Time for the annual list of my favorite albums. Again, notice I said “favorite” and not “best” because this is all just opinions. Anyways, this year had some really great records. I had a lot of trouble narrowing the list down to 10. Here we go:
10. Ctrl – Derek Webb & Nexus – Sola-Mi
Derek Webb has released two albums this year. A solo record, Ctrl, and a “movie soundtrack” named Nexus by a side project titled Sola-Mi. Nexus was offered first, and free, and a few months later, Ctrl was released. I reviewed Ctrl a few months ago. After Webb’s usual cryptic tweets, clues left at cafes, etc., it was found out that these two albums were meant to be one. Click here for Webb’s explanation. And here’s the only track I found on youtube:
9. The Sound of the Life of the Mind – Ben Folds Five
As a huge fan of Ben Folds, I’m excited about any release of his. I love his piano playing. He pushes the boundaries of what a grand piano can and should sound like in pop music. Here’s the band performing Erase Me on Jimmy Kimmel Live:
8. Babel – Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons are quickly becoming a band that is easily disparaged. His voice is very rough (some say unnecessarily) and their formula for songwriting is somewhat repetitive. Arguments be damned, I jam this record. I enjoy the passion, I enjoy the banjo. Sorry.
7. The Carpenter – The Avett Brothers
What a songwriting duo. I love everything this band puts out. The Carpenter is no different. Saw them perform for the second time at Austin City Limits a few months ago. What a show. Rarely do you see that much energy from a band. And then Chad Smith (drummer of RHCP) came out and played a song with them. Pretty cool moment to experience. Also, my favorite song:
6. Who’s Feeling Young Now? – Punch Brothers
Remember Nickel Creek? Well, the mandolin player, Chris Thile, started this bluegrass outfit. This is their third release and they just keep getting better. All the players are as impressive as Thile and they meld a lot of genres and experiences into their bluegrass sound. This is another band I saw at ACL Fest and even though it was raining and I was soaked to the bone, I was not missing a note from their stage. Here’s a live song:
5. Vows – Kimbra
If you have any positive feelings towards any type of pop music, you need this record in your life. Kimbra is unbelievable. Her voice, her charisma, her songwriting. She is the true pop goddess and everybody you hear on the radio pales in comparison. Fact. Also, this was by far my favorite performance at ACL Festival. Want to see me cut a rug? Put this song on:
4. Battle Born – The Killers
I’ve made it very clear on this blog that I’m a huge Killer’s fan. Following a hiatus, I was excited to hear they were releasing a new album. Battle Born met and exceeded my expectations. Just the right amount of pop, rock, 80s synths, and lovely Brandon Flowers singing. Here’s their newest music video:
3. Give us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]) – David Crowder Band
This epic modern mass encompasses two discs and uses every second of time perfectly. The genres touched upon range from country and bluegrass to contemporary Christian and symphonic rock (a la Transiberian Orchestra). The album contains all parts of a traditional mass, the lyrical themes touch on everything you’d expect from a funeral mass. Wait, funeral? Well, the death of the band. This was DCB’s last album and what a way to go out.
2. Some Nights – fun.
I struggled between my top two, having trouble who should be number one. Unintentionally, both bands are very outspoken in support of gay marriage. Which I think is incredible. Anyways, fun. is who got the second slot. They’re album came out in February and I still jam this thing like it came out last week. You can read my original review here. I wanted to show you two music videos. First, “Some Nights” from (apparently) the Civil War:
Next, here’s a beautiful song titled “Carry On:”
1. The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
This is such a great album. I can’t stop listening to it. And it keeps getting better every time I do. I’m dying to see them live. And I can’t wait for any new music from them (I do know it’s too soon to be wishing that). Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a review of the album. Read it here. Watch Macklemore rap about Michael Jordan shoes and materialism in “Wings:”
Got that? Now watch this short film about the making of the “Thrift Shop” music video and about the band and they’re DIY attitude:
Good? Now go watch their NPR Tiny Desk Concert.
That’s it! See you next year.