Tag: city and colour

sotd: City and Colour – Lover Come Back (acoustic)

Good God, I love this man. His voice is so pure and unflinchingly beautiful, it hits to the very core of my being when I hear him sing. This is a song off of his upcoming album, If I Should Go Before You, which, needless to say, I am greatly anticipating. I have read, and after hearing the first four songs, that he is going in a bit of a different, more hardened direction, where there are less acoustically driven songs, but I love everything that I have heard so far, and I know it will be like the rest of his stuff… simply amazing. I am excited for whatever direction Dallas takes us in… wherever we are going, I am there!


So, two of my favorite vocalists, Dallas Green (my favorite artist, AKA City and Colour), and the incredible Alecia Moore (AKA P!nk) have teamed up to make a beautiful record, and the result is called You+Me. Their first song, You+Me, is incredible.

This is the type of music that makes me get chills when I listen; it is beautifully written, and the harmonies, thematic elements, and haunting musicality all weave together to form something incredibly beautiful. I am so happy these two got together, because they are arguably two of the strongest vocalists in music today; and the style of each blending together is heaven. Two extremely strong songwriters together definitely makes for incredible music; and this is clearly no exception.

From what I have read, P!nk said this was a love song for her mom, which is incredibly touching and crazy beautiful.

Needless to say, I cannot wait for this album!!! Fortunately, I only have to wait until next week. Rose Ave is out next week, October 14. I’ve already pre-ordered, and I highly suggest you do as well. Thanks John for telling me about this project!! I just hope they tour for this album!!!

sotd: You+Me – You and Me

Thanks to my friend John Hersman for alerting me to this MASTERPIECE!!! Holy shit… City and Colour, my favorite, favorite, favorite band/singer-songwriter, teaming with one of my other favorite singer-songwriters, P!nk? This is AMAZING. What a gorgeous ballad, beautiful love song, and, I know, just a taste of a crazy-amazing album to follow.

I cannot wait for October 14.

my favorite albums of 2013… finally

I know, I know, I know. For whatever reason, being a nurse has turned me into a bad blogger; honestly, I deal with so much at work, that I don’t really want to deal with doing much on my days off other than just relax. That being said, I have wanted to write this post for nearly 5 months now, and goddammit, I am going to do it. I made a promise to the few of you that still read this old blog, and I promised myself. There were some AMAZING albums released last year, and I wouldn’t feel right not sharing my love for them, like I’ve been doing for several years. So… while this may be late, and it may be way overdue, at least it’s here now… finally.

Just like in 2011, there were two albums that I simply could not get enough of, and honestly those two were so far and above everything else; with one exception… each other! It should be no secret at this point that I LOVE LOVE LOVE both Sara Bareilles and City and Colour; they are both two of my most favorite artists, and last year, they both released amazing albums within about a month of one another.

1. (tie) Sara Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest
Sara’s incredible third full length album did not disappoint. Seeing her live just before this album was released was a real treat; and it turned out to be the show that was recorded for the live album release later that year (the one that I was featured as a photographer on, nonetheless!). She only sang a few new songs, but man, they really built up my expectations for the new release; and per usual, I was not disappointed. Sara has this quality that I think a lot of artists wish they had; she can capture her thoughts, feelings, disappointments, triumphs, frustrations, and most of all, love all within a song. She can transform a thought into a feeling, and turn that feeling into a beautiful piece of music that makes you feel what she wanted you to feel; it takes you right to where she is in that moment. I love that the first song she released from this album, the penultimate Brave, was an ode to her dear gay friend, in hopes that she could help him be brave, and he could come out to his family. This is such a supportive anthem that I really resonate with, and one that is miles beyond a simply catchy chorus and beat. Sara has crafted another beautiful album without a single misstep, and it is apparently getting her more and more attention; it was, after all, nominated for album of the year at the Grammy’s. While she didn’t win, I definitely thought it was the best one of the bunch, and I am appreciative of her talent that she continues to share with us. Song Highlights: Brave, Manhattan, Satellite Call, Islands, December.

1. (tie) City and Colour – The Hurry and The Harm
Just like Sara, City and Colour is an artist that once I heard him for the first time, I knew I was hooked on something amazing. Dallas Green, aka City and Colour, is definitely an old soul. He is so evocative in his song writing, and so prolific in his musicality, that there is no doubt in my mind that he has been through a few life times; even if only through hardship, love, and loss during this one. He writes music that is so emotion-filled, and beautiful, that I honestly get choked up during many of his songs. He weaves this imagery that makes me feel his music, and makes it an experience, rather than just listening to something catchy or beautiful. There are song that he has on this album, just like on his previous three, that I turn on, turn up, close my eyes, and just feel. When he released the first song from the album, Of Space and Time, I was elated. I was not only in love with this amazing track, but I was once again blown away at how someone could be this talented; he continues to up the game at each turn. The entire album followed suit, and while it is a bit more “polished” than his first albums, I think the raw nature of his craft is front and center. Dallas, please keep making such amazing and beautiful music; I know there are many fans like myself will follow you to the end of time. Song Highlights: Of Space and Time, Harder Than Stone, Two Coins, Take Care, Ladies and Gentlemen.

