Recommended Listening

Every month I will post a new artist/cd that I find myself playing on my iPOD more than others.

I first heard Radical Face (Ben Cooper) on Carson Daly.  I have to say that I wasn’t impressed.  He was hailed as someone to keep an eye on in the music industry.  I thought, “This guy is a weirdo”.  So I dowloaded “Welcome Home”.  I listened again and again and have found myself in love with the song.  Though the video is a little weird and off-putting, I agree with Carson.  I think this guy may have found something.  I love the fact that against industry standards he records in a tool shed in the backyard of his home on a beat up piano.  There is something extremely simple and earthy about his music.  He reeks of the same sound I love in Jack White though very different by nature, very simple in essence.  Check out “Welcome Home”.

I have been listening to Incubus since walkmans  were the thing.  Below is what Wikipedia has posted as their bio.  Before we get to that, I must say that  I would argue with anyone who would doubt Brandon Boyds musical genius, writing some of the best lyrics in alternative rock when only 23.  The new album is absolutely beautiful.

Incubus is an American rock band from Calabasas, California. Formed in 1991 by vocalist Brandon Boyd, lead guitarist Mike Einziger, and drummer Jose Pasillas while enrolled in high school and later expanded to include bassist Alex “Dirk Lance” Katunich, and Gavin “DJ Lyfe” Koppell, both of whom were eventually replaced by bassist Ben Kenney and DJ Kilmore respectively.

Incubus has received both critical acclaim and commercial success, reaching multi-platinum sales, as well as releasing several highly successful singles. The band started branching out creatively and earned mainstream recognition with the release of their 1999 album Make Yourself. In 2001, Incubus became even more successful with the single “Drive” and their follow-up album Morning View. Their sixth studio album, Light Grenades, debuted at No. 1 in 2006 and has received Gold certification in the U.S. Incubus released their first greatest hits album Monuments and Melodies in June 2009, accompanied by a tour of the United States, Japan and Canada. The band recently completed a seventh album, If Not Now, When?, which was released on July 12, 2011.

Chris Bathgate (born April 21, 1982) is an American indie folk singer-songwriter and musician. He is prominent in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti folk music scene in Michigan.[1] In 2007, Bathgate signed to Quite Scientific Records, on which he released his most prominent album to date, A Cork Tale Wake. His most recent release was single for the album Salt Year, entitled “No Silver” in January 2011. Bathgate has been compared to folk singer-songwriters Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, and Damien Jurado.[2]

Future of Forestry has easily worked it’s way into my top ten favorite bands to enjoy.  Many are familiar with their earlier word under the name “Something Like Silas”.  Eric Owyoung, lead singer and frontman changed the name in 2006 after planting The Flood church in San Diego.  They are now signed to EMI.  The name “Future of Forestry” comes from a poem entitled “The Future of Forestry” by famed writer C.S. Lewis.

You now have some background.  Personally, I love the music for so many reasons.  The style is nothing short of profound.  I can relate to the lyrics and the honesty.  One of my favorite things about this band is that they just released an all instrumental album that has become some of my favorite music to play on the ipod as I pray.

I really encourage you to check these guys out.  I also know they will be touring through and playing at First Baptist Dallas on Jul. 11th.  I’m already planning to attend and have contacted about purchasing tickets.  If you’re interested in tagging along, let me know.

This month I’ve chosen to write a bit about a band whose new album I’m really enjoying.   A year ago, you would have never found 30 Seconds to Mars on my favorites play list when thumbing through my ipod.  I just never went for the actors turned musician.  I will correct this assumption in a minute.  All that being said, I’m driving home late a couple of months ago and hear “Kings and Queens” on the radio.  I sat and listened astonished at this sound I was hearing.  I was so impressed, but couldn’t pick up where I had heard the vocals before.  Boy was I surprised when they announced it as the new single off “This Is War” by THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS.  I thought, “really?  They must have made a mistake.”  Sure enough, when I logged onto myspace there it was.  Wow!  What a different sound for 30 seconds.

Now, I have to correct my initial stereotype.  I was more impressed as I sought out information and history on the band, that Jared Leto actually doesn’t use his Hollywood star status to push his band.  As a matter of fact, he will not play a venue if they use his name to advertise the bands appearance.  That’s impressive.  To top things off, he actually moved to Hollywood pursuing a music career.  He had no desire to act.

With all of that, I encourage you to check out 30 Seconds to Mars.  There is something very humbling and very noble about their music.  I can’t explain it, I just know that I like it.

I skipped a few months, so I’m going to post two for the month of September…

First we’ll look at the music of My Epic

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My Epic is a three piece from Charlotte NC.  They are currently signed to Dreamt Music/Facedown Records.  I must say that one of the more impressive things to a fan of music is a bands ability to promote humility in their message and even in the way they carry themselves.  My Epic sets the bar pretty high.  I had the opportunity to meet these guys at a small show several months ago and was extremely impressed by the music and the individuals behind the music.  On stage their stories inspire; off stage, they are three ordinary guys.  In my opinion, that’s what makes this trio so extraordinary.

If you have never listened to the music, begin with song number 11 on “I Am Undone”.  The song has no title, but it will give you a great introduction to My Epic’s passionate lyrics.

The second band I will review this month is a band I’ve come to love from Lincoln Nebraska calling themselves “Staggerford”…

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I have to be honest, I know little about Staggerford.  I stumbled upon their music accidentaly on worshiphousemedia.com and fell in love with the gentleness.  “Greet the Blinding Light” is a song that begins subtle, almost as if the intro. to a hymn, but then slowly morphs into a driven rock song that would impress any listener.  The group claims to write songs about life and love.  Again, as most artist I will write about, I encourage you to check out “Greet the Blinding Light”.

For the month of July, I’m going to post Jon Foreman’s Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer…

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Having just received the GMA Dove Award for male vocalist of the year, I thought this was one worth mentioning.  I actually find myself often listening to this collection of EP’s as part of Jon Foreman’s solo project.  I love hearing the music of an artist who’s lyrics contantly challenge me.  As the lead singer for Switchfoot, the lyrics rarely did that, however I’ve always been a fan.  My expectations were not that high when it came to his solo project, but I have been blown out of the water.

There are several songs worth mentioning here.  First, “Equally Skilled” off of the Fall EP is a great song about our ability to do justice with our hands, but our failed attempts at doing so.  As a matter of fact, the song, as many of Foreman’s, stands as a rebuke more than an easy listening folk song.

The song, “Southbound Train” is worth mentioning because I love the harmonica part, and becuase he mentions Oceanside, CA, which is the city I lived in for several years.

“Your Love is Strong” off of the Spring EP is Jon Foreman’s lyrical version of the Lord’s Prayer.  My favorite line, “Why do I freak out?”  I love that.  It fits so well.

The last song I will mention is a song off the Summer EP entitled, “Instead of a Show”.  Again, I warn you, this song packs a hearty rebuke.  In it Jon sings about how we have built a show out of worship.  In the chorus Foreman sings, “Let there be a flood of justice.  An endless precession of righteous living.  Instead of a show.”  Wow.

If you have not purchased these four EP’s, I highly recommend them.  Don’t miss the opportunity to be challenged by an artist who takes serious his love for God and his call to speak the truth.

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