Saturday, January 14, 2012
3 days ago a young man named, Jefferson Bethke, published a video to youtube. As of this very moment, the video has 9,660,687 hits. In 3 days this young man's poem has passed through the millions of peoples ears! Its stuff like this that makes me love living in the time that I do. With technology allowing the little guys to get there message across to millions, it just inspires me so much.
So as most things that hit a mass of people in Christianity, there is controversy with the video (I'll refrain from rolling my eyes for now.)
I personally watched this video the day that the video hit the internet because kids from my church in Nashville were posting it. I was starting to see a couple links for it, so I watched it. I hate to say it, but I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed the video. It's kind of lame when you seem to always be skeptical of trending religious media, but still I found I really enjoyed this video.
One of the selling factors for me was how genuine the kid and his message came across. One of my biggest hesitance with people and "Christianity" is I find a lot of people completely, disingenuous. That is a very harsh term I realize, but growing up taking part in the production side of my church, you see things, you see how the business works, and part of you gets jaded. One of the hardest things I took away from my amazing experience with my hometown church, was having to see the "unreal." The forced messages, and the fake tears to drive a point home, to mention a few. I could write a whole other blog about how in my life, that's not how I want to make an impact, but this is not the place today.
This kid just seems so sincere to me.
This morning I woke up to a text from my lovely cousin Whitney. In her text she had sent me a link that was rebuttal to this now 9 million+ viewed video, you can read the rebuttal here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/01/13/does-jesus-hate-religion-kinda-sorta-not-really . The rebuttal was posted by a well known pastor, Kevin DeYoung. Again, I stand pretty surprised by the content. The article is actually very well executed and very respectful. I am so used to reading replies that take the stance of "You're wrong," and not "I disagree." Mr. DeYoung's reply was very respectful and very much from the stand point of, "I disagree."
As I was reading the post though, I couldn't help but just dive into the thoughts of how, as Christians, we will argue until we are red in the face over spiritual issues. Some of us will stop community with some people because of disagreements. And some have gotten into physical disputes, even wars, over disagreements in Spirituality (I use spirituality today because of the over use of the word "religion" in the video above and the argument of the true nature of the word in DeYoung' s rebuttal.) I am not saying this from a holier-than-thou stand point, but I find it so trivial. Its wonderful to be passionate about your faith and to know your theology, but there are some issues that we really will not be able to figure out until we're dead, including the big question, does even God exist?
As I laid in bed processing the video and the reply, I couldn't help but think about how we all really are NOT on equal planes in our journeys with God. The more and more I read, it seems that there is this stance, that Christians want to believe, about how we can all meet in the middle, we all can all be in "understanding with each other." I truly believe this is one of the most DANGEROUS things found in Christianity. There are pastors who preach on how if we are truly seeking God and reading His Word correctly (as in not reading in between the lines) then we will all be in perfect unity and understanding with each other as Christians. To bring it to the issues I discussed today, there's a view that the rebuttal writer, DeYoung and the poet, Bethke, if both are right with God will see eye to eye on their issues. Laying in bed this morning, I could not buy into that belief.
Laying in bed, I found there were three arguments that I had formed in my head about how we all are different as Christians and will probably NEVER meet in the middle on every issue.
Being a man who lives, breathes, and functions with music every day, my brain immediately went to music.
Jesus and Pearl Jam
In my musical development, I found myself in the early 2000's looking back towards 90's music. My dad introduced me to bands like, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins and other greats in the grunge and alternative era of the 90's. But one band I could never get into was Pearl Jam. As I've written about many times on this blog, I'm not their biggest fan. But I do need to mention here, lots of times I use Pearl Jam just to have a punch line, or to have nemesis in my writing. My blood does not run hot and thick every time I hear them, Eddie Vedder just gets under my skin.
But as I was thinking about about this whole "unity in faith" stance, I couldn't help but be reminded about my dislike for Pearl Jam. Eddie Vedder and company, to me, have never been anything more than a band that barely enunciated their whatever lyrics. But the thing that is so amazing about music, is there is clearly thousands of people in this world who think completely differently. There are people who Vedder really did speak into their lives. I would bet there are people out there who found Pearl Jam and the band changed their lives. Either it lead them to pick up a guitar and start writing music, or the music found them at a hard time and they used it to push through their depression and dark times.
