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The Irony of Outrage and Sufjan Stevens’ “America”

This one comes to us from Jeb Ralston. Sufjan Stevens, that enigmatic and soft-spoken tortured soul of a musician, released a new single last week, “America,” with the not-so-subtle timing of being one day before the Fourth of July. Sufjan, who is no stranger to political commentary through the lens of his own Christian perception, […]

PZ’s Podcast: Bright Road, Outer Ashen Limits, Kolchak and Corona, (You’re) Having My Baby, Narrative Schmarrative, and Speed Bump

EPISODE 297: Bright Road There is this unexpected plethora of gems coming at me just now in a Mockingbird vein. Last week there was Journey into Light, from 1951; and also The First Legion, also from that year. Today there is Bright Road, also a Hollywood movie, which came out in 1953. I feel like the surface of the moon […]

July Playlist

Click here to listen (almost all of it) on Spotify.

July 4th, Sufjan, and the Wake-up Call of Death

Thankful for this post from Grace Leuenberger: This week, Sufjan Stevens announced a new, forthcoming solo album titled The Ascension, his first since Carrie and Lowell debuted in March 2015. I remember listening to the album on that frigid March morning, sitting with my legs cramped underneath my dorm room desk. Tears sprung up in […]

Commandos For Christ Stockpile Grace Like it’s World War FREE!

Of the many disappointments we weathered in having to cancel this year’s NYC conference, none was more painful than missing out on hosting a surprise early screening of the upcoming film Electric Jesus. The director Chris White is an avid Mbird reader and approached us with the opportunity after wrapping production last year, on the condition that we weren’t allowed to advertise. So we were going to spring the opportunity on attendees after they arrived. Those who’ve been following the film’s FB pagethe destination these days for top-drawer Christian kitsch (presented with affection rather than disdain!)–know the glory of what could have been. The promo for the movie describes it this way:

ELECTRIC JESUS is a wistful coming-of-age music-comedy reminiscent of THE COMMITMENTS, THAT THING YOU DO, and SING STREET—a rock-and-roll movie about a band that never quite goes all the way. While the screen band’s music is a weird mash-up of 80’s hair metal and vacation Bible school, ELECTRIC JESUS wears its teenage protagonists’ hearts on its sleeve, à la THE BREAKFAST CLUB, LADY BIRD, and ALMOST FAMOUS.

As if that weren’t enough, the original songs and score were provided by no less than indie rock god Daniel Smith (Danielson Famile, Sufjan Stevens, Jad Fair, et al). Can I get an amen?! White assures me that Mbird will have another shot at a pre-release viewing, but in the meantime, the first music video has arrived and it is … a revelation. I’ve posted the lyrics in the comments. Share and share alike my friends:

Dylan on COVID and Little Richard’s Fugitive Good News

Bob Dylan to the rescue! The bard granted a rare interview last week to Douglas Brinkley, and man he did not disappoint, offering his brilliantly in-the-world-but-not-of-it perspective on Little Richard, COVID, and the mysterious nature of songwriting. Reminiscent of his transfiguration interview from a few years ago, and the line about the Eagles made me […]

A Song You Were Made to Join In: A Review of Jason Isbell’s “Reunions”

This review comes to us from Ryan Stevenson-Cosgrove: On May 15th, Jason Isbell followed up his excellent three album streak with the album Reunions. Much of the press ruminated on the unique sort of challenge his past accomplishments present: what is an artist to do after pulling off near perfection three times in a row? […]

June Playlist

Click here to listen to (most of) it on Spotify. And if you need a video to sustain you this week, might I suggest Rance Allen recording Dylan’s “When He Returns”:

11 Beautiful Lesser-Known Hymns for Ordinary Time

The Devotional Art I Need Right Now

Miss Anthropocene and the Romance of Human Extinction

The costly aversion of the eyes from death— Beneath it all, desire of oblivion runs. – Philip Larkin Until last fall when she was accused of technofascism, I had only a vague familiarity with Grimes, whose 2012 hit “Oblivion” had come to me a time or two from Spotify’s all-knowing algorithm. She didn’t seem to […]

500 Miles and 40 Years of Healing

Thankful for this one from Joseph McSpadden. I have been rescued by music on more than one occasion. Several times the Comforter has used a song as a way to open me up, and bring healing. This is one story of how He showed up in melodies when I felt most abandoned. My father was […]

The Making of a Saint: The Music of Good Saint Nathanael 

“Grace is indeed required to turn a man into a saint; and he who doubts this does not know what either a man or a saint is.” – Blaise Pascal For many of us, sainthood, at least in the Catholic sense, is an insignificant pastime. It is the ecclesial equivalent to the Rock and Roll […]