3. Haim – Days Are Gone
These three rock-n-roll sisters came out of nowhere. I first heard The Wire on a video show, and I loved it. After that, I checked out the album, and I was blown away; who are these ladies, and where did this amazing album come from? According to many sources, these girls loved Fleetwood Mac growing up, and that style influenced their musical style. While I only hear subtleties, I think these ladies have created a truly incredible debut. Very rarely do you come across a new group that is this incredibly talented, and able to turn out a practically flawless debut album. This is one album that I listened to over and over again, because each song is incredible, and not like anything else I heard this year. Seeing them live a few weeks ago was the icing on the cake; they are INCREDIBLE live, and totally slayed the concert. I hope this is a start of a long and illustrious career for this talented trio. Song Highlights: The Wire, Honey & I, Go Slow, If I Could Change Your Mind, Forever, Falling.

4. Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
I’ve really liked these twin sisters for quite some time, but never so much as I do since this album came out. Embracing a bit more of an electronic sound, added to their tried and true acoustic, guitar driven sound from the start, they tried something different and completely succeeded. In my honest opinion, they have never been stronger, both in their “new” sound as well as lyrically, I have no doubt that they have attracted many new fans with this album. Much more polished, and cohesive, Heartthrob is definitely my favorite Tegan and Sara album thus far. I found myself loving more songs that ever before, and the album in and of it self is cohesive, solid, and very well made. Not saying that haven’t been this strong in the past, as these ladies are incredibly talented; they just have come into something different, and in my opinion, more developed and polished than ever before. Seeing them live recently also made me appreciate their new album even more; they are incredible live, and this show was better than the one I had seen years ago. Song Highlights: Closer, Now I’m All Messed Up, Shock to Your System, I Was a Fool.

5. Lady GaGa – ARTPOP
What can I say? It’s Lady GaGa. I have loved her since the first time I heard Just Dance, which was a good 8 months or so before her debut dropped, and since that time, she has gone from a pop diva to a full-fledged pop phenomenon. While many critics agreed that this was a “weak” album for the superstar, especially when compared to her near-flawless previous releases, I think that this album is merely a minor misstep in an otherwise flawless career thus far. GaGa is hugely talented, and that goes without saying; those that don’t like her can’t deny her level of talent is through the roof, and with this album, she reinvented herself yet again. This time, however, it didn’t blow everyone away like it had before. HOWEVER, I feel like this album is a well-rounded, very strong effort from a massively talented artist. With Applause, the first single off of her new album, GaGa released, what I think, is one of her strongest singles to date; but for whatever reason, I didn’t resonate as strongly as previous efforts. The album release was considered somewhat of a “flop”, because it didn’t blow her previous effort out of the water, but I think that GaGa had insurmountable odds to overcome, and as opposed to trying to best herself, she put her best foot forward, and made a record that she felt comfortable with and loved. It is clear that her passion is still front and center, and while there are a few missteps on the album, this is more GaGa gold that fans can enjoy like before. Song Highlights: Applause, Sexxx Dreams, Venus, Gypsy, Dope, Do What U Want.

6. Miley Cyrus – Bangerz
This album fits squarely in the column of, “I really shouldn’t like this, but… it’s just so… dammit, it’s just so darn good!!”, AKA, what most people would label as guilty pleasures. That being said, I would say that nothing should be a guilty pleasure; if you like something, for whatever reason, just enjoy it! This album was so much better than I was expecting, that I was honestly a little blown away by it. Not only is Miley an extremely talented singer (trust me, she slayed live), but her choices on this album show that not only does she know how to pick a hit, but her choice of producers to work with shows the potential making of a star; after all, you’re only as strong as the music you put out. Remember when Britney was seemingly unstoppable? It was largely because of who she was working with, and I can definitely say that Miley has taken note, and is doing something spot on with her “new” career. With this album, and honestly, with one “stripped down” video for Wrecking Ball, she left her purely innocent pop past as Hannah Montana squarely in the past. Couple that with an infamous racy performance at the MTV music awards, and Miley had transformed herself into the most talked about woman in the room. The attention is well deserved, as this is an incredible pop album, and while it isn’t her debut, it might as well be. I’m not ashamed to say that I love the “new” Miley Cyrus, and if she keeps making albums this strong, she’s got a very long career ahead of her for sure. Song Higlights: Wrecking Ball, Adore You, We Don’t Stop, Drive, #GETITRIGHT, Maybe You’re Right.

