Tag Archives: music in review

2014 In Review: Music

In trying to be more reasonable with my spending this year, I really made an effort to only buy the songs I had to have this year. So that meant previewing everything on YouTube several times before actually committing to the purchase. Turns out that was only 379 new songs this year added to iTunes. Only, ha! Still, it’s far less than last years 517 so I guess I can pat myself on the back a little.

 

For the most part I was left to my own devices in finding *new music again this year (boy do I miss the days when other people corrupted me) but I actually did look this year and didn’t just rely on all the bands I already loved releasing new things (though they did that, too!). Of the *new bands I discovered, I had two favorites, both Christian artists in two very different genres than I typically gravitate toward (which is heavy rock, in case you didn’t know).

 

*new to me

 

Andy Mineo

 

andy mineo

 

I found myself listening to this Christian radio station NGEN a lot this past summer, for the upbeat, God-centric lyrics, to get me through those 13 hour workdays with a positive attitude. And in doing so, I discovered all kinds of Christian artists I’d never heard of before, Andy Mineo being one of them. What struck me the most about him, though, wasn’t necessarily that he was a Christian artist (I mean, that’s an awesome bonus, don’t get me wrong), but that he was such a skilled rapper on killer beats. It’s been a really long time since I’ve gotten super into rap. I grew up in the 90’s when rappers actually had talent and outside of the stuff with catchy beats that get trapped in my head, I just can’t get into the crap that qualifies as rap these days. But Andy, ooh, he’s actually got talent. And lyrics with a real message. This combination makes him addicting to me. If you haven’t heard of Andy Mineo, he’s definitely worth the listen. Click HERE!

 

Citizens & Saints

 

citizens and saints

 

This is another band I discovered thanks to NGEN and my first taste of them was this 80’s-esque track that was impossible not to bounce along to. Upon further research, I found myself buying everything they had online and loving so much of it equally that there are 5 Citizen & Saints tracks in my top 20 most played tracks this year. Even their Christmas album is a perfect collection of songs. They’re the kind of indie band you can’t help but sing along to. The kind of praise band I wish my church had. Whenever I’m jamming to Citizens & Saints I always find my hands in the air reaching for God. I just can’t help it. It’s something about how the instruments get inside of me and how Zach Bolen has a perfect voice for this style of music. If you’re in need of feel good, happy making music, you must check out Citizens & Saints. Click HERE!

 

 

And now, the part you’ve all been waiting for (you have been waiting for it, right? haha)…. The Top 10 Most Played Tracks of 2014! I’ve had to modify this list just slightly to feature a different artist for each because if I was completely honest, Andy Mineo and Citizens & Saints actually hold the top 4 ;). Some of these are predictable, Artifex is a favorite band and they had a new album out this year, Underoath is heavy on my Dreamsters playlist, etc… but if you haven’t been following Music Friday all year and this list is unfamiliar, you should definitely click all of these links! (Fun Fact: The Most Played Track was played 478 times!)

 

10. Karnivool – “The Refusal”

9. Underoath – “Desperate Times Desperate Measures”

8. Tides of Man – “Drift”

7. Family Force 5 – “Chainsaw”

6. Artifex Pereo – “No Stranger to Worry”

5. Finch – “Two Guns to the Temple”

4. Phantogram – “Black Out Days”

3. Bring Me the Horizon – “Don’t Look Down”

2. Citizens & Saints – “In Tenderness”

1. Andy Mineo – “AYO!”

 

If anyone would like to corrupt me in 2015, I’m taking any/all music recs! 😉

 

2013 In Review: Music

Usually I break my music review into two posts because there’s so much to say, but sadly this year it seems like all the people I found great music from in the past few years stopped talking about the music they loved so much, leaving me to find new music on my own (and I sort of didn’t). I didn’t necessarily need to this year, though because there were so many great bands I already loved releasing new content!

 

Fun Fact: I added 517 songs to iTunes in 2013!

