December Monthly Mix in Motion

Graham LeBron
01 07, 2016

Well, folks it's the last monthly mix of 2015 and, apparently, I'm still playing catch up on all the great stuff released this year. I am curious to see if this much great music will come out in 2016, now that I'm paying such close attention to new releases, that is....

I've been trying to keep the mixes around 2 hours to be digestible, but this one is over 3, so you'll just have to suffer through it. At least most of my super favorites are in the first hour.

Kelley Stoltz released 3 different records this fall, they're all different and all good. I must say I am most partial to the full length, In Triangle Time. 

If you listen long enough, you'll also hear 3 tunes from Juston Stens.

The former Dr. Dog drummer went on a motorcycle journey across America back in 2011 to record songs for an album with the various musician friends he made in his years of touring. I hadn't heard anything in a few years, but he finally released the album, Share the Road, this summer and it is great. It features appearances by members of Wilco, Spoon, Generationals, Dr. Dog, Floating Action and more. The filmmaker that accompanied him on his journey put together a pretty cool documentary about it as well. Worth checking out.

I've absolutely fallen in love with Leon Bridges since seeing his performance on SNL in December. That show also contained one of the best SNL sketches I've seen in a while, thanks to Kate McKinnon.

I don't have much to say about his debut album for Columbia, Coming Home. It is a classic soul record in every way, and one of my favorites of 2015. It is hard to believe it came out only a few short months ago. It reminds me of the way I felt when I first heard Sturgill Simpson's Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. It is the real deal.

The first track, Nobody Dies, from Thao & The Get Down Stay Down's forthcoming album, A Man Alive, is amazing. Produced by Tune-yards' incredible Merrill Garbus, it will be one of my favorites of 2016. Jason Slota's drumming really elevates everything she does, and I'm sure this album will continue to reveal that.

I suggest checking out Drug Cabin. An interesting name and a great live band. I first saw them when they opened for Mattson 2 at Starline Social Club back in November.

I was so impressed with their live show that I bought both of their records. Yeah, they released 2 debut albums at pretty much the same time. I had a feeling this wasn't their first rodeo, so I wasn't surprised when my research found that the folks behind this project are Nathan Thelen (Pretty Girls Make Graves) and Marcus Congleton (Ambulance LTD). I expect big things from them in 2016.

I was also pleasantly surprised by Car Seat Headrest's most recent release, Teens of Style, on Matador RecordsThis guy has been prolific for a while, but I somehow missed out until now. I'll admit, I've fallen a bit out of love with this kind of scrappy indie rock that used to hang the moon for me in the 90s and 00s, but this takes me back. I believe it.

After listening to this mix all the way through, it feels warm, mellow even, and actually kind of hypnotic, even if it does get pretty dancey for large sections.

By about the 10th song I seem to have locked into something I've apparently become quite fond of this year: mellow, electronic tinged pop sung by interesting female voices. This month, it is Christine and the Queens, Kali Uchis, School of Seven Bells, Jenny Hval, Still Corners, Waxahatchee, Neon Bunny, Ladyfrnd -- I could go on... It is a trend I started to notice in November, but it has definitely come into its own on this mix. The funny thing is that it was completely unintentional. These mixes are spontaneous. Whenever I hear something I like, I throw it in as soon as I can and then I sort through it later. And that is when I noticed. I guess I'll go with it. I do think it may have to do with the fact that I start feeling fragile around November and this kind of stuff is very comforting to me.

There you go. Stay tuned for some kind of best of 2015 post, I suppose.

And you can now listen to the enormous Drops 2015 mix which is now over 25 hours long!

Don't worry, I'll make some more concise 2015 mixes as well.

Happy New Year!

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