January 11, 2015 Dropbox Notes

Okay, so I have been off the grid for a while. Hopefully you’ve missed me, because I certainly have missed the interaction with you, each and everyone of you. Really, I think about the Starbucks gang quite a bit after having moved my office. Same goes for the Canadian group whom I missed this Christmas.  C&K&J if you are reading these notes, I miss you always when you are not around. Maybe one day you’ll explore the dropbox and find out why I really love this type of music.  Nuff’ said.

I also know that I was remiss in getting dropboxes and these notes out for the past couple of months, but life sometimes gets in the way of the music. Not that I stopped listening to new tunes in any imaginable way, but I just wasn’t able to get the writing part underway. I thought about it on a number of occasions but wasn’t able to properly put pen to paper or word document on screen. The dropbox was also kind of quiet, so if you are reading this in early January, give me a shout and I’ll help you out with the stuff that you missed along the way. However, I’ve dropped a new drobox to coincide with these notes so you should take a peek, eh?

As this is generally the time of year when I take a look at the past year and reflect on what I spent most of my time listening to, I seem to have reached a new level of listening diversity. I definitely enjoyed a more diverse year in terms of albums I enjoyed, discovered some new areas of listening enjoyment that were off my radar in the past i.e. pop records, and discovered that pop-punk and punk rock as genres are in really good shape with excellent albums by the Menzingers, Fireworks, Copyrights, and Masked Intruder last year. Most surprising is my new found appreciation for electronic albums. However, don’t get carried away. I still can’t appreciate EDM, most industrial, goth, classical or Hip Hop. I’m still kind of old so its not likely I’m going to move that far from where I’ve started.

If you are new to the Tales From The Dropbox, I only put in albums that I like. So, there are no negative reviews. If I didn’t like a record or was lukewarm or bored, or I missed it along the way, then it’s not going to show up. I’ve got enough to do in my life without wasting energy on things that don’t bring enjoyment or the cash necessary to buy enjoyment! It is called work because its not fun. If work was fun then you could use the terms interchangeable – I’m not there yet.  I do actually miss quite a few things because there were over 15,000 releases last year and there are only so many hours in the day. 24 hours I think, right? So if you don’t see it, you can point out what I’ve missed and lead me to discover a record that gives you joy. Truly exciting!

So, the next couple of issues of the Dropbox Notes is designed to accomplish a couple of important tasks:
1. Catch up on releases that I dropped but didn’t have time to give you a capsule review;
2. Give you my thoughts on my favorite records of last year;
3. Post the complete list of releases that made the dropbox;
4. Update you on the new releases in this month’s dropbox.

Whew! That’s a bunch of stuff. So, I’m going to break those tasks up into pieces and post as I go. So, there will be dribs and drabs for the next thirty days or so. Please bear with me. 2015 is already looking good for new music and we will get there….together! ….and hopefully all in one piece…

Finally, I hope that your 2015 is an exciting, prosperous, healthy, and successful year. After the major news events of the past couple of months including #icantbreathe, Ferguson, Ottawa parliament shooter, last week’s Paris attack on a newspaper, and last month’s Australian hostage situation, it, at least on the surface, appears that the degeneration of the human soul is accelerating. Hopefully these tragic events are only an anomaly.

Last year there was also some brilliant evidence of the compassionate and empathetic human spirit where people took it upon themselves to make the world a better and safer place. It is these stories of courage and compassion during difficult situations that give me hope that evil will not win even though these same “good” events don’t get the same press attention. And perhaps these quiet and individual efforts to erase the evil of murder committed in the name of religion will someday create a roar of positive life affirming goodness and we can begin again to enjoy life without the threat of darkness.
Looking forward, and back, at the same time. Happy New Year!