 

Best New Band of 2013 (New to me)

 

Of the new bands I did manage to discover on my own this year, I The Mighty easily wins best band of the year. In my top 20 most played songs of the year, I The Mighty owns 6 of them. They’re a band I listened to a ton while writing Dreamsters and a band I don’t see myself growing bored of anytime soon. If you somehow missed all the posts I made dedicated to them this year, now’s your opportunity to hear what they’re all about. Check them out!

 

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Top 10 Most Played Tracks of 2013

 

And now, some of these tracks might be predictable if you’ve followed Music Friday at all, but here are my top ten most played tracks of 2013! (Titles are clickable)

 

#10: Secret & Whisper – “Lovers”

#9: The Material – “Skin & Bone”

#8: Hands Like Houses – “Fountainhead”

#7: I The Mighty – “Speak to Me”

#6: Everything Everything – “Cough Cough”

#5: Dance Gavin Dance – “Doom & Gloom”

#4: The Neighbourhood – “Sweater Weather”

#3: letlive. – “That Fear Fever”

#2: Family Force 5 – “D-I-E- 4 Y-O-U”

#1: 78violet – “Hothouse”

I’m always up for music recommendations so what were you listening to in 2013?

 

2012 In Review: Music (Part 2) – Best *New Bands

*New to me, not necessarily to the world

Despite currently having 121 GB worth of music on my computer, I am always on the hunt for more. Something new, something I missed out on somehow, just anything appealing to my ear. While I come across plenty of music every year, there are always a few bands that really stand out over the others, bands that become favorites. This year I discovered a lot of really great artists, but the following four are easily my top finds.

letlive.

letlive

Cory Eaves, drummer of Artifex Pereo, can take credit for me falling for this band, though he probably has no idea. I think it was an ‘ask’ about his favorite bands or maybe bands he’d like to tour with (I don’t know, it was a long time ago), but he listed letlive. along with a couple other bands I already knew I liked and it spiked my curiosity. I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that a talented musician like himself would have killer taste in music, but I don’t think I was prepared for how much I would love letlive. I can only imagine the kind of energy they must create performing live and I really hope I get to experience it one day. I would later fall in love with many more bands because of Cory’s music recommendations, but letlive. will probably always hold the top spot.

Circa Survive

Circa Survive

It was April, my birthday weekend, and I was going through a music buying binge on Amazon after receiving a MP3 gift card. I’d already spent more money than my gift card offered when Amazon suggested I’d like Circa Survive, as if I needed more music at all. I don’t think that Amazon’s ever really been completely right with their suggestions to me, but you can’t really blame them since my music taste is so all over the place. But I previewed Blue Sky Noise and fell so head-over-heels for Circa Survive I spent even more money and acquired every album they’d released immediately. Amazon loves my wallet. Needless to say, this is a band I don’t see myself ever growing tired of.

O’ Brother

O' Brother

My newfound love for Circa Survive is the reasons behind my love of O’ Brother. When they announced their latest album’s release and tour, they offered a free download sampler of the bands they’d be touring with and on this sampler was O’ Brother. I couldn’t get enough of their sound and just had to hear more. Everything I’ve bought since has been so, so solid. It is absolutely a band worth checking out.  

Relief in Sleep

Relief in Sleep

I guess because I post music so often, it’s not uncommon for unsigned bands to contact me asking to be checked out (I assume this is why, no one’s ever actually said it, but I do get a pretty significant amount of requests like this). Unfortunately, I don’t get a lot of winners, but Relief in Sleep was the biggest winner of them all this year. They’re like this lovely clashing of old Paramore or Flyleaf against a perfectly complicated musical arrangement. I’m not sure what their future holds, but I hope it’s making more music and being further recognized by the music industry.

What were the best bands you came across in 2012? I’d love to check them out! 

