Sunday, February 27, 2011

We all live in a Yellow Cavalier

Sorry about the Beatles reference. It was a nice song, though, and a pretty good movie. Of course the actual line is "We all live in a Yellow Submarine", but my brief review is about a band called Anthem Lights, which had an indie release under the name Yellow Cavalier in 2009. In that iteration, band members Chad Graham, Caleb Grimm, Kyle Kupecky, and Alan Powell, who are all vocalists, would have been charitably described as a "Boy Band", in the vein of NKOTB. I was introduced to them via a free download of "Nowhere to go", and while it wasn't as gag inducing as the typical boy band, I wasn't rushing out to buy the CD.

Now the same members have re-branded themselves as Anthem Lights, and have released a three song EP. Gone is the Boy Band, and now we have straight up pop rock. I am going to give the EP 3.5 Emeralds. It's a much better product, but it is only three songs. Because of that I would avoid the physical CD and go the download route for Can't Shut Up, I Wanna Know You Like That and Can't Get Over You. A Full release is promised for May 10. I will be holding off of any verdict until then.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The New Civility: Time To Get a Little Bloody

I have a confession to make. I am from Massachusetts. There, I've said it. I feel better. They say that the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Granted, it's a problem that can be solved by moving over a State Border, but that is easier said than done.

Still, there is some consolation that I don't live in the District of "Bloody Mike" Capuano, but that's not saying much. My Congressman ran an election ad last year on the radio with a deep angry voiced union thug saying "When Jobs are on the line, Ricky Neal Responds". The implication is clear. These are UNION jobs at stake, And they respond with violence.

Of course Obama speaks of a return to "Civility", but in Dem-speak civility means "Shut up and agree with me". Otherwise they would condemn the Leftists who shout down a Conservative speaker who appears on a College Campus, or those who destroy conservative papers, or bring out ad infinitum (Conservative) = Adolf Hitler signs to protests. Of course it amuses me when teachers bring up the Hitler analogy, considering that Hitler led the National SOCIALIST Workers Party. SOCIALIST=LEFT not right. But that just goes to prove that our public schools are a mess. Of course, only a Socialist would equate requiring them to pay over 6% of their health care and 12% of their pension (those in the Private sector pay between 50-100%) to the mass extermination of around 12 Million people. Talk about Drama Queens.

Representative Capuano blames his words on the fact that he didn't have a teleprompter. Of course that apology shouldn't be accepted and he should be forced to resign in disgrace, lose all salary and pension, and be barred from seeking further elective office. Why? He continues to support Barack "When they bring a knife, you bring a gun." "I want you to get up in their face" Obama, who never speaks without a Teleprompter. A special, open election could be just the breath of fresh air this state needs.

Of course I am dreaming. I have lived in this State long enough to know that the best thing about being a Lib is never having to say you were wrong. You were wrong to notice. You can't resign in disgrace if you have no shame. Click the link below for the full story.

Democrat Congressman: Time To Get a Little Bloody - HUMAN EVENTS

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Night Beat Rewind: February 2011

One of the nice things about a short month is that you can wrap up some of your posts with plenty of time to spare. Such is the case this February. Music is traditionally released on a Tuesday, and today is the Last Tuesday of the Month. It is also Washington's Birthday. The Second edition of Night Beat Rewind will be finished before the end of the month. Two Editions in one month. Progress.

As I said in my previous post, I use a best of 5 Emeralds rating system. For an explanation click here. If you don't see a release listed here, I either couldn't find sound files on Amazon or I did a full review of the release. So far this month I have managed to review The Civil Wars, Red, and Worth Dying For. A few more will be coming soon.

The Night Beat Rewind, Second Edition, for February 2011:
That concludes the second edition of Night Beat Rewind. We shall return with Edition Three in early April (March's release days are the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th). Until then, happy listening.           

Start a Love Riot

"We Stand, We Rise, We Give Our Lives"...Thus saith the synthesizer as Love Riot, the latest Release by Modern Worship band Worth Dying For opens. The band is the Praise and Worship Band for Calvary Temple Worship Center of Modesto California, Specifically for its Youth Ministry The Stadium. Don't let that scare you off, it's not like any Youth Group music you've ever known.

