Something as Simple as Rock ‘n’ Roll
Kevin Conaway’s 2019 Mix Album
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This year brings my 10th edition of my yearly mix albums - where I take songs that were in some way significant to me over the course of the year and arrange them in a way so that they flow and feel like an album. The original intent of these albums was to feel autobiographical regarding my experiences throughout the year. They have evolved to be mainly collections of music that I thought was great and worth sharing. There are songs from albums that I loved, bands I saw live, stand-out songs, and songs from friends of mine on here. The only thing that I ever ask in return is that you give this mix at least one listen in order and that you let me know your thoughts on it. I hope you enjoy this music as I have.
01. Frank Turner - I Still Believe (live)
Frank Turner leads things off on this year’s mix. I’ve been a fan of Frank’s for several years, but finally saw him live for the first time this year. This was probably my favorite concert I went to this year. The energy and passion that he performs with is amazing! He played at the Agora, which I was thinking would’ve been a larger venue than what he would need. However, after the show I understood. Every person in attendance knew every word to every song, and once you see him live, you’ll go see him again every time he comes back! This selection from a live album that Frank released this year captures that connection that he has with the audience.
02. Bad Religion - Big Black Dog
I tend to use humor to help cope with situations where I’m uncomfortable. I am not a fan at all of our current political climate. I remember making a joke back in 2016 though that at least the next Bad Religion album was going to be killer. I was right.
03. Pretty Vicious - Move
I think I actually came across this song in 2018 in a Spotify playlist. I really liked it, but the band didn’t have a whole lot available at the time. This year, they released the full-length album, which contained this song. Their album, Beauty of Youth, ended up being one of my favorites this year.
04. Tegan and Sara - I’ll Be Back Someday
While working on a memoir, the band found dozens of cassette recordings they made while in high school. They decided to rework and rerecord those songs for this album. The result was, “the record we never could have made as teenagers, full of songs we never could have written as adults.” I really enjoyed the album, and this song was a high point for me.
05. Camina - Little Nothing Casino
Camina is an indie band out of Chicago. My friend Jeovanna, who is the cousin of the vocalist and drummer, told me about the band and to check out their new album. I really liked it. They have a unique sound and I loved the groove of this song.
06. Kaiser Chiefs - Record Collection
Kaiser Chiefs disappointed me with their last album, but their 2014 album was my favorite album that year. The album they released this year, Duck, was a return to form. There were so many fun songs on the album that it was hard to narrow down to just one to put on this mix.
07. DREAMERS - Someway, Somehow
DREAMERS released one of my favorite albums this year and put on a great performance at a concert I went to. This clever and catchy song was a highlight.
08. YONAKA - Fired Up
Like Pretty Vicious previously, I found this song in a Spotify playlist in 2018. YONAKA released various singles and EP’s throughout the year, but the full-length album finally came this year. I really love this song. It barely missed the cut on last year’s mix, but I figure getting a re-release on a full-length album is a good excuse to include it this year.
09. Cody Jinks - Ain’t a Train
I took a vacation to Key West back in the fall. While driving down the Overseas Highway, we were listening to my friend Russ’s music. This song came on and caught my attention at one point. I am NOT a country fan, so there’s no way I would’ve ever given Cody Jinks a listen on my own. However, I really liked this song, and found out that I like a lot of his music. I’m still not a country fan, but I guess I’m willing to grant exceptions.
10. Dan McCoy - Believe
Dan is a good friend of mine and is making his third appearance on my yearly mixes. Dan is an excellent songwriter and a fun guy to play shows and hang out with.
11. The Black Keys - Every Little Thing
The Black Keys are also making their third appearance on my yearly mixes. This year saw the release of their ninth studio album, ‘Let’s Rock’. This album did indeed rock. I spent a good chunk of the summer listening to this album. “Every Little Thing’ hasn’t been released as a single, and I doubt it will be, but it was probably my favorite song on the album.
12. Jimmy Eat World - 555
I didn’t know what to make of this song the first time I heard it. It’s so different from anything Jimmy Eat World has ever previously done. I grew to really love it though, and I think it is the highlight of their new album. The music video for it is also worth checking out.
13. IRONTOM - Kid Midnight
While walking in the parking lot on the way to that DREAMERS concert I mentioned before, my friend Mike and I were talking about other bands and previous concerts. We had previously seen IRONTOM open for AWOLNATION a year ago, and I mentioned that they released a couple new songs this year that were pretty good. We then asked each other if we knew who was opening the show we were about to walk into, which neither of us did. The first band walked out on the stage, and lo and behold it was IRONTOM, opening with this song!
