Goldilocks and the Musicians
by Paul Landkamer
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I started this article to be on bad habits. I decided, instead, only to lightly touch on that topic, and get back to music. All I'll say on bad habits is that if you're doing something you think might be wrong, or something you feel you must hide from someone or lie about, you probably ought to reconsider doing it at all. Wow! That's really condensed from my original plan.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my wife and I took a drive from west-central Missouri to the northeast border of Georgia. It was a road trip, and we planned to drive straight through on both the to and return trips. We did it, and I'm back home in Missouri to write about it. The trip to visit my daughter was pleasant, but I wouldn't do the drive for fun –especially on only a four-day break.
It would be a long drive, so I brought some of my new CDs. Of course, I knew it would be close quarters, and my wife doesn't always like the same sort of music I listen to recreationally. I had to choose something I thought would keep me awake, but, at the same time, not irritate my wife.
I brought my new Rackets and Drapes CD anyway. I knew it was going to be too extreme for her, but if I really wanted some harshness, it would come in handy. Rackets and Drapes is a weird blend of growled, or "Cookie Monster" vocals, and melodic David Bowie-like stuff. The instrumental is heavy industrial, with all sorts of little eclectic quirks. It's really interesting music, as far as I'm concerned. I did, however, only play it once, quietly, and while I was driving and my wife was asleep in the back seat.
Ilia, a heavy girl-band with lots of growly vocals like Flyleaf, was another band a bit heavy for frequent loud playing. One Star Story is fairly heavy, but poppish enough that it was safer to play a bit louder. It, too, features female vocals. If everything works out, I'll be going to hear Ilia and One Star Story on 15 Dec, '07 at Main Street Café in Kansas City. I knew that one CD I brought with me was going to be a hit in the car. That one was Mission Blues. I'd taken my wife to a Christian nightclub (Club D-Mask-Us) grand opening a couple weeks earlier. I knew the Az-U-R praise band would be energetic rock with a strong classic style, and Mission Blues would be blues rockers. I didn't know how she'd react to either of them, but after hearing both, she said, "We've gotta come out here more often." So, Mission Blues was a good all-around choice, with One Star Story on the border and Ilia and Rackets and Drapes pushing the extreme boundary. OK, I also played Iron Butterfly's "In A Gadda Da Vida", but this article's not about that. There was another artist who surprised me.
To look at her picture, Elyce looks like her style would be pop, maybe even a light girly dance-pop, or warbling diva wanna-be. I'd heard a little on her MySpace website before I bought the CD, so I thought I knew what I'd be getting. I was quite pleasantly surprised. I like power-pop. Audio Adrenaline is a favorite, and Superchick is another. Elyce comes closest to being described as power-pop and compares to Barlowgirl's "Never Alone," Superchick's heavy side, or Jaci Velasquez's "Show You Love." It's a style that's a little heavy for most adult contemporary radio stations. It's nice meaty music for a former Christian music skeptic like me, but not so extreme it'll drive people away holding their ears.
When we got to our daughter's new home (her first Army duty station), I played selections of my new music for her. We usually share our musical discoveries. I think she enjoys hearing new stuff, but, who knows? She might roll her eyes and wonder when Dad's going to get the musical stuff out of the way. Anyway, she gave comments and opinions on them all. For some, she merely said, "Yeah, you played them for me when I was home last" or "They're OK, but I probably wouldn't buy them," and "I've never really been a blues-rock fan," but when I put on Elyce, she withheld her comment until several songs played. After a bit of listening, she smiled and said, "She's good! I might have another new favorite." Elyce is sort of a Baby-Bear fit. Not too hard, not too light, with clean, crisp, understandable, firmly-Christian, and non-gimmicky vocals. Elyce's voice isn't too high, nor too low with which to sing along. Despite all the "not-to's" as describers, Elyce is far above average! I hope she goes a long way! As far as our family's concerned, Elyce's music is "just right."
Always let your music help keep your focus on Jesus!
Note: Most of these bands can be heard on MySpace. Check 'em out.
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