The Best Albums of 2013


It’s that time of year again, the time to share my “best of” lists of the year.

It started with the top sermon downloads from Revolution Church, then my almost best books & almost best albums of the year. Then I shared my favorite books of 2013. Today is the last list: my favorite albums of 2013.


13. The Civil Wars The Civil Wars

This band is just incredible. It’s too bad they can’t stand each other. Still an incredible album.

12. Sleeping at Last Atlas: DarknessAtlas: LightAtlas: Space 1

3 incredible EP’s from this Ryan O’Neal. So good.

11. The Head and the Heart Let’s Be Still

This album took some time to grow on me, but now I love it. Definitely a good step from their last album.

10. The Lonely Wild The Sun as It Comes

I could’ve paid $8 to see this band in Tucson over the summer, but didn’t. Still kicking myself for that because of how great this album is. So much heart in it.

9. Kodaline In A Perfect World

Just discovered this band. Wow.

8. Andrew Belle Black Bear

I’ve been a fan of Andrew Belle for a few years. This is his best and most ambitious album yet.

7. Hey Marseilles Lines We Trace

According to the Seattle Times, “Hey Marseilles is a contender for a local rock band to break out in a significant way in 2013.” This album is that good.

6. Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City

This album is higher on a lot of other year end lists. I think because of my high expectations, it hurt this album. Still good, but not as good as I hoped it would be.

5. Gregory Alan Isakov | The Weatherman


4. Sigur Ros Kveikur

Katie and I saw Sigur Ros in April. If you can ever get to their show, you need to. Wow. This album is off the charts.

3. Marble Sounds Dear Me, Look Up

This is such a good album. It would be #1 if not for how good the next two are.

2. The National Trouble Will Find Me

Not quite as good as High Violet, but such a good album. In fact, until I heard the next album, this one was #1.

1. Bastille Bad Blood

I can’t believe this is the debut album for this band. So, so, so good.

How’s my list? What albums did I miss? What albums did I rate too high?


Christmas Music You Should Own


I’m not a huge fan of Christmas music, but thankfully, there is some really good Christmas music out there. Here are some of the ones our family is loving this year:



Favorite Albums of 2011

Unlike my favorite books list, to make this list it has to have been released in 2011 (or at least I heard it for the first time in 2011). You can see my favorite albums from 2010 and 2009 by clicking on the links.

And as of this posting, almost every album on this list is less than $5 on Amazon. Just click on the album name and download it (it also helps our adoption when you do that).

Honorable mentions

  • Bright Eyes | The People’s Key. Different, not quite as moody as older albums, but still moody enough to be good.
  • Ivan & Alyosha | Fathers be KindYou should have this.
  • Jesus Culture | Come Away. They just know how to write good worship songs.
  • Matt Redman | 10,000 Reasons. Easily Matt Redman’s best album. I often say that Matt Redman’s songs are best written by him and recorded by someone else, well this album is like someone else recording all his songs.

While this year didn’t have the albums that last year had, it is hard to top a year with Mumford & Sons, The National, Stars & Arcade Fire. So while this year wasn’t great, it was good.

Here are my top 20 of the year:

20. The Hawk in Paris | His + Hers. I realize this involves a guy from Jars of Clay, which should keep it from this list. But, it doesn’t sound anything like Jars of Clay, hence, it is on this list.

19. Alexi Murdoch |Towards the Sun. More of what you’d expect from Alexi.

18. Sleeping at Last | The Yearbook EP’s. One EP released each month for the entire year, so good. Love the piano drivenness of this band.

17. The Decemberists | The King is Dead. Easily this band’s best album to date. You should have it.

16. Rise Against | Endgame. If you need something to pound the steering wheel to or something to workout to, this is the album. Wow.

15. Denison Witmer | The Ones Who Wait. Went to high school with Denison, still love his stuff. It just keeps getting better and better.

14. Switchfoot | Vice Verses. Not many good rock albums this year. This one and Rise Against were two of the best.

13. Wye Oak | Civilian. Moody, haunting, and a girl singer. A great combination.

12. The Civil Wars | Barton Hollow. If I just got this album, it would be higher on the list. Loved it the first time I heard it, just a little tired of it now.

11. Noah and the Whale | Last Night on Earth. A departure from their previous albums, this is not quite the acoustic style of the past. What you’d expect if an 80’s Brit pop band showed up today and did it well.

10. The Antlers | Burst Apart. A poppier version of The National.

9. Adele | 21. I’m embarrassed to admit that I discovered Adele this year, not sure how I missed her. But wow, her vocals are off the chart.

8. Coldplay | Mylo Xyloto. Very different from their other stuff, but oh so good.

7. Gungor | Ghosts Upon the EarthEasily the best “worship” album in the last few years. Tells much of the biblical story in the order of the songs. So, so good.

6. Washed Out | Within and Without. An album from another era, but oh so good. It is definitely a good, kick back and chill on a romantic night album.

5. Fleet Foxes | Helplessness Blues. At first I didn’t like this album, took some time to grow on me, but now I can’t stop listening to it.

4. King Cresoto & Jon Hopkins | Diamond Mine. Just got this album last week and can’t stop listening to it. A little longer and this would move up the list.

3. Bon Iver | Bon Iver. Haunting, a great step forward from For Emma, Forever Ago. 

2. Blind Pilot | We are the Tide. Almost made this one #1. I think if I would’ve gotten this earlier in the year it might have made it to #1 as it is that good, so call this 1-A.

1. Josh Garrels | Love & War & the Sea Between. I am stunned that this album is still free online. I would pay $15 for this album and not feel like I wasted any money, it is that good. It is why it is #1 on my list this year.

Music Monday 5.9.11

Fleet Foxes just released their new album Helplessness Blues and here is the first video for the song “Grown Ocean.”

The rumors of when the new album from Burlap to Cashmere will come out keep going around (and according to Noise Trade, it is July 19), but here is a video of what the band is working on.

You can get the first single from their new album for free here.

Some other things that you can download for free from Noise Trade that are definitely worth getting: Ivan & Alyosha | Elenowen | Wind and Willow | Sleeping at Last | Jacob Gann