Hands To Release Give Me Rest
Hands is set to release their follow-up album to 2009’s Creator this summer. The new album Give Me Rest promises to be a remarkable leap in song writing and profundity for the band. Vocalist and guitarist Shane Ochsner had some things to say about what it was like writing and recording this time around. This is the first album we’ve done that has allowed some time for detail. I’ve used 5 different drum kits, 5 different guitar amps, 8 different guitars, and several different miscellaneous instruments to cater to each individual song. There is so much emotion, and weight to this album. It has been over 2 years since the writing sessions for “Creator”, and so much has changed since then. It wasn’t until this last year that I have started to question everything that I believe. I woke up one day and realized that I had no idea who God truly was, why I believed in him, and if my “relationship” with him was as honest as I’d been preaching it was. It felt like everything around me was pushing me farther, and farther away from Christianity. I saw a YouTube video of a massive group of kids at Cornerstone surrounding a protester outside of the festival gates, and shouting prayers and arguments with this guy like it was last thing they would ever do on Earth. I was absolutley disgusted, and asked myself “Am I really a part of this?” “Give Me Rest” is about my struggle with my faith, and my struggle to call myself a true believer. It’s about starting over, and actually seeking God with all of your heart. Taking your roots and planting them at the foot of the cross. Understanding that His vision is so much bigger than anything our tiny little minds could ever understand. Listen to the first single from Give Me Rest, “I Will,” here.

Call To Preserve Starting Final Tour
Call To Preserve are about to embark upon their final tour in support of their last release Validation. Validation will be a 7? vinyl record containing 4 brand new tracks from the band, released on July 5, available only on vinyl or digitally. “We’ve wanted to put out vinyl for years and felt we had a few more things to say before we go, so this seemed like the perfect time and place to put out a 7”,” says the band. The tour kicks off later this summer with Dead Icons and Strike First Records’ Dynasty. This will be your last chance to see Call to Preserve live and the band has done what they could to make the tour as wide-ranging as possible. We hope you’ll be able to join us in saying farewell to a great Facedown band on The Final Call To Preserve Tour. We want to do our best to make sure those who want to can come see us for the last time. We never thought that this band would get as far as it did. We never thought we’d have the chance to travel so much and tour with some of our favorite bands and make such amazing friends from all over the world. We are more thankful than you’ll ever know. – Harbor Partin, Call To Preserve.
Tour Dates:
6/15 – Fayetteville, GA
6/16 – Columbia, SC
6/17 – Whitesburg, KY
6/18 – Cookeville, TN
6/19 – Southhaven, MS
6/20 – Little Rock, AR
6/21 – Tyler, TX
6/22 – Houston, TX
6/23 – McAllen, TX
6/24 – San Antonio, TX
6/25 – Fort Worth, TX
6/26 – Tulsa, OK
6/27 – Springfield, MO
6/28 – Springfield, IL
7/5 – Evansville, IN
7/6 – Chattanooga, TN

Owl City Debuts Video
Nearly one month from the release of his highly anticipated new album All Things Bright and Beautiful, Owl City is releasing the new galactic mission themed music video for “Alligator Sky.” The music video is on Owl City’s website now. “Alligator Sky,” features Los Angeles rapper Shawn Chrystopher. “’Alligator’ and ‘sky’ are two words that don’t really go together, but conjure up an image, which fits the idea of the song,” and as Adam Young explains, is not your everyday song title. “It’s about how there are so many weird things coming at you every day. Why not just meet them head on and take charge even though you have no say over what’s going to happen? You and those around you are what matter most.” All Things Bright and Beautiful is due out on June 14th on Universal Republic and is the follow-up full-length studio album to Owl City’s platinum-selling debut Ocean Eyes. Released in July 2009, Ocean Eyes was certified platinum in just eight short months and earned Owl City a slew of critical acclaim (New York Times, Rolling Stone, People, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, etc.). Ocean Eyes’ sales were led by the runaway single “Fireflies” which is currently quadruple platinum in the US. “Fireflies” hit #1 on the Hot 100 twice and found its’ way to the #1 spot in 24 countries around the world. In support of the new album – All Things Bright And Beautiful – Owl City will be kicking off a headlining tour of the World in North America on June 13th at the historic Ryman Auditorium.
Tour Dates:
6/13 – Nashville, TN
6/14 – Atlanta, GA
6/16 – Orlando, FL
6/17 – Charlotte. NC
6/18 – Baltimore, MD
6/20 – Montreal, QC
6/21 – Toronto, QC
6/23 – New York, NY
6/25 – Philadelphia, PA
6/26 – Boston, MA
6/28 – Indianapolis, IN
6/29 – Detroit, MI
6/30 – Milwaukee, WI
7/1 – Columbus, OH
7/2 – Mount Union, PA
7/1 – Kansas City, MO
7/12 – Denver, CO
7/13 – Salt Lake City, UT
7/15 – Seattle, WA
7/16 – Vancouver, BC
7/17 – Portland, OR
7/19 – San Francisco, CA
7/21 – Los Angeles, CA
7/23 – Pomona, CA
7/25 – Houston, TX
7/26 – Dallas, TX
7/27 – Austin, TX
7/29 – Chicago, IL
7/30 – Minneapolis, MN
8/12 – Auckland, NZ
8/15 – Brisbane, AU
8/16 – Sydney, AU
8/17 – Melbourne, AU
8/18 – Melbourne, AU
9/5 – Dublin, IE
9/7 – Glasgow, UK
9/8 – Manchester, UK
9/10 – London, UK
9/12 – Leeds, UK
9/13 – Birmingham, UK
9/15 – Tilburg, NL
9/16 – Brussels, BE
9/17 – Paris, FR
9/19 – Madrid, ES
9/20 – Lisbon, PT
9/22 – Barcelona, ES
9/24 – Milan, IT
9/26 – Zurich, CH
9/27 – Munich, DE
9/28 – Vienna, AT
9/30 – Berlin, DE

