God and Country Music: “Sin City,” 40 Years after Gram Parsons

In God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music.The world of Alternative Country has certain sacred anchors. These “anchors” are songs, people, and places that act as staples of identity for the fluid genre. Places like Bristol (the site of the famous 1927 Bristol Sessions) and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. People like Gram Parsons. And songs like "Sin City."Gram Parsons is particularly important to Alternative Country music. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Online Streaming Services Are Still In The Red, But For How Long?

For all of us trying to navigate the murky ethics of digital music, this NPR article drops some surprising data: online streaming services like Pandora and Spotify have been losing money for years. So why do they keep at it? They’re banking on a stream-centric future of music that’ll be “wildly profitable.” … [Read more...]

The “Blurred Lines” of Summer

The summer is about innocent, feel-good fun. Well, at least it was, just last year in fact. The song of the summer for 2012 was almost indisputably "Call Me Maybe," Carly Rae Jepson's upbeat pop-ballad that revels in restraint rather than indulgence. Things can change a lot in a year. Of course, summer doesn't "mean" anything in any objective sense, besides the obvious weather-related implications. All of the other things we associate with the summer are cultural in nature, the results of our … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Will You Still Love Me?

I’m not really a music person in that I have little formal knowledge or training. My vocal range is limited and works best in a belting, show tunes style; my little daughter claps when I sing, and my older daughter asks me to stop. I rarely run with music or listen to it in the car, but I have lately started trying to be more intentional about incorporating music into my life. I listened to the entire Gatsby soundtrack while painting my kitchen, the intense and painful tunes contrasting with the … [Read more...]

“In the Center of the Bullseye”: CaPC Interviews Derek Webb

For years, Derek Webb has been a mysterious figure in the world of Christian music. While other Christian artists went out of their way to make their fundamental religious beliefs known, Derek Webb followed up his debut solo album, She Must and Shall Go Free  with a series of albums that gave conservative evangelicals whiplash. He was more ambiguous than many would like about core theological concepts, and more vocal than people were used to about controversial social issues. Also, one time he … [Read more...]

Fighting Trafficking with Boom Bap and Rap

Welcome to that culture where we speaking loudThey crying out but all we do is quiet down.Crying over material, whining over appearance thoughGod these kids dying over things we’re ungrateful for.King Kulture: Stop the Traffic opens with these wrenchingly true lyrics by hip-hop artist Kidd. August 27, Rapzilla will release their second compilation album for a cause—this year supporting the fight against human trafficking. Featuring 20 different Christian hip-hop artists, inc … [Read more...]

CaPC Magazine Issue #10 is Now Available: Nostalgia

The Christ and Pop Culture Magazine is available for download in the iOS app store for free. After the free sample issue, auto-renewing subscriptions are $2.99 for a month or $29.99 for a year. Each issue comes with six or seven high-quality articles, a mix of exclusive and curated content, and is offered up in an elegant and minimalist format with no ads, widgets or distractions, putting the emphasis on the reading experience.On top of all this, you’ll be helping to support the people beh … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Lily and Madeleine

Lily and Madeleine are the teenage girls that our culture should listen to instead of Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry. Similar to the pop stars, these two sisters wallow in unrequited love and adolescent angst. Unlike Cyrus and others, Lily & Madeleine produce talented and clean folk music and have just produced their first EP, downloadable for free. … [Read more...]

God And Country Music: New Avett Brothers Album Means Only Good Things

Yesterday, the Avett Brothers announced a new single and an upcoming album, Magpie and the Dandelions. After only about a year since their last release, The Avett Brothers are cranking out another album and that is good news for fans because, really, a bad Avett Brothers album is still a good album. Their last album The Carpenter was a bad Avett Brothers album compared to 2009’s I And Love And You or 2004’s Mignonette, but it still has some of the most beautiful songs of 2012 on it. Really, it's … [Read more...]

The “Millennial Unease” of Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City

Modern Vampires of the City, the third album from the New York- based rock band Vampire Weekend, released on May 14 this year, and (to my own great surprise, not having loved their earlier work) I’ve hardly stopped playing it. The band’s first two albums (Vampire Weekend, 2008; Contra, 2010) brought popular and critical acclaim. The albums also brought vitriolic criticism for being privileged white boys with a boat-shoes-and-blazer aesthetic playing with African rhythms. (I’m told you can’t writ … [Read more...]