Favorite Albums & Movies of 2014

Before I look at some of this year’s upcoming releases, I want to revisit the music and movies that made my 2014. Since ranking favorites is a moderate form of torture for a music/film enthusiast, […]

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Tuesday Tunes – “Dollar Signs” by Aspen Hourglass

This week’s tune comes from Colorado-based math-rock band Aspen Hourglass. I stumbled across their music last fall and became an instant fan after watching “Veil of Anxiety” on YouTube. One thing was immediately clear: members Grayson Erhard (lead vocals/guitar), Elvin Holderfield (piano/synthesizers), and Sean Hanson (drums/backing vocals) are all extremely talented musicians.

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Tuesday Tunes – “You Avoid Parties” by The Posies

The first Tuesday Tune of 2015 comes from one of my favorite bands, The Posies. “You Avoid Parties” appears on the band’s second album, Dear 23, released by DGC Records in 1990.

Dear 23 is one of my favorite albums and since the first listen, I’ve considered “You Avoid Parties” a standout track, largely due to its great vocal harmonies and well-crafted lyrics. Its story is told in second person and every verse reveals a new layer of the narrative. I’ve always thought this song described someone’s struggle with depression as they gradually pull away from the people and things they once enjoyed. Each thing this person avoids – parties, fathers, and thinking – remind them of who they used to be. In particular, the following lyrics stand out to me:

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Tuesday Tunes – “Lucky” by Mychal Cohen

*Listening with headphones is recommended

Mychal Cohen is a film and television composer who also serves as the lead singer and guitarist of Seattle-based band The Weather (formerly known as Campfire OK). Just before this video was filmed, Cohen and cinematographer Christian Sorensen Hansen shot the music video for Bryan John Appleby’s “Cliffs Along the Sea.” As they rowed back to shore, Cohen began playing this song. Hansen captured a beautiful, spontaneous moment and the ambient sounds only enhance it. As much as I believe that some spontaneous events are best experienced without documentation, there are certain times, such as this one, that I’m grateful a moment was captured on video. I have some additional thoughts on documenting moments, so I’ll expand on this topic in a future entry. Anyway, I hope that we’ll get a studio version of “Lucky” on a future album from The Weather.

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Tuesday Tunes – “Lonely Man” by Alpha Rev

Today’s first tune comes from Alpha Rev, an alternative rock band based in Austin, Texas. “Lonely Man” is featured on the band’s third album, Bloom, released in 2013. This song has a country feel, making it a little different than most Alpha Rev songs and the rest of the album, but it works well here. “Lonely Man” is a simple, yet painful story – a man describes his choices to put work ahead of his family, how those choices lead to the dissolution of his marriage, and how he’s living the life of a lonely man as a result. It’s almost a cautionary tale; it feels as though the man is sitting beside you at the bar and warning you, “Don’t make these mistakes unless you want to end up alone like me.”

Musically, what stands out the most to me are McPherson’s vocals. His emotions are so raw and present in this song, especially toward the end. He doesn’t simply tell the story, he feels every word of it. It sent a chill or two down my spine.

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Tuesday Tunes – “Go Malachi” by J. Roddy Walston and the Business

Heavy Bells” was almost featured this week as it’s been stuck in my head for the past three days, but instead, I opted for a song that I consider one of J. Roddy Walston and the Business’s most underrated gems. “Go Malachi” is the final track on the band’s first full-length album, Hail Mega Boys, released in 2007. Through some of the most poignant lyrics I’ve ever heard, the song describes the dissolution of a marriage resulting from the wife’s unfaithfulness. Interestingly enough, in the Bible, Malachi 2:10-16 deals with divorce. I can’t help but wonder if that’s what inspired the song title.

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Tuesday Tunes – “SMS [Shine]” by David Crowder Band

This week, I’m busy with writing assignments, getting over a cold (fun!), and rehearsing for a vocal recital so today’s post will be a little shorter. SMS [Shine] is an inspirational song from the David Crowder Band with an amazing music video made with a Lite Brite. I wasn’t one of the cool kids who got to own a Lite Brite so I used to watch the commercials with wonder and amazement. Even as an adult, I watch this music video with that same sense of wonder. It’s so amazing to see how the band turned a children’s toy into a brilliant storytelling tool. Fair warning, the video might will make you cry.