We can't always describe why we actually like some music. Some music we are just naturally drawn to. I can't tell you why, but I know that I am drawn to the music like that of Jimmy Eat World. I connect with it, more than most other music and I can't explain it any other way than, it's a natural thing. I can be naturally drawn to something musically.
With that being said, I love the diversity in music.
I love that really there can't be something in music that is "universally bad."
Because what I think is pompous arrogant rock (Radiohead), is another man's favorite band and they are naturally drawn to it..
So bringing this back to the topic at hand, I find it fascinating that in music we can be naturally drawn to completely different feels or stances, but in Christianity, we think its suppose to be a "universal agreement."
Dad's Set The Pace
3 or 4 months ago, Nathan and I desperately were trying to find a roommate to help pay the rent and utilities on our house in Orlando. By the grace of God, a man by the name of Andrew Capo contacted us interested renting with us. So after a Del Taco talk with him, I was convinced this was our guy. Over the past few months I have really started to get to know and love Mr. Capo. Andrew is a solid dude, and I respect him greatly.
One of my favorite things about Andrew is our discussions. Nathan, Andrew, and I love to just talk in the living room. Doesn't matter if its about Temple Run, Movies, Girls, or God. We do a great deal of talking. Through these conversations I have found that Andrew and I, probably don't see eye to eye on all issues, but were totally cool with that. That does not affect our friendship detrimentally. But one of the most fascinating things I have found in that difference of opinion, is the difference in "moral compasses."
Out of respect for my roommate I won't dive into topics that we don't see eye to eye on, because I respect him for his opinion. But one issue I think that he would be comfortable about me talking on lightly is the topic of alcohol. Pretty early on in Andrews stay with us, I found out that Andrew has taken on what the cool kids call a "Straight Edge" lifestyle. I on the other hand, do not. I respect alcohol because of the way I saw it used in my household growing up. Casual drinking was normal in my house, so it never scared me, it was actually something I looked forward to, as in a part of manhood. I couldn't wait to get older to drink one, maybe 2 beers with my dad. But in Andrews case that wasn't the same issue. In his household alcohol tore family members apart, unlike my view of bringing people together in unity (when used responsibly of course.) So that lead me to this realization.
Some of our morals are not natural, or embedded in us. Some of our morals are created by our parents and our experiences. As mentioned, the way our families used alcohol was totally different, creating two different moral compasses in our lives.
So with that being stated, I don't know how as Christian's we will all see eye to eye if we are not all just operating under embedded morals.
Open to Interpretation
One of the hardest lines to walk as a Christian is, following the guidelines of The Bible. If the Bible were as blatant as the 10 Commandments we probably wouldn't have that many issues. But as The Bible reads today, it is very hard to sometimes distinguish what parts are relevant to every day life now, and what parts are irrelevant. For example, most of us write off most of the book of Leviticus because a) a great portion is about the sacrificial process which we do not have to conduct anymore because of Jesus Christ, b) because a large portion of it is safety guidelines for back in that day that really is not relevant today and c) because we all really like shrimp (Well except for the guys at http://Godhatesshrimp.com). But with all that said and jokes aside, it is probably the biggest thing that splits us Christians.
Look at the amazing division between churches today. Baptists, Free Will Baptists, Calvinists, Protestants, Lutherans, Catholics, Messianic Jews, Pentecostal, and Non Denomenational are really just a few of the many different denominations we have in Christianity. And what separates all of these? Most of the time its the interpretation of Scripture. Those little differences, beliefs in baptisms, free will, and age of accountability separate huge groups of people.
So this belief that one group has it right. This belief that the closer we are to God the more His people will be in unity. I completely disagree with.
Th-Th-Th-That's all folks!
By looking at these 3 things: The existence of being naturally driven to something musical or spiritual, the existence of our moral compasses not being innate but actually affected by our lives and parents, and the open to interpretation ways of the Bible, I find it completely impossible to say that one day, we as Christians will NOT stand divided. There is unity in the love for Christ but I believe that will be the only thing we will ever all agree on.
You can see above with this video and rebuttal, that there are two different views on the topic, and they have actually differed with each other in a respectful manner (they've actually emailed each other as seen at the top of DeYoung's article, Bethke has since apologized for his view for some reason.)
The way these two men handled themselves in this matter, I really respect.
