Thursday, October 2, 2008

And they blamed the music.

Full article on music soon to follow. For now though, I'd like to highlight what GOOD can come when believers pick up guitars and jot down lyrics. Here are five bands which run, more or less, in the Christian musical vein without being blatantly evangelical.

1. Flyleaf - Hard hitting vocals and lyrics that might actually mean something. Solid instrumentals that punch you in the eardrum. Lacey Mosley's vocal prowess makes them more than worth a listen, and her distinctive, almost haunting harmonization clashes beautifully with her hard hitting screams. You've probably heard "I'm So Sick" played somewhere, given it's success both in Christian and Secular arenas. Here's a video, so this article won't be too boring.

2. Mute Math - Those that know me can attest to Mute Math being one of my favorite bands. Born in part of the defunct Earthsuit, Paul Meany brings to the table his knack for phraseology that makes you think twice about what you're listening to. From the fast paced, "Chaos" to the ambient "Stare at The Sun", Mute Math's debut album was an underrated, almost underground musical offering which shouldn't be passed up by anyone. Mute Math is known not for being a Christian band, but rather a, "band of Christians", and like Flyleaf, bears no qualms about showing their faith in their song writing. Shown here is a video from Mute Math's official Youtube page, titled, "Lavatory Loops", in which we see them working on the new album. Which I can't wait for.

Worth mentioning is Earthsuit, previously mentioned, and another of my favorite bands. While now disbanded, Earthsuit did things that the Christian music scene had never scene before, introducing a distinctive blend of hip hop, rock and techno. It's difficult to describe, and simply must be experienced to be understood.

3. Switchfoot - You've heard of these guys. I know you have. They've been around for years. With six albums currently under their belt they're probably one of the most well know alternative bands still kicking. Starting with The Legend of Chin in 1997, they went on to release two more independent albums(New Way to be Human in 1999, and Learning to Breathe in 2000), before striking it big with The Beautiful Letdown. Perhaps most well known for, "Meant to Live", Switchfoot's music has always been mellow and energetic. Both of those. Following BL came Nothing is Sound, and most recently, Oh! Gravity. NiS was very chill, not so rock based, while O!G was pumped full of classic Switchfoot rock elements reminiscent of BL.

Rather than proclaiming the Biblical wonders of the Lord, Switchfoot's method concerning faith has always been subtle. Rather than tell you how great Jesus is, they seem to want to show by portraying a message of realistic hope and optimism. Here's their "Stars" music video, from the Nothing is Sound album. Very artsy. And good.

4. The Fray - I'm hoping some of you just went, "Yeah, the Fray." Everybody likes the Fray. Alright, so, maybe not everybody.

Yet another Band of Christians. The Fray's music is relaxing. Peaceful, yet brutally honest. Isaac Slade, the band's lead vocalist, pianist and songwriter originally wrote specifically Christian music, but avoided Christian record labels because, "None of my friends outside the church understood any of my songs; we had a different set of vocabulary" So instead Slade devoted his talent to more relevant, realistic songs about life. Life, hope, and whatever else you care to read into them. I won't say much about them because you're probably already familiar with them. But just in case,

5. The David Crowder Band - Alright, so, I dunno. Maybe they don't belong here. DCB is probably the most blatantly Christian band I listen to, but with good reason.

Instead of rehashing the same old, "Might Jesus Messiah Son of God blah blah" formula, DCB's music has always been distinctive and unique. From the live album, "The Lime CD" to the critically acclaimed, "A Collision" and the most recent "Remedy", the Crowder band's music bears a specific quality rarely seen in worship bands. Their instrumentals are solid, untouchable even. The titular singer's vocals are sincere, often with a layer of desperation that lets you know he means what he's saying. Lyrically Crowder's music has always been without the feeling of, "I'm a Christian artist and I'm on a Christian label so I'll write Christian music." It's instead one of, "I can't deny what God is, and I can't help but express it."

Are we left here on our own?
Can you feel when your last breath is gone?
Night is weighing heavy now

From Egypt lately come
Where death and darkness reign
To seek our new our better home
Where we our rest shall gain

There sin and sorrow cease
And every conflict’s o’er
There we shall dwell in endless peace
And never hunger more


Why do You shine so?
Can a blind man see?
Why do You call?
Why Do You beckon me?
Can the deaf hear the voice of love?
Would You have me come?
Can the cripple run?


The heart breaking makes a sound
I never knew could be
So beautiful and loud
Fury filled and we collide

So courageous until now
Fumbling and scared
So afraid You'll find me out,
Alone here with my doubt

Here it comes, a beautiful collision
Is happening now.
There seems no end to where You begin and there I am now

You and I collide

That's a sample, I guess. Lyrics found via Google do them no justice though, trust me. I've been to Crowder concerts, and they are astounding.

A Collision in particular covered a wide array of genres, from contemporary worship to bluegrass country, to techno, hard rock-opera ballads and other stuff which can't quite be defined in traditional terminology.

I could gush about DCB for paragraphs, so I'll sum it up with this video and a strong recommendation. Later this week, I hope to have more on music typed out.


jsmith2585 said...

What about Emery?

Ryan said...

--i'm so bored of little gods
While standing on the edge of
something large
While standing here, so close to You
We could be consumed
What a glorious day--

I look forward to the full one. It better not suck. This was a good appetizer. :)

Terri G said...

You've got some of my favourite bands here... In the words of Nigel and Felonius, "Excellent!"

Jen said...

Great bands all. And I'm glad you picked "Stars" to represent Switchfoot... NiS is my favorite album, but it seems to be pretty underrated with people I know.

And David Crowder's A Collision *is* phenomenal. Definitely the best worship album I've ever heard. (if you want to put it in that genre)

(Nice blog, by the way. Found you via a comment on Patrol. :))