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.

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.… 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.… 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 →

September 14, 2022

INTERVIEW : New Band Spotlight: Voluntary Mortification

While I’d been hearing their name pop up here and there on the internet, I was fully introduced to Voluntary Mortification’s music when I caught them opening for As Lions and Lambs here in Indianapolis. Shortly after that press manager, Mason Beard got in touch to request an interview. I got the lowdown on all things Voluntary Mortification, including the origins of that interesting band name, when I caught up with guitarist Jacob Kanclerz, and vocalist Conner Luttig.… Continued →

September 9, 2022

Song of the Day: Torn in Two - Plastic Dreams for Shining Rings

There was a lot of hype surrounding this band when they were first signed by Facedown Records, in large part based on the fact they had three vocalists. While the hype, and sadly also the band, were short-lived (they only released one full-length and one 3-way split album), they definitely generated a healthy buzz in their short existence. And for good reason too. Soli Deo Gloria (roughly translated as “to the glory of God alone”) dropped in 2001, and stylistically the album shows its age.… Continued →

September 2, 2022

Song of the Day: Den S - New Space

Dennis Childers has deep connections to the Christian indie scene, going all the way back to the 1980s and Flock 14, the most excellent new wave band he played in at the time. However, when Flock 14 morphed into World Theatre, Dennis went underground/disappeared and not much was heard from him musically save for a few album credits here and there. Nate from Destroy Nate Allen/Good Saint Nathanael got in touch this week to let me know that Dennis had a new album dropping–literally just 2 days ago.… Continued →

August 26, 2022

Song of the Day: Tourniquet - Tears of Korah

Many fitting tributes have been written about the one and only, the mighty drummer/musician/song-writer/animal rights activist Ted Kirkpatrick. So much has been said about his life, his music, and his impact that I can’t really add much here. Ted’s incredible musicianship is impossible to overstate. He was revered even by the most ardent anti-religion folks, for his musicality alone, including folks like King Diamond and Marty Friedman. While I never got to meet Ted, I did have the chance to see Tourniquet live once.… Continued →

August 19, 2022

Song of the Day: Braille - This Year

Rapper Braille (born Bryan Winchester) has been making hip-hop since at least 1998, first as a solo artist and then additionally as a member of Lightheaded (featured in an earlier Song of the Day), Acts 29, and most recently the worshipful project Beautiful Eulogy. The Portland-based rapper has released just under a dozen albums, including independent releases, a Japanese import, and a collaboration with Symbolyc One, not including his work in the aforementioned cyphers. Although I’d heard of him through his association with Syntax Records, it was his 6th album Box of Rhymes where I was first introduced to his music.… Continued →

August 12, 2022

Song of the Day: Twotimer - I Forget

Pop-punk band Twotimer released 2 albums and then called it quits. Very little is known about the band, other than their recorded output. After a self-titled and self-released debut in 1998, the band signed to punk stalwarts Screaming Giant Records and issued See What Happens from Here in 2000. The album featured snot-nosed, yet melodic tunes that bordered on pop-punk and new school/skate punk, but with vocal harmonies. Recommended for fans of Side Walk Slam, Shorthanded, and early MxPX.… Continued →

August 5, 2022

Song(s) of the Day: Bloodgood - Crucify / The Messiah

If you’ve been following social media regarding the Christian scene at all over the recent weeks/months, you’ll likely be aware of Michael Bloodgood’s recent health issues, culminating in his death last week. Michael was a co-founder, and obviously namesake, of the legendary and seminal Christian metal band Bloodgood. The band has been active since the 1980s, with their first album coming out in 1986. They stood out from the pack in various ways: the theatrical singing and stage antics of lead vocalist Les Carlsen, the top-notch music and writing of the band, and their no-compromise approach to lyrics and music ministry.… Continued →

July 31, 2022

REVIEW : Ronnie Martin - From the Womb of the Morning, the Dew of Your Youth Will Be Yours

Most of you will know that Ronnie Martin has been making music since the late 80s (at least) with Morella’s Forest 1988, Dance House Children, and most famously Joy Electric, not to mention a host of side projects like Ronald of Orange, The Foxglove Hunt, The Brothers Martin, and so forth. While there’s a lot of history with Martin’s expertise in making quirky, electronic pop music, in a sense none of that matters. Not that the history isn’t respectable–but what we really want to know is, is this record going to be good?… Continued →

July 29, 2022

Song of the Day: Vaakevandring - Some Day

This Norwegian band formed in 1999, and sadly by 2007 had called it quits. Hailing from Nannestad, just outside Oslo, they played a formed of atmospheric BM that appealed to many who heard them. While their lifespan was short, their impact was huge. You can still read accolades from fans on music-related social media pages, and band members have also been associated with a number of other, more well-known bands including Antestor, Frosthardr, and Grave Declaration.… Continued →

