Tuesday, December 31, 2013

MVM Weekend Edition: Sick of It

No, not the weekend edition, though it is rapidly drawing to a close. Next Friday will be the final one. Happy New Year everyone. We intend to have a Rocking New Year as we move into Rock Videos for three sessions. That closes off the PVA 4 Video Pool. We will begin an all Monday video show once again on January 13, 2014. Mark your calendars.

We begin the Rock Show (or should that be Rawk Show) with I Am Empire, giving us the Remedy.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is next, asking that everyone Remember Me. (Which is a very nice sentiment. Thanks guys).

Next we take a drive on Remedy Drive. Don't forget to Resuscitate Me.
Finally we are encouraged by Skillet to RISE up and scream that we're Sick Of It.
The final MVM of the 4th PVA pool is Monday. Featured artists will be Seabird, These Hearts and Shine Bright Baby. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Music Video Monday: Martyrs

Welcome to the final Music Video Monday of 2013. We close out the year with a bang. Actually a head-bang, since we are closing out Heavy Metal as well as the year. 2014 goes into rock and the wrap of 2013 videos. Soon we will be entering the 5th PVA pool videos. Exciting Times folks.

We begin our final metal tour with Leaders, rocking about Hell.
Next up is The Devil Wears Prada, always a favorite of the Night Beat Staff. This is Martyrs. 
Fallstar is next. Forget sex, drugs and rock and roll, this is drags, drugs and bones.
We close out 2013 and Heavy Metal with My Heart to Fear. This is 414 Days.
Friday we move on to Rock and Roll with music from I am Empire, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Skillet. We rock on into 2014. Until next time have a very blessed and safe New Year. I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Unwrapping The Christmas (Jewel) Box

As in Christmas Music, folks. Since Orthodox Christmas is on January 7, I figure I still have got a little time to share my favorite Christmas Tunes from this season. Since there were a bunch of holiday releases, I have decided to keep it to 4.75 or 5 Emeralds. I will begin with those that are

Wise-Men Approved

And now the ones that just short of wowed me, or

Semi-Precious Glitter

Last time around I didn't like Mannheim Steamrollers release, which is a rarity. While I love the electronics most times, this live symphony version works. Face it, for all the bells and whistles, Mannheim Steamroller is a Prog-Rock outfit, and bands like them and Iona just love working with Symphonies. It works big time.

The Unwrapping is complete. Order through the links and support The Night Beat at the same time. Happy New Year. I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Night Beat Rewind: December 2013

In the last edition of rewind, I predicted that I would not have a Rewind for December. I had one in 2012 but not in 2011. Obviously I'm no Nostradamus, because here we are. 9 releases came across my desk this month. We start with Christmas Music, which doesn't pass into the PVA Pool.

Christmas Music (Non-Eligible)

Bryce and company are good in this Christmas EP, but you have got to get Falling Up. A Christmas Album unlike any other this season.

Now onto the non seasonal music. As always, we begin with those which

Missed The Mark

As is usually the case, these are pretty good albums that just missed the PVA pool. You will not go wrong adding them to your collection. You just might not have them on auto repeat.
You will with the next album, it is December's

Pure Platinum

Part of Toby Mac's Diverse City stepping out on their own. A good mix of R&B, Hip Hop, Rap and Gospel. It improved with every listen. 

Finally, we move on to the music in the middle. Those albums which are

Semi-Precious Metal

That wraps up 2013. 2014 is right around the corner, and I hope to see you all there with me as the 5th Platinum Vinyl Award Season starts to heat up. Until the New Year, I am Awaiting Your Reply. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

MVM Weekend Edition: Flesh Killer

Welcome to the final weekend edition of 2013. We finish off the year with Heavy Metal.  Our first video is from Phinehas, and it's called Flesh Killer.

Norma Jean is next. If you've got it at five, you've got it at fifty.

Our third video is also the third video from Love and Death. This is chemicals.

We close out the year with The Ongoing Concept and Cover Girl.

We really close out 2013 Monday. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Night Beat Platinum Dozen of 2013

How does one rank perfection? Splitting hairs has never been really difficult here at The WENC Night Beat among the Perfect 5 Rated Albums, but when you've handed out over forty of them during the course of a year narrowing them down to ten or so seems a bit more of a superhuman effort. So how do we do it?

Switching from the PVA to a calendar year, dropping remixes, best of albums, EPs and Christmas Music dropped it down to about two dozen. Listening to those one more time shook out the rest. I refuse to rank them, however, so we will do this in album alphabetical order.

