Monday, April 25, 2011

Night Beat News: Taylor Swift to tour with Needtobreathe

I'm not too familiar with NEEDTOBREATHE, but I know they won the Dove this year for Group of the Year. The Article says that they're rock, so I'm sure to check them out. What I do know is that Taylor Swift is a BIG NAME, in Country/Pop. So in the touring world, this is a big coup for a Christian Band. Two shows at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro confirm it. I bet they'll be sold out. This is a great opportunity to spread the bands recognition to an audience that may never have heard of it. Many congrats. Music News, April 2011: NEEDTOBREATHE TO TOUR WITH TAYLOR SWIFT

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Dove/Platinum Vinyl Award Comparison

With both the Dove and the Platinum Vinyl Awards now in the bag, I thought it appropriate to do a little comparison of how the two did. Were our tastes similar? Or are we on Mars and Venus, musically speaking.

We will start and finish with the Album of the Year awards. I can already hear the critics, "what, are you to chicken to compare yourselves in the General Field?" Actually, no. However, it turned out that there we actually are on different planets. Of the 5 Major Awards (Male & Female Vocalist, New Artist & Artist and Group) Two (Male Vocalist and Group) had no matching names, and the other three had only one match each, and since the match didn't win both categories, it seemed fruitless to do a comparison. But if you really must know, Kerrie Roberts was on both lists for Female Vocalist and New Artist, and Toby Mac for Artist of the Year. Kerrie Roberts, for the record, won no Doves, but won New Artist in the Platinum Vinyl Awards.

So without further ado, the head to head results.

Rap/Hip Hop Album
  • Dove Awards: Outta Space Love, Group 1 Crew, BEC Recordings
  • Platinum Vinyl Awards: Rehab, Lecrae, Reach Records 
  • Comment: Lecrae was nominated for a Dove, did not win. Group1Crew was nominated for the PVA in the Dance category, and won the category. The Dove's have no Dance category.
Rock Album
Rock/Contemporary Album
  • Dove Awards: Tonight, Toby Mac, ForeFront Records
  • Platinum Vinyl Awards: For Those Who Wait, Fireflight, Flicker Records
  • Comment: PVA Category was Rock. Fireflight not nominated for a Dove, Toby Mac Nominated for 3 PVA's
Pop/Contemporary Album
  • Dove Awards: No Far Away, Chris August, Fervent/Word
  • Platinum Vinyl Awards: Sing it Now, Poema, Tooth & Nail 
  • Comment: PVA Category was Pop. Poema not nominated for a Dove. Chris August not nominated for any PVA. 
Contemporary Gospel Album
  • Dove Awards: Love God, Love People, Israel Houghton, Integrity Music
  • Platinum Vinyl Award: Declare Your Name, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Integrity Music
  • Comment: PVA Category was Gospel/R&B. BTC won a Dove for Choral Collection of the Year. Israel Houghton not nominated for a PVA. 
Praise and Worship Album
  • Dove Awards: As Long as it Takes, Merideth Andrews, Word
  • Platinum Vinyl Awards: Organic Family Hymnal, Rend Collective Experiment, Kingsway
  • Comment: PVA Category was Modern Worship. Rend Collective was not nominated for a Dove and Merideth Andrews was not nominated for a PVA 
And that concludes our Dove Coverage for this year. In the Album of the Year Awards, the Dove's also had the categories of Inspirational, Southern Gospel, Bluegrass, Country, and Traditional Gospel, of which no comparable category exists in the PVAs. On the other hand, Album of the Year Awards were handed out in the PVAs for the categories of Folk/Folk Rock, Dance/Electronica/Techno, Alternative, and Children's Music, for which no comparably category exists for the Dove Awards. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Award: Artist of the Year

The Final Award. Artist of the Year. It also has the largest number of nominees with twelve. The Best Solo Artist or Group across all genre's for the entire year:

The Nominees for Artist of the Year
  • Fireflight
  • Toby Mac
  • Michael W. Smith
  • Kerrie Roberts
  • Lecrae
  • Sarah Kelly
  • Jennifer Knapp
  • Lincoln Brewster
  • Ivoryline
  • Forever Jones
  • The Letter Black
And the Artist of the Year is:

Forever Jones 

It doesn't matter when you win, just that you win. Forever Jones waited till the end and claimed the big prize. A family that has a sound to rival most choirs, a debut that sounds like anything but. A sound not to be soon forgotten. They are the Artist of the Year.

That concludes the Inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards. The major awards are now finished, and it's time to look forward to next year. Song Awards may be announced at another time, or the category may wait until next year. We now return to our regularly scheduled posting. Good Night.

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: New Artist of the Year

The New Artist of the Year (or Best New Artist) goes to the Solo Artist or Band/Group with either its debut release, or in other cases, a major label release for a longtime independent band.

The New Artist of the Year Nominees
  • Audrey Assad
  • Evolett
  • Forever Jones
  • Me in Motion
  • VaShawn Mitchell
  • Poema
  • Kerrie Roberts
  • Heather Williams
And the New Artist of the Year goes to:

Kerrie Roberts

Newly discovered Roberts, discovered by Third Days Mac Powell, released a debut that blasted into the publics consciousness. A voice that can shame a few veterans out there deserves to be honored right away. Congrats Kerrie on your win. 

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Group of the Year

The Group of the Year Award goes to The Group or Band that stood out from the pack in the previous year. Groups or Bands just coming into recognition are also eligible for Best New Artist of the Year.

The Nominees
  • The Choir
  • The Classic Crime 
  • Disciple
  • Evolett
  • Fireflight
  • Ivoryline
  • The Showdown
 And the Group of the Year Award Goes to:


Let's face it, there was none better this year then Dawn Michele and company. Even Disciple eventually had to give way. One of the most impressive acts, no, the most impressive, of the year. The second award for Fireflight this year.

