Monday, 30 September 2013

J & A's Playlist v2.0 September 2013

J's Playlist

Silverline - Lights Out

The Classic Crime - Glass Houses

Starfield - I Will Go

Gangs of Ballet - Daydream
A's Playlist

The Avett Brothers - Salvation Song

The Foresters - Your Joy Will Be My Strength

Needtobreathe - Washed by the Water

Ghost Ship - Where Were You?

Friday, 27 September 2013

Song of the Week

This week's "Song of the Week" goes to Stellar Kart's Criminals and Kings from their album "All in"....a real must-have!!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Decyfer Down: Scarecrow

Release Date: 27 August 2013
Genre: Christian Rock, Alternative Metal
Length: 34:17
Label: Fair Trade Services
Similar artists: Disciple, Pillar, Day of Fire, Seventh Day Slumber
Rating: 3.5/5

Scarecrow is a solid rock record that has given Decyfer Down the ability to redefine themselves whilst still managing to prove that they are one of Christian rock’s most talented artists.

This record manages to deliver a mature sound, and I was really impressed given that this is only the third studio album to be released by the band. From a technical standpoint in my opinion the album is a little bit short, with only ten tracks, and of these tracks I was a bit disappointed. A lot of the songs are repetitive and few are longer than two verses and a chorus. However musically this record is fantastic, the roaring riffs, slamming solos and the overall gritty guitars definitely make up for the length of the record. What it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality.

Lyrically, there’s one theme throughout the record, and this is to stop the hate and get back to loving one another as Christians are meant to do. Although it may feel like the songwriting is a little bit “hit and miss” at times, the moments when the tracks hit certainly carry this album home.

I think that this record will be pleasing for new fans of the band to listen to as it is a heavier rock album with an enjoyable overall sound that keeps away from the heavier screamo that scares many fans away.
The mixture of slow and fast tracks really show off the band’s musicianship and songwriting talents and while this record is not perfect, it definitely shows the band sticking to their guns and delivering another high-energy rock album as well as taking a step or two into new directions.

Although it may not be the kind of album you can play over and over again because of the simplicity of the tracks, there are moments where you can pick up on the improvements they’ve made since the last record.

Song of The Week: “So In Love”

Stay fun Obi Wan


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Christian Music in the Secular World...v2.0

After reading Bron's post, I felt as though I HAD to follow up with my thoughts on "Christian" and "Secular" music...God has moved so much in my life over the past year and I can honestly say that this blog has helped me grow tremendously.

In the first ever post I remember saying that I used to listen to the intro of ACDC's Highway to Hell in awe...there was just something about that guitar riff that got me going. Looking back, I can't believe I opened myself up to that music! "JUST LOOK AT THE TITLE!" I remember telling myself while changing radio stations as it started playing. I don't exactly know what it is, but something in me has changed and I honestly cannot listen to a lot of the music that I used to.

My whole perspective on music changed after seeing Metallica live in South Africa. I wasn't their biggest fan and didn't know many of their songs, but I felt that seeing such a big band with friends would be a jam! It was on this night that my mind was opened to the true power of music. I've seen quite a few bands live and I can honestly say that "musically" they are possibly the most talented individuals I have ever seen!! It is no surprise that the 90000 people watching were captivated. A few songs into their two-and-a-half hour set I started feeling uneasy...I can't explain what this weird sensation was(perhaps you have felt it when listening to something on the radio), but all I know is that I wanted to be anywhere but there. I couldn't really make out the lyrics were, but for a single phrase..."see his face, see his smile" (more on this song later). I don't know what happened but something wasn't sitting well with my spirit...I left the main stand and sat on some stairs outside. Their skill and stage presence were mesmerizing but there was something about their songs and the messages they preaching that did not sit well with me.