The Blood + The Breath: Songs That Tell The Story of Redemption, +Caroline Cobb Smith 

While perhaps we could give this album an award for longest title, that isn't the only reason to get this album. Written as part of a challenge to write a song for every book of the Bible in one year. A dozen were kept. The Alpha and Omega songs were representative of eternity past and future and the middle ten take us from Genesis to Revelation in a multiple genre experience of Adam, Moses, Abraham, Jesus and the Prophets. You will be entranced.

The Civil Wars, +The Civil Wars 

Beauty from Brokenness. Amid the Rumors of the Alt-Country-Folk Duo's breakup comes this self titled followup to the smash hit Barton Hollow. Unlike that album this effort taps into more darker emotions. Tell Mama, Dust To Dust and The One Who Got Away draw you in. The overall tone of the album is mournful, yet beautiful. Even the country music people love it. Entertainment Weekly made it #7 on the Top 10 Country Albums. Of course it isn't country, not by a long shot. Of course a lot of pop and folk stars get to be country these days.

Instruments of Mercy, Beautiful Eulogy

Beautiful Eulogy is a rap "supergroup" made up of Braille, Odd Thomas and Courtland Urbano. Now I had only heard of the first two, but this isn't your typical rap artist. Call it the thinking man's rap. The rap is slow, easy to hear, and is usually a theological sermon in a few minutes. If you're looking for mindless entertainment, this definitely isn't your album.

Kings and Queens, Audio Adrenaline

I was skeptical when I heard that Audio Adrenaline was re-forming with Kevin Max at Lead Vocal. More than a reunion, the band has been rebuilt from the ground up and transformed from rock to alternative to accommodate Max's "shimmering vocals". A front runner for Comeback of The Year.

No More Hell To Pay, Stryper

Does it still count as a sequel when the two albums are three decades apart? Thematically linked to 1986's Platinum Selling To Hell With The Devil, including angel of the abyss type covers, this is the first Stryper album since then to rival the masterpiece. This time however, the boys crank it up quite a few notches. There is no abyss to lead you into the album, but Revelation begins with screaming guitars and doesn't let up from beginning to end. Hell has never been this much fun.

Old Soul, Wayne Haun

Not technically a Christian Album, as it consists of secular jazz covers. Though linked mostly to Southern Gospel, a genre avoided like the plague here at Night Beat HQ, the smooth sounds of Jazz keep you jumpin. I'll probably keep this right next to my Denver and the Mile High Orchestra.

Patterns, +Cloverton Music 

I can best describe this as a Vertical Album. It may be too worship for it to be a Rock album, and it may be too Rock to please the Modern Worship folks. It seems to fit with Cloverton. Last Christmas I shared a video of Christmas Hallelujah by them. It's the best version that I've heard of that song in quite a while. So take that talent and put it into a full album.

Rise, +skilletband 

Back to the future. Fans waiting for a follow up to Awake received instead a themed album which hearkened back to the Industrial-Electronic past. Korey's back on Synthesizers and In a Newsboys like twist, Drummer Jen Ledger is a second lead vocalist and main backup vocalist on the album. She carries off songs like Salvation and Not Gonna Die very well.

Still Believe, Kim Walker-Smith

A refreshing change in the Modern Worship offerings. Actually this is the first MW album to really get me wowed since Skillet's Ardent Worship, and that was back in 2000. How did she do it? By incorporating moments of unrehearsed worship and cutting down on the number of songs. Doing this created a live worship experience, and not a isolated series of worship songs, as if they were done in a studio. 

Water and Guns, Aaron Sprinkle

The famed Tooth and Nail producer returned to the studio for an "unfair" entry. (From 2006-2010 he had a band under the name Fair). The album is an Alt-Synthpop mix with hints of Owl City and Anberlin. Though technically released September 30, we at the Night Beat decided to push it to October 1 into the new PVA year where it can set the bar. Music this good can't last forever, can it?

The White Room (Deluxe), +Jonathan Thulin 

Video Made the Radio Star. With all due respect to The Buggles, while I liked this album, after I saw the video for Bombs Away and then the one for Dead Come To Life I didn't like the album anymore. I LOVED THE ALBUM!!! The man is a video genius. And the music, combined, creates the most wonderful stories ever told. And orchestration. His brother David must be jealous.

The Wind and The Waves, All The Bright Lights

Not to be confused with Phil Keaggy's The Wind and The Wheat, except for the fact that they are both excellent albums, and also entirely instrumental. They are two separate albums, one a guitar masterpiece, and this one, a Trance masterpiece. Electronic music is one of the most beautiful forms in the world, and this proves it.

