My Favorite Music Of 2013 (So Far)

31 May

mixtape

I have always been something of a music nerd… I’m a radio DJ, a wedding DJ, and since 2010, I have been a part of the critics panel for a wonderful podcast known as Under The Radar  (a one-hour weekly program that highlights some of the best undiscovered and under-appreciated tunes from Christian artists).

All that to say, I listen to a TON of music and I am always being asked what recent discoveries that I’ve found. The following are some of my favorites…

Best New Alt-Worship Artist: “Citizens” by Citizens

Citizens is the most impressive band to debut in 2013 and my current favorite alternative worship group. The lyrics are theologically rich and hopeful, while the music is laced with energy and excellent guitar work. These guys are a breath of fresh air!

Best Live Album: “Campfire” by The Rend Collective Experiment

After hearing this album, I think that all live albums should be recorded on the beach. There aren’t any new songs on this album that aren’t on their previous two (except for “Kumbaya”), but this is a great exposure to their musical brilliance if you haven’t listened to them before.

Best Ambient/Electronic Album: “Pilgrim” by Pilgrim

In my eyes, Josh White (of Telecast and The Followers) can do no musical wrong. This definitely breaks the mold for how we typically define “sacred music” and it makes for great background music when I’m writing. You can get it free on NoiseTrade here.

Too Catchy For Its Own Good: “You Belong Here” by Leagues

When I heard that Thad Cockrell, Tyler Burkum (Audio Adrenaline), and Jason Luito (Jars of Clay) were getting together for a collaboration, I wasn’t expecting anything close to this, but I’m pleased the final product. The album features a lot of dance pop goodness that will gracing all of my summer road trip mixes.

Best Side Project: “Fiction Family Reunion” by Fiction Family

While I still prefer straight Switchfoot or solo Jon Foreman, this is still an excellent listen. I like this album far more than Fiction Family’s first album.

Favorite Female Vocalist: “Loved” by JJ Heller

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of JJ. She has an incredible range, and her lyricism is incredibly vulnerable, but here songs  always have a silver-lining of hope!

Most Improved From Past Albums: “More Than You Think” by The Ember Days-

This album took a few listens to draw me in, but has been a favorite ever since. Dynamically the album is all over the place… There are some incredibly dark and desperate songs (“Make It Alright”,“Frailty”) and some incredible anthems of hope (“Prodigal”,“Real Jesus”). You can get it for free on Come&Live here.

Acquired Taste: “Vessels” by Twenty One Pilots

These guys are all over the map stylistically (I saw one review of their music call them schizo-pop) but I find the mix compelling. I’m really interested to see what shape their music takes in the years to come.

What are your favorite recent musical finds? Sound off in the comments!

-Dave Wonders

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Yes, “David Wonders” is his real name. Dave is  a husband, a father, and the midday host at 104.3 The Pulse (thepulse.mn). Somehow he finds time to read absurd numbers of books.  Connect with Dave on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Klout.

4 Responses to “My Favorite Music Of 2013 (So Far)”

  1. saintirenaeus2013 June 1, 2013 at 00:21 #

    Bought the new “The National” CD today for $9.99 at Best Buy — good, but not as good as “High Violet”….

    • More Than A Beard June 1, 2013 at 00:27 #

      Sweet! You’ll have to play it for me when I am visiting next weekend!

  2. For the Love of God June 2, 2013 at 08:25 #

    The Rend Collective is also awesome live. Cant wait to see them again at NYWC 2013 in Nashville this year.

    Reds new album is awesome, and anything TFK does.

    • More Than A Beard June 2, 2013 at 16:46 #

      I love Red’s older stuff, but haven’t given their new album a spin yet… Thanks for the suggestion!

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