Jun 23, 2011

This Week In Music News: Matthew West, Matt Maher, Peter Furler, and Summer Samplers

Matthew West to release "The Story of Your Life, Inspiring Stories of God at Work in People Just Like You"
     GRAMMY ® nominee Matthew West along with best selling author Angela Thomas (Do You Think I’m Beautiful, My Single Mom Life and more) are uniting to release The Story of Your Life, Inspiring Stories of God at Work in People Just Like You with Harvest House Publishers this September.
      The book from West comes as a follow-up to his best-selling, latest CD The Story of Your Life where he received 10,000 personal stories from individuals in every state in the U.S. and 20 countries. Upon its release, The Story of Your Life garnered attention from CNN, Fox News, Billboard Magazine, Country Weekly, AOL’s TheBoot.com and more.

Matt Maher to release new record, "The Love Between", on September 20
     Matt Maher has earned a reputation as one of Christian music’s most sought-after singer/songwriters and worship leaders in the music community today, but he’s also known as a man with striking conviction and the ability to relate that passion and conviction to listeners ranging from the studied theologian to the layperson.

     On September 20 Maher will deliver The Love In Between, an album that takes church from within the four walls to the handshake between two people. Matt’s third national release is a watershed album defining his artistic direction and setting apart his signature vocals and compelling writing style. The Love In Between is encouraging, hopeful and authentic; the articulation of who Matt is as a man, husband, soon-to-be-father, brother and follower.

Summer Sampler Packages: Tooth and Nail, Solid State, and BEC records
     Three of the biggest names in Christian music threw together summer samplers, and are offering free music. See http://freetoothandnail.com/ to find each of the samplers. Just "like" each record company on facebook, and gain access to amazing songs like:
Tooth & Nail Records Summer Sampler 2011:
  1. The Cheval Glass (3:21) - Emery
  2. Paper Lung (4:15) - Underoath
  3. Monoculture (3:19) - Sainthood Reps
  4. Brain Damage (2:45) - I Am Empire
  5. Alarm The Alarm (3:34) - Write This Down
  6. Monster Monster (3:25) - The Almost
  7. Sleep To Dream (3:32) - Swimming With Dolphins
  8. Clueless (2:54) - Rocky Loves Emily
  9. Jumping The Gun (3:31) - Hyland
  10. Instincts (3:28) - Ivoryline
  11. My Brain Says Stop, But My Heart Says Go (3:06) - FM Static
  12. Make A Move (3:08) - Icon for Hire
  13. Fire It Up (Live) (3:38) - Thousand Foot Krutch

Solid State Records Summer Sampler 2011:
  1. Internal Cannon (3:48) - August Burns Red
  2. The Magnetic Sky (4:28) - Becoming The Archetype
  3. Paper Lung (4:13) - Underoath
  4. The Cheval Glass (3:19) - Emery
  5. King Of The Hopeless (3:35) - MYCHILDREN MYBRIDE
  6. Bedlam Of The Nile (4:09) - As They Sleep
  7. Trust But Verify (3:12) - To Speak Of Wolves
  8. Overkill Exposure (2:51) - Living Sacrifice
  9. Wake Up The Sun (3:25) - Haste The Day
  10. The Man Named Hell (4:19) - The Showdown
  11. Ad Mortem (3:24) - The Famine

BEC Recordings Summer Sampler 2011:
  1. Alive In You (3:28) - 7eventh Time Down
  2. Everything I Hoped You'd Be (3:45) - Bebo Norman
  3. Not What I Thought (3:35) - Jessa Anderson
  4. No Plan B (3:23) - Manafest
  5. You Are Love (3:00) - The Museum
  6. Let The Praises Rise (3:52) - Ryan Stevenson
  7. All Things New (3:53) - Rapture Ruckus
  8. We Were Made For You (3:32) - Aaron Gillespie
  9. Skeleton (2:53) - Hawk Nelson
  10. He Did That (3:48) - KJ-52
  11. Take Everything (4:33) - Seventh Day Slumber
  12. He Is Able (3:37) - Josh White
  13. You Save Me (3:08) - Kutless
  14. The Way (Acoustic) (4:05) - Jeremy Camp
Peter Furler: Back on fire with new album "On Fire"
     With multiple GRAMMY nominations and Dove awards, “Songwriter of the Year” nods and musical talent that has driven the sales of five RIAA Certified Gold records, over seven million albums sold and 25 No. 1 songs, Peter Furler returns to music after ending his long tenure in 2009 as the lead singer of newsboys, the band he founded in Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia. Refreshed and reawakened to the joy of music, Furler steps out with his first solo album, on fire, releasing today amidst wide critical acclaim on Sparrow Records and available on iTunes, Amazon, Walmart, Family Christian Stores, LifeWay Christian Stores or at your favorite Christian retailer.

