Bruce Springsteen

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WiAC 2014 Songs HeaderWell we weren’t planning on doing a favorite songs post for 2014, but then Logan sent me an email with his favorite songs and some brief write-ups, then I couldn’t help doing the same, and before we knew it, we had a list that we both agreed should probably be shared. But we didn’t want to do too much more work,┬áso we present to you our favorite 30-ish songs from 2014, un-ranked and accompanied by our first-draft non-proof-read write-ups!

Logan’s list is on top, Chris’s is on bottom, and both are in alphabetical order. Click on and enjoy!

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Top 21? But weren’t there 25 last year? Well yes. And it was only 15 the year before that. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not that rigid around here – all we really care about is letting you know what we’re loving right now and that’s about it. If we only fall for one record next year then you can probably expect “WiAC’s Top 1 Album of 2011”. It’ll be a good one, though. We promise.

That said, this year was a great year for music. But it was great in a different way than the last couple years. In 2008 and 2009 we fell hard for debut records by new bands (Grand Archives and Harlem Shakes, respectively), but this year our top 5 went to nearly all familiar faces. In fact, I think when we look back on 2010 what we’ll remember most was how artist after artist that released an anticipated album just seemed to deliver – and not just by making good records, but often by making the record of their career. In a year where we listened to more music than ever, we just couldn’t deny that these were the albums we enjoyed the most. Period.

Finally, remember that this list represents our favorite albums of the year, and not necessarily the best albums of the year. If we had to pick what we thought were the very best albums critically, this list would probably look a little different. But we’re not critics, so we’re going to skip all the posturing and taste-making mumbo-jumbo. These are simply our very favorite albums of the year – the ones that made us laugh, cry, dance, smile, press repeat, wet our pants, etc. Basically, this is what we’ll remember when we look back on 2010…

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Two funny videos in two days? I know! And I’m sorry! But this is too good to not share:

If you need some context, here’s the original song by a one Willow Smith.

Can we all agree that Jimmy Fallon is easily the coolest person on TV today? With a close second going to ?uestlove? (Okay, ?uestlove’s probably cooler, sure, but how ’bout that Neil Young impression?! Wow.)

(via stereogum)

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To get ready for the All Hallow’s weekend here’s a playlist of what we think are genuinely creepy songs. With only a few exceptions, they’re mostly low-key acoustic songs, the kind you might hear around a campfire, somewhere far out in the woods. Only a couple deal with “monsters” per say (one mummy and one vampire, respectively), the rest are centered around the real-life kind of monsters – bloodthirsty sociopaths on hellish road-trips, spurned-lovers who become violently unhinged, and nightmarish butchers who come for your children in the night. A lot of the tunes are pretty, but if you listen close, these songs will keep you up at night…

mp3: Elliott Smith – Son of Sam

mp3: Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer

mp3: The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song

mp3: Mason Jennings – Jackson Square

mp3: Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska

mp3: Josh Ritter – The Curse

mp3: Joshua James – Farmer From The West

mp3: Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

mp3: A.A. Bondy – Oh The Vampyre

mp3: Johnny Cash – Delia’s Gone

mp3: Kings of Leon – Joe’s Head

mp3: Okkervil River – For Real

mp3: The Decemberists – Shankill Butchers

mp3: Mason Jennings – Isabella Part II

mp3: Sun Kil Moon – Glenn Tipton

Also, on a less creepy note, here’s a Halloween-themed video for Jeremy Messersmith’s quite beautiful “A Girl, A Boy, and a Graveyard”. Happy Halloween!

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jrdawn500miles

Hey everyone! It’s hard to believe, but this is our 400th post here at WiAC. Kind of crazy, I know. And I couldn’t think of better news to grace this very historic post (not really), than the news that Josh Ritter just released a free song on his website – a cover of an old Hedy West song called “500 Miles” (no, not that 500 Miles). It’s pretty lo-fi, very pretty, and features Dawn Landes on vocals. Check it out:

Link: Josh Ritter & Dawn Landes – 500 Miles (Hedy West cover)

And because just a single link didn’t seem like a sufficient milestone post, here’s a few other Josh Ritter covers that I happen to love. Thanks for reading guys! Hope to see you all in 400 more!*

mp3: Josh Ritter – Blame It On The Tetons (Modest Mouse cover)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Mexican Home (John Prine cover)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Moon River (Johnny Mercer/Henry Mancini cover)

mp3: Josh Ritter & Sarah Harmer – Long May You Run (Neil Young cover)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Chelsea Hotel No. 2 (Leonard Cohen cover)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Daddy’s Little Pumpkin (John Prine cover) – live

mp3: Josh Ritter – The River (Bruce Springsteen cover) – live

mp3: Josh Ritter & Blake Hazard – Tonight You Belong to Me (Billy Rose/Lee David cover)

mp3: Bridget Matros & Josh Ritter – Angel From Montgomery (John Prine cover)

*actually “hope to see you” is pretty loose for “hope you’re still reading this little blog on the internet anonymously” – but that sounds a lot less pleasant…

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steeltrain_img03_hires

Ok I’ve been in love with this song by Steel Train for about 2 weeks now, and it’s time I admit it. The weekend before last my wife and I went on an impromptu storm chase after being awe-struck by some of the coolest cloud-to-cloud lightning we’d ever seen – and as we went racing around some of the state routes west of Indy this was the song that was blasting from our open windows. And can you even try to think of a better storm-chasing song? I dare you to.

Well I just got my hands on the rest of these New Jersey boys’ album, and so far I’m loving every bit of it. The fantastic blogger who turned me onto these guys described them as “indie kids doing their best, brilliant shot at Springsteen”, and I think she hit it right on. It’s got all the fist-pumping power of Born To Run’s finest moments all wrapped into one little song. In addition to their NJ forebear, I also hear shades of The Format in their grand shimmering sound, which really puts a smile on my face. How funny then that just this afternoon I got an email from Nate Ruess about his latest project (fun.), in which he added:

“Oh, and if you haven’t purchased the new Steel Train yet, you’re crazy. I’m a competitive person, so for me to say that it’s the best record of the year, prolly means that it’s my favorite record of the last 5 years. Truly inspiring. Run, don’t walk over to their website.”

‘Nuff said.

mp3: Steel Train – Bullet
from the album Steel Train (buy it here)

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ghost_of_tom_joad

Every now and then I get sucked into a song and can’t ever get enough of it. “The Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen (and Rage Against the Machine’s version) have been playing constantly on my computer for the last two days. I can’t say I’m relating to the song, I’m probably the least oppressed person in the world. Oppressed or not, I think its one of the most powerful songs ever. The kind that leaves that revolutionary flavor in your mouth after listening to it (be careful though, one listen too many and the next thing you know you’re wearing a ski mask and smoking a pipe in Chiapas).

And now with my finals coming to a close this week I’m thinking of picking up The Grapes of Wrath for a little summer reading and maybe drifting across the country for awhile. Or what is more likely, I’ll just delve into Bruce Springsteen’s catalog. Who knows? The prospect of a free and open summer is exhilarating.

mp3: Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad
from the album The Ghost of Tom Joad (buy it here)

mp3: Rage Against the Machine – The Ghost of Tom Joad
from the album Renegades (buy it here)

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