I loved that there were two differing opinions on how they saw a matter, but out of love and respect, they discussed it.
My message is this:
With all of the differences we are going to face as Christians, I really do hope that we can conduct ourselves with respect and love for each others opinions. I know the old Fire and Brimstone preachers will tell you that Political Correctness and Christianity do not go hand in hand, and I respectfully disagree. Loving people does not mean agreeing with them. If you want to make an impact with people, don't push on them that they are "wrong." Listen to them and if you disagree, respectfully tell them that. Don't make banner's and protests or tell them "You're Wrong", I don't believe that is Christ like at all.
And this whole "unity in Christianity" thing, its a myth. Realize we are going to have differences even in our faith. Wether its on matters such as baptism, hell, or political parties, there will always be separations in large groups of people. I can only hope and pray that we all conduct ourselves properly.
So control what you can, yourself, and let's take an example from DeYoung and Bethke, and remember to always be respectful in our differences in opinion.
And realize, this whole Christianity thing, its a lot bigger than any of us will be ever to comprehend, so why waste our time fighting and getting red in the face about that which we don't truly understand.
I guess we will all found out the answers to all of our differences when we die.
I think though,
God's gonna laugh at us and say we wasted so much time on the trivial.
But until I finally croak, I'm waiting in anticipation (and completely prepared to laugh along.)
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: Somebody That I Used To Know
Album: Making Mirrors
All Pictures from Google Images
Sunday, January 8, 2012
As I sit here at my computer, I try to type but I can not. Some days I approach my laptop and can write with the easiest of ease, but then some days, It appears. Theres no set rhyme or reason to why my unwanted visitor decides to drop into my place of residence, but it doesn’t seem to care. But of all nights, why tonight has he decided to visit me? I feel inspiration pulsing through my veins, I feel the desire to just place the inner most thoughts and verbiage that spills out of me onto paper, but It stands in my way. As he always does, he enters without a sounds and sits upon my computer. Right in the center of the keyboard It sits there staring at me. Tonight it was the smell that gave It away though. As I exited the shower, I could smell that oh so, familiar smell. Like that of the gym locker room in middle school. In the way that cheap body sprays and deodorants stain and reside onto the white, moist, cinder block walls, the same smell has entered my room. I didn’t have to search the house, I knew who was visiting. Sadly, I hate to report that this visitor is here more than my own kin, friends, or personal volition. I drop my towel and approached my computer. Naked, I sat there staring at my foe. Before a struggle could ensue, I knew that I was already defeated. Naked, wet, and cold I sat there as It began to tremble as if it were maniacally laughing at me. I reach towards my computer and the block shifts. No matter which key I try to approach, the block shifts and blockades me from successfully typing. Is this madness? Is this the insanity Poe speaks of? Time and time again, night after night, I strive to conquer my visitor, but tonight I have succumbed to his bully like ways. I’d love to tell you that this will be the very last time that my guest will be visiting me, but I know that would be a lie. Whenever a man decides to trudge through the muddy waters that is writing, you are destined to be haunted, to be visited. Tonight, I stand defeated by It, my visitor, my guest, I can only pray that one day, I can say goodbye to this block that haunts me.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: Pinned and Mounted
Artist: Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor
Album: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Official Soundtrack
Picture stolen from Google Images.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
One of my absolute favorite things about music is the subjectivity of it. So many hours of my life have been spent in conversations about which album is strong which album is weak. These conversations move my soul, because music is just one of those passions of mine that move me. I can not always explain why the combination of a light hi hat tap, bass kick, ambient guitar tones, bass, and a beautiful melody move me. The reason I can not is because music is subjective, not objective.
I wish I could say that music is objective and that Eddie Vetter and Thom Yorke is the biggest joke, but that isn’t the truth. They just don’t move ME, but I know there are thousands in the world who are moved by their performances and lyrics. Where the grit and passion of La Dispute resonate in me, I know that it doesn’t in others. The real battle with music people is keeping that balance of love of the craft and respect of others opinion in tact.