7. London Grammar – If You Wait
The first time I heard their sleepy hit Strong, I knew I had stumbled onto something incredible. When they released their album, shortly thereafter, I found myself entranced and hypnotized by Hannah Reid’s haunting vocals, which are beautifully paired with saccharine, wispy harmonies and delicate beats. While the album leans towards possibly being a bit monotonous (and I don’t mean this in a negative way… more cohesive), in that a lot of the songs blend so seamlessly together, and nothing stands out as strongly as well, Strong, the album is beautiful, and there is nary a misstep to be found on it. Definitely a great chill out album, reminiscent of, and I have to believe, playing tribute to, gorgeous music from trip-hop artists like Portishead from the past. This is one band that I would love to see play live, as I am sure they are incredible. I love discovering music like this, especially when bands this incredibly talented come out of pretty much nowhere. This is truly an excellent debut, indeed. Song Highlights: Strong, Stay Awake, Hey Now, Wasting My Young Years.

8. Hayden – Us Alone
I’ve loved Hayden for quite some time, and his latest sleepy-rock album is another fantastic addition to an ever-increasingly magnificent music cannon. Hayden is like a very fine wine, he only gets better with each subsequent release. While this is a short album at only 8 songs, he packed in some truly beautiful songs about love and loss, a subject he seems to know all too well. Hayden’s tenderness always shines in his music, and this is another heartfelt album that more people should be listening to. Song Highlights: Almost Everything, Oh Memory, Just Give Me a Name, Motel, Rainy Saturday.

9. One Direction – Midnight Memories (Deluxe Edition)
These lads were a hot point of contention for me at first; they are sort of responsible for the break up of Westlife, my favorite boy band of all time. Once I got past my heartbreak on losing Westlife, I couldn’t help but fall deeply for these guys and their ridiculously catchy pop. This is an album that is far better than it should be; there really isn’t anything on here that’s bad. This being their third album, I can tell that those that are not firmly in the 1D camp need to either wise up or get out of the way; they aren’t going anywhere for a while. After seeing them on SNL, I saw the star power they possess, and their live shows are probably a big reason why their popularity has continued to soar. They are the new incarnation of the boyband, and they are really doing it really, really well. This is another fantastic pop album chock full of singles; which begs the question, why haven’t more singles been released?! Here’s hoping that will be remedied in the coming months; there is enough material on this album to spawn many more hits. Song Highlights: Through the Dark, Best Song Ever, Strong, Story of My Life, Don’t Forget Where You Belong, Little White Lies, Better Than Words.

10. Rosi Golan – Fortuna
This may be an EP, but it is filled with such amazing songs, so I felt compelled to include it in the best albums of 2013 for that very reason. I have loved Rosi Golan ever since I heard her amazing duet with William Fitzsimmons, Hazy. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful, and on this gorgeous EP, she has given fans a beautiful mini-album full of some of her best work. Unfortunately, I discovered her previous album, Lead Balloon many months after its release, and it missed my best of 2011 as a result. Fortunately, I saw this immediately on its release, and was able to give a little love to Rosi this year, as it is so well deserved. This is one of those artists that is so incredibly talented, but for some reason, tends to fly just under the radar. If you still haven’t heard of her yet, this is your notice; check out Rosi Golan and this incredible release. This is a gorgeous record, and as with her previous work, it has me excited for what she puts out next. Song Highlights: Curtain Call, Give Up The Ghost, Your Forgiveness, Churchyard Sleep.

11. Leslie Hall – Songs In The Key Of Gold
With Songs, Mother Gem released a delicious remix album of her hits, along with a couple of new songs (four to be exact!!) to keep the party moving. I was fortunate enough to see her perform this amazing album live earlier this year, and I had such an amazing time (I always do at her shows!!). This is a best of/greatest hits album with the dance knob turned way up, and the lycra extra tight; Titus Jones remixed all of these songs, and made already danceable fun tracks into the ultimate dance party. I always joke that if I could see Leslie perform about once every month, I would never be sad or worry again. I honestly wish it were an option, because this is always the highlight of my week when a Leslie show is on the books. Thanks for another fabulous album, Mother Gem; it is gem-fantabulous!! New Songs: Neon Blood, #1 Cat In America, Happy Birthday, Of Course You Where Glasses.

