Eclectic Workout Mix (Spotify Playlist)

With everyone back at the gym working out with the new year, I thought it would be a good time to share the songs that get me pumped up when I’m exercising. It’s a mix of rock, hip-hop and electronica. Some of them are hits you’ve probably heard before and other songs are fairly obscure. I expect it to grow over time so subscribe if you want to hear the latest songs as they are added.

Link to Spotify

Top 25 Albums of 2015

  1. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
  2. Tame Impala – Currents
  3. Father John Misty – I Love You Honey Bear
  4. Lord Huron – Strange Trails
  5. Low – Ones and Sixes
  6. The Dodos – Individ
  7. Blur – The Magic Whip
  8. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
  9. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier
  10. Leon Bridges – Coming Home
  11. Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi
  12. Beach House – Depression Cherry/Thank Your Lucky Stars
  13. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material
  14. Purity Ring – Another Eternity
  15. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
  16. Natalia Lafourcade – Hasta la Raiz
  17. Oceanear – Oceanear
  18. Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle
  19. Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone?
  20. Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges & Claws
  21. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
  22. Jamie XX – In Colour
  23. El Vy – Return To The Moon
  24. Chvches – Every Open Eye
  25. Watkins Family Hour – Watkins Family Hour

Honorable Mentions

  • Hear We Go Magic – Be Small
  • Wilco – Star Wars
  • Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
  • Ryan Adams – 1989
  • My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall
  • Palehound – Dry Food
  • Great Lake Swimmers – A Forest of Arms
  • The Arcs – Yours, Dreamily,
  • Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble
  • Other Lives – Rituals
  • The Tallest Man on Earth – Dark Bird Is Home
  • Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Goin’ Down…
  • Telekinesis – Ad Infinitum
  • Nick Diamonds – City of Quartz

Spotify Playlist

Check out last year’s list: Top 25 Albums of 2014

Top 50 Songs of 2015

Here’s my favorite songs for the year. I had a hard time narrowing it down so I left it at 55 songs.

  1. Courtney Barnett – “Pedestrian at Best”
  2. Oceanear – “The Finite”
  3. Blur – “Ghost Ship”
  4. Watkins Family Hour – “Steal Your Heart Away”
  5. Tame Impala – “Yes I’m Changing”
  6. Death Cab for Cutie – “Black Sun”
  7. Lord Huron – “Love Like Ghosts”
  8. EL VY – “Return to the Moon”
  9. Low – “No Comprende”
  10. Father John Misty – “Chateau Lobby #4”
  11. Desaparecidos – “City on the Hill”
  12. Alabama Shakes – “Sound & Color”
  13. The Dodos – “Competition”
  14. Hop Along – “The Knock”
  15. Kacey Musgraves – “Biscuits”
  16. Country Barnett – “Elevator Operator”
  17. Snoop Dogg – “California Roll”
  18. Jason Isbell – “If It Takes a Lifetime”
  19. The Dodos – “Goodbyes and Ending”
  20. Leon Bridges – “Better Man”
  21. Deerhunter – “Living My Life”
  22. Wilco – “Magnetized”
  23. Drake – “Hotline Bling”
  24. Alabama Shakes – “Give Me All Your Love”
  25. Low – “Gentle”
  26. Ryan Adams – “Bad Blood”
  27. Majical Cloudz – “Disappeared”
  28. Blur – “Terracotta Heart”
  29. CHVRCHES – “Keep You On My Side”
  30. Country Barnett – “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party”
  31. The Lone Bellow – “Take My Love”
  32. The Arcs – “Outta My Mind”
  33. Deerhunter – “Snakeskin”
  34. Father John Misty – “True Affection”
  35. Palehound – “Molly”
  36. Glen Hansard – “Winning Streak”
  37. Death Cab for Cutie – “No Room In Frame”
  38. Jamie xx – “Loud Places”
  39. Coldplay – “Adventure of A Lifetime”
  40. Tame Impala – “‘Cause I’m A Man”
  41. Jose Gonzalez – “Every Age”
  42. Sleater-Kinney – “Hey Darling”
  43. Oceanear – “Woke Underwater”
  44. Beach House – “Majorette”
  45. Kacey Musgraves – “Late To The Party”
  46. Telekinesis – “In a Future World”
  47. Animal Collective – “FloriDada”
  48. Lieutenant – “Prepared Remarks”
  49. Great Lake Swimmers – “The Great Bear”
  50. Florence + The Machine – “Ship to Wreck”
  51. Lurd Huron – “Dead Man’s Hand”
  52. Here We Go Magic – “Stella”
  53. Kurt Vile – “That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say)”
  54. Leon Bridges – “Coming Home”
  55. Jose Gonzalez – “Open Book”


Spotify Playlist

Top 25 Albums of 2015

Top 50 Songs of 2014



Family Christmas Songs in 2015

Every year my family has a tradition of recording Christmas songs. This year, my daughter lost her two front teeth so we felt the song selection was appropriate. We also included a recording from her violin recital.