As I said before, I refuse to rank these 1-12 since they are all excellent in their own right. However one reason for that is that Rise, The Civil Wars, and No More Hell To Pay, and Kings and Queens could equally be ranked number one. Don't even get me started with honorable mentions. They could go on forever. Feel free to tell me what you think. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Music Video Monday: A Gift Beyond Human Reach

Welcome back to Music Video Monday. Merry Christmas everyone. We continue with Heavy Metal, and will so so into the New Year. We start our tour with Colossus and Transgressor.

Extol is next up, and this Christmas they tempt us with A Gift Beyond Human Reach.

Fallstar is attempting to contact Alexandria 363.

My Heart To Fear is very unseasonable with The Witching Hour, Part 2

More metal Friday. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, December 20, 2013

MVM Weekend Edition: Abandoning The Ark

Welcome to the last Weekend Edition of Music Video Monday before Christmas. We've got four big metal videos today. The plan is to continue as we have been on Monday and Friday next week, and perhaps do a Christmas Video a day for the days in between.

Let's get to the videos. We begin with Spoken, who has been Through It All (I guarantee it sounds nothing like the Gaither's)

Getting a little Korny during the holidays, this is Love and Death and The Abandoning.
Maybe the cold weather is getting to you. Perhaps you should warm up with Ace Augustine. They are singing about Mannequins.

Finally we are raiding the Ark of The Covenant. Hope we don't find a Parasite.
Still a whole lotta Metal to go. The genre will take us into 2014. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Music Video Monday: Meltdown

At least that's what we're hoping for here at Night Beat HQ. I am writing this in anticipation of the first big snow of the 2013-14 Winter Season, and it's not even Winter Yet.

We are beginning Heavy Metal this week, and that will take us into the New Year. Let's heat ourselves up in the Northeast with thoughts of Texas In July. I know that sounds hot, but at least it's better than sleeping on a Bed of Nails.
We know a bed of nails is certainly not Fit for a King, unless he happens to be a Hollow King.
When dealing with the winter, sometimes it's just best to hunker down and hope for a Meltdown. This is Love and Death.
And lest you get too down. This is We Came as Romans telling us we always have Hope.
More Heavy Metal on Friday. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.   

Friday, December 13, 2013

MVM Weekend Edition: Hey Pharaoh

Welcome back to our Special Weekend Edition of Music Video Monday. Today we finally wrap up rap and hip hop.

We begin with Dre Murray from his new album Gold Rush. This is Pharaoh.
Maybe in keeping with the same having it all motif, this is Derek Minor, who in minorville has everyone saying Gimme.
And finally, because we are doing the final two rap videos,and we should have at least three videos a post, this is debut artist 1 Girl nation and Rockin Around The Christmas Tree .
Monday is Metal Monday. We begin Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rocking Around The Christmas Tree - Night Beat Style

This edition of the WENC Night Beat is brought to you by the first snow of the season, and also by my new +Triberr friend +Linda Roy, known in the blogger world as Elleroy Was Here. A few days ago she posted a Twisted Mixtape about Christmas Music to Rock Your Stockings Off. And since I know something about rock, here are the songs that make the season for us here at Night Beat HQ. You could play these all the time and I wouldn't get sick of them.

1. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo, Trans Siberian Orchestra

2. Carol of the bells, Mannheim Steamroller

3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Annie Moses Band

4. Carol of the Bells, August Burns Red 
5. Hallelujah (Light Has Come), Barlow Girl
6. Frosty The Blues Man, Denver and The Mile High Orchestra
All these tunes have got plenty to keep the blood pumping this Christmas Season. Hope you enjoyed. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Night Beat Rewind: November 2013

Welcome to the last official edition of Night Beat Rewind for 2013. I say that because December is a very slow month. We usually don't have enough entries to make a decent rewind post, so I mention things in other ways. It looks like this is going to be a typical year in that regard.

We begin with the ineligible entries. This year that includes the Christmas Music, regardless of it Emerald Rating. We don't have a Christmas Music Category at the PVA's, unlike the Dove Awards.

Christmas Music(Non-Eligible)

One of the good things about this listing is it is perfectly honest. Since there is no award to qualify for, there is no fudging to make a certain bar. We move onto the list of non eligible music that there was fudging going on in debates. The non Christmas Music list which was

Missed The Mark

  • Casey Darnell - Casey Darnell 3.75 Emeralds
  • Alex Faith - ATLast 3.75 Emeralds
  • The Gospel Gangstaz -Defenders of The Faith 3.75 Emeralds
As is usual, the entries on this list just missed. Maybe I'm feeling generous this time of year, but I thin that three entries is the fewest we've ever had here. I once thought none had missed the mark, but then I discovered "the missing entries."

