Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Siberian Summer: 2012 PVA 1st Qtr - Hard Rock

Now it's time for the Hard Stuff. Not hard as in difficult, but hard as in LOUD. This was a well represented category this quarter, with six entries. Hey, a minimum PVA field is Seven. (I say minimum because, due to an abundance of entries in some genres, I have decided to expand the final entry pool. I will explain things when I come to it.)

Since I am not really a hard music aficionado these would mostly be debuts if I didn't know otherwise. I have only really heard of one of them. Because of this fact I am going to forgo the album covers and explanations for this post and do things by a simple list.
  • Close Your Eyes - Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts 4.25 Emeralds
  • As I Lay Dying - Decas 4.25 Emeralds
  • In the Midst of Lions - Shadows 4.25 Emeralds
  • A Plea for Purging - The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging 4.25 Emeralds
  • Righteous Vendetta - Lawless 4.5 Emeralds
  • Wolves at the Gate - We are The Ones 5 Emeralds
I try to do these lists alphabetically, but this time coincidentally it also was organized nicely by rating. Plus the fact that WATG was the only Hard Rock band I had any listening experience with, the rest of these are cold impressions. All go in, but only We are the Ones may make it to the finals next year.

One more genre to go. Rock. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Siberian Summer: 2012 PVA 1st Qtr - Pop

This was the mega-genre this quarter. Pop usually requires a lot of work to narrow down after the eligibility year closes and this year is proving no exception. This is only the first Quarter and already we have ELEVEN entries. Well seven if you count that four are double dippers from another category, but that is just because their music can't be pigeonholed that simply.

First up Sara Groves. The favorite of a lot of Top 10 Lists this year, Invisible Empires just missed both a perfect 5, settling for 4.75 Emeralds as well as a spot in this years Platinum Vinyl Awards. As for a Top 10 album, there were too many Perfect 5's this year. Check out my list of the Best Albums of 2011.

Pop/Worship/Unique sensation The City Harmonic released their sophomore release this past October. Entitled I Have A Dream [It feels like home], the release is a fine successor to Introducing the City Harmonic. While Things are looking up for the band musically, on a personal matter we would like to convey the best wishes and prayers of all at The Night Beat to Bass Player Eric Fusilier as he combats leukemia. Praying for a speedy healing. I gave the album a respectable 4.5 Emeralds.

Once Upon A Time marks the return of Kerrie Roberts to the CCM Market. The EP contains a few acoustic versions of songs on her debut, but she really rocks out on the opening track, entitled Rescue Me (How The Story Ends). This song could be on my list of Dance Song of the Year for 2012. Oh, and it is also the Theme Song for the ABC series Once Upon a Time. It's about time that CCM artists get recognition for their superior talent. We shall see how the EP goes, as I was only able to give it 4.25 Emeralds. That puts it in the initial pool, but it is very short and that is one of its main drawbacks. We shall see how the story ends.

Rather than have an extremely long post, I shall put the other eight entrants on a quick hits list. Without further ado, the remaining Pop entrants for the first quarter.
  • Casting Crowns - Come to the Well 4.5 Emeralds
  • Keith Elgin - Keith Elgin 4.5 Emeralds
  • JJ Heller - Deeper 4.75 Emeralds
  • Leigh Nash - Hymns and Sacred Songs 4.25 Emeralds
  • Relient K - K is for Karaoke, Vol 2 4.5 Emeralds
  • Run Kid Run - Patterns 4.5 Emeralds
  • Shane & Shane - The One You Need 4.25 Emeralds
  • Phil Wickham - Response 4.5 Emeralds
Due to my combining of a bunch of non producing genres this quarter I have only two more to go. Stay with me. As always I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Siberian Summer: 2012 PVA 1st Qtr - Modern Worship

A little bit of a breather here. There were only four entries here. A nice pace, but while I crowed over four four Gospel, in the Modern Worship Genre it's kind of slow.

Two Churches and Two Solo artists made contributions. We'll start with the Churches. Pavilion Towers, a church in Metro-Detroit, released Crisis Worship back in October and got a Respectable 4.25 Emeralds. This is an up an coming MW Church and we shall see how things go as they release more material. It is a promising start.

From the newbie to the Veteran. Gateway Church of Southlake, TX, home to Worship Leader Kari Jobe released an EP in November entitled Great Great God. It also received 4.25 Emeralds. Speaking of Kari Jobe, she released a Solo CD entitled Where I Found You this Tuesday. More on that release as I check it out.

As to the solo artists, we have a newbie/veteran mix this quarter as well. The newbie is Keith Elgin. While the EP is his second release, he is barely on the radar among the Modern Worship circle. Fully in the Circle is Phil Wickham and Response. Both artists released their discs in October, and at the time, both received a respectable 4.5 Emeralds. Wickham also had a Christmas Release, but I wasn't impressed with that one. Just by way of note, for you already know Christmas releases aren't considered for a PVA.

That's it for Modern Worship. We will continue with the first Quarter rollout as well as continue the judging for the Second Annual Platinum Vinyl Awards. The Temperature May be Cold, but things are Heating Up at The Night Beat. Until Next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shut Up And Rock!

It's been a long time since we at The Night Beat could let our inner headbanger out to rock. It's no secret that I am a metalhead, at least the CCM subvariety. From the moment I was introduced to metal in the 80's it was love at first bang. In this case I can say I was in on the ground floor, because even though a case can be made for Rez Band being the Father of Metal in the late 70's, it didn't gain prominence in CCM until the mid-80's with the arrival of Stryper. Other great Metal Bands of the era were Barren Cross (Stryper's Enigma Records Labelmate), Whitecross, Messiah Prophet, Sacred Warrior and Bloodgood. Though now derisively labelled Hair Metal, (I prefer the term Melodic Metal), the compination of harmonies, screaming fast guitar riffs and blast out your eardrums sound puts some of the best Thrash/Core Metal to shame (sorry TDWP, but I call it like I see it. I love you guys). Hair Metal got some heavy airplay on my Radio Show on WENC. With the exception of Stryper, a look over the CCM landscape would make you think those days were gone forever.

"Bang Your Head. Shut Up and Rock"  Such is the exhortation by Montreal based Blessed By A Broken Heart (abbreviated BBABH). What is it about Canadians and Great Music?. Their Tooth and Nail (Big Surprise) Debut Feel The Power could almost be mistaken for a Stryper Tribute Band, except for the original material. This CD takes me back to the Golden Age of Metal. Check out the guitar riffs on Skate or Die and Sleepless Nights or the Sweetesque "Devil" Scream by Lead Singer Tony Gambino on Deathwish. While there are a few well placed Thrash growls to placate some more modern metalcore fans, this is unashamedly a 80's Metal band, which the Band admits. If you have been nostalgic for the days when you could still hear the lyrics of a song regardless of the volume, this is for you. There's even a top class ballad with I've Got You.

This week the Album Streams at AOL Music, and it has been on Auto repeat for this blogger. I guess Third Time is the Charm (It's the bands third album, but its Tooth and Nail Debut). Remarkably, they started out as a Thrash band but made the transition to Melodic Metal. Though I like both styles, I LOVE the 80's Melodic style. I wish more bands would make the transformation. Maybe these guys will spark a trend.

I Feel The Power. I am giving this CD a Solid 5 Emeralds. Metal Bands, here is the bar to shoot for. King Midas sure knows where to find talent. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

P.S.- Don't forget to vote for your favorite musical decade in my poll. It closes at the end of the month.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Maple Leaf Rock: A Night Beat Canadian Tribute

The CCM Industry, while extremely successful here in The States, is hardly a USA Centric institution. Sure, most of the music is homegrown, but there are plenty of bands from outside our borders. I think it proper to give some honor here to our International Music Scene, starting with our nearest neighbor, Canada.

One of the biggest known Canadian Rock bands in the CCM arena is Thousand Foot Krutch, affectionately known simply as TFK. While they burst onto the scene with Rawkfist, I think it is beyond debate that they reached Superstar Status with Welcome to the Masquerade. Here is the Official Video of Fire it Up from Live at the Masquerade, and album under considerations for this years Platinum Vinyl Awards

Next up I will stick with TFK, sort of. Trevor McNevan, TFK's frontman, formed a pop-rock side project known as FM Static. While there are no Official Videos for FM Static, we have an Official Lyric Video, sort of like a follow the bouncing ball thing, without the ball, of Last Train Home, from My Brain Says Stop but My Heart Says Go.

Switching to Rap. Canadian Rapper Chris Greenwood (aka Manafest) mixes his Rap with Driving Rock, and is good friends with Trevor McNevan of TFK, who appears in a number of his videos. This is the Video, which also features Trevor, of Renegade, from his 2010 Album The Chase.

