Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Alcohol and Music Festivals

So I’m finally back!! As amazing as England is, there really is no place like home! There’s SO much I want to write about I have no clue where to start!?

The highlight of my two weeks away had to be seeing Mumford and Sons live on their Stopover in Lewes. For those of you do not know what a Stopover is, it's a music festival organized by Mumford and Sons in order to celebrate the life and activities of small towns that normally never experience such large events. 

Having been to the "raucous" South African Music Festival, Oppikoppi, I thought I was well prepared for anything...I quickly realised that this was not the case. Alcohol was flowing at a rate one would expect at any music festival, but the alcohol seemed to impact the Brits differently to the South Africans. I can honestly say that I've NEVER seen so many fights in such a small area before!! Granted, I've witnessed my fair share of alcohol induced fights at Oppi, but nothing like in Lewes!

It's this alcohol abuse at music festivals that just makes me want to rant!


I must confess here that before I gave my life to Christ, I was this intoxicated person at Oppi I'm busy ranting at now. So I can say with full conviction that it's just dumb and often inconsiderate!

Can people honestly not enjoy the incredible talent of Bear's Den, Johnny Flynn, Edward Sharpe or Mumford and Sons without being intoxicated!? Since when are people incapable of enjoying music without including alcohol?

I arrived at the Stopover early on Saturday morning in order to make sure I got as close to the stage as possible. Mumford and Sons were only scheduled to play at 21:00, so I was in for a looooong wait! Luckily the day's lineup included artists like the one's I mentioned above, so the wait wasn't TOO bad. As the day progressed and the lineup became more and more popular the stage area began to fill up. On numerous occasions I had to stand my ground in order to prevent yet another drunk person from pushing in front of me, saying he was going to see his friend a few rows in front. I can't even count how often someone intoxicated would either push past us, fall into us or start fights next to us!!

It didn't take me long to start wondering what alcohol/drug-free music festivals would be like. Living in South Africa, I haven't had the privilege of going to a Christian Music Festival like Heavenfest or Cornerstone Festival. I don't know if they are alcohol-free, but my point is that I'm sure the vibes surrounding such a festival must be completely different. Alcohol has become a commonality for almost any kind of event, be it a concert or a sports match....and I'm honestly struggling to see why people feel it necessary.

I've mentioned this in a previous post, but I remember a number of us being on an outreach, jamming to Passion's White Flag for an entire night, it was better than any concert I've ever been to! It really IS possible to enjoy, sing/dance to and go crazy over music!! Seeing Hillsong live was incredible. Everyone's focus was on praising our Lord. Seeing Switchfoot live was even more incredible! Although there were a few intoxicated people, the majority of spectators were there to worship our Lord and/or just to witness this amazing band's God-given talents.
The Switchfoot concert proved to me that rock concerts did not have to be these "raucous" events they are known for and that music can be enjoyed without being smashed.

I'll end my rant here....

I know this is such a broad topic, and I'm sure many people may disagree with me, but I'd like to hear what you had to say on the feel free to leave a comment!

Peace and Love everybody


Monday, 29 July 2013

Matthew Mole: The Home We Built

Release Date: 29 July 2013
Genre: Alternative Folk
Length: 50:18
Label: Just Music
Similar artists: Mars Hill Church: Citizens; Andy Cherry; Glen Hartmann; Bears Den
Rating: 4.5/5

“Make one thing known that we are held in merciful hands, and You are the way home” – Autumn, Matthew Mole

The wait is finally over, the debut studio album The Home We Built, by Matthew Mole, has finally been released; and believe me when I say that he has not disappointed. This home-grown South African artist, raised in Cape Town took the local music scene by storm with his charismatic stage presence and all around charm.

I have had the pleasure of seeing Matthew perform live on various occasions, and there is something so humble and endearing about the way he performs, and his truly magnetic personality ensures that he is always a crowd pleaser, not to mention the fact that his vocal talent surpasses all expectation when you learn that he is only twenty one years old. In the days leading up to its release The Home We Built crept up the album charts all the way to number one!