Memphis May Fire’s New Album Debuts High
Memphis May Fire’s Rise Records debut The Hollow is the #1 album on this week’s Billboard Heatseekers chart. The Dallas, TX based rock act has consistently pushed the envelope to redefine both themselves and the various sub-genres they’ve made their mark within. Their fresh approach to an otherwise stale scene gathered critical acclaim and helped them get their music featured on both the Saw VI Soundtrack and DVD/Blu-Ray releases. Subsequent touring with the likes of Asking Alexandria, From First To Last, and Alesana facilitated the delivery of their music to the masses and established a live precedent that the band continues to build on today. Following well-received releases on Trustkill & Bullet Tooth, domestic/international touring success (featuring the band’s first visit to Japan) and a tag as one of Revolver Magazine’s “Top 25 Under 25,” the band recently found a new home at Rise Records which released their latest full-length, The Hollow on April 26. This move continues to broaden the band’s reach and welcomes a new world of possibilities within the scope of their burgeoning career. MMF’s high-octane live show acts as a testament to their ever-increasing identity and always leaves the audience wanting more.

Red Cord Records Inks Distro Deal With Victory Records
Rockford, IL based Red Cord Records has entered into an exclusive, worldwide distribution and merchandising agreement with Victory Records. Red Cord was founded by Executive Producer Joey Mathews who represents Day of Vengeance, Phinehas, Righteous Vendetta, Milosny, A Past Unknown, Not One Is Upright, Joliet, and Southbound Fearing amongst others. With a powerful, in-house booking agency and a world class studio for all Red Cord artists, the label expects their full-time touring artists to quickly become serious forces in the music world. “I have been developing artists through my studio for years now as well as having a competent and hardworking booking agency. I know how important it is to have solid, first-class distribution which Victory will be providing. Also, with Red Cord Studios pushing exciting albums with the assistance of world renown mixing engineer Joel Wanasek we are set apart from the pack with a full circle artist offering founded on integrity and a vision for music’s future,” says Mathews. The first two Red Cord releases will arrive July 19th from Los Angeles band Phinehas and Des Moines’ A Past Unknown. Tony Brummel, Founder of Victory Records said, “Joey’s heart and passion are invigorating. We have had the pleasure of helping labels like Rise Records and Sumerian get their starts and we look forward to helping Joey and Red Cord get to the next level. His artists have meaning and offer something for music fans to truly believe in. It is our honor to be in business with him.”

