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Josh Garrels - Love & War & the Sea in Between

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www.joshgarrels.com

He's offering his newest for free, starting just a couple hours ago. I'm about halfway through my first listen and thoroughly enjoying it. "The Resistance" is the most hip-hop thing he's ever done, but it still hits so folky. I've seen the youtube video for his solo acoustic "Ulysses", but on the album that number just builds so surprisingly well. Definitely one of my favorite guys in music.

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I found out Garrels used to be a part of the church I've been going to in Muncie, IN, and he's coming back for a concert right after I leave for the summer. Didn't realize he was this well-known, though.

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I found out Garrels used to be a part of the church I've been going to in Muncie, IN, and he's coming back for a concert right after I leave for the summer. Didn't realize he was this well-known, though.

I'm very fond of this album as well. I don't know if Josh's music is particularly well-known. I know that I reviewed Jacaranda, his previous album, in Christianity Today, and it was well received in several publications. He plays at Cornerstone every year, but then again, so do 600 screamo bands. He's a very talented songwriter, and I appreciate his challenging lyrics. He's kind of a low-key prophet. His songs are downright provocative, in the best prophetic way, but they go down nice and easy because they're so lovely. The music is a great merger of beauty and the beats.

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I found out Garrels used to be a part of the church I've been going to in Muncie, IN, and he's coming back for a concert right after I leave for the summer. Didn't realize he was this well-known, though.

I'm very fond of this album as well. I don't know if Josh's music is particularly well-known. I know that I reviewed Jacaranda, his previous album, in Christianity Today, and it was well received in several publications. He plays at Cornerstone every year, but then again, so do 600 screamo bands. He's a very talented songwriter, and I appreciate his challenging lyrics. He's kind of a low-key prophet. His songs are downright provocative, in the best prophetic way, but they go down nice and easy because they're so lovely. The music is a great merger of beauty and the beats.

I've been listening a bit more. This album is all over the place stylistically. Almost all of it is very good. But I'm currently pressing Replay over and over again on "The Resistance," an Arcade-Fire-meets-Kanye-West anthem of astounding musical and lyrical power. This might be the best individual song I've heard this year.

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I've just finished my first listen through this record, and there's a lot here that impresses me. I suspect more of it will sink its hooks in after I've spent more time with it. And yeah, I do like "The Resistance" in particular, Andy. I also think the album is much too long, however-- but that's just a first impression. I'm also not entirely sure how what this guy is doing-- mixing acoustic instruments with synthetic beats and big, euphoric choruses-- is all that different from, say, David Gray, but maybe we shouldn't go there.

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I revoke my below-the-belt David Gray comment, and most of my reluctance to embrace this album in general. I've been listening to it all week-- I have a review of it due tomorrow-- and it's grown on my tremendously. Yes, it is long, and, as Andy notes, it's all over the place stylistically, but it's remarkable how well it all hangs together. Garrels has sequenced it perfectly, to where it makes sense musically and thematically and has momentum as an album. The writing is quite good, and the production deeper and richer than I initially gave it credit for. Beautiful work all around.

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I revoke my below-the-belt David Gray comment

I was waiting for that.

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Just saw Garrels Saturday night in concert. Love the album and enjoyed the performance. He performed The Resistance to close out the show and it was such a great reminder of how great the song really is.

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My review:

But the album is not despairing, not ultimately. Actually, there is a nod of defiance early on in “The Resistance,” where Garrels speaks/raps a powerful indictment of human institutions that are built on injustice and lead only to ruin. It’s exhilarating, and empowering, but while it’s rousing call to arms is both the album’s standout moment and a necessary piece of the puzzle, Garrels seems to put more stock in the hope of a better world, coming “Farther Along” the path. This song points to heavenly intervention and ultimately divine rule as the cure for what ails, and the same truths echo at the album’s end, with a few songs that make a logical jump from human depravity to reliance on the Divine—and ultimately, to our own innate neediness not as a cause for utter despondency, but as an invitation to consider the mysteries of grace.

Those mysteries swirl around this record, informing it and enlivening it, and Garrels bears witness to them with authenticity. He is not shy about exalting the name of Christ the Savior, something that I suspect will be a turn-off to those with little patience for anything resembling religious faith in practice, but there is none of the sentimental spirituality of “Christian rock” here, nor indeed could I imagine many of these songs of struggle making it into any church’s rotation. They are powerful not as religious songs per se but as folk songs, as songs that speak to some austere truth in a way that longs to embrace some sense of the sublime, but remains, for now, wonderfully and pitiably human.

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I'm slowly making my way through the album (I haven't listened to it completely yet), but I like what I've heard and I'm very impressed, particularly by "The Resistance". I'm contemplating purchasing Jacaranda.

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I just heard about this guy yesterday and I decided to check out his music for myself...and I am very happy I did. I haven't been this impressed with a new-to-me artist in a long time. I agree with all the praise for The Resistance - it's a great song. I am a big fan of the whole album though, with some songs standing right up there with The Resistance.

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Technology has made it easier and more affordable for the average person to produce and distribute his or her own content, empowering artists and eliminating old gatekeepers. This in turn has created countless opportunities for success but left artists to their own devices in achieving it. To some, this new era means the death of the art of recording and filmmaking. We disagree. To us it means that the power structure has changed; the control is in the hands of content creators. Though sales are down, people are consuming more content than ever before. New mediums must be established to present and distribute art and to re-establish strong bonds between artist and audience. With “The Sea In Between”, the MJM team would like to offer our own vision for a possible future of distributed media: a full audio-visual album. In essence, an LP of sights and sounds.

Edited by Tyler

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Garrels is giving away Love and War... for free for one more day on his Bandcamp page.

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http://joshgarrels.com/

Here can be found a link to a Love and War: B sides and remix album, free of course. Mixes from the likes of Aaron Strumpel, Kye Kye etc. Interesting stuff.

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The Sea in Between, a Garrels documentary/concert movie, is available now.

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Tyler you beat me to it.

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