Author: Loyd Harp

I've lived in 6 different states, and 3 different countries. Having lived and worked in England for 13 years, my family and I returned to the United States just over a year ago. I work at an inner-city church in the Near Eastside of Indianapolis. I'm a youth worker by career, and a music lover at heart. Metal, punk, hardcore, indie rock, free jazz, folk, classic country (and more) all have a place in my collection. I wrote a book on youth ministry called "Middle Space Youth Work" that is available in all major online bookstores.

March 17, 2023

Song of the Day: The Discarded - Religious Lie

I first heard of this LA punk band when I was running distro in the early 2000s. They had an EP out on The Legion (short-lived label that only released 3 titles), which I began stocking, and then they put out another release on the upcoming Clumsy Records (also home to Combat Junkies, The Stivs and a few others). I had the chance to catch them live at Cornerstone 2002, which was a fantastic show! In fact, that year was a great year for punk at the festival, as I also saw Huntingtons, The Remnants, One Bad Pig, World Against World, and Headnoise that year among others.… Continued →

March 10, 2023

Song of the Day: Azitis - Time Has Passed

We’re digging deep into the archives for this one. Azitis was a psychedelic rock band from Sacramento, originally formed as “Help” in 1966, but they had to change the name for legal reasons because of a British band by the same name. The band’s name was taken from the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy will be done on earth ‘azitis’ in heaven.” Having come up through the late 60s garage rock scene, by the time they recorded their debut, there was a plethora of original material to choose from.… Continued →

March 3, 2023

Song of the Day: Minier - Philosophy of Man

Greg Minier, the famed guitarist of The Crucified (and later of grunge/alternative/metal project Applehead) released a solo EP of straightforward thrash metal (the yin to The Crucified’s crossover yang), under his last name. The mini-album contained 7 songs and featured Greg playing all the instruments as well as handling the vocal duties. I remember talking with several metalheads at the time and we all agreed it was unfair for the Lord to bless some individuals with so much talent, while others of us got so little!… Continued →

February 24, 2023

Song of the Day: Seasons in the Field - Eternity

Hailing from the tri-state area of West Virginia/Pennsylvania/Ohio,this metalcore band only released one cassette demo and one split CD with emocore band Pensive. What is interesting about that split–that is, besides being a spectacular release from two very good and rather unique bands–is that both bands featured members that would soon after go on to join the more well-known Zao. Pensive featured Brett Detar and Martin Lunn, as well as other members who joined Detar’s later band The Juliana Theory. Seasons in the Field featured Russ Cogdell on guitar, and future Zao screamer Dan Weyandt.… Continued →

February 17, 2023

Song of the Day: United Harvest Workers Union - Compassion

This folk-punk band was formed as a sort of atypical worship band. Their purpose was to create “authentic church music devoid of hype.” Hailing from Pittsburgh, the band features members of Last Hope and Timbre, its roots firmly embedded in the punk scene. Their one and only album was self-released in 2010, but saw a digital re-release in 2019 via Zap Records (home of 2 Minute Minor, Voice of the Mysterons, October Bird of Death, and others). I reviewed the album in 2019, here, and really enjoyed it.… Continued →

February 10, 2023

Song of the Day: Dr. Onionskin - FJR

Dr. Onionskin has a long and somewhat interesting history. Born Shane Ries, he had a brief career in the 80s in mod and power pop bands (a fact I only recently discovered), but first came into CCM prominence with the oddly effective project Hymn Jim’s Gospel Gems (1995), which fused traditional hymns with dance music. He re-branded a year later as Dr. Onionskin and changed styles to acid jazz, releasing the quirky, instrumental and semi-brilliant Split Pea Soup. Then in 1996 he changed styles again, though still building on jazz-electronica fusions, and emerged with Bully and oh my gosh, what a record!… Continued →

February 8, 2023

February 3, 2023

Song of the Day: 3 Car Pile-Up - Dweeb

90s alternative. People either love it or hate it. Despite the excesses of the genre, or the just plain slackness of it, I still love it. 3 Car Pile-Up was never going to win any awards for their musical contributions–unless it was maybe the high school talent show. Their one and only album is raw, somewhat sloppy, and even kind of juvenile in its approach to both music and lyrics. However, that is exactly what I love about it. If you can’t relate to the lyrics of “Dweeb” then I’m not sure you actually lived through American Christianity in the 80s/90s: When I was in grade school, my friends made fun of me They used to call me stupid names, like “Jesus Boy” or “Freak” But I knew come Sunday, that I’d be number one ‘Cuz I knew all my verses, and I would get some gum I’m a dweeb!Continued →

