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A Lion Named Roar

“…Petals on a wet black bough.”
A Lion Named Roar A Lion Named Roar is one of the last new artists that we discovered in 2012 and they kick off their eclectic EP titled Foreign Land with the song that appears to be about something or someone beautiful that seemed to burn out bright. “This Won’t Last for Long” will grab you and hold you just to make sure you’re listening, because Foreign Land is an EP that is sure to be the leading candidate for “talks the least, but says the most”.  Lasting just over 25 minutes, A Lion Named Roar fires on all cylinders from the from the epic opener, through Desert Wind, all the way to the dreamy acoustic closer, “Ghost In New York City”. The brightest spot for me is the bridge on the track “Remember Me” with the lyrics “Oh baby can it really be love when I’ve been pretending to be what you want?” Foreign Land really strikes the right chord painting a perfect imagery of those heart-wrenching, yet, beautiful moments in life that we’ve all experienced. These songs are apparitions reminding us of the all too familiar faces in the crowd …“Are you going to make your name before the credits roll?”

“This Won’t Last For Long”
[audio http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/fv5tevf4l1/a_lion_named_roar_-_this_won_t_last_for_long.mp3] If you like them, you can check them out on iTunes or Spotify.

Our 50 Favorite Albums of 2012

50BestLogo2012Well, we finally compiled our grand list of the best (in our opinion) albums of 2012. Their are quite a few albums on here from artists that are already relatively popular, but we certainly didn’t discriminate. We made sure to include albums from artists even if they’re relatively unknown.  It was a little frustrating to see a lot of popular music websites leave off bands from their “Best Albums of 2012” that we think deserved to be mentioned.  So this is our chance to show what we think are the best albums of 2012.  Lastly, let us know in the comments if there is anybody you think that should’ve been on the list. We’d love to hear your opinion!
So let’s get started…

50. Bahamas – Barchords

49. Motion City Soundtrack – Go

48. Cat Power – Sun

47. Dr. Dog – Be the Void

46. Our Lady Peace – Curve

45. Delta Spirit – Delta Spirit

44. We Were Pirates – Change

43. Citizen Cope – One Lovely Day

42. Passenger – All the Little Lights

41. Glen Hansard – Rhythm & Repose

40. Everest – Ownerless

39. The Wallflowers – Glad All Over

38. A.C. Newman – Shut Down the Streets

37. Anberlin – Vital

36. Jack White – Blunderbuss

35. Band of Horses – Mirage Rock

34. Metric – Synthetica

33. Sea Wolf – Old World Romance

32. Van Morrison – Born to Sing

31. Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts

30. Bad Veins – The Mess We’ve Made

29. The Shins – Port of Morrow

28. Benjamin Gibbard – Former Lives

27. Nada Surf – The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy

26. Damien Jurado – Maraqopa

25. Beth Orton – Sugaring Season

24. Miniature Tigers – Mia Pharaoh

23. Barcelona – Not Quite Yours

22. Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

21. The Walkmen – Heaven

20. Morning Parade – Morning Parade

19. Paper Route – The Peace of Wild Things

18. Alberta Cross – Songs of Patience

17. Love Drug – Wild Blood

16. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die (Paradise)

15. Andy Davis – Heartbreak Yellow

14. Phillip Phillips – The World From the Side of the Moon

13. The Oh Hello’s – Through the Deep, Dark Valley

12. Jukebox the Ghost – Safe Travels

11. Walk the Moon – Walk the Moon

10. The Freelance Whales – Diluvia

The Freelance Whales are a new band for us this year, and we were both very impressed right from the beginning. This band that hails from Queens bucked the trend of depressing music last autumn with their fun and upbeat sophomore album.  For a “whale” of a good time, check out the Freelance Whales!
9. Ben Howard – Every Kingdom

Every Kingdom was a late discovery for the two of us. As soon as I started playing this album, I knew it was going to be a good one. Ben Howard has such a soothing voice, which explains why this album was on such a heavy rotation during the Fall.
8. Field Report – Field Report

Many people like to compare Field Report to his friend and former bandmate Bon Iver. Although they are similar in many ways, he has finally been able to separate himself with this debut album. It’s the perfect winter album to listen to on a rainy or snowy day. It’s a kick-your-feet-up and reflect on your life type of album that promises not to disappoint. You will probably have to listen to it a few times just to grasp the depth and breadth of Chris Porterfield pouring his heart out.
7. Tyler Lyle – The Golden Age & the Silver Girl

Tyler Lyle is one of those semi-undiscovered/under-rated music artists that has a  very bright future. There really is something to be said about a singer with such a genuine voice, and in this case, lyrics that will touch you to your very core.
6. The Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

There are two great things about the Alabama Shakes. The voice of Brittany Howard truly takes you to another place. The band does an outstanding job of straddling between the styles of current alternative rock and the roots that made it what it is today.  Second, the lyrics are so raw and true that it’s difficult not to listen to this album. It also provides evidence that this is their first album, created during the time that the band wasn’t even quite what they were all about yet.
5. Of Monsters & Men – My Head is an Animal

Of Monsters & Men are the quintessential typical fun, anthemic band that really make you feel good about your life. They’re not exactly the type of band you’d expect from Iceland, but they do a superb job of giving you the feeling of what life should be like. Nanna, the female lead vocalist, has a very strong voice that I think is the best part of the band. The whole album is outstanding and certainly not worth passing up.
4. Fun. – Some Nights

This album is exactly what the band represents. Fun. You’ve probably already heard a few of these songs on the radio. This band really is “fun” to listen to, and in a lot of ways they remind me of a modern Queen, but with more bells and whistles.
3. Mumford & Sons – Babel

