I Like Some Music Lately

October 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm

And here’s some of it:

solarmotelChris Forsyth: Solar Motel 

I am an unashamed former jam-band fan. I don’t care what you think. We don’t all have to have the same musical tastes, now do we?! OK, so I get a bit defensive. People write off jam bands as aimless noodling (which is can be). But at its best, it is the soul of jazz improvisation in rock and roll form. It is the essence of the creative moment: the connectedness of musicians and audience.

I would exactly classify Chris Forsyth’s music as jam band. Nor would I place it in the loosely and ill-defined “American Primitive” category. But those worlds are at least touchstones. Forsyth calls his music “Cosmic Americana.” It’s captivating and often borders on seeming to unhinge from itself but the melodies weave it all together. Don’t let my talk of jam bands lull you into thinking that this is hippy-dippy background music. This is like when Sonic Youth jams, which they can and do.

Watch “Solar Motel Part II” live at “The Bazaar at the Gathering Place” earlier this year:



modernkinModern Kin: Modern Kin

Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives made my favorite 2010. But after a car crash and a personnel change, the band also shifted its vision and sound. Which led to a re-birth as Modern Kin. The band just released their debut, self-titled album and it’s quickly become one of my favorite albums of the year.

Here, why don’t you see for yourself. Check out a live performance of “Big Enough To Cook” for Oregon Public Broadcasting:



northernhustleNorthern Hustle: Forgether

OK, so I’m a little biased on this one. These are local guys and we’ve had the opportunity to host them for a house show. But, trust me, their debut album, Forgether is really good. It’s the first installment of a proposed three-album concept. The band says that they’ll be done once the story is done.

Here’s to hoping the story continues. Check out the band performing “Northland” at an Habañero Collective house show:



overseasOverseas: Overseas

Overseas is what happens when old friends David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones), Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel), and Bubba and Matt Kadane (Bedhead, The New Year). Imagine what Will Johnson and David Bazan would sound like fronting the rhythm section from Bedhead. Well, actually, don’t just try to imagine it, hear it for yourself.

Watch the official video for “Ghost To Be”:



Neko Case Sings With The Heart Of A Foster Parent

September 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm

neko-case-the-worse-things-getAlright, let’s get the obvious out of the way: I realize that the audio I’m about to post will offend some of my more sensitively-eared readers. Be warned, there is cussing. Not only is there cussing, there is the F-Bomb, the mother of all. Now, I don’t cuss. Nor do I personally advocate cussing, especially in everyday language. It makes you sound ignorant, crass and thoughtless. There is so much power in carefully chosen words that most cussing just seems like the easy way out to me.

However, in movies, art, and music, there might be a case to be made for the strategically placed obscenity. Sometimes there are no better words to express a deep angst of the heart. This song may be one of those exceptions. It hurts my ears when Case let’s loose with the expletive precisely because of the context; because of the way it happened and it’s supposed to hurt because the words were supposed to hurt their recipient. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

For those who may not be familiar with Neko Case, she’s come through the musical ranks in a similar fashion to Wilco; starting with both feet firmly planted in “alt. country,” then stepping out into controlled pop experimentation. Case started out playing drums in Vancouver punk bands and is part of the power pop super-group New PornographersPitchfork recently tried to describe her voice, saying: “Case has a moonbeam for a voice: imposing in timbre, opalescent in tone, and always surprising in its sheer force.” That’s about right.

Case just released her new album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You on anti-Records. Though I would love to write about the whole album, I have to admit that the first time I listened through, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the song “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu.” I have long been accustomed to the power of music, but I was simply unprepared for the salty discharge that seeped from eyes as Case sang a layered a capella tale about transcending an abusive childhood. I cried not only because Case candidly tells the story of an everyday encounter that is the tip of the iceberg of a child’s suffering, but because my wife and I have sacrificed a lot to help with that suffering.

We currently have eight children, four of whom are foster children. By no stretch of the imagination has it been easy. In fact, it’s often been pretty difficult. We can’t go in out in public with all eight children without receiving comments or visibly seeing people count with their fingers “1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . 5 . . . 6 . . . 7 . . . 8 . . .” usually accompanied by some sort of “Boy, you sure have your hands full” type of comment, or worse, a snarky comment about having too many children. It has cost us money to serve. It has cost us time to open our home. We regularly invite CPS and others into our home so that we can jump through their hoops to have the the privilege of sacrificing for children that aren’t biologically ours.

Though we personally do this from Christian motives, Case’s song taps into something deeply entrenched in our daily lives: we are giving love to children who might otherwise not know it existed. We are providing security to kids who desperately long for stability. I don’t say this to pat ourselves on the back, just to give you a glimpse behind the curtain. We are asked all the time why we would do this. Case makes a powerful case for why we do this in just 2 minutes and 38 seconds. This is probably a good place for you to hear the track for yourself:



The fact that Case took the time to write a song about this incident shows that it affected her and I can’t help but shout “YES!” as she insists that, as that child grows up, there is still love, despite their experience. There is a place for that child, they have value, despite what their Mom has done and said. Case not only documents the brutality of life but the hope of love. She not only lets us look into the shadows but points us to the light. No, it’s not comfortable, but then again, neither is much of life. Case sings with the heart of a foster parent and I’m grateful that she has put into song some things we wrestle with everyday.

I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, And I Love You

July 30, 2013 at 11:28 am

Over the years, I have expressed some concerns about Derek Webb and his wife Sandra McCracken on some issues. Webb has recently released a video for a song whose title sums everything I have to say about the couple now.

Check out the title track to Webb’s upcoming album, “I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry And I Love You:”

Help Soma Tacoma Make A Children’s Worship CD

July 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm

As many of you know, Church of the Cross, my church family is part of the Soma Communities family of churches as well. The musicians and artists in Tacoma have begun working on a children’s album. Won’t you consider helping them out through Indiegogo?

  • Visit the project’s page.

Music Spotlight: Shawn Skinner

July 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

In case you missed it, Habañero Collective had the pleasure of working with Kha Do Photography to create two stunning videos for our main man, Shawn Skinner.

We would be ever so grateful if you took the time and effort to help spread the word about Shawn music and Kha’s awesome work. Would you, please?


Shawn Skinner: Mainstay


Shawn Skinner: You Better Not Miss


  • Visit Habañero Collective’s (soon-to-be-revamped) website (or “Like” us on FB.
  • Visit Kha Do’s website.
  • Visit Shawn Skinner Music’s FB page

Seryn: A Canvas Of Sound

June 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm

So there’s a documentary being made about Habañero Collective house show alumni (see here and here) and personal favorites Seryn:


A Canvas of Sound: A Film about Seryn from A Canvas of Sound on Vimeo.

Habañero Collective Video Premiere: Shawn Skinner: “You Better Not Miss”

June 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm

As many of you know, I am part of a group known as Habañero Collective. This is a group dedicated to bringing culture to suburbia.

We are humbled to have partnered with the amazing Kha Do on a video for Shawn Skinner’s song “You Better Not Miss.” Please check it out and let us know what you think. What’s more; it’s based on a true story. How cool is that?!