We had a good supply of perfect albums for the final list of 2013. Unofficially there were 8, but I don't really count Christmas Albums, so in this grouping there will be 5. Besides, since I already did the Christmas albums, why list an album twice.

Pure Platinum Perfection

Two surprises in this list. The Biggest surprise was Living Sacrifice. While I consider myself a metal head, a headbanger, etc. Living Sacrifices "thrash metal" style isn't my particular cup of tea. I'm more of a melodic metal fan. That being said, Ghost Thief really tripped the WOW meter. I was more pleasantly surprised with Stryper. Though I have loved all their music, To Hell With The Devil was way back in 1986. To think that they could put it all together on that level almost thirty years later. It busted the WOW Meter. It's not an easy part to fix.

Thankfully for all of us here at Night Beat HQ, most releases fall between the ruts. These releases, of which there were plenty, are what we deem

Semi-Precious Metal

  • Benjah - Haze & Reflections (Vanity Fare Remixed) 4.50 Emeralds
  • Daughtry - Baptized 4.50 Emeralds
  • Fit For A King - Descendants Redux 4.75 Emeralds
  • Five Iron Frenzy - Engine of a Million Plots 4.75 Emeralds
  • Gloria Gaynor - We Will Survive 4.75 Emeralds
  • Luke Hellebronth - Stand Up 4.50 Emeralds
  • Jeremy Horn - No Other Love 4.75 Emeralds
  • Impending Doom - Death Will Reign 4.50 Emeralds
  • Jahaziel - Heads Up 4.75 Emeralds
  • The Letter Black - Rebuild 4.75 Emeralds
  • Maranatha Music - Worship God: Everlasting 4.75 Emeralds
  • William McDowell - Withholding Nothing 4.50 Emeralds
  • Sean G. Park - I Bow Down 4.75 Emeralds
  • Salt of the Sound - Journeys 4.75 Emeralds
  • Soul Survivor & Momentum - Kingdom Come (Live) 4.50 Emeralds
  • Shout Praises Kids - Nothing Is Impossible (Feat Planetshakers Kids) 4.75 Emeralds
  • Micah Stampley - Love Never Fails 4.50 Emeralds
  • Scott Stapp - Proof of Life 4.75 Emeralds
A few notes here. I really liked Scott Stapp. Sure, it isn't Creed, but it was close to Creed Lite. I can live with that. Though Creed was responsible for a whole slew of copycats, proving there's nothing original in the Music Industry, they were the mold. Sort of a guilty pleasure is Gloria Gaynor. I will Survive has turned 35, and, though I am sure the Disco era was a huge mistake, still, this song isn't that bad. There are much worse. And the rest of the album is Gospel. As to The Letter Black, click on the name to read my full review. I have only included Amazon links for the Pure Platinum and Christmas Music, to get things out quickly. Click and Purchase from the post, and you will support The Night Beat at the same time. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Music Video Monday: OMG

Welcome back to Music Video Monday. We are wrapping up Rap this week and next Monday we will start with Heavy Metal. We begin our tour with Benjah and Work.

It's about time that someone around here tells us DA T.R.U.T.H. And that is that there is always Hope.

XRoss is next, but all he can say at the moment is OMG.

And finally, we have Young Chozen, though I don't know if he is one of the chozen frozen (sorry, a little church humor). This is Right here, right now.

That does it for this edition of Music Video Monday. Friday we only have three videos as we rap it up. Until then, I am Awaiting your reply.

Friday, December 6, 2013

MVM Weekend Edition: Hit The Floor

An all new edition of The Weekend Edition of Music Video Monday begins now. We are continuing with Rap Music. There are two more posts after this, so next weekend edition will be the wrap-up. We begin our Video Tour with Thi'sl, who's giving us some much needed Motivation.

Next up we have another video by Brinson, he says Hit The Floor.

Alert 312 is next. This is Vice Versa 

And finally, we conclude this edition with Benjah, who gives us a few Love Signs.

More rap on Monday, and that's DA T.R.U.T.H. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

You Left Me Shattered

I like to think I do things a little differently here at the WENC Night Beat. Especially in regard to Song of The Year nominations for the Platinum Vinyl Awards. The Major Awards and I usually don't see Eye to eye when it comes to radio singles, from which the nominees are picked.

Maybe it's just that I don't get the whole process. I thought you wanted to release the strongest songs to radio in order to get people to buy the album. 

