monthly guides, music

January 2011 Monthly Music Guide #10

Looking for something new? There’s been a lot of new music in 2011 already but first I’ve been catching up on what I missed in 2010. Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately…

Andy Hunter - Collide EP - Album Art
Andy Hunter
Album: Collide (December 6, 2010)
Style: Techno and stuff

Andy Hunter, maybe the only not-completely-underground guy doing Christian techno stuff, released some new music last month for the first time in years, and it was better than I was expecting. The various sounds skitter across the five tracks as the synths and beats come to life (I’m a sucker for random piano riffs), and the thirty-five minute EP leaves you wanting more rather than mushing your brain with mind-numbing bass. Every now and then a lyrical phrase bubbles forth to add to the atmosphere, but for the most part this is just well-crafted electronica.

Standout Lyric: Heaven and earth collide, a beautiful alliance / together two worlds are tied, a powerful presence
Standout Lyric II: Smash it, break it, shake it… Annihilate
In Case It Interests You: Andy Hunter is known as a Christian
STREAM THE WHOLE EP: (last 5 songs on the main page player… from “Raining Sunshine” to “Collide”)

Brooke Fraser - Flags - Album Art
Brooke Fraser
Album: Flags (October 12, 2010)
Style: Bouncy female indie pop

Brooke Fraser is mostly known for her soothing contributions to the Hillsong United worship repertoire, but the New Zealand star’s third solo release is a full-fledged indie pop album in the vein of A Fine Frenzy or Feist with a dash of Imogen Heap. We have a bouncy love song dripping with catchiness, a mournful ballad about a struggling, committed relationship, and several songs telling stories or offering encouragement to a variety of characters. “Crows + Locusts” depicts our spiritual needs through a brutal metaphor of a bleak and plagued harvest, while the title track references both Ecclesiastes and the Beatitudes in a sweeping saga that can’t explain worldly injustices but soars on promised hope. It’s all tied together with Fraser’s strong and soothing vocals, and she calls on driving percussion, vocal choruses, horns, strings, or whatever else is necessary to accompany the guiding guitar or piano. It may be everything you’d expect from an indie pop album, but it’s strongly executed with solid production, backed by deep, clever songwriting, and every time through I like it more.

Standout Lyric: You got your secrets / You’ve got your regrets / Darling, we all do.
Standout Lyric II: This beautiful tangle that’s bruising us blue / Is the beautiful knot that we just can’t undo… Real love is hard love.
In Case It Interests You: Brooke Fraser is known as a Christian.

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