Benefits of Volunteering

There comes in time in everyone’s life that one needs to experience the effects of volunteering. Community service and helping people in general is something that is proven to make a person feel better about their place in their town, community, or country. It offers a sense of being needed and being able to help someone who needs it. There are also many other lessons and benefits to be rewarded with. Volunteering consists of: Solving problems, strengthening communities, improving lives, transforming our own lives, and connecting with others.

Within the past two decades there has been much research regarding the indications that volunteering provides to individual health and communal health. There is a strong correlation between volunteering and health, according to a study presented by CNCS. “Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression late in life.”

This study also reveals that even a considerable amount of volunteering (100 hours per year) can have the power to yield all the benefits of community service.

In addition to reducing stress, creating a sense of peace and fulfillment, volunteering is a great way to meet new people in your community and create mutually beneficial relationships. Volunteering and community service at a small scale is probably the most important key to creating a better environment for the future.

Kyle RObinson

Alternative Rock: Now & Then

Alternative rock has changed significantly over the years, from the artist that make up the genre to how fans enjoy it. Lollapalooza, the music festival that had an epic run from 1991 to 1997, followed by a troubled revival in 2003, exemplifies those changes. Kyle Robinson Canton Georgia Florida

Pitchfork.com’s Rob Mitchum’s 2005 article, “The Museum of Alternative Rock,” tackles those changes from a nostalgic view of the Lollapalooza of the 90s compared to the festivals revival in 2003. As a young adult, Mitchum had finally been able to attend Lollapalooza and was wowed by the acts he saw, but Mitchum sounds highly disappointed with the Lollapalooza he attended as a professional writer for a leading publication on music.

Where did Lollapalooza go wrong? Reading Mitchum’s article, it seems like the list would be quite lengthy. For starters, Mitchum and perhaps other music fans who had attended earlier iterations of Lollapalooza felt that the acts that were featured after the Lollapalooza revival did not do much to exemplify the original spirit commonly found throughout the festival. The setting itself detracted from that. After 2003, Lollapalooza went from a traveling festival that would hit various American cities to a one-destination festival hosted in Chicago, Illinois. To fund the troubled festival, organizers brokered deals with corporations for sponsorship that involved plastered logos and company names on the main stages. For Mitchum, this went against the original anti-corporate, anti-record label attitudes that many attendees and artist alike carried. The new Lollapalooza also failed to attract fresh, popular artists instead favoring older acts whose music would perhaps be lost to the changing generations that now attend the festival. This leads Mitchum to call it a museum of alternative rock, as it was full of bands that did little to once again electrify the genre and the festival as they had once do before.

Another point made by Mitchum that can lead to the downfall of a once highly acclaimed music festival is the lack of diversity in the music offered. When Lollapalooza was revived, mostly rock acts were favored for performing although earlier festivals in the 90s incorporated popular hip-hop acts as well.

The Benefits of Community Service

First and foremost, volunteering incorporates service into our lives as we make a different in our community and society. Volunteering has many various intangible benefits such as pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment.

While we share our time, talents, and efforts we solve problems, strengthen communities, improve lives and transform our own lives. There have been a growing body of research that shows how volunteering provides individual health benefits as well as social ones. Those who volunteer have lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

Some of the research also indicates that volunteers who devote a considerable amount of time to volunteer activities, which is about 100 hours per year, are most likely to exhibit these positive health outcomes.

Kyle Robinson Holly Springs Georgia FloridaHere are a few tips for families who want to volunteer:

1. Sometimes busy schedules allow for little family time. Volunteering is a great way to bring families together while giving back to the community.

2. Life lessons can be taught through diligent service. Family Volunteering allows everyone to have a chance to expand perspectives and be exposed to new issues, first-handedly.

3. Encourage life-long volunteering. While families volunteer together, children are more likely to develop the habit of giving to the comity and are more likely to counter on their own in the future.

Blast from the Recent Past: Relient K

Kyle Robinson Holly Springs, GARelient K is a successful Christian Alternative rock band formed in 1998.

Relient K comes from Canton, Ohio, and had a solid national fan base and two golden albums by 2004. It was with the release of the bands album “MmHmm” that rocketed them that year. With he marketing success of Capitol Records working with them, the group scored a mainstream hit, “Be My Escape”, as well as several TV appearances and a spot on the Vans Warped Tour.

The album “MmHmm” sold about 800,000 copies, which is still a number that would make the news to this day.

Dave Douglas, the drummer of Relient K, said, “That was the record that took us upstream. We got to do some big-budget video shoots, had a couple of songs in the top 40.” He adds, “It’s an important record as far as the band is concerned, and a lot of fans consider it tone a favorite, with songs they really related to.”

Guitarist Matt Hoopes considers “MmHmm” to be “Probably our most pivotal album, for sure. We had fun recording the first three albums, but every decision was always about the budget. For this one, the idea going in was, ‘Let’s really try to make a great-sounding record.’”

Hoopes vividly remembers hearing the hit single “Be My Escape” on the radio for the first time. He says, “I feel like every person in the band remembers that moment. It’s crazy. You feel this thing happening around you.”

During the beginning stages of the band, the group released their debut album in 2000 which was self-titled, and the band members look back on how far they have come since then. “We were trying our best,” Says Hoopes. “But it just sounds ridiculous. Almost everyone in a cool indie band today was in a horrible pop-punk band in high school.” He adds, “I’m still in that band.”

