gracie & rachel @ cat's cradle

#MWE stands for Music Writer’s Exercise, and it ambled its way across my Twitter timeline in late January; started by Gary Suarez, it challenges music writers to listen to a new-to-them (never before heard) album every day in February, and review it in a single tweet. Since last year I didn’t listen to enough music or write enough about the tiny bits I listened to, I was in. And though I struggled to keep up on a day-to-day basis, I did eventually listen to 28 new to me albums (fuck you Leap Day) and write about all of them on Twitter.

You can check out my collected reviews over here, and this is a playlist that includes every album I listened to. I tried to mix up what I was listening to, and sought recommendations from friends who love bands I’ve never tried, records by artists I love that I missed last year, classics I’ve never tried, and new releases so far from 2016. There was some stuff I wouldn’t necessarily listen to again, but I was delighted to discover that I didn’t hate anything I listened to. I didn’t even hate the Cream album I listened to, even if it was still too guitar wanky for me. It’s a thing I have. Too many guitar solos, Cream. Stop guitar soloing.

So I loved writing about an album every day (and some days about two or three or four to catch up), and I really loved going through the #MWE hashtag, checking out what other people were listening to, liking, hating, discovering. And I realized how much I missed listening to lots and lots of music. So I think the exercise served its purpose, which is exactly what it was supposed to do. Time for more listening, and time for more writing. Neither of those things is a bad thing.


best of: favorite songs of 2013

the breedings @ the casbah

How I made this list: these 25 songs are the five-star songs in my iTunes library that I listened to most in 2013. You’ll see a few repeated on my Christmas mix — spoiler alert! — but not most of them. Stream them below via Spotify (tracks not available on Spotify are linked individually), and tell me what your favorite song of 2013 is.

  1. Kacey Musgraves – Follow Your Arrow
  2. Frank Turner – Recovery
  3. Ha Ha Tonka – Rewrite Our Lives
  4. Josh Ritter – Hopeful
  5. Mason Jennings – Patti & Robert
  6. Camera Obscura – Troublemaker
  7. Dorado – Molotovs
  8. Elin Ruth – F Off
  9. Bad Bad Hats – Super America
  10. Jason Isbell – Stockholm
  11. The National – I Should Live In Salt
  12. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – Back When We Were Beautiful
  13. The Front Bottoms – Au Revoir (Adios)
  14. Giant Drag – Garbage Hearts
  15. Gross Ghost – Howlin
  16. Josh Ritter – Joy To You Baby
  17. Leif Vollebekk – Photographer Friend
  18. Mount Moriah – Connecticut to Carolina
  19. Neko Case – Man
  20. Tedo Stone – Good Go Bad
  21. Wooden Wand – Southern Colorado Song
  22. Kinglsey Flood – Waitin’ On The River To Rise
  23. The Julie Ruin – Just My Kind
  24. The Head and the Heart – Shake
  25. Frank Turner – Tattoos

playlist: i think i love you (but only in the summertime)

because i loooooooooove you

Buddy Holly was twenty-two. Think of what he might have gone on to achieve. I mean, if Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at twenty-two, the history of music would have been very different. As would the history of aviation, of course. — Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing

For me, the summer is for ear-worming cheery cheesy pop songs. Partially this is because they’re just good for summer, but partially this is because of a long-ago summerstock production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, which is framed around a love of pop music, and whether it’s worthy of being loved. The show fades out with ‘I’m A Believer’ and that song soundtracked the summer of 2000 for me, and left me with an indelible urge to shake my ass to hooky keyboards and slightly inane choruses when the weather turns hot.

So this is a playlist for that. Muchas gracias to Adam, Chris, Elise, Jess, Michael, Maja, the Maternal Unit, Uncle Butch, and the rest of the Twitter and FB denizens for suggestions. I have incorporated them all in some fashion.

perfection’s always flawed: a baseball mix

baseball: norfolk tides @ durham bulls

My all-time favorite photo of Matt Wieters, future of the Orioles organization, existed before the Big Bang, subject of all love songs ever written, bad ass new god. He hit a two-run homer in the first inning of the O’s first game today.

This is a playlist of baseball songs. You should listen to it, and share it. (For some reason I don’t understand because Spotify, it’s not showing all 16 songs in the playlist here. If you have Spotify and click through, you can see all of them, though.)