Case in point, Rebuild by The Letter Black. The radio singles are Pain Killer and Found. One anthem, one ballad. Batting .500 isn't bad. Hey, it's better than Ted Williams, but it could have been 1.000. Unlike some, I personally loved Found. There are a lot of FFR bands now in Christian Music, and all of them do anthems extremely well. The ballads, however, is where we separate the platinum from the rest. Some just can't pull it off. Sarah Anthony, however, has a simply beautiful voice. Found and Outside Looking In are showcases for her voice. Found has strings as well, and great orchestration. Simply, it sounds majestic. Great Choice.

Pain Killer, eh. The Video is intriguing, and we shall get to that soon enough when we begin the new Videos. But it it far from the best rock anthem on the album. If you want loud, you should go with Up From The Ashes. That is an excellent song, and is the hardest and loudest on the album. Better overall though would have to be Break Out. 

The Best Song on the album? Hands down that would have to be Shattered. It's sort of a hybrid between the two styles, and it absolutely burrows into your brain. I see it as a getting over a breakup song, as opposed to a love song.

You left me shattered, but I'm so over it. I put back the pieces just to see if they still fit.
You left me shattered, but I'm stronger from this. I'm doing just fine, and now you're only wasting your time. 
It's also a duet between Sarah and her husband Mark (no J Lo jokes please). There really aren't that many honest lyrics like this in Christian Music
You tried to make believe you're the best part of me
You words cutting me in two
But now I realize I gave you love you gave me lies
The worst part about me was you
Like I said, honesty. And it is in that vein that I am giving Rebuild by The Letter Black a near perfect score of 4.75 Emeralds. If you love to rock you will love The Letter Black. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Music Video Monday: A Beautiful Place

Welcome to our regularly scheduled Music Video Monday. December is here, let the Christmas Music Begin. Things are hectic this year, so I have not decided if I will have a Christmas Parade this year as I did last. I have quite a few non seasonal videos. Rap itself will take up half of the month.

We Begin with Canon. Not, surprisingly, considering the name, the video is Loud Music.
Brinson is next up. Ironically, seeing I just referred to him, he says he actually has No Name.
In the world of Japhia Life, it's a Small World.
And finally, we close this week off with Je'kob and he says while it may be a small world, it is A Beautiful Place.
Two rap editions down. We have three more to go. Stay with me every Monday and Friday. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

MVM Weekend Edition: Goin Home

Welcome to the Black Friday edition of Music Video Monday. I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving Day.

We begin Rap today. (Christmas Rap? Sorry, couldn't resist). This is a big one and will go on for a while. We begin with +andy mineo  and AYO.

Mr. Del is next, with a hip hop cover of Corey Hart's Sunglasses.
A couple of new artists are next. First up is Still Trill Christians who remind us that until the ring is on her finger there better be No Sex.
Our last rap group is Whosoever South. They are truly in a class by themselves. This is Goin Home.
Don't overdose on Tryptophan  over the weekend. We'll be back with more Rap Videos on Monday. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Music Video Monday: I Was Wrong

Our regular scheduled Music Video Monday is another housecleaning post. Picking up those orphan videos from various genres and assembling them into one entertaining post. We begin with Modern Worship, and the band Bridgecity. This is Forgiven.
Moving on to Alternative. Derek Webb, formerly of Caedmon's Call, now President of Noisetrade. This is the title track to his new album, I was wrong, I'm Sorry, and I Love You. I can think of at least one person I would say that to, but I would say I Apologize instead. To the video.

We conclude housekeeping with The City Harmonic and A City on A Hill. 
Rap and Hip hop begin on Black Friday. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, November 22, 2013

MVM Weekend Edition: On This Mountain

Housecleaning time again at Music Video Monday. As I progress through the genres sometimes a few orphans are left behind that are two few to handle without mixing. These posts mix and match those few into a post.

We begin with The Civil Wars, the true definition of a Folk Supergroup. This is the lyric video from From This Valley.

We go from folk to alternative, and more from Paramore. This is Now.

And we conclude with Modern Worship. This is Bethel Music who is Chasing You.

Monday we will have more housekeeping. Until then I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Don't Want Your Sugar and Spice

Now, we throw away the script. Two Summers ago we here at Night Beat were drawn in by the Siren Song of a Rock And Roll Mermaid. Ariel (Pronounced R-E-L), the Pink Haired Lead Vocalist of Decatur, Illinois based Icon For Hire. One of the Top Tier FFR Bands out there, Icon For Hire's major label Debut rocketed to fan favorite by copying Skillet, not a bad thing to do.