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year

Like the Male Vocalist of the Year, the Female Vocalist of the Year is awarded to the Female Solo artist or Lead Singer of a band who rises above the rest.

The Candidates
  • Charmaine
  • Sara Groves
  • Sarah Kelly
  • Jennifer Knapp
  • Sandra McCracken
  • Kerrie Roberts
  • Beckah Shae
The Judges went for Power and Range on this one, and so, The Female Vocalist of the Year is


Her range on her album went from pop to techno to ballad to operatic heights, and pulled it off with style. There was none better in the judges opinion. Congratulations to Charmaine

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Male Vocalist of the Year

The Male Vocalist of the Year is awarded to the Male solo artist or lead singer who stands out from the rest.

The Nominees
  • Lincoln Brewster
  • Charlie Hall
  • Lecrae
  • Toby Mac
  • VaShawn Mitchell
  • Andrew Peterson
  • Michael W. Smith
As the judging progressed, it became clear that only one stood above the rest, and that was Michael W. Smith. Congratulations Smitty, you are the first Male Vocalist of the Year in the Platinum Vinyl Awards.

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: General Field Minor Awards

The Dove Awards are over, and suddenly I don't feel so bad about not being able to make a decision a few times. I'm only one person, they have a committee. And they still have two ties? We move on to the General Field with some minor awards.
  • Comeback Artist of The Year: Jennifer Knapp
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael W. Smith
  • The Night Beat DJ's Choice Award: Apocalyptica - Given to a Clean Secular Release worthy to receive widespread Christian airplay.
  • The Night Beat Fallen Award: Jennifer Knapp - Awarded to a Christian artist who, despite, or because of a Controversy in the Christian Music Industry, has had a successful release. Named for the Debut Release by Evanescence, which, despite getting "Kicked out of the Kingdom", has sold over Seven Million Copies in the United States and is 7x Platinum 
  • The Night Beat CROSS/over Award: Evolett - Given to a Christian Band with high Crossover potential.
  • The Night Beat Keaggy Award: Lincoln Brewster - Given to a supremely talented guitarist 
Next up: Male Vocalist of the Year at 9:45

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Rock Album of the Year

This is it. The Final Album of the Year Award for the Inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards: Rock. This is where the hopes and dreams of Christian Rockers everywhere are either fulfilled or dashed. I mean anyone can win a Dove or a Grammy Award. How many can say that they've won a Platinum Vinyl Award. Right now, because of a few ties, twelve. It's the elite award.

For review, the final seven nominees:
  • Monster, Monster - The Almost
  • Real Life - Lincoln Brewster
  • For Your Consideration - Evolett
  • For Those Who Wait - Fireflight
  • Hanging on by a Thread - The Letter Black
  • Satellites and Sirens - Satellites and Sirens
  • Tonight - Toby Mac
Things went smoothly for the final Album of the Year Award of the Evening, as four artists were eliminated in the first round. Since this was neither horseshoes or handgrenades, The Almost didn't count (a very bad pun, I know). Nobody Said Real Life was fair, but the voting process still eliminated Lincoln Brewster. We considered Evolett, and for this round, they were out, but they could still be New Artist or Group of the Year in the General Field. And though Satellites Beam signals and Sirens scream, well, not this time. To see how it all came down, continue after the break.

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Hard Rock Album of the Year

Like Modern Worship earlier in the evening, this is a genre that most people would not consider a genre. It is a genre of convenience, however, in that the sheer number of Rock eligible entries required a separation between bands such as Demon Hunter, Living Sacrifice, or Becoming the Archetype from more traditional acts such as Barlowgirl, Skillet or Third Day. Another place that a sub-genre like this could appear is Pop. The Doves have the ambiguous Rock/Contemporary and Pop/Contemporary categories to include the Adult Contemporary variety, which I call "Air Conditioning" music. It's not poppish enough to be real pop and not hard enough to be real rock. If I choose to go that route in 2011 it will siphon off mostly Pop entries.

The final seven nominees for Hard Rock Album of the Year for 2010
  • Apocalyptica - 7th Symphony
  • Children 18:3 - Rains a Comin
  • Demon Hunter - The World is a Thorn
  • Disciple - Horseshoes and Handgrenades 
  • Flyleaf -Memento Mori
  • Haste The Day - Attack of the Wolf King
  • The Showdown - Blood in the Gears
With Hard Rock, the "Wow" factor consists not only of being able to have an impressive top to bottom package, but also the ability to blow everyone off the stage, sonicly speaking. Though it was tough to admit, Children 18:3, Demon Hunter, and Flyleaf just missed it in that regard, by a hair. Apocalyptica also fell by the wayside, but only because "Broken Pieces" with Lacey from Flyleaf was its only Christian song. Even having half instrumentals wasn't enough to save it. A great album nonetheless. That left a second round showdown between Disciple, Haste The Day, and The Showdown.

And the winner of the Best Hard Rock Album of the Year for 2010 is:

Disciple - Horseshoes and Handgrenades  

To quote the band "Go ahead, put a target on my forehead. You can fire but you got no bullets." In the end the showdown wasn't much of a battle, and the wolf king, meow. Sorry, I couldn't resist.  It's just that this is a very strong work, top to bottom. There are very few albums without one mediocre song, and this is one of them. I reviewed both Disciple and The Showdown when their releases came out in the late summer and fall, and I stand by the reviews, but Disciple in the end prevailed. It may have been nice to give Haste The Day the award as a send off, since they are calling it quits, but the awards aren't just to be nice, and since I was not aware of their work before this year, a Lifetime Achievement Award wasn't in the realm of possibility.

