Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Favorite Albums of 2013

Music is an important aspect of my life.  It moves, motivates, and inspires me more than anything else.  Strangely, I haven't been looking for music anywhere near as much as I usually do, but a lot of great new albums and bands have still found their way to me.  Here's my favorite albums of 2013:

4.  Cults - Static

Static crept its way to me towards the end of the year but I've been thoroughly enjoying this latest album.  It's a really gentle and uplifting sound.

3.  Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

I'm a huge Queens of the Stone Age fan but they hadn't produced anything since I was in undergrad.  (Hundreds of years ago!)  So ...Like Clockwork was a pleasant surprise.  The best way I can describe this album is that listening to it makes me feel like I'm a lich commanding an army of the dead.

2.  The Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law

After a long night of drinking, a good friend of mine recommended The Joy Formidable to me before playing this video on his computer.  I was so entranced by the girl, the song, and the video.  I remember thinking, "This girl is a messenger of God."  Then suddenly, my friend goes, "Aw, this version sucks!"  And closes the video, shattering my reality.

Coincidentally, another friend linked me the video to This Ladder is Ours (embedded above) and I was entranced again.  Ritzy (the "messenger of God") puts so much personality into her performance and the video's narrative, and there's so much power, energy, and movement in the video itself.  I often retreat back to that music video like my own private sanctuary.

Wolf's Law is amazing but listen to everything by The Joy Formidable.  It's all gold.

1.  Dark Moor - Ars Musica

Dark Moor was amazing when I discovered them years ago.  They were my favorite fantasy metal band because they continued to improve, while my other favorites tapered off in quality and direction.  (Nightwish and Rhapsody to name a few.)  So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this album.  In my opinion, Ars Musica has done the impossible and trumped every masterpiece that Dark Moor has created in the past.

Personally, this is a powerful album.  Listening to it has conjured images of knights and mages, and monstrous horrors that stalk the night.  I've even created a series of epic stories in my head, based on this album alone, which I'd love to bring to life some day.

Ars Musica continues to inspire me, and it reminds me of a time when fantasy worlds like Magic: the Gathering, Shannara, and Warcraft were my private sanctuaries.

Honorable mention goes out to The Octopus Project and LAKE for bringing me to my happy place, Beats Antique for piquing my imagination, and daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra for making me feel like an unstoppable evil wizard.

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