Top 50 Songs of 2014

  1. Big Scary – “Twin Rivers”
  2. Wye Oak – “Before”
  3. Chris Staples – “Black Tornado”
  4. Phantogram – “Fall In Love”
  5. tUnE-yArDs – “Water Fountain”
  6. The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes”
  7. Damon Albarn – “Lonely Press Play”
  8. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
  9. Sego – “20 Years Tall”
  10. Beck – “Blue Moon”
  11. Spoon – “Do You”
  12. Tweedy – “Summer Noon”
  13. Owen Pallett – “The Sky Behind the Flag”
  14. Delta Spirit – “From Now On”
  15. Kishi Bashi – “Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!”
  16. Damien Jurado – “Metallic Cloud”
  17. Phantogram – “Black Out Days”
  18. Mac Demarco – “Blue Boy”
  19. Wye Oak – “Shriek”
  20. Damon Albarn – “Everyday Robots”
  21. Chris Staples – “Walking With A Stranger”
  22. Real Estate – “Had To Hear”
  23. Spoon – “Inside Out”
  24. Conor Oberst – “Hundres of Ways”
  25. Wye Oak – “Sick Talk”
  26. Chris Staples – “Where We Used To Be”
  27. Big Scary – “Final Thoughts, With Tom and Jo”
  28. Phantogram – “Bad Dreams”
  29. Tennis – “Never Work For Free”
  30. Vacationer – “Paradise Waiting”
  31. Damon Albarn – “Hostiles”
  32. Beck – “Heart Is A Drum”
  33. Wye Oak – “Glory”
  34. Chris Staples – “Overpaid”
  35. The War On Drugs – “Burning”
  36. Spoon – “Rainy Taxi”
  37. Damien Jurado – “Silver Timothy”
  38. Future Islands – “Fall From Grace”
  39. Kishi Bashi – “The Ballad of Mr. Steak”
  40. Trampled By Turtles – “Wild Animals”
  41. Big Scary – “Invest”
  42. Cold War Kids – “Hot Coals”
  43. Tweedy – “I’ll Sing It”
  44. Wye Oak – “The Tower”
  45. Young the Giant – “Teachers”
  46. Sego – “Wicket Youth”
  47. Real Estate – “The Bend”
  48. Mac Demarco – “Salad Days”
  49. Damien Jurado – “Silver Katherine”
  50. Delta Spirit – “Take Shelter”

Listen to the Spotify Playlist: Top 50 Songs of 2014


Top 25 Albums of 2014

Here are my favorite albums of 2014:

  1. Chris Staples – American Soft
  2. Wye Oak – Shriek
  3. Phantogram – Voices
  4. Big Scary – Not Art
  5. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
  6. Beck – Morning Phase
  7. The War on Drugs – Lost In The Dream
  8. Spoon – They Want My Soul
  9. Tennis – Ritual in Repeat
  10. Real Estate – Atlas
  11. Kishi Bashi – Lighght
  12. Mac Demarco – Salad Days
  13. Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
  14. Tune-Yards – Nikki Nack
  15. Future Islands – Singles
  16. Delta Spirit – Into the Wide
  17. Cold War Kids – Hold My Home
  18. Trampled By Turtles – Wild Animals
  19. Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy
  20. Young the Giant – Mind Over Matter
  21. Tweedy – Sukierae
  22. Sego – Kitsune: Wicket Youth
  23. Vacationer – Relief
  24. Owen Pallett – In Conflict
  25. Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain

Honorable Mentions

  • Pixies – Indie Cindy
  • Lana Del Ray – Ultraviolence
  • Andrew Bird – Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of…
  • Elbow – The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
  • Various Artists – Beck Song Reader
  • Dum Dum Girls – Too True
  • Lykke Li – I Never Learn
  • Nels Cline Singers – Marcoscope

Song Inspirations: Drifting Away

I wrote this song for a songwriting class I took at BYU. The challenge was to write in the “AABA” format. This has been a pretty popular format over the years (“Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, The Beatles’ “Yesterday”) but has become less popular as more emphasis has been placed on having a catchy chorus. With AABA, there isn’t really a chorus; just a verse (which contains the main hook) and a bridge (to take the listener in a different direction). The other feature is using the song title in the first or last lines of the verse (or “A” section). I had gotten so used to writing the other way (verse-chorus-verse-chorus) that I wasn’t sure I could pull it off but I think this turned out to be one of my better songs.

Lyrically, the song in about finding direction in your life. In the first verse, the narrator talks about growing up and feeling restless about his surroundings. In the second verse, we find that narrator escaping by driving on dark highway. He’s not really sure where he is heading and has his car breakdown in the process. In the bridge, he admits defeat, realizing that he needs the help of others to make it in life. In the third verse, after finally getting his act together, he has to say goodbye to his loved one who is now the one drifting out of his life. Irony.

Provo Music Scene Connections

Yesterday, one of my friends from the Provo music scene started this form on Google where you can submit your band, the members in your band and who you’ve recorded and it will plot out all the different connections. Quite a few people have added to it in the last 24 hours (including myself). Running Muse Recording Studio, I got to record several bands so it’s neat to see my connections and how they branch out into other Provo bands, past and present.

To get the full effect, visit:

Song Inspirations: Half Inch Man

I wrote this song around 2004 while I was a missionary in New York City. With the large buildings and the endless sea of people, the experience of living in Manhattan made me feel a lot smaller (despite being 6’4″). I was also inspired by scenes from the movie “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids,” which was one of my childhood favorites.

The musical direction is something of a cross between Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism and Ben Folds Five. Like Ben Gibbard’s songwriting, I focused on vivid details and imagery with an underlining universal message. The theme behind the lyrics is feeling out of place and overwhelmed yet hopeful for the future and that things will work out.

Song Inspirations: Baby Girl

This song was written just prior to the birth of my first child, Zoe. At the time, I was at somewhat of a crossroads in my life. I had recently graduated from college but had been unable to find a job outside of the meager income I made from running Muse Music. I was studying to take the GMAT so I could apply to grad school and have a better career. I was looking forward to some of the comforts that come from having a stable income, such as owning a house. I also thought about how many of my friends were reluctant to start families and were kind of drifting with the direction of their life.

Although I was nervous and apprehensive about the future, I also had this feeling that everything was going to work out. My life would never be the same but I was excited about this next chapter.