Category Archives: Pop Culture

New album from House of Heroes releases today

House of Heroes released its new album “Cold Heart Want” today.

The album is produced by Paul Moak (Mat Kearney, Lovedrug) and mixed by J.R. McNeely.

The band will start a tour this month with Relient K, Hellogoodbye and William Beckett (former lead is singer of The Academy Is).

NEW TOUR FOR OWL CITY – Owl City is excited to announce a world tour this fall in support of his new full-length studio album, The Midsummer Station – out Aug. 21 on Universal Republic. The tour, which kicks off on Sept. 5th at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom, begins just two weeks after the album release and will hit major cities across the U.S. and Canada, including Newport Music Hall in Columbus on Sept. 16, before the North American leg concludes on Oct. 7 at The Crofoot in Detroit, Mich. Afterwards, Young will take off to France and make his way from Europe to Asia and finally wrap up the 45 date tour in New Zealand on Nov. 3.

The announcement of Owl City’s The Midsummer Station World Tour comes on the heels of a massive first week for “Good Time” – the debut single off Young’s forthcoming album that features a duet with “Call Me Maybe” pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen. The song was added by more than 100 radio stations and sold 140,000 copies in the first week earning “Good Time” a #18 debut on the Billboard Hot 100.

NEW VIDEO FROM JSON – Lamp Mode Recordings has released Json’s new music video for the single, “Brand New,” from the album Growing Pains, which debuted at No. 4 on the iTunes Hip-Hop Chart when it released in February. One of this year’s most anticipated Christian hip-hop releases, Growing Pains features collaborations with Lecrae, Mikeschair, Benjah, Jai and more.

“‘Brand New’ is a hype song about what it means for the believer to be made new in the image of Christ,” explains Json. “Brand New is one of those songs that just makes you wanna move. The video simply adds to that feeling. If you’ve been made brand new, then this should be your anthem.”

Here is the music video.

Song of the week: “No Angel” by Playdough

Columbus Zoo’s new stars have stripes

Two Amur tiger cubs were born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on June 28 and 29. The first arrived at 10:41 p.m. and the second about four hours later. The newborn cubs, weighing just two to three pounds at birth, were initially monitored by the animal care team using a remote feed from a camera mounted in the den.

The team was already concerned about the health of the first cub which, despite nursing successfully shortly after the birth of the second cub, had not nursed for an extended period and appeared to be weakening when the Zoo lost power on the evening of June 29 due to a powerful storm. Since they were unable to monitor the activity in the den, the team made the decision to remove both cubs for hand rearing. The cubs are being raised together for companionship and socialization.

The cubs are currently in intensive care in the Zoo’s Animal Health Center; their condition is not yet stable. It is unknown when Zoo visitors will be able to see them.

These cubs are the first for five-year-old female, Mara, and nine-year-old male, Foli. They are the first Amur tigers ever born at the Columbus Zoo; the last birth of any tiger subspecies at the Columbus Zoo occurred in 1990.

The pairing of Mara and Foli was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) for tigers. The AZA, of which the Columbus Zoo is an accredited member, strives to maintain a sustainable population of tigers in North America.

The tiger is the largest of all cat species. Native to Asia there are six living and three extinct subspecies of tiger. Currently there are fewer than 150 Amur tigers in 50 AZA institutions in North America. These tigers are considered pedigreed since they have a known ancestry and breeding recommendations to maintain genetic diversity are managed by a studbook.

Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica), also historically referred to as Siberian tigers, are critically endangered; fewer than 500 individuals are believed to exist in the forests of the Russian Far East. Their populations are dwindling due to overhunting of prey species such as deer and wild boar, habitat loss, and poaching for skins and body parts used in traditional Chinese medicine. Humans directly cause 75 to 85 percent of tiger deaths.

The Columbus Zoo is a long-term supporter of the Siberian Tiger Project which was established in 1992 by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The Zoo’s funding contributes to improving human-tiger conflict mitigation, increasing capacity for young Russian scientists, and biological monitoring of tigers through camera trapping, track surveys and radio collaring.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium contributes $1 million annually to more than 70 conservation projects in 30 countries. Monies are raised from private contributions and fundraising activities including Wine for Wildlife held each fall at the Zoo. This year’s Wine for Wildlife event is already sold-out and proceeds will be dedicated to the Siberian Tiger Project.

The Sunrise launches new album

The Sunrise is proud to announce the release of their second album, We Have Not Heard, featuring guest appearances from legendary guitarist Phil Keaggy and Crosby Stills Nash & Young drummer Joe Vitale. Self-proclaimed “Jesus People,” James and Rebecca Mileti may singlehandedly be reviving the Jesus Music genre with their latest release from indie label The Winchester Records.

