The only problem with iTunes and related services is that it's so easy to go on a music shopping spree. You go there to download one or two songs, but it turns into "Oh yeah, I liked that song too!" and "I might as well get the whole album, it's only $8!" Then you're in the kind of trouble that was more avoidable when you had to pay for a physical stack of CDs at a physical register. (Another good reason why I still don't have an e-reader - applying this principle to books would lead to financial ruin for me.)
All that to say, I've been buying a lot of music lately, and I feel almost evangelical about some of it:
About ten years ago (!), Jenn sent me a mix CD with a couple of Sarah Harmer songs on it. I immediately liked them, bought Sarah's album You Were Here, and have continued enjoying her music ever since. Her latest album, Oh Little Fire, is absolutely her best yet. From the musicians I'm blessed to have in my life, I've absorbed some knowledge of what makes a well-written song, and every one of these songs is like a jewel. LOVE IT.
I'm soaking up the huge Americana trend in music right now (although I'm afraid it's nearing saturation :\). Needtobreathe sounds like a combination of Kings of Leon and Mumford and Sons. Every song on their latest album, The Outsiders, is fantastic. I didn't know at first that Needtobreathe is a Christian band - and, as someone who hit her limit of CCM years ago, I mean that in the best possible way. I also find their music somehow manly - none of these songs would be out of place on Deadliest Catch or something. Anyway, my brother introduced me to this album, so I think of him when I listen to it.
Miranda Lambert has a freshness and honesty that comes across in everything she sings. "The House That Built Me" consistently makes me cry, even though I have no deep longings for my childhood house. There's just something powerful in every note of that song. I also love "Heart Like Mine" and "Only Prettier."
I'm also excited about a few upcoming releases!
I confess: Until recent years, I wasn't very into Coldplay. I thought they were okay, but they were so excessively hyped that I didn't want to hop on the bandwagon. But when Viva La Vida came out, it swept me away with its awesomeness, and I felt dumb for resisting so long. (See also Caedmon's Call and the release of 40 Acres when I was in college.) Now I'm excited for new works of genius! Last I heard, the album was almost finished.
I'm not sure how I feel about the Tim Burton-ish vibe she's rocking here, but I've waited and waited for Anna Nalick's follow-up to one of my all-time favorite albums, Wreck of the Day. There's no official release date yet, but I remain hopeful!