We could all learn a thing or two from children… #StopAndSmellTheRoses #Cornejito #GrandmasGarden

AOTY 2013 - Restorations ‘LP2’

I was thinking about what’s happened to me musically over the last 5-6 years. I remember being a teenager/young adult and being in love with The Smashing Pumpkins. Any move they made, I was there. I witnessed some amazing moments and stuck with them even through their worst. I pushed myself to continue to be a fan but I eventually gave up. Then a few other bands came and went as my new favorite band/artist. Honestly, to compare my commitment to the Pumpkins, there’s really only been one more and that’s John Frusciante (solo & Red Hot Chili Peppers material) and even that was during my early/mid 20s. So what’s been IT for me in the last few years? I’m 31 now and let’s face it, I’m picky as fuck with what I can say is “really good” music.

Enter Restorations.  In 2013, they delivered what are easily my favorite record of the year and my favorite live show of the year. Getting a chance to finally meet these dudes and watch them perform live was an absolute pleasure. I’m watching their every move…just as long as they don’t go all Zwan on me.

AOTY 2013 - Balance & Composure ‘The Things We Think We’re Missing’

I found out about this band by its ties to Title Fight. There are not too many bands that I listen to on my own from that scene. I’ll check out the latest Re-Mastered/Unreleased/Outakes record by Neil Young before I check out a melodic hardcore band. But I knew B&C had toured with Title Fight and other familiar bands and being that I work at SideOneDummy, I noticed that No Sleep had been amping the shit out of this record. But that is usually what happens when you have a band signed to your label and they deliver such a powerful record like B&C did. Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t listen to too many bands from this scene because it allowed me to really dive into this album properly. It’s still getting weekly spins.

AOTY 2013 - Diarrhea Planet ‘I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams’

This one started off as an office joke and then something happened…we saw them live. It is now an office favorite. Don’t believe me? Check out the other lists HERE.

AOTY 2013 - Red City Radio ‘Titles’

I had RCR on my radar because Kayla (an old co-worker) really loved them and her musical tastes and mine weren’t complete opposites. There were artists we both loved and while I didn’t know much about RCR (other than the fact that she LOVED THEM), they were one of many bands on my “I’ll get around to it later” list. With a new album coming out, I thought this was a perfect time…having fresh new music to explore and all. When I finally heard it, I had a new favorite song with every listen. This one didn’t take too long. I knew it’d be on this list immediately. “Joy Comes With The Morning” will forever be a jam.

AOTY 2013 - Lemuria ‘The Distance Is So Big’

This was the most refreshing release for me this year. NPR premiered “Oahu, Hawaii” from the new album early in the year and I was immediately excited. I thought, with this type of preview, the whole album must be really good. Then the full release came around and I wasn’t too sure if I liked it or not. But if it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that my most favorite albums no longer come instant to me. I usually have to invest plenty of time on an album and it’s songs, usually a few drives home from work in the beautiful LA traffic helps. That’s how this one became a favorite. On top of that, the band stopped by the office to record “Paint the Youth” for Complete Control Radio. Watching them perform that and seeing how extremely nice Sheena, Alex and Max were only added to enjoying this record more. They even gave me a copy of the record on vinyl. Seems like a minor detail but when you know how cool the people behind the music are, believe me, it’s a nice bonus.

AOTY 2013 - The Moondoggies ‘Adios, I’m A Ghost’

The Moondoggies had been holding out on me since 2010. I think Kevin Murphy is a great lyricist and musician. Getting a new album from them was a huge treat for me. Next step is to finally catch these dudes live…for longer than 2 songs.

AOTY 2013 - Charles Bradley ‘Victim Of Love’

I’m a Daptone Records lifer, especially anything that Thomas Brenneck touches. I’ve been a fan of Charles Bradley since Daptone released “No Time For Dreaming.” There was no doubt I knew I’d enjoy this record. In addition, my wife and I got the chance to catch him live at Amoeba Sunset and also watch the documentary on Charles titled “Soul of America.” Watch that and you’ll be an instant fan of this amazing human being.  Not many people pour their soul into their art like Charles does every day.

AOTY 2013 - Yuck ‘Glow & Behold’

I was late on this band. By the time I really got into their Self-Titled album, they had already broken up. Then out of nowhere, my buddy Pat tells me there’s new music. Hook, line and sinker.

AOTY 2013 - Souvenirs ‘New Songs Tim Sent Me’ EP

I’ve heard plenty interns, in my 8 years at SideOneDummy, pitch their band’s music to me and I think Souvenirs is the one band that I’ve become a fan of. Luckily for me, Tim (singer/guitarist) will send me random emails with download links to new songs they’ve been working on/recorded. Can’t take that for granted. Tim sent me some new songs in October and while it wasn’t an official release this year, I made it one (I even made album artwork from a photo of Tim’s bike on Instagram…it seemed appropriate).  Check out their previous stuff and I really hope these songs I’ve been enjoying get a proper release in 2014.

AOTY 2013 - Local Natives ‘Hummingbird’

For me, this was highly anticipated after having loved their last record. For my “Best of 2013 Records,” it became a favorite for 2 main reasons: 1. My best friend and I got to bond over this one after he had one of the toughest/roughest years he’ll have in his whole life. 2. It provided me with one of my favorite songs of the year – “Columbia.”

What chu know bout them #Cepillin jams? #Cornejitos #Cousins #BestFriends

Locking up @sideonedummy HQ for the last time in 2013. Next year will be my 9th year. The Dummy has been good to me. #Work #BestLabelEver

Locking up @sideonedummy HQ for the last time in 2013. Next year will be my 9th year. The Dummy has been good to me. #Work #BestLabelEver

Last Minutes with SHAQ

Last Minutes with ODEN

A couple years ago, I found this video titled “Last Minutes with ODEN.” A friend of mine had let me know she was bummed out because she was probably going to have to put her sick cat down. This video made me realize how tough something like that could be. Today, I found out, firsthand, how difficult this is.

This morning, I bid my last farewell to our family dog of 13 years, Shaq.

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I never could have imagined how tough not only deciding that putting Shaq down was the best thing to do but to be there with him the whole way through. The vet gave me the option of being there with him or letting him take Shaq away. Given that it was at home, I figured it was only fair to let the last face Shaq see to be that of a family member. I rubbed the top of his head until he took his last breath. Before he was injected with the relaxer, I made sure to give him one last hug from all of us. I cried. It wasn’t easy seeing all this happen right before me.

I always felt like Shaq had an ultimate respect for me. I felt as if he knew I was the man of the house. He behaved around me and when he felt I wanted to be silly and playful he noticed and became that puppy we got when he was just 3 weeks old. But he was older now, couldn’t run like he used to and up until the last couple months, just getting up caused him pain. The reality of having to make a decision was settling in.

My sister texted me that she cried when she saw his dog house broken down. I had to after he was taken away. No need in seeing an empty dog house. My wife cried. When I called my mom to tell her it was over, she cried. I texted my brother (it was originally his dog) and broke the news and he “was hurtin.”

Losing a family friend is never easy. Shaq was easily the best family pet we’ve ever had. He’ll be the last family pet for a long time.

We miss you, buddy! I’ll make sure to bark at the trash man EVERY WEDNESDAY MORNING for ya. It bugs me too!

Today, I’m 31 years old.
Photo by the Legendary Lisa Johnson

Today, I’m 31 years old.

Photo by the Legendary Lisa Johnson