Slowing Down just a bit, but not in the least any less crazy, we have the Ontario Based yet Calgary Flames loving Hawk Nelson, who think nothing of wearing a Heavy Metal Hairdo and Singing Don't Stop Believing by Journey. Their Latest album is Crazy Love, based on Francis Chan's book by the same name. This is the official Music Video for the song. I don't know if God's love is Crazy, but these guys definitely are.

Taking a Turn to Techno, and Canadian Songstress Lights. This one was tough and I decided to go double. First Up, Savior, from her debut release The Listening. Animators should love this video.

And finally, a more traditional Music Video from her latest release Siberia. This is Toes. Siberia is in the running for the 2012 Platinum Vinyl Awards in the Dance Electronica Techno Genre. Personally I think she's a lock, but I don't want to prejudge. There's nine months of entries to go.

I think I shall finish with lights. Oh Canada Indeed. I am Awaiting Your Reply.

P.S.- Don't forget to vote on my poll on the sidebar as to your favorite musical decade. It's up till the end of the month

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lessons from the Sporting World

I am not really much of a Sports Fan. Though the Boston area is home to five professional sports franchises, I only really keep tabs on two, and only one of the teams do I really root for. Locally, I only consider myself a Boston Bruins (Stanley Cup Champ) fan. I guess you could call me a fair weather playoff fan of the Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots. As to the Revolution (MLS), I don't know anyone who admits to being a fan. I usually only root for the Sox if they are in the playoffs or if they are playing a team that my MLB team (the Minnesota Twins -- This Year has got to be better!) is chasing or is being pursued by. The NHL and MLB get me through the year.

That's not saying that I don't find the other teams exciting. Take this past Sunday's AFC Championship. I turned on the radio to check on how they were doing. Ahead by 3 with the Ravens with the ball and the 2 minute warning. The Ravens were driving down the field with hardly any resistance by the Pats. An incomplete pass with seconds remaining set up 4th and 1. A Touchdown wins it for Baltimore, a Field Goal sends it to overtime, where anything can happen. I said this is it, they're going to go for it and the Pats are staying home. But they go for the "Safe" Play, a short yardage field goal, and this is what happens.

The lesson to be learned in all this. Go for the Kill. Not wanting to make everything political, but in war, it is either kill or be killed, and sports, especially football, is very warlike. When our President proposed a military honor for "restraint" the Political Pundits all joked that such an award would have to be posthumous, because the enemy would use the time to kill our soldier. Back to the game, if the situation were reversed, what would Tom Brady have done? I think he would have aired it out and let the chips fall where they may.

Nothing Risked, nothing gained.If the Ravens botch the clock and time runs out they lose. If they go for the TD and fail, they lose. If they miss the field goal they lose. If they make the field goal they go to overtime where they could win or lose. The only way they can be assured of going to the Super Bowl was to for for the TD and succeed. Risk it all to get the Reward. They went safe, and safety meant loss. It was fourth down. The Pats took over on downs and Brady took a knee.

A week ago one of my blogger friends wrote an excellent post about the Cost of Freedom. I don't want a world like her "safe playground". When all risk is removed, the joy of success is gone. There is only one way to be happy. Go For It. I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Siberian Summer: 2012 PVA 1st Qtr - Alternative

If the Gospel genre had a good showing this quarter with four entries, then this one was excellent with six. Pop, to nobody's surprise, had the best showing, but I shall hold off the reveal until it's time.

Forget Double Dip, try quadruple dip for the first entry. Alt-Ambient band Future of Forestry thrilled its fans with the Travel EP series. This quarter they combined the three EP's in the series into one CD. So if you loved Traveler's Song, Protection, or Working to Be Loved, it is all here on a single CD (or, of course, mp3). A near perfect combination, TCTS received 4.75 Emeralds.

Sometimes all it takes is the right album. A few years ago everyone was all gaga (not lady) over John Mark McMillan and The Medicine. When I heard the album I wasn't that impressed. Actually, I didn't like it at all. Fast forward two years (one actually, but two PVA eligibility years) and he comes out with Economy. Maybe it was the fact that it was a bit more rock and roll and a little less experimental, maybe he was just growing on me, or maybe I was (gasp!) becoming part of the CCM Elite! (Naaah!). Either way I liked it and gave it a passable score of 4 Emeralds.

