It's All Good
by Paul Landkamer
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I've got some great stuff to tell you about this time! Sometimes I've got duds, but not now. As some of you might know, I've got pages at both MySpace and Xianz.com. Despite the bad press recently, both sites are great places to find Christian musicians. Xianz, however, really came through recently. Xianz lists new bands/artists to sign up separately from the individual persons. I clicked on one of these new artists and got quite a pleasant surprise. Wahba! I read his description and he sounded like he checked out my taste before posting his page. I heard a clip of his music, then I had to go to Indie Heaven to place an order. Well, he had two CDs for sale there, so I ordered both --THEN, Indie Heaven had to entice me into buying a third CD. Buy three or more, and there's no shipping and handling. I pondered a bit, then continued shopping. I ran across a band described as blues rock: Raging Grace. This was a successful shopping trip. It's easy to get all excited about a purchase, then to have your expectations shattered on receipt.
A few days passed, and the order arrived. I popped Wahba into the CD player. About all I can say is Wahba is a new favorite! Theologically sound lyrics to a great neo-classic rock sound often very reminiscent of Lenny Kravitz. I put the second CD into the player, and though it had a slightly more modern rock sound, the lyrics stayed solid (avoiding the all-too-easy cliché trap) and the music was still great. Even Wahba's praise and worship songs are lyrically original and well-matched to the music. Both CDs were great, though I tend to like the earlier one best. Then I tried out the impulse buy, Raging Grace. These guys kicked in with the blues and hooked me. One song sticks out. I had to play it for my wife, who often rolls her eyes at my music. I told her, just one, OK? She reluctantly agreed, then I played "Married Man's Shuffle." It's a nice, upbeat song of a guy who's happy to be married to the girl Jesus gave him --and that's me! She danced along to it with a big smile --and I even got hugs afterward. You married guys gotta check this one out!
After this pleasant Indie Heaven purchase, Xianz.com came through again! A new band called DecembeRadio showed up. I liked what I read again, and placed an order through Christian Book Distributers. The next day, Groundforce Network contacted their folks and asked who'd work on DecembeRadio's publicity. I had to go along with the request, even though I couldn't yet accurately say I owned their CD. DecembeRadio is lots more pop than Wahba or Raging Grace, but I love 'em! They could likely fill in the gap that Audio Adrenaline's folding will leave. DecembeRadio is slightly harder than Audio Adrenaline. They're hard rock, and very polished. DecembeRadio will appeal to teens for the heaviness, but also to old folks like me, since they rock nice and heavy, but don't resort to the teen-extreme vocals of screaming or whining.
Bought stuff wasn't all that impressed me this time. I read about Sufjan Stevens at Suite101.com's Christian music site. I liked what I read there, and to my surprise, one of my public libraries carried his "Illinoise" CD. I put my name on the reserve list --and waited for weeks. It finally came and this guy is DIVERSE! He's not really rock, but still very interesting. Sufjan Stevens plays an eclectic blend of classical, folk, Celtic, band and orchestral, with hints of rock flavor scattered throughout. You gotta know these bands, but I need to compare Sufjan Stevens to The Clumsy Lovers, The Danielson Famile (now Danielson), with some Sackcloth Fashion thrown in. Serious and stylistically unique artsy pop (no, not pop, really), rock (no, not rock either), or really, Sufjan Stevens is in a class all by itself. They're a must-hear!
Always let your music help keep your focus on Jesus!
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