Now to the regular program…

First, you should take a look at what you might have missed in the second half of 2014. My last observations were in July, so here is the list of releases from the second half of 2014 that made the Dropbox:

August 07, 2014 Dropbox

  1. Anti-Flag – A Document of Dissent [2014]
  2. Army Navy – The Wilderness Inside [2014]
  3. Courteeners – Concrete Love [Deluxe Version] [2014]
  4. Spoon – They Want My Soul [2014]
  5. Rise Against – The Black Market [2014]
  6. Nico Vega – Lead to Light [2014]
  7. The #1s – The Number Ones [2014]
  8. Ghost Wolves – Man, Woman, Beast [2014]
  9. Downtown Fiction – Losers & Kings [2014]
  10. Bleachers – Strange Desire [2014]
  11. Bishop Allen – Lights Out [2014]
  12. Big Deal – June Gloom [Deluxe Edition] [2014]
  13. Allison Weiss – Remember When [2014]
  14. Angus And Julia Stone – Angus And Julia Stone [Deluxe Version] [2014]
  15. Colony House – When I Was Younger [2014]
  16. Engineers – Always Returning [2014]
  17. Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt (Deluxe Edition) [2014]
  18. Grumbling Fur – Preternaturals [2014]
  19. Interrupters – The Interrupters [2014]
  20. J Mascis – Tied to a Star [2014]
  21. Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again [2014]
  22. Muffs – Whoop Dee Doo [2014]
  23. Stiff Little Fingers – Original Album Series [5CD][2014]
  24. Rentals – Lost In Alphaville [2014]
  25. Baby Ghosts – Maybe Ghosts [2014]
  26. Bats – Volume 1 [3CD] [2014]
  27. Dry The River – Alarms In The Heart [2014]
  28. Literature – Chorus [2014]
  29. Raglans – Raglans [2014]
  30. Real Friends – Maybe This Place Is the Same and We’re Just Changing [2014]
  31. Thousand Foot Krutch – Oxygen Inhale [2014]
  32. Dead Stars – Slumber [2014]
  33. Twin Atlantic – Great Divide (Deluxe Version) [2014]
  34. Ty Segall – Manipulator [2014]
  35. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lose [2014]
  36. Allah-Las – Worship The Sun [2014]
  37. Dylan In The Movies – Sweet Rebel Thee [2014]
  38. Dirt Farmer – Free BBQ [2014]
  39. Darlings – Made Of Phantoms [2014]
  40. Arkells – High Noon [2014]
  41. Empire! Empire! I Was a Lonely Estate – You Will Eventually Be Forgotten [2014]
  42. Lucero – Live from Atlanta [2014]
  43. Courteeners – How Good It Was EP [2014]
  44. Neighbors – Failure [2014]
  45. Neighbors – Will You Please Be Quiet, Please [2014]
  46. Wax Witches – Center Of Your Universe [2014]
  47. Philip Selway – Weatherhouse [2014]
  48. Quietdrive – The Ghost of What You Used to Be [2014]
  49. Roadkill Ghost Choir – In Tongues [2014]
  50. Sports – Sunchokes [2014]
  51. Cool – Paint [2014]

December 18, 2014 Dropbox

  1. Hard-Ons – Yummy [2014 Reissue Expanded Edition] [2CD] [2014]
  2. Royal Blood – Royal Blood [2014]
  3. Screaming Females – Live at The Hideout [2014]
  4. Merchandise – After The End [2014]
  5. Moon Duo – Live in Ravenna [2014]
  6. OBN IIIs – Third Time to Harm [2014]
  7. Ballroom Babies – Change To Silver [2013]
  8. Bad Things – Bad Things (Deluxe Edition) [2014]
  9. Colourist – The Colourist [2014]
  10. Copyrights – No Knocks [2014]
  11. Twin Atlantic – Great Divide (Deluxe Version) [2014]
  12. Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen at 21 [2014]
  13. Gob – Apt 13 [2014]
  14. War On Drugs – Lost in the Dream [2014]
  15. A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Sea When Absent [2014]
  16. Alvvays – Alvvays [2014]
  17. Yo La Tengo – Extra Painful! [2014]
  18. Pixies – Doolittle 25 B-Sides, Peel Sessions and Demos [2014]
  19. Wilco – Alpha Mike Foxtrot Rare Tracks 1994-2014 [2014]
  20. Republic Of Wolves – Covers (Vol. 1) [2014]
  21. Parkay Quarts – Content Nausea (Official) [2014]
  22. Springtime Carnivore – Springtime Carnivore [2014]
  23. Superfood – Don’t Say That [2014]
  24. Ty Segall – SINGLES 2 [2014]
  25. Viet Cong – Viet Cong [2015]
  26. Big Star – Live in Memphis [2014]
  27. Walk The Moon – Talking Is Hard [2014]
  28. Cult of Youth – Final Days [2014]
  29. Girlpool – Girlpool [2014]
  30. Fox & The Law – Stoned To Death [2014]
  31. Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways [2014]
  32. Baby Ghosts – Ghost Walk [2014]
  33. Chumped – Teenage Retirement [2014]
  34. Ex Cops – Daggers [2014]
  35. Fugazi – First Demo [2014]
  36. Game Theory – Blaze of Glory [Expanded Edition] [2014]

So, which of these releases should you have not missed? Well, the next Tales From The Dropbox Notes will cover the key releases that belong in everyone’s collection! (No…. the Foo Fighters record is not one of them. Sadly, not in the top releases of 2014. Solid record, but not one that I’m going to keep coming back to listen. Shelf life = 3 months, perhaps 6 months at best.)

January 11, 2014 Dropbox Notes

Welcome to another year of Dropbox Notes ! This month’s offerings are the best of last year, i.e. my favorite records from 2013.

In the past, I have posted my best albums of [insert year] list with little regard to the order on that list. That is, I just posted my favorite records of the previous year in an approximation of what I liked the best. This year, I struggled to try to get through at least the first 30 albums in order of how good I thought they were; how much I enjoyed listening to them, and how likely I would go back and play them after not listening to them for a year.

That qualifier – whether you would go back and listen to a record after a year of not playing the album – appears (at least to me) to be the real test of a list like this. In the past, most of the other lists I have reviewed (you can find some at rocklist.net) from some of my favorite magazines have not contemplated the long term impact of the records they claim are the best and greatest of the year. Some magazines do a better job of this (and I am confident it is completely unintentional) than others.

For example, looking back just 5 years to 2008, compare these two top 20 lists from Q Magazine and Spin:

Q Magazine 2008 Top 20

1. Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
2. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
3. Coldplay – Viva la Vida
4. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
5. Glasvegas – Glasvegas
6. Duffy – Rockferry
7. TV On the Radio – Dear, Science
8. Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid
9. Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
10. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
11. Sigur Rós – Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
12. Keane – Perfect Symmetry
13. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
14. Kaiser Chiefs – Off With Their Heads
15. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
16. Hot Chip – Made In the Dark
17. Adele – 19
18. British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
19. Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree
20. Gaslight Anthem – ‘59 Sound

Spin 2008 Top 20

  1. TV On the Radio – Dear Science
  2. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
  3. Portishead – Third
  4. Fucked Up – Chemistry of Common Life
  5. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
  6. Santogold – Santogold
  7. Deerhunter – Microcastle
  8. Hot Chip – Made In the Dark
  9. Coldplay – Viva la Vida
  10. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
  11. Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid
  12. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Pt 1: 4th World War
  13. No Age – Nouns
  14. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
  15. Beck – Modern Guilt
  16. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
  17. Roots – Rising Down
  18. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
  19. Okkervil River – Stand Ins
  20. Gnarls Barkley – Odd Couple

There is a little overlap on these two lists but on average from the Q Magazine list, I would listen to 5/20 (25%) and from the Spin list I would listen to 4/20 (20%). Can you guess which records I’d probably revisit?

With this personal observation i.e. that there are very few records that I would continue to play after a gap of a year, this list is prepared with that objective also in mind – looking forward 1 year from now.

And perhaps that is the goal of this “Best of 2013” list – to check back in a year and see how many of the 100 listed here you would go back and listen to in 2015.

