Posts Tagged ‘music’

One of the most anticipated releases of the year will drop on Tuesday. Are you ready?

House of Heroes has been around for 8 years, giving us a great mix of rock, a little punk, alternative, and a slight indie sound that many have come to love. Personally, I’ve had a love affair with the Columbus, Ohio, trio (now quartet) since I discovered their third release, Say No More. We met with Buckets for Bulletwounds, I then fell in love with Serial Sleepers, and once The End Is Not The End was released I was down on one knee. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Suburba will be the honeymoon phase, and all indications are pointing to jackpot. But even if this album is great, can House of Heroes live up to their monumental success of their last release?

This has been a problem for many artists in the past. Artists come out with a breakout album that is praised by critics and fans alike, and the following album is criticized for not living up to their previous work. I feel for these groups, but I must confess I am guilty of these same judgements. When one of my other favorite groups, The Classic Crime, released their latest album Vagabonds I was ecstatic. However, after a listen, I was disappointed that the album had a slightly different sound than The Silver Cord. Yes, there will always be albums you enjoy more or less, but does the album following a breakout hit always leave fans disappointed? Of the reviews that I’ve read so far regarding Suburba, they are all positive, but most say something to the effect of, “It’s a great album, but not quite as deep as The End is Not The End.” I hope that this fantastic group will not forever be measured by The End is Not The End.

Since their release is drawing near, I began to think about their name. House of Heroes recalls thoughts of the Hall of Justice, the headquarters of the Super Friends. The Hall of Justice was almost a sacred place, hidden from society, a place where heroes can meet, relax, and plan their strategy for combating an unrelenting evil that threatened the world. I would call it my Shadow Gathering. This got the cogs in my head turning…any home can have most of these qualities. An apartment can be a place where you relax, get away from the world, and prepare yourself for the trials in life. I find in my life the weeks I spend time with God at home, either reading the Bible or praying, are much better weeks than when I don’t. I’m not going to sit here and tell you if you don’t pray everyday and read your Bible you’re going to hell, but to be honest it just seems to make things easier. Temptations seem less frequent or tempting and I have a happier demeanor overall. We all know the spiritual life is a rollercoaster, with heart-pumping highs and depressing lows.  I’m telling you from personal experience, these actions help to even out the ride (near the top of the apex).  This shouldn’t be a big and difficult task.  I’ve found that the hardest part is beginning the process.  But I can promise you this, once you start spending time with God, you’ll feel like he’s spending more time with you.  So I challenge you, make your home a house of heroes and see if there’s a difference.

V is feeling nostalgic today. Just one month shy of their one year anniversary of the release of Haunted Horse: Songs of Love, Defiance & Delusion, Neon Horse has been on the mind. This is the best band you most likely haven’t heard of. Here is my retro review, a look back at an amazing album that if you haven’t checked out yet, you should remedy that immediately.

The Horse has returned, and Norman is back to his old tricks. Norman is a patient man, but the Neon Horse devoted fanatics were anxious, wondering if the gritty rock and roll troupe would return. Fans prayed that Norman wouldn’t ride off into the sunset after one album. After a two year wait, the mystery that is Neon Horse is back, and loyal followers have been rewarded for their patience with an album that reminds us why we fell in love with them. And then some.
The basic format is very familiar to fans of their debut album. Out of ten tracks only three of them are over 3 minutes in length, but don’t think just because Haunted Horse is short you’ll be changing your iPod anytime soon. Catchy choruses, aggressive guitar riffs and their mysterious sound will keep you listening over
and over. Haunted Horse begins with the fast-paced When Daddy Gets Home, featuring the two unique voices that separate Neon Horse from other pure rock groups. The lead vocalist, known only as Norman, kicks it off with his signature grainy, almost menacing tone. The chorus brings back his melodic, yet still haunting voice over the harsh tones of pure, uninhibited rock. The lyrics are poignant and yet they can seem like pure nonsense. “You’ll be the Queen of Sheba / I’ll be Genghis Chaka Khan / You’ll be the wickedest witch / I’ll be the big bad Don Juan / But who you gonna believe / when daddy gets home.” Hidden in these cryptic lyrics is a
question we all have faced…at the end of the day, what do you believe in? The tempo stays strong with the first single Strange Town. Electronic moans add an ethereal sound to the aggressive vocals and steady drums. Yer
Busy Little Beehive follows, which is a shock to your system. The upbeat energetic sounds of the previous songs fade, replaced with sustained synth chords, piano riffs and the harsh, devious voice Neon Horse has become known for. Although this is a completely different sound compared to the rest of the album, this song
stands alone and puts their creativity and musical ingenuity on display. Some Folks is another highlight track, featuring a strong bass line that will make you bob your head to the beat. Dealing with the problems of confusion and who to believe in this strange world, Some Folks has the positive message to follow your own
voice. Cell-O-Phone showcases the incredible vocal range of Neon Horse, utilizing a strong falsetto during the verses. Chain Gang, Bang Bang brings back the fast paced tempo with a big band sound. “Everybody sing along, boo hoo / The night is young the day is long feed the choo-choo / Swing the pick and shake the bombs
tick-tock cuckoo / Everybody sing along swing boom, swing boom.” This is a toe-tapping song that you will never tire of. The heavy synth sound returns with Comin’ Up Theventh, a slower tribute to an old-fashioned 80’s sound. The album ends on a high note with I Don’t Need Anything, touting a message that reminds us to stray from materialism with a steady rock groove.
Fans of Neon Horse’s debut album will be ecstatic with the familiar sound and an added polish. In the rock world there are few bands who dare to be so unforgivably unique. Neon Horse is refreshingly contagious in a music world of monotony. The Horse has returned with a vengeance.

Hope you enjoyed that look back. Just a friendly reminder, get Children 18:3 tomorrow! V will return to review their album, so check back soon.

There is a stigma attached to Christian music.  “All they sing about is God and Jesus and they are musical midgets, playing simple songs for there simple and closed-minded audience.”  This load of crap has damaged the Christian music industry and those who believe this and are spreading this fallacy are spreading their ignorance like wildfire. I must confess, there was a time when I too looked down on these artists who chose to fight the uphill battle of making a living with positive songs and Christian values.  Forget writing music, the life of a believer is tough enough without the added pressure of being in the spotlight, even if it is a small one.  Every Christian follower you have is judging your every single move.  I just saw this yesterday: a Christian metal band posted a tweet that contained an expletive, and it was also posted on Facebook.  As soon as it was posted, several people made comments, demeaning the band, telling them they weren’t Christian, and so on.  The post was quickly changed.  Knowing their audience, they probably should have strayed from using this sort of language, but just because someone swears doesn’t mean they have been condemned to hell.  If it did, I don’t think there would need to be a heaven.  My point is, these bands are being so heavily scrutinized it is a wonder that artists choose this path at all.  In the mainstream media, the saying goes, “Any publicity is good publicity.”  Not so for Christian bands.

I have been submerged in the Christian music world for the past 6 years now.  I implore you, please try one of these quality groups.  Give them a fair chance, listen to several of their songs, and tell me if you like what you hear. Choose your favorite genre and listen to the band I have listed.

Metal – Demon Hunter or Project 86

Southern Rock – Maylene and the Sons of Disaster

Rock – Mae

Alternative – Children 18:3

Indie – Fair

Hip-Hop/Rap – Grits

Pop – Owl City

Electronica – Family Force 5

I am a voice to the voiceless. Reviews, editorials, music, news, release dates, and religious pondering to come.