Music, Reviews

Music Review: Soak – New Life Worship

soak-newlifeworshipI’ve never been big into instrumental albums, particularly “worship” instrumental albums.

Integrity Music very kindly sent me SOAK from New Life Worship to review and I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. It is very “synthy” and airy, and at times has a Gungor feel to it.

I’m able to listen to it at work without it being a distraction to what I’m doing, and also works well in the car to help me reflect and relax.

I feel like some of the transitions between songs were a little jarring, and smoother transitions would have made a much better album.

Overall, it’s a great piece of work from New Life Worship, and I’m definitely more open to other instrumental works because of it.


Movie Review: The Martian


I loved this movie. Ridley Scott did a great job with the movie version of the Andy Weir’s story – and Matt Damon was perfect as the lone astronaut Mark Watney.

There were more events in the book that I wish they could have included in the movie. With a running time of 2 hours, I understand some things had to be cut.

Mark Watney’s attitude and determination in spite of his circumstances makes it a very enjoyable story to watch even though we’re not certain whether he will make it off the planet or not, until the end.

Such a great story of human determination in the face of disaster after disaster.

“You solve one problem and then the next. You solve enough problems and you get to come home.”

I rated “The Martian” 9/10.

Music, Reviews

Oxygen – New album from Lincoln Brewster

Oxygen - Lincoln BrewsterA new album from Lincoln Brewster released yesterday called Oxygen.  I’ve had the chance to listen to a pre-release version of it for a few weeks now (thanks Shannon!). It’s pretty high energy from beginning to end, with plenty of Brewster’s signature guitar licks.

It’s a polished release and I like all the songs, but there’s a couple of songs that I really like on the album.

The first one is There Is Power. This is definitely one I plan on using at STORYCHURCH sometime.

He does a really good version of Worship Central’s Let It Be Known, swapping out the keys parts for guitars. I still would rather have the original version though.

Love Sinking Ships.  Great melody. Great message. I don’t know if it would work congregationally for us, but I like the song personally.

Whole Again (Come Alive) is just a beautiful song. Yes, I said beautiful. I can’t think of another word to describe it. It makes me want to learn piano and sing my heart out.

Family, Random

Spring Break Movies

Here is a round-up of movies we watched during Spring Break.

Liz finally got me to watch 12 Years A Slave.  As we started watching, Liz said, “You don’t like real life movies, do you?”  It’s true, I usually avoid them.  For example, I would sooner watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter than the Oscar winning Lincoln.

However, aside from making me mad about how people used to think (and knowing that some probably still do), it was a really good story with a great cast.

I noticed that The Grandmaster was nominated for cinematography during the Oscars and then I read that it was a movie about Ip Man (Bruce Lee’s trainer).  The original Ip Man with Donnie Yen is probably one of my favorite martial arts movies ev-ver, so I just had to pick it up.

The Grandmaster may have looked better, but it’s story telling was incoherent and hard to follow.  My boys and I agreed it was not nearly as good as the original Ip Man movie. As a side note – we are all stoked (with perhaps the exception of Liz) at the announcement of Ip Man 3D with Donnie Yen back in the role.

Another “real life” movie we watched with the family was Captain Phillips.  I will confess I started out watching while simultaneously playing 2048 on my iPhone. I soon put the phone down when things started to heat up. Intense!  I remember the story when it broke on the news, but hadn’t realized he had endured so much. Great movie.

Why does Lone Ranger get such a hard time? We’ve watched it before but since we were on holiday we rented it again. It’s a little long, but all the same, a fantastic movie. And just so you know, I thought John Carter was good too.

caI’m not a comic book geek, but I love the Marvel Avengers movies and their spin offs. I love how they interconnect all the movies with little references here and there. Captain America 2 did not disappoint.  It was excellent movie.  Marvel seem to be on a winning streak. They also seem to have trained half the audience (including myself) to remain seated until after the credits are completed.

I was glad to see Gravity do so well at the Oscars.  Liz and I watched this movie already in the cinema, but we rented it again on DVD to watch with the kids. With only two characters for most of the movie, I thought it would be a bit boring for the kids, but they enjoyed it. It keeps you on the edge of your seat (unless you’ve already watched it). So far-fetched, yet totally plausible = so good.