Cornerstone Fest Announces Lineup
Since 1984, Cornerstone Festival has spent 28 years pushing boundaries and challenging the concept of what a Christian Festival “should” look like. Cornerstone is an annual pilgrimage for people of faith of all ages, styles, and denominations from around the world. Attendees join together 20,000 strong in the hills of Western Illinois for a week-long celebration that invigorates belief, inspires creativity, and showcases the best in pop culture, faith-based entertainment, spiritual engagement, and fun activities. Cornerstone Festival 2011 will take place June 30 – July 3 at Cornerstone Farm in Bushnell, Illinois. Once a year for the past two decades, this small town in Western Illinois with less than 3500 residents becomes inundated with artists, musicians, and fans from across the globe who make a pilgrimage to experience an event unlike any other. Music has always been, and always will be, the centerpiece of this multi-interest experience. This year, over 300 artists and bands will descend upon the festival grounds with a variety of styles poised to please nearly every listener. From headlining artists to the New Band Showcase, one thing remains constant; Cornerstone is THE place every band dreams of playing. “Cornerstone is still one of the highlights of any touring band, and for us it holds a special place in our hearts,” explains Stephen Christian of the band Anberlin. “We started out on a generator stage, bought our way onto a stage the next year, then Tooth and Nail day, then the Encore stage, and finally Main Stage. It was a process to get there but that makes it so much more amazing. We don’t ever take playing main stage for granted and always have the time of our lives. If you have never been to Cornerstone, this is the year to go.” Cornerstone 2011 kicks off at full speed, featuring a Wednesday night dance party hosted by one of the most renowned DJs from the UK – Andy Hunter. Thursday night features a good old-fashioned Jesus Rally showcasing many of the groundbreaking artists of the early Jesus Music movement including Classic Petra, DA, Barry McGuire, Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill. Friday will launch “The Whosoevers” day hosted by former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch and P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sandoval. Saturday evening will feature the best in alternative rock, including Blindside’s return to the U.S. Closing out Cornerstone 2011, Sunday evening will feature a massive worship experience where you’ll be able to sing along with Gungor, Robbie Seay Band and 20,000 of your closest friends. Bands for the 2011 season include Anberlin, P.O.D., Classic Petra, Blindside, Phil Keaggy, Paper Route, Barry McGuire, Daniel Amos, Seabird, The Lost Dogs, The Letter Black, Gungor, The Robbie Seay Band, The Chariot, The Choir, Anchor and Braille, Denison Witmer, Luminate, Brooke Waggoner, and many more to be announced in the coming weeks.

Denison Witmer Released New Album
Thoughtful folk pop singer-songwriter Denison Witmer will be releasing his upcoming album, “The Ones Who Wait” on April 26 on Mono Vs. Stereo label. You don’t want to miss this out on this release—you’ll be taken through a journey rich in intoxicating melody and deep in lyrical meditations on life’s best and worst offerings. Entertainment Weekly praises, “We are smitten with these sweet drowsy ditties… (Witmer’s) modest reach and pensive melodies could easily get lost in the white noise of contemporary culture, it would be a shame, though, to miss tiny gems like these…” Created amidst a period of great personal change for Witmer—a period that included two moves to different cities, the death of his father, and a new business venture (Brooklyn recording studio The Honey Jar)—“The Ones Who Wait” is at once deeply personal and beautifully universal.

Dying Blaze Explains Artwork
Due to the potential misinterpretation of the Dying Blaze art themes for the various versions and limited merchandise for the “Attera Obscurum” release, I wanted to clearly define the messages to be conveyed and thus received between the band name, band logo, album title, and imagery. Dying Blaze “Attera Obscurum” Album Description: Churning in the epicenter of the cold – world lands of black metal’s unofficial third wave of perpetual development, Ukraine brings forth another prodigy of dark metal – Dying Blaze. The sole member, Lord Castus, offers to all metal – hearts a fast, eruptive black metal style vengeance precisely interwoven with melodic elements that create impactful atmospheres amidst each track. Under the guidance and production efforts of Fedor Buzilevich (Holy Blood/Requital), Lord Castus steps forth with his debut album “Attera Obscurum”. Latin for “To Destroy Darkness”, the album title is a full – out, disclosed pronouncement of spiritual warfare against the forces of hell while ushering in the arcane truth and glorious mystery of salvation that only can be found in the bloody power of Jesus Christ. This is unrelenting true black metal from the heart of Ukraine. For fans of Satanic Warmaster, Sargeist, Watain, Limbonic Art, Taake, Crimson Moonlight, Evroklidon, and Antestor. Even fans of the older forms of Emperor, Satyricon, and Dark Funeral will thoroughly be captivated by the fury and blackened harmony of Dying Blaze. All logos, design, layout, and conceptual development created by Nokternal Hemizphear. Truly, the church as we know it is dead. Dead spiritually! Dying Blaze comes to us in a time of most utter need presenting biblical truths and eternal power to those who have an ear to hear. A new might is rising! Lord Castus and those who walk the eternal paths of glory in the brilliance of the Son shall set ablaze the church of the undead. Revived, rekindled, regenerated – torches will be lit on a bleak night, this Spring!!!!