January 27, 2023

Song of the Day: Nina - In a Little While

Perhaps better known as the bassist/vocalist of hardcore punk cum crossover thrash band The Lead, Nina (full name Nina Llopis) released her debut album No Shadow of Turning for R.E.X. Music in 1991. As my friend and fellow fan Tim “Greybeard” Henderson (ex-Warlord) said, “This is a perfect example of 1991 music!” He’s so right. The album had hints of goth rock/post-punk, alternative rock, and jangle pop–a description which doesn’t make logical sense unless you lived through the early 90s. Musically similar to other early 90s female-fronted alternative bands like The Darling Buds and Concrete Blonde, the effort was a huge departure from her previous material with the hardcore/thrash band from which we’d come to know her.… Continued →

January 20, 2023

Song of the Day: Geoff Mann - Hope Hospital

Geoff Mann was a fairly well-known prog rock artist in the UK, but unfortunately his renown didn’t quite make it across the Atlantic. Having been the vocalist in an early incarnation of famed UK prog rock band Twelfth Night, he effectively left the band when they moved to London and he decided to remain in Manchester. Sometime in the early 80s, Geoff became a Christian through a “deep and lasting Christian conversion” (for more info, check out this article). At this point Geoff begins making very creative, even experimental prog rock.… Continued →

January 13, 2023

Song of the Day: Pantokrator - The Order of Melchisedec

This Swedish death metal band formed in 1996, and has been active ever since. They immediately began recording cassette demos, initially focusing on traditional death metal and morphing over time into more a melodic and progressive take on the genre. Of course, Sweden is known for its melodeath sound, centered in Gothenburg, but Pantokrator are from the opposite side of the southern peninsula. Lyrically the band tend to feature songs about biblical mysteries, not your typical Christian metal fare. Rather than topics of salvation and judgment, they tell stories about obscure characters like the Nephilim, the legendary and quasi-biblical Lilith, and Melchisedec, featured here.… Continued →

January 6, 2023

Damien Jurado Pulls His Music from Spotify for Ethical Reasons

Singer-songwriter and indie darling, Damien Jurado, long known for his poignant songs and unique arrangements, has as of this week pulled all of his music from streaming giant Spotify. The announcement came yesterday via his blog. Jurado didn’t mince words when it came to the reason behind his decision: “I simply cannot continue to support or align myself with a corporation who continues to profit off of the musicians it refuses to pay a fair and decent wage.” Read the full statement here: https://damienjurado.com/blog/2023/01/05/leaving-spotifyContinued →

Song of the Day: Coolidge - Trapped

The best way I can describe Coolidge is as a sort of ‘prequel supergroup.’ All of the members are now well-known for their contributions to indie rock, though none of them were very well-known at the time, and Coolidge remains a fairly obscure blip on the map of alternative music. Formed in 1992, the band featured Damien Jurado on bass and vocals, David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones, Lo Tom) on drums, and Eben Haase (Blenderhead, Don’t Know) on guitar. They played an intense and unique form of emo-core that interweaved lo-fi indie rock into the mix.… Continued →

December 30, 2022

Song of the Day: Haven - The Calling

Haven was a heavy metal/power metal band from New Jersey active in the late 80s and early 90s. The band released two stellar full-length albums for R.E.X. and a third independent release that moved away from heavy metal into hard rock and alternative territory. Fans were often divided on Haven, particularly over the vocals. They were kind of a love ’em or hate ’em thing. Personally, I really enjoyed the unique style. There were enough similarities to Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Mike Lee (Barren Cross), or Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) to draw comparisons, and yet there was a roughness to the high-pitched vocals that made them stand out.… Continued →

December 23, 2022

Song of the Day: Half-Handed Cloud - Christmas Baby's Last Straw

Honestly I think this is a song that only Half-Handed Cloud could write. Aside from the ever-present pop bliss is a song about a baby trying to reach shiny Christmas ornaments that are out of reach, and yet so desirable. But Ringhofer makes a point that only he could make, about humanity’s incessant need to grasp for shining things that are always slightly out of reach and that we really don’t need after all. Merry Christmas IVM friends–may you find the true joy of Christmas this year–the baby in the manger!… Continued →

