Top 25 Albums of 2015 (ToddS List)

25. Leggy – Nice Try EP [self]

24. Library Voices – Lovish [nevado]

23. Faith No More – Sol Invictus [reclamation]

22. Say Hi – Bleeders Digest [barsuk]

21. Giggly Boys – Bastards of Young [self]

20. The Diamond Center – Crystals of the Brass Empire [funny / not funny]

19. Gun Outfit – Dream All Over [paradise of bachelors]

18. Woolen Men – Temporary Monument [woodsist]

17. Expert Alterations – You Can’t Always Be Liked [kanine]

15. Albino Father – II [self]

14. Mikal Cronin – MCIII [merge]

13. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down… [matador]

12. King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizard – Paper Mâché Dream Balloon [ato]

11. L’Orange & Kool Keith – Time? Astonishing! [mello music]

10. Ultimate Painting – Green Lanes [trouble in mind]

9. Wand – Golem [in the red]

8. Young Guv – Ripe 4 Luv [slumberland]

7. Moon Duo – Shadow of the Sun [sacred bones]

6. Lazy Knuckles – Bucolic [gold robot]

5. Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeted At Last [castle face]

4. Danny James Etc. – Pear [burger]

3. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear [sub pop]

2. Destroyer – Poison Season [merge]

1. The Butterscotch Cathedral – S/T [trouble in mind]

Nada Surf

Nada Surf will release their sixth album, The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, on January 24. Below is a track from their upcoming album for your listening pleasure. Be sure to catch them on tour, and go out and buy their new album on the 24th.

Nada Surf – When I Was Young from The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy (2012)

Pearly Gate Music

Spring showed up and left in a matter of a few days. Anyone who lives or has lived in Utah knows that the weather here changes at a moments notice, and as we had a beautiful clear day yesterday, today is gray and wet. This change in the weather will not get me down though, I have found Pearly Gate Music.

The band is Zach Tillman and, according to Barsuk, “he records and usually plays live with a stylistic variety of full-band options”. The folk music he creates is warm and sunny, just like the weather we had in Utah yesterday. The song “Bad Nostalgia” sounds like it could have been recorded at a religious revival. The songs below are perfect for any summer mixtape, but also excellent for the rainy days when there is nothing better to do than lay around the house and listen to music. Enjoy.

Pearly Gate Music – Big Escape

Pearly Gate Music – Bad Nostalgia


Phantogram sets the bar high for new music in 2010. Obvious comparisons to Portishead aside, this young duo easily hold their own. It’s a fine distinction, but Phantogram is more space-hop than trip-hop and “When I’m Small” throws down a groove of heavily plucked bass that brightens up the bedroom vocals and scratchy record sample circling its way through the track. About a third of the way through everything drops out except soft synth pulses and echoing guitar to highlight Sarah Barthel’s voice. Diamonds spill from this woman’s mouth every time she opens it! My limited judgment is based on this and a couple other tracks, but I’m happily prejudiced and waiting to be fully abducted by Eyelid Movies on February 9th (vinyl via Ghostly). East Coast dates begin shortly before.

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David Bazan

I don’t listen to David Bazan as much as I should. The reason why is pathetic. And definitely one a musician never wants to hear—that you love one album, or maybe just one song, so much that anything else from that artist pales in comparison, according to that person’s narrow, small-minded, myopic point of view. Guilty. My two favorite song’s from Bazan come from his Pedro the Lion album It’s Hard to Find a Friend: “Big Trucks” and “When They Really Get to Know You They Will Run.” I’m enamored by the way those songs sound like snippets from short stories, more narratives than lyrics. And their tempos, their simplicity, and Bazan’s young, quiet earnestness on that first record. I realize this is no excuse and I need to dig deeper into his catalog—especially if I plan on attending one of his upcoming West Coast living room shows (Tickets go on sale today. Only 30 are available for each show). I don’t want to be that chump in the corner only singing along to or requesting older material. I hate those people.

