The Mottram Program

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Top 20 LPs of the First Half of 2014

Hey, here’s what I’ve been enjoying these past six months. Listen via my Best Albums of 2014 for Real Spotify playlist, which will be updated all year long. Because I’m addicted, you see.

1. The War On Drugs :: Lost In The Dream

2. Sturgill Simpson :: Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

3. Future Islands :: Singles

4. Beck :: Morning Phase

5. Strand of Oaks :: HEAL

6. Real Estate :: Atlas

7. Jack White :: Lazaretto

8. Damien Jurado :: Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

9. Parquet Courts :: Sunbathing Animal

10. Band of Horses :: Acoustic at The Ryman

11. Mac Demarco :: Salad Days

12. Sharon Van Etten :: Are We There

13. Jamestown Revival :: Utah

14. Hurray For The Riff Raff :: Small Town Heroes

15. Walter Martin :: We’re All Young Together

16. Hamilton Leithauser :: Black Hours

17. First Aid Kit :: Stay Gold

18. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks :: Wig Out At Jagbags

19. Damon Albarn :: Everyday Robots

20. Kevin Drew :: Darlings

Filed under Music Indie Rock Lists War on Drugs

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Neil Young :: “Needle of Death” (Bert Jansch cover)

"Young released the vinyl-only A Letter Home, a collection of covers recorded in single takes on acoustic guitar in Jack White’s Voice-O-Graph booth at Third Man Records. About the size of a phone booth, the machine records you to vinyl as you play, which is exactly what Young did, giving the album a unique vintage quality.”

This is relevant to my interests. 

Filed under Music Neil Young Jack White Vinyl Beardcore

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USA Today looked for inspiration in the viral media darlings, BuzzFeed and Upworthy, for a sports section that mixes original and aggregated content with you-gotta-click-to-see-what-happens headlines. In just nine months, For The Win has shown “legacy” publishers can win in the social-sharing game. According to comScore, FTW’s unique visitors more than doubled from May to December, when it drew 7 million uniques.
 FTW: How USA TODAY Mastered Viral Sports Content

Filed under Media Sports USA TODAY FTW Social Mobile Strat

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Yahoo! Sports Blog Headers (2008-13)

As part of Yahoo! Sports’ not-so-recent redesign they removed the headers we’d hung on their blogs when launching them in 2008-09.

These fun little designs have a piece of my heart, you see, and they deserve a home, if only for me to look back on years from now.

Here they are, along with a little director’s commentary …

Ball Don’t Lie


This was the first blog we staffed (J.E. Skeets and Kelly Dwyer!), named and designed. My favorite.

Big League Stew 


Note the ivy, which is a tip of the cap to original BLS editor (now Yahoo! Sports blog editor) Kevin Kaduk, who wrote a book about Wrigley.

Shutdown Corner


I never really understood this look, but I like it. Gritty.

Puck Daddy


Puck Daddy is great, and Greg Wyshynski is a force of nature. Solid header too; the blood is a nice touch.

From the Marbles


Nobody knew what “the marbles” were anyway.

Devil Ball Golf


Nobody knew what “devil ball” was either, but Jay Busbee is my dude.

Dr. Saturday


Love the Strangelove-inspired name and header. The tagline, though isn’t all that relevant anymore. (RIP, BCS.)

Roto Arcade


It’s about fantasy sports, you see.



This is just kinda gross, which is a shame, because the alternate version (with dinosaurs and laser beams) was A+.

Prep Rally


Not sure why the “Y” is on fire. Interesting choice.

Busted Racquet


Very Wes Anderson, which is to say I like it very much.

Fourth-Place Medal


This is the Olympics blog, so it could look like shit and still do ALL OF THE PAGE VIEWS.

The Dagger

I can’t find the old header for the college hoops blog. It’s lovely and in line with the rest, mostly designed by Mark Delamare. He did good.

UPDATE: Thanks to Patrick Clarke, here’s The Dagger.


And I somehow forgot Dirty Tackle the first time around.


Filed under Sports Media Design Yahoo! Blogs

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The 50 Best Albums of 2013 for Real


Unlike the 20 best songs of 2013 for real, which is in no particular order, this order is very particular. It’s the 50 albums I liked and listened to the most, winnowed down from a much larger Spotify playlist (a 1,018-track, 65-hour monster, if you can handle it).

1. Phosphorescent :: Muchacho

2. Kanye West :: Yeezus

3. Futurebirds :: Baba Yaga

4. Vampire Weekend :: Modern Vampires of the City

5. The National :: Trouble Will Find Me

6. Foxygen :: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

7. Yo La Tengo :: Fade

8. Jason Isbell :: Southeastern

9. Daft Punk :: Random Access Memories

10. Kurt Vile :: Wakin on a Pretty Daze

11. Sonny & the Sunsets :: Antenna to the Afterworld

12. Jim James :: Regions of Light and Sound of God

13. Still Corners :: Strange Pleasures

14. Steve Gunn :: Time Off

15. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros :: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

16. Volcano Choir :: Repave

17. Drake :: Nothing Was the Same

18. Arcade Fire :: Reflektor

19. William Tyler :: Impossible Truth

20. Pusha T :: My Name Is My Name

21. Laura Marling :: Once I Was an Eagle

22. Unknown Mortal Orchestra :: II

23. Ducktails :: The Flower Lane

24. Mutual Benefit :: Love’s Crushing Diamond

25. The Avett Brothers :: Magpie and the Dandelion

26. Parquet Courts :: Light Up Gold

27. A$AP Rocky :: LONG.LIVE.A$AP

28. Bob Dylan :: Another Self Portrait

29. Cass McCombs :: Big Wheel and Others

30. Camera Obscura :: Desire Lines

31. Waxahatchee :: Cerulean Salt

32. Cayucas :: Bigfoot

33. Okkervil River :: The Silver Gymnasium

34. Houndmouth :: From the Hills Below the City

35. Local Natives :: Hummingbird

36. Iron and Wine :: Ghost on Ghost

37. Courtney Barnett :: The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas

38. The Love Language :: Ruby Red

39. Deerhunter :: Monomania

40. Youth Lagoon :: Wondrous Bughouse

41. Rogue Wave :: Nightingale Floors

42. Washed Out :: Paracosm

43. The Shouting Matches :: Grownass Man

44. Earl Sweatshirt :: Doris

45. King Krule :: 6 Feet Beneath the Moon

46. Junip :: Junip

47. Danny Brown :: Old

48. Cults :: Static

49. Cate le Bon :: Mug Museum

50. Toro Y Moi :: Anything in Return

Filed under Music Best of 2013 Indie Rock Dad Rock Beardcore