Christian Music 2013 Mid-Year Checkup

I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve been making a conscious effort to listen to more new music this year or what, but there have already been a ton of great new Christian albums in 2013. So now that the year is halfway over, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites this year. I’d love to hear what you’re listening to, as well.

So, without further ado, here are five of my favorite Christian music albums this year. In no particular order, of course:

After Edmund – Art and Commerce

After Edmund is one of the most underrated bands in the Christian music world right now. Their first album was solid and got a pretty good deal of exposure. Since then, their music has been taking huge strides, but they’re somehow flying below the radar. Art and Commerce is a fairly lengthy album at fifteen songs, but there really aren’t any duds to be found. The vocals are fantastic, the lyrics are witty, and the music is a fun pop/rock mix.

Recommended listening:

  • Chaplin
  • War Zone
  • Never Let Me Go

For fans of:

Energetic, poppy rock that doesn’t get too sugary sweet.

The Almost – Fear Inside Our Bones

The Almost continues to evolve rapidly. This is only their third full-length album, and they’re already hardly recognizable from their debut Southern Weather. But that’s not a bad thing by any means. The Almost are sounding more mature than they ever have and still rocking just as hard. This album has a distinct southern rock flair to it, and I love it. Who knew Aaron Gillespie’s voice could sound so good over a slide guitar?

Recommended listening:

  • I’m Down
  • The Florida Sun
  • I Won’t Let Go

For fans of:

Gritty, aggressive southern rock.

Skillet – Rise

To me, this album sounds like a combination of everything Skillet has been over the years. You still have the crunchy, soaring choruses that they’ve become known for on their past few albums, but what I love about Rise is that the band has really started to return to their industrial roots. The album has a much stronger focus on dirty synths and hard electronic sounds, and at times I feel like I’m listening to a 2013 version of Alien Youth.

Recommended listening:

  • American Noise
  • Madness in Me
  • My Religion

For fans of:

Crunchy, big-sounding modern rock.

Citizens – Citizens

I’ve already raved about this album when I thought I was going to have time to do regular music reviews, but if you don’t feel like going back and reading the post, I’ll sum it up for you: strong, theologically-focused lyrics paired with a solid Brit-punk sound. Just a really, really good modern worship album that doesn’t sound like modern worship at all.

Recommended listening:

  • Sweetness of Freedom
  • I Surrender All
  • Oh God

For fans of:

Brit punk/indie punk a la The Wombats and The Kooks

I Am Empire – Anchors

I’ve been a fan of I Am Empire since they released Brain Damage to rock radio several years ago. They’re not fancy or experimental or anything like that. They just make good, unpretentious heavy rock. On Anchors, the band improves on their sound and reigns in the vocals so they’re not so over-the-top (probably my only complaint from their debut album). The choruses on this album are all huge, and I love it.

Recommended listening:

  • Labor
  • Sing
  • Tell Me Mirror

For fans of:

No-nonsense guitar-focused hard rock.

Most anticipated albums still to come:

  • Relient K – Collapsible Lung (July 2)
  • The Digital Age – Evening:Morning (August 13)
  • Derek Webb – I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, & I Love You (September 3)
  • Jars of Clay – Inland (Late 2013)
  • Abandon Kansas – (currently untitled, haven’t set a release date yet)

Well, that’s it for me. What have you been digging this year? What releases are you excited about?

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