You are here

Is there a lover of rock and alternative music on your shopping list?

[img_assist|nid=2097|title=Tim Foreman of Switchfoot at RevGen fest|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=228|height=166]Folks are always asking me, “So what’s new in music these days?”  The response is often not easy.  Especially since most people asking are parents who want to find some music for their children.  To be honest, there is just so much out there to even begin.  I may start with, “What style of music do they like?”  I know I am in trouble soon as I hear, “Oh, I don’t know.  What is popular for 15 year olds?”

So today as I look at the pile of discs purchased in the last 4 months or so, I pondered whether or not someone might benefit from my short list when looking for Christmas gift options.

My last post included a discussion about recent releases in the female music genre; one I am not “up” on.  I’d rather hook up with the alternative rock over most pop/female related output.  And those of you who know me know that I could not go much farther without pushing Switchfoot’s long anticipated Hello Hurricane.  You can read a review here and soon I hope to write a bit about my experience with the album.

Female-fronted Flyleaf released Memento Mori on the same day as Hello Hurricane.  This was one of those albums I wanted in my collection simply by the success of their debut which has played many a time in my ears.  In fact, I obtained this album solely on the mini reviews on my friends Facebook statuses and not by reviews or online music clips.  Though I have yet to truly soak the music in, at first listen, I noticed a bit less screamo than the first and perhaps less hard with some slower options.  I believe this will be a highly esteemed sophomore effort.

Another anticipated album on my own shopping list was The Elms album titled The Great American Midrange.  We have an in depth review here.  I have followed this band across several record labels, and hope that some day these boys based out of Indiana become well known in households.  I quite like their rootsy music with classic rock flair.  Their latest effort continues their good old American rock and roll sound, with a bit of a perhaps Midwestern twist.

Under the same “long-awaited” category, I was happy that Mute Math finally let out Armistice to the public.  I have never really been able to describe their music.  I just know it’s great and not like everything else out there.  Wikipedia includes a description of their music as “everything from electro-alternative-rock to psychedelic-gospel to experimental-pop”.  Works for me.

In recent months, I was able to catch some old-timer bands on the road in support of new releases.  Skillet[img_assist|nid=2098|title=John Cooper of Skillet|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=214|height=166] has made line-up changes throughout their long career, and continues to put on a rockin’ live show.  If I were to go by Facebook status updates the week Awake was released, I’d say they must have done pretty well.  Once again it appears that Skillet is aiming for broader appeal as the song “Monster” was released to mainstream radio, while “Hero” was released to the Christian scene.

Skillet is currently out with hard rockers Decyfer Down, who released Crash this year.  I hadn’t realized they had a new lead singer, which could explain why I liked this CD better than their debut.  I was surprised how many songs I already knew by the time I had the album in hand, perhaps due to my online listening at RadioU

Hawk Nelson is also on the same tour, putting out new songs from Live*Life*Loud.  My younger youth group kids tend to like their pop-punk sound and though I don’t own this album to date, I may have to get a copy to play in my car on trips with the “kids”.

I caught FM Static and Thousand Foot Krutch on the Creation Festival tour this fall.  If you don’t know, both bands have overlap members: vocalist Trevor McNevan and drummer Steve Augustine.  Dear Diary is the album put out by the less hard rock more pop-punk FM Static, with Welcome to the Masquerade by the edgier sounding Thousand Foot Krutch.  Both albums are good efforts, but even though I am more of a TFK fan, this time I’d have to say the FM Static disc might get more spins.

Another pop-punk band Relient K released Forget and Not Slow Down and also went out on tou[img_assist|nid=2099|title=Matt Thiessen of Relient K at RevGen fest|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=139|height=203]r this fall.  This band first came into my “buy” list because my youth group kids liked their quirky-pop sound and often silly lyrics.  The band has been trying to get away from those “Sadie Hawkins Dance” fans for a while.  This album may be a bit more successful at expanding and diversifying their music and fan base as they move more into the alternative rock genre but still holding to the pop-punk on some songs.  My favorite part of the disc: piano.

I caught Pillar at Purple Door just before the release of their sixth album, Confessions.  Here is our interview with the band, which includes new members since our last time with them.  Lead singer Rob Beckley and guitarist Noah Henson apparently partnered with writers outside the band.  This collaboration, in conjunction with new band members, brings a fresh sound to the band.  Yet it still has a decidedly Pillar tone and the subject matter continues to be close to the heart of the band, and relates to many who listen.  Look out January 14, 2010 for an alliance with Rob Beckley and American Bible Society on a new booklet titled “Confessions”.

And last, but not least, I must not forget Family Force 5’s Christmas Pageant CD.  While is certainly does not replace my very favorite music off the Happy Christmas series, it has been a nice addition to my holiday collection.  Consisting mostly of FF5’s renditions of Christmas classics, it may even be palatable by more than one generation.  Though I was hoping for a bit more fun on the recorded version, I’d bet the live set would be worth a trip to a show.