Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Night Beat 10 Best Albums of 2017

We are really flying here at Night Beat HQ. I am pretty much on top of things. We should have our December Rewind up by the end of the year. Our look at the We Love Christian Music Awards should be done by then as well. And we are moving ahead with #PlatVnyl8. While I still think I will need additional judges for this one (and possibly beyond), things are looking good right now.

One of the final things for the year is Our list of The Top 10 Albums of 2017. And I have narrowed it down to 10. Let's get to it.
  1. In Rivers, Light City Music: The Top Album of The Year is a Worship Album unlike any other, and from Canada. Vertical Worship is very rare these days, most worship is Praise by another name. This album is only available from Apple Music and iTunes. While they are the biggest and the best, it seems like the Music World is against these people.
  2. Synthesis, Evanescence: Under most circumstances an album like this wouldn't make the list (and not for the reason you think). No, the reason I wouldn't have this on the list is, for the most part, it is a best of album. The reason it is on the list is that they haven't just re-recorded these songs, they have redone them completely with a live orchestra. It's the best thing going since RED.
  3. Gone, RED: Yes, that is a good lead-in. The Pioneer and Still King of Orchestral Rock. Whether Thrashing with Step Inside, The Violence, Rocking with the title cut, or slowing it down with a Ballad like Hold On, the saying is true, RED always catches the eye. The Best RED Ever? I still think that's Innocence and Instinct. This may be number 2 for now.
  4. Sheep Among Wolves, Project 86: You would think that a band with the aim of never making two albums the same would wind up making a misstep and you would get a clunker or two. Not this band. There is a bit of room to breathe on this one (a few ballads). The wolves will never know what hit them.
  5. Starlight, Bethel Music. Bethel Church takes its show on the road for a live tour with friends. If you can't find a copy of In Rivers, this is a more than acceptable alternative if you are seeking Vertical Worship.
  6. The Never Again, Lara Landon: The Way Unplugged Should Be. Lara is one of those artists that "could sing the phone book" (yes, I know, they went the way of the pay phone). Worship with minor accompaniment. The only problem. It's only seven cuts.
  7. Benediction (Live), The City Harmonic: Sometimes Things End Well. The City Harmonic was one of the most innovative Worship Bands to grace the scene (and Surprisingly enough, this is another Canadian Band (Both Light City and The City Harmonic are from Ontario. Something is going on North of The Border).
  8. Every Mile Mattered, Nichole Nordeman: We love artists with a few miles under their belt. We like it even more when the miles do not change you. Nichole has stayed true to her pop roots and even worked in a little EDM here and there. From someone who has been there from the first. Thank You.
  9. Lifer, Mercy Me: Happy Dance. Enough Said. I can only imagine may have brought them fame, but they have had to weather "Friendly Fire" as they have been more blatant in the message of Grace. It was always there though. Best songs: Grace Got You and Best News Ever.
  10. One Way Conversations, Hollyn: One of the best new artists. Her Sophomore release has no slump. No musical style is beyond her ability (Rap, Dance, Gospel, it's all here and done to perfection.)
I didn't say getting down to 10 was easy. There were a lot of good albums that didn't make the cut. I won't give you all the 5 Emerald Albums released (There Would Be 53 others). I will only go with those left after the first round of cuts. Without Rank, the Honorable Mention.
  • Beatitudes, Stu G and Friends
  • Colliding By Design, Acceptance
  • Here (Live), Red Rocks Worship
  • In Prayer, Salt of The Sound
  • Projections, Landry Cantrell
  • Rise, Danny Gokey
  • The Rush and The Roar, We Are Leo
  • Skin and Earth, Lights
  • Suddenly (or The Nuclear Sunburst of The Truth Revealed), Young Oceans
  • Unleashed Beyond, Skillet
  • Untraveled Roads: A Live Album, Thousand Foot Krutch
2017 has been a really good year, and I have every reason to believe that 2018 will be just as good, if not better. I encourage you to respond via comments, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus as to what you think. Until next year, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Night Beat Rewind: December 2017

Things are proceeding well at Night Beat HQ. Here it is just after Christmas and we are all caught up with the December Rewind and The First Quarter Wrap is ready as well. If I didn't know better I would think I could proceed forever without help. No, the baby is getting a bit to big to handle. Let's get on with it.

