Thursday, July 30, 2009:
Here it is… the last post before I head back to Illinois (before I head to Baltimore… before I head to Miami) so I’ll keep it short.
We went to see blessthefall and August Burns Red last night at Emo’s in Austin, and I can’t think of a better way to end my time here. blessthefall was insane, the lead singer singing from hanging upside down from the rafters above the pit and 1-4 stage divers onstage at a time. August Burns Red was good too, especially since it was about 150 degrees in the pit and all the band members were fighting to keep from passing out.
I said goodbye to Kelly last night – and Kelly, if you’re reading, make sure this issue actually comes out, k? Ha I had fun this summer, hope you did too. (Follow her Intern Diary too, it’s better/less pointless rambl-y than mine.)
Thanks again to Tornado for the food for the road. If it wasn’t for you, Melissa and my mom sending me food I’d have gotten skinnier this summer haha.
I finished my Scream The Prayer Tour review Monday late so check it out if you haven’t and let me know what you think.
Here are the results to the survey so far:
You can still vote and I’ll post the results on my personal blog.
Which brings me to goodbye, follow my personal blog and Twitter if you like, and don’t be a stranger.
“Names is for tombstones.” – some dude.
Monday, July 27, 2009:
Wait, it’s July 27? Huh. I guess two months isn’t that long.
Ah well since we last spoke, I worked at Doug’s house Friday since the internet out here is a drag. I worked on laying out the Paramore and Showbread features in InDesign most of the weekend. I’m not too experienced with designing spreads from scratch, so it was a challenge, but I had random creative inspiration for both of them and I think they look pretty decent. I finally got a large enough photo to start the Thousand Foot Krutch layout, which won’t be as creative so hopefully will go quickly.
I’m also proofreading like crazy, which brings to mind a question I often wonder: Does anyone actually care about spelling/grammar? Please take this quick one-question survey and help me sleep.
I started watching 24 season 7 Thursday night to count for swears for the new LIFEstyles section. Now, this wouldn’t be a big deal except back when I used to watch TV I watched seasons 1, 3 and 4 (I think) and each time I bailed about 3/4ths of the way through the season and I’ve never seen the end of any of them, which of course is the most important part. I can kind of fill in the spots when I notice that a character who used to be evil is now good, or when a character who used to be dead is back to life, but I made a promise to myself that I’d actually finish this season and I did yesterday! This is a monumental accomplishment in my life, so now I can die in peace.
I watched Metallica – Some Kind of Monster yesterday while working as well, which was not so monumental.
Tornado dropped off another cat for the Ranch yesterday. She’s a calico with white feet named Hope.
She’s chilling in the laundry room, meeting Marvin now. She’s a sweet cat, except meows a lot. Better quit that quickly if she’s going to be in there till I leave.
Friday I went to Scream The Prayer Tour but I’m mentioning that last since I hope by the time you read this I’ll have posted my review and photos.
I should do this more often,
“Say what you will about me. Just spell my name right.” – P. T. Barnum
Wednesday, July 22, 2009:
Looks like we’ll need more time to finish this issue so Friday won’t be the last day to work on it. Bummer.
I worked at Doug’s house today since he needed to be home for his wife, and it also helps seeing as I’ve blown up the internet at the Ranch twice this week. I spent most of the day tracking down and editing album covers for all the CDs we’re reviewing in this issue, minus a couple. I finished editing and laying out the Letters to the Editor section, and I’m proofreading all the copy in this issue.
It rained today for the first time in two months. I enjoy rain so I’ve been missing Miami and the daily rainstorm. Guess it won’t be long.
Work work work,
“Poets are born, not paid.” – Addison Mizner
Monday, July 20, 2009:
With all the writing out of the way, including five album reviews, one book review and one gadget review over the weekend, it’s on to layout and proofreading this week.
I also have to choose whether I want to go see August Burns Red and blessthefall in Austin next Wednesday with Kelly and Doug or if I want to try and go (by myself potentially since the others will see it when it comes to Austin after I leave) to see Emery, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Secret & Whisper, Kiros and others in San Antonio that same night. If I skip ABR/btf I can see that show August 4 outside of St. Louis, but I wouldn’t be able to make another date of the Emery tour. Decisions. Don’t think I can go wrong either way though.
It’s more likely that Kelly and I are going to Scream The Prayer Tour in San Antonio on Friday, so at least I’ll get to see that show.
I think I’m going to see how much driving and how many shows I can cram into that week and a half without going insane. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Wish I had more to say,
“Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.” – T. S. Eliot
Friday, July 17, 2009:
One week till deadline.
Finishing up my second batch of album reviews today. Castanets and Between the Trees were the easiest since I’d listened to each CD already, and I’m finishing Skillet and Hawk Nelson once I listen to them each another time. I’ll probably review The Glorious Unseen’s new CD on Sunday after I finish my gadget and book reviews. If so, that’ll make eight album reviews I did for this issue. So much for variety of opinion. I apologize in advance.
I filed a bunch of subscription cards while I was listening to music, and I came across one from my girlfriend’s relatively small birth town and one from a guy who lives on the same street as one of my good friends from home. No Rich Husbands today, though. Just thought you wanted to know that.
It’s been quiet around here with Doug gone so I’ve been quiet too, sorry. It’ll be down to the wire next week so I better get back to work.
Happy Birthday America,
“Find a need and fill it.” – Ruth Stafford Peale
Tuesday, July 14, 2009:
After finishing the Showbread feature last night, I finished the Memphis May Fire featurette tonight so all I have left to write are the extra CD reviews by the end of the week.