We also had a release from a Tooth and Nail artist, which should be no surprise by now. You think you would be able to detect a bunch of Patterns by now. And by that I mean Patterns by Run, Kid, Run, who have been compared to The Rocket Summer, which is quite a compliment. I thought the album deserved a respectable 4.5 Emeralds.

New artist Caleb went To the ends of the World and received 4.25 Emeralds for it. They certainly didn't have to go that far, but such is the life. I would have given it to them without all the Travel. Deas Vail had their self titled release garner the same rating without the additional road miles. Finally, we waved at Wavorly as their EP garnered 4.25 Emeralds as well.

Because of some astute combining of categories, we only have four more to go, but they are all well stocked, with one having almost two years full of possible entries. We drive on. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

P.S. The New Releases are available to stream. Check out Live Riot by Worth Dying For, Feel The Power by Tooth and Nail artist Blessed by a Broken Heart (Classic Metal) and The Essential Kirk Franklin. The Last two are out now, WDF comes out February 7. Check them all out and enjoy the music.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Siberian Summer: 2012 PVA 1st Qtr - Gospel

The Gospel genre is next. Despite the seasonal slowdown, Gospel hit the ground running. There were four entries this quarter. That's half the final total already. This will be a good year.

One of this quarters nominees garnered the coveted 5 Emerald rating. That album was Arise by William McDowell. It's also a 2 CD 23 Track live album (its subtitle is The Live Worship experience) so that's a double bonus. It's extremely rare to have a live album get the 5 full Emeralds. There is always something that seems to distract from the experience. There wasn't here.

Of the final three nominees this quarter we have one Compilation album Gospel's Best Praise. This was also a 2CD set. But instead of one artist, this one had lots, including Vashawn Mitchell, Forever Jones, Ricky Dillard and Kierra Sheard. It received 4.5 Emeralds back in October.

Speaking of Kierra "Kiki" Sheard, she had an album all to herself among the entrants. Free received a 4.25 Emerald Rating. The final album to make it in this category was the new release by Micah Stampley One Voice. Micah's One Voice received 4.25 Emeralds.

That does it for Gospel (for now). January already has releases from Kirk Franklin, Myron Butler and Fred Hammond to look forward to. We at The Night Beat are on the case. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Siberian Summer: 2012 PVA 1st Qtr - Dance

We always come to Dance Music early. Mainly because it ticks off the traditionalists. As is not having a Hymns, Country, Or Southern Gospel Genre. It works for me.

The big winner this quarter in Dance was Satellites and Sirens with Frequency. They are one of the best synth-pop acts today, and they show it here. Anyone who heard their breakout single Anchor from their self-titled debut knows what I am talking about. They earned a near perfect 4.75 Emeralds. Not to be undone by the young ones, veteran Techno master Barry Blaze (aka Code of Ethics) returned to the Studio for the first time in Three Years (2008's long return after a 9 year hiatus with Lost in Egypt). If you've been with C.O.E. from the beginning then you'll love his latest release, because it harks back to the original sound. It is definitely a Beautiful Thing. I gave the album a very good rating of 4.5 Emeralds.

Considering the title of these posts, a happy coincidence is the newest release by the gorgeous Canadian brunette Valerie Anne Poxleitner (aka Lights). Techno isn't exclusive boys club anymore. Lights rocks the synthesizer to a near perfect 4.75 Emeralds.

Shai Linne The Attributes of God also qualifies as a Dance CD in a lot of cases, so I'm listing it here as well. Rounding out the entries in this genre for this quarter are Dance/Krunk/Whatever group Family Force 5 and III which got 4.25 Emeralds and the latest release by pop/dance band Eleventyseven, Sugarfist, which received 4.5 Emeralds for their effort. We shall see how FF5 holds up over the months but I think that the rest of them are safely in to the finals. One thing is sure, Lights and Satellites and Sirens are a near lock to the finals next year. That's why they got the pictures, courtesy of Amazon of course.

The first Quarter Releases Continue. Keep it Locked here. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Siberian Summer: 2012 PVA 1st Qtr Nominees: Folkinspop

No, that's not the name of a new Monster Movie. Due to the slow first quarter, I have combined a few categories, in this case Folk, Inspirational and Hip Hop. Of course there is always a slow first quarter. Most of the releases in October, November and December are Christmas releases.

There were no entries in Children's Music this quarter. I am sure things will pick up as the year goes on. The Category has grown each year.