“This is all very new to me, but it’s been super exciting going through the whole album release process. It’s been great to hear so many nice things from people already. I’m really happy with the end product of the album, so hopefully other people will like it too!” says Matt about the album’s release

Let’s dive right in shall we?

 “Chapel” the first track on this album is about being a child of God, and living a life without fear, taking bold steps in His name because there is no need to fear failure when you have the power and wisdom of God on your side. “Autumn” ties in quite nicely with “Chapel” as it speaks about how Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer, and that even when we “see the darkest ending, but You [God] see the restart”

This album has a few songs that speak to your heart and tell a story of love not only for our Creator but for one another. “The Wedding Song” speaks about just that, a wedding, and how when God brings two people together they complement one another perfectly, “Heaven gave you love to compliment my love, so that one day we would love the way that God intended for us”. When God puts love and compassion in your heart toward someone, He’s offering you an opportunity to make a difference in that person’s life, and we must learn to follow that love because somebody needs what you have; even if we do not fully understand it.

“Have I Told You” as well as “Same Parts, Same Heart” speaks about love between two people and how God can bring somebody into your life that you love everything about, when I listen to them I’m reminded of the Bible verse in Song of Songs 4:7 “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you”. I am also reminded that when it comes to true love, your relationship has to be focused on God and his plan for your lives.

“It’s Simple Child” calls us to wholly trust in God to give us the faith to oppose the ways of the world and make a positive change in society. “Whale” tells us that in order to find our way in life; we need to synchronize our plans with our Father, and that he supplies the earth with life sustaining ‘water’, and that those who drink of Him shall never thirst again. 

I’ve listened to this album multiple times and each time I’ve noticed little hidden gems, something subtle but beautiful,  in every track that make it feel like you’re listening to it for the first time all over again. There is so much more to this album than I have been able to mention, I really encourage you to add this album to your playlist and discover it for yourself, it takes your heart and your mind and turns them inside out. The passion and love that seeps through every carefully chosen word and perfectly selected melody really makes this an album worth listening to, over and over again. In my humble opinion this is one of the best folk albums to be released in 2013.

This week’s Song of The Week goes to: “Chapel”.

Stay super Lex Luthor

Sunday, 28 July 2013

J & A's Playlist - July 2013

J's Playlist

Fight the Fade - Tomorrow

Sumerlin - We Stand

Shine Bright Baby - Dare to Dream

Luminate - Come Home

Lecrae - Tell the World

The Seeking - Yours Forever

A's Playlist

Mike Main's & The Branches - Stop the Car

Bear's Den - Agape

Needtobreathe - The Outsiders

Rivers & Robots - You Saved My Soul

Citizens - In Tenderness

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Shine Bright Baby: Dreamers

Release Date: 23 July 2013
Genre: Pop/Rock
Length: 31:35
Label: BEC Recordings
Similar artists: Running With Giants, A Lifelike Story, Miss Conduct, Away We Go!
Rating: 3.5/5

"Dreams can be so creative and so vast that there's often times for so much room for growth and expansion. We wanted to release a record that would empower our fans and inspire them to follow their God-given dreams and pursue God and His plan for their lives."

Shine Bright Baby started out as a fun idea, whilst the band members pursued college and other interests, God had another plan in mind for them. Now they are a living testimony to how God’s will for us interconnects our lives with other’s to help form a part of His master plan for us, a plan that will change our lives for the better. The album is only 10 tracks long, which for some might be too short, but I assure you that what it lacks in length it makes up for with passion and captivation. It’s full of heartfelt praise and the collision of genres and different paced music is something that will draw in a variety of listeners. 