A pro motocross racer who’s currently in a correctional facility in Ohio wrote us a letter recently saying we was inspired by HM and wanting to know if he could put an HM sticker on his helmet when he gets out in December. I wrote him back today and put a few stickers in the envelope. I hope it makes it to him. Pretty cool story.
Doug, Kelly and I made a Wal-Mart and Jack in the Box run then did a Bible study on worship, our first since Kelly’s been here. We make an oddball family.
Doug’s wife is going in for surgery tomorrow so he’ll be out of the office taking care of her for a while. It’ll be different around here for a while leading up to deadline in a week and a half.
Apparently All-Star Games are boring,
“Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.” – Francis Schaeffer
Monday, July 13, 2009:
Having writer’s block this close to deadline isn’t much fun. I finished my article on Thousand Foot Krutch last night finally, and today it was on to Showbread. Unfortunately, taking 10,000 words’ worth of raw quotes from Josh Dies and coming up with a 1,200-word feature article that is actually readable is somewhat of a challenge. I’ll hopefully be able to finish up tonight. I suppose if Doug or any potential future employers read this I probably sound like the last writer to hire, but hopefully my honesty won’t come back and burn me. I still have the Memphis May Fire featurette to finish up as well, though 400 words will feel like nothing after two 1,200-word beasts.
See? Optimism. Don’t call me a pessimist.
One thing that made me happy today was finding out that Staple is back together. Their last Cornerstone show was one of the best shows I’ve witnessed – easily worth skipping whatever mainstage band I skipped to watch it, Relient K I think. Ha! I’ll have to listen to their new stuff and make sure it’s a good thing they’re back before I get too excited though.
Also, I began reading Revelation last night. I’ve never read it so it should be a fun trip.
Light at the end of the tunnel is haunting me,
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” – Unknown
Friday, July 10, 2009:
Hmm, let’s forget about this week, ‘mkay?
Every time I said “Oh yeah, I’m gonna start writing my three stories now!” or “Oh yeah, I’m gonna post pictures from Warped Tour!” those were lies. Always something to keep me from doing either of those.
So, I make no promises for this weekend. I might make it out to the He Is Legend/Drop Dead, Gorgeous show at Emo’s tomorrow night, I might not. I might watch the Cubs-Cardinals game tomorrow afternoon, I might not. Who cares if it’s the only Cubs game I’ll likely get to watch before going home?
I got music for four more album reviews: Between the Trees, Hawk Nelson, Castanets and Skillet. So those will need to get done too, though again, the no promises thing.
I got a bunch of album reviews, including U2, The Devil Wears Prada, Emery and The Chariot from the last two issues posted, so there’s some proof of an accomplishment from this week.
Lord Save Us From Your Followers alternated between making me angry at being an American Christian and giving me hope that maybe all’s not lost, so it at least did a better job than most commentaries on Christian culture lately at not being completely depressing.
Have a better weekend,
“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” – C. S. Lewis
Thursday, July 9, 2009:
Ugh! When it’s not spiders, it’s skunks, and while it’s still skunks it’s ants! My girlfriend thoughtfully sent me the ingredients to make that dirt/mud dessert, which was an old favorite in grade school, and I just yesterday got around to making it. But tonight after an otherwise productive day, I opened the cabinet to find a bunch of ants carrying off the bag of Oreos she crushed to make the dirt part.
So instead of the hot food I was looking forward to, I’m sitting here reluctantly eating my peanut butter sandwich and dried fruit because that’s the only “meal” I could throw together since I have yet to check to see how much of my other food is salvageable. Wonderful.
The Ranch smells a bit less like skunk today, though there are definitely still areas where the smell is uncomfortable. I just hope the skunk isn’t living anywhere under the house.
Other than all that mess, today was somewhat productive. I finished transcribing the Showbread interview finally, but I have a lot of work ahead of me since the notes and transcription are 13,830 words combined and I have to whittle it down into a 1,200-word feature. But I guess that’ll leave some interesting stuff to be posted online as a full Q & A.
I spent a good amount of time determining which album reviews have been turned in, assigning anything that hasn’t been reviewed and inquiring with any delinquent writers on the whereabouts of their reviews. I guess I should count myself with the delinquents since I have three new reviews to get done ASAP. One of the reviews is Skillet’s Awake, which came in this package for me the other day:
I’m not a PR major, nor should I be, but I don’t understand why they’d pay $7.10 to send a can of Rockstar with the CD. I could understand if Skillet was on the can, or at least if they went the ghetto route and slapped a Skillet sticker on the side. But to just randomly spend the extra $5 per kit to send an energy drink along with the review CD? Maybe they think jittery reviewers give more positive reviews. Don’t think I’ll try it, 280 calories of sugar would put me in a coma. I don’t think I’m very articulate or nice when I’m passed out.
Tonight, I’m going to try and forget my urge to go hunt down and murder every last ant in a 5-mile radius and watch the movie Lord Save Us From Your Followers while picking out pictures to post from Warped Tour. Probably not a smart idea since I could use some reassuring and I’m way frustrated with photo editing, but I’ll let you know how it goes.
Not not counting the days until I leave this deathtrap,
“Treat the other man’s faith gently; it is all he has to believe with. His mind was created for his own thoughts, not yours or mine.” – Henry S. Haskins
Tuesday, July 7, 2009:
Day two of living in Skunkville. If my indecipherable rant yesterday was indecipherable, I woke up at 6 yesterday because there was a horrible smell in the Ranch that I fully tried to sleep through but, with my nose, couldn’t. So I woke up and tried to determine what was making the house smell like burning rubber or burnt garlic but couldn’t so I went outside and hung out with the cats and read. I texted Doug since he had been over to pick up his dog Biscuit Sunday night and I usually assume shenanigans by default. The text exchange went roughly like this:
6:32 a.m.: Corey: Did u leave a stink bomb in biscuits place last nite?
11:18 a.m.: DVP: Haha. No.
I’m still not convinced. Anyway, since it decided to rain for the first time in 38 months I was forced back inside to try my best to work through it. Doug stopped by later to drop off the trailer and reported that it was a skunk that sprayed, so maybe I believe him.
No, I don’t, but let’s pretend.
That brings us to today, huh? Doug was in at his normal time and we went to work trying to ameliorate the odor with bottles of Fbreeze and carpet cleaner, candles and plug-in air fresheners. It at least made the Ranch smell like baking soda and vanilla and burnt garlic. But workable conditions for the time being.
I worked most of the day transcribing my interview with Josh Dies of Showbread. It wasn’t as easy as transcribing the Thousand Foot Krutch interview yesterday, since Josh and I talked for over an hour and nearly everything he said was interesting. Oh well, I’ll finish that up tomorrow and have the article done by Friday.
I also helped generate some advertising leads for the special Christian apparel section we’re running in this issue. Do you know of any t-shirt companies or anything like that with a Christian message? (Preferably that aren’t lame and/or look like they’re from 1993, but that’s my request not necessarily the magazine’s. Something like Faveur Clothing.)
Also, do you know of any effective, inexpensive ways to rid a house of skunk smell? I think the skunk (/Doug’s leftover 4th of July stink bomb) sprayed (/went off) under the house, probably provoked by the little orange doofuses, though they don’t smell like they got sprayed.
Peace in the Middle East,
“Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” – Bob Dylan
Monday, July 6, 2009:
Check out the Warped Tour review Kelly and I collaborated on.
There will be more later, but for now I’m done messing with photos not uploading and I’m tired and the Ranch smells like skunk because a freaking skunk sprayed under the house, the overwhelming stench from which woke me up at 6 a.m. and has been driving me crazy all day and at least Doug agreed that it’s overpowering so I know I’m not crazy and I’m about to go to the grocery store and Taco Bell because I haven’t eaten in a long time and I’m out of food and I don’t care if this is one long sentence because I’m about ready to punt the nearest small animal/child that wanders in my path.
Good day sir.
“You do not want a quote right now.” – This guy.
Thursday, July 2, 2009:
Where’d that week go? Sorry for the silence on this end, it’s been quiet around here since Doug’s at Cornerstone. Well, quiet until today. Warped Tour in San Antonio was today, in case you missed my 38 zillion Twitter updates.
Kelly and I will have a review of the event up tomorrow and I’ll post a bunch of pictures. I took 620 total so I think I might have a few to share.
My body hates me right now,
“Where there is love there is life.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi
Friday, June 26, 2009:
I promise, there is nothing Photoshopped about this other than the three blurred letters in the four-letter word. I asked Doug if stealing a girlfriend from somebody in All Time Low in a previous lifetime prompted this or what, and he said no. So I guess it’s just hilarious marketing for their new album, Nothing Personal. Nothing personal, but no way we’re covering them in HM. It made us laugh though so I guess they get props.
I didn’t feel like I got much done today, so I’m going to just share more pictures instead of trying to remember what I actually accomplished.
A free shirt an advertiser sent us, plus proof that I may be in Texas, but Texas will never be in me. Go ‘Skins baby!
Apparently there is a Rich Husband out there who subscribes to HM. I want one of those. Haha just kidding. I’m breaking all sorts of confidentiality rules but hey, you know what All Time Low would say to that… “You’re just jealous of my mad censorship skills,” that’s what they’d say. What did you think I meant?
Our efforts to scare Kelly off are yet unsuccessful. So we thought we’d extend an olive branch and give her a friend to wave goodbye to her every day.
Further proof that the cats love to sit on top of my car.
But when they’re this cute, who am I to stop ’em?
Oh Marvin. You’ve always been my favorite. Don’t tell the others. We’ll run away at midnight. Meet me at the border with a shaved head and a briefcase containing 37 bean burritos. Don’t tell a soul.
Oh well. Doug’s leaving for Cornerstone this Sunday so I’ll finally be able to walk around this place nak… um… what was that? I hear Biscuit calling in the other room.
“You’ll be a wolf devoured by a lion ’cause you look like a lamb but baptized in fire” – from The Deep by Further Seems Forever
Thursday, June 25, 2009:
I finished my review of Falling Up‘s Fangs! finally, which is ironic since by the time this issue comes out it will be a five-month-old album. Guess we missed it back in March when it came out. These things happen.
One of the Tooth & Nail publicists sent me The Glorious Unseen‘s album that drops August 25 unsolicited today, so I’ll have to check it out tomorrow. I’m not sure Doug’s opinion on them, so I don’t know if they’ll make it in the mag but I really like dude’s voice and they write captivating worship songs and cover some of the better songs from the past few years by several David Crowder worship-with-artistic-integrity types.
