Monday, September 15, 2008

The mix.

Every had one of those days where you just can't seem to get your stuff right?

Today was odd. I suppose that is a proper and fitting word. I can't think of one to describe it differently or better. That is to say, it was not a good day. That is to say, it was not a bad day.

I think I left my iPod in the Armory on campus last night when I left practice with the worship team. That was unfortunate. I did not discover it was missing until I woke up this morning.
(If I have the time in the morning, I usually pop in the ear buds to let a song wake me up in a calmer fashion than my alarm clock. It's weird, I know... wake up just to lounge in bed to wake up differently. But that's what I do. Music does that to me, and it has become habit.)
So when I went to look for 'Steve,' he was missing. And thus, my day began. As soon as I finished my bowl of Rice Krispies, I mounted my bike and pounded the pavement to campus. En route, I only had my mind on getting there as fast as I could and retrieve my music, whereas it should have been focused on paying attention to the road. Without going into too much embarrassing detail, I nearly rammed right into a guy hobbling across the road on a broken foot. I braked just in time and one of my flip flops (which is always a poor choice while biking) flew off into the road. I turned to extreme apologetic measures, gathered my wayward shoe, and, red faced, pedaled off to the Armory.

(Even amidst unfortunate situations, there is always hope.)

I finally got there around 11am. A class was in the room we were practicing in last night so I waited around for a good time to interrupt.

Meanwhile, as I was sitting on a very uncomfortable bench reading the school paper, I noticed a lady using the vending machine. She inserted her money and pushed the buttons. Nothing. She gave a "humph," and put more money in. Again, nothing. A disgruntled and frustrated sigh, purposefully loud.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her looking my direction. I asked her if she needed help. I walked up and tried giving the machine a shake. Nothing. I offered her a dollar, and she accepted. She put it in, hit the same miscalculated buttons. Nothing. Three prepackaged danishes were backed up by that tight little black coil.
All the machine shaking and general ruckus was causing quite a stir in the hallway, and another guy stepped up. We shook the machine together... in unison... back and forth... forcefully. Nothing. When it looked like all hope was lost, a very large guy came up, shook it with one hand, and four snacks fell down to the slot. He looked up and said, "Looks like football is finally paying off." The lady, being very grateful for all the assistance, gave each one of us one of the treats.

(Even amidst unfortunate situations, there is always hope.)

I finally got up the nerve to knock and enter the classroom where I left my iPod. The class and professor looked up at me as I awkwardly asked, "May I interrupt for a second?"
"I think you just did," came the professor's response. Cold.
As I explained my situation, the professor and class grew more courteous and understanding. I think I put on my best puppy dog eyes to gain sympathy points. The bad news was that no one had seen Steve. The good news was that they were the first and only class in there up to that point today, meaning only they or the facilities crew were in there at all.
They directed me to the lost and found. That did not produce any results either. But I got a number to call for the building and facilities management, who takes care of the rooms being clean and orderly. I left a nice-sounding lady a message of despair. I hope they get back to me promptly tomorrow morning.

All in all, I can hope for either of two outcomes.
1.) I get Steve back safe and sound.

2.) Someone discovers a loving Savior in Jesus through much of the music on there.

I finally got to work, just in time (read: ridiculously close to being late to opening up the shop). My boss understood what I was up to, and all was well. A guy and gal came in to return 5 four-person tents. We went to the back room to set them all up so I could check to make sure they were clean, undamaged, and complete.
Usually, with such a large rental, the customer is very annoyed by this process of setting up tents that they are returning to us, wasting their valuable time. It can feel rather tedious and unnecessary. However, these two customers were the most courteous people, very helpful throughout the whole process. It was such a blessing. Also, midway through the setup, a really good friend of mine popped in the store to surprise me with a mix CD, which I am listening to right now. Something so simple meant a lot on what felt like such an upside-down day to me.

So as you can see, I do not know where this day falls on the spectrum.
Why not just let it be what it is and praise God.

(Even amidst unfortunate situations, there is always hope.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Don't let your eyes get used to darkness.

Howdy there, people with computers.
I am going to keep this fairly short and sweet.
God is good, forever and ever. Amen.

Can you even imagine what the world would be like if God chose to not be good? Some people think that about God, and I suppose God can choose whatever He wants. But I can't imagine it. I have had too many times where I stood at the precipice of a dark cliff, considering whether or not to jump, just to have something or someone hold my hand and make me feel more important that I ever thought about myself.

(JJ Heller currently has her new CD "Painted Red" available for free download from her site! DO IT!)