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Chris Walla

It’s a rare day that this kind of pop is considered a threat to national security, but then, these are strange days we live in. Apparently, a “data hard drive containing critical album files was detained by US Customs. The drive was held “to be analyzed” for several weeks on its way back into the US prior to final mixing of the album.” Well, as a mention of the band Death Cab for Cute simply hurls me backwards to my collegiate days of angst and Chuck Taylors–I’m glad the music pulled through. Chris Walla, DCFC guitarist/producer, despite some strange customs officer’s sentiments, is not making “contentious” music, its true. But I’m always ready to don my Chucks, emote a little and listen to something perty.

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Menomena is one of those bands who are truly making music for the sake of making music. These are not the songs that rock stars and groping groupies are made of. Unless you’re living in an alternate universe maybe. Menomena compose slightly skewed music and on their new album, Friend or Foe, it frequently sounds like a meeting of Morphine and XTC. It’s easy to get lost in Menomena’s world as you explore the album artwork, beautifully illustrated by cartoonist and graphic novelist, Craig Thompson, a weird, dense mix of flesh and blood, life and death, animals and machines. To dig in deeper, aurally and visually, pop open the ecard. It’s not an easy listen, nor will it be easily forgotten.

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Jim Noir

I’m not gonna mince words here. Sam sucks. He’s on vacation and the poor fellow couldn’t get a post up before he left. Jim Noir rules. His songs make you feel like you’re on vacation. His latest album, Tower of Love, conjures, through simple melodies, long lazy, barefoot days spent flying kites, sipping and snacking on favorite treats, watching the sun set, and reading out on the porch against evening breezes. Track down the Fatboy Slim remix of his song “Eanie Meany” if you’re more of a party-all-night-on-the-dancefloor vacationer.

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The Long Winters

The Long Winters are long overdue for an overhaul on the ‘hive. They were one of the first five original posts, back when we were just so excited to be live, sharing music that we loved, we’d post a micro-review of the band, and move on to the next one. So more background on The Long Winters: it’s the brainchild of John Roderick along with a revolving cast of musicians. Roderick’s an Alaskan native living in Seattle, so there’s lots of talent to tap up there. Producer Chris Walla and Ken Stringfellow (The Posies) are among the many who have put up with Roderick who’s a self-proclaimed “little grouchy Napoleon” (and I don’t think he means of the Dynamite variety). Says a lot about his strength as a songcrafter—that he attracts that caliber of musician. Musically he’s a little bit folk, a little bit psychedelic, like Apples In Stereo caught up in A Mighty Wind. You’ll get caught up in the music and the charming earnestness of his vocals and lyrics.

*Note: Go to The Long Winters site to get hi-fi versions of the 48kbps MP3s. He asks nicely not to link directly to the files, so we won’t. He’s got Merlin Mann running his site, and you straight up don’t want to mess with that guy. He’ll get you done.

From Putting the Days to Bed (Coming July 25, 2006)
Pushover [MP3, 2.4MB, 128kbps]
From When I Pretend to Fall
Blue Diamonds [MP3, 1.3MB, 48kbps]
Stupid [MP3, 1.4MB, 48kbps]
From The Worst You Can Do is Harm
Carparts [MP3, 1.4MB, 48kbps]
Scent of Lime [MP3, 1.4MB, 48kbps]

Original post: 02/17/04
A sampling of favorites from 2003. That ’60s album.

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Rocky Votolato

With a name like Rocky Votolato, I was expecting disco covers, not classic folk-rock — acoustic guitar, harmonica, brooding lyrics, scruffy cheeks and the long gaze. Ah, I shouldn’t make assumptions based on the guy’s name, especially with that Italian ring to it. Did you see those ads in the paper, around the time of the Alito confirmation, blasting people for calling him “Scalito,” claiming that was ethnic bigotry? 3hive doesn’t need that kind of attention. Anyway, Rocky’s an old-style singer-songwriter from the PNW, and “Portland Is Leaving” is the prettiest sad song I’ve heard in a long time. “Love’s a trainwreck, you’re a mistake…”

Thanks to everyone for pointing out the bad links…
These songs are only downloadable directly from Barsuk’s website. Sorry.

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