Well, I suppose I "purchased" that new U2 album just like everyone else. And just like everyone else I never listened to it.
9. St. Paul and the Broken Bones - Half the City
I should really probably get into more soul. St. Paul and the Broken Bones is such a fun band and Half a City is a solid album.
8. Allie Smith - Smith Family Tree
Allie Smith is a local here and a friend of a friend. She also makes some pretty great music. Smith Family Tree is Allie and an armful of family and friend collaborators. As I understand it, she released this album then almost immediately moved out of the country. Glad I caught this before she disappeared
7. The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee (2002)
My arbitrary inclusion of whatever tMG album I ran across this year as I slowly collect them all. Tallahassee is great. They’re all great. Curse you, John Darnielle, for being so amazing. You even wrote a great novel this year!
6. Breathe Owl Breathe - Passage of Pegasus (2013)
Breathe Owl Breathe’s Magic Central was my favorite albums of 2010 and continues to be. Passage of Pegasus is a little bit dreamier, a little bit more whimsical, and just as exhilaratingly beautiful. If you ever get a chance to see these folks live, you’d best take it.
5. Ingrid Michaelson - Lights Out
Ingrid Michaelson’s been making beautiful indie pop for the last decade now, and Lights Out is my favorite since 2008’s Be OK. If nothing else, the video for Girls Chase Boys is great.
4. Harvey Danger - Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone (1997/2014)
Ok, I’ve owned this one for years, but in 2014 someone decided to make a vinyl pressing of Harvey Danger’s 17 year-old debut, one of the most underrated albums of the late 90’s. A favorite album by a favorite band meant I couldn’t resist. And I swear it holds up.
3. Jenny Lewis - The Voyager
I love Jenny Lewis. She’s smart, she’s clever, and she’s immensely talented. The Voyager is a beautiful album about looking back and pressing on and since I turn 30 in the next few weeks I’m doing a lot of similar reflecting.
2. Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil - Goliath
The first album I can remember owning, and I don’t even recall how it came into my possession, was a cassette of Steve Taylor’s 1986 live album Limelight. I fell asleep many a night during my eight year on this earth listening, and no doubt not understanding a thing Taylor was trying to say.
For the last few years Taylor’s been behind the camera instead of the mic, directing a number of Christian-leaning films including, most recently, the Kickstarted film adaptation of Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz.
The Perfect Foil is a bit of a Christian music supergroup: Jimmy Abegg used to play with Rich Mullins and Charlie Peacock, Peter Furler used to play drums for a little outfit called The Newsboys, and John Mark Painter performs with his wife as Fleming and John -- their 1999 album They Way We Are is a favorite of mine -- and has played with everyone from Ben Folds to The Indigo Girls.
Anyway, Goliath is proof that Taylor’s still got it, just as wry and biting as anything he’s ever put out.
1. Spoon - They Want My Soul
Oh goodness. Spoon is such a marvelously great band, and this is such a marvelously great album. Definitely hands down my favorite album of the year, I was so looking forward to this that I actually pre-ordered it which for some reason I never do. If I were to make a list of top 10 tracks I bought this year instead of albums, every single one would be off of They Want My Soul. Four years is too long between Spoon albums, especially when Transference simply wasn’t that good. But if that’s how long I have to wait between perfection, I guess I’ll live with it