Christian band the Day Of rocks with infectious passion

February 28, 2008 at 8:00 am (Adult Album Alternative, Alternative Rock, Contemporary Christian) (, , , , , , )

 

Derek’s New Music Bin

Artist: The Day Of

Album: Awaiting Take Off

Rating: 8/10

Official Website: http://www.thedayofband.com

Written by Derek Jensen

I don’t think the Day Of will have to await taking off for very long. This is certainly one of the most polished and nicely packaged unsigned Christian alternative groups today. I sincerely doubt that this band, if they decide to stick together for the long haul, will remain unknown for that much longer. Rockers like “It Should Have Been Me” and the Coldplay-like “You Don’t Have to Do This” present a group that is on the verge of busting out of the gates – and they know it. You can hear the confidence in Nick Hickman’s voice; his passion is infectious, making you hum nearly every chorus on this CD no matter what your spiritual background is. 

This is a band that is aware of what they’re doing and capable of. Too many rock groups these attempt the clash of hip-hop and rock and fail miserably, humiliating themselves. (I won’t name names.) But the Day Of do not stumble in that regard, tossing in raps on “Be With You” and “You Don’t Have to Do This” with skill and style. There are some moving mellow moments, too, such as “The God You Are to Me.” 

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New 2 the Brain predict the future of music and politics on mysterious debut

February 26, 2008 at 4:45 am (Adult Album Alternative) (, , , , )

 

Derek’s New Music Bin

Artist: New 2 the Brain

Album: New 2 the Brain

Rating: 10/10

Official Website: http://www.new2thebrain.com

Written by Derek Jensen

Recorded last year, there’d be no way New 2 the Brain could’ve predicted the odd shapes that the race for the presidential election has taken. Yet here is the mysteriously named vocalist/producer Wa and songwriter Lawrence Stoller describing “Politics Un Usual,” which aptly mirrors the confusion of voters caught between the excitement of promised changes and the comfort of experience. “The race is on/Going nowhere fast/The parade marches by/But what’s gonna last?” Wa sings as the track continues to dip into caustic commentary. Probably what’s most effective about “Politics Un Usual,” lyrically speaking, is that it doesn’t take the side of either liberal or conservative; it seems to have distrust of both parties and the campaign machines in general. With its funky bass and Steely Dan-ish vocals, “Politics Un Usual” is no stale CNN soundbite; it has a punchy groove with a Beatles-esque appreciation for dramatic tempo shifts.

New 2 the Brain are named perfectly. They do not resemble much of today’s alternative acts. They glue pieces of Peter Gabriel-ish English pop, world music, Genesis-styled progressive rock, and Steely Dan’s sleek jazzy rhythms and give birth to a quirky yet accessible sound that is totally their own. “We’re All in This Together” and “Born Naked” are the catchiest tunes here and will probably taste the sweetest initially for unenlightened listeners. But it’s New 2 the Brain’s more ambitious tracks that’ll eventually floor them.  

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Grunge veterans 99 Burning unleash the ’90s again

February 10, 2008 at 10:20 pm (Grunge)

 

Derek’s New Music Bin

Artist: 99 Burning

Album: Midnight in America

Rating: 8/10

Official Website: http://www.99burning.com

Written by Derek Jensen

99 Burning are actually not new and, quite frankly, they’re nothing new, either. And while I am not in this field to commend artists who aren’t recording material that is fresh or original, I have to applaud 99 Burning for doing the alternative metal sound so well. The easiest comparison to make would be Stone Temple Pilots’ “Sex Type Thing.” What made “Sex Type Thing” so immensely popular in 1993 was how it took the black-coffee bitterness of grunge and gave it a sinfully tempting metallic beat. 99 Burning pretty much do the same, taking the rage and fatalism of grunge and funking it up. This is most personified by “She’s My Addiction,” “TV Child,” “Cat,” and “Lonely Skies,” four tracks that really burn the carpet with sizzling guitar heroics.

The pummeling “She’s My Nightmare” comes the closest to what grunge actually was, producing a big, loud cloud of guitar shrapnel that chokes the speakers. The creepily titled “7 Devils” is actually more melodic than it suggests, opening relatively softly then picking up tempo. Overall, I enjoyed this trip down memory lane, and for all those cynics out there who think that 99 Burning are merely trying to unleash ’90s nostalgia – you’re wrong. 99 Burning have been around for nearly two decades.

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