July 22, 2022

Song of the Day: Joy Electric - The Cobbler

I’ve been listening to Ronnie Martin’s music since the late 80s, when he and brother Jason (of Starflyer 59 and many others) were known as the duo Dance House Children. That group reveled in synth-pop, but with a super quirky edge. There was nothing in the Christian nor secular markets quite like it. After two underrated albums, the pair split. Jason started the legendary indie rock monster Starflyer 59, while Ronnie carried on with synthesizer-created music in the form of Joy Electric.… Continued →

July 15, 2022

Song of the Day: Circle of Birds - Circle of Birds

I haven’t yet featured any post-rock on the Song of the Day series, so it’s time to remedy that. Circle of Birds was a one-off collaboration between members of Ester Drang, Unwed Sailor and Lasso. The vast ensemble (encompassing nine members!) allowed for a true spirit of improvisation. The resulting 3-song EP is entirely instrumental, but it’s a very satisfying listen. Characteristic for the genre, 2 of the 3 songs clock in at over 7 minutes long.… Continued →

July 8, 2022

Song of the Day: Jyradelix - Out for Love

For a brief moment in the early 1990s, it looked like electronica (or techno, or rave as it was being called at the time) was going to take over popular music. It had a huge following in Christian alternative music for a good two years. Although the synthesizer-driven genre had little to do with the guitar-dominated alt-rock, grunge, and hardcore punk of the era, what it did have in common with those genres was simply being an oddball style of music with which to glorify God.… Continued →

July 1, 2022

Song of the Day: Deliverance - No Love

Metalheads are divided over whether the subgenre dubbed “speed metal” actually exists or not. Often confused with shred metal and/or Neo-classical (yes, those guys play fast, but that’s not the same thing), it’s almost synonymous with thrash except there are often clean vocals and/or slightly cleaner guitars. In the Christian scene, the most obvious examples are the seminal and fantastic Valor, Tourniquet’s early work (also adding a progressive element) and the mighty Deliverance. While Deliverance has flirted with a lot of different styles (speed/thrash, gothic metal, alternative metal, groove, etc.),… Continued →

June 24, 2022

Song of the Day: Bruce Cockburn - Wondering Where the Lions Are

This veteran, Canadian singer-songwriter has been active since at least the early 70s (probably earlier), since his debut eponymous album came out in 1970. I first became acquainted with his music in the 1990s, reading an album review in CCM Magazine, but also hearing equally about his accolades from the secular press. I took a chance on buying a live album, when I found a copy of his 1990 live album (he’s done at least 5 live albums), Bruce Cockburn Live on cassette.… Continued →

June 17, 2022

Song of the Day: Travail - Weakling

Hailing from the fertile heavy music scene of the greater DFW region, and specifically Ft. Worth, Travail mixed heavy rap-core and nu metal riffs with dark tones and lyrics about the Christian struggle. Heavier than most in the genre, the band was sometimes referred to as “gothic rap-core” due to the darker tones and minor keys. Yet the lyrics pointed to higher things: I’ve failed you I’ve lied to you Yet you forgive and let me live Oh God help my weakness Oh give me your strength Father help me I’ll go to any length On my face, on my chest, on my knees God help me please My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak The band released a split EP with Luti-Kriss (who, of course, eventually became Norma Jean), and two full-length albums: Anchor of My Soul for the secular Pluto Records and Beautiful Loneliness for Metrovox, a sub-label Metro One.… Continued →

June 11, 2022

REVIEW : Cicero - You Can't Outrun Your Mouth

Hailing from Portland, OR, Cicero began in the mid-00s and called it quits a few years later, only to reform last year. Greg Dimick (Crux, Empty Tomb, Govt Hate Mail) got me a copy of their new album so I could review it, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. You Can’t Outrun Your Mouth is being advertised as 90s emo, but in some ways that’s a disservice to the band. While there are certainly hints at Midwestern emo, particularly the more subdued Christie Front Drive-take on the genre (listen to “Monsters in Masks” and tell me you don’t hear it), YCOYM is more nuanced than that.… Continued →

June 10, 2022

Song of the Day: The Awakening - Don't Wait for Me

The Awakening was a progressive pop-rock/AOR band from Canada, active in the 1980s–not to be confused with the goth/industrial band from South Africa. This Awakening was poppy enough to be CCM-adjacent (in fact, this is probably the poppiest SOTD I’ve ever featured), but yet had a slight progressive/alternative edge that set them apart from other bands. The band released three albums, culminating in their excellent Into Thy Hands (Reunion Records, 1988). It featured 12 tracks of progressive pop goodness, not too dissimilar to 80s-era Yes.… Continued →

June 3, 2022

Song of the Day: No Innocent Victim - Strength

Emerging from the original wave of Spirit Filled Hardcore (or SFHC) came southern California’s No Innocent Victim, AKA N.I.V. In contrast to their SFHC peers like Unashamed, Strongarm, and Overcome, who often integrated metallic influences that were becoming more popular in hardcore, NIV stuck to their old school roots with a “Loud Fast Rules” mentality. In fact, their old school approach to fast and heavy hardcore played a part in sparking a revival of the style, which eventually evolved into “tough guy hardcore,” essentially an update of that old school sound with added breakdowns and heaviness.… Continued →

