Bon Iver – “Skinny Love”

2 days removed from Coachella Weekend 2, and it was an amazing experience!  I got to spend it with my beautiful wife of almost five years, and my brother.  I had such a great time that I was reluctant to take off my wrist band until today when I saw a cool trick to take it off without having to cut it.

I have literally seen so much music over the past weekend that I can barely keep track of who and what I saw.  Could be the 105 degree desert sun fried my brain a bit.  Some of shows I caught while there included Neon Indian, M83, Gotye, Radiohead, Miike Snow, Manchester Orchestra, Radiohead, and of course the Tupac hologram just to name a few.

One musician really stood out, and I think was hands down one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever seen.  Of course I’m talking about Bon Iver.  After winning a Grammy, the man still plays with such a passion, that you can only fathom how much he loves making music and sharing it with people.  My wife and I literally had chills while he played some of our favorites including “Holocene” and “Perth.”

The highlight of the show for me though was when Justin Vernon sat down with an old, beat-up acoustic guitar and played “Skinny Love”.  As he slipped into his falsetto, strumming away on his guitar it was easy to lose one’s place in the world, and simply be swept away.

Thanks for an amazing show Bon Iver!!!

Great Forest – “Step Into My Arms”

Hailing from Arkansas, the band Great Forest is a brand new band who have only been writing music together for a little over six months.  Despite their short time spent playing music together, their first self-titled EP is a treat.  Even better you can get it for free here.

While all of the tracks are some high quality indie-pop gems, the last track on the EP, “Step Into My Arms” is definitely one of the highlights.  Complete with a great dynamics ranging from soft and simple keyboard, building up to the level of some grandiose arena rock.  I really love all of the variation that this track gives.  During some of the bigger moments I’m reminded of Manchester Orchestra, and during other parts I can help but think of Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity album.

The lyrics also seem to have a great message, encouraging the listener to trust in God with all of their hearts.  “If we could only see what we’re meant to be.  Give us eyes to see,” is repeated during the end of the song.  Reminding us that God has an amazing plans for each and every one of us.  If we could all see how God sees us, I’m sure many of us would have a much different perspective of our lives.

I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for these guys, and I will certainly be anticipating a full-length release from them.

Matthew Reed – “Emmanuel”

I was browsing through some highlights on Noisetrade, when I came across worship leader Matthew Reed, who was giving away his free E.P. Come and Drink.  I was pleasantly surprised after I had loaded my free download into my iTunes library.

Of the six different tracks featured on the E.P., all have a different feel.  With a bit of a newer Phil Wickham type of feel with the first track “Awake, Awake.”  Some great use of subtle electronics and some great production is definitely present throughout the E.P.  There is also a nice acoustic vibe going on.

My favorite track on the E.P. though is “Emmanuel.”  With a simple acoustic guitar and piano, this is a really beautiful song about how God really is with us no matter what we have going on in our lives.  The simplicity of the song really let’s Matthew’s voice shine, as well as the amazing message of the song.

If you’re looking for some fresh, honest worship, check out this album here.

Ives- “The Joker”

I know it’s been a few days since I’ve posted, but I was out of town celebrating Easter with my family in a place with no internet access.

FYI, I am now 3 weeks into my 30 Day Challenge.  Come next week I will officially be done just in time for the second weekend of Coachella.  As a whole though, the challenge has definitely been a positive experience, which has helped me to grow in my relationship with Christ.  I would certainly recommend it.

Today’s post is from the band Ives.  Originally from San Diego, they had spent some time living here in Albuquerque  when I caught these guys opening for Glorious Unseen and Jars for Clay.  I was impressed with both their musicianship and songwriting skills.  They almost remind me of fun./The Format.  Either way they make fun, catchy, indie pop as shown on their album The Incredible Story of Mr. Birch.

The song, “The Joker” is a great example of Ives and their talent.  Starting off with a simple piano riff, with some interesting percussion until the rest of the band comes in.  Then the song really takes off, as all members of the band shine with their given instruments as the song really starts to rock.  By the breakdown, you’ll be singing along with the oh’s, and will probably be a fan of Ives.

David Crowder* Band- “God Have Mercy”

When I found out that David Crowder* Band was ceasing to make music, I was heartbroken.  Here, the band who I first started listening to when I was first saved was going to no longer be putting out albums.  Just as they had really began taking some risks as artists with Church Music.  Really adding an electronic element to a lot of their songs, while still holding onto the bluegrass/folk/pop/rock/whatever makes Crowder* Band so great.

Then something hit me.  They’re still putting out one more album, and what a great album Give Us Rest or (a requiem mass in c, the happiest of all keys). turned out to be.  David Crowder* Band continued to show their growth as artists, while still remaining true to making music that honors God and relates to those seeking after a personal relationship with Christ.

While there are a lot of great tracks on this album, I think my favorite is “God Have Mercy.”  With plenty of the acoustic guitars that made them famous, “God Have Mercy” also incorporates a lot of the new elements that have helped David Crowder* Band stand out from their CCM counterparts.  Including some dark synthesizers, voice distortion, ect.  This track also shows the bands uncanny knack for an amazing build-up to the peak of a song.  Something it seems they’ve learned from electronic acts like M83.

Point being, if you like quality,creative music, Christian or not, you need to check out the latest David Crowder* Band album.