As some of you have seen here on my blog before and even in the first paragraph of this post, music is a huge part of my life. It moves me, it inspires me, it accompanies me everywhere that I go. There have been times that I’ve looked around and felt that I was closer with this musical beings that I’ve never met than the friends I hold in my life (don’t worry this isn’t the case, but some of you understand what I mean by this). So this list that I have prepared for you down below, it is a list of the musicians who have stood above the others in my life and moved me. Some of these artists have driven me into a huge variety of emotions. There are lines in The Story So Far’s debut full length that make me smile every time, and there are lines in La Dispute and The Wonder Year’s 2011 releases that have driven me to tears. Wether I was driving punching my steering wheel and screaming (out of key) along with every syllable, or sitting in my room taking in every word with the liner notes, these are the tunes that accompanied me through out this year.
I am so grateful that I live in a time where I can be moved, inspired, and accompanied by music every day. One of the biggest opportunities I had this year was that I actually started writing album reviews for a local magazine. So with my list of favorite albums, I am going to post the reviews that I wrote for them as well. So without further adieu, here is the list of jams that did just that for me in 2011.
Top Albums of 2011
1. La Dispute - Wildlife
Label: No Sleep Records
On October 4th, 2011, La Dispute released unto the world their apex, their masterpiece appropriately titled: Wildlife. Three years have passed since the release of their underground sensation, Somewhere at the Bottom of the River... The band’s third full length uniquely encapsulates the rawest emotion and passion that can possibly be captured in the marriage of music and lyricism. Wildlife is a tear-filled narrative that leads us through the human experience and expounds upon what the human race can withstand. Through songs shaped like short stories, La Dispute brings you to tears, and leaves you completely satisfied. As Jordan Dreyer warns the at the opening of the album,“It’s all there in the pages ahead of here/It’s there waiting for you.” So don’t leave it waiting, pick up your copy of this years strongest record.
*Actually deciding on a number 1 position was maybe the hardest it has ever been this year. It actually came down to a 4 way tie for me this year for the number 1 position, but I had to split it up and decide numerical positions. Without a doubt, I feel this album is number 1 for me because it took a whole new approach to the craft. As stated earlier, the songs are shaped like short stories and you can’t help but just fall deep into each one and feel each persons emotion through the music. So because of the strength and innovation behind the record, I gladly give it number 1.
2. The Wonder Years - Suburbia, I’ve Given You Everything and Now I’m Nothing
Label: No Sleep Records
Since their formation in ’05, Lansdale, Pennsylvanian’s The Wonder Years, have been attacking the scene and bringing a fresh new taste to the table. With 3 LP’s and a handful of splits in their arsenal and constant touring, The Wonder Years are finally starting to receive some of their hard earned attention. Alternative Press proclaimed their new album, “Suburbia: I’ve Given You My All and Now I’m Nothing” the most anticipated album of the year.
Coming off of the underground success of the sophomore release, The Upsides, TWY’s return with this years strongest release. As expected the guys return with a bag full of songs that are perfectly constructed musically and complimented perfectly with the insanely personal lyrics of Soupy Campbell, which has become somewhat of a burden on his soul (Local Man Ruins Everything). From the first track, Came Out Swinging till And Now I’m Nothing, the album is a flawless piece of art, and has only reinstated TWY’s into their ranking of Pop/Punk gods.*
*That is the very impersonal review that I posted because I did not want to come off masturbatory because of the love and passion I truly have for this album. This album has been with me every step of the way with all of my changes that I have been through over the pass 8 months. I think every young adult who moves out is constantly in search of “home,” The opening track to “Come Out Swinging” is our anthem. I’ve cried with Soupy’s lyrics and I have laughed with them as well. I love when music takes a role bigger than just sound to fill a moment, it becomes the moment. I am so thankful for this disc.
3. Taking Back Sunday - Taking Back Sunday
Label: Warner Brother Records
For one to truly describe this album, we need to incorporate new words. Amazing, strong, untouchable, phenomenal, I believe don’t even start to describe Taking Back Sunday’s self titled release. With the original line up all back together, the boys are back and stronger than they have ever been. To actually declare a TBS album better than the others is blaspheme with the true fans of the band, so don’t worry I won’t go out and say its their best, but know I was thinking it. Every song is a perfect canvas with a value of ... priceless. Every melody, guitar line, and harmony is flawless. The emotion of Lazarra is never sparse, goosebumps will be felt of at least half of the songs, but especially at the end of “Since You Are Gone.” Do yourself a favor and stop trying to find your indie hit this week and pick up TBS’s self titled disc, its worth every second.
