Thursday, August 26, 2010

Exclusive interview with Newsboys' Duncan Phillips

On August 21st, I had the chance to sit with Duncan Phillips of the Newsboys right before their amazing performance at Ocean Grove, NJ. I must say, interviewing him was a blast and he was very generous with his time. And now, for your viewing pleasure is the entire interview. Check it out!

Newsboys - Live @ Ocean Grove, NJ 8/21/2010

If you're like me and have your reservations about the new direction the Newsboys are heading, then seeing them live should squash any doubts you may have. Recently they passed through NJ, and my son and I went to see them play at the Great Auditorium in historic Ocean Grove. Overall, it was an electrifying performance that had me reeling for a couple days afterwards. They played most songs from their new album along with oldies like Shine, He Reigns, and Breakfast. The audience was captivated by a phenomenal show, and I can't wait to see them pass through this area again. To give you a taste of the performance, here's a video I took of the song Miracles from that night's show. Also, stay tuned for a video I took of the song Born Again, and an exclusive interview I did with drummer Duncan Phillips. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Matt Maher - Alive Again

Here's another review by Amica Paige...

Matt Maher’s album, ALIVE AGAIN, so aptly named, is a breath of fresh air in today’s polluted airwaves, wherein “cool tunes”, per se, rule over substance, and mere noise have replaced real music, as these misguided and image-driven artists, in blind pursuit of relevance, continue to embrace bland formulas and popularity over their God-given talents and musical integrity. This unpretentious, stripped-down music displays a genuine balance between substance and creativity, without the latter running amok for its own sake; take note of Maher’s vocal ease and Audrey Assad’s cool harmony in a couple of tracks, especially in Garden. With its lyrical and melodic strength, this album is solid and certainly deserves some serious airtime in its entirety, though my favorites are Alive Again, Sing Over Your Children, Hold Us Together, Love Comes Down, Letting Go, You Were on the Cross, Christ is Risen, and Garden. Each track eloquently delivers a message that turns your thoughts to our glorious Creator who richly blesses, even with eternal life, which many of us would rather reject, instead of actively seek or even honestly question God.

Pick up the album, if you care to nourish your spirit. The music is a gem for the jaded listener, and may very well make you feel alive again. Plainly put, it is food for the soul and the lyrics are included in the no fuss, yet artful insert.

“I was looking outside
As if love would ever want to hide”

“No scheme of man
Us from Your hand…”

“I flirt with the world…
But Your gaze stops my heart”

“Glorious beyond measure
Bending low to wash His traitor’s feet…
Why would a king do such a thing?”

“Where were you when all that I’ve hoped for
Came crashing down in shambles around me”

“O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He’s alive! He’s alive!”

“Your love’s so strong
I can’t recall
What was this thing
They called the fall?
…The mournful rejoicing
Seeing through tears
Of peace overflowing…”

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stellar Kart - Everything is Different Now

If frenzied pop-punk is your thing, then you’d probably dig the latest album put out by Stellar Kart.

Lately, the term “worship” has developed into a style or genre, instead of an act of reverence. So I do have my reservations when I hear an album (or anything for that matter) described as “worship”. I honestly wish that the term would be done away with. But for the time being, I’ll use it here since that’s the word used for the theme of this album.

Stellar Kart, if you haven’t already noticed from my intro, is a Christian band. As a believer myself, when I listen to the songs on this CD, I understand the connection they sing about. As for the style, I really haven’t been into the pop-punk sound since the Blink-182 days, with the exception of Relient K (which lately has evolved to a much more mature sound). However, after saying all that, I like these guys. It’s a fun album with a lot of heart behind it. I played it a few times driving home in traffic to give me that extra jolt of energy I needed. The standout track for me would have to be their cover of "Spirit In the Sky". It’s definitely unlike any other version of the song you ever heard. Overall, it’s an album that gives you the pleasure of indulging in some frenetic sounds while contemplating on life and God.

Friday, August 13, 2010

James and the Giant Peach: Special Edition

We all know that Tim Burton directed the recent Alice In Wonderland starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Well when you watch Burton’s films long enough you start to realize he IS the Mad Hatter. His unique films draw you into another world as each one comes to life on the screen. From Ed Wood to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Burton has been consistent in delivering some memorable films with his eccentric style. One of his most beloved is James and the Giant Peach. I recently checked it out on the new Special Edition Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack. If you loved this film, then seeing it on Blu-ray will be truly enjoyable. Someone had recently said to me that stop-motion animation has become a forgotten art. Well I hope this new release will wake some people up and revive this style of animation. The Blu-ray version comes with some special features that shouldn’t be missed. There is a really funny game called Spike the Aunts where you get to “spike” the nasty evil aunts from the film with a rhino! Also, there is the Production Featurette which takes a look at how the film was made. This kind of feature is already expected on DVD/Blu-ray releases, so not much of a surprise there. However this shows how much work was put in to make this film. Man! You have to have A LOT of patience to make a stop-motion animated film. Overall, this is one release that I was very satisfied with.