Bear with me while I be a fanboy once again – I was listening to The Receiving End of Sirens‘ The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi and following along with the lyrics and I learned the song “Disappear (Oubliette)” is based on The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – one of my favorite books. I always heard some spiritual undertones on TREOS’ songs (they mention sin elsewhere, though I wrote it off since non-believers can use the word too) but just thought I was a crazy Christian wanting to project my beliefs into music intended to be secular. I didn’t think they had any connection to Christianity whatsoever. Holy crap, my instinct was right for once… and I told it to shut up and just enjoy the music for what it was, not realizing that my gut was right and it was actually based on spiritual stuff. I love it when I find out cool stuff about a band I love, which in this case means very little to anyone since they broke up, but it gives me another layer to appreciate on an album that was already one of my top albums based on lyrical depth and intricacies of sound. No idea if they’re Christians or just fans of Lewis’ writing, but that matters little to me. I already would have had to try hard to think of another album from the last couple years that tops it. Please give it a listen if you haven’t heard it – I’m not objective at all but I think it’s ridiculously artistic, yet still accessible.
Oh man tomorrow’s gonna be fun,
“I watched you steal away / A man’s best years / With the drumming of his fingers / With the kicking of his heels /…/ Because anything or not a thing will do / (A dead fire in a cold room)” – from “Disappear (Oubliette)” by The Receiving End of Sirens (Last mention for a month, promise. Well, maybe…)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009:
Thanks to everyone who voted in the survey about bands swearing, here are the results so far:
If you haven’t voted, I’d still like to hear your opinion!
Ironically, I interviewed Josh “Dies” Porter from Showbread today and we talked for a long while about secular music and its influence on Christian artists. It should be a deep article – we talked about the new album, The Fear of God, a lot too.
Our internet was being soooo slow today so I went into Taylor to find WiFi. Tornado suggested the library so I spent a little time there before it closed, and her friend mentioned Pizza Hut randomly has free internet so I sat and ate my P’Zone and posted stuff on the HM website at the Taylor Pizza Hut. Check out this Cornerstone guide I put together featuring a bunch of bands and showtimes, plus links to listen to their music if you’re not familiar with them.
I’m going to be busy tomorrow and Friday since I still have to post album reviews from the last two issues online, transcribe my Thousand Foot Krutch and Showbread interviews, write those two features and the Memphis May Fire featurette and a bunch of other pressing items I’m sure I’m forgetting before Doug leaves for Cornerstone this weekend.
But it’ll all get done. Assuming I go to sleep ever – Doug and I were working till 4 a.m. yesterday night/this morning haha.
The need to be constantly productive is a blessing and a curse,
“Oh, these soft-legged girls / And hard-faced boys / They know no god / They have no voice / We are the sound” from “We Are The Sound” by Alexisonfire
Tuesday, June 23, 2009:
Question – What do you think about swearing in music? If you have an opinion and two seconds, please take this survey I threw together. I’d really appreciate your feedback.
Let me give you at least some of the thought process behind this impromptu survey. I’m reviewing an album by a band with Christian members that, like many in the current scene, doesn’t really associate itself with Christian music but self-identifies as “Christians in a band.” This album includes some veiled spiritual themes but also one song in which the band says the f-word twice, pretty clearly (and I double-checked with the band to make sure I’m not hard of hearing). Other than this one song, the rest of the album is kid-friendly save for a few “damned”s used in the context of an individual’s spiritual condition (though would you consider that swearing too?).
So what would you make of such a band? They’re far from the only band in this situation. I won’t poison the well with any of my opinions on the subject just yet.
We made another trip to Louie Mueller BBQ today for Kelly’s intern lunch, which was fun except for my car’s A/C refusing to blow anything but hot air the whole 20 minutes each way.
She hadn’t heard 3OH!3 yet, and in keeping with our misogynistic hazing of course I dug their CD out of the reject closet and had her listen. She has a good sense of humor apparently because that didn’t send her running. But I didn’t hear the whole album from down the hall, so maybe she’s just too nice to say she hated it.
Doug and I listened to the whole album tonight and it’s fun, if incredibly offensive to everyone from women to white people to… pretty much everyone in earshot. I’m sure they’ll be a hot band at Warped Tour for the dates they’re not on the AP Tour with Family Force 5. 3OH!3 did a remix on Family Force 5’s new remix album, which is worth a listen. They’d be one to avoid if your answer to the survey was “I won’t listen to a band who swears…” though to say the least. The term “swear” doesn’t really do their brand of shock rock/rap/electronica justice. If you don’t mind the occasional Helen Keller joke though it’s pretty fun.
Tonight’s another long night but listening to a comedian making fun of Christians (this one’s called Brother Russell, Google him) is a good way to fend off insanity. Pretty funny too.
Back to it,
“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” – Margaret Thatcher
Monday, June 22, 2009:
Music Monday lived up to its name once again. Here’s a short list of either new albums or new bands I listened to today: Showbread – The Fear of God, We Came As Romans – Dreams EP, Alexisonfire – Old Crows / Young Cardinals, The Color Morale, Alesana – Where Myth Fades to Legend, Mr. Del – Thrilla, Shadows Fall – Retribution and Darkest Hour – The Eternal Return. What do you think about a Darkest Hour “So and So Says” article by the way? Apparently one member was born to a former Catholic nun who left the convent to give birth to him and he loves talking faith.
I guess I have a ton of new material for the next time I’m driving in Miami and want to blare some aggressive music with my windows down. (That happens a lot by the way – have you met Miami drivers?!) Personal favorite album for that is Go West Young Man, Let The Evil Go East by Greeley Estates. They’re writing their new record right now, I cannot wait for it. I liked their old stuff but I love the heavier sound and more complex song structures they introduced with Go West. It would make my year if they made a guest appearance at Warped Tour next week. C’mon, Texas is right next to Arizona, right?
