My Music Purchases for Today

Written: 21 August, 2000

I went to the local Family Christian Store to see if there were any new cheap sampler tapes or CDs on the shelf, and got some. It seems like they put out new sampler stuff as promotion every few months, and it had been a few months since my last visit to the store.

Items bought: 6 CDs and 1 tape cassette.

Total cost (after tax): $21.93.

Here's what I bought:

CHEAPSKATES Volume One ($1.99 CD) A few months ago at the Family Christian Store, I'd bought a "Cheapskates" CD (also $1.99) which had the words "Softer Side" on the cover, and I wasn't sure what that meant. Now I know, since this "Cheapskates" CD has the words "Harder Side" on the cover. I almost thought it was the CD I already had, since the covers are very similar, although in different colors. This CD contains 21 songs on it, many with a heavier guitar sound than most music I listen to. For example, there is a song called "Violence" by the group Living Sacrifice on it which consists primarily of very fast playing guitar, which brought to mind the fast playing found in Bach's "Fugue in C Minor" (of course, that was on the harpsicord, not electric guitar). I'd seen the video for one of these songs before, and liked it: "No Pool Party Tonight" by The Huntingtons, strongly reminiscent of The Ramones. Other performers on the CD include Blindside, Stavesacre, Training for Utopia, Squad Five-O, Zao, FurtherMore, and Ghoti Hook. The bands on this CD appear on the Tooth & Nail, BEC Recordings, and Solid State Records labels, and presumably "Cheapskates" is a way of promoting these artists, so that people can try their music without having to spend a lot of money.

TAKE TIME TO LISTEN Volume 5.0 ($3.99 CD) Five of the songs on this CD already appear on the "Simply Impossible" Volume One CD listed below, but it was still worth getting for the songs by swing band The W's, and songs by Luna Halo, Rivulets & Violets, Model Engine, and Brave Saint Saturn (a Five Iron Frenzy side project). There are 14 songs on this CD in all, and like all "Take Time to Listen" albums, proceeds go to charity.

ALIENS AND STRANGERS ($2.99 CD) This CD contains 17 songs by various singer-songwriters, and seems to be of the more acoustic/folk/thoughtful lyrics variety.I didn't recognize any of the names (except Phil Madeira...I've heard of him somewhere before) but I listened to a bit of it so far and it sounds good.

THE NEW DEAL-E-O 2000 ($2.99 CD) This album contains 12 songs by various artists. I mainly got it for the LaRue song (even though it's not the one I've heard before and seen the video of). The other artists on it include ska band The Insyderz, hard-rock group EDL, and some others I'm not that familiar with. One of them is called The Lads, and the song on here is called "Lost at Sea." I liked the melodic sound of it, reminding me of The Beatles. So, I'm adding "The Lads" to my list of artists I want to hear more of in the future.

"SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE" NEW MUSIC SAMPLER Volume One ($2.99 CD) These "Simply Impossible" CDs are $2.99 each, or you get them free with the purchase of the new album by any of the artists on the sampler. I thought about getting the new Skillet CD (on sale for $13.97) with this sampler, and getting the new Clear CD (on sale for $9.99) with the below sampler, but I decided against it since the main reason I wanted the Skillet CD in the first place is for the song "Best Kept Secret" which is on the $2.99 sampler CD anyway. In all, there are 15 songs on this CD, including songs by Five Iron Frenzy, PAX 217, The Normals, The Elms, and Earthsuit. Perhaps the highlight to me so far (aside from the Skillet song) are Luna Halo's "Superman" (which I'd seen the video for a few weeks back on TBN's "Real Videos"), Philmore's "Our Finest Hour" (which almost sounds like a Triumph song being sung by Weird Al), and two songs by Relient K, "Hello McFly" (about "Back to the Future") and "My Girlfriend" (about Marilyn Manson).

"SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE" NEW MUSIC SAMPLER Volume Two ($2.99 CD) This sampler actually is a 2-CD set. The first CD has 16 songs on it. The second CD runs 30-minutes and has short 5-minute interviews (as well as music samples) of 6 different artists. So far, the main attraction for me of getting this CD was that it includes two songs from the solo album by Newsboys guitarist Phil Joel, including the song "God is Watching Over You" which I've enjoyed the video for. Phil Joel is also one of the artists talking on the second CD. There are also two songs from the new album by Clear (which is a band kinda in the tradition of 10,000 Maniacs and Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians), a video for which I happened to catch a few days ago on TBN's "2Worlds." There are also 2 songs from the solo album of Audio Adrenaline's guitarist, Riley Armstrong. I didn't even know he had a solo album out until I saw it on the shelf at the store, and I was pleased that this sampler had two songs from it. The current dance-pop craze is well-represented with songs by Plus One, ZOEgirl, Tammy Trent, and Stacie Orrico.

Both this and the other "Simply Impossible" CD have a fold-out list of Christian artists, from A to Z, so you can see what style of music they perform, what Christian artists they are comparable to, and what secular artists they are comparable to. So, for example, if we look up Zao, we see that they are "pure metalcore fury." "If you like these Christian artists" -- and it lists Extol, Living Sacrifice, and Spitfire -- then, you might like Zao. And "If you like these mainstream artists" -- and it lists At The Gates, Carcass, and Converge -- then, you might like Zao. Which may be helpful in steering someone to bands they don't know about. There are also many "$2.00 off" coupons in both sampler CDs for the artists that appear on the CDs.

DIME STORE PROPHETS, "Fantastic Distraction" ($2.75 cassette) Album from 1997. I'd heard a solo song from lead singer Justin Dillon Stevens on a "Take Time to Listen" sampler CD last year, and two live versions of Dime Store Prophets songs from a "Take Time to Listen" cassette last year, and had made a mental note to get some Dime Store Prophets stuff if I saw it cheap. I bought a tape of their previous album from a person online several months ago, for like $4. Today at the store, I noticed a pile of tapes and CDs with stickers on 'em saying "50% off" and I thought the Dime Store Prophets tape would be $5.99 since it had been originally marked $10.99, but the person rang it up for only $2.75. Cool deal.

Well, that's what I bought today. Pretty cool, huh?? If you want to try some obscure music for cheap, just check out your local Family Christian Store.