14. Biffy Clyro - Following Master
Biffy Clyro’s new album, Balance, Not Symmetry, is actually the soundtrack to an independent movie of the same title. This was my favorite album released this year. The album easily stands alone, flows well, and contains so many great songs that it was a struggle to pick which one should appear on this mix. I still have not been able to find the film to watch it, but I will continue to search.
15. Liam Gallagher - Why Me? Why Not.
Big brother Noel has appeared on my mixes three times, but this is Liam’s first appearance. While I’ve enjoyed Liam’s post-Oasis music, this is the first year where I thought the music that Liam released was better than what Noel released. Liam’s album was a really strong effort that contained a lot of really good songs.
16. blink-182 - No Heart to Speak of
I was amazed at how much I loved the new blink-182 album. You can tell that Matt Skiba had a strong influence in the writing of this album, and the result is the perfect mix of blink and Alkaline Trio that I’ve wanted to hear since learning that he joined the band. This song is the best example of the power and emotion that he brings. Travis Barker also reminds us that he’s one of the best drummers in the genre.
17. Letters of Transit - Need You More
My friend Jack Storey is the singer and guitarist in Letters of Transit. Jack and I used to play a lot of shows together before he moved down to Columbus. This is my favorite song that Letters has released thus far. It has so much passion in it, and you can hear the emotion pouring out of Jack’s voice during the chorus.
18. Silversun Pickups - We Are Chameleons
I regret not including something from Silversun Pickups’ Better Nature album on my 2015 mix. I don’t think I really appreciated that album for being as good as it was until after the mix was completed. The new album, Widow’s Weeds, also took a few listens for me to get into. Luckily, I gave it the time it needed, and it became my second-favorite album this year. This song was the album’s closer, and a great representation of why I love this band.
19. Rammstein - DIAMANT
The new Rammstein album also took a while for me to really get into. Part of the problem was that it was released on the same day as Biffy Clyro’s new album, which sucked up most of my listening time. I eventually came back to this album, which was their first in ten years, and ended up really loving it. This song is such a change of style for them, and definitely doesn’t represent what the rest of the album sounds like. However, it is such a beautiful sounding song, and I wanted to include it on this mix.
20. STARSET - PERFECT MACHINE
STARSET’s last album, Vessels, was among my top albums in 2017. The new album, DIVISIONS, didn’t quite live up to its predecessor, but was still very good. STARSET is a very conceptual band, both in writing and performing. This new album reads like an episode of Black Mirror, detailing a dystopian future where society struggles with the misuse of augmented reality technology. The concepts from the album were theatrically on display when I saw them in concert over the summer. It was an awesome performance, visually and musically.
21. Roxette - Watercolours in the Rain
Roxette was one of the first bands I ever really got into. I still consider them to be one of the best pop groups of the late-80’s/early-90’s. Marie Fredriksson, the female vocalist in the group, sadly lost her 17-year battle with brain cancer in early December this year. I was very sad to learn of her passing. “Watercolours in the Rain” is a beautiful acoustic song from their 1990 album, Joyride, which is the first CD I owned. I learned this song and played it at a gig the weekend following her death. The song was never a single but is an example of how sweet her voice was. There are other songs that showcase how powerful she could be as well, but this song always stuck with me and felt like the perfect ending to this mix.
Whether this is your first copy of my yearly mix album or your tenth, I want to thank you for allowing me to share the music that I loved with you. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as well. I’ve really enjoyed making and sharing these things over the years. A decade’s worth of mixes has included a total of 142 artists, 187 songs, countless hours of preparation and CD burning, several trashed CD’s that didn’t burn correctly, and a hell of a lot of inspiration. One quick note - the act burning these songs onto physical CD’s has always been very tedious, and with the overall decline in that format’s popularity, I feel like the ten-year anniversary of these mixes is the right time to stop providing them on CD. This will be the last edition that I will make available on CD. I’ll still continue to provide mp3’s and Spotify playlists for those that want to continue to receive these mixes. And speaking of Spotify playlists, if you like the music on this mix, I urge you to seek out my playlist, Caught in the Current. It is a public playlist that I update regularly with new music. While you’re at it, I’d love it if you gave me a follow there… especially with new music on the way shortly! 😉
Thanks for reading and listening. Cheers!
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