Category Archives: Music

Some good music (nothing to do with education!)

I’m on vacation this week. This has involved a good amount of hiking, reading murder mysteries, reading nonfiction (Elephant in the Brain), good meals, and most importantly a lot of great time with my wife.

I haven’t posted about music in awhile, so see below for some music that I really like, and you might like too.

Angues and Julia Stone Chateau

Currently in the lead for my song personal song of the summer. Young love, wonderlust, and alternating male / female vocals – what more do you want for a summertime jam?


Loyal Light Up For You 

Wonderful summertime beats and a gentle refrain.


Arizona –  Cross My Mind

If you’re noticing a theme here you’re correct: I think I’ve somehow gotten into what the kids call “tropical house” or something like that. Who would have thought that at age 38  my tastes would take a turn toward low key, electric, pop music?


Valerie June – Astral Plane

Like the best of Dylan, Valerie June’s most amazing songs inspire complex emotions through seemingly “simple” music.


Tom Odell – Another Love

Great piano, great voice, and good melodrama. I’d also recommend this mix version. If you like that I’d also check out this version of Magnetized at BBC Radio1 show.


Mondo Cozmo – Thunder 

Sometimes songs just keep on walking up to the line of being too cheesy but then keep stepping back from the line in time to be saved – this is one of those songs.


Transviolet – Girls Your Age

Coming of age song of sorts – haunting voice and beat.


Alex the Astronaut Not Worth Hiding

Young Australian singer writes about coming out. I found it moving.


Mt. Joy – Silver Lining

This is the kind of music I loved in my mid-20s. Still have much love for it!


LP – Lost on You

A little rock and roll with alternating meanings of the song title woven throughout the song? Yes!


Ella Vos – White Noise

This version is good but might be slow for some, so check out the faster remix version too.



Great Songs of 2014

In any given year, I struggle to keep up with the best books and movies. But I try to spend a lot of time searching out music that I really like. To the extent your tastes are similar to mine, you might enjoy the following ten songs.

1. Sales: Getting It On

For a song I liked this much, I’m not fully sure why. There’s some combination of calmness, reflection, seduction, and self-awareness that kept pulling me in.

2. Connor Oberst: Artifact #1

I thought this one of the best albums of the year, but then my tastes are inclined to sentimentalism, and few do it better than Connor Oberst. On previous albums, Oberst nailed: what’s it’s like to be sixteen, the Iraq War, and the singularity – and with this album he nails what it’s like to be in your thirties. The whole album is worth digging into.

3. Sturgill Simpson: Turtles All the Way Down

Country music with weirdness, depth, and spirituality. They lyrics are wonderful: “There’s a gateway in our mind that leads somewhere out there beyond this plane / Where reptile aliens made of light cut you open and pull out all your pain” … “So don’t waste your mind on nursery rhymes /Or fairy tales of blood and wine / It’s turtles all the way down the line.”

4. Okkervil River: Our Life is Not a Movie, Or Maybe

I like emotionally obvious songs with bouts of momentum. This song delivers on both fronts.

5. The War on Drugs: Red Eyes 

Usually, I care a lot about the lyrics of song. With this song, I can’t really understand what is being said. But there is a beautiful energy that pulls the best of the rock and roll of the 1980s into the modern era.

6. Vance Joy: Mess is Mine

While the lyrics of the song seem to be about the truth that there are no individual messes in a relationships (“your mess in mine”), the video takes this theme and expands on it, addressing climate change via a polar bear taxi driver.

7. Strand of Oaks: Shut In

A more vulnerable version of Band of Horses.

8. Cathedrals: Harlem 

Over the past two years, my tastes have been trending to include more bands with female vocalists and electronic music undercurrents – such as this great song.

9. Caribou: Can’t Do Without You

Atypical for my tastes, but I agree with the other 2.5 million people on soundcloud – everytime you listen to this song it hooks you in a little more, and by the 5th time you’re addicted.

10. Alt-J: Hunger of the Pine


What I’ve Been Listening to on Soundcloud

Perhaps you might enjoy this music too:

1. Benjamin Clementine – I Won’t Complain (like John Legend but better and I like John Legend)

2. Alt J – Hunger of the Pines (less instrumental than my usual tastes, but I liked the mood) 

3. Youth – Daughter (3.5 million people on sound cloud can’t all be wrong)

4. San Fermin – Sonsick (indie rock about domestic issues, such as t-ball games) 

5. Dead Times – Inner Gold (music by an artist infinitely cooler than you or I)

Hopefully there’s enough variety that everyone can find a new song to get into, which for me is a one of life’s more pleasurable gifts. 

Drop a comment if you liked anything – or if you have any recommendations to share.