bloOm (1996) -|
"Over its decade-plus career, Audio Adrenaline produced some great albums and helped pave the way for many current acts. Bloom introduced me to the band (and to Christian rock music in general), and it has remained my favorite of the band's catalogue. Bloom finds Audio Adrenaline young and raw, with more of a garage rock sound than later albums. I sometimes wish the band had continued going in this direction stylistically, because each song on this album is so good. Although it was released twelve years ago, Bloom is an album I continue to listen to and enjoy on a consistent basis."
Again, For the First Time (2002) -|
"Bleach was a simple, no frills sort of band (with perhaps the exception of some experimentation on Static), and that is exactly what draws me to it. It was hard for me to choose one album for the list because each album is so good, but I settled on this one. Again for the First Time takes some of the unrestrained grunge elements of early Bleach, adds some more polished elements from later Bleach, and the end result is a rock album gem."
Ships (2006) -|
"Daniel Smith and his family are fascinating characters, and their years of unconventional music-making have produced a plethora of little-known treasures. Amazingly, one of The Danielson Famile's (one of Daniel Smith and company's other monikers) first major records appeared on Tooth and Nail (ah, the good old days of the label). However, it was 2006's stellar Ships that finally started to earn Smith the recognition he deserves. Ships, like most Danielson records, is hard to accurately describe. It is rambunctious, colorful, and a true work of art."
Mockingbird (2005) -|
"While I enjoyed Derek Webb's debut solo album, She Must and Shall Go Free, it was not until Mockingbird that I became a huge fan. Mockingbird is an album that should be required listening for anyone claiming to follow Christ. Webb uses the familiarity and simplicity of folk music to address biting issues of social justice and true Christian discipleship. It is an album I find myself quoting and referring to often when discussing politics and Christian living, and it is Webb's best record to date."
Five Iron Frenzy,
The End Is Near (2003) -|
"I could easily list every album in Five Iron's catalogue on my list, but I decided to settle on the band's last and perhaps most mature (studio) record. Although Five Iron Frenzy had a large and dedicated fan base, the band never seemed to get a fair shake from the powers that be in the music industry. The End is Near showcases the band's wit, lyrical ability, and lead singer Reese Roper's unique voice. Five Iron Frenzy was a one of a kind band, and this album is one of their best."
Further Seems Forever,
The Moon Is Down (2001) -|
"Though each of Further Seems Forever's three lead vocalists added their own touch, the band was at its best with who would later become emo's poster child, Chris Carrabba. Carrabba's pleading voice paired with Further Seems Forever's musical intensity produced arguably one of the best records to ever come out on Tooth and Nail."
Jars Of Clay,
Good Monsters (2006) -|
"Jars of Clay is one of the few bands who has managed to remain fresh and unpredictable throughout its long career. It was extremely difficult to choose an album from the band's amazing catalogue because each offering is so unique, but I settled on Good Monsters. I was not sure when I heard Jars of Clay was making a "rock" album, but as soon as I heard this album, I knew the band had once again struck gold. There is not one song to skip, and I love the fact that Jars of Clay never sticks to formulas."
mewithoutYou, Brother, Sister (2006) -|
"Mewithoutyou has a sound all its own, and that is what draws me to the band. I have been a fan since their debut, A-B Life, so it was difficult for me to choose one album for the list. I finally settled on Brother, Sister, because it is Mewithoutyou's most mature and cohesive effort to date. Each song is perfectly crafted, and Aaron Weiss' signature vocals contain just the right amount of urgency and emotion."
Coming To Life (2000) -|
"The Normals was a band whose career was tragically far too short. While lead singer Andrew Osenga has since released excellent solo albums and shared vocal duties in Caedmon's Call, there was something magical about The Normals. Coming to Life addresses spirituality in an intelligent way, something many bands today could and should learn from. "We Are the Beggars at the Foot of God's Door" still affects me each time I listen to it, and I only wish more people could have appreciated this talented band."
Over the Rhine,
Ohio (2003) -|
"Over the Rhine is a band I became acquainted with only in recent years, but it quickly became one of my favorites. Karin Berquist's vocal ability sends chills down my spine, as does the honesty and poignancy of the lyrics. Though each of the band's albums is deserving of this list, Ohio remains the band's masterpiece. Spanning two discs, it explores sin and redemption in a way seldom seen in Christian circles."
Pedro the Lion,
It's Hard to Find a Friend (2001) -|
"Pedro the Lion's David Bazaan has always been a controversial figure, mostly due to some of his language and subject matter in later Pedro the Lion albums as well as his solo albums. Regardless of one's views on his lyrical choices, Bazaan's talent is undeniable, and It's Hard to Find a Friend is a stirring and thoughtful album. Bazaan is a master at painting "slices of life" in his music, and he is not afraid to say things that others are thinking."
Drawing Black Lines (2000) -|
"I almost feel bad for putting this album on here because the band has worked so hard to make later albums measure up to it. However, whether they like it or not, Drawing Black Lines remains Project 86's definitive album. Equally chilling and explosive, Drawing Black Lines proves hardcore can be both intelligent and thought provoking."
Is This Thing On (2001) -|
"When I first heard RedCloud about seven years ago when this debut was released, I was not sure what to make of him. He was truly unlike any rapper I had ever heard. After giving the album a few spins as loud as my car speakers would go, I was hooked. All of RedCloud's albums are excellent, but his debut is the one I continue to go back to. His vocal styling may take a little getting used to, but he can spit a rhyme like no other. Is This Thing On is a triumph in Christian rap/hip hop."
Sleeping at Last,
Ghosts (2006) -|
"I came across Sleeping at Last by accident; they were an opening act for a concert I attended. However, from the beginning of their set until the end, I was mesmerized. I quickly picked up Ghosts, and it has seldom since been far from my CD player (or now my iPod). Sleeping at Last is one of those bands that leaves me scratching my head, asking, "Why aren't these guys huge by now?" Ghosts is melodic, haunting (appropriate considering the title), and slowly creeps its way into my head after each listen. Ryan O'Neal is one of the best male vocalists I have heard in modern music, and Sleeping at Last is a band dripping with talent."
The Violet Burning,
The Loudest Sound in My Heart (2008) -|
"The Violet Burning is one of the most tragically underappreciated rock bands out there. Lead vocalist Michael Pritzl embodies sincerity and raw passion, and The Loudest Sound in My Heart, a live album, captures that while showcasing some of the band's greatest songs. The Violet Burning's music is a beautiful concoction of rock, gothic, and new wave. It is at once light and dark, full of desperation and hope. Since the band has such a prolific catalogue, I often pull out The Loudest Sound in my Heart because it encapsulates the heart and sound of The Violet Burning. It is one of the best live albums I own."
David Crowder Band, A Collision; The Juliana Theory, Emotion is Dead; Disciple, This Might Sting a Little, Calibretto 13, Adventures in Tokyo; Jennifer Knapp, Kansas
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