Unranked and in no particular order. Thanks for the (all-caps) request, @veshecco. I chose these ten artists I as "all time favorites" because of three things: their impact on my life, influence on my music fandom, and their ever-constant presence in my listening.
  1. Manchester Orchestra/Andy Hull
    Manchester Orchestra has put out six of the most consistently great albums of this century. The raw angst of their early work echoes into the mature honesty of last month's perfect new album. Manchester Orchestra shows the power that can come with a simple rock set up, and their songs will stir strong emotion in you at every turn. Andy Hull also has two side projects and tons of solo work that is so beautiful.
  2. The Beatles
    It is a happy but completely honest cliche to call them a favorite, they are without a doubt the most influential artists in music history. Their range and their reach influenced and continues to influence music across genres. In their music I can experience the entire range of emotions.
  3. Stan Getz
    When iTunes first launched, my conservative father was very concerned about the legality of online music. But after researching and asking his colleagues (he's a lawyer) he consented and let us get iTunes, but had us first download Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto's "Getz/Gilberto" album. It was my first taste of music beyond what Christian radio played and I fell in love with music because of that album, and this artist.
  4. Underoath
    Underoath dominated the hardcore scene of the oughts because of the complexity of their music, the pure skill of each musician, and the writing that evokes deep thought and feeling. I don't listen to a ton of hardcore music anymore, but Underoath has never faded from my listening cycle and will forever remain a favorite. They were the first band that I feel I truly discovered and fell in love with for myself, not because of or for anybody else.
  5. Paul McCartney
    Separate from the Beatles because his solo work and his work in Wings are also incredibly important to me, and constantly repeating in my listening cycles. He is the ultimate songwriter, a story teller and a poet, he does everything with such passion that is inspiring in a way that goes beyond music. From silly songs, to love ballads, and everything in between, he does it all with more gusto and passion than most people exhibit even once in their lives.
  6. Sigur Ros
    One beautiful aspect of music is that it breaks down barriers. It's such a pure form of art that can stir the soul of every single person that hears it. Sigur Ros taught me that. They taught me that music could make me feel on its own, without lyrics dominating that emotion.
  7. The National
    The National was the first instance of somebody telling me "hey, this music is for you", that they heard it and thought of me instantly. They are interesting, complex, and deep. I never tire of that deep baritone voice, the rolling chords and emotive piano.
  8. Laura Marling
    From her early days in Noah and the Whale and through her recent album, Laura Marling shows a depth wildly beyond her years and writes songs that give you the same feeling you get while reading an amazing novel. That sense of belonging in a world that isn't your own, but that you aren't sure you ever want to leave.
  9. Scattered Trees
    Scattered Trees is a local band that put out three albums while I was in high school, but not a month goes by that I don't listen to at least one of them. Nate Eisland writes songs that I connect with more than I have ever connected with anything else.
  10. Julien Baker
    It might seem strange to put an artist with one album released on a list like this, but Julien Baker is that powerful. Her voice, her raw honesty, and her complete nakedness with her audience connect on such a deep level. She has a new record coming out next month, and I already know she will be a staple in my listening for forever.