Another year, another top albums list. It’s something I’ve done for the last several years and something I hope to continue with for as long as I can hear. This year’s list, with the exception of Run The Jewels, is a particularly mellow one. 2013 was all about songwriting for me and this collection of music definitely reflects that. With that in mind, I’ve included one of my favorite lines from each album.
I should also note that I generally don’t rank my year end selections in any particular order but that’s not the case this year. I’ve chosen to order this group from 1-13 primarily due to one album. That album is The National’s, Trouble Will Find Me. It was far and away my favorite release of the year and quickly worked it’s way into my all time top ten. Due to this I couldn’t place all the albums on the same plain, all though I greatly enjoy each one.
If you’d like to hear my Best of 2013 playlist you can do so here.
1. The National - Trouble Will Find Me “I do my crying underwater, I can’t get down any farther”
2. Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse "Aw, you’re acting all holy, Me, I’m just full of holes”
3. Gregory Alan Isakov - The Weatherman I’m all bloody knuckles, longing for home if it weren’t for second chances, we’d all be alone
4. Local Natives - Hummingbird "Face stained in the ceiling Why does it keep saying, I don’t have to see you right now”
5. Arcade Fire - Reflektor "What if the camera, Really do, Take your soul? Oh no”
6. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels "The beat breaks and your teeth break"
7. Telekinesis - Dormarion "Run down the tracks like a bat out of hell, Dont mess up your hair because we’re destined to fail”
8. Kurt Vile - Wakin On A Pretty Daze "It’s just another day in the shame chamber Living life to the lowest power Feeling bad in the best way a man can”
9. The White Buffalo - Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways "Gonna set my heart free, gonna bury it in fertile ground, gonna see if it grows up mean”
10. Dawes - Stories Don’t End “‘Cause when you don’t know where you are going Any road will take you there”
11. Junip - Junip "It’s your life, it’s your call, Stand up and enjoy your fall”
13. Lorde - Pure Heroine "All work and no play Never made me lose it All business all day Keeps me up a level All work and no play Keeps me on the new sh*t”
As of late the Ashcroft’s are a hard duo to keep track of. Are they in Seattle? Did they move back to Phoenix? What part of Portland do they live in? Did they get deported back to New Mexico?
For those of you keeping track, Paige and I sojourned back to Phoenix in late August to do a bit / a whole hell of a lot of work on our house before putting it on the market. The plan was to make a killing on the house, basque in hundred dollar bills a la Huell from Breaking Bad and head back to the great Northwest to settle down in Portland.
As things go, our feeble plans didn’t play out exactly as anticipated. Remodeling the house took two months instead of two weeks, interest rates went up, the government shut down, a seller’s market became a buyer’s market, etc, etc. Our house has been on the market for about a month and with the Holidays inching ever closer, receiving an offer before the end of the year becomes more and more unlikely. We haven’t lost hope, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the process is going to take much longer than we anticipated.
As Paige and I waited in purgatory, living like the Bluth’s hidden away in the attic of our model home, we received an intriguing offer. My sister and brother-in-law live in a small mountain town 3 hours Northeast of Phoenix named Pinetop (you probably didn’t know those existed in Arizona). They are preparing to welcome their third child to the world in January and between keeping up with their sassy 3 year-old daughter, homeschooling their son, working like crazy, and maintaining their gigantic cabin, they have their hands full. They proposed that we come and stay with them for the next few months in order to enjoy much more comfortable accommodations and help them with their kiddos as they gear up for baby number three. It’s a great arrangement for everyone.
You see, Paige and I have been living in an empty house with no internet and few comforts, sleeping on a trundle bed consisting of separate twin-sized mattresses that probably outdate us. We are forced to wake up every morning, hide our belongings, stage the house, clean the kitchen, sweep the floors, mop the floors and then spend most of the day away in order to allow Realtors to show our house. It’s basically Groundhog’s Day without any creature comforts.
Spending our days in a 3,000 square foot cabin tucked away in the pines with our own kingsized bed was a no-brainer. Of course, more important than that is the opportunity to spend the holidays with our family, something we haven’t been able to do in recent years.
On the work front, in addition to my usual freelance undertakings, I’m excited to make the most of this slower season of life by completing several personal projects as well as creating a new brand and online portfolio for myself. If all goes as planned I see this winter playing out something like the training montage from Rocky 4. Just with more sitting and drawing and less sprinting up snowy ascents.
So as of earlier this week and until at least late February, Paige and I are living in Pinetop Arizona, population 4,156. We are excited to be here and look forward to spending the next few months holed up by the fire with family.
I haven’t made anything just for the hell of it in a long time. Seriously, I’m talking years, so playing around and making this little guy was kind of a big deal for me. Anyway, I thought it was a fun concept and enjoyed bringing it to life.
Help yourself to some desktop and phone backgrounds if you like.
Just over one year ago my wife and I left our home, community and careers in Phoenix, Arizona to pursue a new life and an exciting opportunity in Seattle, Washington. That opportunity was to do something I’d always dreamed of: start a creative agency.
Starting and building Baji has been a dream come true, but after what has been one of the most important years of my life, I’ve chosen to move on to something else. Today I sold my portion of Baji and on the 15th of August I will be resigning my role as Art Director.
My reasons for exiting Baji are complicated and nuanced, but to put it simply, I’ve discovered that my personality is not well suited for running a company the size of Baji. Over the last year, I’ve tried to reimagine myself as an important business figure who lives for the thrill of closing deals, enjoys building business infrastructures, obsesses over growth strategy, and enjoys managing others. I had hoped that I would learn to enjoy being part of something that was producing creative work even if I wasn’t the one actually doing it. In the end, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m happiest, most satisfied, and most effective when designing, illustrating, photographing and creating. I’m uncomfortable, ineffective and miserable when trying to be a salesman, accounts guy, lead generator or manager, and with that insight, I’m going to leave such endeavors to those who enjoy them.
I’m truly grateful for the year I got to spend building Baji, honored to have been partners with Jake Johnson, Jesse Bryan and Mike Anderson, and thankful for the talented team that trusted in us and made it all possible. Baji is going to continue its march towards world domination, and I will look on proudly every step of the way. I plan to write more on what I learned throughout my time at Baji, but for now I will leave it at that.
So what’s next? Not to be outdone by last year’s tidal wave of life changes, Paige and I have decided to sell our home in Phoenix, say goodbye to Seattle, and move to Portland, Oregon. In mid-August we will be moving out of our house and driving our belongings to Portland where we will put them in storage. From there we journey to Phoenix to make some improvements to our house and work towards getting it sold. Once it does, we will spend a month or so traveling to visit the friends and family we have strewn across the country. Sometime this fall we will make our way back to the great Pacific Northwest to begin our new life in Portland.
I will be spending the next several weeks reflecting, dreaming and planning what comes next for me professionally. I don’t know what it is just yet, but I’m excited for the possibilities.