Relient K | The Bird and the Bee Sides
It seems like Relient K would be a fun band to hang out with in the studio. The group has one of the most noteworthy senses of humor in rock, and it's continually evolving into one of the most sharp and creative bands out there. Wouldn't it be fun to be there to hear the jokes and witness a stroke of genius.
That's the feel you get from, The Bird and the Bee Sides, ReK's new between-album EP that's not really an EP.
It's closest to a B-sides and rarities collection a la my all-time fave of that genre, R.E.M.'s Dead Letter Office. But Bee Sides is quite a bit more substantial than most of those collections, with numerous tracks that demonstrate growth from Relient K's last studio effort, 2007's Five Score and Seven Years Ago.
We see most of that growth in the first 13 tracks, known as The Nashville Tennis EP. A lot of that perspective is relational, with songs of devotion such as Curl Up and Die and You'll Always Be My Best Friend, evangelism with I Just Want You to Know and Hope for Every Fallen Man, and justice in The Last, The Lost, The Least. The latter song is written and sung by bassist John Warne as part of this album's experiment of having each band member write and sing a tune. Through its last several recordings, Relient K has given us this feeling that the guys we used to picture firing spitballs from the back row of the class are getting serious about life.
But not too serious.
There's a lot of fun on this disc, including a few minute-long numbers like a couple of takes on the fellow-band shout-out Five Iron Frenzy is Either Dead or Dying. Quite a few songs on the second half are pulled from previous Relient K EPs, and then there are offerings like beautiful acoustic versions of Up and Up and Who I Am Hates Who I've Been.
Far from being a collection of toss-offs for fans, The Bird and the Bee Sides could create new followers for Relient K.
Jay in 3D: Third Day's outstanding new album, Revelation, hits stores virtual and terrestrial Tuesday, and the band will be on national TV that night performing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, at 11:35 p.m. on NBC.
Liner note: I wrote the Revelation review a few weeks ago with a pre-release copy and was curious to see how Brad Avery's credit would be handled, since he worked on Revelation before leaving the band. On the last page of the CD booklet, which I received last week, Brad is listed as, "additional guitars." By the way, Tim Parker's cover art is a representation of Salvation Mountain, a public art project by Leonard Knight in Calipatria, Calif.
Labor Day Christian pop weekend: A few weeks ago, we told you Quest Community Church has moved its Questapalooza Festival to the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, with headliner Kirk Franklin, plus Kutless and needtobreathe. Well don't look now, but Lexington Christian Academy has booked Jars of Clay for its Back to School Bash Aug. 29 and 30, which will include a football game and carnival, culminating with Jars at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 30. Tickets for the show are $25 each. Click here for the LCA website and information (click Jars of Clay concert under the "news" heading).
Katy Perry: If you listen to Top 40 radio, you can't miss Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl. It doesn't sound like anything you'd hear on Christian radio, considering most of the evangelical community is pretty down on homosexuality. But Katy Perry was once on Christian radio as aspiring teen star Katy Hudson (her 2001 self-titled debut's album cover, right) -- not that Kate Hudson. Christianity Today has a pretty thorough -- and pointed -- commentary on Perry and her current career. I'm going to qualify here that just because I refer you to something doesn't mean I endorse every word, but this is interesting reading.