*It took me this year to realize how big Taking Back Sunday really is in my life. With the release of the new album I realized Adam’s voice and lyrics have been a part of my life for at least 7 years now. I remember first being taking away by their track, “This Photograph is Proof” when it was featured on the Spiderman 2 soundtrack, and then the love affair began. The sound and movement of TBS is comforting, and healing. I love that they put in a place of comfort and safety every time I put them on.
4. Balance and Composure - Separation
Label: No Sleep Records
Since their formation in 2007, Balance and Composure has pushed out a couple smaller releases (2 small EP’s and a split with fellow Pennsylvanian’s Tigers Jaw) but no full length has surfaced until Separation. To say that Separation is one of the strongest freshman releases of this year is a complete understatement. In the same vein as Jimmy Eat World’s Futures, from the second the first chord strikes in Void, until Defeat the Low’‘s last note rings out, the listener stays transfixed and does not want to leave the realm and mood which the artist has created. In a time where lyrical content tends to take a back seat, lead singer Jon Simmon’s lyrics hijack the vehicle and drive us full speed into a wall of personal vulnerability and raw emotion. Balance and Composure’s debut album is not only a success but also an invitation to join them on their journey, and this writer urges you to join us too.
*Now I’m going to take this moment to say this: Even though they are numbered at this moment, I had a 5 way tie for number one when first creating this list. That list was the four listed above. Each album is special and amazing in its own way and should not be looked at as a lesser of the other.
5. Transit - Listen and Forgive
Label: Rise Records
Leaving behind their original pop/punk formula, Transit returns to the scene dawning a new mature sound, a new label, and a great deal of hope. Following the progression of Brand New, Transit has made their mark with their first couple of pop/punk releases, but now they are back with a slower tempo, and a huge heart.. Listen & Forgive is a prime example of songwriting at its best: with the band’s drive setting the perfect mood for Joe Boynton’s poetic and heartfelt lyrics. Dozens of amazing musical releases came out over this past month making it so easy for you to overlook this one, but this writer begs you, please don’t miss out on this phenomenal record.
*Though it sits at number 5, this may be my most listened to record of 2011. It never gets old, I’ll probably go listen to it again... Right now.
6. The Story So Far - Under Soil and Dirt
Label: Pure Noise
California natives, The Story So Far, have been out playing together and paying their dues locally since 2007; 4 years of hard work has finally paid off. After a couple of small EP releases, TSSF with the help of label, Pure Noise, have finally released their first full length, Under Soil and Dirt. So I let the ink tell you how/I come to grips with all of this lead singer, Parker Cannon laments on Swords and Pens, and he fully delivers on that promise. Under Soil and Dirt, is one of the most raw and honest records, lyrically, that I have ever heard. Track after track, the band delivers one of the strongest records of the year, detailing all the strifes and struggles of graduating, leaving friends, and moving on with life. TSSF first release, is a successful addition to the wonderful anthology of Pop/Punk and will not soon be forgotten.
7. Polar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride
Label: Bridge Nine Records
“I’ve got to take my grab at something great” vocalist Jimmy Stadt passionately exclaims on the opening track Pawner; which is exactly what Polar Bear Club has done. PBC returns to the scene with their strongest release to date, Clash Battle Guilt Pride. An anthemic alternative-punk masterpiece that fights to the bloody bone for the title belt of album of the year. Albums like this solidify 2011, which has already been a year chalked full of powerful releases, as the absolute strongest musical year of the new century. With Jimmy Stadt’s heartfelt lyrics effortlessly soaring over the unique and powerful music, the message and heart of the album can not be missed by any listener. So follow the words of Stadt, “take a grab at something great,” and pick up Polar Bear Club’s newest album.
8. Stray From The Path - Rising Sun
Label: Sumerian Records
“We are the light that guides you home” Stray From The Path declares on the title track; marking the beginning of the rage filled sermon. Coming off the heels of their maniacal masterpiece, Make Your Own History, Long Island’s Stray From The Path returns with a vengeance not soon to be forgotten with Rising Sun. SFTP has never been shy about calling out anything and everything they see wrong with the world and this release only continues the out lash. Everything from Corporate America (Death Beds), to file sharing(Bring it Back To The Streets), to the sheep-like mentality of believers (Prey) is addressed on this record. While listening to Rising Sun it is hard not to feel the heartbeat of genre gods, Refused, resonating through the veins of every track. With the same heart and desire for change that Refused shared, Stray From The Path carries their torch high and with conviction, lighting the way for us.
