Blog Archive for March 2006
Well, yesterday I went to see the house that I'm living in starting in September. It was cool. Right now, it looks like a bunch of drunk college guys live there, so it's not fun to look at. But, next year, it'll be great. It's a bit smaller, but it will still be tons of room to work with. The location isn't as good for public transportation, but I can live with another 10-15 minutes to get home.
The only thing that was kinda cool about the house right now was that every room had a big TV. While I don't want one in every room, I just want a big screen and some great sound for movie watching. That'd be awesome.
The coolest new web feature of the week? It's definitely Google Finance. Before now, you had to trick Yahoo! Finance or some other site to give you the stock information you wanted. But no more. The Flash-based graph is so easy to use and flexible, you can get a graph of whatever you want. Plotted right on the graphs are the news stories about the company. If you need to find stock info, this is definitely now the place to go. Or if you want to check out a good design. Hopefully, my Google stock will look better on it.
The latest thing to hit my desk is the party rock of Family Force 5. They're crazy. There's definitely a lot of '80s influences, but it's mostly rockin' guitars with rap vocals, but much less electronic than Earthsuit. So what's my first impression? It's great for music to pump you up. Does it have any value besides fun music? Not really, but it's not bad.
The other thing that was interesting was a sheet included in the press kit from the band. In it they described how their music doesn't have much spiritual meaning, it's just good plain fun music. But, apparently, since they were all Christians, they wanted to be on a Christian label (and hopefully a mainstream label too). They managed to do that, I guess, but what happens now will be interesting. It's markedly different from the way Mute Math went, I guess. Instead of trying to stay away from Christian music, they made sure they were in it. Of course, from Mute Math's perspective, the "Christian" tag will hurt the band. I guess we'll see.
You know it's the first day of spring in Minnesota when:
- It's about 22 degrees (Farenheight) on a Monday night.
- When hungry, we still went for McDonald's soft serve ice cream.
- We still loved it while walking home.
It was great.
(I don't know why I keep telling these types of stories. Maybe I think I'm crazy. Maybe I think I can take it better than you. Or maybe it's just too cold to think sane.)
There's no denying that the movies are not as popular as they used to be. And well, everybody seems to have their reasons why. This excellent article in Time proposes that George Lucas's promotion of the digital projector could save the movie houses. But who knows? I know I'm looking forward to see V For Vendetta on the big screen sometime soon!
Isn't the snow outside pretty? Oh wait, that picture was taken over three years ago. But hey, it's still a great one and it captures the look outside right now. Not only did we get almost a foot of snow, but it seems to stick to everything. Many schools cancelled today, so not much happened today. Even at my work, the power was only kinda working and the Internet would not start up. So I even left work after a half day. It was a weird and fun day, plus I've been waiting for all this snow for a long time. It was great.
Probably the biggest music news of the week is that Mute Math has filed suit against Warner Bros./Word Records for their handling of their debut EP. You can read the Reuters story and the comments at Shlog.com for more information.
What I have to say is that I wholeheartedly support the band. Why? Because I think they have a point.
It has long been a point of discussion, but here's what I believe the "Christian" music industry is defined as:
- It is those that edify the church (aka. the Christian faithful) through their music. MercyMe, Chris Tomlin, Bill Gaither, Rich Mullins, Sara Groves and Apologetix do that.
- It is a haven for bands that aren't good enough to be successful in the mainstream. MercyMe, Sanctus Real, Building 429, and Jeremy Camp are good examples of this, in my opinion.
I guess, you could say, the third category is those who are stuck in the Christian music industry. They started in the Christian world, and since then, they've not been able to escape despite their great music. Recent examples of this include The Listening, The Elms, Mat Kearney, and Mute Math, while older examples include dc Talk, Jars of Clay, and P.O.D.
Thankfully, some of these bands were allowed to escape a little. If they weren't plagued with the "Christian" tag, though, they probably could have made it much farther. There are many who, maybe even subconsciously, associate Christian music with second-rate, not-worth-my-time music.
Some of the newer names on that list are getting the chance to escape. Switchfoot is almost known on its own without being labeled a Christian band. Mat Kearney and Mute Math are making it too, and it looks like The Elms may get their break with the May 2nd release.
But what about Mute Math? Well, I think they have a right to sue their label. The claim that they went into talks with the label under assurances they would not be on Word Records, the Christian arm of Warner Bros. Records. I think they had a right to demand this, because they've been in a Christian band and knew that their new venture, Mute Math, could be much bigger. They may be Christian believers, but that doesn't mean that their music can be only heard by Christians, which is what the Christian music industry is for.
Of course, how long did Mute Math comply with Word's requests? Eight months or so after their Word release, they hit some major Christian festivals and were fairly popular. Does that mean they were admitting to being a Christian band? Were they interested in being Christian then but are no longer? That, to me, seems to be the only hole in their thought.
Best of luck to you guys. I hope that the publicity goes well and that your new CD is well-received.
The authors of LarkNews have released A Field Guide to Evangelicals & Their Habitat. It looks like a invaluable book should you ever encounter full-on Evangelicals. I mean, it preaches the truth: that I am going to hell, apparently (along with the rest of Catholics and the Pope). Just check out the handy chart that was reprinted at Shlog.com.
Another release I was listening to yesterday was the debut album from House of Heroes. It's been out for about six months, and it's pretty darn good.
I remember the old House of Heroes when they were played on RadioU during the indie days. Actually, I think really early they were called "No Tagbacks", which obviously is a kiddie pop-punk band. But with their major-label debut release, they've transformed into an amazing art-rock band. If you want to check it out, find their video for "Serial Sleepers". Great stuff.
So today I took a first listen to Chris Tomlin's Live From Austin Music Hall. And, well, it's a pretty good live disc. The extra touches were, of course, the guest spots. Seth Walker, a Texas blues artist, helps Tomlin out with a more soulful "On Our Side". David Crowder adds his signature voice to "This Is Our God". And, surprisingly, the crowd is miced fairly well for a live disc.
The main gripe about this disc is the running time: 40 minutes with 8 tracks. Is Tomlin still just playing the opening slot at Austin Music Hall? What about the other 40+ minutes he played that night? Either this better be priced at $7.99 or it's gotta be at least 20 minutes longer, imho. And that goes for almost every artist.