Saturday, November 29, 2014

Night Beat Replay: Beware of Small Business Saturday

(The Following Post was published in 2011 as I discovered Small Business Saturday. The Post is Satire. Shop at the Business You Want to Shop At. Even Wal-Mart was originally a Small Business. Are you angry when your Children Become Adults? Properly nourished businesses will grow. Enjoy)

Today I am compelled to pass on news regarding a diabolical plot by the multinational corporations to control the world. Now this information has been provided to me by the peaceful folk at Occupy Wall Street, so we can be assured of its reliability.
Like all diabolical plots, this one has an innocent name. It's called Small Business Saturday. It has an equally innocent slogan "When we all shop small, it will be HUGE!" I have found numerous examples to show just how huge.

In 1902 Real Estate Agent George D. Dayton opens Dayton's Dry Goods, a small retail store on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, MN

In 1962 Sam & Helen Walton open a discount retail store in Rogers, AR. Unable to find investors for their one little store, they are forced to put up 95% of the money on their own.

In 1965 Leonard Riggio establishes Student Book Exchange in Greenwich Village. The small bookstore is devoted to providing low cost textbooks to college students.

In 1971 English Teacher Jerry Baldwin, History Teacher Zev Siegl, and Writer Gordon Bowker start a small coffee shop at 2000 Western Avenue in Seattle, WA

In 1976, in a garage in CA., two hippie kids build a computer circuit board with a fruity name. It has a CPU of 1MHz, 8kb of Ram, and 1kb of VRam, and sells for the beastly sum of $666.66

In 1978, 25 year old college dropout John Mackey and 21year old Rene Lawson Handy borrow $45,000 from family and friends and open Safer Way, a small natural foods store in Austin, TX

Now these are all small businesses, the backbone of America, and deserve our support. You would think so, and people did support them, and look what happened. They turned into the monsters Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and Apple, responsible for destroying main streets across this land.

What about the last example? That is the worst of all, for only three years later, when they only had 19 employees, Gaia herself, in her infinite wisdom, attempted to wipe this great evil out by unleashing the worst flood in Austin in 70 years. Without insurance, Mackey and Handy, with nearly a half million dollars worth of damage, would have closed, except that neighbors and customers volunteered to help them clean up the store, and vendors and creditors gave them time to pay their obligations. This allowed them to reopen after only 28 days, and they became Whole Foods Market, responsible for shutting down small natural food markets everywhere.

I think it is obvious. I implore you, Do Not Support Small Business. It WILL Grow.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving at The Night Beat

As you enjoy family, food, football and faith. Not necessarily in that order, just remember this. We celebrate a day in October 1621 When the Pilgrims (not the dour Puritan, these were real Elizabethan Englishmen) gave thanks, first to God, and then to the Wampanoags for their survival of the first year. Massasoit arrived with 90 of his tribemates plus 5 dressed deer and a dozen wild turkeys. There were also gun and arrow shooting contests in which both Wampanoag and Pilgrim participated. Plus foot races and wrestling contests. It lasted three days. And it paved the way for a treaty between the two which lasted for forty years. The Pilgrims were people of their word, unlike some of their descendants. So, if you see news items of protests against Thanksgiving, just remember, as is usually the case of anything in the MSM, it doesn't stand up to the facts of history. HAPPY THANKSGIVING everybody.

Of course we wouldn't want to leave you without something to watch other than football. Here is the full Charlie Brown's Christmas
 
We will see you all on Monday.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Music Video Monday: Psychosocial

Welcome to our Thanksgiving Week edition of Music Video Monday. Due to the magic of scheduling I should be able to create a full week of posts. We begin with our video tour. Things are slowing down, but it looks like I can avoid the Christmas Videos until next week, which is the plan.

Our first video comes from +brooke fraser. This is Psychosocial, from her latest release Brutal Romantic. 

Up next we have +Ginny Owens one of the best voices in Pop Music. This is No Borders. It's about love, not illegal immigration. 
Finally, we have a video Gospel legend Fred Hammond. This is I Will Trust.
That does it for this edition of Music Video Monday. Enjoy the turkey, be thankful, and I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, November 21, 2014

No More Meltdowns Goliath

The ratings system of the WENC Night Beat isn't exactly a closely guarded secret, but that doesn't mean that it's haphazard. One of the biggest factors, however, is expectations. With a debut artist, expectations, you would think, would be non-existent, but that really isn't true. In that case I judge them against the standard of what I feel would be the "Perfect Album" for the genre that they are in, or at least resemble for most of the album. Now in the case of an established artist, while I still have that perfect album in my mind, I also judge the album against what I feel is my expectations of a perfect album BY THAT ARTIST. Now sometimes an artists tries to make life difficult by promising never to make two albums that sound alike, like Project 86, but usually even there you can catch some similarities.

Now with a comeback things can get kind of crazy. And when an artists hasn't recorded an album in over 20 years. People change. But still, you can come up with something fairly accurate, as I did this past year with Sweet Comfort Band, which hadn't recorded in 30 years.

Speaking of crazy, it usually helps if the artist is certifiable, like Randy Stonehill or in this case Steve Taylor. After all age and maturity may pass, but crazy is forever. Goliath  is the title of Taylor's return to the music industry. No longer saddled with just Some Band, he has finally found the Perfect Foil. 

Now this isn't your daddy's Steve Taylor by any means (his heyday was between 1983-1987). The synthpop is gone. He never thought it aged well. Of course since I love techno and synthpop I have always begged to differ. There is no meltdown on this album or any tricks like Am I In Synch. A few throwbacks exist. Sympathy Vote has a distinct Whatever Happened to Sin vibe, but the sound is more mature. Mature sound, but the sarcasm (some might say venom, but it isn't) is still thick on tracks like Double Negative or Comedian ("I'm sick as a dog but I still fetch" is a new classic). The title track, a spin on the David/Goliath story in the Bible, has a video out. This is one mean little bunch.

I'm handing out candy here at +The WENC Night Beat as the Holiday Season approaches. Actually I seem to do it all year long. How else can you wind up with 30 or so perfect albums. I'm going to do it again, as I'm going to give Goliath a perfect 5 Emerald Rating. It's good to have the Clone Prince behind the mic again. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Righteous Babe Set Free

The Platinum Vinyl Awards is celebrating it's fifth birthday, and as we move into that season and collect entries for #PlatVnyl6 we have come full circle, and with a somewhat bittersweet remembrance.

Christendom in general and the Christian Music Industry in specific has had a really tough time violating Romans 14:4. For the Biblically Uninformed that verse reads "Who are you that judge another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand". Whole ministries have been founded on the basis that they alone would decide who was a Christian and who was not (the late Walter Martin and his ilk). As such I have always had a very prized place in my music heart for the K.O.O.K.s (that's Kicked Out Of the Kingdom). It goes at least to Leslie Phillips, at least in m recent memory. However Evanescence was the one who got the last laugh on the industry, and so in the inaugural Platinum Vinyl Award I created the Fallen Award, which honored the K.O.O.K.s in Christian Music.


The first award went to a Folk Rock Legend, the original Knappster. +Jennifer Knapp pretty much created modern Folk Rock, and the babe from Kansas grabbed a entire generation of Rockers who thought that RSJ could be a tad too tame. She burned bright for a while and then, burned out by the industry, she retired at the top of her act. She returned in 2010 after a 9 year hiatus with Letting Go (2010). Though the album was initially embraced and promoted by the CCM industry, like Fallen before it, soon information "leaked out" that Knapp announced she had come out of the closet. The only thing the industry didn't do was burn her at the stake. Musically however, there really wasn't that much difference between Letting Go and her "Christian Work". Letting go won (actually Split) the Folk Album award.