The Hoax Signs To Thumper Punk
The Hoax Joins Thumper Punk Records and Caustic Fallout; “Stumbling Through” CD Now Available. Thumper Punk Records and Caustic Fallout are pleased to announce the signing of Christian punk band The Hoax, and that their long awaited second album “Stumbling Through” is now available for CD pre-order from the Thumper Punk Records webstore and shortly available at iTunes, AmazonMP3 and the usual places for digital downloads. On their full-length Stumbling Through, The Hoax delivers fifteen circle-pit punk classics that combine hardcore with a bit of crust and grind. Their sound is driven by the strong vocals of Tyler Dunagan, thrashy guitar licks and vocals by Johnny Hoax, driving bass from new member David Robledo, and the one-and-only Danimal on drums. The Hoax has the goal of doing the Lord’s ministry wherever he puts them within the punk community. The Hoax will be opening for the Officer Negative and Headnoise reunion show on Sunday, May 8, at the Chain Reaction in Anaheim, and hosting their record release show on Saturday, May 14, with Spades & Blades, The WAY, and Heart Like War at Calvary Chapel Fullerton. Both shows will be featured on G-Rock TV.

Daniel Lanois’ New Group Black Dub Announce Summer Tour
Black Dub, the acclaimed and innovative new quartet helmed by Grammy Award-winning producer and guitarist Daniel Lanois, today announced a full tour of North America. Kicking off in Anaheim on May 27th and concluding at the University of Illinois in Champaign on September 8th, the tour will deliver Black Dub’s rich, vibrant sound to eager fans this summer. Black Dub is the inspiration of revered instrumentalist, recording artist and producer Daniel Lanois, well known for his work with an impressive roster of iconic artists that includes U2, Bob Dylan and Peter Gabriel. Formed in 2010, Black Dub’s chemistry and energy promises thrilling live performances of material from its debut album. Known for an eclectic sound that blends rock and roll and blues into subtle, powerful songs, Black Dub matches the subtlety and prowess of Lanois’ guitar playing with powerful, sultry vocal performances of multi-instrumentalist Trixie Whitley, daughter of the late great blues guitarist Chris Whitley. The rock and blues-influenced rhythm section, comprised of drummer Brian Blade and bassist Daryl Johnson, provides the perfect blend of depth and energy, blending Whitley’s unmatched vocal style with Lanois’ ability to craft innovative songs using his signature Jamaican dub technique. “We put a lot of energy into creating our debut release, and the music truly transforms when you hear it and see it performed live,” said Lanois. “This summer, I can’t wait to share this new music with more people in a live setting.” Fueled by an intense connection to the art of song writing and performing, and inspired by a spectrum of genres and influences, Black Dub is a well-received, fresh start for its members. The band tours in support of its self-titled debut album, which was released on Jive Records in November. Black Dub is now available in stores, on Amazon.com and on iTunes. Black Dub released a live version of “Last Time” (ßclick to listen) from their earlier U.S. run.

Shonlock To Release Debut On June 21
On the heels of the chart-topping #1 radio hit “Something In Your Eyes,” Arrow Records recording artist Shonlock will release his debut album NEVERODDOREVEN (Universal Music Christian Group) on June 21, 2011. Best known to Christian music fans as a member of TobyMac’s Diverse City, Shonlock has been busy preparing to step out into a spotlight of his own. He spent much of 2010 on tour with TobyMac and Skillet for their record-breaking Awake Tonight Tour. And later this year, Shonlock will hit the road with Group 1 Crew. But what may appear to be an overnight success story has been a long time coming. Shonlock’s career began when he was plucked out of his Chicago high school by R. Kelly’s management team, to join R&B powerhouse Aaliyah and hip-hop pioneers Arrested Development on tour as a chorographer and dancer. From there, his name spread throughout the industry, resulting in a call from Christian hip-hop duo GRITS. “At first, I was using a lot of my gifts and talents for the wrong reasons, but came to a whole new outlook on life after I met Verbs, who was supporting Grits at the time,” recalls Shonlock. “One day after going over some choreography he presented the Gospel to me, which was really refreshing because it was coming from somebody who understood my background and had similar interests in music. I had been going to church when I was younger, but never really grasped it, so to have it presented in a form that I could relate to and at an age when I could understand it became life changing.” Alongside that spiritual renewal came a chance to work with like-minded stars such as Nicole C. Mullen and The Katinas, eventually catching the eyes and ears of multi-platinum artist TobyMac. Besides offering his chorography to TobyMac’s Diverse City, Shonlock became part of Diverse City as a guest vocalist/performer, a role that he maintains to this day. While touring with TobyMac, Shonlock demonstrated that he was more than just a dancer and choreographer with a self-released CD that moved over 15,000 copies without the assistance of retail distribution. His ability to craft a song brought songwriting opportunities with touring partner TobyMac, as well as artists like Mandisa, Verbs and Kierra “Kiki” Sheard. His pop/rock/hip-hop stylings caught the attention of Arrow Records, resulting in a partnership that spawned the Where Never Begins EP in late 2010, followed by the new full-length album NEVERODDOREVEN.
“There’s a play on the title visually where it spells the same phrase forward or backwards,” says Shonlock. “The message is all about my relationship with God, and when you’re walking with Him, I never find it odd when amazing things happen. But on the flipside with the ultimate sacrifice of His son, I could never get even, which makes me forever indebted to Him.” Much like his mentor TobyMac, Shonlock desires to create a bridge for all audiences while breaking down radio formats and spiritual stereotypes. “My goal is to be a blend for the pop, hip-hop and rock loving crowd without ever wanting to get boxed into a certain category,” he explains. “I’m not eyeing a particular marketplace, group or clique. I’m just going to do whatever I can to make sure the people that need to hear this message get a chance. If the message is truth and the music is good quality music, people will be drawn to it no matter what genre.”

