- AWOLNATION: Run
AWOLNATION (aka Aaron Bruno) became popular in 2013 with the song “Sail.” While that is a great song and I love it, “Kill Your Heroes” was the track that got me hooked on this band. I picked up Megalithic Symphony and was completely blown away by it. Every song was different and amazing in its own way, and Run is no different.
From the opening title track, reminiscent of the lo-fi sound of “Sail,” to the mellow closing track “Drinking Lightning,” this album takes you through just about every musical genre there is. There is music to dance to (“Dreamers,” “Windows”), music to head-bang to (“Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)”), music to zone out to (“I Am,” “Headrest for My Soul”) and music to sing out loud at the top of your lungs right along with Bruno (“KOOKSEVERYWHERE!”)
While I still don’t think it tops Symphony (which is one of my all-time favorite albums), Run is unique and refreshing (as is AWOLNATION as a whole) in today’s music scene and is my absolute favorite release of 2015.
Best tracks: “Windows”, “KOOKSEVERYWHERE!” “Dreamers”
2. Delta Rae: After It All
Delta Rae is one of those amazing, underrated indie artists that I wish more people knew about. I discovered them via Pandora a couple of years ago and got the album Carry the Fire. I must have listened to that album ten times a day, that is how amazing it is! “Bottom of the River” gained some popularity in 2012 when that album was released, introducing the world to Delta Rae’s incredible vocal harmonies and unique musicianship.
With After It All, the band broadens their horizons even further than they did with Fire, beginning with the opening track “Anthem,” introducing the listener to those harmonies they do so well right off the bat with vocalist Eric Holljes on lead. One of three siblings in the band, Eric’s vocals are smooth and flawless and perfectly set the stage for his sister Brittany’s powerhouse voice in “Run.” “Chasing Twisters” finds singer Elizabeth Hopkins on lead with her bluesy and soulful vocals.
Delta Rae’s sound has been described as everything from folk to southern gothic to blues, and they have been compared to Fleetwood Mac, but to me there is no one category for this band. They are truly unique and like no other band I have ever heard. One of my best musical discoveries of the last few years!
Best tracks: “Bethlehem Steel,” “I Will Never Die,” “Scared”