The rest…

The Postal Service – 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition – a pivotal, influential album gets a remastered re-release; still perfection 10 years later.
30 Seconds To Mars – Love Lust Faith + Dreams – another great 30 seconds album.
Beyonce – Beyonce – secret release, some great singles that I can’t get enough of, some stuff I didn’t love.
CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share – I should have liked this more than I did, even though I really, really did like it.
Ciara – Ciara – a few good songs, mostly, I’m Out and Body Party.
Dawes – Stores Don’t End – great stories tellers, love, love, love, Most People.
Shane Filan – You and Me – so much potential, so much repetition.
Goldfrapp – Tales Of Us – I just didn’t get into this one, shame as I love Goldfrapp.
Selena Gomez – Stars Dance – great guilty pleasure; some real bangers on here.
The Great Gatsby Soundtrack – excellent movie, GREAT soundtrack.
Icona Pop – This is… Icona Pop – love these two; some missteps pull down the album.
Jessie J – Alive – amazing singer, great pop starlet, just not as dynamic as her debut.
Little Mix – DNA (US Deluxe Edition) – this is pop, dammit! If it weren’t for the nose dive on the back end of the album, it may have been in the best of list above…
Lorde – Pure Heroine – loved it, just very, very, very overplayed.
Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady – super talented, super talented, super talented.
MSMR – Secondhand Rapture – some great singles, didn’t get into all of it, unfortunately.
Olly Murs – Right Place, Right Time – honestly, it just missed the best list…
Kate Nash – Girl Talk – a lot darker, a lot more punk, a lot less catchy and fun.
The National – Trouble Will Find Me – another fantastic and amazing album from super talented guys.
Tom Odell – Long Way Down – good stuff, just didn’t take me by storm.
The Paper Kites – States – opened for City and Colour; love finding a new, great band.
Silver Bells – Bitter Rivals – a bit tamer than their debut, but still pretty darn good.
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City – always count on them for a great album.
The Wanted – Word of Mouth – not going to lie; a little disappointed given their previous work.
Jessie Ware – Devotion – pretty good, just didn’t blow me away.
Katy Perry – Prism – potential… wasted (Dark Horse is brilliant, though).
The Saturdays – Living For The Weekend – I think they were a little rushed; at least it seems like things were thrown together for this; definitely not as strong as their previous albums. Some AMAZING singles, though.
Britney Spears – Britney Jean – her “most personal”, yet her weakest album to date, with the weakest lead single of her career; very disappointed (Perfume is incredible, though).

sotd: City and Colour – Of Space and Time

of space and time by cityandcolour

Check this out; today’s song of the day is City and Colour’s gorgeous new single Of Space and Time, from his upcoming, as-yet-to-be-titled fourth release. Needless to say, I am freaking THRILLED that a new City and Colour album is slated for release in summer of 2013 (right around the corner), and this single firmly cements what I have known for a while now; Dallas Green is a musical genius. He is far and above my absolute favorite artist, and with each new release, he seems to only get better and better. I have had this song on repeat since I first heard it. This song is beautiful, both lyrically and melodically, and it’s depth and texture grows richer with each listen. I absolutely love when music like this comes to my ears, because it makes me just beam with warmth and makes me smile so big that I cannot explain. Music like this is why I am so passionate about the medium. I cannot wait for the new album!

Also, here is some excellent news: You can download this song for FREE today!! Go to this link, and you will have this gorgeous song on your iPod in no time!!

2011: my 11 favorite albums

I know, right? FINALLY! The wait is over, and here are my 11 favorite albums from LAST YEAR, 2011. Now, this list really isn’t a surprise to me, because these are the albums that I listened to most throughout the year, and they are all stellar. However, for the first time, for me, there was a clear tie for first; I couldn’t pick one of them over the other, no matter how hard I tried. That being said, I hope you enjoy my picks for my favorite albums of 2011. I also listed several albums that were great, but just didn’t make the cut, because they weren’t up to the par of these special few. Now, on to the list!

(tie) 1. Adele – 21
I have loved Adele pretty much from the first moment I heard of her. I saw some blogs talking about this “up and coming” singer back in early 2008, and after hearing some live stuff, I was instantly on board. What came next was an amazing debut, 19, which was my number 4 album of 2008. Then, I saw her live at the Variety in March of 2009, and that concert solidified her as one of my favorite artists. Obviously, I was jazzed to here a new album was slated for early 2011, but I wasn’t prepared for this opus that she would release. This album doesn’t have a single bad track on it. It is immaculate. This is an album that is current, and one that will age well; it is a new classic. Adele is one of those singers that has such talent that it isn’t really being matched by many right now; and people are taking notice. This is one of those rare instances where there is something I love so very much that happens to make it on the radio, and gain the attention of the masses; this album made 2011 a huge year for Adele. Now, if she can just quit pushing herself so hard, take some breaks, and protect that amazing voice; I want to enjoy her for a lifetime.
Standout Tracks: Turning Tables, Set Fire To The Rain, Someone Like You, Take It All, Rolling In The Deep.

(tie) 1. City and Colour – Little Hell
This album being on top shouldn’t surprise anyone that reads this blog regularly; I adore Dallas Green, aka City and Colour. He is another one, like Adele, that when I first heard of him, I was instantly hooked, and I realized quickly that I had found an all time favorite artist in him. His most recent album, Little Hell, is raw, beautiful, dark, poignant, flawed, and still, damn near perfect. This album takes what he does best (making amazingly well written songs and setting them to hauntingly beautiful acoustic music), and builds it to a crescendo. This album captivated my attention from when it was released in June, and continues to be on heavy rotation for me now; this is a shining example of a supremely well made album by a truly amazing artist. Little Hell showed me that I chose well when I declared City and Colour as one of my favorite artists, because he does not disappoint. I was worried that it wouldn’t meet or exceed Bring Me Your Love (which is one of my favorite albums of all time), but he met the mark, and made an album that stands proudly along side it. Excellent, excellent music, here folks, and one of my favorites of the year by far.
Standout Tracks: Northern Wind, O’ Sister, Grand Optimist, We Found Each Other In The Dark, Little Hell.

3. William Fitzsimmons – Gold In The Shadow (Deluxe Edition)
I finally got to see him live earlier this year, and I KNOW that this influenced my decision to put his album this high; the album is amazing, but hearing it live made for one of the best concert experiences of my entire life. William is an incredibly folk musician, and his music is tender, and achingly beautiful. What pushed him higher on the list was the re-release of this album as a Deluxe Edition, because it contains some of his most beautiful songs to date (which are included in the standout tracks). Another great album by another amazing artist; are you sensing a trend here, people?
Standout Tracks: By My Side, Beautiful Girl, Ever Could, Blood And Bones, Bird of Winter Prey.

4. Jessie J – Who You Are
Initially, I was a bit turned off by her (not a huge fan of Price Tag), but I listened to the whole album, and man, I was blown away. This chick can SING!! She has some amazing songs, and her debut is nothing to scoff at; it’s brilliant. Definitely one of my biggest surprises of the year; glad I gave her a second chance! Also, the re-release with Domino was smart; Domino is such a fantastic addition to an already amazing album.
Standout Tracks: Who You Are, Do It Like A Dude, L.O.V.E., Domino, Abracadabra.

5. Lady GaGa – Born This Way
What can I say, IT’S GAGA. Seriously, haters beware; this is pop music people. GaGa is still killing it, several years into the game at this point, and clearly, has no intention of slowing down. Some of the tracks on this album are the best of her career; she clearly has a knack for what it takes to make a hit. This album is excellent from beginning to end, but the Deluxe version “extras” were just so-so. Overall, GaGa has never let me down, and this album was certainly one of my favorites this year.
Standout Tracks: Heavy Metal Lover, Born This Way, Marry The Night, Americano, The Edge of Glory.

6. Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia
I love how eccentric this guy is; he clearly has his own style, and flaunts it with such, well, style, that it begs for attention. I really enjoyed his previous work, and was excited to hear a new album from him this year. However, it was all shock and awe when, low and behold, this is the happiest I have heard him! There are so many wonderful love songs on this album, and it is definitely my favorite album he’s released to date. Do yourself and watch the video for House too; it is EPIC. I love artists that aren’t afraid to be themselves, and Patrick is the definition of unique. His talent is too wonderful not to explore and share.
Standout Tracks: House, The City, Bermondsey Street, Together, The Future.

7. Feist – Metals
I am a gigantic Feist fan; I have been since I saw her live on her tour for The Reminder. That album caught me by surprise and ended up being my number 2 album of 2007. I didn’t think I’d have to wait so many years to get another fantastic album from this Canadian chanteuse, but when she announced she’d follow up this year, I was thrilled. She didn’t disappoint, either; fantastic follow up to a fantastic previous album.
Standout Tracks: How Come You Never Go There, Bittersweet Melodies, Anti Pioneer, Graveyard, Caught A Long Wind.

8. Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys
What can I say, Death Cab are one of my all time favorite bands, so obviously, I am going to be excited when they come out with new material. This time, they released some very happy and upbeat songs, and many of them channeled electronic elements of Gibbard’s seemingly abandoned side project from years ago, The Postal Service. I was more than happy to hear those influences on this album, and still hold out hope for another Postal Service album; but that’s a different story for a different time. The songs on this album are excellent, and it is yet another great album but one of my favorite bands… this seems to be the trend for 2011.
Standout Tracks: St. Peter’s Cathedral, Stay Young Go Dancing, You Are A Tourist, Unobstructed Views, Some Boys.

9. Florence + The Machines – Ceremonials
While her first album took me a little while to fully enjoy, I was waiting at the starting gate for this go ’round. Florence is truly an artist that crafts a song from the words, to their pronunciation, to the music, and the orchestration; all of these are her instruments, and the effect is a layered song that is unique and gorgeous. She uses her dynamic musical talent to craft yet another album that many people will continue to talk about for a while to come; she has proven she is truly an artist to watch, and listen to.
Standout Tracks: Shake It Out, Only If For A Night, No Light No Light, Remain Nameless, Never Let Me Go.

