My 2012 Top Tracks

According to, these were my top tracks of 2012. Most of these are from my Paxil playlist, and obviously I had some favorite albums that I listened to a lot.

(I thought I’d publish it before New Years to avoid contaminating the results with Sufjan Christmas tunes…)

  1. “Making Mirrors” Gotye
  2. “Easy Way Out” Gotye
  3. “Somebody That I Used To Know” Gotye · Kimbra
  4. “Pumped Up Kicks” Foster The People
  5. “Eyes Wide Open” Gotye
  6. “Shuffle” Bombay Bicycle Club (thanks Gabe!)
  7. “Smoke And Mirrors” Gotye
  8. “Crooked Teeth” Death Cab for Cutie
  9. “Highway 101” Social Distortion
  10. “You Me And The Bourgeoisie” Submarines
  11. “Shake It Out” Florence + The Machine
  12. “Better Than Wine” Derek Webb
  13. “One More” Jimmy Cliff
  14. “Children’s Bread” Jimmy Cliff
  15. “They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! etc.” Sufjan Stevens
  16. “Let’s hear that string part again, etc.” Sufjan Stevens
  17. “Cry No More” Jimmy Cliff
  18. “Dog Days Are Over” Florence + The Machine
  19. “Charlie Brown” Coldplay
  20. “What The Water Gave Me” Florence + The Machine
  21. “Bang” Jimmy Cliff
  22. “Swimming Pool” Submarines

Grammy Nominees on Spotify

The 2012 Grammy nominees were announced last week. It’s a great year for music, with great acts like Florence + the Machine, M83, Jimmy Cliff, Muse, and Mumford & Sons among those represented. I created a nine-hour playlist with my favorites.

Music, Technology

Spotify Top 20

Here’s something you might not know about me: I hate pop radio. I prefer the kind of music that just won’t pull in the ratings they need to sell the ads. So you might be surprised to see me publishing a Spotify top 20 chart.

But Spotify certainly has a different demographic from pop radio—like techno geeks with iOS devices and money to spare for subscriptions. Still, there were a lot of tunes on Spotify’s charts that ended up being kind of crappy. So I took the Top 40 and eliminated 20 of the less awesome tracks. It’s a good opportunity for discovery, with new releases by Jason Mraz, singles from Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men, as well as some tunes from Mumford and Sons and Florence + the Machine. You might still find yourself skipping some tracks, but it’s going to be a lot less offensive to your ears than the unedited top 40.


Greengrass, Volume 8 (a Spotify playlist)

Greengrass, Volume 8 on Spotify

Greengrass, Volume 8 on Spotify

There are a couple of new tunes on this playlist, but most of the tracks in this set are old favorites that have been in my collection a dozen years or more.


The Tossers – “221B/The Sneaky Priest (The Gloria Scott)”
The second tune on this track also goes by the name “Tamlin” or “The Glasgow Reel”. I have a recording of this tune by Gaelic Storm, but it’s not on Spotify. I was happy to find The Tossers version. It’s a good one.

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones – “Stomping Grounds”
With Sam Bush playing a mean mandolin. It’s basically a contest between Victor, Béla, and Sam, to see how long they can keep this tempo sustained. This is one of my favorite Flecktones tunes.

Nickel Creek – “Robin and Marian”
A nice instrumental from San Diego blugrass favorites Nickel Creek. This mandolin-centered jig makes a nice bridge between the Flecktones and our next tune.

Alasdair Fraser – “Calliope House/The Cowboy Jig Medley”
I think I’ve played this jig set at a wedding or two. I like it, though the production style kind of dates this version. I’d prefer a cleaner recording with less reverb.

Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill – “The Old Bush/The Reel With The Burl”
Just fiddle and guitar.

Patrick Street – “Music For A Found Harmonium”
This is a great arrangement of a great tune, and one appears on several compilations. You almost forget it’s Patrick Street because Kevin Burke isn’t featured.

The Tossers – “The Crutch”
Many may recognize this tune from Flogging Molly’s instrumental version which they entitled “Swagger.” But The Tossers predate Flogging Molly by several years. Whether Flogging Molly borrowed it from The Tossers or both garnered it from an ancient traditional source remains unknown. I don’t think I have the liner notes anymore. Speaking of Flogging Molly…

Flogging Molly – “Salty Dog”
This tune starts out with the Kesh Jig like you probably haven’t heard it before.

Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers – “Northern Island”
Bluegrass instrumental.

Séamus Egan – “Poultry in the Parlour”
Enough of Séamus’s banjo. Let’s hear some Bouzouki!

Celtic Fiddle Festival – “Teolena/Marche De Roskonval/Sandizan”
Soïg Sibéril on solo guitar.

Chris Thile – “Ready for Anything”
Winding down the set with a minor-key ballad with solo mandolin accompaniment.

Skyedance – “Bannockburn”
Alasdair Fraser & friends. He maybe have been jumping on the Braveheart bandwagon with this title, but I guess he’s allowed to, since he played on the soundtrack, after all.


Greengrass, Vol. 7


Here’s the seventh installment of my bluegrass/celtic Spotify playlist series. Sorry I don’t have time for track-by-track commentary this week! I’ve been busy researching other subjects. Hopefully the tunes will speak for themselves.

Hamish Moore – "MacGregor’s Search"
Olivia Korkola – "Morning Dew/Tom Ward’s Downfall/Star of Munster"
Sara Watkins – "Jefferson"
Natalie MacMaster – "Butcher’s Jig Set"
Barra MacNeils & The Chieftains – "Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie"
Hamish Moore – "Father John Macmillan Of Barra/The Sprig Of Ivy"
Jerry Holland – "Dave ‘Normaway’ MacDonald’s Wedding"
Aubrey Haynie – "Ducks on the Millpond"
Michael Doucet – "Reels de Mamou"
Alison Krauss & Union Station – "On The Outside Looking In"
The Pogues – "South Australia"
Nickel Creek – "In the House of Tom Bombadil"
Celtic Fiddle Festival – "Jig De Valcartier/An Italian Tune/Reel De Maisonneuve"

You may notice there is a significant Cape Breton theme to this week’s list. This is in part an effort to remedy the fact that the capers missed out on last week’s broader international sampling.

I’d like to hear from you. If you have some favorite tunes you’d like to see featured, drop them in my Spotify inbox and I’ll give them a listen.