Friday, January 19, 2018

X Games to Feature Live Music By LCD Soundsystem and More, January 25-28 in Aspen

Oh, to live on Buttermilk Mountain.

It's not quite music festival season, but don't tell that to organizers of the 2018 X Games in Aspen. LCD Soundsystem, Martin Garrix, Method Man & Redman, and Marshmello are all set to perform January 25-28 on, and tickets are on sale now. Of course, all the music entertainment takes place alongside sport competitions, which are free and open to the public.

To double your fun in the snow (with comfort!), you will want to learn about the Diamond Music Club, which features "Four-day access into the Platinum Tower, a multi-level, heated lounge featuring complimentary beer, wine and gourmet bites with amazing views of X Games competitions, athlete meet & greets, access into the Diamond Club for all X Games Aspen concerts, behind-the-scenes tour & an exclusive X Games branded gift. Four-day Platinum pass holders also receive one single day lift ticket valid at all four Aspen Snowmass mountains." More information and pricing options are available here.

See you in Aspen?

Friday, December 22, 2017

The 15 Best Albums of 2017

No one will be denied on my boat, on my boat
No getting ahead or falling behind on my boat, on my boat

Hello, friends.

The Speakers in Code Album of the Year for 2017 is Stitch of the World by Tift Merritt. Mainly because when I heard Tift sing "My Boat" live in St. Louis, I got the kind of chills that remain for days. I felt it was incredibly honest, hopeful, and like the full album, went the extra 5% to be great.

Thank you, Tift, and everyone else on this list for giving the gift of music.

Editor, Speakers in Code

1. Tift Merritt, Stitch of the World

Top Tracks: "My Boat," "Dusty Old Man," "Icarus," "Wait For Me"

2. Josh Ritter, Gathering

Top Tracks: "Train Go By," "Myrna Loy," "Showboat," "Cry Softly"

3. Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton, Choir of the Mind

Top Tracks: "Fatal Gift," "Nihilist Abyss," "Choir of the Mind," "Minefield of Memory"

4. Matthew Ryan, Hustle Up Starlings

Top Tracks: "Hustle Up Starlings," "Run Rabbit Run," "Battle Born," "Maybe I'll Disappear"

5. Laura Marling, Semper Femina

Top Tracks: "Soothing," "Nothing, Not Nearly," "Wild Fire," "The Valley"

6. John Moreland, Big Bad Luv

Top Tracks: "Sallisaw Blue," "Old Wounds," "Lies I Chose To Believe," "Latchkey Kid"

7. Nicole Atkins, Goodnight Rhonda Lee

Top Tracks: "A Little Crazy," "Goodnight Rhonda Lee," "Listen Up," "Colors"

8Ryan Adams, Prisoner

Top Tracks: "Outbound Train," "Prisoner," We Disappear," "Broken Anyway"

9. Noah Gundersen, White Noise

Top Tracks: "The Sound," "Bad Desire," "Fear & Loathing," "Send the Rain (To Everyone)"

10. Jillette Johnson, All I Ever See In You Is Me

Top Tracks: "Bunny," "Like You Raised Me," "All I Ever See In You Is Me," "Throw Out Your Mirror"

11. David Ramirez, We're Not Going Anywhere

Top Tracks: "Telephone Lovers," "Good Heart," "Eliza Jane," "Twins"

12. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound

Top Tracks: "Molotov," "Anxiety," "Last of My Kind," "If We Were Vampires"

13. The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding

Top Tracks: "Pain," "Thinking of a Place," In Chains," "Up All Night"

14. Kasey Chambers, Dragonfly

Top Tracks: "Ain't No Little Girl," "Summer Pillow," "Dragonfly," 

15. Ha Ha Tonka, Heart Shaped Mountain

Top Tracks: "Arkansas," "Everything," "Race To The Bottom," "Favor"

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The 65 Best Songs of 2017


This ain't for clicks. I promise it ain't for clicks.

This list mainly exists because A) I like to have all my favorite songs on one playlist and B) our readers seem to like it.

By no means am I saying these are the only 65 out there. I know there are many, many more.

But here are mine. My 65. I normally limit to one from each artist, but I broke that rule this year.

These are in NO order.


Friday, December 8, 2017

The 13 Best Sad Bastard Songs of 2017

and I don't need for you to tell me what that means
I don't believe in that stuff anymore

Hello, friends. It's been interesting year!

My hope is that this year's Sad Bastard playlist will lift you up. You might say, "well, how is a sad song going to turn my blues around?" My answer is that you're better off finding that out for yourself.

But...but...for me, sad songs provide truth in a world of lies. So many lies.

These songs lift me up.

Peace and love...always...

Thursday, December 7, 2017

[FEATURE] Carson McHone: Artistic Evolution

Photo by Mike Holp

Carson McHone: Artistic Evolution

Feature by Elisa Regulski

As the grass tickled our legs on a lethargic Austin City Limits morning, a crystalline voice floated above the speakers. For many listeners, Carson McHone’s set simply acted as a peaceful start to the weekend’s manic, musical marathon. Her lilting waltzes and resonant vocals were like a slowly steeping cup of tea gradually erasing the sleep from our eyes. As her set progressed, however, the songs slipped into our veins like an energizing jolt of espresso. Like McHone’s musical career, her performance evolved throughout her Friday morning performance. By the end of her one-hour set, she had us feeling antsy and eager for what’s next.

McHone’s lyrics ring with deeply personal poetry, but they’ll make you feel like she took inspiration straight from your diary. The songs sound timeless, and they’re continually morphing into something new. What begins as a heavy heartbreak ballad can rapidly transform into commentary from last night’s news segment. McHone sees this evolution most clearly in her beautifully hypnotic song, “Dram Shop Gal.”

“I don’t trust no man who slicks back his hair
Though he may be a millionaire”

“When I sing that lyric, it was about a guy that I used to date who was a barber. And now I’m singing about Donald Trump.” McHone said.

Though her personal views always pierce through the music, McHone doesn’t consider them protest songs. To her, subtlety has more power than vehement arguments.

“I’m not going to tell you who to vote for in those words, but I’ll certainly tell you who to vote for,” McHone said.

As she put in the miles on the road, the country’s political divide pounded like a piercing headache. Local Austinites know that this city’s liberal bubble is too thick to see through, and sometimes, it takes a cross-country tour to understand the pervasive, political rift.

“It’s different -- so different,” McHone said. “It’s wild to meet people who hold completely, utterly different values than I do. To me, they are monstrous values, and yet they are welcoming me into their home. In any other circumstance we would be spitting at each other, and yet we are connected on this certain level to where we can appreciate each other.”

As her lyrics subtly inch toward social change, McHone’s artistic life rushes like a rollercoaster. The past year has brought both euphoric highs and shattering lows. Rolling Stone named her one of the top ten new country artists you need to know, but the loss of her bass player punched a dent into her personal life.

“It’s been a devastating year but also really really powerful and really beautiful.” McCone said, adding another word that’s rarely used to describe hardship: “Empowering.”

More changes may come in the future, but for now she’s focusing on “how to evolve as an artist” and craft songs that will carve new avenues for discussion.

“If I can establish some sort of relationship with people that listen to my music and enjoy it, then at some point those conversations can be had.” McHone said.