With that said, here is my list of the BEST OF 2013 (all capitals because I am shouting):

Tales From The Dropbox Best Albums of 2013

  1. Savages – Silence Yourself
  2. FIDLAR – FIDLAR
  3. Pacific Air – Stop Talking
  4. Guards – In Guards We Trust
  5. The Men – New Moon
  6. Arctic Monkeys – A.M.
  7. Kurt Vile – Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze
  8. Paper Lions – My Friends
  9. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
  10. Palma Violets – 180
  11. Fuzz – Fuzz
  12. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
  13. Paper Aeroplanes – Little Letters
  14. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
  15. Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana
  16. Pure Love – Anthems
  17. California X – California X
  18. Foals – Holy Fire
  19. Future Of The Left – How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident
  20. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
  21. Mikal Cronin – MCII
  22. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of The City
  23. Starflyer 59 – IAMACEO
  24. Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are
  25. Lydia – Devil
  26. London Grammar – If You Wait
  27. Royal Bangs – Brass
  28. Upset – She’s Gone
  29. Waaves – Afraid of Heights
  30. Deerhunter – Monomania
  31. The Julie Ruin – Run Fast
  32. Jagwar Ma – Howlin’
  33. Haim – Days are Gone
  34. Bad Sports – Bras
  35. Bastille – Bad Blood
  36. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
  37. Deap Valley – Sistrionics
  38. So So Glos – Blowout
  39. Wooden Shjips – Back To Land
  40. Drenge – Drenge
  41. Hookworms – Pearl Mystic
  42. These New Puritans – Field Of Reeds
  43. The Knife – Shaking The Habitual
  44. Julia Holter – Loud City Song
  45. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
  46. Iceage – You’re Nothing
  47. Yo La Tengo – Fade
  48. Superchunk – I Hate Music
  49. Volcano Choir – Repave
  50. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
  51. Purling Hiss – Water on Mars
  52. Roshambo – Lonesome Men From The Woods
  53. Pissed Jeans – Honeys
  54. Queens of The Stoneage – Like Clockwork
  55. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
  56. Local Natives – Hummingbird
  57. Factory Floor – Factory Floor
  58. Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
  59. Riots  – Time For Truth
  60. Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation
  61. Fall Out Boy – Save Rock And Roll
  62. Forest Swords – Engravings
  63. James Blake – Overgrown
  64. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin
  65. Mutual Benefit – Loves Crushing Diamond
  66. Strypes – Snapshot
  67. Acres of Lions – Home(s)
  68. Daughter – If You Leave
  69. Grouper – The Man Who Died in His Boat
  70. Ballet – I Blame Society
  71. Tegan and Sara – Hearthrob
  72. Peace – In Love [Deluxe Edition
  73. Taymir – Phosphene
  74. Chastity Belt – Ne Regerts
  75. Auto Defiance – Running on The Edge
  76. Jimmy Eat World – Damage
  77. Courtney Barnett – The Double EP – A Sea Of Split Peas
  78. Dirtbombs – Consistency Is The Enemy
  79. Fitz & The Tantrums – More Than Just A Dream
  80. Hungary Kids of Hungary – You’re A Shadow
  81. Imperial State Electric – Reptile Brain Music
  82. Iron Chic – The Constant One
  83. Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
  84. Matt Pond – The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand
  85. Jake Bugg – Shangri La
  86. Murder By Death – As You Wish Kickstarter Covers
  87. Cage the Elephant – Melophobia
  88. Teen Agers – I Hate It
  89. Beware of Darkness – Orthodox
  90. Super Happy Fun Club – All Funned Up
  91. Middle Class Rut – Pick Up Your Head
  92. Banquets – Banquets
  93. Cults – Static
  94. RVIVR – The Beauty Between
  95. Exxonvaldes – Lights
  96. Mama Kin – The Magician’s Daughter
  97. Swearin’ – Surfing Strange
  98. Dead Sons – The Hollers And The Hymns
  99. Growlers – Not. Psych!
  100. Guster – Live With The Redacted Symphony

I’ll add the covers if I get a chance, but otherwise enjoy the list. Part 1 of the list ( 1-50) dropped today. I’ll drop part 2 (51-100) around February 1, so a slightly shorter turnaround this month/

Let me know if you think I’ve missed something, or your thoughts on the list. If you have a list you’d like to share – post a comment or send me the list and I’ll post it.

Until later alligator! I wish you all a terrific and happy 2014. Peace out.