For their encore they threw away the script, gained some new fans, and lost some old ones. Since I have been a fan from the start count me among the "old" , but not among the lost.

Listening to Icon for Hire (self-titled) is an either love it or hate it matter. The haters say that IFH went pop to gain a bigger fan base. Actually they went rapcore. Yes, the subtitle could be Ariel Raps. And the rapcore that they chose to emulate was Earthsuit. Check out Kaleidoscope Superior and then this album. See if you catch the similarities. Hint: It's in the abrupt cold start of the rap segments, which echo Paul Meany.

Speaking of Meany, one could say Icon For Hire has taken a meaner streak. While they may have added some pop sensibilities, there is no Sugar and Spice.

"Sorry about your parents, they sound like mean people, your daddy sounds like a jerk" (from Sorry About Your Parents)
"Our culture does nothing for me. The American Dream mainstream just bores me." (from Pop Culture)
"You can bury my body in the backyard, when you're not looking I will dig myself up." (from Rock and Roll Thugs)
You get the idea. Far from being a depressed and angry album, like Evanescence it taps into darker emotions and still conveys hope and healing.

"I'll be the mess, you be the medicine. I'll play the mess, you play the medicine. Why don't you fix me. I can't help myself" (from Fix me)
The sound of Icon for Hire is totally unlike Amy and Evanescence, however. Still, Ariel's voice on the ballads is Heavenly. She should do more of them.

I'm hooked. I liked the debut, Scripted , but this time they pulled out all the stops. Perfect 5's come in many forms. This one is a simply addictive album that there is no immunity for. I'm not a critic or cynic. 5 Emeralds. I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dissecting The Doves

I Think I shall finally do my annual wrap-up of the Dove Awards, though it seems that things have been reduced to the ridiculous on their own due to the 18 month eligibility year in order to switch from an April to an October Award. All that was fixed was the placement of the award, nothing else.

The +Dove Awards have always seemed to me to have been a popularity contest, more than any of them. Even the +Grammy Awards, when they had a Christian Category worth mentioning, which they don't anymore, had a better finger on the pulse of what people listened to. I used to call the Dove's the Amy and Smitty Show. Since they aren't really in the public eye anymore on a regular basis, that has abated.

Unfortunately, the process of block voting, as it were, has not changed. This year the favorites were Matt Redman and +Toby Mac. Both of them had perfect nominations. Now while I am accusing nothing, I am just saying that the Doves seems to be prone to sloppy voting practices. It's almost as if we say, this year we are going to give the award to X and, regardless of how the album actually is, they win. Now I usually expect such shenanigans from the Emmy Awards. Those are usually fraught with winners whose "turn" had come. Usually in a crappy movie, though, and for a less than stellar performance. But I digress. In this case Eye On It was far from Toby's best, plus it came out over a year ago. It was for the previously awarded PVA's and it didn't win. Same with Redman. He won awards for his song 10,000 Reasons, which came off an album from July 2011. It should have been dropped from contention due to age.

In addition to Redman's 5/5 Night and Toby Mac going 4/4, there were also a number of categories where the Song winner was from the album winner. Now I may have done that as well, but to my knowledge there is no rule that that must be the case. It was a hat trick at the Dove's, because it happened in Contemporary Gospel, Traditional Gospel, and Hip Hop.

One more gripe and I'm done. Demon Hunter's album True Defiance was one of my best albums of 2012 (#8), and all the Dove's liked about it was the Album Cover. Glad you recognized something about it guys, but it should have been nominated for much more.

The Awards came out back in October, and it's now November. It's an old, possibly irrelevant post. And I'm fine with it. If it's good enough for the Dove's then it should be good enough for all. Just Kidding. Here's hoping the next Dove's improves. Until then you always have the +The WENC Night Beat and the +We Love Christian Music Awards, which, despite adding a Southern Gospel and Country category this year, has a much superior field of nominees. I guess you can learn something from us young ones. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Music Video Monday: Whatever

Welcome back to the regular weekly edition of Music Video Monday, where we play the best Christian Music Videos on the Web. In short, we do what MTV used to when they were cool.

Today we finish up with electronica, and then we have a few more housecleaning posts before moving on to the next genre, which will be rap and hip hop.

We begin with another video from Twenty-One Pilots. This one is called Holding On To You.

V. Rose is next. Between solo albums she is the favorite female vocalist for the rapper Flame. This is Battery.
Allistair is next. The electronic band composed of Zander. Yes, it doesn't get any easier. I guess it's just best to throw your hands in the air and scream WHTVR.

