Saturday, January 19, 2008

Edge of the City Has Moved!

Edge of the City has now moved over to Wordpress! And let me tell you, it's amazing how much better the blog looks with five minutes of work using Wordpress tools.

Check it out

I will be discussing The Pope's new book, Jesus of Nazareth, everyday.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Best Music Of The Year 2007

by Timothy Zila

Okay, so 2007's list is called “Don’t Worry About the Numbers.” I know I’m probably not supposed to name best of lists, but I’m okay with breaking the rules this time.

# 1
Feist’s The Reminder
Scroll down about half of the way.

# 2
Iron & Wine The Shepherd’s Dog

The Shepherd’s Dog is a brilliant piece of musical construction if nothing else. There’s never a drum beat or guitar note that feels out of place, or one that isn’t important to the overall experience in some vital way. This is Sam Beam and band officially divorced from minimilism, but The Shepherd’s Dog isn’t just filling up the space previously occupied by the echoes of Beam’s whispered words, it’s about capitalizing on that emptiness. The album may fall well short of being transcendental, and at least a little short of being truly affecting, but it’s simply unrivaled in its sheer musical and lyrical craft by all but a few. (In Rainbows is among them, but this is much, much better.) Plus, “Resurrection Fern” is what Beam intimacy sounds like when brought out of the basement, and placed in the blazing sunshine. Brilliant.

# 3
Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky

This is the kind of album that, at least most of the time, doesn’t seem to want your attention. It’s a chill album, full of low-key songs with melodies that rarely lift off, and it’s also the album that the more you listen to it the more you’re impressed with what you hear. It’s Wilco capitalizing on over-used guitar motifs and tempo changes, and filling up the space with somewhat obscurely veiled lyrics that explode in your face. (Most notably, no pun intended, on “You Are My Face.”) Suffice it so say, it’s one of those songs that emerges as a song genuinely posed to leave you euphoric, playing the song over and over again as you try to recapture the moment and hope that it never fades.

“Impossible Germany,” on the other hand, is notable for just how little and how much it says about it’s subject. It eschews any pretensious political commentary (pick any popular artist that, very ineffectually, talks about anything) and tries to encapsulate the song in several simple repeated lines “Impossible Germany/Unlikely Japan.” Then the song bows out with three minutes of beautifully laid back riffing (even when it’s furious), with Tweedy carrying the main melody and Cline’s furious playing weaving in and out and joining with Tweedy’s before returning to where the song started if only to remind us where the song took us in six minutes. (There might be a third guitar as well, I’m not sure.)

# 4
Radiohead In Rainbows

In some ways it doesn’t matter where In Rainbows fits into the Radiohead canon. It’s good solid music almost entirely devoid of weirdness, which makes for a good introduction to the band. “Nude” and “Jigsaw Falling into Place” are the best songs on the album. I can’t/don’t want to describe “Nude”, but I will point out that “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” is just a plain good song. Bass guitar thumps in the background to match the loosely invigorating acoustic guitar strums, to prepare for Thom’s frantic, present tense lyrics.

“Just as you take my hand/Just as you write my number down/Just as the drinks arrive/Just as they play your favorite song . . . Before you run away from me/Before you’re lost between the notes/The beat goes round and round, the beat goes round and round . . . Jigsaw falling into place.”

# 5
Glen Hansard and Mark√©ta Irglov√°’s Once (The Soundtrack)

Once is one of the best movies of the year for sure, but when your film is made up of approximately 60% music it’s really the music that makes the film. The film in itself is revelatory because someone’s figured out how to the kind of film I’ve been abstractly dreaming about, setting a bare-bones simple story to some of the most emotionally emotive and melodically inspired music of the year. All it takes for Once to captivate you is a few seconds of Hansard performing “Say It To Me Now” to know that this is the rare kind of music that (especially when paired with the film) can cripple you, leaving you begging for more long after the film, and it’s soundtrack, have finished playing.

# 6
Josh Ritter’s The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

The fun record of the year. The disappointing album of the year. The come back to album of the year.