Only Rock remains to be awarded in the Album of the Year Category, and then the General Field awards begin. Who will be the best rock band out there. Will newcomer Evolett take home the prize on their first try, will veteran Toby Mac, or even techno rockers Satellites and Sirens. We shall find out, in a mere fifteen minutes. Keep it locked here, as we continue.

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Hip Hop or Rap Album of the Year

Coverage of the 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards continues with Best Hip Hop or Rap Album of the Year. I have tried to arrange the awards in what I feel are in order of popularity. Hip Hop and Rap are tricky because their popularity puts them toward the top, though I don't think they are more popular than Rock. On the other hand, most modern rap and hip hop uses very heavy rock beats, so there is much mixing going on.

Once again, we begin with the final seven nominees:
  • Sho Baraka - Lions and Liars
  • Grits - Quarantine
  • JSon - City Lights
  • Lecrae - Rehab
  • Trip Lee - Between Two Worlds
  • Sean Slaughter - The Prototype
  • The Washington Projects - Light Up The Dark
The first round was very prolific, with Grits, JSon, Trip Lee and Sean Slaughter falling by the wayside. (I will refrain from a Drive-by reference here, these are Christians we are talking about) That left a three way showdown between Sho Baraka, Lecrae, and The Washington Projects.

And the winner of the 2010 PVA for Best Hip Hop or Rap Album of the Year

Lecrae - Rehab 
It quickly became a two man race as the Washington Projects were eliminated quickly. Your time will come. Both albums were very good, but Lions and Liars seemed to lag a bit in the middle, while Lecrae was strong top to bottom. While Rehab: The Overdose is released for the 2011 PVA's, Overdose is a completely different album, with only it's name linking it to this years entry. It is not simply a Deluxe Edition. It may be the popular pick, and as of the time I am writing this it could win the Dove Awards, as both he and Trip Lee are among the PVA nominees also up for a Dove. (Group 1 Crew is also up for this award, but they were classified by the PVA Committee as Dance, not Rap.) Even the Night Beat can be in the crowd sometimes. Congratulations again to Lecrae on his winning of the First Best Hip Hop and Rap Album of the Year Platinum Vinyl Award.

Only two Album of the Year awards are left to be awarded: Hard Rock at the top of the hour and Rock. You can continue the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #PVA. There is much still to be awarded as coverage of the Inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards continues, only on The Night Beat. 

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Pop Album of the Year

When WOW isn't enough. That could be the subtitle of this post. In picking the winners for the inaugural edition of the Platinum Vinyl Awards my major aim has been to pick an album with the WOW Factor. Something that musically knocks my socks off. That is usually enough to knock the list of nominees from seven down to two or three, where a brief second round can ferret out a winner. Not so this time around with pop. Once the wow factor was factored in this time, the field of seven became...six. On to other methods of elimination.

I guess I should begin at the beginning, with the list of nominees:
  • Addison Road - Stories
  • Charmaine - Love Reality
  • Sara Groves - Fireflies and Songs
  • Sarah Kelly - Midnight Sun
  • Newsboys - Born Again
  • Poema - Sing it Now
  • Michael W. Smith - Wonder
The WOW Factor only knocked out one album, and that just barely. To all you Sara Groves fans, Fireflies and Songs is a good song, but ultimately it did fail to make the grade. That left six albums, and time for another hair splitting. Now we have to distinguish between shades of wow. That task can be as difficult as picking the best looking Victoria's Secret model, but it had to be done. Stories by Addison Road had to hit the road. Now we were down to five.

This was turning out to be a very difficult task, but I got a little help from an unexpected source. The Newsboys graciously allowed me to punt their album into this year with the release of Born Again: Miracles Edition. Since 11 of the 12 Original Songs are on the album, it qualifies as a punt. Since there are 9 remixes and/or new material it also qualifies as a new album. Either way it aloud me to pass on the album without too much controversy. Down to four. To see how things turned out, continue reading after the break.

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Modern Worship Album of the Year

We come now to the modern worship genre, or as some would call it Vertical Music. Some would say that it is not really a genre, but it has become one, and should be honored as such.

The final seven nominees in modern worship were
  • ALM: uk - Name Above All Names
  • Casting Crowns - Until The Whole World Hears: Live
  • City of Life - City of Life Worship
  • Delirious - Farewell Show: Live in London
  • Charlie Hall - The Rising
  • Hillsong Live - A Beautiful Exchange
  • Rend Collective Experiment - Organic Family Hymnal 
One might say, Worship is all about giving glory and honor to God, how can you use something as vain as "wow" to honor the best. Actually, that is the best way in this case, more than the other. Since the subject should all be the same, there could be no difference in content, so feel would have to be the judgment. Did you "feel" transported into the experience. In a word "Wow".

The first round produced some upsets, as always a favorite Delirious was among those who didn't make the cut. Even though the album was exquisite, the fact that the band was disbanded by the time of the awards was a major setback. Charlie Hall and Hillsong Live were the other two that failed to rise to the challenge.

A four-way second round between City of Life, Casting Crowns, Hillsong Live, and the Rend Collective Experiment proved tougher than ever to judge. In the end, while Casting Crowns put out their best effort to date, far exceeding, in my opinion the studio version, it wasn't enough, and Hillsong fell a victim to their own high standards and expectations.

And the Winner of Best Modern Worship Album of The Year is:

Rend Collective Experiment - Organic Family Hymnal 

The final voting was intense, and City of Life Church pulled out all the stops. A highly energetic album with a latin flair at times, and plenty of horns. Did I ever tell you I'm a sucker for horns, and strings? In the end it wasn't enough. The Worship group from Ireland, Rend Collective Experiment did worship with a sound quite unlike any other. Movements is their best, and I think there is even a Xylophone on that track, though it could just be bells. Regardless, that unique sound gave it an edge. Worship without sameness. A truly joyful noise.

Six genres have been awarded, four more remain, and the General Field will follow. Up Next is Pop at half past the hour, followed by Hip Hop, Hard Rock, and finally Rock. So keep it tuned here as coverage of the first annual Platinum Vinyl Awards continues, only on The Night Beat.

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Alternative Album of the Year

Alternative is the biggest genre out there, and I don't mean popularity. It seems like just about any rock band out there is eventually classified as alternative. The Night Beat will attempt to take a somewhat literal take on the name. If a band has a sound that sets it apart from the vast majority of rock, I will tend to call it Alternative. After all, isn't that what the name means, that it is the alternative to mainstream rock. Of course, it wont be all my opinion. I will try to include the industry accepted alternative bands (though that seems to be an oxymoron).

The Alternative Best Album of the Year Award appears on the surface to be a battle between EMI's Tooth and Nail and Integrity Media's INO Records, which between them have 5 of the 7 entrants. There is also an entrant from mainstream label Wind-Up Records and even an Independent Release.

First, in review, here are the final 7 nominees
  • The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday by 12 Stones (Wind-Up)
  • Light Up The Sky by The Afters (INO)
  • Burning Like The Midnight Sun by The Choir (Galaxy21/Independent)
  • Vagabonds by The Classic Crime (Tooth & Nail)
  • Disappearing World by Fair (Tooth & Nail)
  • Vessels by Ivoryline (Tooth & Nail)
  • Everything is Different Now by Stellar Kart (INO)
To see how the judging went and find out who won the first ever PVA Alternative Album of the Year, keep reading after the jump.

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Gospel/R&B Album

Gospel Music is next up, and if you've been reading The Night Beat for any length of time, you probably know I don't mean Southern Gospel. No we mean Urban Gospel, Black Gospel, however you want to call it, but for me it's simply Gospel.

The Album of the Year nominees in Gospel are:
  • The Experience by Vanessa Bell Armstrong
  • In Spite of Me by Michelle Bonilla
  • Declare Your Name by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
  • Get Ready by Forever Jones
  • Triumphant by VaShawn Mitchell
  • Aaron Sledge by Aaron Sledge
  • Light up the Dark by The Washington Projects
To see who wins the first Gospel Platinum Vinyl Award, stay with me after the break

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Dance Album

The awarding of the "Trophy" for the Inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards Continues with the Album of The Year Awards. We move on to Dance (including Electronica and Techno). For the record (sorry!), this will be the posted award order.
  1. Children's Music
  2. Folk/Folk Rock
  3. Dance (incl. Electronica and Techno) 
  4. Gospel/R&B
  5. Alternative
  6. Modern Worship
  7. Pop
  8. Hip Hop/Rap
  9. Hard Rock
  10. Rock
Beginning with the Dance Genre, all of the categories reached the full Seven nominations. In Dance, the entries were:
  • Love Reality by Charmaine
  • Outta Space Love by Group1Crew
  • Favorites at Play by Joy Electric
  • Weakness Makes You Beautiful by Petree
  • Beautiful History by Plumb
  • NY2LA by Press Play
  • Life by Beckah Shae
For the winner, stay with me after the jump

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Folk/Folk Rock Album

The time has finally arrived. The nominations are in, the music has been analyzed, and the voting is completed. All that remains is to "hand out" the (still virtual) Award. The award process begins with the Album of The Year Awards, which is divided among the various genres.

Next up is the Folk/Folk Rock category. During the initial eligibility period only five eligible entries were detected, two short of the standard field of seven nominees. Though they were announced in a previous post, by way of review. These were the five final nominees.
  • Caedmon's Call - Raising Up The Dead
  • Carolina Story - When The River Met The Sea
  • Jennifer Knapp - Letting Go
  • Sandra McCracken- In Feast or Fallow
  • Andrew Peterson - Counting Stars
Now, as to the voting process. Going over the entries for the purpose of picking a winner, I discovered that two of the nominees were misclassified. The first was Caedmon's Call. While Raising up the Dead still retains some of the Folk Rock elements that fans love, there is a determined attempt to distance themselves from their beginnings, and the album seems to be best described as Alternative, and maybe Pop. Though the CD has been available as an mp3 since last September, the release of the physical CD on March 22 has given me the chance to punt. I will put it into the mix with 4.25 Emeralds for the 2011 Awards in Pop and Alternative. Counting Stars by Andrew Peterson also was misclassified. While I still maintain that Andrew Peterson is the Paul Simon of Christian Music, Simon was more of a Pop Singer as a solo act, only as a duo with Art Garfunkle was he folk. Such is the case with Andrew Peterson. And. when placed in the Pop category, there were too many other deserving nominees for him to be among the entries. So, in the absence of a Counting Stars Expanded Edition this time, repeat after me "It was an honor just to be nominated."

That left me with three nominees that fit the standard of Folk or Folk Rock, and two of those had the "wow factor" that is necessary to impress the judges and win the inaugural Best Folk/Folk Rock Album of the Year for 2010. To see how this was resolved, stay with me after the jump.

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Children's Music Album

Like the Major Awards, we begin the awarding of the Platinum Vinyl Awards with the minor awards and will build up to the big ones. The least of these is Children's Music. During the eligibility period only two entries surfaced, and I seriously considered dropping the category. However I thought it bad taste to drop a category before the first awards had been announced. Both of the albums might be hard pressed to be thought of children's music, especially if you're thinking Veggie Tales or Music Machine. It might be better to call this music geared for kids that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. I think we can all agree that it takes a certain anointing to listen to real children's music for extended periods of time (that or a natural talent for acting) unless you are a child yourself.