Dreamers is the debut studio album from Shine Bright Baby, and they have not disappointed. The track "Made To Glow," really stands out for me, and is about letting God's love shine in our everyday actions and how ‘…we were made to glow, illuminate the whole world…’ The ballad "Love Restores" was written soon after a highly publicized school shooting occurred near the band's hometown, and speaks about how the Lord’s love for us can renew the most shocking situations. The group has also give us a taste of aggression with their song "The Brave Ones," which features Disciple front-man Kevin Young, centered around living life boldly in faith.

Tied to the theme of “Made To Glow” is the song, “Dreamers”. We are reminded with this song that ‘…we are the dreamers, hoping for things that we can’t see, sooner or later, we’re gonna see the unseen…’ it is a call to everyone, Christian or non-Christian alike, to not just settle for what we are told by the world, but instead we must dream bigger and dare to take on even the seemingly impossible tasks we might face. 
‘Beautiful to You’ is a reminder of how we look in Christ’s eyes, perfectly beautiful, and it ties in very nicely with ‘Dreamers’. While listening to these tracks I know that I am perfect in the Maker’s eyes and that even though I may feel that I fall short, my Savior loves me perfectly. 

This album contains a lot of "we" and “you” statements, which connect the themes portrayed in the tracks to the individuals listening to them, seeking to encourage the broken and unite us all, and challenging us to take bold steps to make the world a better place. Many people today, myself included, can often be discouraged from making a difference in a world that is often said to be “too far gone”. This album however challenges this thinking, and I’m sure as you listen to it, you will find that your thought processes will begin to change.
"A lot of songs today have so many negative undertones, and rather than writing a bunch of songs that wallow in struggles and hurt, we want to have these songs be lights to shine in the darkness. The purpose of this album is to help other people with a message of God's forgiveness and redemption that they'll hopefully find optimistic, inspiring, and relatable."

Shine Bright Baby are definitely going to be joining the list of my favourite new artists of 2013 so far, I recommend that you do yourself a favour and buy this powerful and exciting debut album of a band that I think has a very bright future indeed.

Song of the Week is: “Made To Glow”

Stay spectacular Count Dracula


Monday, 22 July 2013

"Stoep Talk" with Glen and Kelly

Thank you for listening...

We are trying to promote an industry through our work here at RCS. In doing so we get to meet some really awesome people, two such people are the focus of our second "Stoep Talk" with Bron. Listen and enjoy.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Everfound: Everfound

Release Date: 16 July 2013
Genre: Indie rock, Christian rock
Length: 44:41
Label: Word Records
Similar artists: Switchfoot, Relient K, Audio Adrenaline
Rating: 4/5

Where to begin? This band has such an incredibly diverse sound. The more you listen to this album the better it seems to get. Everfound is a band comprised of four Russian-born brothers who, having now been signed to Word Records, recently released their debut studio album. With the backing of Word Records, Everfound have been blessed with a more refined sound thanks to the skilled co-production of the album by Seth Mosley and Pete Kipley.

After sifting through about 75 songs, the band managed to select fourteen songs for their album, two of which are instrumental interludes. This album is infectious, melodic, inspiring, comforting, the list just goes on. Every song has been carefully selected and made with passion, love and understanding.

"God of the Impossible." is an infectious prayer of faith that stays with you long after you have listened to it. The band utilized Isaiah 6:8 as the template for this song, proclaiming: "I won't back down cause I believe, You are the God of the impossible, Here I am, send me." "Never Beyond Repair" carries with it the message that we are never beyond God’s gracious grip. Their music has such an encouraging and Godly, Gospel-centered message and the entire album is so pleasing to listen to.

 “Go” speaks about being tired of sitting in the background in life, and instead leaving behind your past and being ready to make a difference in the world. Trusting God may be hard at first but you will see how much stronger you are with Him than you are alone. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The song “Unless” speaks about how we would be nothing unless we let the miracle, in this case God, take control of our lives. Through the power of God we are given strength and purpose, there is a reason that we are alive, and that reason is to speak the truth into the world.

