Mars Hill Music Feature from Seattle Met

Mars Hill
I took an inside look at the music of Seattle’s megachurch Mars Hill, where former Thrice frontman Dustin Kensrue heads up the operation. The church has its own record label, but in some ways is an outcast of the Christian music scene. Check it out.

David Bazan Feature From The Inlander

The “C” Word

David Bazan is no longer Christian, but he can’t stop singing about God

Christian-rock enthusiasts view David Bazan as their fallen son. As Pedro the Lion, Bazan became the poster child for indie crossover success (especially from a critical standpoint) for those bearing the heavy cross-labeled “Christian rock.” But a funny thing happened on the way: He stopped believing.

This loss of faith sent shockwaves through his devoted Christian fans. The son of a pastor, the man they viewed as their musical mouthpiece, had strayed from the flock. But that seems to suit Bazan: He was never comfortable being “theirs” anyway.

“I was always pretty dissatisfied with the label ‘Christian rocker’ or just that I was a ‘Christian band,’” Bazan says. “There was almost always either Christian people calling me a ‘Christian rocker’ to sort of claim me as their own or justify themselves listening to the music, because it was just ungodly or something to listen to music that wasn’t Christian. Or it was people from the secular world looking to dismiss what I was doing with that label.

“Now, I’m glad that technically not being a Christian makes it so that that label is even more inaccurate.”

His first full-length solo album, Curse Your Branches, came out last year and attacks questions of faith with a no-holds-barred, razor-sharp tongue. Whether it’s attacking the logic of original sin or the soundness of fate, nothing about the religious realm is off-limits for Bazan. Understandably, some of his devoted followers are not too happy with the direction his music has taken. Continue reading

Mmhmm – Relient K

Mmhmm

People (aka the general public/media) don’t take hardly anything that comes out of the genre of Christian rock seriously. It’s hard to blame them at times. Many of the bands in the genre are terrible and generic, but then again isn’t that the case with EVERY genre? (Answer: Yes, yes it is.) The biggest knock on Christian rock falls under the lyrical department. Lyrics by these groups are often either very religious (which many feel weird about listening to while rocking out) or just plain corny.

Relient K is an example of a band that began as a successful band within the Christian rock circle, but failed to gain any respect outside of that group. Even the best of the band’s early work (like the mindbogglingly infectious “Sadie Hawkins Dance”) was very cutesy and failed to connect with the mainstream. However, Relient K’s fourth album, 2004’s Mmhmm marked a huge step forward for the band. It marked the departure from songs that were gimmicky (like “In Love With The 80’s (Pink Tux To The Prom)” or “I’m Lion-O”) or overtly religious (“Down In Flames”). While the first three albums were very “teenage,” it is clear lead singer/guitarist/pianist Matt Thiessen and company grew up quite a bit while making this record.
Continue reading