Random Thoughts

2015 in Review

Well, it’s February, so I should probably post my annual look back at the previous year. Go figure, I actually thought over New Year’s Weekend “oh, I could get a start on my year in review post!” And then I decided to have dinner instead. And then it was February.
2015 came and went so quickly it seems. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re living your life and juggling a baby at the same time. While 2014 brought one of the biggest changes in my life in the introduction of little Avery, 2015 was highlighted by the growth of that same little Avery.













and now!
Yep, she’s pretty much the light of my life. It’s funny how each day I don’t think I could possibly love her more, and then the next day I do. It is just amazing watching her grow and figure things out. In the midst of the cuteness, I did manage to keep making Daddy Diary Videos, which I hope to continue this next year.
Obviously that sums up a lot of the year, but I was also able to go away on a 10 day trip to Yellowstone with my dad, which is a trip I will forever remember. That was one of my goals I listed last year, and it was thrilling to be able to make it happen in 2015. Love ya pops!

Dad and I at Yellowstone
And as far as other items from my list last year, I also finally made some pizzas on my grill, which turned out even better than I imagined. I also cooked lots of other stuff, played music, hung out with friends, took a few other little trips, laughed, cried and everything in between.
On a sad note, 2015 was also the year that Common Shiner decided to hang it up. I’m very proud of all that we created and did over the 13 years that I headed the group, but we ran out of steam. Luckily, the 4 of us are all still close friends and we can still reminisce often. Our music video still gets little bursts of views too, so I’m glad to see that we continue to live on. Who knows what the future may hold, but I’m just happy to see that people still discover our music, and that it still means something to them. I hope that aspect never changes. Common Shiner will always love you.
I have some big plans for 2016 as far as music goes, both with the band In Threes that I’ve been playing with, but also beyond that. More to come on that, but this post is first and foremost about looking back, making lists, and pretending like those lists are meaningful to anyone other than me.
In case you’re curious of my previous years – 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005. Oh hey look at that, it’s now been 10 years since I started doing this!
As usual, I’ll start with albums.
Top 5 Albums
1) SmallpoolsLovetap!
Yeah, this one was a no brainer. Thanks to Jake Chandler for introducing me to these guys, and I discovered them at the exact right time of year, which was right when it was starting to get warm. I found myself blasting Killer Whales with the windows down like 4 times the first day I heard it. The entire album front to finish is just wonderful pop/rock-y fun, from the opening of American Love which sounds like the next great Two Door Cinema Club song, through the Passion Pit-like Dreaming, even to the instrumental closing track (Submarine). Getting to see them at House of Blues later in the year pretty much sealed the deal with these guys being my number one album of the year.
2) Great Good Fine Ok2M2H
2nd year in a row for these boys making the list (topping it last year). Their songs are just so fantastically dancy and poppy, they’re irresistible. I did have the privilege of seeing them live this past year too, and while I went into the show genuinely wondering if it would be a “hit the spacebar and dance around” type of show, I was pleasantly surprised at the crazy great (good/fine/ok) show they put on. There were multiple fantastic key-tar solos. Enough said.
3) twenty one pilotsBlurryface
These guys made my “should have been into earlier” list last year, so I was certainly up for a new album this year, and this one didn’t disappoint. “Tear in My Heart” was probably Avery’s favorite song of the year, as every time we played it in the car, she would start tapping her toes, or swinging around her hands. It was like she was telling us “this is my jam”.
4) The SonicsThis is the Sonics
So I kind of knew about The Sonics, since they’ve been playing for like 40 years now. And this album sounds like it was made 40 years ago, in the best possible way. Bluesy garage rock with a saxophone with lyrics like “Bad Betty on a Bonneville”. I felt like I was transported to an era I never actually experienced.
5) Frank TurnerPositive Songs for Negative People
As with most years, picking a #5 is tough, because there were several albums all by bands that I really enjoy that were very good, but none that I was consistently drawn to all year. Mumford and Sons, CHVRCHES, Of Monsters and Men, Motion City Soundtrack, and Mountain Goats all had albums that I enjoyed, but none that I felt I had to keep listening to, so that’s why I put Frank Turner here. I think of him as the english Craig Finn (from The Hold Steady). He has a passionate, poetic, barstool gospel type of tone to him that is both intoxicating and inspiring. “We can get better, because we’re not dead yet!”
Honorable Mentions – Big Data – 2.0, CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye, Of Monsters and Men – Beneath the Skin, Mew – +-, Metric – Pagans in Vegas, Death Cab for Cutie – Kintsugi, HEALTH – Death Magic, Motion City Soundtrack – Panic Stations, Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell, Givers – New Kingdom, GUNSHIP – Gunship, Hillsong UNITED – Empires, Madeon – Adventure, Mountain Goats – Beat the Champ, Vinyl Theatre – Electrogram, Mumford & Sons – Wilder Mind, Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect, Silversun Pickups – Better Nature
Didn’t Have Time to Give Them a Fair Shake – Many Rooms – Hollow Body, The Royal Concept – Smile, Joanna Newsom – Divers
Theme Song of the Year
As I mentioned before, Avery definitely had a song of the year, so I suppose that means it should be mine too. 🙂
Tear in My Heart – twenty one pilots
Top Albums I Should Have Been Into Earlier

