One of the biggest reasons I started this column is because I wanted to write about more albums. Before this, I would write a Mid-Year Checkup with five albums to check out from the first half of the year, and then a Year-End Top Ten list at the end of December. This meant that, at most, I’d end up writing about fifteen albums over the course of a year, but probably less than that because I’d often end up with albums from the Mid-Year Checkup on my Top Ten list.
With this column, I’ve put myself on pace to cover sixty albums in a year. That’s four times my previous count, but, as it turns out, it still hasn’t been enough. There have been months with more than just five albums I wanted to tell people about. There have been albums that I didn’t even hear about until long after they’d been released. There have even been albums that I didn’t truly come to appreciate until after the month they were dropped.
So, rather than keeping silent about these albums, I’ll share five of them with you. Consider it an apology for skipping over these guys. Enjoy.
Volunteer – The World Will Begin Again
Release Date: February 17, 2015
Why I Missed It: I needed time for the album to grow on me, which is weird considering I’m usually all over alt pop releases. I didn’t really start to fall in love with this release until a couple months after it was out.
Why You Should Listen: It’s a solid collection of alt pop songs. If the radio-ready EDM landscape is a little too sugary for you, The World Will Begin Again will keep that strong, melodic sensibility, but give it a different energy and take away a bit of that polish.
Buy The World Will Begin Again on iTunes here
Team Callahan – Afterglow
Release Date: August 28, 2015
Why I Missed It: I wasn’t even aware of this band until October. Sometimes I miss things. Get off my case.
Why You Should Listen: There’s a classic feel to this album, like listening to a modernized female-fronted rock band in the vein of Fleetwood Mac and Blondie. The recording sounds a little rough, and if that’s not a deliberate decision, then it certainly works in the project’s favor.
Buy Afterglow on iTunes here
Troubadour Parade – Where All The Kids Belong
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Why I Missed It: February was just packed with solid releases. You can read my roundup here for proof.
Why You Should Listen: This was one of those albums that I hated to leave off my list, but adding this would’ve meant taking off one of the other releases. The funny thing is, now that I’ve had time to sit with all these releases, I’d probably put this in the top two or three that month. It’s quirky, fun, and really solid lyrically. Plus, it was produced by Eric Owyoung, who is the frontman of Future of Forestry and also did a lot of work on Jon Foreman’s Wonderlands EPs. Bonus points!
Buy Where All The Kids Belong on iTunes here
Tow’rs – The Great Minimum
Release Date: June 15, 2015
Why I Missed It: This was another of those albums that I wasn’t even aware of. It popped up on Relevant Magazine’s The Drop just a couple weeks ago, and I devoured it.
Why You Should Listen: It’s just plain beautiful. The songs have a complex, folksy sound, complemented by poetic lyrics that discuss everything from relationships to the fleeting nature of life to the vastness of God. Plus, with a name like Tow’rs you’ll get all kinds of hipster cred when you recommend them to people.
Buy The Great Minimum on iTunes here
Hillsong United – Empires
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Why I Missed It: It just wasn’t what I was expecting. I was never able to get into Hillsong United until their 2013 release Zion. Once they announced Empires, I was pumped to see further exploration of the electronic, poppy sound they’d been exploring. But Empires was…different. It was much more atmospheric, and not hook-based pop music at all.
Why You Should Listen: As much as I was disappointed by the album, I kept on coming back to it, and I kept on coming back to it, and I kept on coming back to it. It really draws you in and creates a full experience. Most of what I love about it is that it doesn’t sound like what most other worship artists are doing.
Buy Empires on iTunes here
Boom. Five albums I either completely missed or just took a while to get into. Were there any albums like that for you this year? Let me know in the comments!