Music at Mars Hill: The Emotional Contradictions Behind Strange Mercy

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. In a recent interview Ryan Reed from Paste Magazine did with Annie Clark of St. Vincent, Annie had this to say about the meaning behind her new album's title: The first song that I wrote for the record was the song ‘Strange Mercy,’ and once I had that line, in the context of that song, a ‘strange mercy’ is really wanting to protect … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Canon Blue's Rumspringa

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. Rumspringa, which literally means "jumping around" or "running around", is a term used commonly in Amish and some Anabaptist communities to refer to the coming-of-age adolescence time in a young person's life. Canon Blue, the the orchestral pop solo project of Daniel James, recently released his sophomore album with that same title and seeks to be … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Video Games, and Lana Del Rey's Vintage Music Stylings

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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO1OV5B_JDw&feature=channel_video_title From Pitchfork to MTV, the blogosphere has been erupting with praise for an artist named Lana Del Rey and her latest single, "Video Games". Lana Del Rey is the moniker, or alter ego, for the young, singer-songwriter Lizzy Grant and "Video Games" is the first and only … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: The Joys of Community Music Listening

I've been interning at PasteMagazine.com for a couple weeks now down in Decatur, GA and one thing I've been turned on to is the wonders of community listening via turntable.fm. For so long, community listening was such a vital part of the music-listening experience. Whether it was sitting around a group of performers, the radio, or a record player, technology and the idea of experiencing music in the context of community have always had an interesting mutual relationship. For so long, … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Mat Kearney and the Struggle for Identity

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. Mat Kearney was born and raised in Eugene Oregon, which happens to be where I went to for college. In fact, when I began to become familiar with various Christian communities in Eugene, I would hear more and more about Mat Kearney and how his mother was a pastor at a church nearby and he even played solo shows in the basement of the college house … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Derek Webb's Vision of Worshipful Art

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. Last week at Music at Mars Hill we took a look at the newest release by one of CCM's standards, Hillsong. This week I thought it would be interesting to follow the conversation up by spotlighting an artist on the opposite side of the Christian worship spectrum: former-Caedmon's Call member Derek Webb. Known for being CCM's rebel, Webb has been … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: God Is Able; Are We?

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. "Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy." (Psalms 33:3) It seems that Hillsong Australia has been living out its prolific worship music career under the careful instruction of this psalm. For twenty years now, Hillsong has written and released a live album of brand new songs every year, each featuring a host of different … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: Light and Dark in Cults' Debut Album

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. Perhaps it is ironic to be discussing an album by a band called Cults on a Christian website. Or perhaps its not (after all, that's what we're all about here at Music at Mars Hill). Cults is a guy-girl duo out of Manhatten made up of lead singer Madeline Follin and multi-instrumentalist Brian Oblivion. Like a similar guy-girl duo, She & Him, … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: The Year of the Return of the Saxophone

The world of the independent and mainstream music scenes is perhaps one of the most notable bifurcations that currently exists in the pop music industry. Both the connections and contrasts between the two sects of music run deep and always bear fascinating results on the surface. As a spectator, its often even hard to decipher which of the two are leading the other. In pointing out these strange continuities within culture, we are attempting to throw out the labels the marketers have given us … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: The Civil Wars in Concert

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-6EwdDiopQ&w=640&h=390 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 recently got the opportunity to see The Civil Wars in concert up in Portland at the Alladdin Theater and for this week's Music at Mars Hill, I want to take a break from the new music and do a quick concert review. In one sentence, The Civil Wars are the overnight success story of … [Read more...]


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