Switchfoot to release new album "Vice Verses" to follow "Hello Hurricane"
     On September 27th, Atlantic Records will release Vice Verses, the eighth studio record from multi-platinum rock band SWITCHFOOT. Working with producer Neal Avron (Weezer,Linkin Park), the band recorded most of the album in their San Diego, CA home studio. Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Regina Spektor) who produced SWITCHFOOT's GRAMMY-winning album, Hello Hurricane, served as executive producer. Released in 2009, Hello Hurricane entered The Billboard 200 at No. 13 and contained the Modern Rock hits "The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)" and "Mess of Me."
The track listing for Vice Verses is as follows:
1. Afterlife
2. The Original
3. The War Inside
4. Restless
5. Blinding Light
6. Selling the News
7. Thrive
8. Dark Horses
9. Souvenirs
10. Rise Above It
11. Vice Verses
12. Where I Belong

Jun 11, 2011

Persistent Love

I have a cat. He bothers me regularly. His name is Snowflake, and he can be very annoying at times. But, he's also one of the most loving creatures on this earth (:

We found him the Christmas it snowed in Houston several years back. Well, he found us. He was outside my Grandma's apartment doorstep, trying to steal a little bit of heat from the crack in the door. He was tiny, too young to be by himself, too skinny for his own good, and almost frozen. With four girls and a Cuban Abuela, what do you think happened? We hurried him inside, warmed him up, and stuffed his tiny belly till he had fallen sound asleep.

Fast forward several years, and he still acts like that little kitten we found...except he now weighs about 20 pounds. Not a problem, but, as a kitten, he liked to climb onto your shoulder and play with your ear. He still does -.- Well, he found me doing my makeup earlier today, and decided my lap was fair game. So, he promptly plopped himself there, and began begging for me to pet him. At first, I was slightly perturbed. I was in a rush, and he wasn't helping me get ready any faster. Then, I realized that he was only annoying me because he wanted to be around me. He wanted to be around me so much that he would *always* come find me, and then hang around me until he had been loved on.

My cat bugging me made me realize something about my relationship with Christ. Heh, go figure. When we spend time with Christ, it really shouldn't be an item on our daily checklist of things to do. It should be us wanting to spend time with Christ, because he saved us from spiritual death. We should be seeking Christ out, and bugging Him until we've loved on Him as much as we can. So, next time your cat is bugging you, scratch it's ear and let God know that He's pretty awesome (: That's what I'll be doing every time Snowflake bugs me from now on.


May 18, 2011

Acceptance = Peace

By Andrew Schwab May 17, 2011

"As a man, there are a few things in this world I refuse to accept. For example:
*I cannot accept that ice dancing is a legitimate olympic sport.
*I cannot accept Yorkie Terriors. They are not dogs. They are gerbils.
*I cannot accept that yellow lights mean that red is soon to follow. Green means go. Yellow means go faster. The evidence of this flawed philosophy can be found on my most recent $378.00 ticket, which I received from the state of California, complete with photo, shot by an automated camera at an intersection six blocks from my house.
*I cannot accept the three Star Wars prequels. Duh. Or Michael Bay’s film renditions of my favorite childhood cartoon, Transformers. Duh, again.
*I cannot accept the fact that Buffalo Wild Wings is bad for me. How can something that tastes so right be so wrong? The nutrition information must be lying–there is no way that each wing has like seventy grams of fat. It’s just chicken meat and sauce!
*I cannot accept the fact that I must consult the manual when building IKEA furni. Dude, it’s IKEA. A three-year-old CHILD can put those things together. I do, however, acknowledge that I have several bookshelves, side tables, and dressers in my home with backward legs and upside-down handles, THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN.
*I cannot accept Steak without A-1.
*I cannot accept a male who drives a Jetta. Especially a white Jetta.
Whenever I am asked by the universe to swallow any of the above, I go into a shutdown mechanism, not unlike the red ring of death on an Xbox 360. And just like a 360 isn’t supposed to be bumped while running, I was not programmed to comprehend or accept the above. It’s just not in me.

