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Archive for the ‘rock and/or roll’ Category

Day 8 of Operation Christmas Music

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Today’s Christmas song is “Gloria (Angles We Have Heard On High)” by A Jesus Church. This is a church out of Portland that, like so many other churches this time of year, has put out a Christmas album. The difference is that collection of musicians and producers have been doing some of the best work in the more underground Christian music world for years. This version of the song, for example, has the best take of the traditional “Gloooo-ooo-ooo-ooooo-ooo-oooo-ria” part of that song that I’ve ever heard. If interesting and creative takes on the classics aren’t your thing, this is definitely worth downloading for the original songs on the rest of the album.

Personal preference scale: 9 out of 10. It’s Christmas music for the misfit toys like me ;). Holly Jolly scale: 5 out of 10. You’d be easily forgiven for hearing these songs (especially the originals) and not thinking they were from a Christmas album.


Written by matt

December 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Posted in rock and/or roll

Christmas music – day 7

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Today’s Christmas song is “Go Tell It On The Mountain” by Branches. I was fortunate enough to stumble across this last year and then get to run sound for them when they came into town earlier this year. Great group of people and this a great version of this song.

Personal preference scale: 7 out of 10. The whole Mumford sound is wearing thin with age and imitators, but this is still quite enjoyable. Holly Jolly factor: 8 out of 10.

Written by matt

December 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Posted in rock and/or roll

Christmas Music – day 6

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Today’s recommendation comes courtesy of another friend of mine. He’s someone I wish I could spend more time with, especially as he and his wife prepare to have their first child. The song is “Silent Night” by Karl Verkade. This probably the least traditional song in terms of ability to sing along to it. That’s ok, though. This is the song (or album, really) that you need at the end of the night after you’ve spent the whole day rushing from one thing to the other. This is for your few minutes of peace after a day spent with work, shopping, family stuff, church stuff, kids stuff, etc.

Personal preference scale: 9 out of 10. Even if the genre isn’t your usual cup of tea, you have to recognize just how good this is on its own merits. Holly Jolly scale: 5 out of 10. Yes, this is a classic Christmas song, but there’s no sleigh bells and no vocals. It’s a great song though.

Written by matt

December 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Christmas Music – Day 2

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Day 2 of Operation Christmas music.
Yesterday I started this little project and recommended a more somber yet great song for Christmas. Today, I up the Holly Jolly factor to the nth degree. This is “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year?” by Rosie Thomas. This may be the most “Christmasy” song I’ll recommend, and holy crap is it good. This immediately needs to take the place of the upbeat-dance-while-you-decorate spot on your playlist currently occupied by that Mariah Carey garbage. Seriously, click the link, spend the 8 bucks on the album even if you only want that one song, and dance your heart out while frosting those cookies. Personal preference scale: 9 out of 10. Holly Jolly factor: 10 out of 10. Prepare to have a new favorite Christmas song.

Written by matt

December 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Christmas Music Recommendations

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Yesterday I posted something on FB about the duality of man and how I feel about Christmas. That came into my mind because I was thinking about Christmas music which, similar to how I feel about The Christmas Season, I both love and loathe. I’d get into why about both of those things, but I want to take this in a different direction. What I want to do is every day until Christmas recommend a Christmas song that you likely haven’t heard. There’s so much good music out there and most playlists on the radio or in the mall consist of garbage songs are that several decades old plus the additional garbage that is “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” (Lest anyone forget, all Mariah Carey wants for Christmas is me.) Ok, veered into the loathe part too much there. Back to the point.

My goal is to make Christmas playlists suck less. I’ll recommend songs based on my completely biased and inexpert opinion, and counterbalance that with what I’ll call the “Holly Jolly Factor” to ensure these are not just good songs, but good Christmas songs. So follow along if, like me, you feel the joy of the holidays with a slight undercurrent of sorrow.*

First song: “Baby Son” by John Mark McMillan. This is the big new song in the Christian circles right now because it’s by an established and respected Christian artist, and probably because it’s free ;). This is legitimately a good song, although I’d love to hear a better vocalist sing it at least a step higher. That’s a minor complaint though. Personal preference scale: 8 out of 10. Holly Jolly scale: 4 out of 10, which may not be enough for some people. It’s not a cover of a classic Christmas song, and there’s not even sleigh bells in it. (Is that all it takes to make a song Christmasy?) Check back, and I’ll keep the hits coming.

