May 24, 2005Discover New Music)
"We're more ready to take on the world than we've been in our whole career," says front man Mike Herrera. "We can follow our own instincts now. All those years, it was like we were chasing a ghost. But back then, I didn't have the knowledge or understanding to realize what was going on. And I didn't have the strength to fight it. I was always second-guessing myself. Above all else, I've learned not to doubt myself. To figure out what I want before it's too late. And once you do figure it out, you just have to go for it."
May 23, 2005Music News)
The Christian rock band Petra will call it quits after more than 30 years of music. In that time the band scored four Grammys for 1990's Beyond Belief, 1991's Unseen Power, 1993's Wake-Up Call and 2000's Double Take. They were one of the ground breaking Christian rock bands, and even pre-dated the worship explosion with 1989's Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out.
During middle school my favorite rock band was Petra, and though my tastes have since changed, I present my top Petra songs (of course I'm pretty biased to their music from the late 1980s to mid 1990s; I'm not much of a fan of their earlier or later stuff).Discover New Music)
I heard a funky song on The Current yesterday, "Vodka Lobotomy" by That's What You Get, a local Twin Cities band. It had a touch of the Ramones, though you can hear for yourself if you have a PC. Their entire album is available for Weedfile download from their web site, which means you can download it for free and listen to it three times. Mac support is supposedly coming soon.
May 19, 2005Discover New Music)
89.3 The Current, the new public radio alternative music station in the Twin Cities has been recording tons of live in-studio performances to air, and you can listen to all of them online. It's a grab bag of the "in" musicians from the indie scene, including Rilo Kiley, Thievery Corporation, Aqualung, Arthur Yoria, The Shins, Phoenix, Low, Olympic Hopefuls and more. Most performances are stripped down accoustic numbers, but plenty of the bands crammed a stage full of musicans into the studio for the sessions.
May 18, 2005Interviews)
When guitarist Tyler Burkum joined the Christian rock band Audio Adrenaline at age 17 he left behind a blossoming career as a busboy at a local college. But he joined a musical juggernaut and can now polish Grammys with that old dishtowel. Their last album, Worldwide, with the hit songs "Ocean Floor" and "Leaving 99", scored the band's first Grammy after five nominations. Later this summer Audio Adrenaline will crank out their 10th release, tentatively titled Until My Heart Caves In.
Was joining a rock band at 17 fulfilling your wildest dreams of becoming a rock star?
I definitely didn't want to be a rock star, and that's probably the Minnesota in me, the shy, Lake Woebegone part of me. ... I always just wanted to do my thing, I wanted to play music and do it well whether I was jumping around or not.
I'm not a rock star now. If somebody came up to me and said 'Man you're a rock star,' I'd probably be embarrassed. If somebody came up to me and said 'I dug the show, you did well,' I'd be honored. I want someone to feel like they got their money's worth, but I don't really care if they walk away thinking I'm a rock star. If they think I'm a rock star, maybe they've missed the point.
May 17, 2005Music News)
The Christian pop-punk band Relient K walks an uneasy tightrope between their Christian faith and their newfound mainstream success. Capital records picked up their latest release, Mmhmm, and the band is currently touring with Good Charlotte and Simple Plan.
"The church turns itself off to a lot of people," [guitarist Matt] Hoopes said. "If you don't hate gay people and vote for George W. Bush you can't be a Christian. We're trying to offer a different message."
"That's probably the most satisfying thing about doing what we do is just the feedback from actually being a positive influence on somebody," [singer Matt] Thiessen said. "It seems bigger than just selling records."
May 16, 2005Free Music)
It's loud guitar rock from a trio of women, and if you can handle their at times screeching vocals, the killer guitars are worth it.
May 14, 2005Discover New Music)
My latest iTunes purchase was the Beta Band's "Dry the Rain" from their Three EPs album. It starts off slowly, and the preview on iTunes isn't much help, but about halfway through it kicks into a massive groove.
The song is probably best known for its role in High Fidelity when John Cusack's character says he'll sell five copies of the Beta Band's Three EPs. He plays the groove portion of "Dry the Rain." Thanks to Neals for turning me on to the song.
May 12, 2005Discover New Music)
The Canadian singer Laurell Hubick is definitely worth a listen. And you can hear her entire album online. If like what you can hear you can buy the CD or download individual tracks for 99 cents. It's her own personal iTunes (which is a bit odd, since her previous worship album, Into Your Love is available on iTunes).
