There are three albums that didn’t make my top 25 list, but not because they weren’t good enough. No, the reasons they aren’t on the main list are reasons of categorization: one is a boxset, one is a soundtrack and one is from a band made up of good friends so my opinion is slightly skewed.
Moonrise Kingdom Soundtrack – Various Artists
So, a soundtrack doesn’t seem to fit into the same category as the other albums I’m highlighting. However, Wes Anderson always takes lots of care in crafting not only the story, look and feel of his films, but also the music that accompanies them. For this film, Anderson combines takes on classical fare from Benjamin Britten with Hank Williams and “know your orchestra” instructional records for a quirky compilation that works perfectly with his story. As the film ends with a boys choir singing Britten’s “Songs from Friday Afternoons – Op. 7 – Cuckoo!”, I was swept away in the sound and didn’t want it, or the story, to end.
Sufjan Stevens – Silver & Gold
We’ve been asking for more Christmas EPs from Sufjan Stevens for 5 years now and he finally delivered. For those that don’t know, Sufjan has a tradition of recording Christmas music with various friends each year and sending the EPs to close friends and family. Now he’s released 5 years worth of those EPs as the set entitled “Silver & Gold”. These songs mirror the growth Sufjan has exhibited in his formal albums in the last 5 years, with the later EPs featuring much more electronic experimentation and craziness. Still, the talented songwriting and expert orchestration are still present and the Christmas standards shine along side the new Sufjan tunes.
Hope Hymns – Volume One
My church, Hiawatha Church, was planted 6 years ago now by Hope Community Church in downtown Minneapolis. Hope has continued to grow in the last 6 years and has developed a very talented group of musicians. This year, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to record their takes on some old hymns, something that has become a trademark of their worship band (and many others) in recent years. The campaign was a smashing success and the band worked with Matt Patrick at The Library recording studio in NE Minneapolis to produce their first collection of songs. The album is great from start to finish, showcasing the creative arrangements and instrumentation of the band and the quality production and direction of Matt Patrick. If you like indie music and hymns, definitely check this album out on BandCamp.