May 27, 2022

Song of the Day: Sincerely Paul - Nineteen Years

One of my all-time favorite record labels of the indie Christian scene was Blonde Vinyl. Run by Michael Knott (LSU/Lifesavers, and about a dozen others), it was one of the first truly indie, truly alternative record labels focusing on Christian artists. Knott never got rich off of the sales. (A few years later, Brandon Ebel would show us how to make a Christian indie label financially profitable.) Furthermore, not all of the releases on Blonde Vinyl were even that great–I won’t name any names–but all of them were charming in some way.… Continued →

May 20, 2022

Song of the Day: Stryper - Calling on You

For some of you, this SOTD will stretch the limits of what “Indie Vision Music” should cover. Glam metal was at the height of the commercialization of rock and roll in the late 80s, thus rendering Stryper’s inclusion here as suspect. But here are a few reasons why they absolutely deserve to be here: 1. They were, and possibly are still, the most important and/or influential Christian rock/metal band of all time. Yes, it’s true. With number one singles, album sales that rivaled their secular peers, and heavy rotation on MTV (when it still stood for “Music Television”), their impact is still felt far and wide.… Continued →

May 13, 2022

Song of the Day: The O.C. Supertones - Adonai

No, The Supertones weren’t the first Christian ska band. The Israelites’ first album pre-dated them by a year. But in the UK, Rev Counta and the Speedoze* (another incarnation of Ishmael United) had released a full-length as early as 1980! And perhaps some Jamaican bands that didn’t fit into the CCM/CBA mold had been active earlier than that, it’s hard to say. However, the Supertones were the first Christian ska band to release an album on a nationally-distributed label, releasing The Adventures of the O.C.Continued →

May 6, 2022

Song of the Day: The New Presidents - Arabian Nights

This obscure little band, while relatively unknown, has ties to some more connected acts. They only released one 4-song 12″ EP before breaking up and/or morphing into other acts. The most well-known member was Robert Vaughn, previously of RV and the Hubcaps, and who went on to play with Gloryhouse, Southside Blades of Eden (Broken Records), and most notably Robert Vaughn and the Shadows. RV and the Shadows was essentially the New Presidents line-up with a different name and slightly more mainstream style.… Continued →

April 29, 2022

Song of the Day: Encryptor - Post Mortem Soul

Encryptor was one of the many projects of the multi-talented Felipe (AKA Phil) Diez, and was one of the first Christian death metal projects from the nation of Panama. Phil later relocated to Rhode Island and carried on his career there with several projects: Sorrowstorm (black metal), Entorn (doom metal), Northern Ash (death metal), and Rehumanize (grindcore). So far, Encryptor is my favorite of the lot, though I confess I haven’t heard all of his projects.… Continued →

April 22, 2022

Song of the Day: Sixpence None the Richer - Love, Salvation, the Fear of Death

I first heard Sixpence None the Richer while listening to a cassette demo in the Christian bookstore in 1993. They had me from the opening acoustic guitar riffs on “Field of Flowers,” the opening track from The Fatherless and the Widow. That album was fantastic, but even so, it was only a foretaste of what was to come. While the band are largely known for their romantic pop radio hit, “Kiss Me,” from their self-titled third album, many fans and critics alike are drawn to their sophomore album, This Beautiful Mess.… Continued →

April 15, 2022

INTERVIEW : Skot Shaw of Leper

What does a Christ-oriented gothic band do during a global pandemic? I had a lengthy conversation with Skot Shaw to find out. We talked about tours in Mexico, how he came to be part of Jesus People USA, and the goodness of God. IVM: Why don’t you start by giving IVM readers an introduction to the band. How did you get into doing goth music or death rock? Why does Leper exist as a band? Skot: Can open.… Continued →

Song of the Day: MxPx - Want Ad

Y’all better to get ready to put your boxing gloves on. You ready for this? Pokinatcha is the best MxPx (Magnified Plaid) album. Why? It was melodic, but still very much punk–bordering even on old school hardcore at times. It’s by far their most unique record, before they settled into the more polished pop-punk sound that everyone remembers. To be clear, I have no problem with the direction they later took (except for maybe moving further away from Christian spirituality and theology as the years went by, but that’s another post altogether).… Continued →

April 8, 2022

Song of the Day: Altars - Eternity

This hardcore band hailed from Colorado Springs. They infused their heavy chugga chugga rhythms with melodic parts without ever getting whiny. This led some fans and writers to dub them post-hardcore, which isn’t fully accurate, but I can see why they said that. What strikes me about this song is the passion behind both the music and the clear-cutting lyrics: Where is the hope? Where is the love? Without these your system will self-destruct While it might seem that the song was aimed at society in general, it is actually pointed at the failures of the Church to stay true to the pure message of the Gospel.… Continued →