Her music is soft and sweet, reminding me of Norah Jones and Mindy Smith. That's some good musical company. "A Dream" and "Storybook Song" are two good tracks to check out.
May 10, 2005Technology)
The newest version of Apple's iTunes music software now plays videos. It's an interesting development for Apple, who already has the digital music market cornered. You can import videos from computer or buy select videos from the iTunes music store. One of the early offerings is a behind the scenes video that comes with the new Dave Matthews Band album and the Shins' Pink Bullets single. (link via kottke.org)In the Studio)
The David Crowder Band is holed up in a studio in Waco, Texas recording their next album. You can follow along with four webcams, two blogs or just show up. Tonight at 6:00 p.m. they're inviting people to their studio for a hoedown.
May 9, 2005Video)
You can catch the genre-defying Christian hip-hopster Toby Mac in high-definition video, singing his decidely not hip-hop hit "Gone" from his Welcome to Diverse City album. The HD videos are widescreen and huge, the Toby Mac video coming in at 164 MB and a 1280x720 resolution. You'll need the latest version of Quicktime to take it in.
Toby Mac is the former frontman for the mega group dc Talk, which is still hailed for its 1995 Jesus Freak album, even though the band went on permanent hiatus after 1998's Supernatural (does the greatest hits album really count?). All three members have been exploring solo projects since. Despite its decade-old status, Jesus Freak is still a favorite in my church's youth group.
May 4, 2005Discover New Music)
In other Shaun Groves news, his new album White Flag comes out July 12. Over at his Myspace site you can listen to four songs from the new album, including the rocking "What's Wrong With This World?" (I love the lyrics where he answers what's wrong is me), the liturgical sounding "Amen" (in lyrics, not guitars) and what's apparently a new requirement in Christian music, a cover of "Bless the Lord."
May 3, 2005Discover New Music)
A quick trip to purevolume lets you download three older tracks and samples from the new album. I haven't heard the new album yet, but the three downloads have been racking up play counts on my iPod.
"Grand Theft Autumn" has a nice emo attempt at decent singing before it really gets started. "Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner" is an acoustic demo version (the real version is available on From Under the Cork Tree), though for me it's better unplugged. "Dead on Arrival" is just fast, fun—and hey, it's free.Discover New Music)
The iTunes Discovery Download (brought to you by Carson Daly) for this week is "Don't Walk Away" by Shawn McDonald from his Simply Nothing album. His music is mostly acoustic, though a few songs have a touch of hip-hop reminiscent of Mat Kearney. McDonald has a down and out story of getting messed up in drugs and hitting the bottom before finally coming to God.Free Music)
Last night folk artist Bright Eyes (aka Conor Oberst) performed his concert favorite, "When the President Talks to God," on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. While the song is not available on his two most recent albums, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, you can download the track for free from iTunes.
May 2, 2005Industry)
Some have wondered about the sponsorship deal on Cake's current tour, but frontman Josh McCrea dismisses it as part of doing business and points the finger at illegal downloaders, theorizing about the direction of the music industry:
"I think more and more with the way the music industry is, bands are gonna start taking cues from NASCAR racers and wear ads on their outfits. That's given the fact that people want music for free, yet they might not realize in order for it to be made that artists have to pay for studio time, food and rent. It's basically a case of spoiled children wanting free candy, and though it's easy to want things for free, it's hard for musicians to convince landlords that rent should be free."
McCrea goes on to talk about Cake on tour and how they rarely use a set list, often playing what they feel like:
"We're not a fancy jukebox or the dancing bears at Chucky Cheese, so sometimes we forget to play something people want to hear. But we're definitely very comfortable with the concept that we’re in a service occupation where we have to balance wanting to do the right thing musically with being there to entertain people and give them what they want."Free Music)
This interview covers Davis' rock star finds Jesus story, which is basically him hitting the bottom with stardom and alcohol and returning to the faith of his youth.
All he asks of his Superdrag fans? "The only thing that I ask is that they give me a fair shake—nothing more, nothing less."In the Studio)
Indie musician Justin McRoberts is heading to the studio in June to record his sixth full length album. It should be available in Fall of 2005.
Of course the best song from Intersections, the cover of U2's "One," is not available online—no doubt thanks to the difficult copyright issues. You'll have to buy the CD to get that one, but you can get "Qualifications For Love," "Beautiful To Me" and "Undecided," among some of the other gems. From Trust there's "Beautiful Once," which has to be the best song, hands down.