Friday, January 25, 2013

Flashback Friday: Through The Benjamin Gate

Welcome Back to the Commonwealth of CCM, that part of Flashback Friday in which our focus has been bands within the British Commonwealth of Nations. We Have done Great Britain and Australia, and we have moved on to The Republic of South Africa.

As a side note, I have also begun watching, from Season One Episode One, the entire series of Stargate SG-1. Now this is only relevant because our band is The Benjamin Gate, and their major label debut, called 'untitled' (2001), featured a stargate motif.

The voice behind The Benjamin Gate was Adrienne Liesching (now Adie Camp, wife of Jeremy Camp, CCM Mega Star). Adie has since re-emerged as a solo artist in the bland AC style. The albums are good, but not standouts. One of the problems is that all hints of South African heritage are gone, and that, along with her ever changing hair, was one of the things we loved about her.

Untitled had a number of memorable songs, and a truly unforgettable sound. Probably the biggest hit was All Over Me.

Continuing with the Sci-Fi motif, Contact (2002), which was a bit more refined, but still very good. This is Lift Me Up.

To fans of The Benjamin Gate, Jeremy Camp will always be the guy who broke up TBG.  We forgive you, Jeremy. The question remains, though. If Adie can be a wife, mother and Bland AC Solo artist, why not wife, mother, and Alt Rock Frontwoman of a band with a sound that would make everyone forget about Jeremy Camp. Sorry, answered my own question.

That concludes this edition of Flashback Friday. I am going to have to retool this once again, because each of the subjects didn't have equal numbers, and some are proving difficult to research, as they are really "where are they now fodder." Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Music Video Monday: Bombs Away

Welcome to an all new edition of Music Video Monday. To all my loyal subcribers, readers and followers, thank you. Before I get to the videos I have a personal request. If you don't mind, would you use the share buttons underneath the post to get this before as many eyes as you can. It seems to me that the Blog Amplification Platform that I use +Triberr led by +Dino Dogan has decided that The Night Beat is blog non grata over there. None of the posts have been shared in over a month. On the other hand, I also have another blog, Welcome To The Republic, which is highlighting my fiction writing. That is getting wonderful sharing, and I am grateful for it. This is from the official +Triberr stats, so I hope it's a glitch, but the google stats seem to confirm it. Now, on to our video lineup.

We begin with a lyric video from +Hawk Nelson entitled words, which features Bart Millard of Mercy Me. Hawk is retuning to action after suffering the loss of its Lead Singer Jason Dunn. Welcome Jonathan Steingard. I hope he's as much of nut as Jason.

We continue with another Lyric Video, this time from Satellites and Sirens, one of the best reasons for Craigslist. This is You're Home, dedicated to the memory of Ruth Niedermeyer.
We close things out on a redemption theme, but with an interesting twist. You know the story of Eve and the Apple. It was all about Life Insurance. You've got to see this powerfull video to truly experience it. Bombs Away. Welcome Back to the limelight Rachel Lampa. This will definitely be among the Songs of the Year for 2013.

Sometimes you only get one song that makes you go OMG WOW. This may be it. Until next time Bombs Away, sorry, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Paradigm Shift

Terra, Terra, Terra. No, this isn't an article about the Japanese-American picture about the attack on Pearl Harbor (that was Tora, Tora, Tora). Terra, Terra, Terra is band out of Lakeland, Florida known for Atmospheric Alternative music. They released their sophmore album this past Tuesday, called The Space We Create. Their debut was back in 2009, Mind like a Mind, Soul as a Child. CCM released Paradigm as a free single, and while it was good, it didn't turn me into a Terra groupie.

This release may. Since I am a fan of melodic music, whatever the genre, this is right up my alley. Burn is quickly becoming my favorite on the album, with the title cut, which is last by the way, coming in second.

Some other reviewers have criticized the album because it has too many sing along favorites. That's a matter of opinion. I would rather have that then a bunch of forgettable songs.

The World wont come crashing down, but I am awarding The Space We Create the first Perfect 5 Emerald rating of 2013. While it wont be The Only One, it is very rewarding nonetheless. Pick it up. Now. Just Click on the link and buy through Amazon and help support The Night Beat at the same time. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flashback Friday: Kiss Me

Welcome back to an all new edition of Flashback Friday. We are concluding our current three post rotation with A Real Alternative. This weeks band toiled fairly obscurely in the CCM world until a simple request for a kiss thrust them into the mainstream.

Sixpence None The Richer, or simply Sixpence, was one of the Pioneers of Christian Alternative in the late 90's. It was fitting perhaps, that they were launched into the forefront by probably the most Alternative Artist of them all, Steve Taylor. Taylor, like Sixpence, and a lot of artists with crossover appeal, was uneasy with the "Christian Band" Label. Though there was no doubt about Christian bona-fides. They never fit in with the mold the industry tried to fit them in. Unlike other bands, however, (Evanescence, Creed, and recently P.O.D. come to mind) they were able to walk the tightrope fairly easily.

Kiss me started it all, on their self titled album back in 1997, which was actually their third album, though for all intents and purposes, most people think it is their debut.

The album also featured a hidden track cover of "there she goes" by the La La's on a later pressing.

It took five long years for Leigh Nash and company to come up with another album and Divine Discontent (2002) was the result. With this album the Crossover was complete, and some would say that they were no longer "Christian". Breathe Your Name was the big single, and they did another cover, this time of Don't Dream it's Over by Crowded House. Ironically, the name was prophetic, because within to years the band broke up.

The breakup lasted a decade, and was finally fixed last year, with the release of Lost in Transition (2012). The album was released to mixed reviews. While it doesn't have the magic of their eponymous release, it marks a fitting entry point back in the market. As they say, better sooner than later.

That concludes our look at sixpence. There is one additional note. During their decade long hiatus Leigh teamed up with one of my favorite Techno bands in Delerium and the result was known as Fauxliage. I think Sixpence needs to look in this direction in the future. Who knows. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Release The Panic: The Night Beat Winter Preview

I know, I'm a little late. Still, with the entire industry in hiatus in December, these things tend to happen. Not surprisingly, the first two quarters of the Platinum Vinyl Award eligibility year tend to be kind of light. Not to worry, we'll be swamped in the second half.

We begin with the rest of January. Newreleasetuesday has been previewing the recent album Limitless by Melbourne, Australia based Planetshakers, and I thought it was very impressive with a blend of Worship, Rock, Dance and Techno. I gave it 4.75 Emeralds. Check it out.

January concludes with two albums to watch. Staying in Worship, Auckland, New Zealand based The Ember Days brings their unique alt-worship sound to us once again with More Than You Think. I think the band knows we underestimate them. Based on past results with Emergency, this album should rock.

Speaking of Rock, January also closes out with the Fiction Family Reunion, a side project from Jon Foreman of Switchfoot.

February is the month of Valentines and love, and the Color of Love is RED. The Melodic Hard Rockers tell us to Release the Panic, and I think that you should. Though if Red isn't your color, maybe you should try The Letter Black. Their long awaited Sophmore release is entitled Rebuild. On the Dance front, we finally get to hear the long long long awaited release from Plumb Need You Now.

Nothing Says Loud Like Audio Adrenaline. Kevin Max joins the reformed band for its re-inaugural release Kings and Queens this March to close out winter.

That concludes our Winter Preview. Check out the Preview of Terra, Terra, Terra this week at AOL Music. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Music Video Monday: Baby Boy

Welcome once again to Music Video Monday, where we scan the web for the best music videos out there and share them with you. January is upon us and Christmas is over, yet we begin our weekly tour with a Lyric Video with Christmas Overtones. The Christmas Prequel comes courtesy of For King and Country, also known as Joel and Luke Smallbone, brothers of Rebecca St. James. This is Baby Boy.

Andrew Peterson releases a Music Video which is a must see for anyone who has a son. This is You'll Find Your Way.

Another lyric video for our listening and reading pleasure. This is new Techno/Dance group Capital Kings and We Belong as One (feat. Toby Mac).

And we shall close out our musical journey with a teaser. Bombs Away.

As I close every week, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Open Letter to the CCM Industry

Dear CCM Music Execs,

STOP IT!!! We're trying to save your hide. Sometimes it's best to skip pleasantries and get right to the issue. Unless you've got your head in the sand, (and sometimes that's where I think the music industry is in general), you know that the music landscape is changing, and some may say dying. I have been associated with the industry long enough to watch the transition from Vinyl to Cassette to CD to Download. The sound is what the fans want, and not a product. Apple realized that the way to stop music piracy was to make it financially reasonable to buy music. The iTunes Store was born and we are pretty much used to an average price of $0.99 for a song, and roughly $9.99 for an album.

Music Videos are a different story altogether. Until the birth of MTV in 1981, nobody had even heard of Music Videos. From the start they were more of a promotional tool. Yes, there were early VHS full concert videos, but they languished on Christian Bookstore shelves while people bought albums. I thought the industry had learned, because the recent trend has been to package a DVD with a CD and to charge the same price as if you bought a CD only (In the CCM world that is about $15). That practice was a tantamount admission that the Video Format is a money loser and is good only for promotion.