Speaking of Warped, Tornado stopped by with some of her famous baked goods and she’s hopefully coming along to Warped in San Antonio July 2. If Kelly’s able to come, that’ll be fun the three of us going. If you’re in Texas, you should meet up with us there!
I checked out the lineup tonight so we could make interview requests and there are a lot of bands I’ve never seen but am excited to check out live. My list of requests includes: A Skylit Drive, Alexisonfire, Dear and the Headlights, Saosin, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, The Devil Wears Prada, There For Tomorrow, Thrice and Underoath. I’m hoping to get maybe three of those haha. But at least hopefully I can get a photo credential for most of them.
I guess putting a Bud Light girls cardboard cutout in Kelly’s office didn’t scare her away, so we’ll have to try harder this week to convince her we’re chauvinist pig dogs. I’ll update you on our progress.
Hazing is just another way of saying “good, clean, all-American fun for everyone involved,”
“Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?” – The Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz (my aunt sent me a card with that quote on it – kinda too close to describing me for my liking…)
Friday, June 19, 2009:
Crazy day. Doug and I started the day by showing Kelly the new intern around a bit. She’s nice. She’s from Ohio so she and I talked about Ohio stuff for a while since my dad’s side of the family is mostly there and I have a good amount of connections there.
Trevor McNevan from Thousand Foot Krutch called right at 10 as arranged and we had a good conversation about everything from NHL video games to Aerosmith to Taco Bell to the song “Blue Monday” by… well… a band whose name made him a little uncomfortable to mention in an interview, though we laughed about it and he suggested I listen to it when I related that I hadn’t heard it in probably 10 years. Good memories. Let me just tease you with the tidbit that there’s a song on TFK’s new record, Welcome to the Masquerade that’s a nod to that song’s industrial flair. It was a really insightful interview and I can’t wait for you all to read it. Check out their first single off the new album, “Bring Me To Life.”
I also talked to Matt Mullins, Memphis May Fire‘s new singer. I felt like I got a lot of good info from him as well, and I think their Trustkill debut, Sleepwalking, is going to sell. They’ve got such a diverse sound, which is something we discussed at length, and I love Mullins’ style when he screams, how he changes up his diction tempo within words.
One band that was supposed to be on Memphis May Fire’s upcoming tour, Oceana, whose album we reviewed in the last issue, broke up yesterday, just as I was starting to get excited about the band. These things happen though. You should still give them a listen. They’ve got a unique post-hardcore, experimental sound, sort of like a The Receiving End of Sirens with more screaming. (Hmm, that’s my second TREOS reference this week; I think I’ve reached my quota.)
Speaking of obscure broken-up band references, my comment about Justifide the other day made me curious to see if I still had any pictures of me in my old Justifide t-shirt. Sure enough, here you go – proof that I’m not all talk (just mostly):
Now, before any of you freak out, that’s not my girlfriend – it’s an old friend of mine – and it’s the only picture I had of me wearing that Justifide shirt. We went to grade school together and she actually played a role in my becoming a Christian since she invited and drove me to the church that I was eventually baptized at a couple years after her initial invitation.
Haha enough nostalgia for one post. It’s probably a good thing I’m staying here during Cornerstone Festival. I love the Cornerstone experience and I always feel conflicted when I can’t make it but I’ve got a ton of work to do with our mid-July final deadline creeping slowly up – and at least I get to go to Warped Tour in San Antonio, which is while Doug will be away at C-stone. I’ve never been to Warped and I’ll be able to take photos and maybe interview some bands that I’ve never seen live like Thrice.
Don’t be that guy,
“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” – African proverb
Thursday, June 18, 2009:
You may have heard me mention the mewithoutYou show in my last post or by reading one of my 341 Tweets from the venue, but in case you wanted more about that show, you’re in luck!
First off, let me say that Aaron Weiss’ live personality is as billed. He runs the gamut between spastic and serene, frenzied and stoic, and exuberant and somber. And apparently he inspires large adjectives. But that’s just further testament to the fact that he is as thought-provoking a frontman as there is in the muddled rock scene today.
The rest of the band did their jobs – they played their respective instruments skillfully and deferred to their engaging friend holding the mic. That’s not to say they were forgettable, though. Each member took his turn in the spotlight at least once, particularly drummer Richard Mazzotta on the final few songs of the set.
The crowd made it a much more enjoyable show. The band sounded a bit shaky on some of their new songs off “it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright” and the audience was hesitant to get too involved, but as soon as the first note of favorites like “Paper Hanger” sounded, the sweaty crowd was more than eager to shout along with the gravelly vocals and move around in the packed room. “January 1979” was a highlight as the audience got the most rowdy. But then again, uninvited stage dancers and crowd surfers tend to make any song more enjoyable from a bystander’s point of view.
Aaron breaking out the acoustic guitar and switching to a singing-not-yelling vocal tone made “In a Sweater Poorly Knit” a welcome change-up.
Also, whenever he strapped on the accordion there was fun to be had, whether it was by watching him sway back and forth holding a big old-fashioned instrument with a towel on his head or by listening to the way he fit the accordion’s unique pitch into the rest of the rich instrumental sounds.
Tuesday night made it clear that if every mewithoutYou album was streamed straight into the brain with an accompanying video of the band playing all the songs, there would be no doubt who the kings of experimental rock are. I’ll admit straight-up that I’ve never been a huge fan of the band. It’s always been more of a “Oh yeah, they write really deep songs. Cool.” thing than a “Man, I know every word to every song” thing. But I guess in experiencing the band’s collective persona live and seeing the guy in front of me with mwY lyrics tattooed on both his forearms, I started to realize that the hype about this band is legit.
We got there late (what else is new for me) so I only got to hear parts of two songs by The Dear Hunter, but from what I heard they’re pretty talented live musicians as I expected, and Casey Crescenzo’s voice was hair-on-the-back-of-my-neck-raising even in that abbreviated listen. That’s not an exaggeration for illustrative purposes, either – it happened.
While mewithoutYou was setting up we caught a few songs’ worth of Dear and the Headlights on the indoor stage. I’m familiar with their lead singer, Ian Metzger, from his days in the old Christcore band Justifide, but I haven’t followed him in Dear and the Headlights that much since he left Justifide almost a decade ago. I like their sound, it has kind of a dirtier indie rock vibe. Maybe I’ll try to catch their full set at Warped Tour in San Antonio in a couple weeks.
After the show, Doug and I spoke with Brandon from The Rocketboys and the guitarist from Hundred Year Storm. Both bands are featured in the new issue of HM – a review of HYS’s album and The Rocketboys in the Declaration of Independents section. They’re both really nice guys. You should check them out and read what we had to say about their bands in the new issue or as a digital copy.
I’ll give an update of all today’s happenings tomorrow, I think I’ve given you enough to chew on for tonight.
It ain’t that kind of party,
“I stopped believing, you start to move / (She was like wine turned to water then turned back to wine) / I stopped my leaving and the better man bloomed / (And you can pour us out and we won’t mind)” – from “Paper Hanger” by mewithoutYou
Tuesday, June 16, 2009:
So I guess I scared off the other intern with my verbal bullying yesterday so she decided her car was gonna break down so she can’t come in till Friday. Ha! I see right through that, you’re not fooling anyone!
Naw, I hope it gets fixed (and for free, I hate car maintenance costs) and she makes it here safely. (Ha I guess I really am mean, aren’t I?)
Anyway! I got interviews with Thousand Foot Krutch and Showbread set up and will be listening to both forthcoming albums soon to further prepare. I proofread several articles, columns and reviews that have been coming in lately as well.
This afternoon, I got a ridiculously random idea for a book I think I’m going to write (no, Doug, I’m not going to steal your unpublished novel). I made some notes as thoughts came to mind but I think I’ll sit on it for a while till I can make sure it wasn’t just that I got some bad granola this morning or something…
Doug and I are going to see mewithoutYou play at Emo’s in downtown Austin with The Dear Hunter and Bear Colony in a bit. I’ll admit I’ve never been the biggest mwY fan but I enjoy deep lyrics so I’ll keep an open mind especially for their live show. I can say I’m looking forward to seeing The Dear Hunter, though. It’s ex-The Receiving End Of Sirens guitarist/co-vocalist Casey Crescenzo‘s experimental rock band, and I’ll be interested to hear them live since the only two albums they’ve released are acts I and II of a six-act story about the birth (to a prostitute), life and death of a boy known as “The Dear Hunter.” I wonder if they’ll play songs more or less in order of the story, or if they’ll just play random stuff. Their new album comes out next week so I suppose they’ll probably play a good amount of new material and that may take precedence over concerns of chronology. We’ll see if they break out any of the various horns or strings live that they feature on studio material. I hear Crescenzo has a really good live voice too. I guess he produced and even co-wrote some of the music on Falling Up‘s latest album Fangs!, which is a concept album as well. I’ll let you know what I think of all of them, and post some pictures if you’re lucky – and assuming I can get there on time and without getting lost ha.
Sleep now in the fire,
“Crimson hands, brandish words which masquerade / If you flee from grace your souls can not be saved” – from “The Oracles on the Delphi Express” by The Dear Hunter
Monday, June 15, 2009:
Another Monday come and gone. I converted some of the new music I’ve been listening to and swishing around in my head into album reviews today, since I’m still trying to set up interviews for most, if not all of my features. I’m still feeling like I don’t have much done four days from deadline, but pieces are starting to come together and I’m doing what I can so I guess I need to be patient.
Uh oh, I just found out the other intern is coming in tomorrow! I better clean up my act! (And my office, and the kitchen, and my room, and my vocabula… well maybe not that last one.) Nah, should be fun having another crazy person around here to keep Doug and me in check. If she happens to be sane, well, I think we can do away with that in quick fashion. (If she reads this I’m in trouble, huh? Oh well.)
Speaking of things I need to clean up, my car is in serious need of a bath from being in the country for far too long:
Seeing as I’m poor, I resigned myself to at least start by replacing the windshield washer fluid, which had been empty. I figure when it’s difficult to see around all the smashed bugs on your windshield, it’s probably time to man up and go get a bottle of the stuff. Here’s what I was looking through:
(The streaks on the left side are from our cat Spot trying to climb up and sit on the sunroof, for some reason. Guess it took him a couple tries, eh?)
Though I failed anyway and bought a brand of washer fluid that needs to be mixed with regular washer fluid so I’ll have to make another trip to the store soon. Oh well, maybe I’ll grab a bucket and sponge while I’m there to help my poor friend out:
As long as I remember to move it into the driveway before I mess with it – when I was standing in the grass opening the hood, I got bit by a fire ant on my foot and the bottom of my toe! Who bites a toe? That should be illegal even in bug kingdom! Never mind the fact I may have been planning on using that foot to end his short life…
Well, I’ve got tidying to do!
“Make me new again / So I can be clear and conscious of what I’m doing wrong / I want to be whole / I want to know more than I should” – from “Clear and Conscious” by Name Taken
Friday, June 12, 2009:
Listened to lots of new music today – Memphis May Fire, Neon Horse, Falling Up and Miss May I for album reviews or articles, will get the new Hawk Nelson, Thousand Foot Krutch and Showbread on Monday, and am about to check out the new He Is Legend album on my way to Doug’s church’s public baptism event. Plus there were finally a bunch of good indie bands in the stack I listened to today, so we’re going to have a tough time narrowing it down to 12. I’ll probably post the best of the ones that don’t make the cut here, so look for it. The worst of today was March Into Paris, so I wouldn’t dare give them any mention, and you shouldn’t waste your time checking them out.
Okay, maybe even they weren’t that bad.
While I was listening to all the new stuff, I assembled some media kits to hopefully get advertising sales going next week and got a bunch of tear sheets ready to mail to advertisers or publicists who sent us a DVD or book reviewed in last issue.
I got a weekend request for you all: Doug and I discussed the possibility of a Killswitch Engage article in this issue, but we weren’t really able to come to a clear decision. What are your thoughts, should we run a feature on them, review their album, both or neither? If you’re not familiar with them, check them out and report back. Their frontman, Howard Jones, is a man of faith but other members aren’t, and they’re touring with Marilyn Manson, among the many other pros and cons to covering them. Do it or skip it?
Check out the quote for some lyrics from one of KsE’s most puzzling songs.
Writing eight pieces totaling 4,200 words by next Friday is possible, don’t doubt me,
“Rock / What would I give, to behold / The smile, the face of love? / You never left me / The rising sun / Will always speak your name” – from “Rose of Sharyn” by Killswitch Engage
Thursday, June 11, 2009:
Whoo! Day off! Ha well it was welcomed since Doug and I were working till after midnight last night. Not much happening today, I got some music I’ll need for the album reviews and articles, including Showbread and Neon Horse, both of which I’m looking forward to listening to.
I also took like nine phone calls in the span of 30 minutes on the office line, and all after business hours at like 7 p.m.? Don’t know what was up. I almost thought it was Doug’s friend again, who called a week or two ago right at 8 a.m. and asked me a bunch of weird questions like how I kept track of the many things I have to do daily.
It’s thundering out tonight and raining a little bit, so that’s making me happy. I actually like thunderstorms. And there was a pretty sunset with all the crazy clouds earlier. One of these days I’ll actually take my camera outside…
Ha well anyway, more work tomorrow. It’s my mom’s birthday today, so in honor of her, the quote is from someone who was born on the same day and year as her. But don’t go out and start Googling him to see how old she is, that’s rude!
Happy birthday mom!
“There’s only one reason for doing anything that you set out to do. If you don’t want to be the best, then there’s no reason going out and trying to accomplish anything.” – Joe Montana
Wednesday, June 10, 2009:
Today’s the long day before a day off, so this will be brief so I can get back to work. I did some more background work on my features and worked on contacting all the publicists from whom I will need favors (you know, music) soon. I’m still waiting to hear from a couple, and I haven’t done any interviews for any of my four articles so I’ll have a ton of writing to do next week before my deadline of next Friday. I’ve done the most research of any of the four on Showbread so far, but I’m still preparing questions for my interview. What would you want to know about the band?
Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’,
“It’s a visual world and people respond to visuals.” – Joe Sacco
Tuesday, June 9, 2009:
I spent today e-mailing assignments to the album review writers and putting them in touch with the bands’ publicists. After lunch, I took some pictures of Doug for a marketing e-mail he’s sending out. I started the morning listening to Showbread and reading through lyrics to prepare for the feature I’m going to write on them. I wanted to point out part of a post by lead singer Josh “Dies” Porter on Showbread’s website in response to criticism surrounding the band’s secular musical influences:
…Sin enters when the music causes you to sin. It was previously stated that things like music and food can be used for good – or can make us sin. Although it might not be a sin to merely hear music not intended for the Christian market, listening to it can cause some to sin in other ways. Disobeying your parents by listening to certain music when you’ve been told not to is a common example of music causing sin. Another example is when listening to music causes others to stumble.
First, I will go over what “causing others to stumble” is not. It is not merely offending someone, or doing something they don’t like. If you hate smoking and your friend comes up and smokes around you, you might be offended and annoyed, but you are not being tempted to smoke. Stumbling involves sin.
The example that the Bible uses is in Romans 14: eating meat sacrificed to idols. The Romans, along with much of the world back then, thought that there were many gods. People would sacrifice meat to these gods, who were represented by idols. But sometimes these people converted to Christianity. Many of these new converts would not know some basic Christian doctrines. In their minds, if they bought meat from the market that the seller had “blessed” to some pagan god, this would make the meat sinful to eat.
Of course, the meat was not evil. God made the meat. Meat is good. But the new convert in the above example did not realize that. He or she thought it would be evil to eat this particular meat. He or she therefore believed it would be a sin to eat it. So, would it be a sin if he or she ate it? Yes. Not because the meat was now sinful to eat, but because the motivation for eating it was sinful. It would be like saying, “God I think it’s a sin to eat this, but I’m going to eat it (and sin) anyway.” That is a sin of rebellion, and not of eating.
How does causing others to stumble come into this? It comes in when you, a stronger Christian who knows that eating meat sacrificed to idols is okay, cause the weaker Christian to sin by eating that meat in front of them, tempting them. If they eat it, you are causing them to sin, and by causing them to sin, you are making them stumble.
