Christian Rock

Eagle Rock Gospel Singers Preview New Song and Video

The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers premiere their video of “Lay Down Low,” a new song recorded in a historic nineteenth-century Episcopal church in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles. The song is from the group’s forthcoming album, No Glory. “‘Lay Down Low’ started with a simple little melody for the verses. I wrote what I thought could be a concise telling of the story of Jesus using that melody as a springboard. I wanted something bittersweet for the chorus that had some teeth and gave the story an arc. I used a melody that could be percussively barked and had no home ...

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Rick Stephenson – My Everything

Rick Stephenson My Everything N-Siteful Music (release date: August 1, 2016) www.rickstephensonmusic.com By Bob Marovich Christian singer-songwriter Rick Stephenson is no stranger to the recording studio. My Everything represents his latest album in at least four full-length CDs in his career. The new album contains ten radio-sized and pleasantly rendered pieces by Stephenson, a Johnson Creek, Wisconsin-based artist whose songwriting technique suggests he is an astute student of the pop song. Indeed, as a youth, Stephenson spent a great deal of time listening to Top 40 radio, and it shows.  The self-professed “Pop Gospel Musician-ary” links lyrics of faith and gratitude ...

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“Steel Wheels” – Imari Tones

“Steel Wheels” Imari Tones From the album Revive the World www.imaritones.net Some stomp on the devil’s head. The Imari Tones crush bad under their steel wheels. Which is an appropriate metaphor from a Christian heavy metal band. Hailing from Japan, where only five percent of the population is Christian, the Imari Tones are indeed an anomaly. They started out as a straight-up heavy metal band, naming themselves after the founding member’s girlfriend (now wife). But Imari is also used to describe a style of Japanese painted pottery. So when the trio became the country’s first band to blend heavy metal with ...

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Stryper – Fallen

Stryper Fallen Frontiers Music srl (release date: October 16, 2015) www.stryper.com By Bob Marovich For Christians about to rock, we salute you. Immediately following the Gothic a cappella harmonies that open Fallen, Stryper’s eleventh full-length original album, the four-man Christian metal band rock relentlessly until the CD screeches to a stop some fifty minutes later.  Guitars thrash, gnash, and gnarl, drums and bass craft complex rhythmic shapes, and Michael Sweet lofts soaring cries and glass-shattering high notes into the heavens. The godfathers of Christian metal deliver the goods on every track of Fallen. “Yahweh,” written with Clint Lowery of Sevendust and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 28, 2015

“The Story of Love” 6th Day Made www.6thdaymade.com Wonder what U2 would sound like as a Christian rock band? Look no further than “The Story of Love” by 6th Day Made. Mark Maggard’s thickly layered guitar, Jason Eaton’s tenor vocals hurled skyward, and the marching band rhythm of Randy Healy and Jeff Trent bring the Dublin dynamos vividly to mind. Lyrically, the Michigan band paints a portrait of love as arms stretched outward on a cross and offers an apocryphal message by imploring the listener to “let the world hear, let the world know….it won’t be long.” This is the ...

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Eagle Rock Gospel Singers – Heavenly Fire

Eagle Rock Gospel Singers Heavenly Fire Ba Da Bing (release date: August 7, 2015) www.ergospelsingers.com By Bob Marovich What originated as a group of friends jamming on old gospel songs distilled into the five-member Eagle Rock Gospel Singers. The Los Angeles group’s full-length debut, Heavenly Fire, declares their earthy conviction for true living through details of personal struggles and Bible tales that sound ripped from the pages of William Faulkner. The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers blend alt-country, rockabilly, and gospel into a mix somewhere between Wilco, Neko Case, and the Staple Singers. At the same time, the group’s expansive, extroverted harmonies, fronted by ...

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Jason Alvarez – Time for Miracles

Jason Alvarez Time for Miracles (release date: March 23, 2015) www.jamm.org By Bob Marovich Ever wonder what happened to the bearded guy who sang alongside Sylvia Robinson on the 1975 proto-disco hit “Shame Shame Shame?” The guy who “got my sun roof down, got my diamond in the back” and implored you in a high-pitched shout to “put on your shaky wig, baby?” Jason Alvarez became a music star, but with that came an unfortunate addiction to drugs. With the help of his wife, Gale, Alvarez got clean, got saved, signed a record deal with Light Records, but then forsook ...

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Jimmy Needham – Vice & Virtue

Jimmy Needham Vice & Virtue Platinum Pop Records (released May 4, 2015) www.jimmyneedham.com By Bob Marovich Christian artist Jimmy Needham gives us plenty to ponder on Vice & Virtue, his seventh album and first for his own imprint, Platinum Pop Records. Needham’s music is youthful and rhythmic, a playful potpourri of melodic pop and R&B that will put listeners in mind of fellow blue eyed soul children Bryan Popin, Sam Smith, Mayer Hawthorne, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, and Justin Timberlake. “Thank You,” a breathless ode of gratitude, has vestiges of the muscle twitching 1980s Minneapolis Sound pioneered by Prince. Another devotional, ...

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Brad + Rebekah – All You’ve Done

Brad + Rebekah All You’ve Done Discovery House (release date: June 2, 2015) http://bradandrebekahmusic.com By Bob Marovich On their national debut album, All You’ve Done, Brad + Rebekah, a husband-and-wife praise team, loft their admiration and gratitude melodically, and vertically, to the Most High. The album opens, appropriately, with “Wake Up.” It is a Brad-led clarion call about resurrection day that uses power pop as a brisk slap, reminding listeners to be spiritually ready for the end of times at all times. The duo’s tuneful “When We Gather,” “Be Here Now,” and “Body of Christ” set the table for worship, ...

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The Naddiks – 21CB

The Naddiks 21CB Manga Republic (2014) www.thenaddiks.com By Bob Marovich Inspiration comes from every direction, from around the world, and through all styles of music. On their EP 21CB (i.e., 21st Century Believer), Canberra, Australia rock trio the Naddiks blend the proto-punk of Stiff Little Fingers and the Undertones (or fellow Aussies Midnight Oil without the social agenda) with inspirational lyrics that chronicle lead singer Joel Steenbergen’s journey from potential self-destruction to redemption through Christ. Unlike the hair metal of Stryper or the mainstream sound of many Christian rock bands, the Naddiks give their lyrical tales a straight ahead pounding. ...

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