The Sunrise has a sound that has been compared to ‘a Christian Wilco’ and the White Stripes by Jesusfreakhideout.com, while Goldmine Magazine compared their songwriting to ’70’s acts like Paul McCartney, Seals & Crofts, Don McLean and Todd Rundgren. But what sets The Sunrise apart is the vertical lyrics that leave no room for confusion when it comes to the band’s focus, mission and purpose.

“I remember the way albums by Keith Green, Love Song and 2nd Chapter of Acts made me feel,” notes James. “I want to recreate that feeling of worship and conviction in a musical form that serious music fans will enjoy. We’ve put together top notch musicians, interesting arrangements and thought provoking lyrics, like Christian musicians used to regularly do, to spur the listener into action for Jesus!”

The Mileti’s enlisted virtuoso guitarist Phil Keaggy for three tracks on We Have Not Heard (“Judgement Day,” “Like The Sunrise” and the title track), while Crosby Stills Nash & Young drummer Joe Vitale pops up on the album’s title track as well.

WILD FOR YANCY – Yancy’s popular Little Praise Party CD/DVD Series for preschool age kids is being featured this summer on endcap displays in all of the nearly 300 Family Christian Stores locations nationwide.

Little Praise Party: Happy Day Everyday and Little Praise Party: My Best Friend provide sing-along fun and worship for the youngest generation that the whole family can enjoy. A companion DVD of animated videos for each song is also available.

For more than a decade, Yancy has released radio friendly pop/rock albums and multiple projects for kids and young adults, all while sharing the stage with such artists as Mute Math, Newsboys, 4Him and Nichole Nordeman. As a writer, Yancy has teamed up with Third Day’s Mac Powell, wrote Avalon’s #1 hit “I Don’t Want To Go” and Jaci Velasquez’s “Something Beautiful,” and still found the time to compose two devotional books for worship leaders and musicians and a devotional book for pre-teens. In 2011, Yancy teamed up with Standard Publishing for an exclusive partnership to write and produce content for Standard Publishing’s 2012 Vacation Bible School. She’s also the receipient of About.com’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Award for Best Christian Indie Solo Artist.

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR NAMED – The 9th Annual CCM Network International Songwriting Contest has announced its Songwriter of the Year, Keith Elgin. The singer/songwriter, whose winning song is “Made For More” from his self-titled EP, will receive prizes including studio time with one of the industry’s top record producers.

CCM Networking International was founded in 2004 to offer resources to the current and next generation of Christian music artists, songwriters and worship leaders. Its annual songwriting competition is the organization’s premier event of the year.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Tuesday’s View From The Pugh column features national pop culture notes with a focus on faith items. E-mail
viewfromthepugh@yahoo.com to submit an item for consideration for a future column).

House of Heroes debuts new music online

House of Heroes will premiere lyric videos for each song from its new album “Cold Hard Want” through July 6 at select sites for 24 hours only, a daily tweet from @coldhardwant will reveal the link to the site with the exclusive each day. Follow House of Heroes at http://twitter.com/#!/coldhardwant.

The album is slated to release July 10.

SCHLITT HITS CHARTS – John Schlitt has hit the Billboard and Christian Music Weekly (CMW) music charts with “Hope That Saves The World,” the lead single from The Greater Cause, the legendary vocalist’s fourth solo CD.

The single, co-written by Schlitt and his producer, Dan Needham, landed in the No. 29 spot on Billboard’s Christian Rock chart and No. 25 on CMW’s Rock chart.

“With the new chart positions, it’s clear that people all over the world are responding to the dynamic combination of the timeless message of ‘Hope That Saves The World,’ John Schlitt’s amazing voice and the power of God!” says Jeff McLaughlin, president, A-Sides Radio Promotion.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Tuesday’s View From The Pugh column features national pop culture notes with a focus on faith items. E-mail
viewfromthepugh@yahoo.com to submit an item for consideration for a future column).

Project 86 announces new album, Ohio concerts

Project 86 has announced plans to release their new album, Wait For the Siren, on Aug.21.

The album was funded through Kickstarter and promises to introduce a reinvented sound.

“For those who are acquainted with the band, or our previous work, the sound of this incarnation of P86 will be bit shocking, but in the best possible way,” lead singer Andrew Schwab said. “We captured the spirit that attracted people to our band long ago, with a whole new approach to the sonics.”

In addition to the band’s traditional rock sound, the album also features layers of celtic instrumentation on several tracks, including hammered dulcimer, mandolin, and Uilleann pipes.

“Part of the ‘getting back to roots’ theme on this record is the journey of self-discovery I embarked on while writing this record,” Schwab said. “I had to do some detective work, but I unearthed some secrets about my past. One of these secrets is that I have Irish ancestors who fought and died in the civil war as a part of the Irish Brigade. This inspired some of the military themes and celtic instrumentation on the record, which added a new level of epic emotion on some of the songs.”