December 16, 2022

Song of the Day: Walk on Water - Time

This brilliant synth-pop band hailed from Sweden. They released one fantastic album in 1989, that hit the States the next year, then disappeared until 1994 when they re-surfaced–though just barely–with a Swedish-language album, that didn’t make much of an impact outside of their homeland. Their debut, the nearly-eponymous W.O.W., was beautiful, but sadly never got the attention it deserved. Recorded primarily in the synth-pop style, it also had hints of Europop and new wave. In short, it was too alternative to be mainstream pop or CCM, and too poppy to appeal to fans of alternative rock.… Continued →

December 9, 2022

Song of the Day: Embraced - Hold My Hand

Embraced was a short-lived hardcore band from Florida, active in the early 2000s. I was able to catch the band live a couple of times at local gigs and mini-festivals, and enjoyed their shows. I always liked their semi-melodic take on hardcore (I mean, they were from Florida, after all!) They were clearly playing HC, but with hints of emo and indie rock at times. Perhaps in a similar vein to Bloodshed, Beloved, and Underoath, but with their own take on it. The band only released one mini-album, the 7-song An Orchestrated Failure, in 2002 for Theory 8 Records (who also an album by The Goodbye Letter and an early split with Copeland and Pacifico, among others).… Continued →

December 2, 2022

Song of the Day: Olivia the Band - Stars and Stripes

I’ve never been a huge fan of pop-punk–just dabbled here and there–but darn it all if this isn’t a catchy tune! I popped this into the car CD player earlier this week, having not listened to it in years, and that opening tune was so ridiculously familiar! I think I must have heard it on a compilation somewhere too for me to remember it so well. Anyway, Olivia the Band was originally from Hawaii, but eventually relocated to San Diego. They released their self-titled debut in 2005 on Essential Records.… Continued →

November 25, 2022

Song of the Day: Disciples of Christ (D.O.C.) - Deeper

Rap music in the early 90s was making huge breakthroughs into both mainstream pop music and Gospel music, all the while splintering into dozens of subgenres: gangsta rap, new jack swing, Miami bass, among the most prominent. Tulsa locals D.O.C., AKA Disciples of Christ were fluent in the Philadelphia-based new jack swing sound, a combination of hip-hop, urban contemporary pop, and R&B/soul sounds. Alton Hood and Kevin Harvey met in college before they knew the Lord. Having dabbled in the party lifestyle, and even in the occult, they turned their lives over to Christ through a miraculous intervention of God.… Continued →

November 18, 2022

Song of the Day: The Awful Truth - Ghost of Heaven

The Awful Truth–the best band that (almost) never was! In the late 80s I was huge into King’s X and what would soon become known as the “Houston sound.” It was part progressive metal, part groove, part rock, and lots of harmonies thrown in. I’d started hearing about this new band (at the time) called The Awful Truth, who had recorded their debut album for mainstream Metal Blade Records, and sadly broke up before it even came out. In fact, by the time the album was released, two thirds of The Awful Truth had formed a new band with two other members, the now-legendary Galactic Cowboys, increasing that groovy-metallic Houston Sound to yet another band.… Continued →

November 11, 2022

Song of the Day: Body and Soul - The Graylands

I first discovered this band from Tim Henderson (Warlord/Mr Bishops Fist) one night as we were talking about obscure Christian bands from the past. Body and Soul was a one-off solo project from Daniel Amos keyboardist Rob Watson. Body and Soul released only one 7″ in 1983, and never did anything else. Side A featured “Something’s Going On Here,” which is a good song, but is more typical of 80s new wave/pop. It sounds like a track you’d hear in an 80s action comedy film, something akin to Adventures in Babysitting.… Continued →

November 4, 2022

Song of the Day: Recon - In My Dreams

Recon was a Christian metal band active in the late 80s and early 90s. They were one of the earliest true “power metal” bands in the Christian scene. They played a traditional form of heavy metal that was augmented and supplemented by progressive tendencies and tempos that sometimes approached speed metal. The band released a pair of cassette demos, first in 1989 and then 1990, and also had a song featured on the most excellent California Metal II compilation where I first heard the band. Vocalist Vett Roberts sang in a high-pitched operatic style not too unlike Jimmy Brown (Deliverance) or Geoff Tate (Queensryche), or possibly even a more musical version of King Diamond (Merciful Fate).… Continued →

