Category Archives: music

My Favorite Albums & Movies of 2013

The following are my favorite albums and movies from 2o13. They’ve connected with me on some level, through nostalgia and pulling my mind back to old memories or taking me on a journey away from reality and into a story I’ve not yet heard. If you have yet to hear these albums or see these movies, I hope you get inspired to at least check into them a little bit and see if you too can be gripped by these stories.

20. Matrimony- Montibello Drive

19. Imaginary Friend- Fire Escape

18. Relient K- Collapsible Lung

17. Local Natives- Hummingbird

16. Pacific Air- Stop Talking

15. My Epic- Behold

14. Houses- A Quiet Darkness

13. Daughter- If You Leave

12. Air Review- Low Wishes

11. Moving Mountains- Moving Mountains

10. Ghost Ship- The Good King

9. Jimmy Eat World- Damage

8. Sleeping at Last- Atlas EPs: Darkness/Light/Space 1/Space 2

7. Leagues- You Belong Here

6. Dustin Kensrue- The Water and the Blood

5. Citizens- Citizens

Worship music has come a long way from when I first became a christian. Citizens really put out an album full of worship songs that have more depth than most of the K-Love hits, and they are upbeat and fun. This album has honestly helped me grow in my spiritual walk this year and I am glad to have found some genuine and accessible worship music I can enjoy.

4. Gungor- I am Mountain

Gungor has tuned the table around on us again. It seems every time they put something new out it is a new breed of Gungor. This album has it all. From western songs about war to a song completely done with auto tune. It’s eclectic spread of songs make it a good listen any time. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the mood for something upbeat and happy or slow and thought-provoking,  I am Mountain fills my thirst.

3. Twin Forks- EP

Chris Carrabba’s new folk band is the best musical outlet he’s had in a while. Dashboard Confessional has been in a downslide, and Twin Forks has become Carrabba’s premiere venue for his musical tastes. This album always gets me stomping my feet and clapping my hands as I join in with the band. If you get the chance to check these guys out live I highly advise that you do it.

2. Lydia- Devil

Lydia seems to have no shortage of music to make with putting out new music about every year and a half. This time around lead singer Leighton Antelman has some joyful things on his heart which make for an uplifting album (which is a rare occurrence with this band). Lydia is one of a kind, and a musical inspiration that has been with me since I started college. Usually Lydia songs are perfect fall or winter music, but this disc is just so lovely it fits with spring and summer, which just means Lydia will be on year round for me now.

1. I can Make a Mess- Enola

I don’t know if it’s because I had no expectations at all for this, or because I wanted it so badly to be great that it would’ve been no matter what, but this album captured me. Ace Enders first introduced himself to me with The Early’s November’s The Room’s Too Cold (which was one of my favorite albums throughout high school), and shortly after that Ace created my favorite full length disc ever: I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business self-titled album. I can still remember buying it from F.Y.E. and listening to it constantly that October and November. I still cherish the songs from that album. Ace went on and make more music with The Early November and a few alone as I Can Make a Mess, but nothing has ever rivaled that first ICMAM album… until now.

Enola is great because it holds nothing back. Guitar solo in the middle of the song? ‘K. Heavy techno infused songs mixed with stripped down acoustic songs? Done. Soaring and soothing guitars to balance out the peaks and valleys? Of course. Enola and the self-titled I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business will be sitting on my musical pedestal for years and years to come. Thank you Mr. Enders.

Click here to listen to my Spotify “Best of 2014” playlist with songs from the above albums and more!

Below are my five favorite movies I saw in 2013. There are a few more I am waiting on seeing, but I’ll list them afterwards.

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I think Peter Jackson can do no wrong. Plus Martin Freeman is incredible. And Benedict Cumberbatch is in it. This movie is hysterical and action packed and I watched it all from the edge of my seat.

2. Pacific Rim

The little boy in me loved everything about this movie. The monsters. The giant robots. The pet bulldog. Everything.

3. Now You See Me

Magic that captivated me the entire movie and with a great twist at the end!

4. Star Trek: Into Darkness

My man crush is Benedict Cumberbatch…

5. Despicable Me 2

The minions completely steal the show here. Much improved from the original too.

I have yet to see a few highly acclaimed movies and am waiting on the cheap, easily available route (Redbox) before enjoying them. Here are a few I’m looking forward to viewing soon:

  • Gravity
  • Captain Phillips
  • American Hustle
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • About Time

One final thing to touch on for the year is my favorite television shows! I have really enjoyed a few years and would encourage others to look into them if they’ve been looking for something fun to watch!