“Take This City" reminds me a lot of Chris Tomlin's "God of the City", a ballad calling for Christ to revive our cities. I am sure that I am not the only one who has cried out to God when things seem to go wrong and I think my life is falling apart, and you wonder if He was even there, and if he is you wonder if He cares. “Hurt” tells it all through the eyes of our Savior. Jesus has been through everything we have been through. Jesus was a man just like us, he experienced emotion, pain, hunger, everything we struggle with he has dealt with too. “Hurt” is a heartfelt song of comfort, letting us know that “You can run to Me (Jesus), I’ve felt it all”

If you are a fan of alternative rock I recommend you get this as soon as possible. I seriously can't get enough of this album, and I imagine that it is going to be very successful. “Everfound” is packed full of hope-filled emotional rock songs. This album is by far the catchiest, most energetic and emotionally engaging alternative rock album I've heard this year.

Mark my words friends: Everfound are going to be HUGE!

This week’s Song of The Week is: “Hurt”

Stay sane Bruce Wayne


Sunday, 14 July 2013

Bands That JAM for Africa with Morgan Fisher

Hey there Rocking It Christian Style readers. Today we have something really special for you. We are doing our best here at the blog to make it something great, and with the response from you we have made some changes and have adjusted certain things all in the effort to make the read more enjoyable. We now have something even greater on the horizon, something which would mean the growth of the blog and the growth of the Christian music scene in South Africa. We are incredibly excited to welcome Morgan Fisher to RCS and we believe that God has an amazing purpose for her mission. Let's let her do the talking now...

            Hi my name is Morgan Fisher , I am 20 years old., and I am an American girl from Detroit, Michigan. I currently live in Nashville, Tennessee where I am studying Social Entrepreneurship. I enjoy graphic novels, music, and traveling. It’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance!

When I was 12 years old, I attended take your child to work day with my mother. On that same day, an NGO called Joint Aid Management was using the office for a board meeting. I had the pleasure of crossing paths with Peter Pretorius, the founder of Joint Aid Management (JAM), that very day. JAM is a non-profit organization that feeds and educates over 1 million children in Africa every day. Peter was the first South African I had ever met. He was a powerful man with a voice that captivated the room. More importantly, he was a man that pursued God and followed his calling like nobody I have ever witnessed before. It’s impossible to meet Peter and not feel compelled to pursue a life that is a story worth living.

For two years, I carried a tin can around sharing Peter’s story hoping to fund raise whatever I could to contribute to JAMS efforts. I would share JAM in class, at youth groups, sporting events, on the sidewalk, and to anyone that was willing to listen. After two years of relentlessly working toward every $60, that would feed and educate a child per year, I found my heart beating faster for JAM. I asked God to show me a way to make a bigger impact.

I started evaluating what I was most passionate about in life. Music, Jesus, and helping people were the three things I knew my heart would beat for. I was heavily involved in the local music scene. So, I began to share the vision God put on my heart with local and touring artists. After 6 months of prayer, mentorship, and planning, Bands that JAM for Africa was birthed on July 9, 2008.

Since then, God has had His hands on BTJ4A as a ministry. We have had the delight of being featured in Seventeen Magazine and by President Obama for being an MLK Drum Major for Service. We have fed and educated over 3,000 children and have fund raised to put water wells in Angola. I have had the opportunity to visit South Africa twice. This May and June, I had the blessing of returning to Johannesburg and exploring Cape Town for the first time. I was able to see the lovely faces of the children, which I miss so dearly when I am in the states. I conducted Early Childhood Development research, connected with South African musicians, and studied religion and writing abroad.

My return to South Africa revealed so many new visions, undertakings, and hopes for the future.  God showed up on my journey and assured me that I was pursuing the call He had for me. My life verse is Philippians 4;13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Without this verse being the foundation of my faith, I am certain I would be where I am today.

With your help, we are capable of bringing a revival to South Africa, God willing. A movement of positive, Christian music is in the near future. We will see lives being transformed and renewed!