Finally, closing out the genre, we Take You to Har Megiddo (yes, that is the name of Armageddon). This is the Solar System Remix.
Friday and Monday are a few housecleaning posts of various genres. Our next full genre post will be on November 29 after Thanksgiving when Rap Videos begin with Still Trill Christians, among others. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply

Friday, November 15, 2013

MVM Weekend Edition: Guns for Hands

Welcome Back to the new Weekend Edition of Music Video Monday. This weekend we move into the Electronic Arena. Personally, it is one of my very favorites. It was one of God's greatest blessings to man when Mr. Robert Moog created the synthesizer.

We Begin with Pas Neos, and The Joy Set Before Me from their recent album Who Do You Say that I am. This is a live performance at One Thing2012

The Capital Kings are next, with You'll Never Be Alone.

Britt Nicole is pretty good as pop artists go, but on the dance floor, this girl is Gold.

And we wrap things up with Twenty-One Pilots, which makes it pretty difficult to fly a plane, but it is even more difficult when you have Guns For Hands.

That's it for the weekend edition. We continue in the Electronic Arena on Monday, when we shall have Videos from V.Rose and Har Megiddo among others. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.    

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Night Beat Rewind: October 2013

October is finally in the bag, release wise. It's time to do the monthly rewind. We begin the Platinum Vinyl Award Eligibility year with a doozy. Talk about candy store. There were a whopping eight Perfect 5's. One was a push from last year. Since the album was announced in the previous year but finally ceased to be vaporware in October. And then there was the Christmas releases, which aren't eligible for an award but have to be counted. There will be no links at first for this post, for obvious reasons.

Christmas Music (Non-Eligible)

  • Paul Baloche - Christmas Worship 3.75 Emeralds
  • Dave Barnes - A December to Remember 4.75 Emeralds
  • Jonathan Butler - Merry Christmas To You 4.75 Emeralds
  • For King and Country - Into the Silent Night 4.75 Emeralds
  • Brandon Heath - Christmas Is Here 4.50 Emeralds
  • North Point Music - North Point Christmas: Let There Be Light 3.75 Emeralds
  • Phillips, Craig and Dean - Hope For All The World 4.50 Emeralds
  • The Robertsons - Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas 5 Emeralds
  • Marvin Sapp - Christmas Card 4.75 Emeralds
 Though I'm not a fan of Country, the Duck Dynasty group had me smiling. It's hard to top a duck call version of Deck The Halls. On to the releases which

Missed The Mark

  • Keith Elgin - Our Hope Live 3.75 Emeralds
  • The Exchange - The Exchange 3.75 Emeralds
  • The Fold - Morning Past 3.75 Emeralds
  • Natalie Grant - Hurricane (Deluxe) 3.75 Emeralds
  • Gurl Code - Gurl Code 3.75 Emeralds
  • City Harbor - Come However You Are 3.75 Emeralds
  • One:nine - North Flew South For The Winter 3.50 Emeralds
  • Lynda Randle - Ageless Hymns 3.50 Emeralds
  • Sivion - Group Therapy 3.50 Emeralds
  • Austin Stone - King of Love 3.75 Emeralds
  • Various - Holy Hip Hop, Volume 17 3.75 Emeralds
  • Various - Jam The Hype, Volume 1 3.75 Emeralds
  • Various - Just As I Am 3.50 Emeralds
  • Michelle Williams -Do You Know 3.75 Emeralds
Most of these albums just missed being pool eligible, so they are not bad albums. We move from the not in to those albums which are deemed to be 

Pure Platinum

  • All The Bright Lights - The Wind and the Waves 5 Emeralds
  • Anberlin - Devotion Vital Special Edition 5 Emeralds
  • Beautiful Eulogy - Instruments of Mercy 5 Emeralds
  • Downhere - Love & History: The Best of Downhere 5 Emeralds
  • Icon For Hire - Icon For Hire 5 Emeralds
  • Robbie Seay Band - Psalms EP, Volume 1 5 Emeralds
  • Martin Smith - God's Great Dance Floor, Step 2 5 Emeralds
  • Aaron Sprinkle - Water and Guns 5 Emeralds 
All The Bright Lights is the holdover. Anberlin is a special edition including a live second disc, and Downhere is a best of, which won't make the finals, because we don't have a best of Category. 