**If you don't already know these bands, click their name or pictures to check out their sound!

2012 In Review: Music (Part 1)

Top 10 Most Played Tracks

For the most part, if you’ve followed my Music Friday posts or my monthly In Review posts, you might be able to predict some of this list. But even if you see a lot of it coming, it’s still fun to see exactly what had the most plays overall for the year. Countdown to number one with me as we bring 2012 to a close!

10. Of Monsters and Men – “From Finner”

I’m sort of surprised this track made the top ten, but not because I didn’t love it – it’s just that I was sure there were other songs I’d listened to more. Turns out I apparently listened to this a lot more than I thought while working on Beyond the Trees this summer

9. Artifex Pereo – “Liable for Tragedy”

It probably shouldn’t surprise you that a song by one of my favorite artists made the top ten this year, especially since they did last year too. Now that their new singer lives near the rest of the band, I am letting myself get really excited for new music. I’ve got my fingers crossed that 2013 is the year! 

8. O’ Brother – “Lo”

Easily one of my favorite *new bands of 2012, but I’ll say more about them in Part 2 of my Music In Review posts! 😀

*new to me, not necessarily to the world

7. The Black Keys – “Hell of a Season”

It didn’t come as a shock that The Black Keys put out another solid album this year. They’ve somehow managed to capture that old school sound and make it work in the modern world so well that as long as they keep doing that I’m sure they’ll be around making quality music for a long time. 

6. Four Year Strong – “Falling on You”

I gave this band a shot this year after seeing so many people list them as a favorite. Loved the album this song comes from so much I had to have more. I can definitely see why so many people listed them as a favorite. They’re really consistent and the kind of band I imagine would put on one hell of a show at a summer festival. 

5. Thousand Foot Krutch – “Quicken”

Heather () got me into this band this year and I’m so glad she had so much to share. A lot of TFK songs came really close to being on this list with the rest of these. I’m a big fan of subtle Christian rock so any time I stumble onto something new I really like, it’s sure to get a lot of plays. 

4. Arctic Monkeys – “R U Mine?”

If you know me at all, my love of Alex Turner and Arctic Monkeys in general shouldn’t be news to you. They released a few singles this year that I ate up like candy and there’s talk that they’ll be making a new album in 2013. I can’t wait! 

3. Underoath – “A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine”

I started the year playing Underoath ad nauseam for the sake of two of my novels and then towards the end of the year played them ad nauseam all over again because of their disbanding announcement. I am really sad Underoath will never make new music again. Such a staple in the music industry. 

2. Mindless Self Indulgence – “Tornado”

After getting reacquainted with MSI last year, they became a huge influence for my novel Dreamsters this year. With a new album slated for release in March 2013, I have no doubt they’ll be a contender for this list once again next year. 

1. Shearwater – “Breaking the Yearlings”

It’s funny to me that this, of all songs, is still the number one most played song of the year because it reached it’s height in a course of a few days and I’ve hardly listened to it since. It’s not that I don’t love the song, but it’s definitely not my favorite of the year and I’ve never even listened to other songs by this band. But at the time I downloaded it on recommendation, I literally couldn’t get enough of it and it lived on repeat alongside nothing else for a couple days before I finally had my fill.

Do you keep track of your most played music throughout the year? What made your top 10 songs in 2012?

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2 of my Music In Review, where I pay homage to the best *new bands in 2012!

*new to me, not necessarily the world

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2011 In Review: Music (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of my reflections of music in 2011! This one pays homage to the bands themselves (*new bands that really stood out to me this year over all the others) and to the people who turned me on to them (sometimes that includes myself)!

*New to me, not necessarily new to the world

Note: Clicking the image of each band will take you to their site and music. You should totally click their images to check them out!