To support our mission, you can share our story on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, at the supermarket, anywhere with anyone! We are looking for musicians, volunteers, venues, churches, and people to partner with and do life with when we bring Bands that JAM for Africa to South Africa.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

I Am Empire: Anchors

Release Date: 26 March 2013
Genre: Christian Hard Rock, Emo
Length: 35:39
Label: Tooth&Nail Records
Similar artists: Nine Lashes, Write This Down, Children 18:3, Sent By Ravens
Rating: 3.5/5

"You are worthy of a great song; so worthy of a good son that I could never be. You are evident around me, elegance resounding by grace I am restored, but inside I don't feel right." – Sing, I Am Empire

Kings was my therapy from my upbringing, but things are getting better, which even plays out in why we named the album Anchors. It’s about throwing away and getting rid of the weight that holds you down, which is something we also experienced collectively as a band” says Andy Lyons, the bands front-man.

This, the second album from I Am Empire since their signing with Tooth & Nail Records, has lived up to a lot of expectations since the bands album Kings was released. Kings was said to show that I Am Empire were good, and given the opportunity they could become great. Well friends, they have not disappointed! Anchors has a much more polished, self-assured feel to it and Andy Lyons, has improved a lot as a singer. The progression made by the band in this album has been truly remarkable.

The album is opened with the song "Gravity Bomb", this track is upbeat and vibrant and Lyon’s vocal growth is really apparent, setting the mood of the album rather nicely and giving you an idea of what is to come. After three really awesome, upbeat songs, "Labor" is one of the first tracks that will really grab your attention. It's isn’t as high tempo as the others and relies less on heavily distorted guitars to give it greatness. This track will more than likely become a favourite to many of you because its “singability” is indisputable.

You can really feel the passion in the music, vocals, and lyrics of this album. There are no acoustic songs or real ballad type tracks to be found on Anchors. That is however until you listen to the bonus track called "On a Rainy Sunday", which is not just a ballad but it is also a love song, proving once again that the members of hard rock bands are indeed human and feel emotion like the rest of us. Additionally this track shows that I Am Empire are versatile and have a lot of talent just waiting to be unleashed.

Before listening to Anchors all I really hoped for was evidence of growth sing the release of Kings, not to say that Kings was bad, but it did need a little bit of something more. Some fine tuning if you will. With Anchors, I Am Empire has successfully managed to polish their sound and the result is a more cohesive and pleasing album that shows that I Am Empire are definitely willing to push themselves at artists, a trait that will see them go far.
As with most releases, some of the songs are better than others: "Gasoline," "Labor," "Sing," and "Daylight" have something that places them above the rest, however I Am Empire have done a really good job of crafting a solid album.

Song of the Week has to be; “Sing”

Stay silly Milli Vanilli


Sunday, 7 July 2013

How Great is Our Sovereign God

Hey guys!

This has been such an exciting week for us here at Rocking it Christian Style! We interviewed the amazingly talented Glen Hartmann and Kelly Mole (the podcast will be up soon!) and then we were put in touch with even more artists willing to be on the blog! We were buzzing to see God's hand in what we are doing...and then, when we least expected it, God put yet another person with an incredible passion for music in our path - her name is Morgan Fisher, all the way from the United States!

For those of you who like our Facebook page you may have already seen her initiative, but if not, check it out below...and once you're done, check out their website -

It is such an incredible initiative and we believe it to be tremendously exciting! We're hoping Morgan will write a post, sharing a bit more about BTJ4A, her time in South Africa and how we can get involved.

Now something I learnt through all these people coming into our lives is that God is sovereign....He is always in control.

A verse that I hold close at all times is Jeremiah 29:11 - 

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

When J and I felt a strong calling to get involved in the Christian Music industry we had NO idea where God was leading us, but I can say with confidence that He has been with us every step of the way! When looking at our journey thus far, Matthew 19:26 rings true, "...with God all things are possible." Now just because He is with us doesn't mean it has been an easy journey so far, on the contrary! We have faced moments of disappointment and discouragement but God has used these moments to build our character and give us wisdom. He has guided us every step of the way and He will continue to do so, but before I give you a long testimony I just want to urge you all to heed God's calling for your life, no matter how frightening it may be. 

