Best of 2015

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Is it that time of the year already? In 2015 I changed my music listening habits: I embraced Spotify and almost stopped searching for new music like I used to. Instead of leaning on reviews from online publications I discovered new music by exploring similar artists to the ones I began enjoying. Discover weekly also helped me find some gems, but it keeps getting weirder week after week and I had to start curating it myself.
Still, I feel like the list of albums that I enjoyed the most does not translate the feeling above. Because I listened to so many different things it was hard to come up with a list from the top of my head. But three albums stood out:

 

– Tame Impala’s Currents is a masterpiece and they became one of my favourite bands.

– Neon Indian’sVega intl. Night School was a nice surprise! I think I haven’t enjoyed a dance album this much since “In Ghost Colors” by Cut Copy.

– Jamie xx’s debut – I enjoyed the xx’s first album but stopped listening due to the overexposure and enjoyed the fact that Jamie was able to distance himself from the band without sounding too alien. I risk saying that his album is even better than his bands previous efforts.

 

Here’s my complete list:​

  1. Tame Impala – Currents
  2. Neon Indian – Vega intl. Night School
  3. Jamie xx – In Colour
  4. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
  5. Denai Moore – Elsewhere
  6. Mikal Cronin – MCIII
  7. Björk – Vulnicura
  8. Panda Bear – meets Grim Reaper
  9. Health – Death Magic
  10. Moon Duo – Shadow Of The Sun

 

Honorable mentions:

  • Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
  • Petite Noir — The King Of Anxiety
  • Purity Ring — Another Eternity
  • Rangleklods – Straightjacket
  • 20syl – Motifs II
  • Sevdaliza – The Suspended Kid
  • Vök – Circles
  • Nao – February 15

To finish here’s a playlist with my favorite tracks from 2015:

Best of 2014

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Keeping up with the tradition of the last few years here are my favourite albums from 2014. This year my music listening habits changed a bit: I started listening more to playlists and less to whole albums, I blame Spotify for that. Another thing that changed is that I almost stopped listening to electronic music. I don’t know why, but I’m sure it has to do with getting older… I also went to a lot fewer concerts than the previous, but it’s something that I want to correct in 2015.

  1. Perfume Genius – Too Bright
  2. SOHN – Tremors
  3. Beck – Morning Phase
  4. Capitão Fausto – Pesar o Sol
  5. D’Alva – #batequebate
  6. Future Islands – Singles
  7. FKA twigs – LP1
  8. Ty Segall – Manipulator
  9. Wild Beasts – Present Tense
  10. The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream

Systems

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Gare do Oriente

Lately I’ve been trying to create new habits, it’s one of my new years resolutions. I’m going for simple things like going to bed at decent hours and waking up early, exercising regularly (I’ve been slaking of), reading at least a book a month, trying a new restaurant every other week and writing. These are things that are transferred for my list of resolutions from one year to the next.

The amazing thing is that the resolutions that sound harder to achieve are the ones I eventually fulfill. I always include things like traveling, losing weight and embracing some kind of whacky project. For the last few years those are the ones I get done which leads me to think I should go for things that sound completely oblivious!

Back to the simple stuff: habits. One thing I always tried to do when embracing new habits was to set blocks of time for specific activities. To try to keep on track I set alarms to stop doing one task and jumping to the next. This was where trouble started. I came to realize that I hate a forced routine. If my days are too structured I start feeling like a robot and motivation is quickly killed off. I quickly abandoned this modus operandi. I need some kind of randomness in my day, having a scheduled routine stresses me out, having to do something at a specific time makes me nervous and later guilty for not following the plan. I quickly abandoned the scheduling and moved into a looser plan based on task lists.

I’m kind of task list freak, everything is a task list for me, stuff to do, music to listen, movies to watch, downloads, books to read, things to buy. A few years ago I happily embraced the idea that our brain is the worst place to store information, so I started dumping everything in to a GTD app. So besides the usual tasks lists I had a “Things to do at home” list which consisted of repeating tasks. Basically it was the same thing as having a calendar with the aggravating factor of each task being marked and done/not done. After a few days there were dozens of tasks to conclude and I felt trapped inside a task management software.
It was even worse than the calendar. So nothing seemed to work really.

By this time I found out about Lift. The concept is not really different from a task list really: you sign up for a few “habits” you want to embrace and can set up reminders to when those actions must be accomplished. The cool thing is you get some moral boosts to get motivated: “You’re riding a 10 day streak in Read 20 pages of a book”. Who wants to break that? Some of the habits have how-tos to help you out and users can give/receive props from other people on the achievements.
Apart from this I keep an “offline” list of things to do around the house: cleaning one room, laundry, watering the plants, etc… I post this list on my kitchen wall and every day I try to check one or more items as long as it doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to conclude. As new week starts I just trash the old sheet and start a new one.

So this became my system: a GTD app for things I need to do at the computer/work (I use Wunderlist), Lift for creating habits and an offline list for the things around the house.
It’s not perfect but it works for me and last year it help me to achieve goals like losing a ton of weight and eating better, learning new skills (I’m a fan of Coursera), making time for my own projects instead of fumbling around useless content on social networks.
So let’s see how this year goes, I started the year by slaking off, but now I’m determined to achieve my plan and adopt new habits.

Best of 2013

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albums2013

Either I’m getting old and too choosy or this year wasn’t that great music-wise.
Looking back at what I’ve heard this year there are a bunch of good records, but most are part of this list, I didn’t leave much out of it, and even these hardly qualify as “classics”.
Either way, here is my list of favourite albums released in 2013:

  1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
  2. James Blake – Overgrown
  3. Sigur Rós – Kveikur
  4. Disclosure – Settle
  5. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
  6. Woodkid – The Golden Age
  7. Jai Paul – Jai Paul
  8. Savages – Silence Yourself
  9. Kavinsky – OutRun
  10. Foals – Holy Fire

I also put a playlist of my favourite songs for the year on Spotify.