The gorgeous Kansan returns now with Set me free [+digital booklet] . Now 40 (my how time flies), this could be her best work yet. It is almost pure Folk, but she does Rock out on Remedy and Why Wait, which show she's still the Top Dog. There is also a song called What Might Have Been, which is probably the most beautiful song on the album. Actually the album most resembles Kansas, her debut. She is coming back home, and let me welcome her with 5 Emeralds. This Righteous Babe (her label, love it) has set the Folk Bar for #PlatVnyl6. 

The Knappster is also an author. She has written her story, appropriately titled Facing the Music: My Story . I would label it a must read. Until next time at the Night Beat Candy Store, I am Awaiting Your Reply.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Music Video Monday: Cathedrals

Welcome Back to Music Video Monday everyone, we are somewhat on schedule this week. Just a quick post this time. We begin our video tour with Bluegrass/Rap group +WHOSOEVER SOUTH and their latest Music Video, Down Here. 
We continue with another Perfect 5 Emerald Rating band, +Tenth Avenue North. This is We Are Cathedrals.
And finally, we conclude our video tour on a Hard Note. We crank up the volume for Project 86. This is the title video for Knives to The Future.
That does it for this edition of Music Video Monday. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Flashback Friday: Return of The Clone Prince

No I didn't spell the title wrong, the word is cloned. No, this isn't a Bob Dylan Post. Don't worry, things will become clearer soon. I could have used Send in The Clones or A Clone Again (Naturally).

Earlier in our Flashback Friday journey we met Randy Stonehill, someone whom, while a great musician, also had a fairly warped sense of humor, and has been the counterbalance to the often over serious CCM Universe. While Uncle Randy may have been Christian Music's Clown Prince, our latest subject excelled not in humor but in biting satire.

Roland Steven Taylor was born December 9, 1957 in Southern California, the son of a Pastor. The family soon up an moved to Denver Colorado. Maybe it was a mis-wiring of the brain, maybe it was the lack of oxygen in Denver. Whatever the reason, it is quite obvious that Steve (aren't you glad he didn't go by Roland) Taylor doesn't think like the typical Christian, and while the Industry may have rued the day he was born, Christian College Students and DJ's loved him.

One of the few Academic Elites of Christian Music (alright, alright, he was a Music Major). He started his adult career as a Youth Minister and Janitor at his father's Church. Musically he says The Clash, specifically London Calling "saved his life". While at Colorado University he recorded a few demo songs, and he went to Southern California after graduation to try to get signed by a mainstream label. He was unsuccessful, but one man, Jim Chaffee, was impressed and got him a job as assistant director of The Continentals.


Anyone who knows of Taylor's music knows he wasn't anything like the continentals. Chaffee got him another job, this time with Chuck Bolte's Jeremiah People, a Musical Comedy Troupe with heavy doses of satire. I remember them back in the 80's. They were great. Of course for pure comedy value Isaac Air Freight was superior.

Chaffee's Cheer leading finally paid off when he convinced Tayor's first boss, Cam Floria, founder of The Continentals, to give Taylor a two song slot at his Christian Artists Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Maybe it was the home crowd, but the Crowd Acclaim convinced Billy Ray Hearn, President of Sparrow Records, to sign Taylor as he came off the stage.

Clone Wars 

I Want To Be A Clone (1983) was a hit. The Six Song EP sold 85,000 copies, and in an industry dominated at the time by The Imperials, that was quite a showing. Christian Kids everywhere were introduced to attitude. Taylor launched his sarcastic wit directly on the Church, as Clone focused on the Christian Churches penchant for turning out cookie cutter Christians. Churchianity as it is called. Let Taylor tell you in his own way.


 Taylor's Meltdown

Meltdown (1984) was Taylor's full length debut, and anyone worried that he couldn't find enough targets to fill an album needn't have worried. The title cut focused on our celebrity obsession, and was sparked by a trip to Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum. He saw the statues and wondered "What would happen if someone turned up the heat". Kids, remember, he only THOUGHT it. Due to clone's success he decided to form a permanent touring band. He raided the studio musicians from clone to do it, and lest we forget who was the real star, he named them Some Band, as in Steve Taylor and Some Band. Meltdown was Taylor's first Music Video, and it also "starred" Lisa Welchel (The Facts of Life) in a supporting role as a TV Reporter.
Two memorable songs came out of Meltdown. While the title cut focused on our obsession with celebrity, the other song targeted bigotry in the Church, and apartheid as well. This is We Don't Need No Color Code Taylor was on a roll, and he kept up a pace of an album a year. Taylor's fertile mind, 80's Pop Culture, and the budding Televangelism Scandals, provided plenty of material for Taylor's Wit to focus on. For On The Fritz (1985) Taylor, in a most memorable "Fashion" turned his satire on the Public School system and the practice of teaching "Values Clarification". to the young skulls full of mush. For the song "Lifeboat" and its accompanying Music Video, Taylor enlisted the support of Mrs. Aryan "the world's ugliest woman". See if you agree. Even though I went to Public School, I seem to have missed out on the Lifeboat game. That's not saying I had to fight liberal indoctrination. Even though I wasn't tasked with deciding who lives and who dies, I did hear about "situational ethics". You know the drill "In certain situations Lying, Stealing, Cheating, etc is the best thing to do. People's feelings will be hurt or worse if you told them the truth. For the poster boy of the teaching, look no further than our 42nd President, William Jefferson Clinton.

1986 brought Limelight, a filler EP recorded in London during the 1985 Greenbelt Festival. 1987 Gave us "I Predict, 1990, an album which was more controversial than successful. It was attacked for its cover by some who thought that there were images of Tarot Cards on it (there weren't). Jimmy Swaggart included an entire chapter of his book Religious Rock and Roll, A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing on Taylor, and even the NOW gang was outraged when they protested against the song I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good. Considering that Taylor's forte was Satire, that meant that the NOW gang actually was protesting for bombing, since Taylor was saying it was wrong. Tayor Retired soon after I Predict, 1990, but soon resurfaced as frontman of the MCA band Chagall Guevara (don't be ashamed if you can't pronounce it). This is Violent Blue Taylor returned for one more album, Squint in 1993. This is Cash Cow.


Taylor has had a very busy retirement. He has produced 5 Newsboys albums, as well as Guardians Buzz and Bottle Rocket, among others, and his Label Squint Entertainment brought both Sixpence None The Richer and Chevelle to the limelight. That's a nice ending Cash Cow-Hat's off to the bull.

Recently Taylor has turned to the Movies. He is the Director of Blue Like Jazz, which came out this year. Of course his fans wish, even now, that he would make another album. We need his satire more today than ever. After all there is only one Steve Taylor. We can't clone him.
UPDATE 2014: The Clone Prince Is Back. He's still working with Peter Furler and Guardian and the like, but like a true artist, he just cant stay retired. His latest band is called Steve Taylor and The Perfect Foil. The Debut album, and its video is called Goliath. That is it for this week. I Am Awaiting Your Reply.
 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Night Beat Rewind: October 2014

The 6th Platinum Vinyl Award Eligibility Year is under way. I am really excited about this year. It is quite obvious by looking at the new releases that things are taking off. I mean, I have four Perfect 5's this year already. We're on pace for 48 perfect 5's in the non holiday variety. We begin with the Holiday releases however, for such is the season. Though if you could hold off on the music on the radio until after Thanksgiving, I would be grateful.

Christmas Music (Non-Eligible)

  • 1 Girl Nation - A Merry 1 Girl Nation Christmas 4.50 Emeralds
  • Carolyn Arends - Christmas: Story of Stories 4.75 Emeralds
  • Chris August - The Christmas EP  4.50 Emeralds
  • Peter Furler - Christmas 5 Emeralds
  • Wayne Haun - Sentimental Season 5 Emeralds
  • Salvador - Hope Was Born 4.75 Emeralds
  • Aaron Shust - Unto Us 4.50 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - Gotta Have Gospel Christmas: O Holy Night 5 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - Silent Night Carols 4.75 Emeralds
Though 3 releases among the Christmas Music are Perfect 5's, since we don't have a Christmas Music Category, they are not counted among the Perfect 5's for award or best albums of the year. Just an honest opinion of the music.

We move on to the song releases. Singles have always been a mainstay of the music industry from the days of the 45. It's just a little easier with mp3's.

The Singles Scene

  • KIDD - Bellavia 3.75 Emeralds
  • Silent Planet - Firstwake 4.50 Emeralds
  • Project 86 - Genosha - 4.75 Emeralds
Always love Project 86. They always say that if any two albums sound alike, they have failed. That might disappoint some fans, but not this one. On to the albums, and, as always, we begin with those releases which

Missed The Mark

  • Seth Condrey - Worship Sessions, Vol 1 3.75 Emeralds
  • Jamie Nunnally - God is With Us 3.75 Emeralds
  • Teleosong - God's Glory 3.50 Emeralds
Except for Teleosong, which seemed to be an album without a direction, these were pretty good, except for the fact that they won't be award worthy. These next releases, however, are more than worthy. They are, in fact

Pure Platinum

There is not much to say here. Some may disagree with Kings Kaleidoscope because they are disappointed that the Songs from Live In Color were redone. Still, it is not enough to tarnish the Platinum.
We finish with the in betweens, the 

Semi-Precious Metal

That does it for October. We are off to a flying start. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Music Video Monday: The Perfect Gift

Welcome back to our regularly scheduled, if a bit late, edition of Music video Monday. I promised we'd be back. This is kind of a rush job as I am trying to beat the Veteran's Day Rush.

We begin our Video tour with Everfound and Take this City (feat Joel of For King and Country).

Next up we have a video by the freshest sound in Gospel Music. The Walls Group. This quartet is only looking for some Love on The Radio.
Love on the Radio is a pretty good gift. But it may not be The Perfect Gift. That comes from JJ Heller.

That does it for this edition of Music Video Monday. Looks like the Video pool is slowing down. We shall see if we are forced to go into Holiday Mode soon. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Milestones

Times have been interesting to say the least here at Night Beat HQ recently. Part of it is personal, as I had my 30th High School Reunion recently. The old guard among my readership already know that I was a college DJ in the 80's. You young ones just learned "boy is he old". Watch it, your time is coming.

There have been a number of Milestones reached here at +The WENC Night Beat as well. We are in the middle of early voting for our FIFTH Platinum Vinyl Awards. Yeah, that's right, the big 5. I am not just wishfully thinking when I say that number five is gonna be huge. The awards have grown each year since its inception and so has the awareness from the CCM community. Based on the feedback I have received via social media this time around it may be time to get a hall and invite the celebrities. Just kidding on that one.

There have also been some changes in the Community as we know it. Stryper cover band (just kidding, but they do sound an awful lot like them) +Blessed By A Broken Heart hung up their guitars on Halloween, sounds like a Trick to me.

No breakup for the second piece of news, just a major relocation. Industrial band +White Collar Sideshow has decided to become musical missionaries and relocate to Europe. There is a big yard sale going on here's a link to their note on Facebook. I would be more upset about this (we really can't afford to lose a good industrial band), except for the fact that music is all online now. Just keep the releases coming.

Just thought I would let you know about a few things going on here at Night Beat HQ. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

MVM Special Edition: Music Video Tuesday

I know, I know, it doesn't sound half as good as Music Video Monday. All I can say in defense is that "They which live by public access shall...." This wouldn't have happened if I invested in a cheap windows laptop and hung out in a coffee shop.

We are going to start our video roundup with one of the hottest new bands out there, Veridia. They just released a concert video for their song Furious Love off their debut EP Inseparable.

Next up we have Pop/Dance/Rock outfit Manic Drive. No longer Blue, they are now the V.I.P.

And when your not, sometimes you go and set off a Molotov. For Today wraps things up this week.

That concludes this special edition of Music Video Monday. Hopefully things don't get messed up next week. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.