Shawn’s Favorite Albums of 2016

david-bowieWhat a year, eh? While 2016 was easily the most devastating year I’ve seen in my 40 on this planet. To kick things off David Bowie died before the damn News Years clock had hardly even stopped ringing. Follow that with Prince, Richard Lyons, Sharon Jones, Phife, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Merle Haggard and just before the closing bell, George Michael. That’s not even all of them, but it’s more than enough to illustrate that the Universe had A LOT to make up for. Ying and Yang, right? You cut down a tree, you plant one in return. Well, I don’t know if the scales balanced, but I certainly found a ton of great new music this year. A heaping helping of it it is published by the wonderful Felte Records, so you may want to bookmark their website and keep an eye on them. Also, my two main gatekeepers/curators at this point are Heaven is an Incubator and Part Time Punks, two more great tools for finding amazing new sounds to make your ears happy.

The Joup Friday Album: The Callas – Half Kiss Half Pain

CallasI’m going to do something different this week. Normally the idea behind the Joup Friday Album is to post an entire album that the you can click to, hit play on and then go about your business preparing for your weekend. You know, sync the phone or laptop to the stereo, turn it up and then move around your house; start prepping the night’s dinner or sit and work on some writing while the sounds that Joup’s wonderful contributors have chosen usher in the potential inherent in your two days of freedom. It’s a nice way to start the brief respite from work, having someone curate a new experience and personally I hold it pretty holy. That said, this week I am not going to post an entire album. I’ve been thinking about this for a while – the fact that it has become harder and harder to find ‘full albums’ on youtube and the fact that our WordPress theme fights like a little bitch when we try to embed from spotify or bandcamp. So maybe this is all just an excuse to break protocol. Or maybe it’s just that I am excited as hell about this new album by The Callas.

The Joup Friday Album: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – And No More Shall We Part

image courtesy of wikipedia.org

It is hard to imagine an album more beautiful than this. And when you factor in the oddities, the darkness, the punishment and the full out belly laughs – ie the guy in the plastic antlers pressing his bum against the glass – what you have is a musical experience unlike any other. When I first heard this somewhere around eleven years ago it was my first deep exposure to Mr. Cave. It was also unlike any musical experience I’d had up until that point, roughly my twenty fourth year on Earth.

Shawn’s Top 11 Albums of 2013

A quick note: This year I had a very tough decision – I changed my top ten to top eleven. I’m not going to lie, I did this under great personal tumult, as adding an extra number really goes against my own preferred aesthetic to these kinds of things. If you add one to make eleven, why not add another to make twelve if there’s a record you just really want to add? The idea of year end ‘best of’ lists has always – to me – been to whittle it down; to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak. How is it doing that if you add number positions, eh? Well, then I got to thinking, how did ten become the number? And on top of that eleven is a very powerful number for me, so why am I not already doing eleven instead of ten? In the end it occurred to me that while there were a lot of records I loved this year there were a solid eleven that I felt I must absolutely must talk about, so the number change stuck.

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