*i don’t think those are wrong feelings, btw. i mean, the reason we have a christmas is because God sent his son to save us (yay!) to die because we’ve all sinned (bummer….)

Written by matt

December 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm

On The Economy of Music

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Every few months or so there re-arises the debate about the current state of the music industry. What’s fun is that all the blog posts that go viral (the post that started the current debate, the artist’s retort, and an industry pundit’s take) make competing but valid points. Without going into every detail those posts do, here’s a brief rundown of the overarching issue:

  • Artists/musicians create music and expect to be compensated fairly for their time and effort.
  • Companies like record labels used to have a monopoly on which music was sold by who and when.
  • Technology has leveled the playing field among distribution of music, consumption of music, and even creation of music. Anyone and everyone can record, sell, or listen to anyone else’s music with a couple clicks of a mouse button and little else.

So the problem is that every group believes they deserve something. Artists think they deserve to get paid for their work, companies believe they deserve the amount they used to get 15 years ago, and the general public believe they deserve music for free because there’s no roadblock to do so. As it stands, this a problem without a solution.

A lot of people like to blame the evil record labels. While I won’t say that they’re inherently evil, but it’s not like their biggest concern is anything but making money. Maybe we should blame the public then. They’re a bunch of no good thieves, right? Surely it couldn’t be the all important artists who do nothing but make song after song that reaches deep into our soul with such heartfelt lyrics as “SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS!” or “Baby, baby, baby, oooooh.”

I honestly don’t think the question we should be asking is who deservers what, but rather what has value. Prior to ubiquitous internet use, we, the generally public, were being trained to want music on all the time. We were convinced to have CD players at home, in the car, on our person and to pay dearly for that privilege. None of those things happen now, but we still get to have music everywhere we want. Know what else doesn’t happen anymore? No one buys an album for $15, takes it home, listens to it, and regrets buying it because the only good song was the single. We’ve now arrived at a time where the cream truly does rise to the top. Now, just because a song “hits it big” doesn’t mean that it’s creators or purveyors see near the amount of money that they would have several years ago. What I’ve learned though is that despite the no-cost availability of music, people will absolutely still pay for quality.

Example: I’m willing to bet you’ve all heard the song “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. It was all over commercials, TV shows, YouTube videos, they even played it at the Super Bowl this year. I’m not saying there’s not a place in the world for party music, but I think we can all agree that this song isn’t exactly a prized piece of art. Anyway, despite how huge that song became, it only translated to about 1.3 million album sales.

As a counterpoint, Adele’s album “21” was released about five months prior to LMFAO’s album and is currently standing at a total of 22 million album sales. Not only has it sold a ton of copies, it’s still selling tons of copies as it currently stands at number 3 in the U.S. It’s one of the best albums released to a wide audience in recent memory and is still grabbing people’s attention.

Artists of the world: just because you make something doesn’t mean you deserve people’s time and money, so don’t feel ripped off when you don’t get it. We all know that with so much competing for our attention we will only invest in that which we believe in. That’s a rule of economics: something only has worth if someone is willing to pay for it.

Record labels of the world: This isn’t the same world where you were the only game in town. Money is tight for everyone, music can be had at no cost, and $15 can buy a lot more groceries than it can CD’s. Until time travel becomes possible, give up trying to make the same amount of money you did in ’96. Know that if you push garbage to the masses, they might not want to pay for it.

To the general music loving public: If you are touched, moved, or otherwise enjoy music from particular artists, spend money on them. Be generous so that they are still able to make music. There’s a very small number of artists out there who live comfortably, and the rest are struggling. If you truly love their music, don’t just buy the CD, concert tickets, or T-shirts; donate to them directly through PayPal, share the music with your friends, and see if there’s anything else they’d like from their fans.

I know I didn’t solve anything here, but I thought this might help explain to some of you why you keep hearing “The Music Industry is DYING!” and didn’t already have years of seeing it firsthand under your belt.

Written by matt

June 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Riverside to Austin, 9 Hours In

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So if it was almost 4am and you’re sitting in the passenger seat of a Dodge Challenger with your Chuck Taylors propped up on the dashboard, what would you write about? Would it be about the relative absurdity of the situation you ended up in? Would it be about getting to see almost every star in the sky above the void surrounding you on either side of your designated ribbon of highway? Would you reflect on the plasticity of time now that it’s actually 5am after crossing the New Mexico border?

Maybe you’d just do like me and ask a bunch of rhetorical questions that are just barely on this side of nonsense.

Written by matt

March 17, 2011 at 2:51 am