Christian Artists To Know- Bill Mallonee/Vigilantes of Love

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Bill Mallonee & Vigilantes of Love
Genre: Rock
Styles: Americana, Alternative, Rock n’ Roll, Brit-pop, Folk rock
Location: Athens, Ga.
Label: Independent
Website: http://www.billmallonee.net/
Myspace: www.myspace.com/billmallonee
Christian Label: No
Category: The Message whats this?

It is virtually impossible to separate Vigilantes of Love from Bill Mallonee. Not to diminish the contribution of any of member of VOL over the years, but the music and lyrics of Bill Mallonee, sung with the urgent, pleading vocals of Bill Mallonee defines the greatness that is  Vigilantes of Love.  Whether the music is labeled Vigilantes of Love or Bill Mallonee, musical genius prevails.

Bill Mallonee’s music has traveled a wide swath of musical styles over the years with heavy influences from Bob Dylan, Neil Young, REM, The db’s and New Order as well as the great undiscovered bands of the 80′s Athens music scene.  Bill Mallonee’s conversational singing style is infused with aching urgency and pleading hope.  The bulk of the Bill Mallonee/VOL music fuses traditional rock, Amerciana, country instruments into a sound marked by crunching. soaring anthemic guitars and relentless rhythms of the heartland.  This music is equally at home played on an acoustic guitar in a coffee shop or blistering the walls of a club through a wall of Marshal stacks.

It is the lyrics, though.  Bill Mallonee’s songs are stories of transcendent hope, crushing disappointment,soaring faith and anger filled rants.  Bill Mallonee writes songs about living as a Believer in this skin on this Earth.  As we all know, this is a story of disappointment, frustration, pain, joy, triumph and love.  Paste magazine named Bill Mallonee as the 65th best living songwriter (in the company of Alex ChiltonMerle HaggardConor OberstRichard Thompson and Sting).

Here is a vintage video of Vigilantes of Love singing “All The Mercy We Have Found”  at Cornerstone 1997.

Here is a recent video of Bill Mallonee, with is wife and touring partner Muriah Rose performing “Resplendent”

Bill Mallonee has released 25 albums over his 17 year career to much critical acclaim. Musically, his songs tend towards a very broadly defined Americana, embracing Folk-rock, Brit-pop, psychedelia and troubadour folk.  Bill writes 40-50 songs a year. He releases them through the EP series called the Works Progress Administration.  Here are the lyrics on one of his most recent “Coming Out of Hiding”, released around Easter of this year:

I heard you were mother’s pride and joy
she was pretty young when she had that baby boy
you were up against the powers…and down with the man at the start
You had a hunger in your belly and the fire in side your heart

you said mysterious things like: “living looks more like dying.”
Now, you’re coming outta hiding

I heard they called your mother ’bout every name under the sun
I heard you turned your cheek a lot and bit your tongue
You had a knack for making friends who couldn’t pay you back
spending your coins on the wrong side of the tracks

picking up the tab after all that wining and dining
now, you’re coming outta hiding

spent some time in the underground just to get the lay of the land
spent some time with the sick to take them all on vacation
spent some time in the jail just to let the prisoners loose
spent some time on the gallows just to cut the hangman’s noose

all of these reversals are just a reminding
that you’re coming outta hiding

I heard they kicked you to curb when your show went down like a storm
heard they stole your crown…and gave you one of thorns
You know when love gets close it can be perceived as a threat
and God, you know we’ve got so much…to protect

I hear your love is always and ever abiding
and you’re coming outta hiding

I discovered Vigilantes of Love as I searched for great Christian music ( see Underground Christian Music Saved Us) and have been a fan since 1996.  Bill Mallonee and Vigilantes of Love are crushingly good music written from a Believer’s view of faith and hope.  But it is not a belief packaged by today’s Church.  It is a belief built on the scars of life and redemption.  As Bill Mallonee told Christinanity Today in an interview last year:

“Those songs are about inconsistent human beings-fragile, fractured, frail from top to bottom,” he says. That anyone should be surprised when they see that frailty lived out in real life baffles him.

“The Good News doesn’t make any sense until you know what the bad news is,” he says. “And the bad news isn’t that we have a few harmless peccadilloes and we screwed up on the way between high school and college or whatever-it’s deeper than that. It’s unrelenting.”

Vigilantes of Love have reformed to tour and release a new CD this year.  In the meantime explore Bill Mallonee’s and Vigilantes of Love’s catalogue at

Bill Mallonee Bill Mallonee & Vigilantes of Love

Vigilantes of Love Vigilantes of Love

Or buy the CDs from Amazon.com

Vigilantes of Love

Jugular

Driving the Nails

Killing Floor

Welcome to Struggleville

Blister Soul

V.O.L.

Slow Dark Train

To the Roof of the Sky

Audible Sigh

Summershine

Bill Mallonee

Fetal Position

Locket Full of Moonlight

My Year In Review

Perfumed Letter

Dear Life

Friendly Fire

Permafrost

Christian Artists To Know: Seabird

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Seabird
Genre: Rock
Styles: Atmospheric Rock, Alternative, Brit Pop
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Label: Credential Records
Myspace: www.myspace.com/seabird
Christian Label: Yes
Category: The Light whats this?

Ohio’s Seabird are living the dream that most bands could only wish for.  The band has only been together (for the most part) since 2004.  After a year of writing and lineup changes, they recorded their first EP, Spread Your Broken Wings And Try, in one of the member’s living rooms.  Within that same year, the EP landed on the right desk at EMI, resulting in the band playing a private showcase for the label, from which they were signed.  Seabird, however moved over to Credential Records, the home of Fiction Family and Edison Glass, soon afterwards. Another EP was recorded, but in 2008 their first full length, ‘Till We See The Shore, was released to a well received audience.  Since then, Seabird’s music has been featured on Num3ers, Greys Anatomy, and most notably Pushing Daisies.

The little history lesson there was only to depict the accessibility of Seabird‘s music.  Their sound is an interesting blend of Coldplay-ish piano pop mixed in with more experimental indie rock sensibilities.  Seabird has always been able to take what is popular but make it their own.  Where other bands in the same genre rely on soaring atmosphere and heavy orchestration, Seabird brings the audience in to a much more intimate head space.  With such peers AS Coldplay and The Fray, Seabird does not let themselves get overshadowed.  They don’t just blend into the background.

Seabird is a band of believers, but the themes of their music is not overtly spiritual.  The prevailing message of redemption and the pursuit of it flows through most of their songs, but the band can also write a great love song.  Seabird seems to able to explore both sides of their character, the mainstream and the introspective, without ever falling into a destructive duality.  The message of hope for redemption is most clear in the band’s break out single from ‘Til We See the Shore, “Rescue”.

On a more mellow side, we wanted you to see this live performance of the title track off that same album, “Til We See The Shore”

I knew about Seabird before I knew that they were believers.  Hipster magazines like Paste and Relevent (yes a Christian magazine can be hipster at the same time) have been repping Seabird since the release of ‘Til We See The Shore last year.  The band has just done so much in so little time, it is amazing to think of what the future will hold for them.  In March, Seabird will be all over the SXSW music conference, and with an apparent “in” with the TV stations, it seems like up is the only direction for these guys.

You can buy Seabird‘s music digitally on Seabird

You can also get their CDs on Amazon:
Til We See the Shore