The two entries for the inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards are former Newsboys guitarist Phil Joel's Deliberate Kids 2 and Kickin it Old School by Go Fish.  After listening to both, I am going to give the first Platinum Vinyl Awards ever for Children's Music to (dramatic drumroll)....Go Fish. Of the two, Kickin it Old School was the more playful sounding, and in the end that was all I could go on. The Awards are now underway, and there is much more to reveal, so stay with me all day.
Related Links:

Dove Award Scorecard

SPOILER ALERT!! If you didn't keep up with the live online coverage of the 42nd Dove Awards last night, and would rather not know who won until you watch the tv coverage Sunday Night, read no further. Though I wont be covering all the awards, only those I decided to make predictions for, and those coincided with my own choices for the Platinum Vinyl Awards. So there is no recorded song or song of the year coverage here and no album of the year coverage for Inspirational, Southern Gospel, Bluegrass, Traditional Gospel, or Country. If you are brave enough to know who won, stay with me after the jump.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Beats: PVA 2011 2nd Qtr Nominees - Alternative Folk Rap

No, that's not a new genre, though it does sound intriguing. It's just that there weren't enough entries in either of the three categories this time around to justify its own post, so I am combining the categories.

And the 2nd Qtr 2011 Best Rap Album Nominees are:
  • Deitrick Haddon - Church on the Moon
  • Canton Jones - Dominionaire
  • Lecrae - Rehab: Overdose
Lecrae is the only true rap artist considered this time around. Haddon and Jones are multi category nominees, but particularly suited to Gospel.

And the 2nd Qtr 2011 Best Alternative Album Nominees are:
  • Caedmon's Call - Raising up the Dead
  • Tenth Avenue North - Inside and In Between
The release of a physical CD by Caedmon's Call this quarter allowed for a re-classification as Alternative and Pop, and not Folk. Tenth Avenue North is here on its own merits.

And the 2nd Qtr 2011 Best Folk/Folk Rock Album Nominees are:
  • The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
  • Martha's Trouble - Anchor Tattoo
Martha's Trouble is another multi-genre nominee, being also nominated as Pop. The early talk has The Civil Wars Barton Hollow being the front runner by a large margin. They are the prohibitive favorite.

That concludes the announcement of the 2nd Qtr 2011 entrants. See You with the 3rd Qtr in July. 

Spring Beats: PVA 2011 2nd Qtr Nominations - Dance

The Dove Awards are taking place tonight, but that doesn't stop the rollout of the Second Quarter eligible entries for the 2011 Platinum Vinyl Awards. (Special Note: The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards will begin Thursday April 21 at 7 PM Eastern Time. A post will be published every 15 minutes.)

The eligible entries for the 2011 PVA Best Dance Album are:
  • Aniel - The Sound: Beta
  • After Edmund - Times Have Changed
  • Skillet - Awake and Remixed
  • Ryan Stevenson - Yesterday, Today, Forever
  • Worth Dying For - Love Riot
Next up, a multi genre post for Rap, Alternative and Folk 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring Beats: PVA 2011 2nd Qtr Nominees - Gospel/R&B

The Second Quarter Rollout continues. Next up is Gospel/R&B. It was a good quarter for entries this time around, with seven entries. Last year there was only seven total eligible entries, so, while there were no eligible entries last quarter, unless we are shutout in the next six months, which I doubt will happen, it should be a good year for Gospel.

The Eligible 2Q Entries for the 2011 Best Album Platinum Vinyl Awards in Gospel/R&B
  • Kirk Franklin - Hello Fear
  • Deitrick Haddon - Church on the Moon
  • Canton Jones - Dominionaire
  • John P. Kee - The Legacy Project
  • Mary Mary - Something Big
  • Smokie Norful - How I Got Over: Songs That Carried Us
  • Alex Williams - Epic Salvation
Haddon and Jones are double nominees, also getting a Rap/Hip Hop nod for the moment. Still to be announced is the second quarter results for Dance, Rap, Alternative and Folk, so keep it locked here. 

Spring Beats: 2011 PVA 2nd Qtr Nominees - Modern Worship

It's crazy time here at The Night Beat. Between scheduling the posting for the Inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards, keeping up with the nominees for 2011, and keeping up with general news, things can get pretty intense. That when combined with the stress of the Minnesota Twins slow start (They won today, but are still 6-10 currently last in AL Central) and the Bruins Playoff Slump (Beat the Habs 4-2 Today, but still are down 2-1 in the best of Seven Series). There's only so much time in the day. Once the PVA's are announced things should calm down. That's this Thursday starting at 7pm ET.

And the Modern Worship Album of the Year Nominees for the Second Quarter of 2011 are:
  • Brenton Brown - Our God is Near
  • Chris Clayton - Hope of Glory
  • Brian Doerkson - Level Ground
  • Aaron Gillespie - Anthem Song
  • Illuminate - Come Home
  • Parachute Band - Love Without Measure
  • Kristian Stanfill - Mountains Move
  • Vineyard UK Worship - Creator: New Worship from Northern Ireland
  • Worth Dying For - Love Riot 
Worth Dying for and Parachute Band both are multi-category nominees both here and in Rock, so things are sure to get interesting next year.

Speaking of things getting interesting, earlier today while scheduling PVA posts something misfired and the Pop post accidentally published ahead of time. I caught it in a few minutes and it is scheduled to be posted at the appropriate time on Thursday Night. I deleted the post on twitter, but if early word got out, please keep it under wraps until the official announcement. Thank You. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Beats: PVA 2011 2nd Qtr Nominees - Hard Rock

The Hard Rock sub-genre produced just a handful of eligible releases this quarter, but still it was enough to merit its own (albeit short) post. I think 5 is a good cutoff.