*As you see even with this end of the year list, I really have somewhat stepped away from this genre slightly. The thing about Stray From The Path though is they are so unique and have an aggression that is hard to match. If you are looking for passion... yeah check these dudes out.
*The rest of the albums on this list do not have published reviews for them, so I will just write a note about them.
9. Childish Gambino - Camp
Label: Glassnote Records
Growing up I hated rap. Partly because my father hated it with all of his being. But then when nu-metal hit in the late 90’s, we found a liking for rap when mixed with the heavy guitars. So there begins my genesis for liking rap music, dad... not so much, but we still love P.O.D and Linkin Park. One of the things I found in my later days is my love for rap that takes on stories and not just monotonous rhyming, sorry Kanye Fans I can’t stand that dudes lyrics but love his production. But with all that being said, this year Childish Gambino entered my life. Being a huge fan of Community, when my friends told me he was a rapper I couldn’t wait to hear it. I was first introduced with “EP” also known as the “Freaks and Geeks EP.” I fell in love with that EP and listened to it over and over again until Camp was released. Camp is easily my favorite rap release of this year. Lyrically the man is witty, funny, vulnerable and full of heart. Easily makes this list for the 30+ listening sessions I’ve spent with it since it released in November. Check it out.
10. Saves The Day - Daybreak
Label: Razor & Tie
Being a fan of Pop/Punk I am VERY tardy when it comes to Saves The Day. Somehow I have always passed them up and not listened to them. Well one day back in October my brother emailed me this album and told me I had to listen to it, especially the first song. Cooper was right. Daybreak is such a phenomenal disc, every freaking song on this album is solid. It wasn’t until this week that I realize how amazing the closing song, Undress Me is, as my brother from another mother (Josh) put it, the song is just “healing.”
11. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Label: Roswell Records
Now I don’t know where in time it started to become to “cool” to hate on the Foo, but really I couldn’t give less of a crap. Dave Grohl and Company are a huge part of why I ever picked up a guitar. It was sitting at my best friend Nathan Cox’s house watching My Chemical Romance and Foo Fighter videos that made me want to just play like my heroes. As I stated earlier with Taking Back Sunday, Foo Fighters are just comfort music for me. Hearing Grohl’s voice always feel like a comforting hug from a friend. Wasting Light is nothing short of that. For innovation purposes alone, I love that the boys went and recorded this album in their garage, completely analog with one of my production heroes, Butch Vig. If you haven’t seen the documentary, Back and Forth, go see it NOW. The documentary follows the story and journey of Foo, also detailing the recording process of this album. I don’t care if I’m uncool in saying this: This album is phenomenal and I’ve listened to it over a dozen times and will keep rocking out to Father Grohl. Screw off cool kids.
12. Death Cab For Cutie - Codes and Keys
Label: Atlantic Records
So I guess I have to start this off with an .... apology. I may have been somewhat of an outspoken opinion against Death Cab for years now, and I’m sorry, I get it now. Growing up I wanted music I could feel, like hardcore. I loved feeling the aggression and intensity of the music, but when kids came up to me and started talking about this “Death Cab for Cutie” I just blew them off and stuck with my double kicks. Well, after a couple of years, I’ve converted. I love this album. Every song is a masterpiece. Ben Gibbard is a very gifted lyricist and completely deserves all the recognition he has gotten and more. I was actually very blessed to see this tour come through this year and was blown away by them. So yeah, I apologize peoples...
1. EP (Freaks and Geeks) - Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino also known as Donald Glover is a face you may recognize. With a Comedy Central stand up special and a role on one of network televisions more popular sitcoms, Donald Glover has made a name for himself in the comedy world, but when it comes to music, the two worlds do not collide. He purposely has refrained from using his growing fame to push his music, he wants the music to speak for itself.
Which anyone can see for themselves, Gambino made sure that all of his releases were free releases to the public online (Check out: http://culdesac-album.com and http://iamdonald.com).
Back in March of this year, Childish Gambino released EP. This 5 track EP is one of the most diverse and unique Rap releases streamed this year. With bigger names like Jay-Z, Kanye, and Lil Wayne all releasing new projects and albums this year, its easy to take your focus off the up and coming artists, this EP demands that you take your focus off the giants and remember the little guy.
