2013 In Review Through Songs

Posted: December 28, 2013 in 2013, albums, songs

I feel like I’m getting a little predictable. If you’d have told me at the beginning of 2013 that Josh Ritter, Arcade Fire, The National and The Head and the Heart would be releasing new albums in 2013, I’d have said, “Okay, well they’ll be the top 4 albums of the year for me.” As you can see, they make the list, but there were also some good surprises to mix in too. And for those keeping score at home, I’d have expected to put Pearl Jam,

Rather than hash through the albums in their entirety, I figured I’d keep it simple and focus on 10 songs from 10 albums in 2013 that I think stand out. If you really want to know, yes, Trouble Will Find Me was my favorite and most listened to album of 2013.

Here’s an 8Tracks mix of all the songs below, in case you want to give it all a listen.

2013 Review in Song from mkinmotion on 8tracks Radio.

 

10. Kurt Vile – “Wakin on a Pretty Day”

(from Wakin on a Pretty Daze)

9. Phosphorescent – “Song for Zula”

(from Muchacho de Lujo)

8. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – “Man on Fire”

(from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros)
See also “Better Days” & “If I Were Free”

7. Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

(from Reflektor)

6. Atoms for Peace – “Judge Jury and Executioner”

(from Amok)

5. Vampire Weekend – “Ya Hey”

(from Modern Vampires of the City)
See also “Step” & “Diane Young”

4. Josh Ritter – Hopeful

(from The Beast in its Tracks)
See also “New Lover” & “Joy to You Baby”

3. Volcano Choir – Byegone

(from Repave)
See also “Alaskans” and “Comrade”

2. The Head and the Heart – Shake

(from Let’s Be Still)
See also “Gone” and “My Friends”

1. The National – “Don’t Swallow the Cap”

(from Trouble Will Find Me)
See also “Demons” & “I Need My Girl”

Others songs I love from 2013 that don’t necessarily have a great album to go along with them:
Haim – “The Wire”

Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear – “Cut Me Some Slack”

Steve Earle – “Invisible”

Night Beds – “Ramona”

U2 – “Ordinary Love”

Junip – “Line of Fire”

San Fermin – “Renaissance”

ACL 2012

Posted: October 15, 2012 in 2012, ACL2012

My first year of having the Austin City Limits festival happen since moving to Austin last Fall. I liked that I was able to walk to the festival each day and walk home each night; it takes a lot of pressure off of getting in and out.

Friday
While waiting for The Afghan Whigs, I was treated to most of Ben Howard’s set at the neighboring stage. I’d heard of Ben Howard but couldn’t tell you anything about him. He dazzled the crowd at two stages with a very solid set. The Afghan Whigs were phenomenal; in ways it seems like they stepped right out of 1993, but added a maturity to their arrangements. Alabama Shakes overran one of the smaller stages, so I ended up camping out behind the stage and the sound was pretty good, from some of the reviews I read the sound in the audience wasn’t great, so maybe I lucked out. Sat through most of Weezer’s set, they are so great live! Went to go catch the tail end of Florence and the Machine’s set at the other end of the park and was impressed with the presence and variety of music coming from the stage. M83 drew a big crowd that wanted to hear “Midnight City”. There were sound issues during their set, which tarnished it, but altogether a pretty nice set. The Black Keys did a great job closing out the night as headliners. A few years ago when they played earlier in the day they showed they could draw the crowd and keep them engaged…done and done.

Who I Saw
Afghan Whigs (Ben Howard at next stage)

Alabama Shakes

Weezer
Florence + The Machine

M83

Black Keys

Saturday
Great day. Can’t narrow highlight down to one. Andrew Bird was perfect! The Shins played a really great set…James Mercer even cracked a smile once or twice. Torrential downpours. Heard the first two Jack White tracks: loud and good. Watched Neil Young play for hours in the off and on again rain. Lots of grungy crunch from Neil and Crazy Horse.

Who I Saw
Andrew Bird

The Shins

Jack White

Neil Young

Sunday
The Civil Wars delighted the crowd. Pretty amazing performance considering they’re playing to a huge crowd with just one guitar and two voices. The Lumineers’ popularity has grown exponentially from when they booked for ACL and scheduled for one of the small side stages; needless to say the number of people stacking up to see them at a small stage made it an absolute disaster of people and they were too close to the hip hop band that was drowning out their sound. Iggy played a pretty great set, no complaints about a lack of sound. The Chili Peppers reminded me why they are so great. Given, I think they peaked years ago, but their live performance of new and old material showed the enthusiasm and funk that made them one of my favorite bands in the 90s.

Who I Saw
The Civil Wars

The Lumineers

Iggy and the Stooges

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Overall a pretty great weekend, though I’m thinking that next year I might just be one of those people in the back with a lawn chair looking comfortable to just sit in one place all day. Enjoy this little playlist from some of the songs that stood out at ACL 2012.

6 Songs Say A Lot

Posted: August 11, 2012 in list, music, songs, U2

I’ve seen this on a few blogs around the web and figured I’d take a shot at the meme. The premise originated on NPR and asks you to basically define yourself with a few songs. I’d love to know your songs, too.

What was the first song you ever bought?
One Christmas I received two copies of Huey Lewis and the News’ Fore! and for the first time in my life I was given the choice of what music I wanted. Of course, I opted for Wang Chung’s Mosaic because of the song “Everybody Have Fun Tonight.” I have no regrets. It’s still a great song even if no one knows was it means to Wang Chung tonight.