October 28, 2022

Song of the Day: Remnant Militia - Syberian Winters

Not much is known about this underground hip-hop crew. Their recorded output consists of two independent releases: a cassette demo from 1997, and a full-length CD in 2004 with the moniker shortened to simply “Remnant” (not to be confused with the indie rock band that eventually became Exeter Flud). It was in 1997 or 98 that my good friend Jay (AKA DJ Deikon) who was huge into underground holy hip-hop introduced me to them. I was immediately intrigued by their creative backing tracks and atypical lyrical flow.… Continued →

October 21, 2022

Song of the Day: They Sang as They Slew - City Highs, City Lows

Contrary to what the band name suggests, They Sang as They Slew was not a metal or hardcore band, actually quite far from either. If you hear similarities to the indie rock of Luxury, it’s because half of the band came from Luxury while they were on a break from touring–namely guitarist Jamie Bozeman and bassist Chris Foley (both of whom are Orthodox priests in their day job). I hope some fans recognize the band name from the epic battle scene in Lord of the Rings (the book, not the movie).… Continued →

October 20, 2022

REVIEW : LN - Monkeys & Spoons

It’s so great to have Gary Murray and co. back to making music again after almost a decade of quietude. Gary had to retreat for a few years beginning in 2014 while taking care of aging parents and other personal matters. Monkeys & Spoons certainly reflects that solitude, as well as the grief of losing someone you’ve had close. While the album cover nearly depicts contents of jazz fusion or post-rock (both Koinonia and strangely, Talk Talk are evoked by the artwork), don’t be led astray there.… Continued →

October 14, 2022

Song of the Day: Ganglia - i SEEK THE END

If you’re of the opinion that only melodic music can be godly, then you might want to navigate your browser elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you see the possibility of the Spirit working and moving in the new, the avant garde, the experimental, and the downright weird, then Ganglia just might interest you. Sometimes stylized as GÅNGLÎÅ, this one-man project was started by David Smittcamp in Los Angeles in the late 1990s. He took the already experimental genre of grindcore (lightning-fast tempos and ultra-short songs fused into an extreme form of hardcore and metal), and flipped it on its head by utilizing only electronic instruments.… Continued →

October 7, 2022

Song of the Day: Bill Mason Band - Out on the Streets

I’m not surprised there was Christian punk and new wave already being made in the 1970s. Contrary to popular belief, believers have always found new and innovative ways to express their faith creatively. It’s the broader public of the faith community that is often slow to accept change, not the artists themselves. This is why I am, in fact, surprised that a Christian record label was publishing Christian punk in the 1970s. It seemed the church in the UK was more open to avant garde presentations of the Gospel than in the US.… Continued →

September 30, 2022

Song of the Day: Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Body of Christ

This 5-piece band from Norwalk, CA started as a metalcore band but morphed into something heavier and more technical with an interesting mix of death metal, grindcore, and the odd jazz passage. The band only released two demos. The first was a 5-song tape called “Soldiers of the Cross.” In 2006 they released their more known, somewhat ironically titled “Death Gospel” (Gospel set to death metal, get it?) cassette, featuring 4 songs. Then the band was never to be heard of again. However, just this year an independent secular metal label from Riverside has re-released the demo as a cassette-only release, with three bonus tracks.… Continued →

September 23, 2022

Song of the Day: The Louvin Brothers - Satan's Jeweled Crown

Some of you are going to hate me for including this (what?!? country music on IVM?!?) Others of you–maybe only a few–will recognize the importance this type of music played on the development of both rock and roll (which somewhat ironically owes a huge debt to country music), as well as to contemporary forms of Christian music, because of the strong relationship between country music and Gospel music in the middle part of the last century. Brothers Ira and Charlie Louvin began playing and singing together in the 1940s in their home in Alabama, and later branching out to nearby Tennessee.… Continued →

September 16, 2022

Song of the Day: Honey - The Way You Move Me

I can only think of 1 or 2 songs where the structure of the song is built primarily around one chord. It’s a pretty risky thing to try. Luxury did it with “South” from their debut album. While there are probably others, the only other one I’m aware of is Honey’s “The Way You Move Me” from their sophomore album, Lost on You. A one-chord song seems like it would be incredibly boring, but with the various embellishments, runs that weave in and out, and ways they alter the chord (okay, technically it’s not only one chord–but it’s built around only one) keep things very interesting and almost psychedelic.… Continued →