The Folk and Inspirational Genres each contributed one entry this time around. JJ Heller came out with Deeper, and I gave the album a near perfect 4.75 Emeralds. Out of the gate it will be the one to beat.

Inspirational is Michael W. Smith's genre to own this time around. Glory an instrumental album of epic proportions. When the album came out my review gave it a split rating of both 4.75 Emeralds AND 3.75 Emeralds. My rationale for the split rating is expectations. Michael is one of those CCM artists that fans expect certain things from. Most fans expect "Friends" like songs, and certain fans expect synth-pop (he almost could be considered the originator of the genre). Not many people expect John Tesh style symphonic genius. But here it is. For those who were expecting the pop, I gave the secondary rating.

Hip Hop had three entries this quarter. Shai Linne had The Attributes of God get 4.25 Emeralds, and newcomer (at least to me) Rel Paul had his Spoiler Alert also garner 4.25 Emeralds. There was also the latest entry in the Compilation Series Holy Hip Hop, Volume 11.

That gets the First Quarter underway. There will be much more to follow. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

P.S. - To keep things interesting I keep trying to find ways to rename the seasons each year. Since most Americans idea of Siberia is extremely cold, I think a Siberian Summer would be an Autumn for most.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Angel Banned

Every Music Blogger needs to have a little Simon Cowell in him or her. If you don't, then what's the point? We at The Night Beat are convinced that if we hadn't pointed out to the folks at New Release Tuesday that every podcast interview began with the interviewer (Bill Lurwick) telling the artist it was the best album of the year, they wouldn't have changed. Now I'm not saying that you savage an artist on air. That's cruel. As the saying goes, "If the phone don't ring, you know who is calling." Part of every music (or movie) critic is being, well, a critic. If you never review anything that you just despise and tell people so, all you are is a fan with a blog.

That has never been a problem at The Night Beat. If you need convincing just check out my reviews of Brandon Heath's Leaving Eden and Chris Sligh's The Anatomy of Broken, neither of which won my approval. I call them as I hear them.

Which brings us to my first negative review of 2012. Andrew Greer Angel Band: The Hymn Sessions. At forty minutes long it was a trial to listen to, but your intrepid blogger was up to the task. My initial impression was that the album was unlistenable, but I'm not going to write up a review on one listen, even if on some albums that makes me a glutton for punishment.

I think three listens suffices on this one. I'll have to Check with John Kerry, but I think he can get me a Purple Heart for the effort. It's not that I hate hymns, though I much prefer when they get redone by a Rock Band, at least they sound better, even if they're still filled with unbelief.

Putting aside that the album is way too country for my taste, most of the the album has a minimalist banjo strum accompaniment. Strum, not Pick. A little Bluegrass would be an improvement here. Andrew's singing technique as in (In the Garden) seems to be an overly emphasized talk that would make Five Smooth Stones or Happy Goodman happy. Sorry, but it's not singing. And when he tries to hit a high note, his voice obviously cracks. In short, it is painful to listen to.

Here's where mercy kicks in. I'm going to give Angel Band: The Hymn Sessions a final rating of 2.25 Emeralds. I was going to go even lower, but then I thought, then why even bother writing the post. Besides, in a few tracks, he goes to a more traditional hymn arrangement, and that saves the album. My advice, avoid the album. I think even Angels Banned Angel Band. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

P.S. - There is Bluegrass Banjo Picking on Uncloudy Day. It would be a great song  as a bluegrass instrumental. Unfortunately though there are vocals.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

If It Leads Me Back

There's a "flip side" to every album. Kids, ask your parents to explain that obscure musical reference. In the mp3 age there aren't even discs. Sides went away with CD's.

A few months ago an EP was released by Lindsay McCaul entitled If It Leads Me Back (It was in my August Rewind). The four song EP got 3.75 Emeralds, just out of the running.
Fast Forward five months. Deja Vu all over again. Lindsay has an album coming out Today with the same name. Things like this send one scrambling to check your notes.

The CD trumps the EP by 0.75 Emeralds. Yes, this one gets bumped up to 4.5 Emeralds. The entire EP is on the album, and is accompanied by seven new songs. My favorite right now is Where Do You Go  because of the orchestration. The title cut, which is saved for last, is also a favorite, because its slow, minimal accompaniment (only piano) highlights her voice. (A Trivial note: Though the EP was also entitled If it Leads Me Back, that song itself was not on the EP). The album is Pop, though Take My Hand is the obligatory CCM Modern Worship tune. It is also one of the more beautiful songs on the album, so don't despair.

