Sunday, June 03, 2007
I know that some of you have been concerned that, amidst the busyness of my current job, and the flurry of activity surrounding the new baby, I’ve been unable to keep up with the ever evolving music scene. Well dear friends, let me set your minds at ease and give you a quick update on Greg’s recent musical ventures.
Although somewhat difficult at first, I have, with relative ease, tapped into the local music scene, and have attended two great shows in the past couple of months.
In February I went to Trier (about 45 minutes from our town) to see Origin, Misery Index, and Necrophagist play. Unfortunately the band I was really there to see (Necrophagist) had to cancel, but such is life, I guess, in the underground music scene. The venue was a bit small, but I was able to get some pretty good pictures, and the bands were great.
In April I went to Saarbrucken (about 40 minutes away) to see the Mad Caddies. I hadn’t seen them play since 1998, when one of my college roommates and I saw them in Raleigh, NC. Anyway, I’d never been to Saarbrucken before, but it was very easy to find, and it actually turned out to be a pretty hip town. They have a lot of really nice restaurants, a college, museums, and a great live venue called The Garage, where I saw the Caddies play. The venue was quite large, and afforded plenty of room to move around a get some really great pictures. The band was amazing, as usual (one of my favorite live bands), and they even put their new record up for sale four days early since it was the kick-off of the tour.
In a few weeks I’m going to Trier again to see Leng Tch’e, who I’ve never gotten to see live before.
Also, for those who care, here are the top 15 albums on my iPod playlist.
Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster – II
Phenomenal dirty, hard-southern rock. I’ve always loved this particular style, and these boys pull it off like a swift baseball bat to the face. This one definitely has to be played at full volume with all the windows down.
Over The Rhine – Live From Nowhere, Vol. II
OTR’s annual Live… series just gets better every single year. I still can’t believe these guys aren’t huge.
Leng Tch’e – Merasmus
Very well done and very heavy death-grind. Slightly less grind and a little more death than their previous efforts, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that whatsoever.
Zikrayat – Live At Lotus
This Brooklyn-based ensemble plays a wide variety of Arabic music styles. Previously available only as Podcast excerpts, their songs are now finally available on plastic. The recording quality is quite good, despite it being live, and all of the different instruments are exhibited quite well.
Virgin Black – Requiem – Mezzo Forte
The middle album of their very ambitious, three-part Requiem… series. Beautifully performed gothic-classical, featuring the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and guest guitarist, Mark Kelson (The Eternal).
Lovedrug – Everything Starts Where It Ends
Finally (!), the long awaited follow-up to Pretend You’re Alive, and it has definitely been worth the wait.
Mad Caddies – Keep It Going
I think this is like their sixth album or something, and it just might be their best ever. These guys are just a lot of fun. They remind me of many of my friends from growing up.
Belle And Sebastian – The Life Pursuit
Jack Black mocked these guys in High Fidelity but I really like them. This record is a bit more consistent than Dear Catastrophe Waitress and, for some reason, I like Stuart’s voice better on this one.
Sixteen Horsepower – Folklore
Definitely one of my favorite bands of all time. A sound like none other.
Seckou Keita – Afro-Mandinka Soul
Seckou is, in my opinion, the best Kora player in the world. And not only is he a master of the Kora, but also an excellent percussionist of many traditional African drums.
The Innocence Mission – We Walked In Song
Although I have been a very devoted Innocence Mission fan for many years, I still like Birds Of My Neighborhood and Befriended the best. Not that this record is bad whatsoever, I just really like some of the older ones better.
mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister
This was my record-of-the-year for 2006. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, well what’s wrong with you!!!
The Cassettes – ‘Neath The Pale Moon
I originally got into these guys because Shelby Cinca, formerly of Frodus and Decahdron fronts the band. Very unique sound, including a theremin, played by a master theremin player, who’s been playing for over 20 years. He also makes them and sells them on the band’s website for a mere $250.00!
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Baby 81
Another stylistic change on BRMC’s fourth album. Rock and roll how it should be played.
The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
This album is automatically my favorite of all Arcade Fire albums simply because they included little flipbooks with the CD. Who can resist trying little flipbooks?
They Like Jesus But Not The Church, by Dan Kimball
Faith and I are both raving fans of this book. A lot of the discussion therein has confirmed many of the frustrations I’ve been voicing for a long time, and it’s good to know that I’m not the only one. Dan includes real interviews from many of his friends, some of whom have either left organized church groups or who aren’t a part of any church, and he gets their opinions and perspectives. Actually I find myself a lot like many of the ‘they’ who are featured in this book. Faith and I give this one our highest recommendation.
Preaching Re-Imagined, by Doug Pagitt
A follow-up to his book Church Re-Imagined, Doug presents a very well thought out, and very well written, objective look at what the act of preaching has become in many churches. He argues that preaching has essentially become glorified speech making, or ‘speaching’, as he calls it. Doug presents the fact that this speaching act has developed, within many churchgoers, the expectancy to just sit, week-in and week-out, being ‘speached’ to, with no real depth being rooted in their lives. His solution is a term he has coined, ‘progressional dialogue’, one in which the body of believers are actively involved in the message, not just a one-person-show being presented every week. I think if more Christians put some of these ideas into practice, the church as a whole would truly become the active, missional, body that everyone seems to talk a lot about, but never really sees the full fruit of. Faith and I also give this book our highest recommendation.
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