Thursday, July 31, 2014

Great Expectations

Can an album suffer from Schizophrenia? You would think not, since the album is not in itself a living thing. But since it is recorded by living breathing people you have to wonder.

I bring that up because, if there is such a thing as a schizophrenic album, then Time Stands Still by Family Force Five is one of them. (The link is for a pre-order, since the album doesn't come out until August 5. Amazon is letting you stream it for free, so check it out and make a decision for Yourself.)

Why do you say that, you say? Mostly because of Expectations. My experience with FF5 started with Business Up Front/Party In The Back. The style of Music was described as Krunk, and it was definitely not your average rock and roll. It took off. This album is definitely not Krunk. It's half krunk. That half, which I really like, actually starts off the album. 

  • 1- Sweep The Leg
  • 2- BZRK
  • 6- Glow In The Dark
  • 7- Raised By Wolves
  • 8- Jet Pack Kicks
  • 11 - Everybody Lose Your Mind
  • 12 - Dance Like Nobody's Watching
Most of these songs are classic FF5 and some have even a TFK feel. But then something happened. Maybe it has something to do with Solomon Olds leaving the band. But somewhere in the studio they said "Hey, Let's try to sound like a boy band". And that is the second album on the album

  • 3- Show Love
  • 4. Time Stands Still
  • 5- Walk on Water
  • 9- XRAY
  • 10. Let it Be Love
  • 13. When Everything Changes
  • 14. Never Say Never
  • 15.This Is My Year
What we have here is an Anthem Lights Album, and that wouldn't be so bad except the label says Family Force 5. XRAY should be particularly cringe-worthy for a lot of FF5 fans. That being said, it's not a particularly bad album. It's just "meh". So I am giving it an appropriate rating of 3.5 Emeralds. No it won't be in the pool. Not even close.

Here's hoping the next FF5 album returns to form. Great Expectations, it can bite you every time. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Music Video Monday: Freedom Fall

Welcome back to our regularly scheduled edition of Music Video Monday. We're a little late with the posting due to hectic times at Night Beat HQ. Late isn't missed, however, like I missed Flashback Friday by a day.

We begin with a Live Video from +WarrAcresVEVO . This is Freedom Fall.
Next up is an artist I discovered last year from Christmas Music, of all things. Up and coming hip hop artist Shuree is up next with One Girl Can Change The World.
Finally, we have Bellarive as our final band this week. While it isn't exactly Music to raise the dead, it sort of is. This is Lazarus.
That concludes this edition of Music Video Monday. Until next week, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Classic Replay: Flashback Friday - A Glass of Sweet Comfort

This weeks Flashback Friday Replay is a little more than Just a Replay. It is also a reunion. The original post can be found here, and it is complete as far as it went at the time. 

Sweet Comfort Band that is. Despite the adult beverage sounding name, which was shortened to SCB, they were actually a Jesus Music Era Christian Rock Band with tinges of R&B at the first. That's not to say they didn't play up the name. Again, we refer to the classic skit at the end of Servant's Jungle Music.

S: Steady on. Steady on old boy. What you need is a glass of sweet comfort
L: Blast you Stanley, why I drink it all the time. Hold On Tight, you get the glasses and I'll be breakin the Ice.
Never mind two-fers. This was a three-fer. Referenced in this short two lines were the bands first three albums: Sweet Comfort (1977), Breakin The Ice (1979) and Hold On Tight (1980). The band would release three additional albums: Hearts of Fire (1980), Cutting Edge (1981) and Perfect Timing (1982). A note on the last two albums. As I would listen to them I would note that as each album flowed, the songs seemed to be arranged on a theme, and flowed in a linear fashion. Even more so, though the albums were released a year apart, it was obvious that each one fit with the other, like part 1 and 2. For a time I had even toyed with the idea of turning the two albums into a musical. I'm sure prof Rhonda Winderl at ENC would have loved it.

The final lineup was Bryan Duncan on Keyboard and Lead Vocal, Kevin Thomson on Bass Guitar, his brother Rick Thomson on Drums and Vocals, and Randy Thomas on Guitar and Vocals. The band is rumored to be coming out with a new album with a new Bass Guitarist (Kevin Thomson passed away in 2010). After the band broke up Bryan Duncanwent on to have a successful solo career and Randy Thomas went on to found the Band Allies. From the archives (sort of), I give you a classic SCB song I Love You With My Life, done at the Kevin Thompson Memorial in 2010, which included CCM Legend Darryl Mansfield in the lineup.

Rumors floated for a many years that the band would reunite. We thought it was all a pipe dream  when Kevin Thompson went on to Glory. But You Know What? The rumors turned out to be true. The appropriately titled The Waiting is Over (2013) was indeed a Refreshing Beverage for fans of Christian Music. Kevin Thomson's son took over on Bass, and the other original members resumed their roles. 