Corruption from Heather

Even though I’ve known Heather for a couple of years now and we talk literally every day via email, chat, etc…, it wasn’t until this year that our game of music corruption really began. I honestly don’t remember exactly how it started. I think it was a song by The Hush Sound that might have been the beginning of what has been an awesome year of sharing music with her. I remember sending it to her via email because it was currently living on repeat for me and discovering that she abuses single songs just as much as me. Within a few days we’d both listened to the song so many times it was ridiculous and it spawned something wonderful. A year later and we’ve shared an uncountable amount of music with each other, almost all of which we easily fell in-love with. Sharing music is always fun, but it’s so much better to share it with someone who’s ears are so attuned to the same thing as yours! Of all the bands Heather has turned me onto the two that consistently get the most plays are:

Sick Puppies

According to Heather, the first two songs she ever sent me were “Survive” and “The Bottom” because they’re her favorites. I just know that I loved Sick Puppies so much based on just those songs that I pretty much pestered her until she sent me more. As you saw in my previous music post that I loved this band enough to make one of their tracks the most played track of the year. If I had posted the top twenty most played tracks of the year five of them would have been Sick Puppies songs. I’d say that says a lot about how much I ended up loving this band this year!

                    

RED

When I was growing up, I was into quite a few Christian rock bands, but for a while there the sound just wasn’t compatible to the other rock music I listened to and I stopped giving it a shot. So, I was surprised when Heather introduced me to this band and I fell in-love with their sound instantly, to then discover that they were a Christian rock band. I guess religious rock has made a comeback? It doesn’t really matter that they’re a Christian group, but I have to admit that the lyrics of their songs move me a little more than most and I love how they can so cleverly weave those powerful words into a sound that’s so hard and unlike most Christian music. Needless to say, this has become a band that has not only helped me write, but filled my soul with comfort when I’ve needed it most. They’re a really great band that I doubt I’ll grow tired of anytime soon.

         

Corruption from Steve

Mine and Steve’s friendship began solely because of music. Originally he was a friend of Heath’s, who heard I liked Atreyu and wanted to see if I’d heard of some of his other favorite bands. Turns out he had a heck of a lot more bands under his belt in this genre of music than I had even heard of and his influence on me was crazy-strong. Since meeting him in August, I’ve added almost 4GB of music to iTunes. That’s almost half of the entire year’s additions. I would like to say I may have equally corrupted him with some of my favorite music, but our relationship is pretty one sided unfortunately. He gives, I take. Luckily, he’s a good sport and seems to enjoy getting me into something new!  While many of the bands he’s turned me onto deserve recognition, the following two are by far my favorites:

Artifex Pereo

Very rarely does a band have such consistency for me that I can listen to anything they put out and love it all equally. Sure, I’ll still have songs I’m more drawn to and particularly based on my mood, but if I can listen to every song without skipping a track it says a lot about a band. This group qualifies as one of those rare few. While I suppose their music generally has a harder sound, they also have these brilliant moments of softness too. Their instrumentals can be beautifully complicated or perfectly simple and still amaze you. They have potential to be around for a very long time if they stick with it, in my opinion. They’ve recently acquired a new singer and I just hope he helps the band bring as much to the plate as they have before. I can’t wait for new music in the future and I truly hope I get to see a show one day!

      

Dance Gavin Dance

This band can be a bit difficult, but not because of their musical ability. They’re difficult because of the way they flip-flop singers. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. The singers they’ve featured have been equally skilled, but it leaves each album holding a noticeably different sound. Again, though, that’s not a bad thing. To me, they mix singing and screaming in a really entertaining way and their screaming isn’t so muffled that you couldn’t scream along (which happens too often unfortunately with screamer bands). This is the type of band that I imagine I’d go crazy to in a pit at a show and I really hope I get to see them live one day to test this theory.

          

Rediscovered Bands

Sometimes I have a tendency to forget about bands I love. I blame this partly on the fact that I don’t listen to the radio and rely greatly on others to corrupt me musically. Because of social mediums though it’s been easier to stay up to date with music I like, but before it, sometimes it was pretty easy for me to be distracted by something new and let the other bands I like fall by the wayside. This year I found a few bands I used to love again and “catching up” on all I’d missed over the year was far too fun! Reliving my memory of why I loved them before certainly won’t let me forget about them again!