Liz and I went to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel in the cinema. Wes Anderson’s latest movie will not appeal to everyone, but I like quirky, so I loved it. The characters are excellent, thanks to the cast selected for the movie. The cinematography is bold and different – with a lot of the movie shown in a square frame that it actually reminded me of Instagram.

Finally, we rented what is being labelled as Jackie Chan’s last ever action movie, Chinese Zodiac.  I’m a big Jackie Chan fan, but I was pretty disappointed with this movie.  The kids liked the stunts and action scenes, but the story (like The Grandmaster) was disjointed and hard to follow.  I wish he’d have gone out with a bigger bang.

Random, Reviews

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness


May 16th is Liz’s birthday, and a day that I traditionally take off work.  We send the kids off to school and normally hit some local place for breakfast together.

This year we went to Parker & Otis in Durham and had a good yarn and a dose of eggs before driving out to Southpoint to watch the new Star Trek Into Darkness movie on iMAX 3D.

I enjoyed the 2009 installation of Star Trek and I was excited to see the actor from BBC Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) playing a role in the new movie.  In fact I think in these last two movies they have done a great job at casting altogether.

I usually do like J.J. Abrams work, but sometimes I feel that while he starts off great, he is not so good at bringing things to a conclusion – at least to my satisfaction.  I’m still mad at how he concluded Alias, and then there was LOST – don’t get me started on that ending.

I have no such complaints about this movie.  I loved the character development and the story from start to finish and it was well worth the extra dollars to watch on the bigger screen.  The sets and special effects were excellent and convincing.  I don’t usually bother with 3D versions, but I think they made good use of it here.

We decided it wasn’t suitable for our kids though.  Normally I’ll let my kids watch PG-13 movies (Liz and I vet them first), but there were a couple of short scenes in the movie we wouldn’t want them to see, and there was also a good bit of bad language.

After seeing what J.J. Abrams can do with something like this, I’m really looking forward to (hopefully) the redemption of the Star Wars franchise, if this movie is anything to go off.

Geek, Reviews

Was MailBox Worth The Wait? #iOS @mailbox




It seems like I jumped on the band-wagon a little late with Mailbox.

When I downloaded the app from the Apple App Store, I was already over 600,000 behind in the reservation queue.

Wait, reservation what?!  For those of you who don’t know, when you first download the application, unless you have a reservation ticket already, you will have to join a queue.  I’m not sure how long they plan to use this ramp-up method but once you grab your place you’re best forgetting about it until you get actual notification it is ready.

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Music, Reviews

New Music: Always Been About You – Fellowship Creative (Album Review and #giveaway)

fellowshipcreative“Always Been About You” is the fifth, full-length release from Fellowship Creative and I have 2 copies of the album to give away!

Who are Fellowship Creative?

Whether in the areas of music, video, promotion, art, design, writing, photography, or production, Fellowship Creative is a community of creative thinkers and artists building relationships. It’s a safe environment for people to grow in creativity, and develop resources to build the local Church and expand the Kingdom of God.

I had not heard of Fellowship Creative before they sent me this release for review and I’m very glad they did. It’s awesome. They seem to be like an American version of Rend Collective Experiment – a large group of creatives pouring everything they’ve got into worship projects.

The album contains 11 original worship tracks. It’s hard to describe the “sound” of this album because it is so varied, yet it flows together very well.  I will say, it’s youthful, vibrant, and full of energy and that guy in the video above looks a little like Ricky Gervais.  😉

My favorite tracks are “Always Been About You”, “Future Back”, “God Of The Rescue”, “In You”, “Finish What You Started”, “I Will Follow”, and “Beautiful”.

I will be definitely be keeping an eye on future Fellowship Creative projects.  Keep up the good work guys.

A copy of the album will be mailed to two (2) random people who comment on this post.  I will do the drawing on Saturday evening (Feb 16th 2013).

If you won’t win a copy, you can buy the album on iTunes or Amazon!