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Finally, I’m back blogging, and here is another of my posts that is way late in the coming, but I hope it helps point a few of you in the direction of an artist well worth it.
Joe Garner is one of my favorite artists I downloaded from NoiseTrade a while back. With a subtle, earthy folk sound and songs that bring to mind a slightly more modern and way more indie version of classic Johnny Cash ballads, Joe Garner’s songs tell stories of broken, desperate people in need of a Savior.
I should have posted about this weeks ago, but Waterdeep’s new album Pink & Blue is awesome. I got an advance copy a while back, but I’ve just been too busy to review it until now. I only hope the world will not stop spinning because of my tardiness. God help us all.
Moving on… The album is amazing. Don and Lori continue to astound me with every offering. Whether it’s Don’s weird alt-folk Khrusty Brothers, or their worship stuff on albums like You Are So Good to Me, or their best offer to date (in my opinion) Heart Attack Time Machine, Waterdeep is a band that knows what it’s doing and does a great job of it.
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:
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.
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.
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.
I’d like to take a quick moment to thank Matt Modrich of True Tunes for this, his first “official” contribution to The Blah Blah, though he has for some time been supplying me personally with music tips and suggestions behind-the-scenes, thereby making me look cooler than I really am.
Starflyer 59 continues to break new ground with a cult following
despite always eluding the attention of the mainstream. Starflyer is Jason Martin’s solo project with a revolving cast of band members.
With 15 years in the books Martin continues to rock despite the “kids who want a faster beat”.
Dial M is Martin’s latest annual project and it fires on all
cylinders. With a sound reminiscent of the Brothers Martin album released last year, Martin picks up where My Island left off. Demos of Dial M were released last year as the vinyl box set Ghosts of the
The Dial M versions of the Ghosts material are fresher and more produced. Songs like “The Brightest of the Head” and “I Love You Like the Little Bird” have received a bit of a makeover. As with any makeover there will be those that approve and those that prefer the old versions.
Lyrically, Martin exhibits growth whereas in some of his earlier albums he said the lyrics were “just there”. The theme of his father’s death is the topic of “Mr. Martin” and the bonus track “Magic”. The subject of personal struggle is evident when Martin quotes the Apostle Paul: “‘To live is Christ; to die is gain’ I try and I try, I try and I try.”
Dial M is an excellent collection of tried and true songs, which proves Martin still has what it takes after all these years. But it seems as though the story is not yet complete because Martin still has more left in the tank. Let’s hope he keeps his taxi on the road.
Here are some sample tracks off the album, but please go and buy the whole thing: