Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2015 Vol 3 - Laurel Canyon Revelry

1. Carrie & Lowell - Sufjan Stevens
2. My Baby Don't Understand Me - Natalie Prass
3. The Night Josh Tilman Came To Our Apt. - Father John Misty
4. Midnight Meet The Rain - Destroyer
5. Can We Still Be Friends - Tobias Jesso Jr.
6. False Hope - Laura Marling
7. Lake Song - The Decemberists
8. When You're Smiling And Astride Me - Father John Misty
9. Sweet Satisfaction - Ryley Walker
10. Rock & Roll Is Cold - Matthew E. White
11. White Horses - Darlingside
12. Time, As A Symptom - Joanna Newsom
13. South Dakota - James McMurtry
14. Your Fool - Natalie Prass
15. The Wait - Tobias Jesso Jr.
16. Gurdjieff's Daughter - Laura Marling
17. Sun In The Sky - Destroyer
18. Bored In The USA - Father John Misty

Track List / Mix Write-up / Spotify /
McQ's Favorite Albums Of 2015
McQ's Favorite Songs Of 2015

About The Albums/Songs On This Mix:

2015 was an awesome year as far as singer-songwriter efforts went, and this mix aims to promote some of the best efforts in that vein.

So let's start with South Dakota, my favorite track from James McMurtry's first album in seven years, the excellent Complicated Game.

Like his father, famed Lonesome Dove novelist Larry McMurtry, James is first and foremost a top-flight storyteller, great at drawing portrait miniatures that also touch on much deeper themes, and the heartbreaking story told in South Dakota first rate example of McMurtry's talent.

A plainly but poetically worded tale of bad luck preventing an enlisted man from making a new life for himself back home on the his family's ranch after his final tour of duty, South Dakota ends with the brutal conclusion that for many poorer Americans today, there's greater opportunity to be found putting oneself in harms way in the Middle East than back here our native lands.

British folk singer Laura Marling's self-produced fifth LP, Short Movie, from which both the urgent False Hope and the rolling, life-lesson spewing Gurdjieff's Daughter come, is probably the best 2015 release I won't review in depth for this calendar year. Alas, there's only so many albums I can work fully through my listening rotation in any given year, and at a certain point, the time comes to just do a quick Spotify scan of the most notable albums and singles I've yet to catch for that calendar year, and move on.

That's what happened to Short Movie, which was very close to the top of my next purchases list when I cut 2015 off, but later, when I did my quick two-pass listen on Spotify, the album blew me away.

"What's this?" I said. The normally placid, spartan Marling had suddenly gotten outright dynamic, working in all manner of electric instrumentation on a number of tracks, and invoking sonic structures that would have sounded right at home beside Love or Tim Buckley and some others on a couple of Nancy and I's 1967 mixes. And while her singing remains a touch too intentionally anti-melodic for my tastes, it rarely gums up the works on these tracks like it has on past efforts like her sophomore LP I Speak Because I Can.  So overall, even though I've only given Short Movie two full listens, I have nothing but praise for the album, and it leaves me excited for what Marling will do next.

Can you believe this young woman, already five full-length albums into her career, is barely twenty-six?

It was a quite a year for Matthew E. White.  In addition to producing Natalie Prass's lovely debut, which we will hear more about in a bit, the multi-faceted Virginian also released his own second LP, the short, to the point Fresh Blood, which included one of my favorite tracks of the year, the joyous play on words that is Rock & Roll Is Cold.

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