1. Sherlock

Led by Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (as Dr. Watson), this hour and a half television show is my favorite show of all time. It plays out much more like a movie than a show (which can easily be done in it’s long, but well worth it run time). Cumberbatch and Martin are as great a duo as their is in TV currently. Sadly the show only offers us three episodes per series (season), but if you’re just now finding out about you are in luck! Series three is airing in the United States January 19th with the following two episodes the next two weeks as well!

2. The Walking Dead

Boy oh boy, have things strongly progressed since season three ended. I think each episode so far this season has had something great to offer either in the way of character development or a major plot twist. The zombies have become more of a “background noise” type of occurrence, but more and more dangers are popping up that the group cannot seem to avoid! I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for our Walking Dead characters!

3. The Goldbergs/ Trophy Wife

Admittedly these shows are my guilty pleasures. Just some pretty funny sitcoms that consistently make me laugh! The Goldbergs is perfect for anyone born in the 80’s due to all the old school references like Atari, the Delorean, and Run DMC. The Trophy Wife has some very uniquely intertwined family relationships that somehow work don’t overwhelm the show. All of the actors are given just enough time to shine and they each have their own quirks that make it hard to not continue coming back for more!

This is a reflection of my entertainment this previous year, and I look forward to all that 2014 has to offer!

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The Citizens

Album Cover for the Citizens new release.

Album Cover for the Citizens new release.

The Citizens hit the scene last year with their EP “Already Not Yet”. The short, but highly encouraging album consists of three remade hymns (“Amazing Grace”, “In Tenderness”, and “Nothing but the Blood”) and one very powerful closer in their original song “Oh God”. All three hymns are very upbeat with a purpose, and remade to fit the music scene today with the style that The Citizens are trying to achieve- energetic worship in the style of indie (I know, it’s a bit wordy). Regardless of how you would try to categorize their style of worship, one thing is for sure: it is genuine and it is good.

Their new self-titled  album that released this week follows suit of the previous EP as it contains three hymns with the other eight songs being original creations. The band chose to cover two new hymns in “I Surrender All” and “Praise to the Lord”, as well as include “In Tenderness”. Each hymn brings a new dynamic to the album and provides the listener with a different worship experience.  “I Surrender All” slows down the pace and enables to listener to reflect and meditate throughout the track.

The original songs are truly what steal the show though. “Made Alive” boasts a catchy chorus that you’ll get stuck in your head all day (in a good way). The instruments throughout are top notch and unique. The bass in “Hail the King” really stands out, and is a forefront sound when typically just heralded as background noise. Most of all though, it is the lyrics and poetic writing truly written for God that are the cornerstone for the album. These lyrics from their song “I am Living in a Land of Death” exemplify what the band strived for while crafting and writing each song:


“So I feel alive with a life that’s not mine,

And I’m believing that it is Your intended design”


The song continues and eventually ends with this verse:


“So much more than precious gold,

Is the beauty I behold,

Give me the glorious reward,

Of knowing You my King, my Lord.”


The Citizens’ calling card is their ability to make worship a natural thing, with their powerful lyrics and style of music that is current with today’s top artists, this band is reaching out to the masses. If you are searching for a different type of worship, one that ups the ante in this genre, be sure and check out The Citizens. There is nothing to regret.

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Air Review- “Low Wishes”

Dallas, Texas is home to many unknown indie bands trying to make it big, but maybe one of these young bloods will finally break the barrier. Air Review released their second full length album January 29th, and it is chalk full of great tunes. They have penned meaningful lyrics that transcend emotions and take the listener to a place of self awareness and poetic journeys that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The musicianship is layered deep and is rich in sounds that will make you tap your toes and gently sway your body throughout each song. Throughout the album there is enough variety among the songs that the listener will not become bored, but I believe it is important to note at the same time that the best way to enjoy “Low Wishes” is in its entirety and not just piece by piece with certain songs.

It’s amazing to think how far they’ve transformed themselves since their debut album “Landmarks” was released. That album was much poppier, but their newest release seems much more intentional at being unique and creative, and those two qualities are what make this piece of art stand out. To summarize this review: the vocals, musicianship, and lyrics fit together perfectly and create a genuine masterpiece of music that could never be recreated. With an album this good, it is hard to have low wishes about this band’s future.

Favorite Tracks: “America’s Son”, “Low Wishes”, and “Rebel”

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My Favorite Albums & Movies of 2012

Listed below are my personal favorite albums and movies of 2012. I hope you appreciate the creativeness and time spent in making these pieces of art and stories that are being told.

I know I do…

20. Defining Times- Separate Tongues

Favorite Tracks: “Outlaw”, “Driving into Smoke” and “Swan Dive”

19. The Citizens- Already Not Yet           

Favorite Tracks: “Oh God”, “This Tenderness”, and “Amazing Grace”

18. Devious Means- Songs We All Are Singing

Favorite Tracks: “Problematic”, “Shake”, and “Porcelain Mouths”

17. Joshua Michael Robinson- Intentions

Favorite Tracks: “Broken Sling”, “Only I Know”, and “Cherokee”

16. Among Savages- Wanderings of an Illustrative Mind

Favorite Tracks: “Raging Sun”, “A Dark Design”, and “Terrified”

15. Jt Daly- Memory           

Favorite Tracks: “Oberlin”, “Things Will Never be the Same”, and “Memory”

14. General Ghost- Give Me to the Waves EP & If Then EP

Favorite Tracks: “If Then”, “Don’t Need You”, and “Love You Like You Love Me”

13. Mumford and Sons- Babel         

Favorite Tracks: “Below My Feet”, “Lover of the Light”, and “Lover’s Eyes”

12. The Lighthouse and the Whaler- This is an Adventure

Favorite Tracks: “Pioneer”, “Iron Doors”, and “Little Vessels”

11. Churchill- The Change EP

Favorite Tracks: “Change”, “Sing Out Your Love”, and “Made a List”

10. House of Heroes- Cold Hard Want

Favorite Tracks: “Remember the Empire”, “Touch this Light” and “Stay”

9. The Rocketboys- Build Anyway

Favorite Tracks: “Time is a Devil”, “Marching to the Palace”, and “Carry Me”

8. Now, Now- Threads           

Favorite Tracks: “Prehistoric”, “Thread”, and “Wolf”

7. Further Seems Forever- Penny Black

Favorite Tracks: “Engines”, “Stem the Loss”, and “Janie”

6. The Early November- In Currents

Favorite Tracks: “Tell Me Why”, “A Stain on the Carpet”, and “That’s Not Your Real Name”

5 . Monsters Calling Home –Monsters Calling Home EP


Monsters Calling Home recently changed their name to Run River North. This EP hosts one of my favorites songs of all time in “Foxbeard”. I thoroughly enjoy this band’s story and look forward to seeing how far they go from here.

Favorite Tracks: “Foxbeard” and “Monsters Calling Home”

4. Kopecky Family Band- Kids Raising Kids

What’s not to love about male/female duel vocals in an indie band? This band has the rhythm, the vibe, and the kick to make you dance or just bob your head to the beat.

Favorite Tracks: “Wandering Eyes”, “Heartbeat”, and “Are You Listening?”

3. Anberlin- Vital


Not since “Cities” have Anberlin fans given them a real chance at being a truly great band, but the band’s reputation is saved with “Vital”. It is everything “Cities” was and more. This album truly has re-vital-ized their fans’ passion.

Favorite Tracks: “Someone Anyone”, “Little Tyrants”, and “God, Drugs, and Sex”

2. From Indian Lakes- Able Bodies

With their sophomore release From Indian Lakes have perfected their sound. A unique blend of vocal melodies, musicianship, and lyricism give birth to “Able Bodies”, and boy is it good.

Favorite Tracks: “We Follow”, “Stay Outside”, and “Breaking My Bones”

1. Paper Route –The Peace of Wild Things

 A solid album from start to finish. Paper Route have crafted 10 songs that flow together, shift moods in a solemn manner, and take you on an emotional journey. No two songs sound the same and every song packs a punch.

Favorite Tracks: “Sugar”, “You and I”,  and “Glass Heart Hymn”

My 5 Favorite Movies of 2012… kind of…

1 a. The Dark Knight Rises

An amazing ending to the great Christopher Nolan trilogy.

1 b. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This one ties for first because it is completely different than TDKR, it is just as deserving for my #1 spot. Such an emotional and powerful movie.

2. The Avengers

Ultimate superhero/ comedy/ action/ Robert Downey Jr. mashup.

3. Skyfall

James Bond at his finest. Had me on the edge of my seat throughout the film.

4. The Amazing Spider-man

Hated the first spider-man series, but boy does Andrew Garfield make for a great Peter Parker.

5. Brave

Can Pixar do any wrong?

Movies I Haven’t Seen Yet, but am Pretty Sure I Would Love…


Safety Not Guaranteed


The Intouchables

The Hobbit

Django Unchained

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