Welcome to my weekly column “What I’ve Been Listening To,” where I publish a post every Sunday with my 5×5 collage of most-listened releases (which is sourced by my Last.fm account and made into a collage via this site). I do not intend these to be lengthy write-ups, but I like to include notes on my listening habits, discoveries, etc.
- It is quite easy to see that this week’s 5×5 is dominated by one artist: Thrice, my favorite rock band as well as my all-time favorite artist since about, say, 8th grade. In anticipation of the band’s eleventh album, Horizons/East, releasing this Friday, I decided to marathon the band’s entire discography in the four preceding weekdays. It was a really fun journey that reminded me why I love the band so much. You can expect a “Ranking and Reviews” column covering Thrice soon, so I won’t go into detail more here.
- On Friday, I listened through Horizons/East four full times. Sadly, my takeaways were largely negative. As of my first impressions, it would unfortunately bottom out my rankings as my least favorite Thrice album. However, I’m hoping to take some time away and re-evaluate the album at a later date. I’m considering writing a standalone piece about the album, as well, so make sure to subscribe to the site if you don’t want to miss that.
- Thankfully, five other albums released on September 17th that made up for the initial disappointment of Thrice — five albums that now stack very highly as some of my favorite releases of the year. One of those five, The Architect by Eidola, would be perfect for Thrice fans. Released on Blue Swan Records (the label started by Dance Gavin Dance), The Architect might be my favorite album to ever appear from that “swancore” stable of artists. It’s post-hardcore at its most technically extreme, but it’s all clear and enjoyable, with much stronger lyrics than I’m used to hearing in the genre. Another heavy release with a lot of hype behind it was Eternal Blue by Spiritbox, which was extremely solid; it’s very much in the vein of Architects, whom I love.
- Two other new albums of note are Hold Still by Taylor Leonhardt and Ch. 1 Vs. 1 by Cynthia Erivo (whom you might know as the star of films Bad Times at the El Royale and Harriet). Both are singer/songwriter albums, with Cynthia falling more on the “singer” side and Taylor more on the “songwriter” side. Cynthia’s history on screen and stage lends itself toward a more wide-ranging, bombastic collection that allows her to show off her wild range as a vocalist. Taylor’s folk-pop style is more subdued, which allows her absolutely amazing lyrics to totally knock you off your feet. I highly recommend both.
- The fifth new album I’d recommend is Let Love Win by Zach Maurer, an independent artist that appeared on my radar recently and really blew me away with the quality of this full-length debut. It’s predominantly a “Contemporary Christian Music” release, but it contains all the facets of good CCM that have become too hard to find: depth, sonic variety, lyrical honesty, risks. For anyone fed up with the current state of Christian radio, this is an album that deserves much more attention.
- I started Coldplay’s discography this week, and I believe this was my first time hearing any of their first three albums all the way through. They have a new album on the horizon, so I might do a “Ranking and Reviews” for them when the new album arrives. Maybe. I’m not a huge fan, so I might not want to dedicate that much time to them. If you’d be particularly curious to hear my thoughts on Coldplay, comment below to let me know!
- The first non-Thrice album to appear in the 5×5 above is Shelterheart by Benjamin Daniel, an album that hasn’t actually released yet. I’m saving my raves for when you can actually hear it, but Daniel has started releasing new singles every week, so I highly recommend you check them out. And stay on the lookout for when the album drops on October 22.
Author’s Note: The reason I created this website and write these articles stems from my belief that artists should support other artists, in the same way that art inspires art. My debut album Unfall is available now and I’d love for you to hear it. You can click here to Spotify pre-save “I Don’t,” the first single for my upcoming sophomore album.