The Eligible PVA 2011 Best Hard Rock Album Eligible Releases for the Second Quarter are:
  • Celestial Completion by Becoming The Archetype
  • The Great Campaign of Sabotage by Overcome
  • Until We Have Faces by Red
  • The Covering by Stryper
  • We are the Ones by Wolves at the Gate 
I have posted the link to the full review in case of B.T.A. and Red. Much more to come, as well as the long awaited award post ceremonies for the 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Beats: PVA 2011 2nd Qtr Nominees - Rock

In the final days leading up to the Awarding of the Inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards the Nominations for The Second Quarter of 2011 continue with the releases in Rock which will be considered for Best Album.

The 2Q Nominees For Best Rock Album of 2011 are:
  • Times Have Changed by After Edmund
  • The Valley by Eisley
  • We Do What We Want by Emery
  • Kings by I am Empire
  • Crazy Love by Hawk Nelson
  • Know Hope by Know Hope Collective
  • Hanging on by a Thread Sessions, Vol. 1 by The Letter Black
  • Love Without Measure by Parachute Band
  • Love Riot by Worth Dying For
Still to be announced, Hard Rock, Alternative, Folk, Gospel, Modern Worship, Dance and Rap. So as always, keep it locked here for the best in the Christian Music. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Beats: PVA 2011 2nd Qtr Nominees- Pop

The 2011 Platinum Vinyl Awards Marathon has reached the half-way mark. Only six months to go until the entry period closes. There was an abundance of eligible releases, and one of the most prolific was Pop, with twelve entries. There will be seven posts this time around. There were no entries for Children's Music,  and Alternative, Folk/Folk Rock, and Rap/Hip Hop will be combined into a single post.

The 2Q PVA 2011 eligible Pop Album of the Year entries are:
  • Francesca Battistelli - Hundred More Years
  • Blessid Union of Souls - The Mission Field
  • Caedmon's Call - Raising Up The Dead
  • Michael Card - An Invitation To Awe
  • After Edmund - Times Have Changed
  • Eisley - The Valley
  • Jamie Grace - Hold On
  • Martha's Trouble - Anchor Tattoo
  • Shawn McDonald - Closer
  • Holly Starr - Tapestry
  • Ryan Stevenson - Yesterday, Today, Forever
  • Josh Wilson - See You
The release of a physical CD for Caedmon's Call puts the release in contention for a second year, though it is now categorized as Pop and Alternative, and not Folk. Eisley, After Edmund and Martha's Trouble are also multi category entrants. As always, please feel free to comment on the selections and make your case for entrants that I may have passed on. You can get my quick hits for January, February, and March 2011 (the second Quarter for PVA Eligibility) by clicking on the months. Remember this is not a final list. Once the eligibility year is over the pool of entries must be reduced to seven. Finally, I would like to announce that there are just days to go until the Awarding of the 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards. I will announce the posting schedule in advance, so keep this page bookmarked.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Night Beat Rewind: March 2011

The Latest Quick Hits Ratings Post is ready. Because of the sheer number of releases per month, it is not possible to do a full review of them all. March had four reviews for twenty-seven releases. I will provide a link to the review when it is available. The listing in all cases is alphabetical. Ratings above 4 Emeralds may be included in the Platinum Vinyl Awards for 2011, Ratings under 4 Will Not make the cut. Depending upon the number of contenders, that number may be revised upward.

The March 2011 Releases:
  • Abandon Kansas - Ad Astra Per Aspera - 4.25 Emeralds
  • Ambassador - New Roots - 3 Emeralds
  • Becoming The Archetype - Celestial Completion - 4.75 Emeralds
  • Francesca Battistelli - Hundred More Years - 4 Emeralds
  • Blessid Union of Souls - The Mission Field - 4.5 Emeralds
  • Brenton Brown - Our God Is Near - 4.5 Emeralds
  • Caedmon's Call - Raising Up The Dead - 4.25 Emeralds
  • Michael Card - An Invitation to Awe - 4.5 Emeralds
  • Consuming Worship - Ashes to Fire - 3 Emeralds
  • Echoing Angels - Echoing Angels - 4 Emeralds
  • Eisley - The Valley - 4.5 Emeralds
  • Emery - We Do What We Want - 4.75 Emeralds
  • Kirk Franklin - Hello Fear - 4 Emeralds
  • Gideon - Costs - 2.5 Emeralds
  • Aaron Gillespie - Anthem Song - 4 Emeralds
  • Know Hope Collective - Know Hope - 4 Emeralds 
  • The Letter Black - Hanging on by a Thread Sessions, Vol. 1 - 4.75 Emeralds
  • Josh Lopez - Broken, Restored, Loved - 3.75 Emeralds
  • Mary Mary - Something Big - 4.75 Emeralds
  • Smokie Norful - How I Got Over: Songs that Carried Us (Live) - 4.25 Emeralds
  • Passion - Here For You - 4 Emeralds
  • Seventh Day Slumber - A Decade of Hope (3 CD Set) - 4.25 Emeralds  *
  • Skillet - Awake & Remixed - 4.75 Emeralds
  • Holly Starr - Tapestry - 4 Emeralds
  • Ryan Stevenson - Yesterday, Today, Forever - 4.25 Emeralds 
  • Tenth Avenue North - Inside and In Between - 4.5 Emeralds
  • Vineyard UK Worship - Creator: New Worship From Northern Ireland 4.25 Emeralds 
* Note: The rating for Seventh Day Slumber is for the Entire Three Discs as a unit. Despite the rating, since it is a repackaging of old albums, they are not eligible for the PVA's