Royal Tailor To Release Debut On June 7
Essential Records’ newest signing, pop/rock band Royal Tailor will release its label debut, Black & White, June 7, 2011. The album’s debut single, “Hold Me Together,” is already garnering early momentum at radio, while the band has been selected to perform at The Recording Academy® Nashville Chapter’s GRAMMY® Block Party on May 10. Produced by Aaron Lindsey, Chuck Butler, and Daniel Kinner, Black & White showcases Royal Tailor’s distinctive musical blend, highlighting influences that range from Bruno Mars to Maroon 5 to Michael Jackson. The result is 11 high-energy tracks that make audiences want to dance, pray, shout and sing along. Band frontman Tauren Wells comments, “We like to get down. If you ever spend any time with the four of us, at some point we’re going to turn up the music, and we’re going to have a good time. That’s just who we are.” But the band’s feel-good music has an equally attractive message. Having spent a year mentoring youth at its church in Granite City, Ill., and continuing to minister to young people while out on tour, Royal Tailor takes the plight of this generation seriously. “We were personally working with these kids and dealing with their issues,” says Royal Tailor bassist Blake Hubbard. “I think we learned a lot about our calling and what kids were really going through.”
Consequently, songs like “Gravity (Pulling Heaven Down),” offer a unique perspective on life’s challenges by reminding the listener how difficult times draw us closer to God. The buoyant anthem “Control,” which references hits by Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, encourages youth to stand up for what they believe with the same boldness as nonbelievers who are pushing the world’s agenda. “This record is pressing against the flow of the mainstream,” says Wells. “There are so many songs and influences out there today poisoning the culture. We hope to be a remedy to that, to show people it doesn’t have to be this way.” The album’s first single, “Hold Me Together,” which released to Christian AC and CHR April 15, is already winning fans at radio, capturing an additional two adds at CHR and seven adds at AC this week, including AIR 1 and WAY-FM Networks. This early radio impact is reflected in charting positions, moving the single 20 slots in one week to No. 26 on the Billboard National Christian Audience chart. Network Program Director at WAY-FM, Jeff Connell comments, “Since the first time I heard ‘Hold Me Together’ I was struck with two thoughts. First, there is NOTHING else that sounds like this…such a unique fresh sound. Second, when the heck can I start playing this song…it’s a smash! This is the perfect record for us.” The band also has been tapped to perform at NARAS Nashville’s 13th annual GRAMMY® Block Party on Tuesday, May 10. Known as the event that launches the summer music season, the Block Party gives industry folks a chance to mingle while enjoying a great variety of live music. Other artists scheduled to appear include Laura Bell Bundy, The Civil Wars, Denny Jiosa, Jerrod Niemann, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Chancellor Warhol. Royal Tailor is currently debuting new music from Black & White on the road, having just wrapped up the 20-city “The Overcome Tour,” which also featured Fireflight, After Edmund and Hyland. Comprising Tauren Wells (lead vocals), DJ Cox (guitar), Blake Hubbard (bass) and Jarrod Ingram (drums), Royal Tailor formed after meeting at Bible college and quickly amassed a loyal fan following, playing more than 300 shows in less than two years. The group’s soaring popularity garnered the attention of three-time GRAMMY nominated rock band Leeland, who introduced Royal Tailor to executives at Provident Label Group, Leeland’s label home.

©2011 HM Magazine All Rights Reserved

More news from last week:

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