June 24, 2005Music News)
An alternative weekly in the Twin Cities, City Pages, ran an article, "Why on Earth (Or Elsewhere) am I Enjoying Christian Rock?" The piece covers Starflyer 59, Ester Drang, Danielson Famile and Sufjan Stevens.
Of course it also mentions MxPx as a crossover failure, which seems a bit odd since the band consistently plays the Warped Tour and has distanced itself from the CCM scene.
June 23, 2005Music News)
Nerve damage sidelined Megadeth guitarist Dave Mustaine, giving him a needed break from music and 16 months without touching a guitar. Now he's back and Megadeth is touring and last year released The Systen Has Failed.
Mustaine is also talking about his deepened faith in God. That faith has included taking a stand against Satanic imagery. He forced promoters of one metal show to choose between Megadeth and another band. Megadeth won.
"There are people who believe in God - whether Jews or Christians. Then there are agnostics and atheists. And then there's the antithesis, the enemy of everyone," he said. "What the hell does Satanism have to do with music anyway? Life is too short; there's no need for me to put myself in a situation that's undesirable for me, especially if I'm the headliner. I think 20 years in the business gives me some credentials."
June 21, 2005Free Music)
If they sound a bit like Coldplay, that's because Coldplay's Chris Martin wrote "Gravity" and offered it to the guys in Embrace, saying it was meant to be an Embrace song.
June 17, 2005Discover New Music)
Ted Leo of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists recently performed live (sans Pharmacists) on 89.3 FM The Current in the Twin Cities. You can listen to him play "Me and Mia," "Counting Down the Hours" (my personal favorite) and "Heart Problems," as well as chat with DJ Mary Lucia.
She broaches the subject of cover tunes, and they discuss the Kelly Clarkson hit, "Since U Been Gone," that Leo has covered. His response: "A good song is a good song, and that's a good song." (Jason Kottke called the song an "earworm" and linked to a download of the cover version.)
June 16, 2005Industry)
U2 received a lot of flak last year when they appeared in an Apple iPod commercial playing "Vertigo," the single from their new album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Greg Kot with the Chicago Tribune became especially frustrated with what he saw as the band's continual missteps. U2 front man Bono heard his complaints and said, "We need to talk" (registration required). The result was a candid sit-down interview where Kot was able to get his questions answered. Here's a bit of the conversation...Discover New Music)
I admit I balked when Hello, Good Friend, the new CD from The Rocket Summer showed up in the mail. Just who is that 16-year-old kid? Turns out that "16-year-old" is 22-year-old Bryce Avary, the one-man band that is The Rocket Summer (have I confessed my inability to guess the age of anyone between 14 and 28?).
That's right, he's behind every emotion-fueled plink of the piano, whine of the guitar strings, crash of the symbols and just about anything else you can think of. And he's pretty darn good. It's achingly positive emo music, which sounds like a bit of a contradiction. This is full-on bubble gum pop, so hold on for the ride. A couple reviews can probably sum it up better than I. But I will say that the jittery "Story" is hands down the best song on the CD. When the chorus hits it's an all out fun-fest.
As an interesting twist, Avary's album is being released to the Christian market later this summer. His JPM count (Jesus per minute) is a little low for Christian radio, but the kids are going to love it.
June 9, 2005Discover New Music)
You can hear a clip of a new Switchfoot song over at their web site. The guitar-heavy "Stars" is the first taste of Switchfoot's fifth album, Nothing is Sound, which comes out in August.
Read more about Nothing is Sound
June 7, 2005Music News)
Watch out for the yellow and black attack. Stryper is back. The Christian metal band of the 1980s (well, 1990s when metal was on its way out) is releasing their first new album in over a decade. Reborn comes out August 16, 2005, but you can get a taste of the first single now. "Reborn" is available now on iTunes.
June 6, 2005Discover New Music)
Despite the horror of some, punk rock is going 80s with a new compilation of cover songs, Punk Goes 80s. You can hear Relient K covering "Manic Monday," Halifax covering "Straight Up," Amber Pacific covering "Video Killed the Radio Star," and more. It comes out June 7 but you can hear samples on the Punk Goes 80s Music Player.
June 3, 2005Discover New Music)
The Astronaut Pushers appear to be a new super-group of sorts, combining John Davis (Superdrag), Lindsay Jameison (Ben Folds/Departure Lounge), Matt Slocum (Sixpence None the Richer) and Sam Ashworth (his solo album is the debut of Charlie Peacock's Runway Network). The band is finishing up their EP, but you can check out a few rough songs on their otherwise defunct web site.
And if you like Sam Ashworth, you can hear songs from his new solo album on MySpace.
June 2, 2005In the Studio)
Since releasing The Beautiful Letdown in 2003, Switchfoot have been tearing up the rock 'n roll circuit, scoring accolades, rave reviews and tons of fans. While touring pretty much non-stop they've also managed to record their fifth album, Nothing is Sound, which should be out
in August Sept. 13.
"The lyric we chose for the title of the record [Nothing Is Sound] comes from the song," [Jon] Foreman explained recently. "The world is at a very volatile stage, with war, how fast things are changing, but deeper than that, the idea that there is an instability within myself and humanity as a whole — that's where these songs are coming from. Maybe that has a lot to do with being on the road. Maybe staying in one place with a 9-to-5 job would make me less receptive."
MTV has an early interview with the band, including a story about a song inspired by a comment made by Bob Dylan that "happy is a yuppie word" (though Rolling Stone quotes Foreman as crediting Johnny Cash). (link via Infuze)
Update: You can now purchase the first single from Nothing is Sound, "Stars".