The band will be in Ohio in August with the following concerts.

Aug. 1 – Findlay – The Catalyst Church
Aug. 10 – Dublin – Orange Friends Church
Aug. 12 – Canton – The Auricle

The album will be available for purchase at the August shows prior to the Aug. 21 release date.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Tuesday’s View From The Pugh column features national pop culture notes with a focus on faith items. E-mail
viewfromthepugh@yahoo.com to submit an item for consideration for a future column).

Song of the week: “When She’s Near” by Fiction Family

Woman of Faith back with larger tour

Women of Faith, the nation’s largest live event for women, will unveil its most transformational tour yet: “Celebrate What Matters.”

The cross-country tour will highlight some never-before-seen elements including a live worship band, a new state-of-the art stage and live ballet, among others.

This revitalized experience features a 4-month, 23-city North American tour launching on Aug. 3 in Columbus with a diverse line up of 27 well-known speakers, authors, musicians and performers spread throughout.

To find a city hosting “Celebrate What Matters 2012” or for more information about the event, go to www.WomenofFaith.com/events.

THE CHOIR TO CLOSE CORNERSTONE – The Choir is set to play the final day of the Cornerstone Festival on July 7 at Bushnell Campground outside of Chicago, Ill. The Cornerstone Festival began in 1984, and The Choir had the honor to play at that very first festival to a crowd of 5,000.

“Cornerstone Festival is honored to be sharing our final event with a wonderful band like The Choir,” shares Cornerstone Festival Director, Scott Stahnke. “From our first event in 1984 to our last event in 2012, it has been a joy to have them bring their remarkable music to the Cornerstone stage year after year.”

Derri Daugherty, Steve Hindalong, Dan Michaels and Tim Chandler, otherwise known as The Choir, look back over their three decades together as a band and remember how much the Cornerstone Festival has impacted them. Michaels says, “The Choir was the first band to play on the first day of the very first Cornerstone. It is so meaningful to us that we were invited to play the last one.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Tuesday’s View From The Pugh column features national pop culture notes with a focus on faith items. E-mail
viewfromthepugh@yahoo.com to submit an item for consideration for a future column).

Song of the week: “Remember the Empire” by House of Heroes

Kids raise $50,000 for charity at local event

Various elementary and middle school students through Central Ohio made a gallant effort Sunday morning in Genoa Park in Columbus in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record for longest penny chain.

“We wanted to do something to show the community what Columbus is capable of and what these kids are capable of,” See Kids Dream Executive Director Bill Grindle told a local reporter. “So this event is really about showing off what these kids have done.”

And although the kids finished a little short in their attempt to break the record, they raised about $50,000 to support local charitable causes.

The event featured over 1,500 students from 47 Central Ohio schools who placed an estimated 6 million pennies in a trail at the park.

PFR IS BACK – On the 20th anniversary of its Grammy-nominated album debut, Pray For Rain, on Sparrow Records, Dove Award-winning Christian rock band PFR has reunited and is prepping for the 12 in 2012…And Beyond Tour, their first national tour since 1997.

Concerts will take the band to Portland, Ore., Kansas City, Nashville, Indianapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, and the Arizona cities of Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff. For the tour, the legendary band has partnered with ChildFund International to encourage sponsorship of special needs children throughout the world.

PFR chose to work with ChildFund, in part, because of bass player and vocalist Patrick Andrew’s personal story as the father of two special needs children. Because ChildFund utilizes a unique organizational structure, there is only one donor per child, so each donor is able to build a personal, one-to-one relationship with their sponsored child.

“This is so hard on a family to go through, and we have the best doctors, hospitals and equipment,” explains Andrew, whose youngest son, Samuel, fights an autoimmune disease, and oldest son, Everett, lives with autism. “I can’t imagine what it is like for a family in a less fortunate part of the world to watch their child go through an illness and not be able to make sure that they have the best care. ChildFund has offered us the opportunity to offer sponsorships for special needs kids, and that’s really exciting for me.”

“ChildFund is excited to partner with PFR,” says Anne Lynam Goddard, president & CEO of ChildFund. “This partnership will introduce new audiences to ChildFund’s work in 31 countries and the life-changing impact of sponsorship.”

The new tour is a tribute, the band members say, to their friendships and music of the past two decades.

“It’s been 20 years since we released our very first album, Pray for Rain,” says frontman/guitarist Joel Hanson. “This new tour feels like a really good way to celebrate the music and the bond that has held us and our fans together all these years.”

“We’ve had this conversation about touring again for several years,” adds drummer Mark Nash. “Occasionally we’ve gotten together to do a show. We’re still really good friends, and when we are on stage that same chemistry and energy is still there.”