I must confess, there are very few times in my life that I wish I was a teenager again. Not that it was such a stressful time in my life, it wasn't. It's just that I enjoy adulthood. Back when I was in youth group our Youth Leader, Paul Jehle, led the singing on his accordion. Yes, you heard that right, accordion. You know we've come a long way since then when you realize that Delirious? was a Youth Group band. The Kids these days are so blessed and don't even know it.

The aforementioned synthesized voice begins a Spoken Word piece set to music entitled Destroy. Spoken word songs can be hit or miss and take a lot of effort to pull off. This one hits it out of the park. For example of a whiff, I refer you to Five Smooth Stones, whose entire album (almost) is done that way. Only the most kind would call any of it singing. Only one song on that, I believe 18 track CD/mp3, entitled four, is actually sung, and it is the best song on the album. It also sounds like it was done by a completely different band. But I digress. Destroy merges seamlessly into the first "song", Savior, which is a homage (Christians don't steal) to The Letter Black song Moving On, with vocalist Christy Johnson doing her best Sarah Anthony imitation.

Speaking of other bands, there are two guest appearances on the album. Trevor McNevan of TFK (that's Thousand Foot Krutch to the uninformed) appears on Through Your Eyes and Henry Seeley of Melbourne Australia's Planetshakers appears on Closer.

Love Riot moves seamlessly from Modern Worship to Rock to Techno so much that it is hard to classify. They finish with a cover of Delirious hit My Glorious, with Johnson assuming the part of Martin Smith. There is even an instrumental piece called (reprise) which follows Power of Your Love and is followed by the hard rock Never Look Back. It is quite an enjoyable ride. So much so that you'll never notice the run time of just over an hour.

My only regret about this CD is, because they are not a "Known Quantity" to me yet, I ignored the preview from NRT until today, the last day. Now I wish I had started Last Tuesday (the 15th). After my marathon listening session I am giving Love Riot by Worth Dying For 4.75 Emeralds (sorry, but Christy Johnson is no Martin Smith). It will make the 2011 PVA entries in Modern Worship, Rock, and Dance, and Provisionally an entry as Best New Artist. If I haven't heard from them until now, maybe a lot haven't. Worth Dying For is Worth Buying For Yourself or the music lover in your life.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Everything!: You Are Empowered By God In Your Finances

I came across this blog today by a young man by the name of Michael Lingganay in the Philippines and I was greatly impressed. Having embraced the Word of Faith myself and the knowledge that God is a good God and wants his Children to Prosper in all ways (Financially, Socially, Financially, Spiritually etc), I was overjoyed to know that someone only 19 "gets it". I could re-preach the blog post. The Old Testament mandated the tithe but promised a blessing (Malachi 3:10-11). In the New Covenant, Christians are not Under The Law but are to act out of Love. We are Told to give, and it shall be given unto you, and that we are only limited by what you sow." God wants to spread His Word, and finances are needed for that. This is his system for providing the funds. It is not limited to the Economy of any nation. Read it. Follow His Blog.
Everything!: You Are Empowered By God In Your Finances: "In the first article I wrote dealing with empowerment ('You Are Empowered By God'), I outlined several principles that pertain to God's wor..."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

42nd Annual GMA Dove Award Nominees: General Field

In my last post I dealt with the Dove Award nominations in the genre-specific Album of the Year categories, making my predictions as to who I think the GMA will pick and who I think should win. I also addressed the time window issue between the Doves and the Platinum Vinyl Awards. With this post I move on to the General Field, the awards for Female Artist of the Year and so forth. Things get a little more interesting here, as my research has unearthed some trends that I think need to be addressed by the GMA in order to assure a more representative, and therefore more interesting Awards. Who knows, maybe the PVA's will be the spark that shakes the Dove's out of their monopoly induced lethargy. Keep reading after the break for my picks and predictions.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

42nd Annual GMA Dove Award Nominees

Yesterday the nominations for the Dove Awards were announced in Atlanta, and, being as that this is primarily a music blog, I think it is my duty to comment on the nominations, and to do my best to predict the eventual winners in April.