I later Googled that phrase and found it was part of a song called "The Prince". Below are some of the lyrics:

"Angel from below, change my dreams
I want for glory's hour, for wealth's esteem
I wish to sell my soul, to be reborn
I wish for earthly riches, don't want no crown of thorns"

Now I know that this is an extreme example, but it opened my eyes to how important it is to "guard our heart" as Bron put it. I couldn't even hear what the lyrics were the whole night, but I felt so so uneasy...I don't know what scared me more, the band themselves, or the thousands of people throwing the "devil horns" into the air. I remember thinking how sad it was that so many people were supporting this band and their message.

It was from this moment onwards that I started to be more cautious as to what I listened to. I took Ephesians 4:27 to heart - " not let the devil get a foothold." Jefferson Bethke put it so well in his video "Is Secular Music Evil?". He says that we should be wary of filling our minds with things that are not good, true and beautiful. He goes on to quote 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be misled, BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER." (I added the capital letters there...I don't think Paul yelled it.)

It is important, however, to realise that not all "secular" music is bad for us to listen to - just because it doesn't have a cross stamped on it doesn't mean it isn't from God!

It isn't difficult to find music that promotes promiscuity, drugs, alcohol etc etc, STAY AWAY FROM IT!! There is a lot of music in the "secular" music scene that doesn't promote anything evil. For example...I personally do not see the harm in listening to songs like Phillip Phillips' "Home"'s one of my favourite songs at the moment. It doesn't openly say anything about God or Christianity, but there is definitely an element of truth in the lyrics. I give God the glory for blessing this man with such talents everytime I hear the song! The same goes for plenty other artists I happen to come across on the radio, not all "secular" artists promote anything immoral...God has given these people the skills to perform such amazing pieces and He should be praised for it!!

You, in your heart of hearts, know if the music you are listening to is good and true in God's eyes. I can't stress the importance of separating yourself from any music that would be displeasing to God. The devil is an incredible deceiver and is using music as a tool to draw people away from God. It seems as if people enjoy almost ANY song as long as it has a good beat to it....a sad fact that is increasingly becoming more and more true.

If you have any comments of any kind, please don't hesitate to put them down!

I pray you've all had a good weekend!

Peace and Love everybody.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Song of the Week

This week's "Song of the Week" has to go to Digital Age and their song "Captured"'s been blaring in our cars the whole week!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Newsboys: Restart

Release Date: 10 September 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Praise & Worship
Length: 39:10
Label: Sparrow Records
Similar artists: Jamie Grace, Sonicflood, By The Tree, Audio Adrenalin
Rating: 4/5

Restart is the sixteenth studio album to be released by Newsboys which, if nothing else, is pretty damn inspiring to say the least, because that is a lot of albums if you ask me, and they are still going strong.

I have to say that I was quite surprised when I first listened to this record. The lyrics throughout the entire record are spectacular; there are a ton of great lines to be found within each track. The only downfall however was that the tracks seemed to be a little repetitive, with that in mind though the musicality of the album is noteworthy. It is no secret that Newsboys have slowly been moving toward a more pop/electronic sound lately, but I’m sure nobody would have thought they would venture into the region of dubstep.

This record has a mainstream dance music feel to it, and most of the tracks have a great upbeat tempo that makes you want to get up and dance. Dance music with a Christian message… It’s different but I really enjoy it, there’s something unique and captivating about this record.

Restart is certainly a fitting title to this record and is a pleasant surprise from Newsboys. The record sounds completely different to anything that they have ever put out before, and yet despite that fact, it still feels right. Newsboys are definitely moving in the right direction if you ask me.

I can only hope that this record manages to infiltrate the mainstream music scene because as far as sound goes it fits the bill, and every track manages to feel like a potential radio single.

I was pleasantly surprised by this record and I’m sure many of you will be too, it’s the kind of record that you’ll find yourself jamming to with your speakers turned up to full. 

