Top 10 Most Anticipated Music Releases of 2014

In a ranking of the months by number of great albums released, January would be right there with December at the bottom. That trend has been proven especially true this year, since there’s been a severe lack of releases that anyone will be listening to a month from now. Between disappointing releases from the promising young artists of today (Warpaint, Young the Giant) and disappointing releases from artists who were promising and young in 1997 (Crystal Method, Mogwai), January 2014 has gone down in music history as a good time to catch up on music from another era.

Fortunately, the rest of 2014 should be jam-packed with great new music. I now present the top 10 upcoming releases most worthy of hype, starting with…

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Five Side Projects Turned Supergroups

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The diverse members of Gorillaz

Despite plenty of success and years of experience, some artists just want to mix things up. This motivation creates what we may call side projects or musical supergroups. Take all the best qualities of similar, or not so similar, musicians, put them in a recording studio, and watch the magic happen. In the past decade or so, five projects in particular have redefined the expectations of musical collaborations. In fact, some of the names may even surprise you.

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Let’s Get The Album-Of-The-Year Countdown Hype Started: My Albums of the Semester

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2013 has been a year of marvelous releases.  A few personal favorites have been Kanye’s Yeezus, James Blake’s Overgrown, Streetlight Manifesto’s The Hands That Thieve, and Daft Punk’s triumphant return with Random Access Memories, but these don’t even begin to comprise a complete highlight list.  Coming up with my list of Top Albums for the year is going to be an intensive process and I’m looking forward to it; in between debating the merits of different albums, I get to listen to all of them again.  It’s going to be something truly magical.  A much easier list to make, though, is my favorite albums of the semester.  While a lot of the heavy hitters for the year were released outside of that time period, there’s a great amount of quality for just these ~3 months.  In my opinion, these were the cream of the crop (presented in alphabetical order by artist). [Read more...]

8 Songs to Play at a Halloween Party That You Might Not Have Thought Of

My fellow staff writer Lucas Kunsman recently wrote a very good list of songs that are hauntingly beautiful. A few of my favorites — “Oh Comely” and “Kasimir Pulaski Day” — made the list. But it got me curious: what are 8 songs that are actually appropriate for a Halloween party? Now, these aren’t all Halloween songs, I know, and a lot of them aren’t really that dark or scary; I didn’t want to give you a list filled with horror-film scores and industrial metal. I also didn’t want to give you a list of songs like “Monster Mash” and “Thriller”, so I tried to pick songs you haven’t thought of.

So here are a few songs that are vaguely sinister and festive, but still fun enough to justify playing at a party. No one wants to hear the theme from Psycho while they’re sipping a beer and trying to hit on the girl in the inappropriately revealing costume.

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Why October 29th Is Gonna Be Amazing

My reaction upon seeing next week’s new releases
Photo courtesy of Neatorama.

Next week is easily the best week of music releases so far this year. While most weeks may have one or two big releases, this next week has so many interesting listens for fans of all genres, a few of which have me giddy in anticipation.

Here’s just a sample of the smaller releases coming this week. For jazz/hip-hop fans, you have pianist Robert Glasper’s Black Radio 2, the sequel to his smooth album Black Radio featuring guest spots from Jill Scott, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Norah Jones, and more. For you Odd Future fans, Mellowhype drops their new album on Halloween. For hip-hop heads who want to look outside the Americas, UK synth-funk hip-hop group band Paper Tiger (not to be confused with the incredible Minneapolis producer/Doomtree affiliate of the same name) has a new album coming. Metal fans can check out new albums from Toxic Holocaust and Skeletonwitch. Garage-rock/soul/funk-rock fans can feast their ears on the new album from White Denim. And those are just the smaller cool releases I wanted to highlight. Here are the top 5 reasons that the 29th of October is going to be a quite exciting day in music.

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8 Songs That Are Hauntingly Beautiful

Image courtesy of Shadow Mill Productions

Halloween is only a week away.  Many people would say that it is a haunting time of year.  Haunting is defined as “poignant and evocative; difficult to ignore or forget.”  In that spirit, here are eight songs that are haunting in some or many aspects, but at the same time leave you in awe of their beauty; a different kind of Halloween song. [Read more...]

My Top 5 Road Trip Albums

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

I go on a lot of road trips.  I have to drive between Albuquerque, NM and Nashville, TN twice per year so I can have access to my car in my two homes.  I drive to retreats and district events for Tau Beta Sigma, the band service organization I am a part of.  I drive to various music festivals.  I’m going to be driving to Mardi Gras this spring.  And while some people may not understand it, I love all of these long drives, and one of the main reasons for that is having a good road trip playlist.  Having been fortunate enough to be travelling to festivals for two of the past three weekends, I’ve decided to share a few of my current favorite road trip albums.

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