Mindless Self Indulgence

Maybe the year was 2002 when I first got into MSI. I was wearing face paint a lot back then because I was “down with the clown” and MSI was a fairly popular band with the Juggalos. I wouldn’t have had to be a Juggalette, though, to like MSI. The problem was, I stopped hanging around those clown kids in 2004 and lost my connection to this semi-underground band. When I got into that The Left Rights song that was the most played track of the year last January, I felt compelled to check up on MSI and see what they’d been up to for the last few years. Turns out, it was a lot! Quickly, I just had to buy everything I’d missed and was also blessed with the re-release of Tight as Tighter this year. Needless to say, they were my favorite “rediscovered band” of the year.

         

Thrice

Thrice is one of those bands that I always liked whenever I heard them, but never actually owned anything by them which made it even easier to forget about them when I wasn’t around people who also listened to their brand of music. This year, though, Steve can take credit for re-introducing them to me and just in time, too, for their latest album. Sadly, shortly after the release of Major/Minor they announced that they’d be on hiatus for a while to enjoy their home lives. While I’m disappointed that just as I’ve acquired all of their music, they’ve left the scene, I also have a lot of respect for talented people who don’t let their talent take away from their real lives too. I’m sure they’ll be back one day and when they return, I’m confident it will be stellar!

           

Dead Bands*

Stumbling onto bands that totally rock after the fact can be fun because they usually come with a hefty load of music to keep your ears occupied. The downfall, though, is that that’s all you’ll ever get out of them. You’ll never have an opportunity to see them live, you’ll never hear new music from them, and you’ll probably never even be able to find a t-shirt or decent memorabilia unless they were super famous. That part sucks. Being dead or not, though, doesn’t mean I won’t still love them. This year’s favorite “dead bands” include:

He Is Legend

Again, Steve can take credit for turning me onto He Is Legend. In fact, the first song he ever sent me was “Do You Think of Pretty.” He had said he knew I’d like this band, without doubt, because “girls think Schuylar’s pretty vanilla.” That didn’t really have anything to do with why I ended up loving them, but it did make me laugh. Anyway, many albums later and I was hooked to He Is Legend and sad to know that they were on hiatus with no future in the works.

                      

Morningwood

I blame the fact that I had forgotten about MSI for the past couple of years on not knowing about Morningwood. I mean, the lead singer is Jimmy Urine’s wife. There’s no way if I’d stayed up to date with MSI that I would have missed out on the awesomeness that is Morningwood. In fact, finding them at all this year is completely because of rediscovering MSI. YAY for social mediums and bands pumping up their buddies! :) Anyone that knows me, knows I love rocker chicks and when you’re as talented as Chantel and your band reminds me of 90’s rock, well… it’s a no brainer, I’m gonna love you.

                          

(*Apparently, despite believing both of these bands would never make a comeback all year, I’ve just recently discovered that there may be hope for them both after all! He Is Legend has already announced they will be releasing a new album in 2012 and Morningwood is currently listed as the opening band for Mindless Self Indulgence this year on tour. This makes me incredibly happy.)

Want to see if you can corrupt me musically in 2012?

I dare you. 😉

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2011 In Review: Music (Part 1)

2011 was an extremely musically charged year for me. In fact, when it comes to these year end lists, music had so much influence on me that it makes the other “reviews” I’ll do seem lackluster. I have added 9.12 GB worth of music to my iTunes this year (that’s approximately 1400 new songs) and that’s not even all of the music I’ve acquired this year. I’m scared to do the math and see what my Amazon MP3 bill looks like.

