I love listening to music. No, not just casually in the background while I’m working (although that’s nice too). I mean, I REALLY enjoy just sitting in my chair with my eyes closed escaping into a world of passionate sounds. But very rarely nowadays do I find new music that really excites me. As a result I find myself either digging up old treasures from the past that I never got around to listening, or enjoying favorites of mine from growing up. However, when I do fine good new music, I’m on a high of it for months!
So since I couldn’t think of anything to write about this week, here is some of the new music I discovered in 2014 that is on repeat for me:
Honorable Mentions: Chris Carrabba’s new project Twin Forks, Switchfoot’s collection of unreleased songs Edge of the Earth, and Say Anything’s unique Hebrews.
Well, let’s get the most obvious one out of the way. Three months after its release and I still listen to it on repeat several times a week and have not grown tired of it. A concept album about lucid dreaming and its implications on our waking life, AVA pens together a truly inspiring collection of songs that are deeply philosophical but ever bit as true to real life. It’s such a flawless album for them, a perfect blending of the old and new, easily becoming my favorite. If this is a taste of what’s to come from Tom Delonge and Illan Rubin, then I’m happy he left Blink. I’d recommend a few songs, but really all the songs are so unique that it’s hard to choose favorites, so go check out the full album if you haven’t already!
Well this was a surprise. I mean, I know Mars Hill Music has some good bands (The Modern Post, Ghost Ship) and some great ones (Citizens & Saints, Pacific Gold) but never would I have expected something so masterful from King’s Kaleidoscope. The production quality, the instrumentation and musical styles, this album is truly a treasure that I will have on repeat for a very long time. With 17 songs, consisting of everything from hymns to instrumentals to originals, this whole album about “Becoming Who We Are” in Christ is an experience from start to finish. The songs strike the perfect balance between deeply personal and wholly confessional, making them musts for churches. Only time will tell, but this might have to be the best “worship” album I’ve ever heard.
I always have to be in the right mood to listen to this guy because he’s so intense. But this album is a lot more reserved from yelling and more about storytelling. The first of his spoken word projects to be accompanied fully by music, this dramatized short story about young lovers separated by the sea is truly a gem.
With every album they put out, they are one step closer to penning a timeless masterpiece. Tenth Avenue North have broadened their sounds with songs in Latin and more quieter moments, all the while still writing catchy songs. A great listen.
Who would’ve thought that I would be eagerly purchasing the soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy? But this collection of ‘70’s pop songs has to be one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. It’s diverse selection reminds me of what made music from the ‘70’s so awesome.
A band I’ve only recently discovered, Sleeping At Last is driven by beautiful orchestrations and lyrical quality. Their latest project, Atlas, is a series of EPs released over a year period that describe the creation of the universe (Darkness, Light, Space, Land, Oceans). This guy puts so much thought into painting this landscape of sounds, there is truly much to be appreciated here (particularly the two Space EPs). Bring on the songs about life in Atlas: Year Two!
Ah who doesn’t love a good Hans Zimmer score. Mad props to him for branching out and doing something different, even if it wasn’t that well received. From one of my favorite comic book movies, this two-disc soundtrack has great repeat quality. While James Horner perfectly captured the sounds of Peter Parker and Spider-Man in the first film, Zimmer chooses to create some memorable pieces for the villains in this one. Let’s see how he does scoring Dawn of Justice for next year!
This is as mainstream as my list gets. Although known most famously for their hit “Say Something” this album is full of indie-pop wonders, including “Land of Opportunity” and “I Don’t Wanna Love Somebody Else.” These guys need to get into Broadway and start scoring.
A series of liturgical EPs by Gungor and friends, this was a pleasantly unexpected surprise this year. They capture the duality of Gungor’s lyrics so well: worshipful yet challenging. I also learned what apophatic prayer and meditation was. In particular, check out the Vapor and Garden EPs.
Finally, the U.S. version of A Hard Day’s Night is out in MONO! Having the vinyl growing up, I always coveted this on CD. It’s the Beatles, what else can I say that hasn’t been said already?
Lots of Jazz – George Gershwin, Buddy Rich, John Coltrane
Last but not least, where 2013 was all about me discovering the beauty of classical music, 2014 and this year have about rediscovering my love for jazz music. Coltrane’s Love Supreme is a masterpiece of wondrous instrumentation and performance. Buddy Rich’s greatest hits of compiled songs and drum solos is truly inspiring. And Gershwin is without doubt the greatest American composer of all time with songs that transcend both classical and jazz genres (“Rhapsody in Blue”).
Well that’s it for now. Now let’s wait and see what 2015 has to offer!