2. EP† -†††Crosses
FREE DOWNLOAD: Crossesmusic.com
Label: N/A - Independent Release
From time to time, the musical superpowers will combine forces to bring something to soothe the mere mortals eardrums. This past month, Chino Moreno of the Deftones and Shaun Lopez of Far, released a collaboration entitled †††Crosses. With both artists bringing their talents to the very forefront of this project, it would be very hard for fans of either artists to be disappointed. Chino’s vocals soar into the galaxies while Shaun’s production keeps the album driving far beyond anyones expectations. This EP is a precursor to a full album scheduled for release later next year. With the price tag being at the perfect price of FREE, go download and support this up and coming project.
3. Promise Nothing - Transit
Label: Rise Records
When I first moved to Orlando back in August, my brothers and I went to my local record store, Park Ave Tapes and Cd’s. When we got there Cooper went to searching for some new EP from this band Transit. I had only heard in passing about this up and coming band from Coop. Well after some searching he found the EP and continued to freak out for the next couple days about how rare of a find it was, and how his color variant of the 7” was one of the prize finds amongst pop/punk collectors. He then played the 2nd track on the EP, “I Never Told That To Anyone,” and that pretty much is the end of the story. From the second I heard the harmonics at the beginning of the track I was hooked. Honestly, the EP is only two songs, but they are just flat out amazing.
4. Friends - Better Off Alone
Label: Blood and Ink
Free Download Available at: http://bloodandink.bandcamp.com/album/better-off-alone
Vocalist, Luke Granered, howls “You don’t want to hear the same song/But the subject keeps coming back up,” in the anthemic opener “Eats Me Alive,” but the irony lies in just how diverse the band really is. Local Nashville band Friends debut Ep Better Off Alone is a titan amongst mere mortals in the purest form of the original Emo scene. With influences from Brand New and even some Blink 182 flares coming out of the stereo with this release, fans of both bands can find appreciation in Friends first effort(Which is available for free download). “I get weak/Weak in the knees/when I think about all the choices/I still have to make” Granered confesses at the close of the EP, but one choice that will not be hard to make, is to go download Better Off Alone immediately.
5. Between The Buried and Me- The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues
Label: Metal Blade Records
It’s Between The Buried and Me... ‘Nuff said. The disc will make you drool, bob your head and realize you’ll never be as good of a musician as these guys. Ever. I could write for hours about this group, but I’m gonna chose to just leave it at that.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Atticus Ross, Trent Reznor
Sucker Punch - Various Artists
Most Disappointing Albums of the Year
1. Augustana - Self Titled
Being a huge fan of the first two albums, I was excited to pick this cd up when I saw it. As it played on my way home, I couldn’t help but feel I lost one of my favorite bands to some new feel and sound. It also lacked a lot of the vulnerability and passion lyrically that I had felt in the last two discs. It didn’t shock me when they decided to call it quits after this album.
2. The Devil Wears Prada - Dead Throne
Following the release of their most promising release, Zombie EP, I was really stoked for their next album. The album for me just fell flat as compared to what they were showcasing on their EP.
With 2011 being such an amazing year for music, clearly all couldn’t fit into a top 12, or didn’t get all of my attention at one time during the year. So to wrap up this list for 2011, here are my honorable mentions that are worth checking out.
Blink 182 - Neighborhoods
Blue October - Any Man In America
Chevelle - Hats Off To The Bull
Courtesy Drop - What Makes This Place Worth Calling Our Home
Defeater - Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
Drake - Take Care
Fireworks - Gospel
Four Year Strong - In Some Way Shape or Form
Jack’s Mannequin - People and Things
Kanye West and Jay-Z - Watch The Throne
Josiah Lemming - Another Life
Needtobreathe - The Reckoning
Oh, Sleeper - Children of Fire
A Plea for Purging - The Life and Death of A Plea for Purging
Pianos Become The Teeth - The Lack Long After
Relient K- Is For Karaoke
Set Your Goals - Burning At Both Ends
Thrice - Major/Minor
Touche Amore - Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me
Travis Barker - Give The Drummer Some
Worker - Neurology
I can only pray that 2012 will house as much amazing music as 2011 did.
What a good year.
Thanks For Reading.
Media Associated With This Post:
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All Pictures Stolen from Google Images