Christmas Music (Non-Eligible)

  • David Dunn - Overwhelming (Single) 4.75 Emeralds
  • Annie Moses Band - O Holy Night/Carol of The Bells 5 Emeralds
  • Matty Mullins - O Holy Night (Single) 5 Emeralds
  • Planetshakers - Christmas, Volume 1 EP 4.75 Emeralds
Considering that it is December, perhaps it is fitting that the Christmas releases are thin. You want maximum play-time after all.

The Singles Scene

  • Antoine (fka ABIV) Bradford - Be My Everything 4.75 Emeralds
  • Ty Brasel - Praying Hands 4.25 Emeralds
  • Riley Clemmons - Broken Prayers 4.75 Emeralds
  • Hawk Nelson - He Still Does (Miracles) 4.75 Emeralds
  • Jay Sanon - I Know U Know ft CUBO - 4.00 Emeralds
Now, on to the albums. We begin with those with that will not make the #PlatVnyl9 Pool.

Missing The Mark

  • J-Phish - New Kings 4.25 Emeralds
  • Keyes - Animal House EP 4.00 Emeralds
  • Surf Gvng - Gvng Gang 3.75 Emeralds
Must be the Christmas Season, or the fact that you can't fail what isn't released. On to the perfect and flawless.

Pure Platinum Perfection

  • Anabeth Morgan - A Place Your Glory Dwells 5 Emeralds
  • Project 86 - Sheep among Wolves 5 Emeralds
Yup, it's the slow release schedule. On to those in the middle.

Semi-Precious Metals

  • For All Eternity - The Will To Rebuild 4.75 Emeralds
  • GAWVI - 954 EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • Eric Heron - Afterglow: A Somewhat Complicated Story 4.50 Emeralds
  • Byron Juane - Life In The Evening EP 4.50 Emeralds
  • Sam and Samantha McCabe - Through The Night 4.75 Emeralds
  • Narrow Skies - In Hibernation 4.75 Emeralds
  • Aaron Powell - My Heart Belongs EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • Tommy and Me - What Every Child Should Know About God, Volume 1- Joyful 4.75 Emeralds
  • Tommy and Me - What Every Child Should Know About God, Volume 2 - Peaceful 4.75 Emeralds
  • U2 - Songs of Experience (Deluxe Edition) 4.75 Emeralds
  • War of Ages - Alpha 4.75 Emeralds
That does it. 2017 is in the Bag. Stay safe and we'll see you again in 2018. Until next time (there is still more housekeeping to do), I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

WLCMA vs PVA: 2017 Edition - Song Awards/General Field

We continue with our picks for who will win This Years We Love Christian Music Awards, presented by +NewReleaseToday . The last time we discussed the Album Awards, which is the only section of the awards that we have pool entries to match. The others (Song, and General Field) have no ready pool entries yet, so for those two categories we will be all quick picks. You can't go into detail if you don't have your material prepared. Let's get to it.
  • Worship Song: Extravagant, Bethel Music
  • Movie Song: Almost Human, Lauren Daigle
  • Collaboration: Shine Like Gold, Switchfoot and Lifehouse
  • Cover Song: September, Tauren Wells
  • Song of The Year: Broken Things, Matthew West
Now for the rest of the bunch, also Quick Picks. The General Field
  • Male Artist: Danny Gokey
  • Female Artist: Hollyn
  • Group: Red
  • New Artist-Group: As We Ascend
  • Next Best Thing: Mass Anthem
  • Music Video of The Year: Back From The Dead, Skillet
That concludes our predictions. We will return to add up the score. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, December 22, 2017

WLCMA vs PVA: 2017 Edition - The Album Awards

We here at Night Beat HQ don't often see eye to eye with "The Industry" and we like it that way. My disagreement with the Dove's and The "Christian" Section of The Grammy's is Legendary. Still, sometimes they come around. And when they do I don't know whether to be happy or concerned.