I will Leave You with The Audio for Something Else is Going On Here from The Waiting Is Over. Until Next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

King of The Lowborn

"The King is Dead, Long Live The King." It seems appropriate with this post. Tuesday marked the end of an era in Christian Alternative. There are a few bands out there that define the genre they are in. Petra defined Rock for a Generation, and to a certain level still does, and not in name alone (their name in Greek is Rock) but on inheritance. Many of today's Christian Rock bands grew up listening to Petra and their music shaped their sound. That tends to happen in a 30+ year career. Alternative Music hasn't been around that long, but still it has its royalty. The Emperor or Deity of Alternative would have to be The Choir. Reaching the 30 year mark, and still making top class music, they will not easily cede the throne to an upstart.

The band we say goodbye today isn't that old, but 12 years seems like an eternity in Christian Music with bands hanging it up after five years. Crossing a 10 year mark should be a minimum for respect. Especially if that is your only claim to fame. Fortunately for +Anberlin it isn't. +Brandon Ebel and +Tooth & Nail Records didn't merely strike gold this time, they mined platinum. I have their debut album in my possession Blueprints For The Black Market (2003), but no other complete albums in my collection. I intend to change that. I have been a big fan of the band since Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+video] [+digital booklet] (2010), and the band has been a fixture at the Platinum Vinyl Awards since its inception. Many things can be said of Anberlin, but Pretender to the Throne is not one of them.

Lowborn is a tough album to peg, on first listen I said, "This isn't as good as Devotion or Vital [+digital booklet] ". But then, a funny thing happened on the way to 4.5 Emerald obscurity. I listened a few more times, and started thinking about not how the album sounded, but how it felt. The album feels complete, like they are tying up loose ends. It also is more melancholy and less rocking, which at first made me disappointed, but I was drawn in by the variety of styles. It is also to me the most "Christian" of the recent albums. Bands such as Anberlin, Creed, Evanescence and others have been greatly successful at sharing the Christian Faith in a way that slips seamlessly into the mainstream consciousness. While there is a rock number in We are Destroyer and Dissenter, the rest of the album is slow to medium tempo ballads by Stephen Christian with an ethereal alternative sound. The rockers will be disappointed, but lovers of music will be in Heaven, where "everybody wants to go, but nobody wants to die".

After much listening. I have decided to confer on Lowborn a Perfect 5 Emerald Rating. It is a fitting farewell. Anberlin, the King of The Lowborn. Your subjects will have to be content with Anchor and Braille for now. Like the Arthurian Legend, I have no doubt you will return when the time is right (you bet there will be a reunion). Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rising Beats: The 2014 Third Quarter - Modern Worship

The end of the line has been reached. Today we announce the big winner for the third quarter pool entries. Modern Worship had seventeen releases. That would almost make for three genres this quarter alone. Let's get right to it.

Modern Worship

That finishes off the Third Quarter of 2014. We've got only three months to go. And still I have to get the Finals of the 2013 Awards in the bag. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Music Video Monday: Stranger Ways to be Disconnected

It's a special Music Video Monday here at night beat HQ. Today we say goodbye to one of the greatest alternative bands of all time, and at the same time welcome some up and coming rockers who are destined for great things.

Where do I begin. I really hate goodbyes, and perhaps that is where I should start. 12 years ago a Mutiny Started on the CCM Bounty, and it was led by none other than Mr. Christian. Stephen Christian that is, the lead singer of +Anberlin . The band has decided to call it quits after 12 years, and while I wasn't there for the full ride but once I got on I was hooked. The band is a regular at the Platinum Vinyl Awards and Vital and Devotion are both perfect albums. We go out with Stranger Ways. The Lowborn salute you.

Next we go to the newcomers. Veridia is a new FFR Rock Band that I have become quite fond of. I loved the debut EP and hey, Red and Demon Hunter are fans as well. That alone speaks volumes. The band knows how to Rock, but in their Music Video Monday Debut, they have decided to take on the Silent Movie era. Disconnected indeed.

For our final video we bring you another new band with a strange name. This is Artifex Pereo and To Listen and Say Nothing.

We never have nothing to say here at Night Beat HQ, but it is time to hang it up for now. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rising Beats: The 2014 Third Quarter - Gospel

The penultimate 3rd Quarter Post. Gospel Music (the only Gospel Music allowed at Night Beat HQ. None of that Devil Music here. AKA as Southern Gospel) along with its sister genre Rhythm and Blues. A Very good showing this quarter with a bakers dozen entries (that's 13 for the rest of you). On to the list.


That does it for Gospel. And in case you haven' figured it out by now, the big winner this quarter was Modern Worship, with a whopping seventeen pool entries. There will be a lot of whittling in that category to make the seven final nominees. You try to explain to Darlene Zschech why she didn't qualify for an award. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rising Beats: The 2014 Third Quarter - Rap

Continuing on with our announcement of the Third Quarter Releases for the 2014 Platinum Vinyl Awards. There are only three album genres left. We are on to Rap and Hip Hop. After that there is only Gospel and Modern Worship. Which one is the big winner? Stay tuned.

Rap music was very well represented this time around, with a dozen entries. The genre itself is still in a state of flux, and between the rock influence and the dance influence, it will be interesting to see if there is a split in the genre soon.

Hip Hop/Rap

I have attempted, when feasible, to include the artists G+ Page as well as the Amazon Links. As I said before, I encourage you to buy through the included links and support the Night Beat while you get some great music. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.