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My wife and I are taking it easy this Thanksgiving.  Normally we drive up to Green Bay to spend the weekend with my parents, but with our weeks being rather crazy lately, I decided we’re just gonna hang out at home and eat some pizzas (cooked on the grill of course).

This change of the normal tradition got me thinking.  I think Thanksgiving may have more to offer than just boat loads of pie, turkey, and mashed potatoes.  Seriously, the Thanksgiving season is a great time to remember how much God has given us.  Even if your life seems sucky, man, we’ve all got a lot to be thankful for.  It’s with this in mind that I created a soundtrack for your Thanksgiving holiday (you can thank me later): Life is Good.

I hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving mix!

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I’m not even sure what I can possibly say about Josh Garrels, other than the fact that he brings some of the most authentic and unique music to the Christian indie scene.  He writes songs that would be considered overtly Christian, but most likely so Christian that you would never hear them on any contemporary Christian station or like avenues.

The music is a mixture of classic beats with a modern folk twist. I saw him for the first time when I was at a conference in California, and I honestly think people didn’t know what to do with him.  He was using some old school beats, like from the 40’s and 50’s, mixed with his masterful guitar playing and amazing voice.  I left that night at that coffeehouse greatly encouraged, and very surprised that someone this good has been under the radar for so long.

The sad things is that Josh Garrels most likely will never rise to Christian stardom, but he is more talented than most Christian rock stars.  He sounds like Jack Johnson meeting classic Simon and Garfunkel, but even better!  He has a few albums, at this point, and just released his latest full-length titled Jacaranda. 

Josh is an Indianapolis/Muncie Indiana native and now currently resides in North Carolina.  I am not sure what else to really say about him, other than the fact that he is one gifted individual, and he uses his talent not for his glory, but to be an authentic and real voice in a Christian world that thrives on the exterior.  He brings deep insight and challenges the listener with his call to be real.

Check out his website. I’m pretty sure there are a few downloads on there, but here are some songs that he wanted me to pass along:

Zion and Babylon – Download – Stream
Don’t Wait for Me – Download – Stream

Website: www.joshgarrels.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/joshgarrels

Download MP3s at Itunes
Buy CDs on his website

Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week

I’ve done two posts on Paste Magazine recently, the first called “I Hate Paste Magazine” and the second “Ten Reasons I Love Paste Magazine,” and I’ve been delightfully surprised to find that, if you search for “paste magazine” in Google, my hate post is #4, right behind 2 sites from the magazine itself and a Wikipedia article.  That’s about as high as you can get in rankings.  I’d hate to be higher than the magazine itself (seems somehow wrong), and nobody beats Wikipedia.

What’s even funnier than being #4 is that my Paste-love post comes in at #5, right after my hate post.  Talk about being schizophrenic…

So Paste Magazine probably either hates or loves me right now.  Or, in reality, they probably don’t even notice me.

Either way, here’s the link to the Google search so you can see it for yourself, in case you have a hard time typing “www.google.com” into your address bar and searching for “paste magazine” on your own.  I know, it’s hard.

….

In other news, if you search for “christian indie mp3,” I’m ranked #2, which is pretty good for a WordPress blog.  What else am I ranked high for?  Has anybody noticed anything weird?

Joe Dorsey knows rock and roll.  I don’t mean that stuff you can hear on MTV or VH1.  That’s not rock and roll.  You’ll get some pop, some hip hop, some R&B, but you don’t get a whole lot of rock anymore.

Nor do I mean that stuff you can hear on your favorite alternative radio stations or that cool indie rock college station in town.  I love all that stuff, but that’s not what I’m talking about when I say rock and roll.

Joe Dorsey knows the rock and roll of Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Cream.  Classic rock and roll, back when it was still infused with the soulful sounds of blues, before grunge took over and changed everything.

I’m a huge fan of grunge music and all it’s touched, but there’s just nothing like hearing some good old-fashioned straight-up rock and roll.

And for that, you’ll do good looking toward Joe Dorsey and his new album Rest.

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Apparently, since you’ve made it this far, my corny pun in the title hasn’t scared you off.  That’s always a good sign.  Anyhow, when Jake first asked me to review John Mark McMillan’s new album, “The Medicine,” I couldn’t have been happier.  (Well maybe if he had offered to pay me, that would have made me happier.  Or if he had thrown in a complimentary Ferrari…)

Ever since I was introduced to his work a few months ago, the CDs of John Mark McMillan have consistently found themselves in my stereo.  From first hearing “How He Loves” (from “The Song Inside The Sounds of Breaking Down”) during a worship service to then downloading “Hope Anthology Volume One” from eMusic and then playing “The Medicine” on repeat while I cleaned my house, I’ve been a big fan.  So though I will try to be honest and objective in this review, I have a long history of enjoying John Mark McMillan’s work, so I’m going to have a tough time being negative.

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Back here, I posted on why I hated Paste Magazine, so I figured it was only right to now offer a post on why it’s the best magazine in the world.

1. I only paid $1 for a whole year of it!
2. They’ll review unsigned local artists who have no real business being reviewed by a national magazine.
3. Tons of different music styles are covered in every issue, in addition to movies, games, and books.
4. You get a free CD full of sample music with every issue.
5. Five little words: Ezra Furman and the Harpoons.
6. It’s nice and small, so you won’t strain your back lifting it.
7. They’re where I first heard about Okkervil River, which is a great band.
8. It makes great quick reading for those faster-than-average bathroom runs.
9. Their review of Sandra McCracken was very honest, even a little too positive.
10. Crap, I don’t think I have a tenth reason.

See?  I’m not all crabby and opinionated.

If you read my post on Anadara over here, you know I’m picky about female vocalists.  I’ve got nothing against women – I just am getting tired of the over-populated female singer-songwriter market, especially within Christian music, and I think it’s time we start to be more willing to critique music that is good (or just OK) but not great.

In this world of female vocalists that all sound the same, Joy Ike is doing things differently enough to be really refreshing.

She’s not way out there and weird in her musical style.  In fact, it’s a pretty “normal” sounding style.  And while her sound can definitely be polished a little more in some areas, listening to her album Good Morning has been an overall really good experience for me.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I really like Joy Ike, and I think you will too.

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Important Note

These MP3s are here for sampling purposes and to help spread the news about some sweet bands you may not otherwise know about. Support the artists by buying their MP3s and CDs and attending their shows. If you're a musician and don't want your MP3s on here, let us know and we'll take them down. In the interests of promotion and not robbery, all MP3s are taken down after a week or two, so if you wanna hear stuff, either come around often or pay for songs.

Send us an e-mail if you want stuff removed or you would like to be promoted here.

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