1) POLYSICSBestoisu!!!!
I have to thank Jordan Good for introducing me to these crazy self proclaimed “pogo punk” Japanese folks. Their music is so frenetic and crazy and amazing, I found it completely irresistible. My only regret is that I can never sing along, because it’s all in Japanese, but that hasn’t stopped me from annoying Corinne by putting on “Young Oh! Oh!” many many times in the car.
2) Wolf GangAlveron
These guys were on my “didn’t have time to give them a fair shake” list last year, but then this year I kept finding myself going back to this album again and again. It has all the epic lyrics of 80s hair metal, but without everything else that comes along with that.
3) Little DaylightHello Memory
Have Charley Carroll to thank for introducing me to these folks. This album is sort of what I’ve wanted the last couple Metric albums to be.
Most Disappointing Album of the Year
Dear WormwoodThe Oh Hellos
To be honest, this album is still pretty good, but I was so ready for it to be amazing, since I adored their first album so much. Overall, I would still recommend it, but my expectations were probably a little too high to realistically be met.
The Fleet Foxes Award
This is my award for the artist that I don’t think is necessarily bad, but has such hype around them that I don’t get what the big deal is. I don’t have any really strong contenders this year (a lot like last year, I suppose), but one artist that seemed to get a lot of hype that I definitely could not get into was….
I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty
I don’t really have anything to add other than I just can’t get into his music, and there seems to be quite a lot of people who do.
The 2015 Morgan, Corinne, & Avery Mix
For a while there it was just the Morgan Mix, then it became the Morgan & Corinne Mix, and now we’ve added a third to the mix. She definitely made her opinion known about a few of these (specifically track 10 and 17).
  1. Young Oh! Oh! – POLYSICS
  2. Black River – Wolf Gang
  3. Infinite High – Panama Wedding
  4. Overdose – Little Daylight
  5. Never Ending Circles – CHVRCHES
  6. La Lune – Madeon
  7. Dangerous – Big Data
  8. Kangaroo Court – Capital Cities
  9. Too Much to Handle – Great Good Fine Ok
  10. Thunderstruck – Owl City
  11. Lifted Up (1985) – Passion Pit
  12. Tech Noir (Carpenter Brut Remix) – GUNSHIP
  13. Take it Or Leave it – Great Good Fine Ok
  14. Here Now (Madness) – Hillsong UNITED
  15. Plans – Twin Forks
  16. Killer Whales – Smallpools
  17. Tear in My Heart – twenty one pilots
  18. Get Better – Frank Turner
  19. Lonely Town – Brandon Flowers
  20. Snake Eyes – Mumford & Sons
  21. Crystals – Of Monsters and Men
  22. Goner – twenty one pilots
If you’d like me to burn you a copy, let me know, as I don’t know a better way to share a playlist like this (since I’m not on Spotify). If you want to go through the effort of looking up all these songs and making a playlist, then you can channel the spirit of our 2015. 🙂
Favorite Movie
I had a span of movies that I saw in theaters this year that made me glad to be alive watching movies right now – Furious 7, followed by Mad Max Fury Road, followed by Avengers 2, followed by Jurassic World. While I had a blast watching all of those and many others this year, I guess I’ll give the award to……
Mad Max Fury Road
I’m sure most of you that are reading this have seen it, but this is like the POLYSICS of movies.
Worst Movie of the Year
Embarrassingly enough (as I’ve admitted in previous years), I probably consume more bad movies in a year than I do good ones, thanks in part to my favorite podcast How Did This Get Made. So I saw a bunch of bad movies again this year, from Death Spa to Zardoz to Kazaam to Sharknado 3 (which should be subtitled “okay, this isn’t any fun anymore”), but I think I probably have to give this one to a movie that I didn’t even watch because of How Did This Get Made. Instead I saw this one with my favorite people to watch terrible movies with (at Zoran’s Halloween Movie Marathon):
It is truly mind boggling how this movie ever got made, other than just drugs, which I have to imagine were flowing a plenty on that set.
Well I guess that about sums up 2015. As always, I hope to end the next year better than I started it, and 2015 was a success in that sense, though there may have been some ups and downs throughout. So cheers to 2015, and let’s do this thing, 2016!

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