Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 In Review: What I Listened To

This is the second of a few posts reviewing my experiences in the past year:
  1. What I Read
  2. What I Listened To
  3. What I Watched
  4. What I Did
I've always been an appreciator of thoughtful, well-crafted music -- music that is written from the soul of the performer because the artist has a driving need to create it and share it. Please note that this is different from most music heard on pop radio which is created in order to be sold to the biggest group of people possible.

Over the last several years I've become a huge fan of podcasts, too. In the olden days it was always good to catch an informative hour-long radio program from NPR, but they usually aired on Saturdays and Sundays so I'd only hear them if I happened to be driving in my car at the right time of day. And even then, it's likely that I would only hear part of the show.

The new art of podcasting now allows the listener to hear those programs (and many many more) whenever they want. Even more importantly, it has democratized the airwaves by allowing anyone anywhere to make a recording and share it.

The podcasts I enjoy most are a combination of both professionally produced shows from some NPR outlet as well as individuals who decided to start recording themselves talking about something they're passionate about.

Here's a sample of what I listened to most...

What I Listened To in 2014

"Mincer Ray" by Guided by Voices - An older GBV song written by their secondary songwriter Tobin Sprout. Can't tell you how many times I listened to it on repeat in the past few months. It just really grabbed me this year.

A Love Supreme by John Coltrane - I finally bought my second true jazz album, this one, after enjoying Miles' Kind of Blue for the last decade. I'm glad I finally appreciate this foremost style of jazz.

Brill Bruisers by The New Pornographers - They just keep on cranking out phenomenal pop records.

Southeastern by Jason Isbell - Listened to this gorgeous, heartfelt album more than any other over the past couple years.

Songs for Slim tribute by Steve Earle ("Times Like This"), Lucinda Williams ("Partners in Crime"), The Minus 5 with Curtiss A ("Rockin' Here Tonight"), Joe Henry ("Taken on the Chin") - These artists took songs written by Slim Dunlap and portrayed them in a new and more masterful light, spurring me to compare Slim Dunlap to the likes of Townes van Zandt & Leonard Cohen (i.e. someone who writes beautiful songs but doesn't have the best voice or arrangements).

Neutral Milk Hotel concert in Denver in April 2014 - I previously wrote about it here.

The Tim Ferriss Show - Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week has weekly discussions with world-class performers in a variety of fields in an effort to desconstruct their successful habits and thinking.
The Sprocket Podcast - Fun show out of Portland, OR that talks about riding bicycles and living simply, usually with guests.
Pedal Hub - New Twin Cities-based podcast about bicycles and bicycling.
WTF with Marc Maron - Neurotic comedian hosts in-depth & personal interviews with interesting artists, musicians, comedians, etc.
Freedom Lovin' - Inspiring discussion around the host, Kevin, and his experiences in securing a location-independent income stream and long-term global travel.

Travel with Rick Steves - I used to think that Rick Steves was too dweeby & populist, but I've grown to appreciate his thoughtful, open mind and his deep insights into humanity after a lifetime of interacting with people of different cultures.

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