October 3, 2017 – Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California

Honest writing about music

I wish more people wrote this honestly about music.

Thank you David Brooks.

December 31, 2016 – Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California

Records of the Year: 2016

ONE. Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate. I was looking forward to this release for a long while, and it did not disappoint. Michael says a lot of hard and important things on this record.

TWO. Chance the Rapper: Coloring Book. Really special, and bringing new meaning to "Gospel record." And I really enjoyed David Dark's commentary on Chance.

THREE. Local Natives: Sunlit Youth. Hooks and production on this record were so solid.

FOUR. Bon Iver: 22, A Million. Solid effort for those of us who have been waiting a while for this record.

FIVE. John Legend: Darkness & Light. I really enjoy these songs and love that Blake Mills produced this record.

And in no particular order:

  • Joseph. I'm Alone, No You're Not. The songs are exceptional and the harmonies on this record are so solid and definitely a household favorite in the Dodd home.

  • Radiohead. A Moon Shaped Pool. Standard greatness. Thankful they make music.

  • Anderson Paak. Malibu. Total groove. I love the tone that "The Bird" sets up top.

  • St. Lucia. Matter. A wall of sound in the best way.

  • Sturgill Simpson. A Sailor's Guide to Earth. He is pumping out solid effort after solid effort.

  • Frank Ocean. Blonde. Lots of scrutiny and secrecy around this release, and I dig it.

  • Dawes. We're All Gonna Die. Class in songwriting, and another solid Blake Mills produced record.

  • Paper Route. Real Emotion. Solid.

  • Switchfoot. Where the Light Shines Through. Really love how this record turned out.

  • Crowder. American Prodigal. The Grammys agree with me, and this is such a phenomenal record. Crowder's version of Thad Cockrell's "Great Rejoicing" is one of my highlights of the year.

  • Phil Wickham. Children of God. Sonically always getting better, incredibly heartfelt songs, I love what Phil is doing (especially when collaborating with Pete)!

  • The Last Royals. Never Be Alone. Consistently putting out great songs.

  • Tyson Motsenbocker. Letters to Lost Loves. This really is one of my favorites because of the way these songs ring in your soul.

Honorable mention: Stranger Things Soundtrack, Matt Corby, Travis, Sandra McCracken, Foy Vance, Matt Wertz, Lael, Trent Dabbs, Cass McCombs, One Republic, David Bazan, Macklemore

Check out the Spotify playlist of some of my highlights from these records, and a few more songs I enjoyed from the year. (Big props to Spotify for automating a great collection of my favorites from 2016 as well.)

And I want to hear about your favorite records! Tweet them at me here: @p_dodd

November 29, 2016 – Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California

Giving Tuesday (and Beyond)

You've probably been overwhelmed with online "deals" over the past week and a handful of "Giving Tuesday" options today. Everyone has a cause and an ask, but for whatever it's worth I thought I'd share a handful of organizations that mean something to me personally and that I've seen amazing work come from.

  • Love Does. I have always been thankful for the work that Bob, Debs, and company take part in. By providing a safe and fun environment for kids to learn in, they create future leaders who break cycles of poverty, restore hope in their communities, and spread love wherever they go.

  • Bro-Am Foundation. Not only are the guys some of the best guys you'll ever know, but their heart to make a difference in the lives of deserving yet underprivileged youth is so awesome.

  • PastorServe. PastorServe is a ministry I know, trust and personally support. This year, PastorServe is dedicating Giving Tuesday to serving Haitian Pastors impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Go to their website to find out how you can help Haitian Pastors by giving Haitian pastor couples an experience they will always remember.

  • Young Life. Through a handful of really important people in my life, I have learned from multiple sources how important Young Life is to introducing people to Jesus.

  • Show Hope. I love how Show Hope paints the message of the gospel with the story of adoption.

  • Preemptive Love. These people are going to really hard places and loving people anyway, regardless of circumstance.

  • Nations Foundation. I am a new Nations super fan. On top of donating, buy the journal!

  • Charity Water. I really appreciate what Charity: Water's attention to detail and care on the mission of providing clean water to people who need it on a massive scale.

On the for-profit side, I have been very impressed over the past few days of the messages sent by Patagonia, Miir & Soma about how to be conscious consumers.

February 24, 2016

Jack Garratt - "The Love You're Given"

This SXSW performance from Jack Garratt last year feels like a moment:

Enjoy.

December 31, 2015 – Dallas, Texas

Records of the Year: 2015

ONE. Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell. There was so much anticipation for this record and it delivered in a huge way as well as massively exceeded expectations. His faint voice and light instrumentation is perfect.

Note: in becoming a continued student of the relationships of music and spirituality, Sufjan's words and songs are especially intriguing. This article is worth a read.

TWO. Leon Bridges: Coming Home. I'm a fan. I love the fresh soul he brings and tribute to Sam Cooke.

THREE.(tied) David Ramirez: Fables. David's work has always resonated well with me. I am a fan of David as a person, as a songwriter, and as a performer. For him and Noah to team up to make this record was a really great gift this year gave.

THREE.(tied) Noah Gundersen: Carry The Ghost. Haunting, beautiful, arresting, tasteful, art. That's all I got.

Note: This record had PHENOMENAL album art. Philip Harder's work on this cover is really incredible.

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FIVE. Mutemath: Vitals. I knew that Mutemath was coming out with a record, but I honestly did not expect for it to be so good. I have listened to it so much, and this song is one of my favorites of the whole year.

And in no particular order:

  • Ryan Adams. 1989. I love that he did this. I love that he didn't care. And I actually really enjoy it.
  • Sandra McCracken. Psalms. Sandra infused so many beautiful melodies into the Pslams - so thrilled for her and how this turned out.
  • Jon Foreman. The Wonderlands. Jon's writing shines so brightly through this series of EPs
  • Adele. 25. I am not the only one who liked this record a lot.
  • Matthew Perryman Jones. Cold Answer. This record seemed to fly totally under the radar, but has some gems on it.
  • Brandon Flowers. The Desired Effect. "Between Me & You" is one of my standout tracks of the year.
  • Rayland Baxter. Imaginary Man. Rayland has a super fresh voice and a lot to say.
  • Chris Stapleton. Traveller. There are only a handful of people or guideposts that I personally look to for music recommendations. Seth posted about Chris Stapleton right when the record came out and I gave it a gander then and immediately thought "What a voice!" America has also caught on and that is fun.
  • Lovelite. Hopeful Strangers. Always solid.
  • The Japanese House. All releases. TJH is one of the greatest surprises of the year. Cool vocals, some heavy emotional distortion. I love it.
  • Oh Wonder. Oh Wonder. Simple and pretty. Some great piano riffs.
  • Beirut. No No No. I never gave Beirut a listen before this year and my interest was piqued when I saw their new record released. The sonics and melodies on this record are phenomenal.
  • James Bay. Chaos & the Calm. Zero to hero in a seemingly short time and he deserves it.
  • Justin Bieber. Purpose. This is an amazingly catchy record.
  • Julien Baker. Sprained Ankle. Last "JB" of this list and a pretty important record as far as faith + music is concerned.
  • Hillsong United. Empires. Standard greatness.
  • Tobias Jesso Jr. Goon. Feels old-timey and I dig it.
  • Matthew E White. Fresh Blood. Just enough groove to keep it fresh.
  • Coldplay. A Head Full of Dreams. Getting slightly better with every listen.
  • Joy Williams. Venus. New Joy & new songs made a great combo. Some solid tracks, but "Sweet Love of Mine" is a standout.
  • Ben Rector. Brand New. Ben is a kind man and consistently putting out great work. Stoked on how this record came out.
  • Slow Meadow. Slow Meadow. The best instrumental music out there at this point.
  • Ivan & Alyosha. It's All Just Pretend. Simply solid.
  • Lord Huron. Strange Trails. Continuing down the trail they blazed.
  • Lapsley. Understudy. Quite the arresting voice.

Thanks for getting this far. A Spotify playlist of some of my highlights from these records has been compiled for you here.

And I want to hear about your favorite records. Tweet me! @p_dodd

P.S. Interesting graphic Spotify gave me this from their Year In Review function:

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