# 7
Derek Webb’s One Zero

Although the album gets bland before the end, One Zero is a testament to just how good of a songwriter Derek Webb is. On these ten acoustic renditions of established Webb songs, Webb lets his voice stretch higher and raspier than it’s ever been before, with the result showing Webb at his rawest. Plus, this collection of ten of Webb’s previous songs is unique in managing to be both relevant, and not cancel out the previous studio recordings of these ten songs. “Medication” may be better than ever on One Zero, but it in no way cancels out the go for broke tone of the previous recording.

(Insert three great albums in order to make an even, and not prime, number. :)

Highly Recommended:

The following albums either didn’t completely add up, or were very good without being great.

Nyles Lannon’s Pressure is lo-fi rock/folk rhythm buried underneath layers of sound. Includes lyrics like, “Hearing promises from parrots in the tree/But I still never believe them . . ./I see the cracks in you creeping up from your past/I see the tracks to you bending and I can’t stop this from spilling/Let’s just slow down.”
Free download at

Kyle Andrew’s Find Love, Let Go
Free download at

Lavender Diamond’s Imagine Our Love has about three excellent songs. It doesn’t add up, to be sure, but the least you can do is download “Oh No,” “Open Your Heart,” and “When You Wake for Certain.”

The Innocence Mission’s We Walked in Song.
Mostly separated from the sadness of death and winter and, unfortunately, not quite a meditation on the life and the coming of spring, We Walked in Song is still a wonderful experience, with Karen Peris’ voice once again leading the way.
Free download at

Derek Webb’s The Ringing Bell
If only to not include Webb twice, I’ve put this here. Webb’s throwback to the songwriting of the Beatles is the years most immediately arresting release, so when I say that it starts to fall flat after about forty spins is still a pretty high compliment. Give “A Love That’s Stronger Than Our Fear” a play for it’s social commentary, “I Don’t Want To Fight” for the way the drums enter and exit the song, and “Name” for just being really, really good.

My Wish List. (Or, CD’s that probably ought to be on this list but aren’t because I haven’t heard them! It’s almost Christmas, so if you want this to imply anything, that’s okay with me.)

Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible
The National’s Boxer
Band of Horses Cease to Begin
Mandy Moore’s Wild Hope
LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Into Great Silence

I just finished watching a great docu-drama called Into Great Silence. It follows monks of the Grande Charteuse monastery - for nearly three hours. Maybe I'll get to do a proper review/piece for the Patrol ( - yes, I really can't stop myself from self-advertising), but I have to say the film was fascinating.

I'm not at all a fan of those artsy slow movies that ultimately have no point at all, and in the very process of trying to be more real, or true to life, strip all the emotion and life out of a piece and actually make it "less" like life, but Into Great Silence is an exception.

There's few surprising moments, but the few we do get are treated as every other moment in the film, whether it be a time of prayer, or song, or eating lunch. The film was profound not in that it made me think about a lot of things, but in that I spent three hours of the most peaceful, warming silence of my life.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Derek Webb Interview

Hey, I did a great interview with a artist you need to check out - Derek Webb. In the first part of the interview (the second part is due tomorrow) Derek Webb talks about growing up in the south and the vital role art plays to any worldview or culture - it tells the story of our culture. And, furthermore, is the music, film, and art being produced right now the story we want to be told. Check it out at:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Scott Orr's Miles From Today Available Free

Hey, a pretty great unknown folk/country artist Scott Orr has made his latest album Miles from Today available for free. For news and a link (look in the bottom left corner) to the download visit

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Patrol

The website which was formerly known as the CCM Patrol has undergone an amazing transformation and is launching tomorrow as the Patrol ( We have some amazing pieces coming up, including interviews with Derek Webb, Switchfoot, and so much more stuff. I promise if you give it a shot you'll love it. Check it out tomorrow.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Timothy Zila Caseless EP

Available this Tuesday the Timothy Zila Caseless EP is a collection lovely acoustic songs which show a temperate for confessional and heartfelt songwriting. Simple melodies abound amidst darker elements. With production values so poor you can't really blame me if you don't like it, and a voice which I hope will be tolerable the Caseless EP will stay in your room forever, and I trust it will be eventually broken in two as I don't have a case to give it to you.

Delivered by hand and, again, available this Tuesday, order yours today.