I love music.  Every few days I check out the new music and hot tracks section on itunes and take a listen to what new offerings have surfaced.  Most music I listen to for a few seconds and then move on to something else. When a song catches my ear and hooks me in I take a listen to the whole song, and then check out the rest of the album.  There's so much music coming out these days that competition is tough, and it is rare that I enjoy a whole album, but there are the exceptions that surface, and these are 5 of those exceptions that I enjoyed all the way through, and will many times more...

Gavin James - Bitter Pill

You've got to hear this guys falscetto! Recorded in a pub, 2014’s Live at Whelans unveiled Dubliner Gavin James’s gift for a stirring melody. His first studio album refits many of those songs with sumptuousness and cinematic oomph. Thus “Ghost”’s gentle melancholy is elevated on swirling strings, “22” is rebuilt into a stadium-ready piano ballad and the title track, debuted here, swells with hymnal drama. Sometimes, though, James’s pain-singed voice is enough by itself and the spare intimacy of “Hole in My Heart” is wisely preserved.

Walking On Cars - Everything This Way

Ireland's five-member Walking on Cars make passionate, folk-influenced pop. Formed in Dingle, County Kerry in 2010, the group centers around lead singer/songwriter Patrick Sheehy. In 2012, Walking on Cars won the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Competition, an accolade that earned them radio play and landed their single "Catch Me If You Can" in the Top 30 of the Irish charts. A second single, "Two Stones," fared even better, hitting number 12. The group's four-song EP As We Fly South appeared in 2013. In January 2016, Walking on Cars released their debut full-length album, Everything This Way, on Virgin EMI. ~ Matt Collar

Hillsong Young & Free - Youth Revival

This group’s optimism and enthusiasm shine through on songs like album opener “Where You Are” and “Falling into You,” both ’80s-­inspired electronic love songs that deal in spiritual devotion. The sunny, celebratory “This Is Living” keeps the pace, while a fun, funky side comes through loud and clear on “Only Wanna Sing.” The tempo shifts on “Face to Face,” a breathy ballad that tells a personal story of finding faith. Throughout it all, lines like “you are all my soul desires” reinforce the singly God­-focused message.

William Fitzsimmons - Charleroi: Pittsburgh, Vol 2 EP

"Charleroi is the second half of the Pittsburgh story.  The Pittsburgh album was about the grandmother I knew.  Charleroi is about the one I never did.  My father was returned to the hospital as an infant, ill with whooping cough.  He was left there for several months as an orphan.  Finally, he was adopted by a kind doctor who became his father.  Never knowing his birth family it was assumed that mystery would always remain.  

In 2015, after over 60 years of wondering and waiting, the family was finally found.  Having been mistakenly told that my father died in infancy, he was never sought out by the remainder of his biological family.  Sadly, his mother passed away several years before having a chance to ever see her son again.  Her name was Thelma and she was my grandmother.  She was from Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  These songs are about her." - William Fitzsimmons

Lights - Midnight Madness

Midnight Machines is more than just an acoustic retelling of 2014's Little Machines. With the instruments stripped way back, Lights’ vocals are more emotion-packed and confidently honest than they’ve ever sounded. Where “Up We Go” was once a peppy electro-pop fist-pumper, and “Muscle Memory” a slinky, arpeggiated-synth groover, here they're direct, tender, and vulnerable. But what’s more important is that Midnight Machines gets you listening to the gorgeous songs she's penned, unbleached by production flash. It’s a rare feat to improve upon a record by redoing it years later—but that’s arguably the case with this beauty.

So those are the 5 albums I've been digging right now. Check them out and see what you think!

*album descriptions from iTunes