Loud Harp – “Hold Me Together”

Driving on my way to middle school ministry this Tuesday I was browsing through my Newly Added playlist on my iPod, when I remembered I had downloaded the newest release on Come&Live, a self-titled release by the band Loud Harp.

I hit play on the first track, “Hold Me Together”.  It started off slow and unassuming, I was kind of half listening to the lyrics.  The first chorus hit, still moving slow, but I’m already loving the words about how God holds us together.  By the time the second chorus hit, I’m singing along, so by the time the third chorus hits I am full on worshiping with the band.  Singing at the top of my lungs, and this is the first time I had ever heard the song before.  I was so moved that first thing when I pulled up at church I had to play it for my friend Eric.

What an amazing song.  It has quite possibly one of the best build-ups I’ve ever heard in a worship song.  It also is one of the most heart felt worship songs I’ve ever heard.  All of the different elements of the band working together, in perfect harmony.  These guys are definitely giving their best to God, and quite obviously being used by him by the likes of this song.

If you haven’t downloaded this free album yet, then you have to do it right now!  Here’s the link.  Do yourself a favor, and be blessed by this amazing album.

Tongue&Pen – “Rescue”

A few weeks ago, an EP from the band Tongue&Pen popped up on Come&live.  So of course I had to download and check it out.  I was not disappointed in the least.

The EP was entitled The Likeness EP, and it featured three brand new awesome worship tracks, continuing to push the envelope of what worship is.  Further reminding us that worship is not a style of music, but instead is a response to a loving God who sent his Son to die on the Cross for our sins.  A God who loves us despite all of the awful things that we have done, and our depraved condition.  That is exactly what this EP is all about.

The first track on the EP “Rescue” is a call for God to save us.  Something that we are all in desperate need of.  Leaning to some of the indie tinged music of my leaning to, “Rescue” is packed full of contemplative guitar riffs, and build-up to a pleading, heartfelt chorus.  Something that really makes this song stick out though is it’s breakdown towards the end of the song reminding of some sort of neo-revival lead by electric guitars instead of banjos with an honest prayer straight from the heart of the band.

Thanks for the honesty guys, and keep serving Him!

Ivoryline – “Vessels”

Tooth and Nail Records has been giving us some great Christian bands for years now, including the likes of Underoath, Emery, and Project 86.  One of their newer bands to catch my attention is the band Ivoryline.

Based out of Tyler, TX, Ivoryline continues the tradition of great alternative rock music with encouraging lyrics, and their newest album Vessel is no exception to the quality that Tooth and Nail has continued to provide.

With heavy, distorted guitars and heartfelt, passionate choruses screamed into the microphone, Ivoryline makes music meant to be blasted. With a show of great musicianship from every member of the band from the drums, to the bass, and even to the production Ivoryline reminds us that quality rock music is not dead.

Channeling their inner Dead Poetic on the title track from their album, “Vessels” starts off with some trademark crunchy guitar, leading into a subdued verse.  Relying upon the dynamic between soft and heavy, “Vessels” easily shifts back and forth with lead singer Jeremy Gray seamlessly following the rest of the band while attacking the subject of what it means to be a light in a dark world.

Ivoryline is doing exactly that by rocking out with a message.  I can’t wait to hear what their next album will bring us.

Josh Garrels – “White Owl”

Hailing from Portland, Oregon is folk singer Josh Garrels.  This past year he was giving away his most recent album Love & War  & the Sea in Between.  In fact, according to his Facebook page, he gave away more 125,000 copies of the album.  In a day an age of corporate greed and famous people blowing money like it’s going out of style, it’s nice to see someone being so generous as to give his art away.  Even more important, it turns out that Love & War  & the Sea in Between is a great album.

Relying upon his music to speak for him, Garrels takes a simplistic approach to his craft, and the result is some beautiful, acoustic tinged, symphonic folk.  Without relying upon the production techniques that many new folk acts have been using, Garrels puts an emphasis on what it is he is trying to get across through his songs.

Such is the case with the stand out track from the album entitled “White Owl.”  With the accompaniment of some strings and horns to his guitar finger picking, “White Owl” is the perfect canvas for Garrels’ falsetto to take over as he sings about going out into the world to do God’s work.  This is a song reminiscent of pop songs from the past, channeling some Sergeant Pepper era Beatles, and even some Nick Drake.  Reminding us that a great pop song can have some creativity and thought put into it when worked by a musical craftsman, and Josh Garrels is exactly that.

You can download the track  for free via the Soundcloud below, then make sure to check out his entire album on his Bandcamp page right here.

Tanlines – “Brothers”

I’ve been listening to a few new albums the last few days via Spotify, and one that has really stood out has been Tanlines first full length album Mixed Emotions.

Consisting of two veterans to the indie rock scene (Jesse Cohn and Eric Emm), Tanlines has put out one of the best electro-pop albums of the year.  Already featured on Sterogum’s “Top 25 of the Year So Far”, it’s filled with super catchy tunes that you could dance or run to, but with a healthy dose of intelligence and hipness.  This album is filled with plenty to love.

The opening track on the album is entitled “Brothers”, and is definitely one of the stand outs on the album.  With a funky electro vibe, it is very apparent that Tanlines knows exactly what they are doing in the studio.  It seems apparent that lots of thought has gone into every note of “Brothers”, with some beautiful texturing of layers from a nice guitar hook, to the synthesizers, and summer sounding beat.  Not to mention the slow and subtle build to the highlight  towards the end.

The vocals and lyrics are also no after thought on “Brothers.”  I wonder if the song is about a strained relationship between brothers, with one making some life-altering mistakes.  “Change my mind, make mistakes, and put it past them.”  Sometimes all you really can do when you mess up is put it behind you, ask God for forgiveness and move on.

 

Dad Rock Father’s Day Playlist

Since tomorrow is Father’s day, I thought I would celebrate my dad and my own fatherhood with a collection of some of my favorite “Dad Rock” tracks.

Being a dad is one of the most amazing things ever, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to “cool” music anymore.  Even if my younger brother gives me a hard time for enjoying it.  Hope you enjoy, and happy Father’s Day.

Life Between Sleep – “The Dynamic of Brothers”

I came across the band Life Between Sleep a few weeks via Twitter.  Their new EP The Dynamic of Brothers has been streaming on their Bandcamp page here, and it is a throwback to some of the great post-hardcore music circa 2003.  Reminding me of Circa Survive, Dead Poetic, and even some of the earlier Underoath stuff.

One of my favorite tracks carries the same name as the EP, “The Dynamic of Brothers.”  It really focuses on the contrast of quiet and loud, as made famous by bands like Thrice and Thursday, but there’s nothing like building up to a crescendo moment in a song.  Then really letting the listener have it.  Once you’ve invested 2 minutes into the track, there’s no turning back as the drums and bass take “The Dynamic of Brothers” to another level, yet still keeping it dark.

The lyrics continue with the dark theme, as their lead singer pleads with someone about messing up  and how,” I’ll never let you down again.”  Something we can all relate to, as selfishness can so easily overtake us, and lead to us disappointing others.

This is a great track, and I can’t wait to hear some more from these guys.