When we reach the end of a calendar year, the “Best Of” lists start rolling out. Best of movie lists, best of clothing lists, best of basket-weaving 101 course lists…well you get the idea. The list that is always my favorite is the Best of Music list. My only beef with it, is that I have to wait until December or January in a given year my read it! So, even though it’s August, I thought I would release my Best of List Now, so if you’re looking for music and don’t want to wait, here it is.
Though some of the stylings of Everything, Everything seem experimental, as seen in the opening track “Cough, Cough”, fans will love more pop-oriented favorites like “Kemosabe”.
Though their name is what usually garners them attention, the 2013 release Miracle Mile is insanely catchy. You’ll find yourself replaying it when you didn’t want to. “Malmo” is a favorite of mine.
What pulled me in was front man Claudio Sanchez’s voice. Although many of the songs are derivative, such is as the case with “Away We Go”, I loved “Pretelethal” and the funk undercurrent in “Number City”. Even though it had me asking – this is rock?
My husband always listening to groups like Iced Earth and Rhapsody of Fire. We met in the middle with Interlude by Delain, a Dutch Symphonic Metal band. WIth stunny lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels, Delain can easily rival more known groups like Evanescence. “Breathe On Me” is a great opener on this release.
I didn’t think I would have a great month in March, I’ll be honest. Both Bowie and Clapton had releases that set the standard for how the term “lackluster” could be defined moving forward. Then I came across a new genre, well new for me. Woodkid’s latest album is dramatic, to say the least. If you’re looking for a sense of place that will still make you feel like you’ve had a cultural experience, check out tracks like “Iron”.
If you’re looking for upbeat, I wouldn’t say you’ll find it with The Ocean Blue’s latest release. However, something about the haunting melodies in tracks like “If You Don’t Why” brought me back to those teen years I spent in my room sulking. With moody tracks such as “New York 6am” you can pout to your heart’s content.
By this point in 2013, I was enjoying the music, but I really wanted a chance to rock out. Paramore’s Brand New Eyes in 2009 wasn’t heavy enough for me, I’ll be honest. However, they seem to have their mojo back with their self-titled 2013 release.
As a former chorister myself, there’s nothing that impresses me more than when choirs leverage all the tools in their musical toolboxes. Nobody pulls that off better than Vox Humana on their latest release Nordiske Toner. The dynamics alone will have you stopping and cacthing your breath.
The Summer Set is couldn’t be a more appropriate title for this upbeat, anthem spouting group. Check out “Maybe Tonight” and “Legendary” while taking in the country undercurrent woven into Brian Dales’ voice.
I am a huge Fall Out Boy fan, so I had high expectations for this release. I was not disappointed in this release. Although “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark” has gotten a ton of play, in particular with the NHL, I love “The Phoenix”. The video is gross so just play it in the background.
When you are a jazz musician, the library of music that’s already been performed is so rich that you could choose covers for your entire life and they would be brilliant. Bublé is classic in this album and insanely talented. Favorite tracks on this release include “Who’s Lovin’ You” and “To Be Loved” (even though it did make me thing of Coming To America). Eddie Murphy references aside, it’s a great album, but I’d like to see Michael stretch himself and give us more original tracks – fingers crossed for next time.
Vampire Weekend is one of those bands that I find myself addicted to. Can I tell you why, specifically? The truth is I’m not sure and that’s okay with me. Though Modern Vampires of the City is decidedly less upbeat than other releases, I found myself humming “Obvious Bicycle” and “Diane Young”
If you want a killer frontman, look no further than Jared Leto. Backed by the band’s atmospheric and dramatic accompaniment his defining voice instantly has you listening. Listeners will alternately feel like they’re at the cusp of a revolution”Birth” or getting ready to hit the party scene “City Of Angels”. Although I won’t compare it to past releases, I still count this as a fave.
I am not a country music fan. I’m sorry – let me just put that out there so you don’t have high expectations for Country recommendations. However, I thought, “What they hey – I’ll give Hootie a chance” – and I was glad I did. I truly enjoyed “True Believers” – particularly the title track and “Miss You”. Though my die-hard, country-lovin’ Grandma would likely argue the merits over whether this is true country, Darius has a great voice. That means I’ll keep listening.
I’d never heard of Fitz before they popped up on my Spotify recommendations and I haven’t stopped playing the album. Listen for “6 am” and “Out of My League”.
Although this is another derivative rock album, I was seriously digging on tracks like “I Sat By the Ocean” and “Smooth Sailing”. So relax and get your classic rock fix.
George Benson is incredible – always has been and this release hasn’t changed that. From the second track, a cover of “Just One Of Those Things”, you know you’re in for something special. The horn section is to die for and Benson still scats like no one else. I’m also a sucker for “Route 66″ and “Straighten Up and Fly Right”. Nat would be proud.
So I know there is a ton of sequencing going on here, but they still sound fabulous and I will always be an Ozzy fan. I love the power behind “Live Forever” and the classic Sabbath spooky quality that tinges every note of “End of the Beginning”.
I am a long-time Jimmy Eat World fan, so Damage was a much-anticipated release for me. “Appreciation” is classic Jimmy for me. Als, check out “Book Of Love.”
My introduction to Editors came indirectly. I picked up their “No Sound But The Wind” track off of the soundtrack to New Moon, part of The Twilight Saga. I’ve been a fan ever since. “Two Hearted Spider” and “The Weight” are some of my favorites from this release.
Skylar Grey has a gorgeous voice and you’ll find yourself humming along to various tunes from this release. My favorite track is “Back From the Dead”, though I find myself skipping over the rap feature frequently – in this case it doesn’t add to but takes away from Grey’s haunting lyric.
Regardless of who you are and where you’re going, Bareilles music often serves as the uplifting anthem for most of us. The opening track on The Blessed Unrest is “Brave”, and it fits the bill. The tight harmonies on tracks like “Eden” will draw you, but we still get all of the beauty that is is classic Sara in “Manhattan.”
When the Backstreet Boys started following me on Twitter, yes it’s really them, I was surprised to say the last. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fan. However, when they came out with a new release I immediately had to have a listen. So listen I did and I enjoyed. Fav tracks on this release are “Soldier” and “Try”. Both are on my workout playlist and I will be listening for future releases.
I’ve listened to Reliant K, ever since I picked up a copy of their hysterical Christmas Album a few years. Their candid commentary during songs is part of their charm and it continues in songs like “Don’t Blink”. Also check out “If I Could Take You Home” and “When You Were My Baby” and “PTL.”
Upcoming Releases I’m Curious About
So those are some picks I’ve enjoyed this year so far. Of course, we haven’t made it all the way through, so there are many more to come. Here are some of the releases I’ll be waiting for:
- August 20th: John Mayer Paradise
- August 20th: Blue Foundation Sway
- August 26th: Franz Ferdinand Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
- September 3rd: John Legend Love In the Future
- September 9th: The Arctic Monkeys AM
- September 24th: Sting The Last Ship
- October 1st: Moby Innocents
- November 11th: Lady GaGa Art Pop
So that’s my take on 2013 so far. Did you see any that are your favorites? Are there other releases you’ve enjoyed that you’d like to share? Post them in the comments below.