10. Mat Kearney – Young Love
Always a favorite of mine, Mat tries a few new things, while bringing the signature of his previous work on board, making yet another fantastic album. The blend of hip hop with pop-rock is unmistakably Mat’s signature, and he weaves more delightful music on this album, and makes some of his best music to date. While it didn’t quite wow me as much as his previous effort, it does stand out as one of my favorites of the year, and there really isn’t another negative thing I have to say about it.
Standout Tracks: Ships In The Night, Count On Me, Chasing The Light, Rochester, Hey Mama.

11. Britney Spears – Femme Fatale
Arguably, this is by and large, one of her strongest, and most cohesive albums to date. Some of the songs on this album made for some of her most dynamic, and interesting singles as well. Overall, this album will certainly be one that Britney can look back on one of her overall best. That being said, the inclusion of the complete throwaway track, Big Fat Bass, almost derails the entire effort for me, but I skip it each time I listen to the album, so I won’t let it ruin the pop masterpiece that soars throughout the rest of the record. It’s Britney, bitch, indeed.
Standout Tracks: Till The World Ends, Criminal, Seal It With A Kiss, I Wanna Go, Hold It Against Me.

Well, there you have it; my favorite 11 albums of 2011. I hope you found something you hadn’t heard, and give it a chance. I also hope that you enjoyed these albums as much as I did in 2011, and will continue to enjoy on into 2012 and for years to come.

Now, the rest… These are albums that were very good, but for whatever reason, missed the 5 star mark. Some of them just have fantastic singles, but a lot of throwaways dragging them down, and others were just good, but nothing stood out as fantastic. Either way, here’s a bunch of other music you should check out, as it was stuff I was digging in 2011:
Matt Alber – Constant Crows: Love this out crooner, he’s as easy on the eyes as he is on the ears. A great follow up to his debut, and the Madonna cover is amazing.
Beyonce – 4: Color me disppointed; some AMAZING singles, some really bad songs. All over the place.
Bjork – Biophilia: Kinda like above, an amazing lead single, the rest was weird, but interesting.
Bon Iver – Bon Iver: Love him, even though his voice is a bit weird to me.
Alex Clare – The Lateness Of The Hour: Dubstep meets soaring, chill inducing male vocals.
Kelly Clarkson – Stronger: Originally, I stated it was ‘meh’; well, it grew on me, some real stompers on here.
The Decemberists – The King Is Dead: Some of this is excellent, some just too twangy.
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues: Gorgeous, but also a bit too ethereal for me.
David Guetta – Nothing But The Beat: An album full of floor filling dance singles, what’s not to love (well, a few of them, that’s what).
Jennifer Hudson – I Remember Me: I love this girl. Practically as good as her debut, with just a few slight missteps.
JLS – Jukebox: Overall, enjoyable, but nothing really stands out of the pack.
Cher Lloyd – Sticks + Stones: Excellent, almost made my year end list. Reminds me of the spunk of Lily Allen. Swagger Jagger is a deal breaker, though.
Jennifer Lopez – Love?: Color me surprised with this one! Some MAJOR singles, but the rest is filler.
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming: Pretty, weird, pretty weird… but good!!!
Jon McLaughlin – Forever If Ever: Great songwriter, but some of them felt like half-hearted efforts. The stellar songs are stellar, though!
Matt Nathanson – Modern Love: Didn’t love it as much as his previous release, but still good nonetheless.
Noah and the Whale – Last Night On Earth: Very different than their previous album, which I loved; hard not to compare the two.
One Direction – Up All Night: Fun and poppy.
Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some: A bit more edgy and harder than their best album, Writer’s Block, but still good.
Nicole Scherzinger – Killer Love: Damn, this almost made my best of list; but the filler songs are bland. Where she shines, however, she is brighter than the sun!
Slow Runner – Damage Points: Saw them open for William Fitzsimmons; great band, great sound!
The Saturdays – On Your Radar: A little disappointing considering their previous work, but still great girl band pop.
Vanbot – Vanbot: Almost made my best of list; excellent, Swedish pop, reminiscent of fellow Swedish pop princess Robyn. Definitely one to keep your eye on.
The Wanted – Battleground: Kinda like JLS; overall, enjoyable, but nothing really stands out.
White Lies – Ritual: Quite excellent, and maybe with more listens, I’ll love it even more; it just didn’t capture my attention last year.
Will Young – Echoes: Oh how I had such high hopes for this album, and I tried, I tried so hard to love it. It has some AMAZING singles (Jealousy being my favorite song of the year, btw), but the rest of the album was a little more dance, and little less heart for me. Will’s previous album was perfection to me, so I was pretty sure this one couldn’t stand up to it, and unfortunately, it didn’t. That being said, I really love him, and he is one of my favorite artists, and despite only a luke warm feeling for me, it’s a great album nonetheless.
Young The Giant – Young The Giant: Some great singles, but the high points far outshine the low points.