What song always gets you dancing?
I’m not a dancer, but it never fails that any time I hear Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky” I lose control and have to move to it. I dare you to try and sit still while you hear this song.

What song takes you back to your childhood?
Star. Wars. Theme. What you expected depth?

What is your perfect love song?
Since 1987, the answer’s been the same. “With or Without You”

What song would you want at your funeral?
They wouldn’t be my all-time favorite band if they didn’t show up on this list more than once. U2′s “Bad” has always been on the short list for favorite song ever. One of my favorite performances of it was captured in Rattle and Hum.

Time for an encore. One last song that makes you, you.
Maybe I’m being a little nostalgic, but underneath the overwhelming 80s influence, The Boss will always make me think of lifelong friends, growing up in the ‘burbs, and make me wish I could write songs. “No Surrender” brings it all.

Another Chapter

Posted: January 16, 2012 in 2012, Austin

January is a time to look back at the previous year and also to look ahead to the new year.  I’m determined to put some effort into MKinMotion.com in 2012 and get back to my blogging roots a little.

Since my last post here, I’ve moved from Anchorage to Austin, Texas. Quite a transition, indeed! While I’m considering the climate a definite improvement, I can’t say that the transition has been smooth or enjoyable. I’d come to the realization that I was comfortable, but wasn’t happy with most everything to do with my life in Anchorage. Luckily, my move to Austin came with a promising job and a healthy relocation package, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy. There was plenty of stress surrounding closing out my time at my job in Alaska, packing, and leaving. I’m getting closer and closer to feeling like I’ve settled in, but there’s still plenty of transition to be done.

That being said, I’m excited and hopeful about where I am now. I see a lot of promise in my new job, the company, and I enjoy the people I work with. I’m living just across Lady Bird Lake from Downtown Austin. Being the “Live Music Capital of the World”, I will have plenty of opportunities to get back to one of the key features of the old MKinMotion blog; telling you about great music. Austin is a new chapter in my life and I look forward to sharing some of it with you.

These aren’t New Years resolutions, but they’re goals I’ve made for myself to focus on in 2012. Maybe you can help me with them.

Blog Long Form
Back before Twitter and the short bursts, I took the time to write out entire sentences and paragraphs about things. I’d like to get to back to that. This should go hand in hand with a few of my other 2012 goals. Long form blogging may have gone out of style, but I still think there’s value in putting some time into it.

Be More Social
With all the tools available to keep up with friends and family, I do a terrible job of actually keeping up with friends and family. 2012 will be a year of Skyping, returning emails, phone calls, and generally connecting more with people.

Take More Photos
If I tell my Apple TV to stream the last 500 photos I’ve uploaded to Flickr, photos from 2009 show up in the slide show. While I’m not going to put a number on it, I want to take more photos in 2012.

Explore
This is the furthest East and furthest South I’ve ever lived. There’s a whole new territory of the US to be explored down here. Daytrips, long weekends, road trips, etc. Airfare is so much cheaper than Anchorage, that I’m putting more short trips on my calendar for 2012 to see new and old places. With the photo goal and the long form blogging goal, this should make for a great subject.

Be More Active
With very mild Winter temperatures in Austin, I’ve noticed that I do a lot more walking. I’m not committing to running a 5K or anything, but I am committing myself to do a lot more walking, biking, and paddling (heck, I live on the banks of a lake…) and raise my activity level.

Seth Boyer – Skinny Love

Posted: September 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


It’s pretty rare for a lower 48 musician to release an album and immediately be playing a show in Alaska. In fact, I bet this is a first, but that’s exactly what happened this week with the full length debut from Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside. On Tuesday, they released Dirty Radio with lots of deserved praise. I started hearing some buzz about them early this year, mostly because I try to keep my eye on the Portland music scene.

When listening to Dirty Radio, a strange sensation of both feeling like it’s something new and something classic at the same time. It’s retro with an edge. Unique to today’s landscape with shades of 50′s and 60′s pop music with a little Regina Spektor or Thao Nguyen mixed in. Dirty Radio is definitely worth adding to your collection.

Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside – I Swear from Matthew Ross on Vimeo.

I happened to see a Brandi Carlile Facebook post mentioning she was playing Anchorage and when I clicked the link to Whistling Swan, I saw that Sallie Ford was playing Snow Goose.  Putting the pieces together it looks like they were previously booked for the Trapper Creek Bluegrass festival and were looking for somewhere else to play while they were up here. I’m grateful that they came to town and the show was pretty fantastic. Sallie has just the right amount of goofy to offset how seriously she takes her songs when she’s playing them. The band is solid, too.

SALLIE FORD – “Rock & Roll” from More Dust Than Digital on Vimeo.

U2 Albums

Posted: May 10, 2011 in U2
Tags: , ,

A few weeks ago, Patton Oswalt was performing in Anchorage and told a story about being in Alaska in 1994 and referenced Zooropa. He said Zooropa was U2′s worst album. In my head, I objected, but then I went through the exercise of listing them in order…well, shucks.

1. Achtung Baby (1991)
2. The Joshua Tree (1987)
3. Boy (1980)
4. The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
5. October (1981)
6. All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)
7. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)
8. Rattle and Hum (1988)
9. War (1983)
10. No Line on the Horizon (2009)
11. Pop (1997)
12. Zooropa (1993)