Music, movies, alcohol, etc., are things that could make other Christians stumble. What is Paul’s command in cases like those? It is to refrain from eating (listening, watching, drinking) in front of the weaker Christian.
Conclusion: We have to be cautious with our motivations and actions. Even the best of things can make us sin (e.g., reading the Bible might make us prideful). We must be careful not only for ourselves, but also for those around us. As it says in Romans 14:15, we must act in love. So, don’t just go around making weaker Christians listen to your music simply because you think it’s okay – because it is now you who is sinning by not acting in love.
If you have a few minutes you should read through the journal section of their website, there are many deep thoughts there, including a controversial reflection on Saddam Hussein that is a must-read.
This afternoon I got a package my wonderful girlfriend sent me, full of glorious fattening foods including tasty peanut butter chocolate chip cookies – which are a weakness of mine, a stuffed animal to make me think of her, a card and a pin that goes nicely with another pin she had given me:
So it was a good day, between the nice present the FedEx man gave me and reading a bunch of thought-provoking material. I’ll leave you with a quote from Dies’ convicting message to those who celebrated Saddam Hussein’s execution.
This too is meaningless,
“Jesus Christ loves Saddam Hussein with a passion I will never understand, and he wanted nothing more than for Mr. Hussein to know the truth so that they might be together forever.” – Josh “Dies” Porter, lead singer of Showbread
Monday, June 8, 2009:
We finalized the stories for the September/October issue today, barring any changes, which will undoubtedly happen as release dates shift. I started doing some background and contacting the publicist for a feature I’m doing on Skillet. I’m fairly familiar with the band and I’ve seen them live so it shouldn’t be too difficult, but since I’m young enough in the Christian rock scene I’ll be refreshing myself on their first few albums in the next day or two. I’m doing three major features this issue, a smaller featurette and several album reviews. It’ll be a lot of work but I’m glad for the opportunity to write a major chunk of the magazine.
This weekend I visited a friend I went to college with at Miami, who is now in law school at University of Texas. He’s also named Corey, so it’s nice and confusing for everyone around us. He took me on a tour of campus and the infamous 6th street. Check out a few pictures from campus:
Handy little map in the middle of campus
Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Still haven’t forgiven them for what they did to USC in the title game a few years back.
The six-pack, as they call it, since they’re apparently too good for simply a quad.
Random building with a random sculpture in front of it
Apparently they light up the clock tower different colors if the football team wins, if they win a conference game, and if they win the national championship. Which, as mentioned, only happens when they cheat.
Clearly they don’t bother keeping the fountain clean when prospective students (read: parents) are absent.
Big off-campus undergraduate housing tower
A view of the Texas State Capitol from campus
Conveniently located on Guadaloupe right next to campus! Strangely Corey said he hadn’t seen anyone go inside…
The Co-Op, Texas’ bookstore
University of Texas’ idea of a communication school. Ha. Looks more like an FBI building than the Chuch of Scientology building down the street.
Just kidding about all that cheating stuff (ducks behind his desk),
“Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy.” – Cynthia Nelms
Friday, June 5, 2009:
The new issue arrived at 10 this morning as promised. It looks really good, I’m pleased with the final product and I hope you all will like it. You have to check out the picture in the ad on page 25, it made me laugh really hard the first time I heard it. Oh, and you can check out my article on Mae on page 11 and my reviews of a bunch of indie bands on page 51. Do you like the Scream The Prayer Tour cover? It’s different from anything HM’s done and we spent a lot of time tweaking it. The massive amount of proofreading I did for this issue won’t show up if I did it well, but let me know if you see any glaring mistakes.
We also started the HM office (i.e., just Doug and I) Bible study today. We’re going over the Biblical take on worship. We first went over Peter’s response to someone bowing down to him in Acts 10:23-26, versus Jesus’ response to being worshiped in Matthew 28:9. Peter didn’t allow Cornelius to bow down to him because he was just a man, but Jesus allowed himself to be worshiped even while he was on earth. We also looked at Acts 3:6-10, where Peter heals the lame man and the man began jumping and praising God, which begs the question, are we to only worship God when He does something great in our lives? Through considering the parable in Matthew 21:28-32, which I encourage you to read, the connection could be made that God honors our worship even when we aren’t feeling into it going in, but still do it anyway. What do you think? Do you have any other examples we should consider?
I mostly listened today since I didn’t really have anything to add and was just trying to take it all in, though we got on a good tangent about grace.
I made more headway on Heaven’s Metal as well, though it still isn’t finished. Oh well, that’s what Monday’s for. I’m starving, I’m gonna go get some frozen pizzas I think.
Watching the horses eat orange peels isn’t what I should be doing right now,
“The leading problem on college campuses is despair.” – Paul Copan
Thursday, June 4, 2009:
After a needed day off yesterday, it was back to work on Heaven’s Metal. The work was slow after figuring out that I wouldn’t be able to work on it with my laptop or work computer, but would have to use Doug’s laptop since the InDesign versions aren’t compatible. I still have most of the album reviews and all the ads to lay out, as well as some tweaking on all the features.
Since I’ve been feeling kinda down lately, Ecclesiastes again had a lot to say for me last night. Ecclesiastes 7:3 reads: “Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.” The writer goes on in 7:10, “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions,” and in 7:14, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” It’s easy to see looking back on hard times that you often learn more in hard times than in easy ones, but it’s easy to forget when you’re in those moments. I’ll have to revisit those verses this week.
Also, looking out my of