Music at Mars Hill: The Shins Offer a Renewed Sense of Optimism

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.Most thought this album would never come out. It's been five years since Wincing the Night Away and frontman James Mercer had repeatedly reinforced those doubts in interviews. However, now we've got Port of Morrow, the band's fourth studio album. Musically, it sounds very much like The Shins. Simple songs, acoustic guitars, and Mercer's unique … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Gillian Welch’s Soul Journey

 Each week in God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson gives country music a chance and examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music. For those familiar with Gillian Welch’s music, it is no stretch to call her music some of the best country music to come out of Nashville in the last fifty years. For those who are not quite as familiar with Welch, you might be surprised to see where she has shown up: all over the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, bac … [Read more...]

Grace Notes: Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus, The Trees Community, Passafist

Grace Notes is a weekly exploration by Jason Morehead of signs of common grace in the music world. We hope to alert you to wonderful music, some of which will be spiritual in nature but all of which will be unique and worthy of your attention. Each week we will share brief reviews of albums worthy of your attention and maybe a video or two.Last time, I spotlighted several Christian artists that I listened to "back in the day", and were responsible for overturning many of my preconceived n … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: The Decemberists as Americana’s Newest Converts

Each week in God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson gives country music a chance and examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music. Recently, country music acquired a new convert: The Decemberists. Having long been indie-rock heroes with a reputation for releasing records with abnormally wonderful songwriting and a flare for the literary, their 2011 efforts The King Is Dead and Long Live the King (EP) crossed into my camp, i.e., old time country music. Recorded in … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: A Little Perfume Genius to Prime Your Empathy

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.I don't easily give into artists who throw pity parties for themselves. As my music listening expands with new music, this cynical side of me -- the one that has grown tired of Conor Oberst lookalikes -- has been showing its face more often. To some extent, I think it's totally normal to get this way. After all, if I were to get emotional at every … [Read more...]

Grace Notes: Lifesavers Underground, Mortal, Scaterd Few

Grace Notes is a weekly exploration by Jason Morehead of signs of common grace in the music world. We hope to alert you to wonderful music, some of which will be spiritual in nature but all of which will be unique and worthy of your attention. Each week we will share brief reviews of albums worthy of your attention and maybe a video or two.If you haven't already, read Chad Thomas Johnston's excellent Image Journal article on the music of Michael Knott. I was quite the fan of Knott's music, pa … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: A Response to an Open Letter to Praise Bands

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.I had planned a different topic for my column this week, but when I stumbled upon an Elsewhere post here on CaPC from Professor James Smith of Calvin College, I felt it was necessary to respond in some fashion. The post is titled "An Open Letter To Praise Bands" and was featured on Gospel Coalition. It lays out three criticisms about modern worship … [Read more...]

Grace Notes: Slowdive

Grace Notes is a weekly exploration by Jason Morehead of signs of common grace in the music world. We hope to alert you to wonderful music, some of which will be spiritual in nature but all of which will be unique and worthy of your attention. Each week we will share brief reviews of albums worthy of your attention and maybe a video or two."What is your favorite band?" That's a question that most music lovers probably dread. How do you judge that sort of thing? And yet, it's probably safe to s … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Is Nicki Minaj Possessed?

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.As is typical, the Grammy Award show this year had its fair share of ups and downs -- the ups including Adele's standout performance and Jennifer Hudson's tribute to Whitney Houston and the downs being just about everything else. However, what stood out as being particularly strange to me about this year's awards show was that issues of … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Lessons From Leonard Cohen

Like fellow celebrated songwriters Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen has always had a simple and poignant way of addressing spiritual themes in his music. His most famous song, "Hallelujah", manages to take the life of King David and make it sound like he's singing about his own. His new album, Old Ideas, continues with a lot of those personally narrated and spiritually dense themes, but they've all been filtered through Cohen's 77 years of age.Cohen's voice has been worn down to a … [Read more...]


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