Song of The Week goes to: “Fishers of Men”

Stay happnin’ Charlie Chaplin


Take a listen to the song of the week here:

Sunday, 15 September 2013

J & A's Playlist September 2013

J's Playlist

Swedish Revolution and Matthew Parker - Alive

Ryan Stevenson - Yesterday, Today, Forever

Triune - OMG

Decyfer Down - Fight to Win

Fit for a King - Skin and Bones
A's Playlist

John Tibbs - Hope

Rivers & Robots - The Bridegroom

Judah and the Lion - Hundred Miles

Rend Collective Experiment - Come On (My Soul)

The Ember Days - Finger Painting

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Relient K: Collapsible Lung

Release Date: 2 July 2013
Genre: Alternative Rock, Pop Rock
Length: 38:12
Label: Mono vs. Stereo
Similar artists: House of Heroes, Switchfoot, Hawk Nelson, Run Kid Run
Rating: 4/5

For bands that have been around for such a long time it is not uncommon to see them take a more adventurous route in order to keep their creativity and excitement alive. Relient K, who have been around now for over a decade, are no exception to this, as is proved with their latest record entitled Collapsible Lung. Keeping that in mind I’d say that this is the most surprising record we have seen from them to date.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this record due to the fact that many people think that it is too far off from the Relient K we have come to know and love. In a way I agree, I mean this record is seriously different, but it actually isn’t bad at all, it just isn’t what we are used to. Besides the great difference between each song on the record, the biggest difference I think in comparison to previous records that they have released is the songwriting.

Eight of the eleven tracks feature co-writers such as Ari Levine (Cee Lo Green, Bruno Mars), Fernando Garibay (Lady Gaga), and Evan Bogart (Beyonce, Rihanna). With this in mind, it makes more sense to me as to why this record has such a wide variety within itself and why as a whole the record doesn’t necessarily fir together perfectly. In addition the lyrics lack a certain purposeful framework. In this record we find tracks related to dysfunctional relationships ("Boomerang," "Gloria," "Disaster"), life regrets ("Lost Boy," "PTL") and reflections on happy times ("Don't Blink," "If I Could Take You Home," "When You Were My Baby"), resulting in what I think is a record that is too incoherent and not what you would expect from a seasoned band such as this.

And do you know what? I don’t even care. I love this record. It is the kind of record that you can sing along to and jam to in traffic. If you ask me, I think the Christian music scene needs more records like this one. Some people may think that the lyrics in this album have too much of a worldly view, but if you ask me that is just what this world needs. What society often doesn’t understand is that Christians suffer with everyday problems just like everybody else and this is the kind of record that will appeal to non-Christians. I am a firm believer that music is the best way to reach people, and so an album such as this is quite possibly one of the best ways from believers to reach out to non-believers. 

That’s just me however; regardless I think that this is just an insanely fun pop record that will be one of my favorites of the year.

I really enjoyed this week’s Song of The Week: “Don’t Blink”

Stay flawless Tyrannosaurus 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Guard your heart

How many times have I heard this? You know the memes about “What Christian people say?” – this should be one of them.  Hearing ‘guard your heart’ makes me want to punch someone sometimes.  Could you be more vague? I did a verse search on guarding your heart and there are AWESOME scriptures talking about how important our hearts are. But after hearing it a lot lately I got thinking: there must be some line we can cross where we choose not to guard our hearts. And I’m not just talking about the Ryan Gosling picture and dating kind of heart guarding; living in a fallen world calls for all kinds of guards and in fact the Bible speaks more about these than dating anyway.  Here’s the Gosling picture for you to enjoy while I gather my thoughts…


The discussion over Christian vs Secular music has come up quite a bit within my friendship group lately. It’s been done in blogs and sermons but I thought I’d try touch on it a bit too. Is it bad that I listen to very little ‘Christian’ music? Sure there are tons of bands whose music I love, and I’ll put them on my iPod. But there’s also a LOT of secular music on there and it begs the question; is this good for my heart? Everybody loves Mumford & Sons and we claim them as a band with Christian themes quite comfortably. But there are those songs with the bad words that we skim over and hope no one notices. Do we stop listening? I don’t listen to much explicit music; swearing is not my favourite quality in a song and I don’t think it’s very good for me but it does happen. But despite the obvious, sometimes I find myself singing along to a Lana del Rey song about men and find I know the words without really thinking about them. There are a lot of people who will condemn this and stand up for a secular or at the very least explicit free playlist. I get where they’re coming from and it’s not that I necessarily disagree but I also think we sometimes read into things a little too much and need to understand that certain things affect people differently. Some people have hearts that are sensitive to the morals, or lack thereof, that a lot of music encourages. And yes, when I see Miley twerking on stage and encouraging girls to dance like strippers and take drugs or another song promoting the idea that we should live hard and fast because who cares if we die tomorrow from over-indulgence – it breaks my heart. These are not the ideals that little (and big, impressionable) hearts should be looking up to. But I also think that we need to understand that listening to certain secular artists are not going to bind you to hell. I feel like I’m being controversial here. I found this verse which I loved:

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

I think this is where we need to draw the line: not all things are good or helpful- as much as I’m saying its ok to have an open mind, I know we are called to surround ourselves with only good things (Philippians 4:8). And so if you feel strongly that you are enslaved by the music you listen to- be careful!! If that is where you are tempted, if that is what makes your heart uncomfortable- turn away. Throw away the CD. But if not, if you are able to listen to music that has some questionable lyrics or which come from a non-Christian but you are able to separate yourself from it then enjoy it for what it is. I have written things before that have been taken the wrong way so let me be clear: I am NOT saying that we should be loving the fact that little girls are twerking or little boys are learning to pimp them shorties. I’m NOT saying we should not be aware of how lyrics can sometimes speak to your heart and if you internalise the values being expressed then there is trouble. What I AM saying is that before you judge your fellow brother or sister in Christ for their choice of music, remember that we all do not consume music in the same way. There is a lot of awesome Christian music out there, we are very blessed, but there is come cool secular music too.

A good friend of mine sent me this amazing video which I wish to share with you because this guy says what I have been trying to say in a much better way. Watch it, then keep reading J

I watched this video after I had written my piece so I chose to leave it there anyway and touch on what this cool cat had to say. What is good, and true, and lovely, is from God whether the person expressing those values knows it or not don’t you think? I love that he says God has a monopoly on truth – how incredible. If this is the case and we claim things for His kingdom then it makes sense that if a song talks about peace, love, lending a hand or living your life in a God honouring way then enjoy it! It’s truth! No matter the source. If a song makes you uncomfortable and promotes things not from God – think twice. Same as everything we consume in this world. I think God wants us to be joyful and music is a huge source of joy for a lot of us…if the music you listen to causes you to worship the Lord in some way then I’m all for it. I think this is what I was trying to get across but just a little less eloquently than the video ;)
So instead of telling you to just guard your heart against the influences of secular music and walking away, leaving you in a confused state with no clear way to move forward – I hope I’ve given a little bit of perspective to the situation and you are better able to think carefully about what you’re consuming and how it affects your heart. Maybe next time we can get into the dating kind of guarding your heart because goodness knows that’s a struggle too.

Until next time…Let go and let God


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Gangs of Ballet: Yes/No/Grey

Release date: 30 August 2013
Genre: Pop; Alternative, Melodic, Anthemic
Length: 51 minutes
Label: EMI Music South Africa
Similar artists: Switchfoot; Relient K; Muse, The Killers
Rating: 4/5

The band has said that they want to create anthemic music. What does that mean? So glad you asked. It means to create music that becomes an anthem, music that people want to sing along to. It is a type of music that is very difficult to create, if it fails it can be devastating.

This new band from Durban South Africa has a good look, they fit in with the new fashion of today's music scene. That is not enough. You have to have a sound that backs it up. Brad, the lead singer, has a very good stage presence, but once again, this isn't enough. Do they have the stuff to back it up?

Bursting onto the scene in 2012 at the Switchfoot concert in South Africa, Gangs of Ballet have gone form strength to strength. Being the first opening band to receive an encore, I was excited for their debut album. Excited, but also apprehensive. I was not sure if they would be able to follow their EP up with a full album that would be at an international level.

