Monday, January 22, 2007 - a post by Joel

The tag line used by Relevant Magazine which started some time in the last ten years, is God, Life, and Progressive Culture. They interview bands, artists, social justice organizations, churches, people in and out of ministry and miscellaneous other people, Rick Warren is one of their more reputable writers, however, I try not to hold that against them.

However, the magazine is not my main focus today. Relevant’s internet counterpart, includes many different features, such as relevant slices. This is a section of the site where news, pop-culture stories, justice stories and many other random articles are summarized and linked to many times daily. To be completely honest this is where I get most of my news daily, that and yahoo. Relevant also has a tab on slices specifically for world news.

The other feature which I am particularly fond of is RTV which is available as a flash pop up on the site. RTV is a station devoted to music videos. Here you will find artists who are Christians, however there is no limitation to such. You will also find artists who may not be Christians but their music relates to spirituality, but in most cases music played on the station is simply what the viewers request or what the Web Content Producer Jesse Carey and other staffers chose for that week. You will find that a good amount of the time the music is what would be defined as indie.

My favorite part of the site is the Relevant Podcast which can also be found on iTunes. The podcast features four upper ups of the Magazine, the Editor and Publisher Cameron Strang, the Editorial Director Cara Davis, the Editorial Manager Adam Smith and the Web Content Producer Jesse Carey. The content includes slices much like the ones on the text of the site, CD releases, movie releases, book releases, interviews with writers, pastors, musicians, live musical performances, the editorial question of the week (which is sometimes humorous, sometimes serious), and many other fillers, such as games, and the usual comedic banter.

The last main thing found on the site is weekly updated articles written by the staff in some cases but in many cases written by readers. In the podcast it was discussed that in many cases the staff will pull their writers for the magazine from frequent writers on the website of whom they enjoy. These articles are sectioned out in three categories, which are the same as the magazine’s tag line, God, Life, Progressive Culture.

This is a site that I enjoy visiting daily; these are, however, only a few of the many features it has. It does well to keep it’s readers held over until the next bi-monthly publication of the printed magazine which can be found in the library. Try it out, it’s worth it.

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Damien Rice - a post by Joel

Damien Rice - 9

  1. 9 Crimes
  2. The Animals Were Gone
  3. Elephant
  4. Rootless Tree
  5. Dogs
  6. Coconut Skins
  7. Me, My Yoke, and I
  8. Grey Room
  9. Accidental Babies
  10. Sleep Don’t Weep

I fell in love with Damien’s music some time two summers ago, although his sophomore release “9” is somewhat different than his debut release “O” I would argue that Damien has matured quite a bit since. Damien Rice is a musician from Ireland, who plays numerous instruments; however, his main instrument is the piano. Damien is usually accompanied by an assortment of strings, among other instruments, such as vibraphones. Damien is also often accompanied by vocalist Lisa Hannigan.

While a few reviews have said that this disk lacks the rawness of his first release, I am alright with that. This CD while very powerful isn’t as prone to make you fall into a puddle of tears as “O” is known to do to me, which is why I have sustained listening to it for some time now.

I feel as though Damien in his new release is more raw vocally, and Lisa compliments him very nicely with her childlike tone. Although both vocalists continue to be very meek and mild in many arrangements, Damien is beginning to let loose when the emotions require it. “9” is truly an impressive showcase of his vocal range, from falsetto to a powerful tenor in a moments notice.

The disk itself is also very diverse, anywhere from the calm and simple “The Animals Were Gone” to the powerful and necessarily vulgar “Rootless Tree” to the more distorted, broken voice of “Me, My Yoke, and I” Damien pulls it off with class.

One of my favorite tracks on the disk is “Sleep Don’t Weep”. The lyrics, although basic, flow beautifully with well chosen metaphors, telling the story of belonging, through pain. The blend of Lisa and Damien’s voices using the repetition “Sleep don’t weep, my sweet love” could make you cry, it is something you must hear for yourself. The track also includes the second hidden track of the disk however, it is mostly he ringing of crystal glasses. the first can be found by hitting rewind at the beginning of the first track “9 Crimes”

I would highly recommend this disk, and out of a 5 star rating I would give it a 4.5 because there is always room for improvement. If you are into the indie, I’m a music snob and I like knowing bands that no one knows, scene, then Damien Rice (although slightly less underground, but get over it) is for you.

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the Ipod Generation

One of the students in my class has posted on his own blog. See links to the side for the Ipod Generation which is actually the name of his first post not of his entire blog.

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Canadian Youth Culture Class

Like last year, I'm having students in my Canadian Youth Culture class post responses to three different popular culture artifacts over the coming months. Feel free to post comments to help them critically think through their experiences.

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Long, Strange, Trip

Since last post I've been to Charlotte to experience the National Youth Worker's Convention (very positive experience) done the whole Christmas thing (again positive except putting up the Christmas lights) and gone to Nicaragua with my church (generally a positive experience). In there I've started teaching again at Tyndale and tried to carry on a relatively normal life. Unlike some other bloggers I check out (such as Marko) all of this zanyness is not always part of my life. I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks of relatively mellow time.