Archive for August, 2007
Boasting a career spanning over a decade and a half, Caedmon's Call is, without question, one of Christian alternative music's most successful and beloved never-to-go-mainstream bands. Overdressed, the eighth full-length release from the band, continues the band’s legacy of folk-inspired alternative rock and welcomes back Derek Webb who left the band in 2003 to pursue three solo records.
While not particularly musically innovative, Caedmon's Call has been a consistently compelling band because of the depth and thoughtfulness of their lyricism. In a scene glutted with sterilized and genericized musical platitudes about faith, love and hope, Caedmon's Call infused their writing with penetrating intensity and poignant, unapologetically (and sometimes offensively) prophetic insight. The depth of this commitment to writing can be perhaps seen best in 2004's Share the Well, in which the band applied their talents to tackle issues of poverty and injustice they had personally witnessed on trips to India, Ecuador and Brazil.
Overdressed, like other Caedmon's Call releases, is an enjoyable collection of the band’s now standard unassuming folk-driven rock united to thought-provoking lyrics. However, after 15 years of a practically unchanged format, Overdressed leaves the longtime listener with much to be desired. True enough, the songs—in typical Caedmon's Call fashion–are certainly catchy and More >
Okay, more gratuitous self-aggrandizement.
The site which I recently finished, landscape-expressions.com , has been featured on the following design sites:
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Over 17 years in the making, The Trumpet Child—the 13th studio album from Cincinnati-based husband and wife duo (Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist) Over the Rhine —is a late-coming, albeit welcome and invigorating redefinition of the band’s sound. Known for their gritty emotionalisim and often dark aesthetic, The Trumpet Child is a sort of reawakening for OTR. Infusing an infectious blend of trumpets, trombones and saxophones to their standard acoustic set, The Trumpet Child sounds brighter and airier, as if the non-chalaunt freedom of the horns have liberated the band from an acoustically ethereal purgatory.
But despite the radically care-free sound of The Trumpet Child, the infectious lyrical pathos for which OTR is beloved remains, albeit translated in a new direction. A song like "Trouble," although saucy and sassy, wittily explores while thoughtfully deconstructing the vagrancies of infatuation and love. Yet later on, "Let's Spend the Day in Bed" celebrates the simplicity of life and love in the bright and equally ordinary images of everyday life.
But The Trumpet Child is not all light and air. The darker lyrical directions for which the band is known force their way to the surface periodically. The plodding, incessantly melancholic melody of "Nothing is Innocent" conjures meanings More >
Last night on CNN I watched a special with Roland S. Martin entitled "God, Sex and Greed" which featured, among others,"America's Rabbi," Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (he has his own bobble-head, which is pretty cool) and Dr. Albert Mohler (he really needs a bobblehead). Both these men were asked about what some feel to be the over-sexed nature of American culture, what their opions of it were, and what they thought could be done. Honestly, I thought both their answers were very interesting.
Rabbi Boteach began by suggesting that rather than being "over-sexed," American culture is actually suffering from a lack of genuine, intimate sexuality that is the ideal of human relatedness. The sex crisis in America, according to Boteach, is not sexual, but pornographic. To Boteach, the perversion in American sexuality stems from the fact that like all other areas of American society, sexuality and human relationships in general have become one more commodity to be bought and sold between individuals. In such a scenario, human persons become objectified and commoditized and sexuality loses any meaning as it lacks the vulnerability and celebration that marks the nature of healthy, non-objectified human relationships.
Mohler, on the other hand, objectified the problem of sexuality in America, not More >
Today, I ran across an interesting site: blogactionday.org . The concept is very simple–this website is organizing as many blogs as possible to join together on October 15, 2007 to talk about the environment. The orginators of this idea believe that a mass, one day conversation about the environment from the myriad perspectives in the blogging world will raise consciousness about the environmental issues and challenges that face our planet.
As of today, blogactionday.org suggests that a quarter of a million people are currently represented by the 500+ blogs that are registered.
existdissolve.com is now a registered participant, and I am already brainstorming ideas for the specific post that I will make on October 15th. I would encourage others to do the same by clicking here . (I will also be linking to it in the bottom section of this site). Even you feel that environmental activism is bunk, register and blog about that. The point of blogactionday.org is not to promote a specific hegemony of environmental thinking, but more generally to get people talking and thinking about the environment.Share this:
Yeah, so I've been out of the loop quite a bit lately. The primary reason is that I have been working a ton! Beyond my normal web design and development duties at my regular job, I have also been working on some freelance projects which have occupied most of my ridiculously sparse free time (finishing Final Fantasy XII didn't help, either…).
Anyway, I am proud to announce that my first major freelance account is complete and live !
In a nutshell, landscape-expressions.com is a online photography portfolio for Gary Compton, a native of Somerset, Kentucky. In addition to displaying his photographs in an organized fashion, Gary also wanted visitors to be able to purchase various-sized prints online via PayPal.
Well, it’s done. I stayed up until 1:00 this morning and finally put Final Fantasy XII to rest. Total gamplay hours: 72:32.
On the whole, I enjoyed this installment in my favorite video game series. At first, I HATED the battle system, but as I progressed in the game, it became pretty interesting and became a formidable weapon in my hands as I cut through the pathetically weak enemies which I encountered.
The plot was not as good as some, and at times I felt as if I had missed gigantic sequences of storyline as characters, events and other random factoids were presented as if already well-established. One interesting aspect of the storyline is that it was not as single-protagonist-focused as other FF games. Although the player begins with Vaan, the story quickly transforms into an epic about another character (the Lady Ashe), while still drawing into the narrative the lives of several others. Although the storyline felt rushed at many times, it was engaging and satisfying on the whole.
Typically, I finish most FF games in about 30-35 hours. The reason for the over two-fold increase on this installment is multifaceted. First, with most games, finishing the game is my only goal. More >
In the post-grunge rock fallout of the late 90's and early 00's, Fuel became a mainstay for rock fans, fusing the emotive spirit of Nirvana's musical revolution with a progressive and compelling sound that made alternative rock a viable option in the face of the rise of rap and hip-hop. Although bands are always more than the sum of their parts, Fuel was uniquely successful because of their long-time frontman, Brett Scallions, and his equally unique vocal stylings. In a world of mass-produced and equally burned-over redundancies like Nickelback and Creed, Fuel found in Scallions a vocal persona with sufficient gravitas to provide separation and differentiation from the broader and more painfully genericized rock genre.
However, with their 2007 release, "Angels and Demons," all of this has changed. Pursuing other musical interests, Scallions recently parted ways with Fuel, leaving the band to find another to fill the incredible void, a space filled by Toryn Green, formerly of the band Something to Burn.
From a somewhat disinterested perspective, "Angels and Demons" is a fairly solid album. Although Green brings an extreme measure of newness to the sound, Fuel does not depart significantly from the status quo, delivering the typically-Fuel fusion of hard-hitting, More >
In the face of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans native Jake Smith proves that even disaster cannot stifle the soul of the Big Easy. Released under Christian pop guru Michael W. Smith’s Rocketown Records, Smith’s debut album, Real, is a funky, soul-filled musical journey fused with penetratingly thoughtful lyrics that broach subjects of faith, loss, hope and love.
Musically, Real is significantly diverse. Tracks like “Get Up” and “Can’t Save Your Soul” are bright and groovy, while others like “Real Love” and “Run” are hauntingly melancholy. Yet within the diversity, a common thread of soulfulness unifies each track to the whole, creating the impression of a well-crafted, robust, and surprisingly mature project.
Somewhat reminiscent of Elliot Yamin’s earlier, and less impressive, 2007 release, Smith’s vocals are smooth and infectious, enrapturing the listeners’ attention without becoming overbearing. Yet behind these inherently accessible vocal performances is a depth and earnestness of lyricism that sets Smith worlds apart from the burned-over, made-for-radio pop which is so characteristic of today’s music scene. While comparisons to the artistry of John Mayer are surely overreaching, Jake Smith’s debut with Real heralds significant promise for this new artist.
As a final note, Smith has recently partnered with More >