At their album launch at The World Of Yamaha I had my worries eased as I heard them blast out their set list. The most important thing was not their performance though, it was the success of their mission. As I looked around the crowd, I was hard pressed to find anyone not chanting along with the band. I knew then that they had arrived.

The album is good. Many genres mixed into one album, but yet somehow Brad and the Gang make them work. The tone of his voice is versatile and able to hold a captive audience regardless of whether its a slower, more folk song or a rockier song. The band backs him up well with talented rhythm guitar and the occasional solo. Personally I believe that the band is best suited to their alternative rock songs, as well as the one or to songs that have a more folk sound to them, but that is just a preference.

You can be sure that this band is going places, their sound is good and they have supreme backing with EMI, so get this album and see for yourself.

Song of the week goes to "All these things"

Have a Rocking week everyone


Sunday, 1 September 2013

What it means to be a Superhero

I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.  Aunt May,Spider-Man 2

Hello again Rocking it Christian Style readers. Today I wish to discuss something that comes up a lot in the media, and in conversation (maybe just the conversations I have, but just go with it). Super heroes are everywhere. They have made a verysuccessful transition from the pages of old, worn out comic books all the way onto the big silver screen of Hollywood. As an avid reader of comic books this brings great joy to me. So many people love seeing these movies. What’s better than seeing a movie about someone overcome the odds against them? Better yet, with super powers!

However, we are faced with quite a conundrum, we don’t have super powers. Nor do we get to see super powers in action in real life. We can’t chant Spider-man on as he battles the Green Goblin, nor can we wait in suspense for Superman to overcome Lex Luthor. We do this from theatre seats whilst eating popcorn that is far too salty, drinking a blue slushpuppy that is mostly ice and blue food colouring - with some hint of grape which isn’t blueberry flavour.

What is it about these super hero movies that they manage toget people to flock to the theatre and sell out on the opening weekend? Why has the world become slowly obsessed with this franchise? It has gotten to the point where everyone eagerly awaits the announcement of a new Batman, and you have hordes of people attending comic con just to find out the latest news about the X-men franchise.

Society is obsessed with people being able to do extraordinary things with extraordinary abilities. However, we forget that there are exceptional people out there already, they don’t have super powers, they don’t have billions of dollars, they just do amazing things because they can, because they feel lead to do so.

These people are real life super heroes.

Since being a super hero doesn’t mean having super powers, it doesn’t even mean you need mountains of cash (picture Scrooge McDuck from Duck Tales). You don’t need an invincible suit of armour, nor do you need an exceptional car.

Let me take a moment to say that you don’t even need to be a doctor, a nurse, paramedic or fire fighter to be a super hero. Yes these people are definitely super, and they are definitely heroes, but I’m talking about something simpler. Something we can all do on a daily basis without having a Phd.

So what does it mean to be a super hero? What does it take to be super?

There are so many opportunities for us to be super just bydoing something exceptional with the time that we have. A couple of weeks ago Bron spoke about her experience at Red Frogs and Oppi Koppi (In a nut shell, Red Frogs seeks to help people at big events and functions in any way necessary). This is something so amazing, to serve others with love and ensuring that people feel like they have somewhere safe to go.

These people serve others; they choose to do a selfless act, not because it will benefit them, but because it will benefit someone else, even if it’s only in a small way. Servitude is a big deal, and it’s hard for a lot of us to find the time to serve, especially humbly. We always want some kind of recognition for what we do, but what if we did it without any kind of thanks?

There’s more to it than that though. Serving is great, but we all have our own way of serving others. For some it is with our time, for others it is with money. There is another thing that we can do every day to serve others, and that is, as corny as this sounds, with a smile. “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing is a quote by Mother Teresa. H. Jackson Brown Jr said Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It may be the only sunshine he sees all day.”

That’s how you can be a super hero. By being a positive influence on the world. Become a force of random acts of kindness and love. You can still be a mighty influence on someone’s life, even by doing something as simple as a smile. That’s your super power. That’s a super power we all have. It’s something we can do so much good with.

I end with a quote from The Hobbit “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love.

Stay awesome everyone!