Dave's Beat of the Week - including last week's Beat

Posted by WBFJ | | Posted on 10:26 PM

Call me a slacker. Okay, now that you've done it, didn't anyone ever teach you that it isn't right to call people names?

Seriously though, many apolgies to you for not getting to post my Beat of the Week last week. I'll try to make up for it now.

First let me tell you what I've been listening to this week. The Great Transparency is a band out of Columbus, OH which I had the privilege of working with at the Rage Against Abuse Tour in Galax, VA last Wednesday night. They were there in support of Eleventyseven, Manic Drive, and Hello Kelly. It was a great night and all of the bands were way cool. But I'm going with this band for my Beat because you've probably never heard them. You need to and not simply because they have probably the best CD cover I've seen in a while. Still, that's a good place to start. The cover depicts a little girl with her thumb in her mouth, standing beside a dropped ice cream cone (it appears to be strawberry in flavor but I can't be sure). The record is titled "If Worse Comes To Worst." It's just hilarious!

Thankfully, worse doesn't come to worst on this 5 song EP. Each song is a punk/pop gem in the vein of Hawk Nelson. With a little more seasoning these guys could be on to something big. Music aside, the nice guys in The Great Transparency seem to be good human beings and are great to hang out with. They voluntarily provided me with a copy of the CD to use as a giveaway at the concert. You have to like an indie band giving away music. Check them out at www.thegreattransparency.com and www.myspace.com/thegreattransparency.

Getting back to what I should have posted LAST week (better late than never), the new record, "Jubilee," from Ten Shekel Shirt is brilliant. Lamont Hiebert, an upcoming guest on XR, has recruited new band members since the last TSS outing, 2003's "Risk" (also brilliant). If you remember the Shirt's debut, which contained the big radio hit "Ocean" you'll recall that it was more or less a worship record. Then "Risk" came out and it definitely lived up to it's title as the band evolved to a more modern rock sound a la Counting Crows. "Jubilee" is a nice mixture of both styles.

If you're expecting an over the top and boistersous rock and roll celebration based on the record's title, hold up a minute. "Jubilee" doesn't impose itself on you. It's more of a slow burn containing joy that is birthed out of suffering and loss. Hiebert has always had a gift for thought provoking lyricism and nowhere is this more evident than in "Daylight" where his work as a modern day abolitionist comes to light in lines like "I won't turn a blind eye/walk the other side/while slaves make our shoes/and our wedding rings too" and "We long for Your move/Well, you long for ours too." It's a call to leave the safety zone and make an actual difference in the world by standing up for the oppressed.

It's hard to choose highlights when a record is this good but I'll try. "Higher Ground" sends a reminder that "the higher ground is not left or right/the higher ground you don't find by might/the higher ground you get to by living upside down." The song simply tells us that our call is to care for people in the name of Christ. "Spark" tells us that it's okay to be angry as long as we forgive and don't hold on to grudges. It's one of the few tracks on "Jubilee" that actually comes close to a bounce. It's like Hiebert and company actually want you to feel the "spark" even as you listen to the song. It works. "En Garde" is a captivating tune about marital love which sounds like something you might find in the Song of Solomon. "Love From A Lesser God" encompasses the hard learned lessons of seeking anything less than our Savior to satisfy our needs. "It's Slavery" again deals with the subject closest to Hiebert's heart and is the most "rock" moment on the record, perhaps because of the intensity of the subject. Finally, "Surprised" takes Jesus out of the pages of the Bible (by referencing the stories of Lazarus, Peter stepping out of the boat, and the disciples on the road to Emmaus) and puts Him in the middle of our everyday lives.

"Jubilee" is in the running for my top record of '08. It's a must have for anyone who loves intelligent and thought provoking music made by artists who take their walk with Christ seriously. You can find Ten Shekel Shirt at www.tenshekelshirt.com and www.myspace.com/tenshekelshirt.

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