Youtube is all about promotion. I was alerted by a post on Facebook from the band Rocky Loves Emily about their label deleting videos that the Band had given permission to post. What hurts most is that the label in this case is Tooth and Nail, a label that we at Night Beat HQ give high praise, but here in this case we think that President Brandon Ebel is acting unwisely. I said, a Music Video is all about promotion. While a good video is like a mini-movie, THERE IS NO MARKET for MUSIC VIDEOS. People just enjoy watching them and learning about the thinking of their favorite artists through their choice of expressions (Icon For Hire comes to mind). Put the videos back up on Youtube and encourage legal video sharing like Youtube. No one is creating pirate DVDs, at least not in any way close to the Music  or Movie piracy rackets.

I do have an axe to grind here. The Night Beat recently added a Best Music Video section to the Platinum Vinyl Awards. It will be really hard to do if the labels start pulling down videos everywhere. Not that the Music Industry is alone in this short sighted approach. The TV industry pulls down videos on Youtube on a fairly regular basis (though in that case they are only interested in 40 year old+ nostalgia shows like Top Cat).

There, I've said my piece. The best way to handle things may be to make sure that every band has its own youtube channel, and that videos are posted on a regular basis. That way the labels control what goes out, and the fans get an uninterrupted supply of music videos. The New MTV. Now that's an Idea worth trying. I wont hold my breath.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Flashback Friday: Know The Code

Welcome everyone to an all new Flashback Friday. 2013 Will be in full swing before you know it. One of the signs of this is the return of both Flashback Friday and Music Video Monday.

Today's Flashback Friday post is about the Synthpop band known as Code of Ethics. Begun in the 90's and gaining their initial fame through Youth With A Mission touring, the group, which contained Barry Blaze and a rotating support staff, released five albums in its First Life, which lasted from 1990-1999
  • Visual Paradox (1991)
  • Code of Ethics (1993)
  • Arms Around The World (1995)
  • Soulbait (1997)
  • Blaze (1999)
At this point the initial Europop Band broke up. This is the official music video for soulbait.

A nine year hiatus pretty much put this band on the "Where are they Now?" list. Blaze retired to Florida and became a Worship Leader. Not really surprising since Blaze was a worship album of sorts. The retirement was almost permanent, however. A near fatal motorcycle accident in 2004 resulted in almost total blindness and deafness. Almost being the operative word.

Code of Ethics returned in 2008 with Lost in Egypt. Personally, I believe it is among his best work. Initially it was offered as a Free Download and I was online at Midnight for the release, because initial rumors was that it was going to be an extremely limited release. Code of Ethics has returned one more time with Beautiful Thing (2011), which was briefly in the running for a Platinum Vinyl Award last year.

Since his health problems most likely preclude a full return to touring, Blaze has turned to the business end of music, launching his own indie label, Razzbarry Records, which contains Blaze, Code of Ethics, The Great Transparency and Temple Veil as artists. Even though it has only been a year, here's hoping that the CEO gig can be part time and COE will soon return to the "recording studio".

Next week we shall conclude our current three post cycle with A Real Alternative, and our subject will be another band almost in a permanent breakup. Two words for a hint. Kiss Me.
Until next we meet, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Music Video Monday: Between the Raindrops

Welcome to the return of Music Video Monday, and the first edition of this regular column for 2013. We shall see how quick we can get up to speed, but at least we have one new video.

Our new video comes from a crossover group by the name of Lifehouse. They released their latest, Almeria, on December 11 of 2012. Their first video for the album is entitled Between the Raindrops and features Natasha Bedingfield.
That pretty much catches us up. I do have a preview of sorts. The electronic group Capital Kings. They release their self-titled debut Tomorrow. This is the Lyric video for I Feel So Alive.

Another Lyric Video Preview. Overcome releases No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets tomorrow, and since this is a Thrash-Metal Band, my usually cool treatment of Lyric Videos is tempered, since it is the only way I will figure out what they're singing. This is Verum.

I think I may have shared this earlier, but I will do so again. Karyn Williams releases her debut Album Only You Tomorrow as well. This is the title video.

That wraps everything up. I hope things pick up soon, or we shall be on a somewhat irregular schedule. No worries, though. If that happens I will fill the space with PVA Video Nominations. See You next Monday. I am Awaiting Your Reply

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year from The Night Beat

Welcome Back Everyone. I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable new year. Here at The Night Beat things are fairly quiet. Nothing on the horizon for releases until the 8th of the month. So here are the plans. I may get out a few housekeeping posts this week, but then I may not. Regular posting will begin next week.
  • Music Video Monday: Monday January 7 Return
  • Flashback Friday: Friday January 11 Return
That should do it for now. We will return in force next Monday. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.