Last week, I featured the band Urban Heat. This week, after the Texas school massacre, they shared their song that came out a couple years ago. They recently shared that they hate that this song is still relevant.
You wanna find your place,
You wanna make your mark
With that gun in your hand?
You wanna shine a light,
Shine a light in the dark
With that gun in your hand
There's no way you will mistake
That awful sound
Say Your Prayers. Hold your breath
And put your guns on the ground
Let's put our guns on the ground
Andy “Fletch” Fletcher (1961-2022)
Depeche Mode is my absolute favorite band.
I could go deep, but that will have to be another day, and be parceled out.
I would not be here if it weren’t for Depeche Mode. Music literally saves lives.
Here he is about 9 years ago letting loose.
As you probably know by now, the synth is my favorite instrument. Fletch was extremely influential with synthesizer in music since the 1980’s.
One good example is the following song from Music for the Masses (1987).
Rest in Peace, Fletch. I hope you know that you saved many lives. (Again, not an exaggeration.)
In my quest to discover new music, I didn’t expect to fall in love so quickly with this band from Austin, TX. This band has consistent, driving fat synth paired with Jonathan Horstmann’s deep, gorgeous baritone voice. Horstmann’s earnest expressions have a combination of grit and soul.
Gen-Xers might compare it to Depeche Mode. Millennials may compare it to Bloc Party and maybe the Shins. This band honestly stands on it’s own with talent and integrity. I don’t know much about what makes a band big or not, but I wouldn’t be shocked if these guys made it big. (Whatever that means these days.)
In listening to their catalog on Spotify, I realize that the subject matter goes much deeper. The songs are profoundly relevant.
This is music for an apocalypse.
Apocalypse comes from Greek apokálypsis “uncovering,” a derivative of the verb apokalýptein “to take the cover off,”
I’ve been calling the current era an era of Great Unveiling. A Spiritual Director reminded me that is the definition of an apocalypse.
Urban Heat cover topics like climate change, gun violence, and deconstruction of belief systems. They convey the ambivalence of what really matters in light of such grand endings. Do we panic at the end of the world? Or do we rebel with celebration?
And I asked you this:
If you're dancing at the end of the world,
Is the world really ending,
Or is it just the beginning?
From “A Simple Love Song”
In 2020, they produced this lovely short film with stunning views of our planet, both in decay and in life.
I was impressed with their description of this piece on YouTube. The spiritual insight reminiscent of ancient contemplative mystics.
We decided to stop for a moment and create something with intention, to clear our heads and offer our listener’s something more thoughtful for the time being. It is allowing us a much needed time to center ourselves before the long journey ahead. If 2020 has been any indication, the future will need us all to keep cool heads.
Urban Heat, 2020
This reminds me of an article I read for fellow clergy during this great upheaval of an era, an apocalypse if you will.
We are in a liminal season: something has ended, but a new thing is not yet ready to begin. In liminal seasons, systems and processes break down because they are supposed to. We cannot discover a new beginning until something ends or dies. Much of our overwhelm comes from trying to preserve or adapt things that are meant to fail.
Have you ever seen the face of god
till you turn around and wonder what it was?
Or have you ever thought you've seen the light
till you turned around and you felt the knife?
For those of us with religious trauma, we answer with wide eyes a simple “yes”. We know. Deeply. Some of us are still working this out. Some of us find the Divine to be completely different, but still feel the dull ache of that old knife wound.
With they posting of the lyrics on their YouTube, they share this hard earned insight:
We’re all raised with a certain belief set and at some point begin to question it. Some of us return to the fold, others form their own code of morality, but everyone at some point has to decide for themselves what they hold as truth. If you haven’t ever questioned the very nature of your existence, are you even alive?
This insight came from a deep wrestling, likely riddled with angst, disillusionment, and pain. I know many (myself included) who know exactly what they are talking about. “If you haven’t ever questioned the very nature of your existence, are you even alive?”
A 12 year-old girl makes something remarkable….in 1980!
When I was 12, I was still listening to New Kids on the Block. (Don’t judge!)
Where were you in 1980? Were you alive yet? I was 3 years old, wore pigtails and plastic Goody barrettes, and loved my Winnie the Pooh dress.
In the meantime, my favorite music was emerging, though it would be some time before I discovered it.
I was just made aware of Chandra. 12 years old in 1980, the daughter of an artists, she wrote lyrics and fronted a postpunk band.
I listened to the EP on Youtube. This reminds me of some of the Riot Grrrl stuff from the ’90s.
It’s fun. It’s real. A 12 year old girl being allowed to fully express herself and who she is in 1980 was rare. I truly hope girls can discover stuff like this again, to claim their space unapologetically, and be encouraged in their creativity. What a difference that would make in the world.