A Day to Remember

I write this post in the early hours of April 13. The day past marked a memorable occasion. 150 Years ago Yesterday, April 12, 1861 Confederate Forces under the command of General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard opened fire upon the United States Garrison at Fort Sumter in South Carolina commanded by Major Robert Anderson. The Civil War had begun. The next four years would see unimaginable carnage and horror, and inhumane treatment of prisoners of war in prison camps on both sides (Elmira in the North especially, and everyone knows about Andersonville). It is hard to study the civil war and not see the hand of God on this battle. Although the Fort was to become a blazing inferno due to the constant barrage of confederate Hot-Shot (the result of heating the cannon ball in a furnace before loading), two days of bombardment produced no casualties on either side. When all was done and the fort was surrendered, the citizens of Charleston brought food and drink to the defeated Federals, and offered the services of the city, including the doctors, though none were needed. It was all about the fort, there was no personal malice against the Union Soldiers. That would come later. It was a Civil beginning to an uncivil war.

The battle may have been bloodless, but the surrender was deadly. General Beauregard permitted Major Anderson to offer a hundred cannon (gun) salute to his flag, a noble gesture. Halfway through, a improperly sponged barrel ignited a charge and exploded a cannon, killing several soldiers. An accident.

I mention this because, 150 years later, there are those who feel that if history is inconvenient, it should simply be rewritten. It has been said that those who will not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. How can one learn from what is not taught because the truth may offend. Slavery then was a horrible thing, now overpaid NFL athletes call themselves slaves if there 5 million dollar contract isn't raised to 6 Million. Words mean nothing in this light. It is interesting that the original rallying call in the south (not Slavery, but States Rights) is in the forefront again. No, Civil War will not happen again. The revolution of today is a peaceful one, and despite the Liberal Screed, the Tea Party would be admired by Lincoln. It is about returning power to the people where it belongs. The North won the War, but lost the hearts of the South during the ill advised "reconstruction". As the country enters a second reconstruction from its economic destruction, let us look to the past to find the key to our future. God Bless America.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What If We Were Real

Despite all its accolades, sometimes American Idol makes a mistake. Nowhere more is that evident than with its Fifth Season. I bet that people don't even remember who won that year (It was Taylor Hicks, who Jay Leno called his son). I think he was doing the Food Festival circuit last I heard. On the other hand, the Runner Up (Katherine McPhee), 4th Place (Chris Daughtry) and top 6 (Kellie Pickler) have by far proven the judges and viewers wrong.

Also having greater success than the eventual winner is top 9 finalist Mandisa with her latest release What If We Were RealAs she burst onto the CCM scene (where other Idol castoffs such as Chris Sligh, Phil Stacey and Brooke (Barrettsmith) Adams have found success) with the help of Toby Mac and Gotee Records. The latest release is a blend of Gospel, R&B and Dance. I admit to be less than enthusiastic about her earlier music, and it had nothing to do with her weight at the time.

[I want to make a weight related musical aside here. In Christian Music, especially Gospel, there are an abundance of "plus sized" women who nonetheless have the pipes. Of course there is no correlation between the pipes and the weight, and the proof is Mandisa, who still has the pipes, and having reportedly lost 100 pounds, has developed a yowza factor as well]

The album begins with the first Radio Single, the Gospel/Dance hit Stronger, and from the first notes of this third album we know we will not be experiencing the usual mandisa album. The pop is gone, and it is replaced with high energy rock/R&B/Gospel. Even if you can't dance to save your life, you will dance when this comes out of your stereo, you can't help it. Though the overall tempo is high speed from beginning to end, we do slow down to "catch our breath" twice. I put that in quotes because The Truth About Me and Just Cry take full advantage of Mandisa's vocal range, with the result that both songs take on an operatic quality. It's hard to catch your breath while it's taken away.

For my final verdict, I am giving What if we were real by Mandisa 5 Emeralds. The perfect rating sets it as the bar to be reached in the Gospel/R&B genre. Though you should never say never, unless over seven nominees reach the coveted 5 Emerald Rating, it will guarantee the album entry among the final 7 nominees in the category. Without sounding overly crass, don't cry, just buy this album.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"F.M.S.T.A.T.I.C. That's the way we do it when we do it correctly"

Get, get, get around, I get around...Sorry, started channeling the Beach Boys there. That tends to happen when I listen to My Brain Says Stop, But My Heart Says Go the latest release by Thousand Foot Krutch frontman Trevor McNevan's side project fm static.

In the food world, it can be argued that the right side dish can make or break an entire meal, and in the music world, sometimes a side project make or break the reputation of the original band. Side projects, which started in the techno/industrial genre (where one or two musicians with synthesizers are the entire band and rarely, if ever tour) and are still abundant in that genre, have, like the remix, finally trickled down to the more mainstream genres. A side project allows members of one band to experiment with different styles without disrupting the harmony of the original band. In some cases the original and side project, with a few personnel adjustments maintain separate existences (ex. Underoath and The Almost), and in rare cases the side project overshadows the original band, and the original bands become afterthoughts to music history (ex. Skillet).

FM Static has, as its core, McNevan (Lead Vocals, Guitars) and Steve Augustine (Drums), both of whom are also part of TFK. Though they're billed as a two-piece band, two session players, bass guitar and second guitar, fill out the group. While a side project allows band members to experiment and play, sometimes the result is full of surprises. In the case of fm static, the main surprise is that they are able to successfully pull of such a radical musical transformation. While TFK is Hard Rock/Metal, FM Static is 60s/70s beach pop, quite like the Beach Boys. In fact one could mistake Cinnamon & Lipstick for a Beach Boys song.

On some albums it is extremely difficult to pick out favorites, because the entire CD is strong beginning to end. This is one of those albums. For a beach pop experience, I would single out  the aforementioned C&L or Last Train Home. If you like Cheerleader pop, I would recommend F.M.S.T.A.T.I.C. People who like Hip Hop should like the Title Track or (Hey) I want itSometime the most enjoyable thing is the ride itself, sometimes it's the stops, and in this case it's both, as well as the cool supercar on the cover.

My final verdict on the album is a near perfect 4.75 Emeralds. Maybe it's a cop-out, but right now I just can't bring myself to give a perfect 5 to a pop band, but regardless, it does guarantee it a spot among the 2011 Platinum Vinyl Award contenders, and it may be enough to put it among the final 7. There should be no disagreement. Both Your Brain and Your Heart should be screaming Hey, I Want It.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Born Again: Miracles Edition

Born Again: Miracles Edition, the latest release by Newsboys, is also the latest in a trend (a disturbing one in my opinion) of re-releasing an album, adding as few as one new song, and branding it as a "new release". Depending upon the timing of the release, it can also be a craven attempt to Double dip one album across multiple years of eligibility at the Doves or Grammy's (a shocking concept, I know).

Born Again: Miracles Edition is better than most in the sense that the 12 Songs on the original CD have been expanded to 20 Songs (and they still held everything to one disc, which is impressive). The first 12 songs are identical to the original release, with one exception. The new song, Save Your Life, replaces the song Impossible in the fourth slot. Four other new songs are on the CD, comprising tracks 13-16. Also are four remixes of Born Again, Miracles, Way Beyond Myself, and Mighty to Save (I know, I know, TWO!?, on the same album. Hasn't the song been done enough?)

Born Again: Miracles Edition track list
  1. Born Again
  2. One Shot
  3. Way Beyond Myself
  4. Save Your Life
  5. When The Boys Light Up
  6. Build Us Back
  7. Escape
  8. Miracles
  9. Running to You
  10. On Your Knees
  11. Mighty to Save
  12. Jesus Freak 
  13. We Remember
  14. I'll Be
  15. Give Me To You
  16. Glorious (Tait Version)
  17. Born Again (French Horn Rebellion Remix)
  18. Miracles (Mega Is A Gang Remix)
  19. Way Beyond Myself (Flatline Remix)
  20. Mighty to Save (Family Force 5 Remix) 
In my previous post on the original release last summer, I gave Born Again 4.5 Emeralds out of a possible 5. I think the rating holds this time around. The remixes bump it up a little, but having two versions of Mighty to Save on the same album might be too much for some people.

Now as to pricing. Buying all 20 mp3 tracks separately would set you back $19.80. I doubt anyone is going to do that, but it's out there. If you are one of the few people out there that haven't bought Born Again, you have two options. You can buy the Physical CD for $11.99 or $12.99 for the mp3 Album. While the CD is cheaper this time around, there is shipping and handling there, while the mp3 is instant (or as instant as your internet connection)

If you're like me, and you already have a copy of Born Again. I would propose this money saver. Go to Amazon and download Save Your Life and the new songs and remixes (Tracks 4 and 13-20). That will only set you back $8.91. For the ultimate in penny pinching, for a limited time you can go to the Newsboys Site and get Save Your Life for free. Then you use your computer and burn the extras to a CD-R, and you've got the expanded edition for a fraction of the cost.

Now, to the Big Question. "Will the WENC Night Beat fall to the craven move and put the Born Again: Miracles Edition among the nominees for the 2011 Platinum Vinyl Awards?" In a word, Yes. Before you write angry comments, this is an easy decision. There were 12 songs on the original, and, yes, 11 of them are on the new edition. However there are 5 truly new songs on the new edition (which would constitute 42% New Material. The remixes, being a new version of the song, add an additional 33% to the total. So based upon the original 12 track edition, there is a whopping 75% new material. That makes it a new release in my book, no apology needed. So get the Miracles edition to add to your collection. You just don't need to pay twice as much to get the new stuff. Miracles do happen.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Celestial Completion

I consider myself a fairly well rounded person, musically speaking, and I can find something to enjoy about just about any style of music (county & southern gospel excepted). That being said, I think I am a headbanger at heart.

We close out March (though this post is written in April) with two albums that any headbanger will love. Not surprisingly, both are signed to the most successful label in the Christian Music Industry Tooth and Nail Records (along with its sub-labels BEC Recordings and Solid State Records), which happen to be run by King Midas himself, Brandon Ebel.

First out of the review gate is Georgia Metal Band Becoming the Archetype and their latest release Celestial CompletionIn their writeup accompanying their listening party, the folks at AOL Music described B.T.A. as experimental, and if such is the case, then I am in favor of experimentation, at least musically speaking. The album primarily is described as Thrash Metal or Death Metal (in the Christian Music world Apocalyptic is possibly a better word, as the dominant theme is the end of the world, not life), continuing the tradition proudly begun by Saint. The thrash growls are highly understandable, a rarity, and there is an abundance of clean vocals. The experimentation is diverse, and can throw one for a loop. There are Sitars (yes, you heard right, sitars) on the instrumental, blink and you'll miss it Invisible Creatures, Opera on The Resonant Frequency of Flesh, and the DDMHO/OC Supertones Channeling Cardiac Rebellion (this one has to be heard to be believed). Finally there is the three part Rock Opera (Music of the Spheres, Elemental Wrath, and Xenosynthesis, all under the umbrella of Requiem Aeternam). The ride is thrilling, and worth it. I give Celestial Completion a near perfect score of 4.75 Emeralds. Even if metalcore or Death Metal, isn't your cup of tea, I encourage you to give Becoming the Archetype a listen. They have cooked up a giant smorgasbord so that everyone may find something that appeals to their taste. Experimentation. It's a good thing.