Anyway, because music was so prominent this year, I plan to break my music review into two parts for you. What you’re seeing now are the Top Ten Most Played Songs. Keep an eye out for Part 2 – featuring the Best *New Bands of 2011 and the corruptors who made it possible! :)

*New to me, not necessarily new to the world

Top Ten Most Played Songs

Every month this year, I’ve done an “On Repeat” post of the music currently getting a lot of love that month. If you’ve been paying attention all year, most of the songs in this top ten should seem a little familiar to you.

10. Sixx: A.M. – "Pray for Me"

I was a fan of Motley Crue growing up so when Heather turned me onto Sixx: A.M. and I realized the band featured Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue it was pretty easy to give them a shot. Clearly, the fact that this song makes this top-ten list is evidence that I ended up loving them. (Warning: The video is explicit)

9. Three Days Grace – “Scared”

So badly I've wanted a character to own this song, but nope, no ones stepped up to the plate for it yet. That didn’t mean I couldn’t love it though, and play it ad nauseam just because I wanted to. That does happen sometimes, after all. 😉

8. Tides of Man – “Chemical Fires”

It surprises me a little that this song got so many plays so quickly considering the band itself is still fairly new to me, but once a certain character of mine heard it, he demanded I listen to it over and over again while working on his book in November. Also, it doesn’t hurt that overall this band flat out rocks and reminds me of a band I grew up loving.

7. The Kills – “U.R.A. Fever”

Imagine two wayward teens, one of which used to be popular. They share a common trait, a special ability, but no one else knows that. Now picture them walking onto campus in one of those slow motion walk sequences like you’ve seen in movies like Road Trip. Suddenly, they seem cool. This is the imagery that belongs to this song for me. Two characters from a companion novel to my first book own this song for this reason and when I received the song, I just knew whenever I return to writing their book that this track will be played so-so many more times than it already has been.

6. Artifex Pereo – “The Lantern & the Firefly”

Everything by this band is so easy to write too, especially for Crack the Sky because their sound overall just fits the tone of that book so perfectly. It’s the kind of music I imagine the lead male listening to so it’s easy to just have it on in the background when I’m writing. This song in particular, though, will actually represent a major turning point in the book and writing that scene will be so much fun! I imagine, as I aim to complete Crack the Sky in 2012, that this track will bleed into the New Year and get heaps more plays.

5. Emarosa – “Breather”

I didn’t even get into Emarosa until late in the year, but this song became the backdrop of the intro to my NanoWrimo novel and as a result was played over 285 times! I love when bands I like release wordless music, especially when it’s as epic as this track. Sometimes it’s the best stuff to write to!

4. Prom Kings – “Angels”

When I first heard this song I loved it right away and I was grateful for the way it seemed to wake up characters I’d long given up on. It became representation of the way the story will end, something I had no idea of when the story had first come to me, and partly the reason I thought it was a dead story. At the time I had no idea this story would be a book I’d actually start working on, but it became my NanoWrimo novel and this song got even more plays than I could have expected!

3. White Rabbits – “Midnight & I”

White Rabbits is a band I really got into last year honestly, but for some reason in the beginning of 2011 I couldn’t get enough of them again and this song in particular. Again, this is a song that was used for a book and it is largely the reason for its repetitive nature. Even if it hadn’t been used for a book though, I would have still loved its moody piano based sound.

2. Sick Puppies – “I Hate You”

I can’t even remember what the first Sick Puppies song I heard was at this point because once I acquired all of their music this song completely dominated my ears. While I will say that everything by this group is extremely easy to listen to, this song in particular got the most plays not just because I liked it, but also because characters from a four book series I plan to write claimed it as theirs. Characters, as you’ve already seen, have a lot of power over me when it comes to my music selection.

1. The Left Rights – “I’m on Crack”

Certifiably the strangest song in this list, I know. I listened to this song ad nauseam last January when they first released it. It’s a side project from Mindless Self Indulgence singer, Jimmy Urine (whom I love), and I just couldn’t help myself.  It’s also a short song so its play count quickly climbed higher than the others because of this.

What lived on repeat for you in 2011?

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