It is so easy for us to lose ourselves in our everyday activities and for us to lose focus on what life is truly about. I just want to remind you that glorifying God should be at the core of everything you do. I know this is a daunting task but Isiah 41:10 says "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Just reflect on how you are glorifying God with what he has given you - you are in this specific place, at this specific time for a reason.

Peace and Love everybody


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hillsong: Glorious Ruins

Release Date: 28 June 2013
Genre: Contemporary Worship
Length: 66:05
Label: Hillsong Music Australia
Similar artists: Delirious? ; Matt Redmann; Jesus Culture; Chris Tomlin
Rating: 4/5

"Let the ruins come to life in the beauty of Your NameRising up from the ashesGod forever You reign"
The chorus of the title track of this album, “Glorious Ruins”, is an underlying theme found throughout the life of Hillsong Church leading up to the release of their latest album Glorious Ruins. These words stir up your soul and capture your imagination in a truly beautiful way. Brian Houston, Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church explains, “Ruins can speak of crushing defeat or perhaps of something abandoned, but the good news today is that the ruins come to life. …Through Jesus Christ what we look at is ruins that become glorious..." Whether it be through times of personal devotion or in your church, I pray that these lyrics stir your faith and love in Jesus Christ.

It’s hard to think of many artists that can make the world stop for a moment and listen when they release a new album – Hillsong are definitely one of the few. A lot of people think that, with each new Hillsong album released, you get the same kind of thing as their last album, having the mindset of “well if I’ve heard one album I’ve heard them all” but that sort of thinking can often be very wrong. I’m not saying that Glorious Ruins is an all new kind of sound that you won’t recognize, but there is definitely something different about this album.

"Glorious Ruins" is an oxymoron.  In a secular world it would be ridiculous to search for glory within the remains of one's ruins, however in the Bible we find that glory and ruins are often like two sides of the same coin. "Glorious Ruins," the title song, led by Joel Houston expresses the heart of this album. When he sings, "Let the ruins come to life/In the beauty of Your Name/Rising up from the ashes/God forever You reign."  This worship ballad, which speaks of resurrection after all we have hoped for in life has been crushed, and is reminiscent of how God raised an army out of dry bones in Ezekiel's time. "Christ is Enough," on the other hand, led by Reuben Morgan, has two distinct parts: in the first of these we find Morgan praising Christ as our sufficient provider.  The second part seamlessly tags on our response to Him with the hymn "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus."  Another song lead by Reuben Morgan called "Glorify Your Name" is an amazing song on this album, it was co-written with some of worship music's biggest names, such as Matt Maher, Chris Tomlin, Jason Ingram and Ed Cash. "We Glorify Your Name” is said to be a 20th century version of the song "How Great Thou Art."

Glorious Ruins is definitely one of this year's greatest worship albums.  This album silences the thought that Hillsong Live is all about hype and nothing more. On the contrary they are a talented, faith-filled worship band that believes that even when it feels like our lives are in ruins, we will still be able to rise again from the ashes.  Such resurrection does not come from our own goodness and strength but rather from the death-defying power of our glorious and resurrected savior, Jesus Christ.

I cannot easily sum up this album; I do however believe that people will love it. It's another classic production from Hillsong, who in my opinion just seem to be getting better and better. With each release they seem to be getting more creative, and I applaud them as they still manage to do so after 21 album releases prior to “Glorious Ruins”. I honestly believe the songs on this album are stronger than previous ones, and if albums of the past worked well as a package then this album will truly set the bar for worship albums to come.

Do yourself a favour and buy this album, it will do you much good.

Song of The Week goes to; “We Glorify Your Name”

Stay happy chappies