5SF: june 10

Now that I have more free time on my hands in a much more regular fashion, I have had a chance to catch up, and listen to some great music recently. I have been basically living for Death Cab For Cutie and City and Colour’s new releases, so you will definitely see something from each of them today. Other than them, I have a few other gems that I can’t wait to share with you. Let’s get started.

Patrick Wolf – House
Not only is this song amazing, but the video is incredibly beautiful as well. I love Patrick Wolf; he always seems to be standing outside of the box, and yet crafts such amazing pop, that you’d think that everyone in the box would be singing his praises. This guy is eccentric, but that’s his strong suit; he really pours a lot of that eccentricity into his music, fashion, and style, and the result is a true pop superstar that never seems to get enough praise or credit for his work. His new album, Lupercalia is slated to come out in the next couple of weeks, and after hearing and falling head over heels in love with this track, as well as the first single, The City, I am simply bursting at the seams to get my hands on it. Watch the incredibly beautiful video for House here.

City and Colour – We Found Each Other In the Dark
The new album, Little Hell, came out earlier this week, and it is incredible. After hearing O’ Sister, Fragile Bird, and Northern Wind prior to its release, I had high hopes, and pretty high expectations that this album would be yet another amazing release from Dallas Green, aka, City and Colour. After one listen, I will say that I was not disappointed in the least. It is a fantastic album from beginning to end, and represents some of his most beautiful work. While it isn’t as delicate and achingly beautiful overall as the previous release, Bring Me Your Love, it has true heartfelt moments that stand right along side that album, as well as more uptempo and more rock tracks that add a more gritty element to his previous work. Dallas is an exquisite song writer, and an incredible musician, and this album is hands down, one of the absolute best of 2011, by a landslide. With this album, Dallas has solidified his place amongst my most favorite artists, and has proven that he just gets better with each new release. I really hope that he makes a tour stop in Atlanta some time soon.Be sure to get Little Hell, which is out now.Listen to We Found Each Other In The Dark here.

Death Cab For Cutie – St. Peter’s Cathedral
Death Cab For Cutie are certainly one of my favorite bands, and they have been for many years. I love lead singer Ben Gibbard’s voice, and their music is epically beautiful. I was more than excited when I saw that they would be releasing a new album at the end of May, so I marked it on my calendar. As always, they did not disappoint, and the album, Codes and Keys, is pretty amazing overall. I was extra excited, when I listened for the first time, and I found a few songs like this one, that harken to the side project Ben did several years ago called The Postal Service; whose only album was down right incredible. I am sure fans of both bands squealed with delight just as I did upon hearing the infusion of some Postal Service elements into this album. I am glad they gave the fans something as wonderful as this, and continue treating us to great music with each new release. Be sure to get Codes and Keys, which is out now. Listen to St. Peter’s Cathedral here.

Mat Kearney – Hey Mama
This is the new, very peppy track by Mat Kearney. It reminds me stylisitically a lot of Pete Yorn’s track Relator that he did with Scarlett Johanson a couple of years ago. That being said, Mat Kearney is one of those artists that I have followed for years, and consider myself to be a big fan of his work. I’ve seen him in concert a couple of times, and his voice has this amazing ability to make one weak in the knees. This is a much more peppy direction for him, but I think that it works quite well, and it might be his most radio-ready track to date. As always, I am looking forward to his next release, and if this is any indication as to what it might sound like, it seems that Mat is going to be a little more upbeat, and a lot lighter this time around. Maybe this song will help him get some much deserved airplay, and allow more people to find out about this amazing artist. Listen to Hey Mama here.

The Weepies – Same Changes
I was watching the movie Morning Glory the other night, and this delightful song started playing, and I instantly recognized it as the Weepies. While I didn’t really get into their 2010 album Be My Thrill (perhaps because of being busy with nursing school…), I do enjoy the Weepies a lot, and really loved this song when I heard it. It’s very similar to other songs by the Weepies, but when the formula works, why mess with it? The movie was very sweet, and I ended up enjoying it a lot, and I had to download this track as soon as the movie ended. This is yet another example of how using a great song at a pivotal point in a movie can really draw you in and make the experience that much more enjoyable. In this case, it made me enjoy the movie that much more, and solidified a music purchase from me; what’s not to like about that? Do yourself and see this movie too; the previews did not do it justice. It is well written, very cute, and full of laughs and sweet moments. I really enjoyed it. Watch the video for Same Changes here.

So there’s five more songs for you. What did you think? Let me know what you thought in the comments, and as always, tell me what you are listening to as well! Stay cool out there!

