it has been incredibly therapeutic to have a once-a-week ~2 hour outlet where I strap on my bass, forget about everything, and just shred.

We've played a couple gigs in 2015.  I'd like to play several more in 2016 and maybe record a few of our songs.  And I'd love to bring a song or two of my own to a rehearsal in 2016.  I've got zero time to put into the process, but I've got plenty of pent up confusion, anger, love, hate, joy that needs to find its way out somewhere -- might as well be a 2 minute explosion of drums, bass, and guitar.  :)

This is a live recording from a rehearsal -- a decent take, not the best quality, no monitor, so the vocals are a bit off.  But you get the idea.  :)

Here's to more great music in 2016.  Happy new year!