Finally we go to those releases in the middle, or ones we deem

Semi-Precious Metal

  • Bride - Incorruptible 4.50 Emeralds
  • Canon - Mad Haven 4.50 Emeralds
  • Steven Curtis Chapman - The Glorious Unfolding 4.50 Emeralds
  • Family Force 5 - Reanimated 4.75 Emeralds
  • Flame - Royal Flush 4.50 Emeralds
  • Gateway Worship - Women of Faith Presents: Gateway Worship 4.75 Emeralds
  • Hillsong Young and Free - We Are Young and Free 4.50 Emeralds
  • Dustin Kensrue - The Water & The Blood 4.75 Emeralds
  • Thousand Foot Krutch - Made In Canada: The 1998-2010 Collection 4.50 Emeralds
  • Bryan Popin - You Can Make It 4.50 Emeralds
  • Press Play - #LITO 4.75 Emeralds
  • Righteous Vendetta - The Fire Inside 4.75 Emeralds
  • Royal Tailor - Royal Tailor 4.50 Emeralds
  • Sainthood Reps - Headswell 4.50 Emeralds
  • Laura Story - God of Every Story 4.50 Emeralds
  • Superchick RE:Collections 4.50 Emeralds
  • Jon Thurlow - Stand In Awe 4.75 Emeralds
  • Chris Tomlin - Burning Lights: Deluxe Tour Edition 4.75 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - My Hope: Songs Inspired By The Message and Mission of Billy Graham 4.50 Emeralds
  • Vertical Church - The Rock Won't Move 4.50 Emeralds
  • WARR Acres - Hope Will Rise 4.75 Emeralds
  • Wolves at the Gate - Back To School 4.50 Emeralds 
That finishes off the month of October. Things are getting off to a roaring start here in the 5th Platinum Vinyl Award Eligibility Year. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Music Video Monday: Wanted

Welcome Back to Music Video Monday, and Happy Veterans Day everyone. On This Day in 1918 the Armistice which led the groundwork for World War II was signed (sorry, Ended World War I, but we know the truth). End of history lesson, on to the videos.

We are closing out pop music on this Monday. Friday we move on to the Electronic Genres. We begin our video tour with another video by Love and The Outcome. This is City of God.
Next Up we have a wonderful British-American Sister Duo known as The Sonflowerz. This is the video for the title cut, Love Walked In.
No Sophomore Slump for our next artist. I knew it when I heard her debut, but it seems the industry is a little behind, as usual. Simply put, Dara Maclean is Wanted.
We end our pop tour with Ryan Stevenson, who says that he is Holding Nothing Back.
That finishes off pop. Friday we begin Dance and Electronica. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

No More Hell To Pay

1986 was a milestone year in Christian Music. At least if you were a headbanger. It was the year that a bunch of long haired freaks dethroned one of Pop Music's favorite singers, at least for a moment. The most sung youth ballad in history was, for a while, replaced by some Sweet Music.

Robert Sweet, Michael Sweet, Timothy Gaines, Oz Fox. We know them as Stryper. The name hails from the Bible. Isaiah 53:5 to be exact (by His Stripes we are healed). The album was called To Hell With The Devil , and the original cover featuring four long haired angels casting the devil into Hell caused quite a stir among the CCM Industry at large and was replaced by a black triangle logo with the name underneath. Most notable, at least for me, was that the ballad Honestly actually supplanted Friends by Michael W. Smith. Plus the album went platinum. Rare for a Christian Album at any time. In the 80's, and to a heavy metal band.

Fast Forward 27 years. Stryper is still among us, a feat in itself. Of course they did take somewhat of a sabbatical from 1991 to 1999. Still, when they reunited they did it with all the original members.

No More Hell to Pay , the third original album from the reunited band, is the sequel to THWTD in more ways than one. First, counting The Yellow and Black Attack EP, it is the
third album in sequence, not counting best of's and covers. Then there is another angel themed album cover. And finally, there is a Hell themed title.

That's pretty much where the similarities between the two end. This is by far the loudest and strongest Stryper album to date. The One, which is the only ballad on the album, is not what you would expect, honestly. It is still good. The anthems are where the band has always shone, and it is no different here. The Guitar Work by The Wizard of OZ is to be envied by any guitarist short of Phil Keaggy and Robert Sweet can still hit the high notes. Last Year I gave their students, Canadians Blessed By A Broken Heart, a Five Emerald Rating. I can do no less for the teachers here. The title cut alone is worth the albums, with typical tight three part harmonies. But then there is Revelation.

I'm, I'm, I'm, Coming like a thief at night. And You, you, you, you're out of time so make it right. There, There, There, will be no more apologies. Cause, my, my, my, my wrath will spread like a disease.
There's a Revelation, it's coming after you. Without hesitation, it's gonna bring the truth.
5 Emeralds. I can really do no less for No More Hell to Pay . The only Hell to pay will be if you don't get this album. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.