Sufjan Stevens's new album Carrie and Lowell can be streamed in its entirety at NPR and The Guardian. Four (very) early reviews. Previously
If Jesus and company were around today, the Bible may look like a art & fandom Tumblr project, complete with meta essays, headcanons, and playlists. Their writers aim to "follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition of questioning, evolving, and shaking up the status quo in order to update scripture for a secular audience, offering it up as a volatile mix of narrative, social commentary, spirituality, and punk rock." In this version Jesus is a cat-loving activist, Mary Madgalene is a hijabi punk, and the mystics are spoken word artists, musicians, and bloggers.
Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
To say that Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur L'Enfant-Jesus (Twenty Contemplations on the Infant Jesus) is a masterpiece is a gross understatement. Over sixty years after its composition, it has rightfully earned the recognition of being one of the most important piano works of the 20th century. ... [It] is one of the most personal and intimate pieces Messiaen ever wrote, and it gives the listener a close look at Messiaen the person. Messiaen was a deeply religious person, and although his faith influenced every single piece he wrote, the Vingt Regards is almost like his own personal spiritual diary. - Keith Kerchoff [more inside]
The irony in a way is that Messiaen used this great romantic organ for his most modern experiments. For Messiaen, this was a great sort of sonic paintbox, if you like, and he would come here and experiment with the extraordinary sounds that he could conjure out of this amazing instrument. [more inside]
The trick is to give without looking to receive - to give of yourself to your family, your friends, your community, and the world community with love. The King of Rock and Soul Solomon Burke, Archbishop of the House of God For All People and member of the Hall of Fame died on a plane (2) after arriving in Amsterdam. [more inside]
David Bazan was the lead singer for a band called Pedro the Lion, who were big on the Christian rock circuit. A few years ago, Bazan began questioning his faith, and ultimately left Christianity. He has found understanding from his fans.
Graduel à l'usage de Saint-Dié digitizes a French gradual (choir music for the Mass) created in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century. For more information about what's what, see the handy definitions offered by the British Library or Celebrating the Liturgy's Books. [more inside]
The Cornell Evolution Project, which polls prominent evolutionary scientists about their religious beliefs, is part of a PhD thesis by evolutionary paleontologist and UCLA lecturer Greg Graffin. Mr. Graffin is also the lead singer of a band named Bad Religion, whose influential album Suffer turns 20 years old this week. [more inside]
Prvi svetski rat - Gritty and poignant Serbian postcards from the First World War. Just one of the seriously interesting (e.g. check out the collection of 78s) holdings at the Digital National Library of Serbia.
Frank Newsome leads the congregation at the Little David Church in Hayside, Va. Old Regular Baptists, they sing the way people sang when they first came to the American colonies: without instruments or notation, and following their leader line by line. It's called lined-out hymnody, and people outside the southern Appalachian Mountains rarely hear it. One of the songs Newsome sings at services is a hymn about longing for heaven, called "Beulah Land."
God's Pottery is described on their website as "a Christian acoustic duo formed to spread the Word while addressing the issues facing today's Youth and the Spiritual Community at large." But actually, they're one of the funniest new up and coming musical comedy acts, already nominated for an ECNY award in Best Musical Comedy Act. They workshop with the audience to get to know them better and sing songs about Pre-Marital Sex (The Pants Come Off, When The Ring Goes On), Alcoholism (Jesus I Need a Drink!), and they're always playing for Team Jesus. They went to the "Eden-berg" Fringe Festival and even stayed in character when interviewed by ITV2, because they are that good.
NickCaveFilter: Fifty years ago this very day, Nicholas Edward Cave [previously] crawled from the womb and started to plot. At 16 he formed his first band which evolved quickly into the Boys Next Door [Shivers]. This in turn mutated into the Birthday Party (1980) who terrorised the post-punk soundscape in Australia and the UK [Release the Bats | Nick the Stripper]. The Birthday Party relocated to England and in 1984 the band imploded in an orgy of drugs and booze. Shortly after Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were born [The Ship Song - video & solo live | The Mercy Seat - video & live | Where the Wild Roses Grow], and 23 years and 11 studio albums later (not to mention a best selling book, a great screenplay, some acting and several soundtrack projects) he is still going strong. But, instead of sitting on his musical laurels he decided to get back to basics and, in 2006, grew a huge moustache and formed Grinderman – a four piece with a primeval hybrid Birthday Party/Bad Seeds sound [No Pussy Blues | Honey Bee]. Fellow Mefites, I ask you to raise a glass to Mr. Cave… And, especially if you are not familiar to his work, don’t forget to “look inside” for my primer on the enigma that is Nick Cave, one of the finest song-writers on the face of this miserable planet. [more inside]
Down with the Clowns? The Juggalos have been having a bit of a hard time lately. Perhaps it's because they lack a spiritual grounding. Though, lo, like many nascent faiths, the Juggalos strain for acceptance. No word yet on the details of Juggalo eschatology.