Due to my sandwiching of the Platinum Vinyl Awards year of eligibility (October 1-September 30) between both the Grammy (September 1-August 31) and Dove Awards (November 1-October 31), certain windows develop. In our particular case two such windows exist:

Releases between October 1-31, 2009 were considered for the 1st Platinum Vinyl Awards but were considered for the 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards in April 2010. Only one CD was affected by this rule.
  • Aaron Sledge (Self Titled)
Releases between October 1-31, 2010 were considered for the 2nd Platinum Vinyl Awards, but were considered for the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards in April 2011. Two CD's were affected by this window.
  • Jars of Clay Presents The Shelter, Jars of Clay
  • Move, Third Day
With the timing issue addressed, we move onto the nominations and my predictions after the break.

Monday, February 14, 2011

CD Smackdown: Grammy vs. Platinum Vinyl

The 2011 Grammy Awards are over, and now the second guessing can begin. Here at The Night Beat there is plenty of second guessing to do. Of course the only categories we are concerned with are the categories named Gospel, but that still provides plenty of fodder.

My biggest gripe with Grammy gospel award is its limited scope. There are only five genre-specific sub categories (Rock/Rap Gospel, Pop/Contemporary Gospel, Country/Southern Gospel, Traditional Gospel, and Contemporary/R&B Gospel). On the other hand, the Platinum Vinyl Awards have ten genre-specific categories (Pop, Rock, Hard Rock/Metal, Alternative, Hip-Hop/Rap, Gospel/R&B, Dance/Electronica, Techno, Folk/Folk Rock, Modern Worship and Kids Music). As long as we are clear on who belongs in a category, the more categories the better. After the jump, I will take on each of the Grammy Winners with a who won, who should have won format.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Red Rocks Your Faces Off

Until We Have Faces, the third release by Hard Rock band Red, is the follow up to their Grammy Award Nominated and Dove Award Winning Best Rock Album (Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album for the Grammy's) Innocence and Instinct. It is a fine follow up, and they seem to have gone harder this time, even including a few thrash growls here and there, though their trademark clean vocals still rule. I'm not surprised that they chose to go harder this time. After Pillar abandoned the Rap-Core style that I was familiar with (I was introduced them during Fireproof) and basically copied Red for Confessions, even to the point of using Red's producer, it was a foregone conclusion that Red would reinvent itself.

The album is an almost non stop adrenaline rush. Wisely though there are two rest stops. Red has always been know for awesome ballads and here there are two. Not Alone, which is the string heavy sixth track, could almost be interpreted as a modern worship song, but it doesn't quite fit that mold. It really is a plea from Father God for the Prodigal to return, no matter what he has done, that God still loves them.
And I will be your hope
When you feel like it’s over
And I will pick you up
When your whole world shatters
And when you’re finally in my arms
You’ll look up and see, love has a face
Since I just love symphonic rock, this is my favorite cut on the Album. It is my opinion that most rock music would be greatly improved if they would incorporate strings into the mix somehow, or horns. By way of example check out Denver and the Mile High Orchestra, The Annie Moses Band, Skillet, and the O.C. Supertones. The album finishes slow, with the regular ballad The Best is Yet to Come and the haunting Hymn for the Missing.

In my opinion this is the best RED yet, even better than innocence and instinct, which is hard to imagine. I give this release a full 5 Emeralds making it a certainty that it will get into the Final List of Nominees next year when the 2011 Platinum Vinyl Awards are handed out. As they always say, Red will draw attention every time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

And The Nominees Are: Modern Worship and Kids Music

Don't make too much of the heading. I'm not trying to put Kids music and Worship on the same level, just on the same post. This year there were only two qualified entries for Kids Music, and it seems a shame to waste an entire post for just two entries.

And the nominees for the First Platinum Vinyl Awards for the Category of Best Kids Music Album are:
And the nominees for the First Platinum Vinyl Awards for the Category of Best Modern Worship Album are as follows:
The genre-specific nominations for the First Platinum Vinyl Awards are concluded. Still to come are the nominations for the General Field awards. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hail Ronaldus Magnus

Today is a special day. No, not that unimportant sporting event between two teams of 300+ pound men in a certain city in Texas which is an excuse to charge exorbitant rates for advertising. Today is the 100th Anniversary of February 6, 1911, also known as the 100th Birthday of Ronald Reagan.