And on that note, I would say acceptance in general is something I “struggle” with.* To be honest, I have a hard time bowing to the fact that there are certain things in life that are out of my control. These are things like growing old, or having to put my needs second in order to be a good husband.

What I have discovered, though, is that my level of peace is directly proportional to my level of acceptance. And likewise, my anxiety is fatally linked to my battles against my own circumstances.

I have found that without acceptance, the walk of faith becomes less like a joyous stroll on an open road, and more like heavy steps through waist-deep sewage. And I think I am not alone in this. It seems like many of us have a hard time with this concept. Some cases in point (yes, another list):
*We cannot accept the choices we have made, so we carry guilt like an anvil.
*We cannot accept our circumstances, so we desperately strive to create new ones, putting pressure on ourselves to find our dream jobs, dream spouses, dream homes.
*We cannot accept our very selves–our bodies, our skill sets, our gifting–so we battle with envious feelings toward those around us. Or we concoct exaggerated online personas to compensate.
But what if God has us right where he wants us in every way?

If you can learn to accept who you are, where you are, and what you have done, you will find that life will fall right into place. Maybe the bad decisions you made in the past are the key to someone else’s healing. Maybe the job that you despise is actually training for something greater on the horizon. Maybe you are meant to be single right now, because you aren’t yet ready for the person God has for you.

If you can learn to accept everything–every detail of your circumstance–and stop fighting against your current situation, you will find a new, magical place of contentment. After all, it’s safe to assume God must know what 

He is doing. He made you didn’t He?

Remember…not my will, but thy will.

If you can accept, you can trust. If you can trust, you can have faith. In having faith that God knows what He is doing you will find that when you look in the mirror you will see someone who is not fatally flawed, but uniquely designed. And in viewing life through this lens you will be less apt to compare your biceps, stature, spouse, car, or guitar playing abilities to someone else’s.

You will then see that any circumstance in your life, while not necessarily perfect, is absolutely ok.

And in that, self-esteem, confidence, and peace is sure to follow.

”Struggle” is a stupid word that is a soft, delicate way of saying you blew it. It was coined, no doubt, by someone who was very afraid of offending his fellow believers. Let’s face it: When someone says they are “struggling” it usually means there is very little resistance or battle taking place. We should replace the word “struggle” with a more honest phrase like “blatantly defiling and desecrating myself with.” For example: I am struggling with pornography. For these reasons, If I ever use the word “struggle” I always make sure it is in quotes, so you know my use of the word is at least moderately ironic. Instead of the word “struggle” let’s be men about it. Let’s just admit we screwed up, repent, and move on. Otherwise, we are just making allowances for more “struggles” in the very near future."

Andrew Schwab is a notable author, journalist and lead vocalist for the rock band Project 86. He has written for magazine publications including: Relevant, AP, CCM and HM. He is a published author with 4 available books, including his latest FAME IS INFAMY.

May 17, 2011

Eclectics and Eccentrics - Take 1

I've always meant to start a music blog, simply to have random updates on awesome music trends/random thoughts I have on different bands, but it really didn't seem like enough to start a blog. That was two years ago, and now (thanks to my Mom getting me in speech and debate) I'm also interested in current events, and have thoughts on that as well. But, even that didn't seem like enough to start a blog! Then,the thought occurred to me that my thoughts were too random and eclectic in nature to categorize with just 'music' or 'news commentary'.

Thus, the name of my blog, 'Eclectics and Eccentrics'. A wide variety of thoughts and strange things for me to be passionate about. We'll see how this goes (: