Sunday, July 12, 2009

Top Albums of the first half of the year.

Even though we've only gone through six months, this year has already turned out to be a more competitive and diverse year than all of last year's.

Top Albums:
13. Charetta-Defying the Inevitable: At only 9 songs, this is the shortest of all of the albums to make the list. It's a small package, but it packs a powerful punch (that's what she said).
Listen to: The Truth is Out, Stop the Cycle
12. Nine Lashes-Escape: Produced by Travis Wyrick (10 Years, Pillar) this young band has the potential to be a future Cornerstone favorite. 
Listen to: Words of Red, Escape
11. No Love Lost-No Love Lost: Just outside of the top 10 is this kick ass band from K-Town, Tennessee. Travis Wyrick also produced this solid record.
Listen to: The Silence, Break Me Now
10. Decyfer Down-Crash: When Caleb Oliver, the original lead singer, left the band last year after putting out the EP for Crash, I'd been skeptical that the band was going to jump the shark. Enter TJ Harris. He far exceeded everyone's expectations of how the record was going to sound and the band has remained among the top Christian rock acts in the country.
Listen to: Crash, Fading
9. The Veer Union-Against the Grain: For those of us who know their independent record from a couple of years ago, we were waiting for this to deliver and it did. It's a solid work from this band who's going to be touring with the top radio acts throughout the rest of the year.
Listen to: Seasons, What Have We Done
8. Dredg-The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion: This album that largely deals with agnosticism is Dredg at their absolute best. It's heavy, it's funky, it's groovy and it flat out rocks.
Listen to: Saviour, I Don't Know
7. Halestorm-Halestorm: Lzzy Hale turns the tables on the guys and becomes the most talked about girl rocker of the year so far.
Listen to: I Get Off, Familiar Taste of Poison
6. The Leo Project-Every Song Reminds Me...: This band should have a major record deal right now, it's ridiculous. This album got them on Rock on the Range and has taken them on tours with bands like 10 Years, Adelitas Way, and Tesla.
Listen to: Without the Sunshine, Half as Good
5. Karnivool-Sound Awake: The only band here that won't see an American release of their album until 2010. It's a shame, too because the songs on this record rank from amazing to fucking amazing. 
Listen to: Set Fire to the Hive, New Day
4. Nural-Entitlement: This is one of my favorite albums ever produced by David Bendeth. It is basically the male counterpart to Paramore's Riot!, which still hasn't left my player.
Listen to: The Hits Keep Coming, Me or the Music
3. Ben Moody-All For This: As an Evanescence fan, this was an album that I'd been waiting for since 2005. It's a completely unexpected effort, but all the more appreciated.
Listen to: 10/22, Nothing Left of Me
2. Hurt-Goodbye to the Machine: It is not very often when a band's material improves after getting dumped by a major label. Not only is this one of those times, but this is my favorite record of theirs to date.
Listen to: Wars, Well
1. Red-Innocence and Instinct: I really liked End of Silence, but they really stepped their game up big time on Innocence and Instinct. A lot of bands tend to suffer the sophomore curse and Red avoided it in a big way. They built up the hype of the record in a way that I had not seen   from many other bands and they delivered with their material.
Listen to: Shadows, Never Be the Same

Music Videos...

In the wake of Michael Jackson's death, I was going to discuss what has happened to music videos and why it appears that they're dying when all of the sudden, really good music videos have recently emerged.

Music videos used to make or break an artist. Throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, many were these flashy productions that normally cost endless amounts of money.

Nowadays, the event that used to be the music video is not anymore. Many videos nowadays are simply performance videos. I want to go back to a time when music videos were creative and groundbreaking all of the time.

That being said, there are three videos that I've seen recently that still give me hope that music videos are still alive and well.

Seether's Careless Whisper (directed by Tony Petrossian)-Tony Petrossian is one of my favorite directors currently. He's directed videos such as Stone Sour's Through Glass, Rise Against's Prayer of the Refugee, and Serj Tankian's Empty Walls. He may be very political, but the way that he's done it is always creative. In this particular case, he uses the 80s and tries to tie it in with what's going on in the world today through an Atari-esque video game featuring the band.

Framing Hanley's Hear Me Now (directed by Mason Dixon)-Mason Dixon has directed all of Framing Hanley's music videos and this is the second version of Hear Me Now. I like that this video takes more of a literal approach to the first one. It's dark, but very sexy. You could say that this video's built for sin (HA!). Jimmy Swaggart never sinned this badly.

Alice in Chains' A Looking in View (directed by Stephen Schuster)-Easily my favorite video of the year thus far and it has nothing to do with the nudity. This conjures up bad memories of the Tool videos I watched when I was younger. Except, whereas those videos were more sublime, there was a realness that made this particular video more disturbing. It kind of reminded me of the movie Requiem for a Dream. There was simulated child abuse, simulated rape, an implied suicide attempt, and a simulated drowning all within seven minutes. As crazy as it may sound, this is what music videos are all about. That video set the tone of the song and vice versa. I guarantee you won't be seeing that video anywhere near television anytime soon.