Jack White “Blunderbuss” – like everything else Jack White touches (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather), his first solo record is absolutely brilliant! White never releases something we’ve all already heard. His unique vocal style and guitar playing are so interesting that you can’t help but keep listening. Standout Tracks: ‘Missing Pieces’, ‘Sixteen Saltines’, & ‘Freedom at 21’.
Propaganda “Excellent” – without question this is some of the best hip hop I have listened to in years. The lyrics are informed and intelligent and carry significant weight. Both his music and spoken word pieces are gripping. Standout Tracks: ‘Redefine Cutter’, ‘Precious Puritans’, & ‘Forgive Me For Asking’.
Madi Diaz “Plastic Moon” – I stumbled across her music on ITunes when I found a free download for her video “Let’s Go”, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Plastic Moon is light and fun, and one of those albums you could listen to over and over on a road trip. Standout Tracks: ‘Love You Now’, ‘Let’s Go’, & ‘Heavy Heart’.
Soundgarden “King Animal” – I fully admit that I am a huge 90’s grunge fan, but I was very skeptical of this release when I heard about it. I was afraid this would end up sounding like some old guys trying to relive the glory days from 20+ years ago, but I was pleasantly suprised. This record is outstanding! It’s heavy, full of life, and sounds like an evolved version of Soundgarden at their best. Standout Tracks: ‘Been Away Too Long’, ‘Non-State Actor’, & ‘By Crooked Steps’.
Deftones “Koi No Yokan” – Classic Deftones! Brutal drums and guitars with Chino’s haunting and melodic vocals. This album is regularly compared to their massively successful “White Pony” record and it definitely is as bold and strong as that record. Standout Tracks: ‘Leathers’, ‘Swerve City’, & ‘Tempest’.
Honorable Mention (songs): The Digital Age – ‘Hallelujah’, Gary Clark Jr. – ‘Bright Lights’ & ‘Numb’, Crosses – ‘Prurient’, and David Crowder Band – ‘Oh Great God, Give Us Rest’.