My first vote in an election of any size was for Reagan on November 6, 1984, and I have cast a Republican ballot ever since, though sometimes I have felt I had to hold my nose at some of the candidates available to me. In the Northeast the great majority of Republicans were and still are RINO's which stands for Republican In Name Only. They usually believe in compromise, which means let the Democrats have their way. Curiously, compromise never goes the other way. When Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House she promises to "Support Bush when he was right and Oppose him when he was wrong". She never supported him. America does not want Kum-by-ya, they want two parties (at least) with Distinct Views so that a Choice can be made clearly. Lincoln and Reagan would love the Tea Party and Sarah Palin and Paul LePage. Both of them would despise Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, John McCain and other RINO's. The Republican Party was born of Abolitionist fervor that tore a nation apart in order that it would remain united for all time. I have no doubt that both Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan would be members of the Tea Party. Their Ideals gave it birth.

A Very Happy 100th, Gipper.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Come To Barton Hollow

In one of my recent Twitter posts I commented how last year (2010) was a lean year for Folk/Folk Rock music, especially as far as the Platinum Vinyl Awards were concerned. This year I found four qualified releases. All year. I didn't have to do any paring down.

Things seem to be looking up this year. First up is Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars. The group is composed of Vocalist/Pianist Joy Williams and Vocalist/Guitarist John Paul White. They are described as Southern Americana Rock, though that might be stretching it a bit. Acoustic Folk is more like it. The acoustic guitar is the most dominant instrument here, occasionally some piano, and some orchestral strings from time to time. As I progress through the album, the Title Cut, which is the seventh of twelve, is the first which could be reasonably described as Folk Rock. The next cut is The Violet Hour, a string/acoustic folk instrumental.

The album is a Joy to listen to, no pun intended. I am not familiar with Joy Williams music when she recorded with Reunion Records, but here her delicate but haunting vocals are perfectly matched to the style of music, which is complementary, not overpowering. Joy Williams is Folk Musics answer to Amy Lee of Evanescence.

Like last years hard rock entry of Apocalyptica, The Civil Wars is not a CCM entry, but it is a completely enjoyable, clean Folk Album suitable to be listened to by anyone. I don't think I am going out on a limb too far by awarding it 5 Emeralds in the Folk/Folk Rock Category. North and South agree in this "Civil Wars".

Friday, February 4, 2011

Night Beat Rewind: January 2011

I'm starting a new feature here at the Night Beat. I will still try to post reviews where I can find a full CD listening party (unless some Record Companies pass along advance copies). The vast majority of my impressions will be made by Amazon 60 second samples. In order to get a handle on the PVA contenders, I am going to try to keep a record of these in a Quick Hits style reviews. You'll get my impression and a rating, and very little else. I will do one each month as a recap of the releases I couldn't get a full preview of. We will call this the Night Beat Rewind.

A quick introduction to the ratings are in order. I use a Best of 5 Emeralds (anyone can have stars)
  • 5 Emeralds: Excellent, Perfectly representative of the Genre, Possibly a Perfect Album, a lock for the Platinum Vinyl Awards
  • 4 Emeralds: Very Good. Could definitely be a best buy, very possible PVA inclusion, but the release just lacks that "something" that blows the reviewers socks off, so to speak
  • 3 Emeralds: A good album. Not a best buy. Enjoyable, but one wouldn't regret not having it in their collection, and it isn't on auto-repeat
  • 2 Emeralds: Fair to Poor. I wouldn't recommend buying it. Hope that any future releases will improve. Perfect example of a "Jesus, Jesus, wo, wo, wo, Jesus, Jesus, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" band. (credit to Mike Warnke)
  • 1 Emerald/No Emeralds: You have been warned (cue retching sound)
The first Night Beat Rewind is after the jump.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And The Nominees Are: Hip Hop/Rap

The rollout continues. We now come to the Hip Hop & Rap Genre. There were barely enough entries this year to make a full complement of Seven. Actually, eight made the initial cut. Sorry K-Drama fans, the album was great, but it was really marketed as a fitness album, so I chose that one to drop. Let the griping begin.

The Nominees for the First Platinum Vinyl Awards for the Category of Best Hip Hop or Rap Album are:
Still to come Modern Worship, Kids Music, and the General Field Nominees. Keep it locked here at the Night Beat for exclusive and complete coverage of the Platinum Vinyl Awards. Oh, and before I forget, HELLO BULGARIA.