As I was reviewing Rachel Chan's Debut I commented that there would be much better Pop releases this year. We Only had to wait one week to find one. This definitely indicates that, once again, we are off to the races in the pop genre. I am Ready. Sorry. What I am is Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Oh Those "Crazy Love" Children

The 2012 Music Season begins, and first up out of the gate is Go by Rachel Chan. If the last name sounds familiar, it should. Rachel is the fifteen year old daughter of Crazy Love author Francis Chan. Never heard of Crazy Love. What? Next thing you're going to say is that you never heard of Hawk Nelson either.

Go is a straight ahead Sugar Pop album, but not as corn syrup as they go. As debut albums go, it is pretty good.

The album is pretty short as Cd's go. It clocks in at just over a half-hour. It's just her for vocals, unless you count her father's "Rap" on Prove it.

Right now my favorite is Show Me More, which is pretty much a Modern Worship/AC song, but it shows off her vocal ability the best. Her producers should steer her in this direction for future albums. Actually I like the AC tunes on this CD the best. Another good song is You Must Love Me, as is Still Singing.

If you're looking for teen pop about boys, zits and Twitter, that's the rest of the album. On the whole, I am going to give it a recommendation of 4 Emeralds. It's in the 2012 pool, but it's early, and there will be much better albums that will knock it out. It will probably stay in the Best New Artist pool though.

The first Review of 2012 is out. More will come. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I Love The 80's: Firing Up the Night Beat Time Machine

Now that the Christmas Season is over, the cleanup begins. Now for most people that simply means ditching the tree and lights and usually putting the Christmas Music back in storage for another year. Now for me, though I have some Christmas CD's, I have a bigger selection on mp3, and, since I have an ancient and honorable iBook at home, it is time to purge the Christmas Music from the iTunes library (I've got it all on Flash Drives) and put on the regular tunes.

Some of those mp3's are from the "Classic Rock" era, and, despite what some may think, I think the music of that era holds up well over time. Now due to improvements in technology and the like "rock" supergroups of the time now sound like pop groups of today. Trust me though, these guys rocked.

The 80's gave us the pioneers of the Modern CCM industry. Petra, though born in the 70's, didn't come into its own until the 80's, and acts like the FFR pioneer bands Servant and Resurrection Band took the slings and arrows of their fellow Christians so that groups like Eowyn, Fireflight, Flyleaf, Paramore, Evolett and Evanescence would have the success that they have.

Then there was the Coffeehouse scene. I doubt the coffee was great (I hadn't started drinking coffee yet, so I don't know, but it was a long way from Starbucks. Shoutout to my friend Coffee Lovin Mom here. I don't know why, but I thought this would make an excellent name for a bad country song. I repeat myself, I know). There were small acts focused here, and it opened up a whole new method of promotions. This was usually an excellent way to get bootleg music. Bring in the old cassette machine, put it right on the table, nobody cared. I guess the RIAA didn't exist back then.

Heavy Metal was also born in the 80's, and while it bears little resemblance to the Thrash-Metal of the 21st Century, this screaming guitar metal could hold their own against any of them, Even TDWP. One of the best metal acts of the decade was the Swedish metal act Jerusalem. This was the band responsible for the mega metal composition Sodom, which clocks in at over Twelve Minutes Long, OVER HALF of which is instrumental. I dare any of today's bands to try something like that. The labels would be screaming. The only band to come close today is IONA.

I guess it's obvious that I love the eighties. And you know, it works in the mainstream as well. Not just politically (It was the Reagan Revolution) but TV and Music in general just sounded better. This rant is brought to you by the Night Beat. I invite you to visit the website and vote on the poll in the sidebar. What was your favorite musical decade? With all honors to REZ, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 Wishlist: Rock

THE FUTURE IS NOW! More specifically Fireflight Now, as in their new album. The album won't drop until March 6, but you know that good things come "For those who wait". The album artwork is out now, so here it is. It will have to hold you until March. That's one off the list.

Satellites and Sirens will be out promoting Frequency in 2012. It only came out a few months ago, so I think they are off the list for this year. Even techno bands need a little time away from the studio.

Skillet is rumored to be planning an album that will be released "late 2012" that is all that is known for now. Will keep you updated.