Hoopes explains further, “The important thing is we are able to solve and bring in different influences, although I think we’ll always have some pop-punk in us. I’m very proud of our last three or four records.”

Relient K was launched in the Christian music scene with many Christian fans, however, the group has never branded itself as a Christian-Rock specific band. Hoopes says, “Christian music is the only genre classified by lyrical content alone, which is a hard thing to quantify because lyrics can mean different things to different people.”

He goes on to say, “We were more about, ‘Are we honest and writing about things that are important to us?’ I think that’s what connected us to people. It almost becomes something bigger than the music.”

Nirvana

In 1991, Nirvana released it’s album ‘Nevermind’ that set alternative rock as the noise, icon-smashing descendent of punk rock, and ultimately into the commercial mainstream. The album sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide and knocked Michael Jackson off the top of the charts.

Nirvana set the tone for the 90’s music scene, not only with their music and message, but also their style as well. Donned in thrift-shop plaid shirts and ripped jeans, designers soon mimicked what Kurt Cobain and the members of his band wore. The band members raged against the material, synthetic, and cookie-cutter trappings of pop music.

Their sound was a mixture that was close to both the fury of punk rock and the melodic effects of the Beatles. Nirvana’s popularity showed that grunge was not only acceptable, but also helped bring out many other bands that were considered to be far too raw for mainstream listeners.

“Nirvana will be remembered for revolutionizing the state of rock n’ roll in the 1990’s, pulling it away form a processed, rather synthetic sound and returning it to something more sincere,” says Michael Azerrad, author of “Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana,” which was published last year by Doubleday.

Kyle Robinson Holly Springs Georgia Canton

Still Relient After All These Years?

Fans and critics need to take a deep breath.

Everyone needs to take a deep breath, fans and critics alike.

Still Relient After All These Years?

By Kyle Robinson

 

Ever since their album debut back in 2000, Relient K’s music has made the band a popular crossover between mainstream pop punk and the contemporary Christian rock scenes. During that 14-year journey, Relient K has woven a rich musical tapestry, balancing songs that pull from Christian themes with those that cater to a commercial, mainstream audience.

Interestingly, their latest album, Collapsible Lung, left fans on both sides disappointed. Yes, there were only a few Christian references and some songs celebrate sinful acts with pride. But mainly, fans were unhappy because Relient K didn’t sound like Relient K at all in their newest release.

The short answer is that Relient K traveled a very different path with Collapsible Lung. For one thing, the band hired many songwriters to collaborate, co-edit and write songs on the album. And despite the big names that made their way onto the credits, including Bruno Mars producer Ari Levine and Sugarcult’s Tim Pagnotta, the resulting lyrics sound uninspired and trite.

But the lyrics are just one dimension; Collapsible Lung actually differs more dramatically in musical quality and production. Though Relient K is typically known for acoustic piano tracks and headbanging punk songs, the new release features a much more synthesized and poppier sound than their previous releases. Even the drums are largely fake, a rarity for the Christian rockers.

If you thought the album sounded experimental, you’re right. Lead guitarist Matt Hoopes explains that, “We really wanted to throw ourselves a curveball, push ourselves…It hasn’t been a success for a lot of our fans. But we felt like it was a record that we had to make, and I’m glad we made it.”

Whether Relient K deserves credit for being daring will depend on your outlook regarding artistic and creative liberties. Most fans aren’t happy with this release but Relient K nevertheless took a risk that could help them grow musically and artistically. A band’s journey is never linear, and Relient K’s latest album serves as a testament to this adage.

Switchfoot Doesn’t Flip-Flop

Rocking out in Atlanta.

Rocking out in Atlanta.

Switchfoot Doesn’t Flip-Flop

By Kyle Robinson

Whether or not they want to be identified as Christian rock, San Diego quintet Switchfoot is a thoroughly Christian band. While removed from the overt Christian themes found in early albums New Way to Be Human and Learning to Breathe (songs of which appear on the A Walk to Remember hit soundtrack), Switchfoot’s latest material finds the band revisiting the same water that nourished its roots – obliquely, if not directly.

Released in January 2014, Fading West feels like a simultaneous evolution and retrospective for Switchfoot, evoking the characteristically heartfelt emotions of the Foreman brothers’ lyrics while finding substantial crossover appeal. Although sometimes criticized for being less-than-obviously-Christian with their words, Switchfoot nevertheless remains committed to the principles of Christianity and the acts of Jesus Christ. In a 2013 interview, Jon Foreman said, “Christ didn’t come and die for my songs, he came for me…I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing”. Food for thought! More of his thoughts on the “Christian rock” label and his personal faith can be found here: http://ctkblog.com/2013/12/05/why-switchfoot-wont-sing-christian-songs/.

NothingEverNew and Breaking Through

Kyle Robinson NothingEverNew Atlanta Band

Hi! My name is Kyle Robinson and I write music, record and perform with my band, NothingEverNew. We’re based out of Atlanta and play uplifting, Christian-themed music with a modern rock feel. Our first album, Breaking Through, came out in fall 2013 and features 10 new tracks dedicated to everyone who recognizes the common pains, challenges, and joys we face on our journey together. Whether you feel like you’re drifting or learning how to close your eyes, we hope Breaking Through can help you find some of the comfort and peace you’re seeking, wherever you are in your spiritual or physical life. Please check us out on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon, or our official home page. We also have a new band page on Jango. Welcome all!

Kyle Robinson Ready to Play in Atlanta