The story so far…

Posted: June 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Sadly, this blog is an often overlooked part of my life. There’s been a lot going on of late, so it’s been difficult to prioritize it, but I’m hoping to change that this summer. I’ll start my summer blog off as I often have: by ranking/talking about music. We’re at about the midpoint in the year, so I thought I’d go back and talk about some of the albums I’ve been listening to so far. Who knows, this might serve as a preview of the end-of-year list coming in December. So without further ado…

(Note: for now, these are in alphabetical order…rankings I’ll save for the end of the year)

The Almost- Fear Inside Our Bones

Try as I might, I just can’t really get into this band. Granted, their new album is only a few days old as of this writing, but nothing grabbed me the first time out. Check by at year’s end to see if anything changed on that front.

The Appleseed Cast- Illumination Ritual

This is a really lovely, sprawling album that I’ve only gotten to listen to a few times so far, but I so very much appreciate that art of it, I hope to get into a lot more this year.

Chris Tomlin- Burning Lights

Although there are a few new concepts here–especially the inclusion of rapper LeCrae on the opening track–most of Tomlin’s latest is very much in his wheelhouse. It is, however, a better overall album than his last effort, and a few of the songs have already worked their way into the rotation at my church. Solid effort.

Citizen- Youth

Having never heard anything from this band before, I must say I’m impressed with this melodic rock sound. It’s got a dirty edge to it, and I’m looking forward to exploring its depth a little more as the year goes on.

Citizens- Citizens

Far and away one of my favorite albums so far in 2013, Citizens (not to be confused with the band above…there’s an ‘s,’ you see) has managed to combine a more upbeat, indie rock feel to the worship elements that my heart loves to be a part of. It’s a rare find, but the combination is so fantastic, it’s hard to imagine this not in at least the top-5 at the end of the year.

City & Colour- The Hurry and the Harm

I was absolutely (and surprisingly) floored by Dallas Green’s last album, and so far, this one is no different. There’s just something about the way his voice soothingly works through the collection of songs here that really captivates me as a listener. It’s also got a rock feel that I really like.

Cold War Kids- Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

The sound of the CWK hasn’t changed much since their debut, but there is a somber sense of melancholy here that I can’t quite put my finger on. Again, this one will require more listens to really get into.

Conditions- Full of War

While it hasn’t stuck as well as their debut thus far, Full of War is a really solid sophomore release. The driving guitars and uplifting lyrics really work in sync together, and it’s super catchy, so I’m thinking it’ll stick around throughout the year.

Fall Out Boy- Save Rock & Roll

At first, most of this album was really off the wall for me. Too much so. But the more I listen, the more I like a good chunk of this album. Minus “Rat a Tat.” I just can’t do it. Courtney Love is awful and has no business singing at all.

Fiction Family- Reunion

For some reason, I’ve never really given these guys more than a cursory glance. It’s not great music, but it’s not terrible either. This time around it doesn’t feel as much fun as the first time, so it’s gotten lost in the shuffle.

Frightened Rabbit- Pedestrian Verse

Something about a singing Scotsman that really gets me. That and the intensity of this record is essentially unmatched in anything I’ve heard so far this year. That being said, the depth of it makes it a difficult repeat listen for me, which might bring it down somewhat by the end of the year.

Gold Fields- Black Sun

Bought this on a whim one day. It’s fine, but hasn’t really captured my attention, as I’ve skipped over it for other things several times.

HRVRD- From the Bird’s Cage

These Charlotte natives really have constructed a fantastic debut for their new label. It’s intense and melodic, and the instrumentation is really incredible. Really looking forward to the chance to see them play live some day soon.

I Can Make a Mess- Enola

Ace Enders is a busy dude. It seems like he’s pushing out new music at least once a year nowadays, and with The Early November back on tour this summer, the release timing of this feels odd. Still, it is certainly a ICMAM album, with it’s sprawling, meandering, seemingly unfocused songwriting that requires more listens than I’ve been allowed so far to take it all in.

Jimmy Eat World- Damage

This is going to be one of the most polarizing albums of the year, I’m calling it now. For me, a few listens in and I’m liking it, but not really loving it yet. As always, JEW continues to be solid, but I don’t think they’ll ever match the 1-2-3 punch of Clarity, Bleed American and Futures (my personal favorite of the band’s catalog). Still, you never know what might happen as the year continues.

The Joy Formidable- Wolf’s Law

Another impulse buy earlier in the year, and it has not been what I expected at all. That being said, I’ve enjoyed when I’ve made time to listen to it, but am still waiting for that moment for it to capture my undivided attention for days at a time.

Leagues- You Belong Here

Another far and away favorite of 2013 so far, this album is quirky and fun, but still pretty smart and challenging in many ways. Thad, if you read this, come to Charlotte. Please.

The National- Trouble Will Find Me

I gave these guys a listen a few years ago and could not get into the album (I don’t recall which album off hand), but after hearing all the praise thrown around for them, I gave them another shot. And I must say that I like this album A LOT more than I remember liking whatever album I didn’t like before. I wish I knew which album that was so I can compare and figure out why.

Ra Ra Riot- Beta Love

What is this? I really wanted to like this album, but the Ra Ra Riot I grew to enjoy from The Orchard is not here anymore. This is dancey and synthy, which is fine, I guess, except that the chamber rock sound from the previous album was so different and cool, that it is disappointing to see them wander off into trendy territory like this.

Rogue Wave- Nightingale Floors

I just started listening to this today…more on this later.

Schematic- Color (N.) Inside the Lines

Oh, how much I wanted to like this, I really did. But this goes to show what happens when the former lead singer of a band goes off on his own. The album is unfocused and cluttered, and often too long for its own good. I love Mae, so it’s so sad to see Dave losing focus like this. He needs bandmates, it turns out, to keep him reigned in. Not so much here.

This Town Needs Guns- 13.0.0.0

I really enjoy this off-kilter, melodically driven hard rock that TTNG has worked with here. Having listened to them before, I was surprised to see they were still around. As it turns out, pleasantly so. This album is solid from star to finish.

Vampire Weekend- Modern Vampires of the City

I’ve never really listened to these guys before, but I’m really liking this effort so far. Almost enough to go back and check out the previous albums so I can appreciate what I’m told is a much more mature album.

The Vocal Few- Tall Trees EP

Matt McDonald is a very gifted songwriter, so no matter the genre I know I’m in for a treat when I get new music from him. While not as immediately accessible for me as The Classic Crime, I do enjoy the idea of a man creating music with his wife. I strive for such harmony in my hopefully future marriage.

Young Statues- Age Isn’t Ours EP

Another EP to close out the list for now, this time recommended because the aforementioned Ace Enders produced this (seriously, how does he sleep, let alone write his own music, be in a band and a husband/father?) It’s a cool little indie rock project that’s fun to listen to. Nothing extraordinary, but worth listening to for sure.
Albums still yet to come (that I know of): Jars of Clay- Inland; Switchfoot- Fading West; Relient K- Collapsible Lung; Matt Redman- title unknown, live from LIFT 2013; Ghostship- The Good King; John Mayer- title unknown; The Fold- Moving Past; Hawthorne Heights- Zero; Yellowcard- Ocean Avenue Acoustic; and anything else that catches me my surprise.

 

God bless,

Robert

 

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