5SF: may 13

Look y’all! The 5SF is back this week! Now that I’m DONE WITH NURSING SCHOOL, perhaps it will become more of a regular feature here on this blog; I have missed doing it, and I know that it has been too sparse over the past year or so. Without further adieu, let’s get this thing started!

City and Colour – Northern Wind
In anticipation for Dallas Green’s new City and Colour album, Little Hell (out June 7), I have been checking his website a lot to see if any news or songs were being released prior to the album. Imagine my intense glee when I found that he had posted Northern Wind, because this song is nothing short of epic. This song solidified the fact that this guy is not only incredibly talented, but that he only continues to raise the bar on his own music. I have talked a lot of Dallas in the past, and I will not be stopping any time soon; and if the new album is anything like this, I can guarantee we have one of 2011’s best right here. This song is already on repeat for me, and I pre-ordered the album right after I heard it; something I never do. This guy has really made a lifelong fan out of me, and I will continue to follow his music as long as he makes stuff as endearingly beautiful as this. Northern Wind is seriously one of my favorite songs of 2011 so far, and makes it even more exciting to have City and Colour as one of my most favorite artists. Listen to Northern Wind here.

The Decemberists – Rise To Me
A friend of mine on facebook reminded me that I needed to give the new Decemberists album, The King is Dead a proper listen, and I am glad that I did. Overall, the album is pretty decent, but this song is the real standout for me; it is incredibly beautiful in every way. I have always loved Colin Meloy’s voice, and it is so tender in this song, and the lyrics are vivid. I love how the song is arranged, and how it is almost like an old timey country song; which is normally not something I would instantly love. It’s definitely a little different than some of their previous work, but I cannot get enough of this song; it is really, really beautiful. I have been listening to it on repeat for a few weeks now, and it just gets better every time I hear it. Listen to Rise To Me here.

Slow Runner – Devil Moon
I mentioned Slow Runner a few posts ago when I was talking about the incredible William Fitzsimmons concert I saw at Smith’s Olde Bar a few weeks ago. These guys opened for him, and played with him throughout his set as well, and I was very impressed and thought they were pretty amazing live. When I came home, I downloaded some of their stuff, and was happy to have found a great band in the process. In concert they reminded me a lot of The Postal Service, and that electronic-pop-folk sensibility is front and center on their recorded stuff as well. This song, from their new album Damage Points, is by far my favorite of all their stuff I have heard. It’s beautiful, and the lead’s voice is very shyly tender and sweet. I will definitely be keeping my eye on these guys in the future. Listen to Devil Moon here.

Kylie – Better Than Today
It has been exactly one week since I saw the incredible show Kylie put on at the Fox Theater last week. My buddy Stu surprised me with tickets, and the show was amazing!!! I was a fan of Kylie before, but she has definitely moved up on my list of favorite artists. The show’s production was far and above over the top, and every moment was a true sight to behold; this woman is incredible live, and you are truly missing out if you haven’t seen her in concert. Since seeing the show, I have been listening to lots more Kylie, and have given Aphrodite more of a chance. After having seen her perform the songs live, I have a newfound appreciate for them, and have been enjoying her music much, much more. I feel like if I had seen her live earlier, I would have probably ranked this album higher, and it may have even made me favorites of 2010. Thanks for taking me to the show, Stu! It was incredible!! Watch the video for Better Than Today here.

Jennifer Lopez – (What Is) Love?
After seeing a friend I follow on twitter say he was actually, surprisingly enjoying the new JLo album, my curiosity was piqued, and as such, I decided I needed to give it a listen; after all, JLo has had some great songs in the past. While the guilty pleasure still remains strong with On the Floor (which is way more catchy than I originally gave it credit for), the stand out to me was this song. When looking for the song so that you could hear it, I found a lot of people comparing it to a Nelly Furtado song called All Good Things, and I can definitely hear the similarities; although JLo’s song is much more polished and cleaner to the ears. Overall, this is a fun pop song, and makes me glad that I at least gave JLo’s new album a spin. Listen to (What Is) Love? here.

I was kind of all over the place this week; but what did you think of my picks? Let me know what you are listening to as well, won’t you?

sotd: City and Colour – Boiled Frogs

This was released not that long ago on iTunes, and any “new” material from City and Colour is always something to be excited about. This song is a “cover” of Alexisonfire’s song of the same name. I use quotations around cover, because it isn’t really a cover, so much as it is Dallas’ acoustic take on the song; and seeing as he’s in Alexisonfire, he isn’t really covering the song. Either way, it’s beautiful, and I love it, so I thought I would share it.

It’s weird that the video is out of focus, but the sound is great. If you loved the track as much as I did, buy it on iTunes and support the amazing City and Colour, won’t you!?