Once upon a time I sent out these hipster album of the month emails. Well, I can’t promise that I’m starting again, but here’s some music for this month.
Merry Christmas, friends!!!
I don’t know about you, but this month I’ve been feeling rather chaotic… not just with the busyness of things happening around me, but in my mind and heart also. It’s a fight to take time to be still in the middle of it all, but it is worth it. So— my encouragement for you is to take time to be still this Christmas, and when you turn on the music, let your heart sing.
Arnarstapi is an album full of ambient and inspiring wintery music. “SVVN is an ambient artist from Nashville, TN. Rich textures, sweeping melodies, and powerful drum line rudiments construct seamless movements of stirring music, all inspired by producer and composer Jeremiah Dunlap’s journey across Iceland. SVVN’s thoroughly crafted elements ranging from organic field recordings to analog synthesizers create a cinematic musical experience unlike any other.” —The Drop
P.S. I haven’t listened to it enough to have recommended tracks. So…. Just listen to the whole thing! 😀
This album is pretty rambunctious and hopeful. I also love how joyful this album is, and how many wonderful instruments are used in it (and all of Rend Collective’s music, for that matter!) There’s lovely mandolin, banjo, and I’m pretty sure accordion and some kind of bag pipes.
Recommended tracks: Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Glory in the Highest), Ding Dong Merrily On High, For All That You Have Done
This album is just wonderful all around. Instead of tracks, this album has movements, and each one is a blend of different Christmas songs that move through Luke 2:8-14, and basically through the Christmas story. My criticism of this album is that it is too short! I wish it didn’t end so soon. Good news is, it’s available for “name your price” on Bandcamp,and free on Noisetrade, so you can essentially get it for free either place. It’s one of my favorites, and I hope you enjoy it also!
Favorite track (since there’s only 4): Mvmt II, “Begin and Never Cease”
4) Hillsong Worship— We Have A Savior
More Christmas music… but Hillsong makes really good quality music. Some Christmas music just seems like another version of the same Christmas song, but I think this album is very worshipful, and does a good job of making these songs their own.
Recommended tracks: Born Is the King, We Have A Saviour, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (the banjo!!!!!), The First Noel (Holy Is the Lord)
“Let every heart prepare Him room.” This line,from Joy to the World, has been sticking in my head lately. Is there room in your heart?
Merry Christmas! Let your heart sing it!
Let the Christmas music begin!!!
1) Josh Garrels—The Light Came Down https://joshgarrels.bandcamp.com/album/the-light-came-down Listen on Bandcamp or stream on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skUUMWb2uvw&list=PL4bOHSxPfve7X0lXDfcoml_95Wn2a9bO5
This album just came out the day after Thanksgiving! I’ve been listening to it alot, and I love it!
Recommended tracks: May You Find a Light, Shepherd’s Song, Hosanna
I really love this song. Like, a lot! I love the cello and the harmonies, and the power of the lyrics. I’ve been listening to it on repeat this month. It’s one of those songs that fills you with hope!
3) Branches— Songs for Christmas https://soundslikebranches.bandcamp.com/album/songs-for-christmas
This album is one of my favorite Christmas albums, probably because it is rambunctious, joyful, has a banjo here and there, and is also solemn and serious when it needs to be.
Recommended tracks: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, O Come O Come Emmanuel, Oh Holy Night
4) Seeker and Servant—Sound of Joy EP http://noisetrade.com/sands/sound-of-joy-ep
Another of my favorite Christmas Eps! “A homey batch of songs for the Christmas season. This EP consists of two new original tracks inspired by Luke 2 (the Christmas story) and a live rendition of O Holy Night.” —S&S
Recommended tracks: Sound of Joy
5) Bebo Norman— Christmas… From the Realms of Glory https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyCBGvPpRnDrBate1i373rYeYuF_Djgwg
A friend introduced this to me last year, and I’ve fallen in love with this album!
Recommended tracks: Come and Worship, Born to Die, What Child is This, and Silver Bells
1) Kelise Plante — To Find You https://kelsieplante.bandcamp.com/releases or free sampler on Noisetrade: http://noisetrade.com/kelsieplante/to-find-you
I am SO EXCITED about this album. I just bought it this week, and I love it already!! You may remember her from the sampler I sent out quite a while ago, but this time it’s a full album!!! Her voice reminds me of a mixture between Bethany Dillon, Latifah Phillips, and her own magic.
“Kelsie Plante is a Canadian worship leader and songwriter who is currently working full time with refugees and displaced families in the Middle East.” “Her debut album “To Find You” is a collection of songs written over the past 6 years through her travels and work overseas with people in areas of poverty and war, as she saw God’s goodness in the midst of chaos and brokenness.” —kelsieplante.com
Already these songs have been speaking powerfully into the season of life that the Lord has me in right now. I pray that they are an encouragement to you also!!
Recommended listening: To Find You (My favorite by far), Through the Walls, To the Fatherless
2) October Wedding — Sabbath http://noisetrade.com/octoberwedding/sabbath-ep <—free on Noisetrade
This album is just cool. Like, really cool. It’s got some sweet guitar, cello, banjo, and beautiful voices, not to mention that it’s a concept album about rest and redemption! They remind me a little bot of The Oh Hellos, except that their music is totally about Jesus.
On their Noisetrade page, they included this quote from St. Augustine: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” It’s interesting to me that this quote has been the inspiration for a couple of different songs (All Sons and Daughters, Audrey Assad) that have come to my attention lately, and I don’t think it’s just a coincidence, you know?
“On this journey, I’ve at times walked roads of restlessness. Through it all, peace has found me. A rest that is bigger than the struggle. If your heart’s been restless, I hope this makes you believe again that God is real.” – David (From their Noisetrade page)
Recommended listening: Sabbath, This Is Your Breath, Leper Song
3) Seeker & Servant — Sojourner https://seekerandservant.bandcamp.com/ or free on Noisetrade: http://noisetrade.com/sands/sojourner-ep
If you’ve been getting my hipster album of the month emails, then you’ve definitely heard of Seeker & Servant before. If not, you should check out all of their music!!! I’ve had the privilege to meet them, and they are so sincere and real, as well as goofy and hilarious (see their lyric video for their new song Heart Change). They are brothers, and have such a beautiful heart for the Lord, and it really comes through their music.
“This 4-Song EP deals with our journey over the past couple years of Christ sanctifying us and enlightening the eyes of our heart to sins in our life and the truth of His never changing word. Our hope is that through these 4 songs you will be stirred to look to Christ alone and rest in Him.” —Seeker & Servant
Recommended listening: Sovereign Hands, Heart Change, Make It Known
4) Hillsong Worship — Let There Be Light https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtLFUxCBUmmyxbvIqgg8eHEsgHif5NG5K
The most recent Hillsong Worship album. They release one every year, and this year’s album is just very Hillsong-ey, in a good way. They’ve returned to some of their older musical roots, but are still writing excellent new worship songs! I haven’t listened to this album a ton yet, but so far it’s really uplifting and well made. If anything, Hillsong just keeps getting better!
Recommended listening: Let There Be Light, What A Beautiful Name, In Control