Since 2002, I have obsessively tracked and categorized the music I listen to. It started as a way to share the songs and artists I discovered while working in college radio with friends. I would regularly rip audio files, make quarterly Windows Media playlists and even burn CD’s.
Now-a-days , I use Spotify and YouTube to organize these MixTapes. Still, at the end of every year, I track my stats, use a little (okay a lot) of emotion, and craft a list. It usually takes several drafts and a lot of reorganizing but at some point I end up with this. Thank you for following along!
PART FOUR: 20-11 [and best concerts]
Music in 2016: we consume it by throwing Spotify on shuffle, buying a single off iTunes, or hanging out at a music festival. It’s much more than that though! It’s about experiencing the sound. Seeing acts live, listening to an entire album, and (as I try to do) sharing it with friends. Now, let us continue down the 2016 soundtrack of my life.
20) Bon Iver – 33 “God”
ALBUM 22, A Million
Had I discovered this song before the end of the year there is no doubt it would be higher on this list. How did I let it pass my by all the way until December? Don’t make the same mistake and listen now! Even non Bon Iver fans will love 22, A Million and this one.
19) Yeasayer – I Am Chemistry
ALBUM Amen & Goodbye
Not exactly sure how this one crept so far up my list but it did. Maybe it’s also because it crept into my ear again and again over the course of 2016.
18) Clams Casino – Blast
ALBUM 32 Levels
The amazing beat maker, Clams Casino, released his own album this year and I’ve been listening to this one ever since. Do yourself a favour and YouTube a few more of his tracks after completing my list.
17) Liima – Amerika
Never before have I had this many December MixTape playlist songs (essentially, songs I discovered this late in the year) make it on my countdown list. Maybe I am being biased by recent;y listening to them or maybe it’s just that good. Either way, Amerika did make a few other countdowns so I feel justified giving the song such a high ranking. There are no lyrics for about two minutes so you are going to need to give this one some time to grow.
16) Flume – Take A Chance (feat. Little Dragon)
Flume’s Skin was already listed as my top album of 2016. Not because it’s the best to be released this year but perhaps because it had the most tracks that stuck with me. My favorite features the amazing Little Dragon and falls right here at #16.
15) Animal Collective – Golden Gal
ALBUM Painting With
Sometimes music is so important because the memories they invoke. This song instantly transports me back to March and driving around with my mom (and watching her dance to this) while my family visited during SXSW.
14) Santigold – Chasing Shadows
ALBUM 99 Cents
For whatever reason, February was a hard, weird month for me. This was one of the many songs on my MixTape playlist that helped me get through it.
13) Sylvan Esso – Kick Jump Twist
ALBUM Kick Jump Twist (single)
The last time I had Sylvan Esso on my countdown list, they landed the number two spot back in 2014 with Could I Be. This song, which was just recently released, continued to grow on me enough to make it into the top twenty of 2016.
12) Savages – Adore
ALBUM Adore Life
An absolutely incredible song from a great album. Give it a listen and turn it up loud (especially for the intense ending).
11) Fujiya & Miyagi – To The Last Beat of My Heart
An eerie sounding love song from Fujiya & Miyagi seems like a perfect place to leave part four of my countdown. When I make my playlists, they often are grouped with random songs I overheard & wanted to further investigate, music I want to try out or that was sent to me, and completely random stuff I stumbled upon. This track was one of the latter – a completely random find in a grouping of songs that stuck out the most.
Top Concerts of 2016
Over the course of a decade I’ve been lucky enough to live in Austin and see A LOT of live music. For me, there is a lot that goes into a good show but occasionally there are those nights where you get completely lost in the music (no it’s not just because of drugs thought that’s what you might think after reading this).
05) My Jerusalem | 3Ten Moody Theatre – Jun 25th
I was at the bar, had just taken a hit of acid when a friend called me. She had been stood up on a date and wanted to come pick me up for a night of drinking. “Hold on, I said. I have to go to this concert first.”
Glad I did!
The sound, the venue, the lights, and the brooding vocals from Jeff Klein made for an incredible show (as I knew it would). My friends and I even spotted Britt Daniels up front, jamming out to their set. Unfortunately, my ‘date’ was impatient about picking me up so I missed the last two songs.
04) M83 | Stubb’s BBQ – April 10th
I had been excited about this show for months. I was going on a first (sorta blind) date with a great girl and she brought along some shrooms. We connected instantly, the music sounded incredible, and we had a great view of the stage/lights. The shrooms, however, had other plans. Throughout the night we began to drift further to the back and away form the crowd. Eventually, the drugs proved to be too much and we bailed for a ‘safer place’. Was very disappointed we mistimed our trip (really the shrooms were more powerful than expected) and had to leave but the show was still memorable.
03) The Used | Emos – Aug 26th
It was a fun night with friends singing along to our favorite screamo album.
02) James Blake | ACL Live – Sept 25th
How does that voice come out of that young man? That’s the question I kept asking while being wowed at the incredible sound coming from the stage. It was Blake on the keys, a drummer and a bass/guitar player. Three people making incredible sounds powered by the Brits singer’s incredible vocals. Furthermore, James Blake doesn’t use a laptop to create his beats or loops – he does them all live. One of the absolute best shows of the year!
01) M83 | ACL Live – Oct 1st
I was not going to screw up my chance to see M83 again.
Over the course of 2016 I listened to this artist more than any other and was NOT going to miss them when they retuned to Austin for an ACL Fest late night show. I managed to hoof it downtown from Zilker Park just in time to get a drink and plop down in some incredible seats. Full disclosure: this was also the first time I tried molly and mixed it with acid. Sounds like a recipe for another freakout and bailing early? Not at all. The sound at the Moody Theatre was beyond incredible, the lights – this close up – were mesmerizing, and there was a vibration in the place like I had never felt before (okay, that could have been the drugs).