Yes, summer is over. But since I haven’t gotten around to writing any proper album reviews in a long time but have heard a handful of really darned good albums (and EP’s) lately, I’d like to recommend a few of those to you. These records in particular have been on heavy rotation for me:
Anberlin – Lowborn
One of the best alternative/rock bands out there has decided to hang up the hat this year, and Lowborn is their swan song. It’s pretty different from their other albums, but it still sounds simply amazing. “Hearing Voices” and “Velvet Covered Brick” are easily two of the best rockers of Anberlin’s career. “Dissenter” is the odd man out here, but the rest of the album is simply fantastic even as they change things up with songs like the slow-burning “Stranger Ways,” the rhythmically slick “Armageddon,” and the almost haunting “Birds of Prey.” Stephen Christian’s lyrics are also as well-written and thought-provoking as ever. Lowborn sends Anberlin off while they’re on top, which is so bittersweet but a great way for the band to go out nonetheless.
Colony House – When I Was Younger
I knew this album would be great about 30 seconds into my first listen of the opening track “Silhouettes,” and with repeated listens I actually find myself enjoying every single track on this record more and more. With that said, other standout tracks include the sweeping closer “Lose Control,” the hopeful “Glorious,” the encouraging “Moving Forward,” and the moving “Won’t Give Up.” When I Was Younger is definitely one of my highest recommendations of the year thus far; in fact if you’re going to check out one album from this post, make it this one (I think it’s the “safest” in terms of the chance that just about anybody would enjoy it, whereas, for instance, Anberlin is sometimes a little heavier than a lot of people like).
House of Heroes – Smoke EP
Ah, House of Heroes, new music from them is always such a treat. The six-song Smoke EP is simply excellent rock and roll through and through. “Satisfied” is, at least for me, a cut above the rest of the songs here, if only because the lyrics resonate with me more deeply than probably any other song I’ve heard in the past several months. “Bottle Rocket” and “The Worst Kind of Gods” are equally thought-provoking and fun.
Coldplay – Ghost Stories
Ghost Stories is one of those rare albums that truly is more than the sum of its parts. Each song is good, but together they communicate the deep pains of a man who just went through a painful divorce (which lead singer Chris Martin just recently did). This album surprised me with its minimalist, sweeping, airy sounds and even more so with its unexpected hopefulness even in the wake of such pain. It’s a cohesive and moving effort that also serves as a reminder that divorce is simply not the way it’s meant to be. This is not an album to make you smile, but one that will move you and let you in on another man’s heart and soul. And speaking of heart and soul…
Andrew Osenga – Heart & Soul EP’s
Andrew Osenga is currently right in the middle of a series of four EP’s that each explore a different style of music. Heart is the singer-songwriter installment, and it’s full to the brim of stirring melodies and excellent songwriting. “No Heart Beats Alone” and “Out of Town” are my personal highlights here. Soul came out more recently and delves into the blues/soul genre. It’s certainly one of the freshest sounding recordings I’ve heard in a long time, if only because I’ve heard so few people write songs in this style in this day and age. “Set Me Free” is downright groovy, while “Just Be” sounds super chill and “The Bird Who Was Friday” has some sweet, sweeping melodies. So check out Osenga’s new material and keep your eyes peeled for the forthcoming instrumental (Flesh) and rock (Bone) EP’s.
There you have it, that’s a handful of the best music I’ve heard recently. For some even more recent stuff, I also highly recommend Switchfoot’s brand new The Edge of the Earth EP, and keep an eye out for Remedy Drive’s new album Commodity, coming out on the 23rd (I got it as a Kickstarter perk a few weeks ago so I can already say it is definitely worth your time). I hope you give some of these albums a shot! Do you have any music recommendations from the past few months?