Sorry about not posting in a long while. A new semester has begun, and like the dorky college kid I am, I have been remarkably busy by actually going to class, keeping up with reading and studying, having meetings and workshops, worship practice and hanging out with friends. It has been quite crazy, and I often feel like I am a chicken with its head cut off. But insanity has subsided for a more normalized and routine schedule. In the between times, I've been having some sweet biking adventures, both solo and with friends. On to some music news... I am really excited about some
albums coming out in the coming months... and I mean REALLY EXCITED, because they are by some of my favorite bands.

1.) Anti-Meridian (Brave Saint Saturn)
I am going to assume you don't know Brave Saint Saturn (from here on out, BS2). But I bet you know most of the guys involved, the lead guitarist and singer being the one and only Reese Roper of Five Iron Frenzy fame. While FIF was plugging along, Roper wrote songs of a more introspective and deep nature. He did not think that the FIF set-up would be the proper stage for them, so he started a new moniker, Brave Saint Saturn. What I like about this band, other than the obvious beautifully-written songs about faith, hope, love, loss, and loneliness, is that each album is one installment in the Saturn 5 Trilogy, concept albums of epic and lush proportions logging the travels of a group of astronauts as they drift through space. It sounds kinda dorky, but trust me on this one. "Anti-Meridian" will the third and final (tear) album for the trilogy (hopefully not of the band). It is due out September 15th. Luckily, mine is preordered and hopefully being processed as I type!!!

2.) Canopy Glow (Anathallo)
You might know them from their song "Yuki! Yuki! Yuki!" in the background of a Vick's commercial, but Anathallo is far from selling out. The members of Anathallo, in my opinion, are some of the most innovative and dedicated musicians, honing their instrumental skills individually and with each other to build massive songs of swelling dynamics and odd fluctuating time signatures. I've seen them live twice now, and despite all the changing song structures, never has a member missed a note or beat. It ends of being sonic poetry. Following up their 2006 release "Floating World," "Canopy Glow" has a lot to live up to, but I am 100% confident that Anathallo can maintain their energy, beauty, and appeal. Still not sold yet? Go to their myspace and listen to the new jam "Noni's Field" which will be included on the new record. It will hit indie record stores November 18th.

3.) Gossip in the Grain (Ray LaMontagne)
Beautiful sultry folk with a flair for soul-singing and soul-searching. I don't have many expectations for this album except that I know LaMontagne's capability to write high-quality lyrics that take you with him whereever he would have you go. I expect nothing less. To be released October 14th.

4.) Let My Pride Be What's Left Behind EP/ Mean Everything to Nothing (Manchester Orchestra)
A dual hope for MO as they release a new EP on October 14th and keep chugging away at recording their followup to "Like A Virgin Losing A Child," which now has an official title, "Mean Everything to Nothing." The new full-length isn't due out until 2009, so it's all speculation as to how MO will approach a new cd. Will they maintain their catchy hooks, easy accesibility and spiritual themed lyrics or go a different route, ending up more experimental or heavy? We will have to see. What I do know is that the EP is a CD/DVD package with 2 new songs and 3 live versions of MO favorites or Andy Hull originals. The DVD has some good stuff on it too, including the much-anticipated MO documentary "What's Left Behind."
On a similar note, Andy Hull will be releasing his second disc under the name Right Away, Great Captain! called "The Eventually Home," due out November 11th. Go to his myspace (linked above) to download some cover songs he recorded to tide anxious fans over. Those guys are really really busy these days.

5.) Hope for the Hopeless (Brett Dennen)
I don't know much about this record yet except that it follows the amazing Dennen debut "So Much More" which I found particularly moving and definitely one of my favorite records of the past year. Inspirational and fun, Dennen writes with conviction, love, and hope for humanity. Also, Femi Kuti AND Missy Higgins will be making appearances on the new disc as far as I can tell, which is very exciting!!! One track is available on iTunes already. The whole cd will be out October 21st.

Extra Tidbits
mewithoutYou is currently in the studio cooking up something spectacular to be sure. If you have the time, check out three new songs that they sang on tour this summer. Youtube links below, tentative song titles.
(David and the Angel of Death) (God, God, God) (Beetle King)

Also, Jesse Lacey has been solo on the road for awhile now but has been debuted at least one song (maybe more) that is supposedly going to be recorded under Brand New. Youtube links below,
tentative song title.
(Bride- solo) (Bride- Brand New)

Well that's it for this edition. Sorry it's all news and info and no songs to download. But I hope I enlightened you to some new music you hadn't heard of before or directed you to where you can download some sweet tunes. I hope you can navigate your way to supporting these artists as their cds come out.