Heather Williams This Time Around just came out last September, so she should be out touring in support of her 5 Emerald rated album in 2012.

Of course, even though nothing is scheduled so far, I am still wishing to see something from the lovely ladies of Barlowgirl. You can't rest on a best of album for too long.

That finishes the wishlist. The releases begin. I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Wishlist: Hard Rock

In 2010, as the Inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards were progressing, the list of eligible Rock entries was staggering. Trying to stem the Tidal Wave, I split the harder bands off into their own Hard Rock category. It worked that year, but since then I have found that the number of entries in Hard Rock is growing. I don't think that it will ever turn out that a second division is necessary, but one never knows.

Of course my biggest wish for 2012 in Hard Rock would be for a new release by Disciple. All indications from their site is that it will remain nothing more than a wish. Unfortunately, my Hard Rock Wishes will appear t have to be only wishes from The Showdown, Apocalypitca, Haste The Day, and Children 18:3, as all are resting on their laurels at the moment. It will go somewhat easier on Haste The Day since they just released Haste The Day vs Haste The Day Live, but a new studio album would be nice.

I guess we will have to be satisfied with the plans of the Band with the Coolest Name in Christian Music DEMON HUNTER. According to a press release the band is in the studio in Seattle and the yet unnamed project will be coming out possibly in April. A nice Birthday Present for your favorite blogger. Sorry for the short posts, but that is what happens when the news is sparse. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Wishlist: Hip Hop

Lecrae is due to release an album this year. A Non-Rehab release. In September 2010 Lecrae released Rehab. This year he released both Rehab: Overdose and Rehab (Deluxe Edition). I think we've mined the subject to the full.

Mentioned during the Gospel section but also categorized as hip-hop. Brother-Sister duo The Wasington Projects will be coming out with 1.21Gigawatts early this year. We should hear more about the project as the weeks go on. We shall keep you posted.

As to the other PVA contenders: Grits, Trip Lee, and Sho Baraka, all seems to be quiet. I will be the first to pass on any news if we get anything. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Wishlist: Pop

This has been traditionally the largest genre in Christian Music. The PVA's have been no different. It is my hope that, just as I created the Hard Rock genre to make the Rock category more wieldy, the Inspirational category eventually is able to siphon off quite a few from Pop.

Image courtesy Amazon
 When I made the decision to move to a staggered year of eligibility for the PVA's back in 2010 I kept going back in late 2009 and back. I had to stop somewhere. I stopped October 1, 2009. As a result I left out an artist who would have been the hands down winner. No offense to Poema, the Inaugural winners, but really. If the Lovely green eyed Christian Torch Singer Lara Landon had been eligible for the year, there would have been no contest as to the winner. My big wish would be for more music by Lara.

That wish is closer to reality this year. She Launched a kickstarter campaign for her worship release Overcome. The funding was successful and backers can download the album now. I hope it will be available for download and purchase for all sometime this year.

Newsboys will be "quiet" this year. Not really, but, unless their is another Deluxe CD in the works like their was for Born Again, they will be on the road touring their new album, which only came out this past November.

Of the 2010 eligible entries, only Audrey Assad is currently in the new release chain, with her Sophomore release Heart coming out on Valentines Day. Of course it's still early in the year, and my wish list would include Poema, Reilly and Addison Road. I will keep you posted as the year progresses. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 Wishlist: Modern Worship and Inspirational

Courtesy Amazon
Considering the Genre, I thought it appropriate for a rare Sunday Post. If you've ever wondered why you couldn't have a post on Sunday, your wish is granted. Sometimes Wishes are granted early. 2010's Inaugural Modern Worship Best Album was won by the Irish experimental Modern Worship group Rend Collective Experiment and their Organic Family Hymnal. In my mind, with their refreshingly unique sound, (they even used a Xylophone), their really was no doubt in my mind who was the winner. I was going to start off hoping for a new release from them, and lo and behold, they have. Homemade Worship by Handmade People will come out Next Tuesday January 10. That's one off of my list. Thank You. Based on their debut, I think it is fair to say that the CD will wind up among the PVA 2012 Final Nominees.

Now, Going even less out on a limb, I predict there will be a release by a Hillsong branch sometime in 2012 (Actually Hillsong United- February 14). Check.

There really isn't much that I Wish for from this genre. I kind of let it fly and see what I like.

In 2010 The Inspirational Genre didn't exist. It was created this year to make way for Jackie Evancho. For 2012 My Wish is for enough entries to justify the category.

Only Four Categories to go. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 Wishlist: Alternative

When I started this wish list I knew that I wasn't going to be able to complete it before the New Year Emerged. But I thought I would be able to move things along quicker than I have.

2010's big Alternative Releases included Fair, the Aaron Sprinkle Side Project. According to the band's official website we will have to do without any new project in the foreseeable future. However, we are given a teaser regarding another side project entitled Subways on the Sun. I am sure there will be more news on this soon.

The Rocket Summer (aka Bryce Avery) had a PVA Contender in 2010 with Of Men And Angels. This year they are also contending again with a live acoustic release Bryce Avery: His Instruments, Your Voices. A lot of Live Albums serve two purpose, to satisfy fans while giving the artist a breather and time to get into the studio. I have a suspicion that is exactly what Bryce is up to. I think we shall see another studio album sometime this year.

The Classic Crime is rumored to be coming out with a new album either this year or next, and Emo band Future of Forestry released Travel III in 2010, followed by the all inclusive Travel series CD this year. I think we are all waiting for a non-travel related release from the band.

Ivoryline took home the Inaugural PVA with Vessels. Actually they split the award with The Choir. Neither has anything in the rumor mill at present.

One Alternative band that does is 12 Stones. Their long awaited release Only Human is slated to drop on March 27. Considering that I loved The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday, it's safe to say that I am stoked.

The Wishlist Continues. I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Wishlist: Gospel

Here it is already 2012 and I haven't even begun my wish list for this year. We'll I have, but I have a lot of genres to go, so it sounds a whole lot more dramatic (or is that melodramatic) if I say I haven't. We move on to Gospel Music.

I think the Big Release in this Category I want to see is a new Forever Jones release. And I mean new. I know that they released a Deluxe CD this year, but that isn't really new. I want all new tunes.

Actually my other wish in this category is for another newbie. Vashawn Mitchell also had his debut in 2010 and I think it is about time for his sophomore release as well.

One other note. In 2010 I put The Washington Projects here because their sound was more R&B than Hip Hop. I would be expecting another release from them in 2012, but, with Je'kob Washington producing his solo debut, Minor Setbacks for Major Comeups, which is under consideration for a PVA in Hip Hop in 2011, the situation for this duo is somewhat murky.

Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year, New Music

It's January 2012, and the Music Industry is slowly getting back from its Christmas Break. Soon you will get to hear the Official Opinion on all the New Releases. I mean, really, once you hear it from The Night Beat, does anyone else really matter? Things get underway next Tuesday, and there are three releases awaiting us (actually, there are 7 but four are multiple artist compilations. Two are worth mention here.

Give Us Rest (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]).  This is the end of the road folks. David Crowder Bands final album. I became a fan very late, with Church Music. This one will not disappoint. It is Two Discs, and a whopping 34 tracks. I can't wait to give my verdict.

Leave it up to the Rend Collective Experiment, Ireland's Modern Worship sensation to pull a fast one on The Night Beat. I was in the midst of compiling my 2012 Wish List and had not yet gotten to Modern Worship. I was about to suggest that RCE come out with a release, and here they are first out of the gate. Thank You.

Happy New Year from The Night Beat.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Everything Old Is New Again

Happy New Year everyone. How time does fly. Just yesterday we were ringing out the year 20101 and today we get to ring in 2002.

No that isn't a typo. Confused? Let me explain. A big part of the NYE festivities is the ridiculous looking glasses industry. It seems everyone in Times Square wears these glasses made with the upcoming year.

The "noughts" were easy 2000 had three zeroes and everything up to 2009 had to zeroes in the center. 2010 only required a slight shift in the center of gravity.

2011 posed a problem. A 1 fit over the right eye. A cyclops solution (a oval 0 covering both eyes) was ignored in favor of an axis shift plus another added circle between the two ones, hence the year 20101. Since the problem will re-occur until 2020, a better solution would be needed.

For 2012 they turned to recycling their largest number of stored glasses. Those of 2002. (That was only 3 months removed from 9/11). The 2012 are obviously 2002 glasses with a small block added to the top and bottom of the second zero to make it look like a one. A cyclops 0 would work, but do they listen to me. Naah.

I guess it makes perfect sense. Everything is George Bush's fault anyway. Why not this too?

Oh well. Happy 2002 er 2012 from The Night Beat.