I was really nervous when this album first came out because I didn’t think Mumford & Sons would be able to match “Sigh No More” with their Sophomore album. I can say with certainty that “Babel” either meets or exceeds their first album. They start out strong with the first song “Babel”, and even finish strong with an outstanding cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” (which I think sounds better than the original).
2. The Imagine Dragons – Night Visions

Speaking of feel-good albums, the Imagine Dragons have truly delivered with “Night Visions”. The one thing that separates the Imagine Dragons from the pack is their ability to provide great songs to sing and dance to, while finding a way to change pace and offer songs with a bit more depth. The lead singer, Dan Reynolds has such an outstanding voice, I see a very bright future for the Imagine Dragons.
1. The Lumineers – The Lumineers

I keep telling myself I don’t want the Lumineers to become too famous because I want to keep them all to myself. Wesley Schultz sings with such power and conviction that it’s hard not to connect with their music on a very deep level. They’re most popular for “Ho Hey”, but in my opinion “Dead Sea” is the best song on the album (although I truly enjoy every song). Do yourself a favor and put this album on repeat. I promise you will not be disappointed.

*Not quite what we expected, but these artists’ albums are still worth a listen: Cory Chisel, Dave Matthews Band, the Avett Brothers, Snow Patrol,the Killers, M. Ward, and the Temper Trap. 

“January Snap & the April Winter Thaw, Rough & Tumble Summers Underneath the Midnight Sun.”

  Rural Alberta Advantageraa                                   

“In the Summertime” [audio http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/15czutmmw5/13_in_the_summertime.mp3]

“The Ballad of the RAA” [audio http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/82hb0s3f50/01_the_ballad_of_the_raa.mp3]

When I first heard The Rural Alberta Advantage back in 2008, my only criticism was that their songs were not long enough because they left me wanting so much more. They have an eclectic sound that has the ability to take you back to those defining moments in life where you constantly traveled back and forth between insecure and infinite. Their two releases “Hometowns” and “Departing” compliment one another by being completely opposite. “Hometowns” is that epic summer when you found love in life. It was when you met the people who made you feel completely at home. This is that feeling you have spent trying to duplicate each summer as you grow older but for some reason nothing ever seems to compare. “Departing” is when life got a little serious and maybe you felt a little pain for the first time. It’s that car ride in attempt to empty your mind and ease your soul. It’s a beautiful winter day full of hope and all you can do is think to yourself…oh my God do you remember when? Personally, I favor “Departing” because it is well-thought out, gorgeous music and the album flows from the Neutral Milk Hotel-esque “Two Lovers” all the way to one of the most beautiful nostalgic “those were the golden days” songs ever written called “Goodnight”. “Departing” is also one of those perfect post-holiday depressing January records. It sure does feel good to slow down.
Be sure to check out Rural Alberta Advantage on Spotify.

[audio http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/mi7f9uro05/10_good_night.mp3]

goodnight, goodnight
goodnight, goodnight
goodnight, goodnight
goodnight, to the northern winters (goodnight)
and the heartless sinners (goodnight)
I haven’t seen you now for a while (goodnight)
going to miss you more with time (goodnight)

goodnight to the workers on compress (goodnight)
and the equally depressed (goodnight)
I haven’t seen you now for awhile (goodnight)
you have burned yourself in my mind (goodnight)

plug the radiator in the car
so i can see the words you’re screaming in the frost
rushing to the woods where we first felt god
red quilled to our veins from the moment when we touched

the cities love is cold and the cities love is harsh
locked into our veins from the first September’s frost
and someday if you get back together in your heart
maybe when can back back together

but goodnight to the Alberta advantage (goodnight)
I’m leaving just like we planned it (goodnight)
and you can still escape with your life (goodnight)
so I’ve just escaped with my life (goodnight)

goodnight, to the five, twos, and sixers
please look after my sister
let her know that I’ve missed her tonight
and I miss her more with time

the cities love is cold and the cities love is harsh
locks into our veins from the first September’s frost
January snap and the April winter thaw
rough and tumble summers underneath the midnight sun

rushing to the woods where we first felt God
locked into our veins from the moment when we touched
and someday if you get back together in your heart
maybe we might get back together

but goodnight and goodnight
goodnight, goodnight
goodnight, goodnight

Winter Mix 2012

Well it may be a day later than we said, but it’s certainly not a dollar short. Kevin and I got together and made this mix from both of our favorite songs this winter. Although not every song is from 2012, I think this is the perfect mix to listen to while you’re stuck inside trying to stay warm. My personal favorites are Field Report and Phillip Phillips. You can download the playlist here or stream the songs with Spotify here. Otherwise, you can stream the songs below.  So put on this mix, kick your feet up, and let the music take you somewhere else.

Alberta Cross – I Believe in Everything

Ben Howard – Old Pine

Ben Howard – Empty Corridors

Bootstraps – Guiltfree

Field Report – I Am Not Waiting Anymore

Freelance Whales – Generator ^ First Floor

Glen Hansard – Bird of Sorrow

Great Lake Swimmers – Your Rocky Spine

Morning Parade – Blue Winter

Passenger – Let Her Go

Phillip Phillips – Home

Phillip Phillips – Gone, Gone, Gone

Sea Wolf – Old Friend

State Radio – Adelaide

Stateless – Bloodstream

Taking Back Sunday – Call Me in the Morning

The Walkmen – Heaven

Ben Gibbard – Bigger Than Love

Andy Davis – Hush Money

College & Electric Youth – A Real Hero

This Makes it Official

Well, this is where it all begins. Kevin and I will be posting on a pretty regular basis, and we hope to add some good stuff real soon. Be on the lookout for our Winter 2012 Mix tape within a week. There are a lot of good known and semi-unknown artists on there that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.  I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season so far. S2WE7TJ82UGJ