Remember the announcement for the BBC's Manchester Passion? The full list of songs and lineup were recently announced, rehearsals are over, tonight the procession through the city will be broadcast live on BBC Three - for now you can watch trailers and interviews with the cast (only for UK viewers/proxy users).
Mahler performances were rare in Vienna in those days because Mahler's city had already been contaminated by the acolytes of Adolf Hitler. By their reckoning, Mahler's music was loathsome — a product of "Jewish decadence." To put Mahler's music on the program was therefore a political act. It was to protest and deny the hateful faith that blazed across the border from Germany. That much I understood quite clearly, even as a boy. The New Yorker's Alex Ross reprints Hans Fantel's New York Times 1989 essay on Bruno Walter's 1938 performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony -- the last performance of the Vienna Philharmonic before Hitler invaded Austria.
Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail. Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code. Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
Not just for hard rockers, apparently . . . They're everywhere, damn worshippers of satan. Some you'd figure right away, some you wouldn't. Ever been to a rock concert? Yep, you're probably damned, too.
"I felt like hurting someone before, now I feel like hugging people". Only weeks after professing his belief in Jesus Christ, former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch was baptized in the Jordan River last Saturday. With “Jesus” tattooed across his knuckles and “Matthew 11:28” along his neck, Welch received full immersion in the historic river, along with 20 other white-robed Christians from a Bakersfield, CA church. Welch said the ritual baptism, “washed away his anger.” "My songs are God saying things to me, him talking to people. He's going to use me to heal people and people are going to be drawn to it, just watch, they will be.” For the latest information (and a free mp3) go to Welch's personal website, http://www.headtochrist.com/
Best. Video. Evah. A great rap spoof. Well done lyrics, if somewhat cheesy acting. Direct WMV file link.
SHOW TUNES 1, FUNDAMENTALISTS 0 [thanks karmakaze]
Interactive Church Music Player The LDS Church has created a cool new tool for exploring its hymnbooks: a Flash application that not only shows the sheet music, but allows transposition, tempo changes, part selection, and all kinds of other nifty things.
"American Pie [the song] tells about the last decisive struggle between, Christian America and all the heathen armies of the world, who will be gathered on America's doorstep and according to the Bible, will invade America." "Could it be that "JESUS ACTUALLY FORETOLD THE ADVENT OF THE INTERNET?" [Warning: cheesy MIDI music background]
Parodeities' Greatest Hits Don't miss: Adam Was Made From Dust, Welcomed by the Devil, Takin' Care Of Jesus, and, of course, God's Filled Ya [mp3 links all].
Sup, G? The Five Percent Nation: A splinter group from the Nation of Islam, they have contributed quite a bit to the hip-hop scene -- and to the English language. Phrases like "Break it down", "word", and even "peace" (as a form of salutation) can be traced back to their teachings. The Wu-tang Clan and Digable Planets are among the artists greatly influenced by the unique, sometimes inspiring, and often unsettling, worldview of this religion. It ain't all smiles und sunshine, but whatever you think of it, one thing's for sure: This is one fit and fecund memeplex.
Top tunes. Get down and boogie with your Mullah.
Re-Versed Christian Lyrics supplies alternative Christian lyrics to the rock songs you know and love. Be sure to check out "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Hell's Bells" while you're there. As a Christian, sites like this usually just make me cringe. I got a pretty good laugh out of this one, though, so I thought I'd share. [Link borrowed from Memepool.]
Prince wants to sell you the Watchtower and Awake magazines. I am very surprised at this turn of events. What's he gonna do about all his songs that have so much sexual content?