Tag Archives: Alert 312

The Best of 2015

It’s that time of the year again when I share what I consider the best records of 2016. This list only includes records that I listened to. I listened to almost half the amount of records I usually do in a year, so you’ll have to forgive me if I missed something. It should probably be my favorite records of the year, but we’ll stick with the best.

Honorable Mentions:

Crystal Lewis – Crystal Lewis
Levv – Arrow
Doug Burr – Pale White Dove
Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion
Emery – You Were Never Alone
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell
Boysetsfire – Boysetsfire


25. Deafheaven – New Bermuda
a0622773824_10This record could just as easily be higher on the list. Fast and vicious, yet featuring these absolutely beautiful moments that make the musician in me smile. New Bermuda is less lush and more raw than Sunbather, but it also has more musicianship and technical prowess. A great record for the music geek and the metal fan.


24. Strengthen What Remains – Justice Creeps SlowBAI060_1500xJustice Creeps Slow is straight up the heaviest hardcore record I’ve heard since Point of Recognition’s Day of Defeat. Just heavy tough guy hardcore. Not frills, all fight!


23. The Ongoing Concept – Handmade11141205_10152998987894118_318439366170224581_nIf a band says they’re going to make all the instruments for their new record, you’d applaud them and call them crazy. That’s what the Ongoing Concept did for their sophomore record, Handmade. While I thought Handmade was less interesting than Saloon, it’s more consistent and concise. Plus, they make the best of list just because they made their own instruments!


22. Soft Lions – SpellbreakerSoftLions-SpellbreakerSpellbreaker is a great ep. It could just as easily be the soundtrack for a 1950’s zombie beach movie. It’s got punk spirit with the lo-fi indie vibes. A band to pay attention to!


21. Moving Mountains/Prawn – Split EPMM_PRAWN_SPLIT_1024x1024I wasn’t sure we’d ever hear new music from Moving Mountains, so I was super excited when this split was announced. I actually like both of these Moving Mountains tracks more than the bands previous self-titled full-length. And both the songs from Prawn ring of emo’s glory days!


20. Alert 312 – The Upside Eternal12046756_10153750986869529_1768712839276259843_nI find myself seeing this cycle where Alert 312 releases this super creative and innovative eps and their full-lengths don’t seem to have the same punch to my ears. And that was my first impression of The Upside Eternal. I still liked the record, but it just didn’t strike me the same way that Singular Vision did.But upon further listens you hear the intricate layers of sound and the hard work that went into the beats.


19. Ivadell – Maybe TomorrowBCR-052_Cover_1500Maybe Tomorrow has more depth than just another emo revival album. The arrangements are intricately simple. Interesting, but not overly complex. The dynamics on this record are great. When the band wants to sound huge, they’ve left plenty of room for the sound to grow and overwhelm your speakers. An absolutely stunning record.


18. Five Iron Frenzy – Between Pavement and StarsFIF_BTPASMore great music from Five Iron Frenzy on their second go around. B-sides from Engine OF A Million Plots, but most of these songs are good enough to have made the record. I’m really glad Five Iron is back!


17. Zao – Xenophobe/Fear Itselfcover Yes, a 2 song 7″ was good enough to make the top 25. And if these songs are an indicator, Zao’s 2016 full-length will be an album of the year contender. The rawness and insanity from The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here is back and I’m not sure Zao has ever sounded better.


16. Fireflight – InnonaInnovaI’ve always liked Fireflight and their brand of hard rock. But I never thought I would’ve fallen in love with them as a pop group. I said when I reviewed Innova that I thought it had all sorts of commercial radio friendly singles on it, and I still believe it. This should’ve been a huge record for the band.


15. Envy – Atheist’s Corneaenvy2Atheist’s Cornea is a great record that seems to span most of Envy’s career. Less post rock and more of the hardcore sound that was featured early in the band’s career. But Envy provides a sound that is unique to them. Beautiful and chaotic at the same time.


14. Sollunar – The Observatorya2136106054_10I love post rock. And the solo effort of Florida artist Josiah Bibb was a surprise for me. The best post rock record I heard this year.


13. Slow Meadow – Slow Meadow11168915_923398681053340_6452009618947456584_nThe first release on Hammock’s new label is an absolute gem. A beautiful ambient record that you would expect Hammock to release.


12. Eshon Burgundy – The Fear of GodEshon+Burgundy+-+The+Fear+of+GodStraight up gospel rap. Beautiful Eulogy and Daniel Steele’s production just knocks it out of the park. It’s the type of record where the music is so good that you just want an instrumental version. That’s not to take anything away from Burgundy. The verses are strong and I really love his flow on this record.


11. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other DistressGodspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet, and Other DistressI was not a huge fan of GY!BE’s reunion record, ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! It just didn’t strike a chord with me. Not so the case with Asunder. The record had me hook from its first note. The shortest Godspeed record to date, which is sad because it’s my favorite record from the band.


10. Better Off – MilkfolderI already like Better Off a lot. But when you write a record that sounds like Jimmy Eat World and The Promise Ring, you’re speaking my musical love language.


9. Owl City – Mobile OrchestracoverI’m a sucker for Adam Young’s brand of electro-pop. There’s a fun innocence to it and the songs are always super catchy.


8. Haste The Day – CowardCowardHaste the Day’s reunion produced the best of the band’s career. The interplay between Jimmy and Stephen’s vocals are perfect. There are moments where you hear the natural evolution of the band, and also the potential evolution had Jimmy never left.


7. Defeater – AbandonedDefeater - Abandoned (2015)The concept behind Abandoned is so compelling and the way lyrics intertwine between songs makes it a record you have to really pay attention to. It’s a killer hardcore record, but it’s really the lyric concepts and themes that make Abandoned a worthwhile listen.


6. Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Usa2813479087_10A shoegazey punk rock record. Tons of fun. The music feels like Smashing Pumpkins 1979 music video. Reckless and fun.


5. Dustin Kensrue – Carry The Firedustin-kensrue-carry-the-fireCarry The Fire is the post-Thrice record I’d been waiting to hear from Kensrue. Dirty, bluesy rock and roll. Plus we get the catchiest hooks Kensrue’s ever written.


4. J Givens – Fly ExamFlyExamAnother Humble Beast release where the beats are super unique. Unlike The Fear of God, this beats are more minimal and leave a lot of room for Givens unique delivery style. It’s a record I had been waiting for a year to hit shelves and it didn’t disappoint.


3. Josh Garrels – Homeoriginal-coverHome would make the top 25 for Born Again alone. Every time that songs plays, it’s like chicken soup for the soul. I’ve admittedly been a little lukewarm on Garrels, but this record is an absolute thing of beauty. Bluesy and soulful. A wonderful work of love.


2. Bandit – Of LifeBandit-OfLife-CoverWe’re splitting hairs between number 2 and number 1 because both records have been on my turntable constantly since they’ve been released. Of Life is a perfect indie rock record. Another record with terrific dynamic range that creates these beautifully chaotic moments when the songs explode, yet mellow out for Angela Plake’s vocals to shine.


  1. mewithoutYou – Pale Horsesv600_Pale_Horses_CoverPale Horses is epic. mewithoutYou hasn’t abandoned their indie rock tendencies, but they bring back their post-punk fury and explode all over Pale Horses. The lyrics are some of Aaron’s most indistinguishable as he blends multiple themes and ideas in each track. So this creates this abstract work of art that matches the ever shifting nature of the music. I’m glad this version of mewithoutYou is back!



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Alert 312 Give The Upside Eternal A Release Date

Alert 312 have announced that their new record, The Upside Eternal, will be out on October 30th. You can pre-order the record on iTunes now.


And don’t forget you can grab the groups first two singles from the record over at http://www.hifinative.com

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Alert 312 Announces The Upside Eternal

Alter 312 have announced The Upside Eternal, their sophomore full-length record.They’ve also released the video and mp3 single of the title track for the record. You can download The Upside Eternal at http://www.hifinative.com/the-upside-eternal-single and watch the video below.

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Alert 312 Announce HiFi Native

Alert 312 have announced their new label, HiFi Native. According to the group HiFi Native is a creative label dedicated to the highest fidelity art and live experiences. It sounds like the label has a week full of announcements lined up, including new music, visual collaborations, and shows.

You can sign up for the labels mailing list at http://www.hifinative.com

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Review Wrap Up

It’s been a while since I’ve really sat down and written a quality review. My wife and I expecting our first child soon and getting our house and lives as ready as possible for our new addition has taken a lot times. But I’ve been spinning all the new releases with the intent on reviewing them. So here’s a quick snapshot of a lot of records!

If you didn’t pick up Beartooth’s debut ep, Sick, you should do yourself a favor and go get Disgusting. DO NOT SLEEP ON BEARTOOTH!!!

Disgusting picks up where Sick left off and then blows it out of the water. Where Sick was focused of turning away from those things that keeps us down and turning to God, Disgusting is a message of hope in the midst of pain and tragedy. 5 out of 5 Stars!

Adam Young always creates great pop soundtracks, and Ultraviolet is no different. 4 songs of bubblegum, electro pop goodness. I wish it was more than 4 songs, but I know there’s another ep coming later this year! 5out of 5 Stars.

Forevermore is a great new addition tot he Solid State family! Not mind blowing, but very solid and interesting Telos is a metal core record worth listening to. Some great riffs, light on clean vocals, and technical enough to keep things from getting stale. 4 out of 5 Stars. 
I love Audrey Assad! Death Be Not Proud continues in the vein of Fortunate Fall. Stripped down, piano led songs. While musically very similar, lyrically, there’s a victorious and joyous tone to the record. Her cover of John Mark’s Death in His Grave is fantastic! 4 out of 5 Stars. 
Death Sentence is brutal! More hardcore and heavier than Unholy Anger (if you can believe it). Those Who Fear might not win many new fans with Death Sentence, but there fans will appreciate this record! 4 out of 5 Stars. 
There’s no lie that I was a little disappointed with Alert 312’s Of Vice and Virtue. But the duo’s follow-up EP, Singular Vision is a thing of beauty! Musically, it’s the most interesting and intricate work in the band’s catalog so far. A complex and musical journey and soundtrack for life. 4 songs with very different vibes and great guests on each track. A true work of art! 5 out of 5 Stars. 
Brave is a record I picked up on a whim. One of the better (and only?) true pop records I’ve heard from a christian artist in a while. Neither bubblegum or CCM, but true, well-crafted pop songs. It’s a mature style of pop music that won’t find Peter’s amid the Top 40, but it’s a record worth checking out! 4 out of 5 Stars. 
Some times you find a record where the lyrics have an impact instantly. Red Pills + Black Sugar is one of those records. The hook on Red Pills, the album’s opener, hits you with “Take two a day, the pain will go away, but you’re still going to die without those pills.” It’s heartbreaking and deep, but it’s catchy enough to get into your head and spirit. Dark themes mixed with upbeat sarcasm and hope in the midst of the pain. An unexpected hip-hop gem. 4 out of 5 Stars. 

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