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Most Spun 2004: It's revolution, baby.
[ cMusicWeb.com's end of the year feature | compiled by ben forrest ]

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STEVEBEST DJ and Producer, Britain's United Christian Broadcasters
Reset EP - Mute Math
Mute Math - Reset EP
I was a big fan of Earthsuit, who are best remembered for the song "One Time" from their amazing Kaleidoscope Superior album, so it was a real delight to discover that out of the ashes of that band have arisen Mute Math. It's also good to see that the quirkier elements of the Earthsuit sound are alive and well here. This six-tracker is a taster for a full length opus in 2005 — for which I cannot wait — and you pretty much get a bit of everything here: reggae, a cool progressive instrumental and, in "Control," one of the top songs of the year.
Hopes And Fears - Keane
Keane - Hopes And Fears
When I first heard "Somewhere Only We Know," the leadoff single from Keane's debut, I thought it was Marillion, which, believe me, is very good indeed. There's a winsome fragility about this record, which is unusual in being piano-led, and not the normal guitar. This makes Keane's live shows particularly unique, and coupled with a collection of somewhat introspective sad songs, adds up to a fine debut.
Live From Another Level - Israel And New Breed
Israel & New Breed - Live From Another Level
Israel Houghton, one of the worship leaders at the inspiring Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas is not only a talented writer and producer, but on this album he proves to be a more than useful worship leader. This is my kind of worship: high energy, devoted, excellently played and sung and totally centered on glorifying God. This was supposed to be a single CD, but in the end Israel decided to include a large section of improvised worship from the evening's recording, and it proves to be a great decision as these passages are mainly inspiring, at times startlingly so. Elsewhere there are versions of "Friend Of God," "You Are Good" and other Lakewood classics, as well as the stunning title track which closes the album. Several people at my church have been checking this album out, and they agree that this is one of the hottest worship CDs in ages.
Absolution - Muse
Muse - Absolution
The third studio album from this awesome trio of rockers built on the reputation established by the fearsome Origin Of Symmetry record and some extensive touring to produce a much bigger, more mature sounding rock album. Despite this there are still some quite breathtaking moments such as the pile-driving "Stockholm Syndrome" and the singles "Time Is Running Out" and "Sing For Absolution." Everywhere you look there's something stunning, whether it be "Hysteria" or "Blackout," which are admittedly a bit maudlin, but still majestic in their own way. One of the UK's top live acts and injected with enough humor to be a perfect antidote to much of today's dismal pop fare.
The Listening EP - The Rock 'n' Roll Worhip Circus
The Rock 'n' Roll Worship Circus - The Listening EP
It was a huge thrill to see RRWC on tour with Delirious? this fall, as this Portland band have fascinated me ever since Mike Rimmer passed one of their albums to me. There has been a bit of a swap around since the band's last full length opus A Beautiful Glow with bassist Blurr and drummer Zurn coming off the road, original founder member Solo returning full time on guitar, guitarist Eric "The E" switching to drums (he kept that one quiet!) and original keysman Josiah returning from his studies to the keyboards. This EP is, in short, a stunner. Having heard most of it live, it translates to a concert setting really well too. Getting underway with the atmospheric "Are We Listening" and moving into the powerful "Untitled" it becomes clear that this is less of a psychedelic experience and more of an exercise in indie rock, but no less magnificent. "I Love The Rain" and "Like I Do" are brooding, spacious and quite brilliant, while "The Way Love Is Made" has a stroke of genius as the band put in a quick tribute to Queen's "We Are The Champions" midway through. Another triumph.

ASHLEYNIER Contributor, cMusicWeb.com
Phenomenon - Thousand Foot Krutch
Thousand Foot Krutch - Phenomenon
Normally I am not a hard rock person, but when it comes to Thousand Foot Krutch I am willing to stray from my norm. TFK was able to bridge the gap between Christian and secular with their 2003 release. This is one of the few albums my brother and I can actually agree on.
Safe From The Losing Fight - Kids In The Way
Kids In The Way - Safe From The Losing Fight
I first heard this band while flipping through the channels and came across the music video for their first single "We Are." Teen angst and catchy lyrics make this disc stand out from the more highly popularized rock bands on the scene. But this band is more than the guitar driven sounds made all the rage by the punk bands; this band actually is able to produce a heartfelt ballad that is up to par with the rest of the CD.
Say It Loud - Sanctus Real
Sanctus Real - Say It Loud
My mom was actually the person to get my hooked on this band (after her playing this CD for three days straight in our trailer at Kingdom Bound 2003, I don't see how I couldn't get hooked). But still, almost two years later, I don't quite know exactly what it is that hooked me or has me still popping this disc in the player.
This World We Know - The Dig Project
The Dig Project - This World We Know
This band is actually made up of some friends of mine. I'd met this band about three years ago, and when they first got signed, I thought that they might conform to what the label wanted; I was wrong. The Dig Project is still willing to take risks with their music, as we see in "Dirty." If you haven't heard this band, I would highly recommend checking them out at www.TheDigProject.com.
What Are You Waiting For? - FM Static
FM Static - What Are You Waiting For?
FM Static started off as a side project for some of the members of Thousand Foot Krutch, but they have quickly made a name for themselves apart from that other band. What Are You Waiting For? was a great summer album to cruise to and now that winter's here, it's great to warm up any party.


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