This years We Love Christian Music Awards (WLCMA) is one of those times. They have 55 nominees (5 nominees per category, 11 categories) in the Album Section (The only section I have partially completed. Song is too raw at the moment) 41 are in the initial #PlatVnyl8 Pool (Which is current and I can comment on), and 6 are in the #PlatVnyl9 Pool (Which is in process and I can not comment on). The remaining 8 were either those that Missed The Mark or Albums which I missed (and I am Checking On).

The WLCMA's really love Pop Music. The Proof? They have 3 Pop Categories so they can get 15 nominees in. Even with the liberal standards of the PVA's (we have 7 nominees per category unless we have to expand them) that's twice ours. Because of this discrepancy we will not go into much detail on Pop, except to say that 13 of 15  nominees are also in the Pool. I will include the categories among my quick picks.

The first of the detailed categories is the Inspo Awards (Adult Contemporary/Inspirational). The nominees are as follows.
  • Trust, Jaci Velasquez
  • Open Hands, Laura Story
  • We Will Rise, Natasha Owens
  • Every Mile Mattered, Nichole Nordeman
  • Unbreakable, Selah
All 5 are in this years #PlatVnyl8 pool. My Prediction? Velasquez for the win. Trust me. Who would I pick? I would go with Nichole Nordeman.

Next up is The Encounter Awards (Modern Worship)
  • There Is A Cloud, Elevation Worship
  • God That Saves, Iron Bell Music
  • More, Jeremy Riddle
  • The Garden, Kari Jobe
  • Taste + See, Ricardo Sanchez
All except Jeremy Riddle are in the #PlatVnyl8 pool (Riddle is #PlatVnyl9).  I think the WLCMA's will stay traditional and go with Kari Jobe, and of the picks I would go with her or Sanchez (a lot of Horns in my samples. Horns and strings make my day). Though In My Humble Opinion, the winner should be In Rivers by Light City Music. All worship music is but a pale imitation. This is worship. They didn't even get nominated.

The AMP Award (Rock-Alternative) still in my opinion is too bloated (we have Rock, Alternative, and Hard Rock/Metal at The Platinum Vinyl Awards). Too many divergent sounds fighting each other.
  • Farewell To Midnight, As We Ascend
  • Let The Light In, Ashes Remain
  • Gone, Red
  • Found, Seventh Day Slumber
  • IX, Spoken
Ashes Remain and Red are in #PlatVnyl9, the other three are in #PlatVnyl8. There is only one choice here: Red, Red, Red, Red, Red. Am I clear?

Album of The Year is the last detailed genre here. 
  • Starlight, Bethel Music
  • Faith Hope Love Repeat, Brandon Heath
  • One Way Conversations, Hollyn
  • All In, Matthew West
  • Hills and Valleys, Tauren Wells
Brandon Heath is a #PlatVnyl9 Pool member, all the others are for #PlatVnyl8. I am thinking that of the choices, Hollyn is the best choice.

Now for the quick picks:
  • The Hook Award (Pop): Hollyn, One Way Conversations
  • The Freebird Award (Art Pop): The Royal Royal, Rococo
  • The Pop Lite Award (Pop/Contemporary): Mercy Me, Lifer
  • The Hype Award (Rap): KB, Now We Rebel
  • The BPM Award (Electronic): Fearless BND, We Are Fearless
  • The Soul Vibe Award (Gospel): Deitrick Haddon, Deitrick Haddon and the Hill City Worship Camp
  • EP of The Year: Plumb, God Help Me EP        
That does it for this post. It will be all quick picks for the next few posts. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply