Merry Christmas, Friends! I’m going to type up some thoughts on bands that should most definitely reunite in 2023 to 1) Play an anniversary set, 2) Re-Release a classic album on either vinyl, tape, or cd with bonus features (and band commentary) and 3) Throw some new and/or unreleased tracks at us that we most definitely need to hear. Thoughts and ideas can be found below…. Oh, and Tim Taber if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll consider the words below and incorporate them into future plans with Transparent Productions here in Orange County and Southern California in general. Throwback Festival 2023 will be a recurring theme throughout this extensive 100 paragraph article below. Put your knee in the dirt and bow to the God that holds your blood red destiny in the palm of his awesome hands! It’s…your…CHOICE!
I’m feeling super-duper nostalgic, and this piece below is meant to serve as an encouragement while also aimed at promotion companies, booking agents, managers, and the Record Labels we’ve all known and loved over the years. The goal is to not just sit idly by while the world keeps on letting that clock tick away, but rather do something big and pay tribute to a much-loved time period in that not-so-distant past. Here are some thoughts on who should get back up on stage even if for just one last time. The list below is not really in any sort of particular order. For those feeling the waves of nostalgia slowly drowning out their sorrows and would like to refresh old memories by seeing a glimpse of the past, I’ll be slowly scanning my old flyers, newspaper clippings, ads, and whatever else I have sitting around, into some sort of archive that you can click through. *I wasn’t able to begin the scanning process for the piles of flyers I have but it shall happen soon in a special archive on this website in 2023. This photo/flyer archive won’t be posted on social media sites so you will absolutely have to visit Indie Vision Music for the goods. Everyone with wifi, fiber, dsl, satellite, or dial up (say what?), has access to the World Wide Web and can reach this website here with little to no extra effort. Al Gore invented the internet after all with the assistance of the US Government so why not take advantage and enjoy? “It always feels like somebody’s watching me….” Too many commercials, just too many. At least this site isn’t sponsored by a Pillow man where in this instance you’d have to hear about these ultra cool slippers that will soon be out of stock forever! It could be worse right?
These are not everyone’s favorites, nor does it capture every single name that has existed over the years that people would love to see reunite. These are just some of the artists on my radar and many that I personally have enjoyed for so long. Agree to disagree and move on or embrace the past and listen one more time. I’ve left off some recent artists that have reunited and stuck them in a sort list near the bottom of article just above the spam we all know and love. If I missed something or someone, I’m sorry. Writing this was a labor of love and took me a few months to finish from concept to completion. Excuse any grammatical errors because a couple paragraphs were written late at night in those sleep deprived hours.
Please enjoy your time with family and friends. When you’re done with opening gifts and have rested your bellies, please check out this article below. Served best with a cup of Hot Coffee and and homemade cookies. Enjoy!
And so we begin…
“Bow” was released on Tooth & Nail Records as their #2 album back toward the end of 1993 with national distro the following year. 2023 would mark a 30th anniversary of sorts and my guess is that if any hardcore band needs to get up and shake off the dust, it’s none other than these kings of Southern California “Spirit Filled” Hardcore – FOCUSED. I mean after all, they invented that term in the first place and set the stage (so to speak), for many more bands to exist for the next couple of decades. Who can forget those opening notes on that “Bow” album and the sudden transition into “Forever”? If you know, you know. This would be one great way to play their hearts out even if for maybe just one last time with the entire gang of past and semi-recent players who were a part of their demos, 2 full lengths, and maybe even that unreleased “2000 EP”. Some members of this band went on to do some great things so it’d be incredible to see them all back on stage as one playing those hardcore classics that us old folks love and the new generations are waiting to find. Furnace Fest needs to reach out. Brandon Ebel needs to do some sort of big Tooth & Nail Anniversary re-releases and a throwback festival even? Focused are at #1 for a reason, so let’s see it happen.
2. Black Eyed Sceva / Model Engine
The band “Black Eyed Sceva” led by the great Jeremy Post got my attention back in good old 1995 when I first saw them play at a Church winter camp thing up in the mountains and man, was it incredible. Just a few of us friends and lovers chatting away but something about their music just caught my attention and took our minds off whatever dumb juvenile teenage drama we had at the time. If you remember, you know. Song after song in their short set had me floored and I was an instant fan right from the start. This is my big must have band to see reunite, play some shows, dust off those 3 old releases, and re-release them in all their glory. “Way Before The Flood”, “5 Years and 50,000 Miles Davis”, and the final album “The Lean Years Tradition” under their name “Model Engine“, are without a doubt a collection of songs that stand the test of time. These are widely considered “indie” releases but listening to them you just wouldn’t know it. When you have talent like these guys, the music they created was by far, truly mind blowing, unforgettable stuff. Not just musically but also lyrically. You could sing along and drift off into deep thought all in one continuous motion. I know there has to be some unreleased tracks, demos, b-sides, etc and wouldn’t it be cool if some label out there took it upon themselves to re-release on vinyl/tape with all kinds of bonus memorabilia? It’d also be nice to see their songs on streaming services. Another go at it in a live setting and maybe another Ep set of new songs would be a most desired way to close out a chapter, or start a new one? Just re-release it all under one name please. We all liked Black Eyed Sceva 😉
3. Value Pac
This is one of those “small time” pop-punk bands that had a slow start and flew under most people’s radars. I first saw them perform at some random event at a Church in Tustin, when they were called “One By One”. I think it was one of those odd mix shows where Folk, pop-punk, hardcore, and whatever else you wanted to throw in a blender, shared the same billing. This show I recall had One by One, Rich Young Ruler, Disciple (before they were forced to change their name to xDisciplex AD), maybe even Spud Puddle, but I forget. I still remember seeing One By One play that evening, my first time hearing them, and loving those short and sweet little pop-punk songs. I even still have their first 4 song demo that I’ll never give up! After that “random” show I attended, I got the bright idea to start spamming T&N about the band via letters and maybe even an email or two? I was very enthusiastic (but a tad manic) at that time but I’m a total music junkie so what can I say? Booked them twice at my tiny youth group basement shows then went on to get them booked for a very special one time only event called HolyPalooza (yep that one but on a micro-miniature scale version of the traveling alternative road show) which had great bands, lots of drama (and a band cancellation or two), caused splitting headaches for myself, and ultimately made everyone mad. Glad I didn’t continue overextending myself but at 18 years old I’m proud I even had that opportunity. After watching them perform relentlessly around Southern California, both as openers and even headliner on a few dates. I was blown away. I’m telling you that the 1996 debut on Tooth & Nail did not have the same sound and vibe that I witnessed live. A much more subdued and gentle, pre-school polished punk rock but when they played LIVE, they were angsty and loud, raw even, fun loving pop-punkers, with a good hearted Sunday Christian vibe. Wait, that didn’t come out right. Jalapeño dropped the next year and it sounded much bigger and closer to how they played live. It was a loud and in your face punk record that had weird artwork but definitely closer in style musically to a Face to Face meets Social Distortion meets Rancid meets MxPx. Anyway… They went on a hiatus for a couple years then came back in 2000 with a 3rd album called “Incognito” but then sadly vanished once again and disappeared, never to be heard from again. This is a band who I actually communicated with for a number of years when we were all young. I had them play a backyard birthday party for a friend with Tasty Snax and we were all hanging out that afternoon. I talked to drummer Ben Cater on the phone here and there from my childhood home. Then again I chatted with Ryan and Fourdoor label owner – Chuck Cummings at the start of Indie Vision Music in 2000. “Incognito” was one of the first albums I bought to carry in the IVM webstore. I even “booked” them when I was a kid pretending to be a big promoter but I was still using training wheels. It was a beautiful time period from 1995-2000 when this band existed and played out live constantly. They were a fun ban but could be a serious band, a sometimes a goofy band, and definitely were expressing anger, fear, resentment, loss, pain, and trying to find hope along the way. Lyrically if you jump between their debut to that final album, there is some heavy subject matter and if you know why, it’ll make more sense. “Incognito” was released on Fourdoor Entertainment back in 2000 as one of the first “internet only” releases which was a weird concept at the time but 22 years later, is commonplace and makes more sense. I was going to share this with UnoriginalVinyl but why wait, I’ll just say it here. There is less of a risk to re-release “Incognito” and repackage it with all kinds of goodies than it would be to go through Universal for the first two full lengths. Jason at UnoriginalVinyl, you’re reading this right? Ryan, Sean, Ben, Isaiah, heck even Ethan Luck and Jason Feltman, you all need to get together and dust off those studded belts, worn out piercings, stretched tatts (and stretched pants), and dyed punk hair (Touch of Grey? or is it all scalps now?) to jump on stage and entertain us all. This could be a second start or a farewell? Just make it count. Save some money and re-release “Incognito” on Vinyl. This is my second shout out at you Jason Z. Tell Chuck Cummings I say high and Ryan, you know where to find me.
Without a doubt, this heavy hitting Florida melodic hardcore outfit did more than just entertain people, they inspired and led a generation to (re)discover their Faith in God through pummeling, fast paced heavy guitar action and gut-wrenching screams that came from the heart, not rehearsed. People had their big tent revivals over the years and TV evangelism but we in the underground experienced a hardcore revival that inspired us not to just write “Xs” and pretend to be in some sort of angry gang full of vegan/vegetarian youth but rather to embrace one another and love while sharing the Gospel that many more were just discovering. I have seen my fair share of cynicism tossed around online and people having dissatisfaction with what they experienced but guess what, everyone’s journey was different. No one was perfect but what many experienced if even for just a brief moment in time, had a profound impact and there are a lot of things that began out of that scene and probably still exist today because of it. Not to mention those “kids” that grew up, married, and now have kids of their own who are experiencing the same joy of music discovery with their friends and loved ones. Strongarm were unique. They only released 2 nationally distributed full lengths with a different lead vocalist on each one. Not sure how it happened like that but both albums under the same “Strongarm” banner are equally powerful statements of that time period and the hardcore sound in general. Some people choose one or the other when expressing their Strongarm devotion but personally, I enjoy them both. Jason B. had a powerful and commanding voice that was menacing but could also be comforting if that makes sense? Chris Carbonell had an earth shattering, vein busting voice that carried through that entire “Advent of a Miracle” album. All together it was impressive hardcore. I bet you these guys will come out of retirement one last time to play a full set, re-release their entire catalog including demos and bsides, and give the fans one last collection of songs with that current 2023 standard but still embracing a very “DIY” edge. Then they can hang it up and say “Bye Bye Bye” like another fellow Floridian band did years ago (is it a ‘band’ if they don’t play instruments?). Furnace Fest should happen. If Brandon Ebel wants to do that cool Tooth & Nail Throwback Fest, Strongarm has to perform alongside every other Tooth & Nail/Solid State/BEC artist that gets mentioned in this article. Jason, Chris, and all the other guys past and present should meet together over some Hot Cocoa and Smores with warm fuzzy blankets on for Christmas, give each other a thoughtful present, make peace, then reunite!
I have long wished for this reunion, and I really do pray it’ll happen someday. It may be far off in the future when all those guys settle into a peaceful part in their lives and can brush the past aside. I have enjoyed the Scott era and the Eric “Relocation” era equally. I discovered them after I found “Spill” and saw them perform at a local Middle School in town for some random Friday night show. It was the first and last time I ever saw a “Christian” show at one of our local Public Schools in the area. Anyway, this band released 4 solid albums that literally got better and better each release that dropped. Once Scott quit and I first heard “Goodbye” as a stripped down version with the remaining few guys on stage performing at a fest here in Orange County just after they made the announcement and before it was ever recorded. That raw honesty and clearly visible emotion present in this song just floored me. I thought I wouldn’t ever like “Relocation” after being a fan of their past history but the album and especially “Goodbye”, is nothing short of legendary. The band as a whole IS legendary and while Scott rests relatively quiet below the radar and working hard, he can’t deny his talents and the power he commanded from stage. Scott and Plankeye may have played these “simple” rock songs but the band collectively really pulled at the heartstrings. It’s like the band could exist simultaneously between a variety of genres but play a consistent sound instantly identifiable as “Plankeye”. If you’ve heard a Plankeye song, you’ll know it. Their albums have not gotten the vinyl treatment and the collection of songs from their entire catalog is deserving of a re-release. A historical record of the band in just a short decade or so of existence is enough to fill pages and pages of commentary. While a live show is most certainly out of the question at this point (I remember hearing an answer more than a decade ago that not even millions would get the original lineup back), but you just never know. I think the fan appreciation hasn’t been publicly shared with the members of this band where they probably just don’t see a point or the very real impact that they had. Maybe they are swimming in the wrong circles of people with too much jaded cynicism, stacking up those leaded bricks higher and higher. Whatever it is isn’t as important as the band’s many musical contributions to our music scene at large. Plankeye, Tooth & Nail Throwback Fest, Vinyl Re-Release + bsides and compilation tracks, and a righteous farewell.
Dog Freakin’ Wood! All I have to say without too much guess work and complications is that this band without a doubt NEEDS to reunite with the lineup that began on “Through Thick and Thin” and continued through Matt Aragon, only shuffling a couple members here and there. By the time Seismic hit, it was a slightly different lineup (still a great album). Oh and Danny Montoya who joined up after Matt Aragon is a fantastic guitarist and songwriter. They continued making music past 2003 for many years until Dogwood went on permanent hiatus, even recording a couple newer songs (unreleased) until they disappeared. The band reunited a few years back to play some shows with MxPx/Five Iron Frenzy but went silent until Josh Kemble (Lead Vocals) emerged as the new frontman for the band Saint Didacus with members of Fighting Jacks/Ironside Collective/Freeto Boat, Slick Shoes, and Logos/Dogwood. While Saint Didacus is super impressive, there is just something about that lightning in a bottle, that organic, free flowing studio work by the greatest PUNK band of all time. Can’t 2 great projects coexist at the same in the same multiverse? Maybe the multiverse version of Dogwood is Saint Didacus? Anyway, any and all Dogwood albums MUST be pressed to Vinyl. Facedown Records could do the Self Titled album re-release on LP, T&N could do 1 or more albums on Vinyl, and UnoriginalVinyl could press the Rescue Records classic “Through Thick and Thin” and maybe throw on some extra tracks from that era that I’m sure are laying around? Dogwood holds that match that struck that changing flame in my heart which still exists to this day. Not to sound all sappy but I’m breathing pure punk rock Nostalgia at any mention of the band. Come on, let’s relive the past even if for just one more time and put them on that Throwback Festival (and others like Furnace Fest, Audiofeed, and Facedown Fest). Do or Die indeed.
7. Ghoti Hook
Without a doubt this band ranks high on my list of most desired pop-punk bands that need to reemerge from retirement to play again. They need to reunite, re-record Banana Man, press it to vinyl as a new release, then do a vinyl re-release of Two Years to Never. Make sure to grab Conrad and play the fun, goofy stuff in addition to all the other more straight forward subject matter. They were always at their best when they straddled the lines between humor and the more serious side of things. Mixing it up was the best. It’s always a relief to see a band just have fun and enjoy what they do. Stepping on stage again at the fantasy Throwback Festival would be a joy to witness.
8. Six Feet Deep
Heavy, groove oriented, metal influenced, hardcore music. There may have been some similarities between bands at that time period but Six Feet Deep stood out as a promising newer band carving their own unique path. By the time “The Road Less Traveled” came out, there was something refreshing in their sound, something unique, something rare for a heavy band to experiment with. They dabbled in some emotional sounds and moodiness which really set them apart from their wall punching, brooding circle pit inciting fellow hardcore brethren. It was hardcore for the thinking man and could reach across all spectrums of heavy music, keeping even the most jaded scene vets entertained. They were victims of a bad label, bad deals, which led to lesser crowd interest and eventual band break up. Their two albums need to be re-released with their original album covers. They need to reunite on stage one last time before Brandtson comes out of retirement, say their hellos, celebrate the past, say goodbyes and then hand over the stage to Brandtson. Steadfast Records needs to get a hold of Six Feet Deep material pronto. “Struggle” was a classic debut and I know there are demos and other bsides out there (that I don’t have) which could be repurposed.
Nothing screams Spirit Filled Hardcore more than the band Unashamed. These guys had it all down from their merch, their music, their message, and even their own unique style. It was a special Cali-blend of Hardcore music and they wore their Faith proudly upon their shoulders (and tatts ;). They broke up in 1996 at the first Tooth & Nail Festival. They have tried a few different times over the years to reunite either with original members or fill ins and it just didn’t quite take off. Their merch has always been amazing since day 1 and even when they briefly came back 10 years or more ago and did a limited run of clothing, it was just as incredible. I want to see these guys reunite with members from Silence and Reflection. There is that long lost demo floating around out there in the world somewhere that people can’t seem to find no matter how hard they look. It would certainly make a tasty re-release with a good remix and remaster. Silence and Reflection would be great as a vinyl re-release but I doubt that will ever happen in my lifetime. So for now we listen on digital networks and look through dusty old magazines at younger versions of ourselves, thinking back to simpler times before the internet and social media ruined everything haha. Unashamed, one more time. T&N Throwback Festival 2023 or Furnace Fest 2023. Jeff is around and I’m sure he will read this, so tell him you want this to happen.
10. Sick of Change
This fast paced melodic punk band was on to something truly remarkable with their 2nd album, “These Shattered Lives”. If you knew the studio it was recorded at (Love Juice Labs), you’d be surprised at how good this album turned out. Their first one was a so-so release for me but by the time this album dropped, my mind was blown. I want to see this album re-released on vinyl/tape/cd by a competent label with some seriously good band commentary, rare pictures, and maybe even a bonus track or two. This band needs to play Furnace Fest also or any kind of throwback fest that takes place next year. You promoters know exactly what to do.
This is without a doubt my favorite band to come out of Screaming Giant Records, even topping the great Officer Negative and 7-10 Split. This little known band with a mostly unheard album that released during the final pivotal year for Screaming Giant. The album was just so insanely good for that time period and that’s without high dollar studio trickery. It didn’t have the best production and the artwork was questionable but they more than made up for it with their pop-hooks, heart gripping emotions, and sentimental punk rock with a heavy dose of soul seeking lyrics. “See What Happens From Here” is a favorite of mine even almost 23 years later. They need to re-release the album on Vinyl/Tape/CD with that unreleased track and maybe other Bsides then pick up their instruments and step on stage again. While they are at it, I want more new music before they quit again. An opener at Throwback Festival they must be (Yoda told me that).
12. Officer Negative
While this band changed members frequently during their reign and there really isn’t an official “original” lineup except for maybe Chad Wiggins, it would be nice to see a collection of past players all gathering together to celebrate their past (pre-Death Campaign preferably). They would be a good fit at a Throwback Festival even alongside Ninety Pound Wuss or at Furnace Fest. Resurrection Vinyl recently re-released “Dead to the World” on vinyl and it was a great pressing. Would be nice to maybe package up some of those lost demos, indie EPs/Releases/7″s into some sort of compilation LP? There was a demo or two before Dead To The World and I did have it at one time but it was passed to Kendall at G-Rock who then started “Slingshot Records” once I gave him that demo. I was in charge of this label doing A&R at 18 years old and helped him sign Officer Negative, Second Half, and Tasty Snax before it changed names to Screaming Giant after someone else held rights to the Slingshot name. While I tried my best to get Incomplete, Bloodshed, Project 86, Dingees, Rainy Days, and some other local bands like All Day Long “signed”, Officer Negative was a great fit and so happy they were picked up at that time. The G-Rock segments were so fun and unforgettable to see them interact on TV. Chad is a businessman now like the rest of us putting in time to take care of our families but I’m sure he can take off the tie and rock out on stage again, even for one last time. Zippy Josh is around and he definitely should be a part.
13. Slow Coming Day
This is a “are they or aren’t they” scenario. Orion Walsh has spent MUCH MORE TIME as a solo artist than he ever did in this fantastic emo-centric band of the early 2000s. Believe it or not, Orion got his start playing in the pop-punk band Three For Flinching which released a few demos/indie releases and even had a song on I’m Your Biggest Fan 2 before Slow Coming Day became the main project for him. I watched this band perform a lot back in the day during the early years of Indie Vision Music. That’s how I got connected with their old bass player Ryan who worked at a CD Pressing plant in town who pressed the first IVM album ever – Dismissed “Taking The Good With the Bad” (with original artwork). I would always see SCD live around Southern California and Orion was quite the front man who could generate a steady stream of heavy emotions and who made you a believer in their music. Most of “Farewell To The Familiar” is about the passing of his grandparent who he had an extremely close relationship with and as you listen to that album, you can really feel the passion and emotion coming through his voice and lyrics. Such a good album and all the demos, bsides, indie releases, acoustic stuff, etc is like liquid gold. Let’s make this reunion stick and have them record a new full length album as a perfect progression where they last left off on that sole T&N album. A vinyl re-release would be great also.
This is a band with a huge sound. Emotional, melodic and moody, and filled with enough indie DIY spirit that they could have gone on long after their first and only 2 releases. This band literally only released 1 nationally released full length and an Ep on Velvet Blue Music. The label they were on was so small and lacked the advertising and promotional aspect that most people probably didn’t even know who Bloomsday were or even what “Brainstorm International” was. Plus, they weren’t “punk” or “Ska” or hardcore enough so the kids snubbed their noses. I didn’t care, good music is always good music and a sound like this transcends all genre barriers. These guys would have fit perfect on Sub Pop without a doubt. Maybe they came just too early. They can reunite and re-release their material. Heck, Velvet Blue Music could package it all together and put out a tasty vinyl release then get the songs all up on streaming services. Do it! Hopefully someone wise out there puts them in front a mass audience to showcase their talents.
15. No Innocent Victim
You can’t mention Christian hardcore and not list NIV. This band lasted the longest I think out of most of the bands from that time period. They changed members a bit throughout the years but that same consistent, hard, in your face sound, rang true for 2 decades. Their last official album was in 2005 on Facedown Records, the amazing label started from the band’s drummer Jason Dunn. I think the band put out 2 albums on Rescue Records, 2 albums on Victory (and sort of Solid State), and an album on Facedown Records. These guys are all still alive and hiding in the shadows (or secretly running the biggest underground/heavy music/indie label that is still conquering the scene) waiting to reemerge to slam it out on stage again. Throwback Festival? Furnace Fest for sure. Facedown Fest a must. Another album would be cool as a bonus.
16. Jars of Clay
Did they ever really go away? Dan had his project “The Hawk In Paris” that released an album an ep a while ago and it was a serious bright spot for me. I enjoyed it more than most of the recent Jars releases. “Much Afraid” turned 25 this year. They hit it big in 1995 with “Flood” that literally flooded radio stations both alternative and Christian back in the day. Their follow up album is a favorite of mine. So much of the band’s music over the years was brilliant and differed from one album to the next. I lost interest in the years that followed while I was busy dabbling in the whole indie subculture. When I relisten to their music, it really does bring me back and it’s such a joy to listen to. You can’t go wrong with Jars Of Clay music. They need to reunite next year. I mean I’m sure it’s their 30th anniversary as a band soon right? Re-release their first 2 albums on Vinyl and throw in some special stuff for the fans like bonus tracks, compilation songs, and some serious nostalgic classic pics and commentary. This would be a good band for a throwback festival but please without Newsboys or another relaunched Audio Adrenaline 😉
17. The Crucified
We all love the many contributions this gang of players have left us with over the past 30+ years. Mark, Jeff, Greg, and Jim are some of the absolute greats and legends at their craft. I actually discovered them for myself with that Tooth & Nail 1994 re-release of their “Self Titled” album. Then I went and immediately found “Pillars of Humanity” and the compilations with the 2 unreleased tracks before they broke up. This band had a huge influence on me and it’s one of those rare moments I regret not being able to actually see them play live. I had an opportunity to see their farewell shows with Focused, MxPx, and Blenderhead here in Orange County back in 95′ but I believe I was on vacation or something tragic like that 😉 Some fans had their moments with seeing Guns n Roses a last time, or Slayer, or Faith No More, and all those 90’s bands that have tragically lost members to an early death (Depressing, I know). Well for some of us, The Crucified would be that band, gone too soon and at their peak as performers. They have reunited several different times over the years for spot dates here and there but we never got another new song or a new version of their earlier material pre-Pillars. I would love to hear a modern take on that classic thrash metal sound they played so well at. Throwback Festival 2023 or Furnace Fest needs The Crucified, and Stavesacre can open. I would say a re-release would be cool but Veritas Vinyl did a fantastic job at that a decade ago and I have them 😉
The one and only HANDS (not the lame indie rock act) most definitely needs to reunite. Everything in Slow Motion is one of my favorite post-hardcore/rock acts but HANDS was a different breed all together and it’s how I discovered Shane and his music. I think we shared the very first “Demos” by Hands back in the day on IVM around 2006/2007. They were literally only together a few months and those first 2 songs were already incredible. Next came “The Everlasting” ep which blew my mind and finally they put out a concept record that would shatter all other concept records, called “The Sounds of Earth”. It is the album most everyone seeks out the most and is highly collectible even though it was only just on CD. All the songs on that post-metal epic masterpiece are golden and the album as a whole holds a special place in my heart. Each album that came after that one was a natural progression toward greatness. I still count this 1 “lost” album as my favorite and “Give Me Rest” as a close second. Their final 2 songs from 2017 could have fit perfectly on “The Sounds of Earth” so those two are favorites as well. The band needs to reunite, step on that stage and play all the old material including songs off Sounds of Earth. Facedown Records needs to get a hold of the rights for that album and re-release it. I’ve heard it’s locked up tight and surrounded by Kryptonite which kills the strength of approaching labels and superhero bands like HANDS. This has to happen at Furnace Fest 2023.
19. Blood and Water
The little band that kept going. This is a small time indie act with big hearts and a sound so sugary sweet and hopeful that most bands of that era would swear they heard on the radio or MTV. This was a band built for the mainstream and had massive appeal. They sounded bigger than the small label they existed on and were talented far beyond their young years. “In Character” is an absolute classic and it needs to be re-released on Vinyl/Tape with band commentary and behind the scenes info. They released a couple other “indie” releases before this final album and some demos post-In Character but then sadly called it quits as “Blood and Water” and former members formed under the title “Talkie” then went in a direction I lost interest in. Sorry, don’t mean to be rude. It was decent music but that sound was lost in a sea of sameness in the vast open space of the indie circuit. I want Blood and Water to reunite and get a clear start releasing new music with that same diverse sound they were so good at playing. Not to mention quirky lyrics, a thin veil of humor, instant sing a longs, and a collective understanding of pop hooks.
This band literally went through the ringer. Started when they were in Middle School and High School. They were all still in high school by the time their last EP released. Can you imagine “kids” these days writing that kind of mature sounding emo-core and just barely getting their driver’s licenses? “Self Titled” EP is one of the best band debuts of all time, without a doubt. “The Soft Spoken Words of Fallbrook” was a solid farewell, but that first ep was my favorite. Believe it or not, the band had a rotating cast of characters who would come and go over the years until eventually they got a new lead screamer, changed their name to “Slingshot David”, recorded some demos (that I loved) and I’ve heard recorded a full length album that some label out there has held on to in a vault for all these years refusing to let anyone release it (similar to the case with Noise Ratchet and their final American Recordings full length produced by Rick Rubin). Some of the guys would go on and start side projects like The Moodswingers, Rainy Days, then Stairwell (which too would go over some lineup changes) between their 3 albums. Recently a couple members (Jonathan Caro leading) have put out music under “My Compatriots”, “Pilot Whale”, and even solo endeavors. Stairwell is back and will be recording new music with an updated lineup BUT, I most want Bloodshed to reunite with that early lineup (Jason Fleetwood on lead) and play their 2 eps in full, maybe splash in some of those Slingshot David songs? Someone needs to package the two eps, remix and remaster, then put it on wax and/or tape, CD. Furnace Fest would be blown away. Throwback Festival 2023 would be insane.
21. Dismissed / Kings to You
I am the biggest Dismissed and Kings to You fan on the planet besides maybe Steven Kelly (you know who you are). Long story short. I Knew Dave Arthur from Church. Watched their young band Dismissed play live locally. Loved the sound, especially at that time period. They were harder than pop-punk, had a vocalist who could sing and not sound like a snotty faux british punker, and had co-vocalist screaming. We are talking 2001/2002. I took them to Scott S. (Plankeye/Fanmail) who was launching a label and looking for new bands. I was trying to talk him into working with them because they were really young and had a promising sound. At that point they didn’t really have anything professionally recorded (except for that super rare independent EP that exists out there but I no longer have it, oops) and maybe some demos are laying around somewhere. Scott signed them to Vanishing Point Records and put them in his studio to lay down a couple songs, one of which I wanted to use on “I’m Your Biggest Fan 2”, my passion project in the form of a compilation that I forced Tooth & Nail Records to release at gunpoint. The label was terrified, but I was able to enlist the illuminati to step in on my behalf and take care of it. That and I also lost an arm-wrestling match with Eric Mattson which led to Makeshift3 winning a spot on the compilation. (That is all completely made up except for Dismissed and Vanishing Point, oh and I really did make I’m Your Biggest Fan 2). Anyway, Dismissed recorded those two songs – “The Fall of Friendship” and “The Storm” with Scott but only one of them was released (on Biggest Fan 2). Scott wasn’t feeling it and thought the band needed more time to develop their skills, so he signed Last Second instead….. Anyway, no hurt feelings because that gave me ample time to take money out I didn’t have, create a record label, sign the band (after an awesome lunch at Chevy’s Mexican Restaurant in Laguna Niguel, RIP), pay for CDs to be printed, and dropped it on March 25th 2003. I look back fondly on that time and especially that release date. It was the very first release on IVM as a label and some of my favorite music. It was recorded at Love Juice Labs here locally (Sick of Change, Watashi Wa, Slow Coming Day, etc etc). A lot of indie and punk bands recorded there back in the day. After the album was out, I somehow found a distributor that took most of the CDs I had printed and swallowed them whole only to go bankrupt just a few months later, leading me to re-print the album with new artwork that I liked much better (Dave’s brother Sam designed it) and then I released it. Couldn’t find another distributor so I just sold them on my own and gave the bands a bunch. Northern Records bought back some inventory from that distributor and my albums were included in that batch so they offered to pay me for what had sold and then the rest got sent back. It was disastrous and a learning experience. I was in over my head but at the same time I had amazing talent in these bands and Dismissed will forever be a very special memory. Dave Arthur even went on to record some Background Vocals on the “Shadows are Security” album by As I Lay Dying. All those singing parts on that album are his. They continued on after IVM closed up (the first time) and recorded an absolute masterpiece of an EP (even though it was low budget at Love Juice Labs) with my favorite song of theirs – “Bittersweet”. Had they kept going in the direction of that EP with bigger budget recording and production, they would have been a huge band at the time, probably Underoath sized or bigger, definitely at the Thrice level. This is a long story and I’ll fill in the blanks at a later date. Basically, I feel like they didn’t a fair shot or earn the exposure they deserved. Not enough people knew who they were or passed on them because of the simplistic “Dismissed” name. They got another drummer after Dave S. quit named “Joel Piper” who many of us now know from bands like Confide, Olivia the band, Avery Pkwy, and his own solo music. After Joel Piper left as drummer, they would change their name to to “Kings to You” (which was a reference from the film “The Count of Monte Cristo”). I first heard a 3 song Demo in 2005 with an unreleased track “Catapult” and a cover of the classic Journey song “Separate Ways”. That led the band to record a full length all on their own called “The Antidote” and dropped it in 2007. Without a label backing, having full time jobs, and little to no access to advertising, the band fizzled out. They played live a few times and were trying to make a go of it on MySpace but it was tough back then to get your voice heard. Listening to Dave’s voice from that first Dismissed record to Kings to You, you could see the raw and natural talent he had and how the band’s sound progressed. Screaming was mostly out on Kings to You stuff and I really enjoyed the music they made. So, I have asked them multiple times to reunite and put music out again. Take a hold of all their material and find someone to re-release it all. I really want to see it happen. They would be a perfect addition to a Throwback Festival or even as an opening act at Furnace Fest 2023. Chad Johnson knows their songs because I sent them to him and ultimately Tooth & Nail passed 😉
22. Next in Line
This is another “possible” reunion that might actually happen. This gang of melodic punk rock trail blazers flew under pretty much everyone’s radars back in the late 90’s to early 2000’s. I found the band on some compilations from the likes of Bettie Rocket etc and then their first official full length titled “In Due Time” which dropped a few years before “Traffic”. They were always an independent band with a sound bigger than themselves to a point where you didn’t know if what you were listening to was a big band on the radio instead of an underground independent act. Anthony and the guys projected a sound unlike many others going strong at that time. They were a band I immediately reached out to for I’m Your Biggest Fan 2 of which they contributed the unreleased song “Bye Polar”. After the compilation dropped and a year passed, working with Dismissed gave me the idea to work with another band and the obvious choice was Next in Line. I released “Traffic” in late 2003 on Indie Vision Music. The Masaki Liu produced album sounded amazing and I still love it to this day. While I love Anthony’s current big time indie/dirty blues rock band “Little Hurricane” to death and it’s awesome to see that founding NIL guitarist – Jay Ragan, also plays with Craig’s Brother and Too Bad Eugene. This band holds a special place in my heart. 2023 is the year of the Next In Line comeback because I know it’s going to happen. Re-release of all their combined old material needs to happen including some new music on vinyl? Please?
23. Man Alive
Ever since I found this Israeli based melodic punk band back in 2001 from the urging of their original label Men Of Israel Records, I was giving a listening copy of the first official MAN ALIVE released full length “Foreign Concepts”. The songs were fast, raw, pop fueled, and more than just simple punk rock. They had heart, enthusiasm, and a desire to be a worldwide phenomenon. While they got close on their 3rd album, “Open Surgery” released on The Militia Group in 2005 which got them some world wide acclaim. After that they went on to release a special ep on Smart Punk Records, a “Self-Titled” full length that seriously blew everything else away and then finally “A Light Goes On” which was a farewell of sorts in 2012. I was lucky enough to have the band put “The Victory Song” on Hearts Bleed Passion Vol. 1 which was my first big independent compilation, a continuation of sorts from I’m Your Biggest Fan 2. I once had them out here locally in Southern California where they stopped by Core Boardshop during my Biggest Fan 2 release show. It was good to meet these guys in real life and hear some great stories. I would love another album and to see them play outside of the middle east even if just for one more time.
This powerful young band came out of nowhere in 1995 with a full length on Tooth & Nail that stood out from the rest of the 90’s hardcore bands (in the general market) at that point. This was the golden age of hardcore, pretty much anything from 1990-2000, a lifetime of memories. This band’s debut album was a surprising introduction to not just the band’s style but to that scene at large. Proof that you could be hard, loud, and aggressive but still embracing a strong faith fueled center. They released “When Beauty Dies” in 97′, which is long lost and I’m not sure why that is. I can’t even find my cd of it nor is it on digital networks. The band would go on to release a number of albums/eps on Facedown Records, pretty much launching that label from a tiny operation to a full-fledged family of the best heavy bands in the game. If someone were to document that moment where Facedown exploded, it was probably with “Immortal Until Their Work is Done”. Overcome have reunited a couple times in the past, more recently with their last 2 full lengths on Facedown. We need a hardcore vinyl re-release of their first 4 releases. Maybe even a re-release of their early demos and non-album tracks. Oh, and a Throwback Festival, Furnace Fest, and Facedown Fest needs to feature Overcome. Maybe 3 fest dates and done 🙂
25. Take It Back!
Found this band from some early demos pre-Facedown Records and was blown away. Zack’s killer voice had a deep, almost gritty range not far off from Dogwood, Good Riddance, Hot Water Music. I put their song “Lights in This Town” on Hearts Bleed Passion Vol. 2 back in 2006. They signed with Facedown Records sometime after and dropped an explosive album called “Can’t Fight Robots”. It was full of fists in the air, punk rock anthems where the youth scream out with fingers pointing to the sky, and by embracing one another. These were the days. Zach left a little bit after this album and it was always a huge bummer. The band did go on to make some pretty killer melodic hardcore music that was much different in style from the first album but still a tip of the hat to the beginning. I would hope Zack could come back and front this band. Maybe reconnect with Facedown Records and become the biggest punk band of 2023. Play Furnace Fest, Facedown Festival, and that imaginary Throwback Festival. I wouldn’t mind maybe some new stuff that was supposed to come out a couple years ago 😉
26. Capital Lights
Come on now, you know Newport Party was a sweet song! This band released a huge debut full length called “Outrage” in 2008 I believe, and they were going to be the biggest Tooth & Nail band at a time when Anberlin was leaving, Emery was living large, and The Classic Crime were getting even better. This was a pop-punk band just as good as ANY band in the past 20 years. Their 2nd album “Rhythm and Moves” dropped in 2012 and it serves as a perfect goodbye but also leaves you wanting more. I really wish they could have gone on to record more and actually play some shows. They were the biggest underground studio band who didn’t tour. Fun times indeed. Reunite! Record another album! Press those 2 albums on Vinyl! Play Furnace Fest, The T&N Throwback Festival, and do some interviews. Let’s create some noise, friends!!!
This band ruled, period. I can’t think of any other band in history that released a 1 and done full length that was better than everything else out there. It was almost like they knew they’d blow your mind so they just recorded these incredible songs with the best production possible, got up on stage, dropped the mic and walked away for years. Who does that? Why? Yes, Advent are the heaviest and most insane heavy band featuring a group of Christian guys who pummel you with unapologetic, in your face (with love), truth telling hardcore music that doesn’t suck. However, Beloved (which led to the rise of Advent and other bands featuring some of these guys, were a force to be reckoned with both on record and live in front of music fans across the country. I am sure there was inner turmoil and more to the story about this band that came out of nowhere and then fell to Earth in a ball of flames and ash. I mean if that doesn’t scream “Behind the Music” then I don’t know what else would. Is that why VH1 died because they wouldn’t dig deep into the inner workings of a popular hardcore band that didn’t lose their singer and some members in a tragic plane crash? It might not be “Sweet Home Alabama” and certainly no “Free Bird” but “Death to Traitors”, “Aimless Endeavor”, and “Failure On My Lips” are the best in the genre. The band recently sprung back to life with a new cover of a classic U2 track done in the band’s unique blend of heavy and melodic with that unforgettable sing and scream trade off. I know there were a lot of bands fighting for your attention (and wallet) back at the early part of the 2000’s but while the world watching the news, listening to countless boy bands, pop singers, and all that [enter opinion here] nu metal stuff, many of us in the underground were jamming to bands like this. They really deserved a place at the top and still do. I believe Beloved could have been as big if not bigger than Underoath, even now. There was something uniquely interesting and a sound that isn’t so easily forgotten like with other bands. The band are kinda, sorta, maybe, back now and released their new single “Abyss” a little over a year ago. The band also have played some spot dates including Furnace Festival. If they are reading this then two things need to happen: 1.) A new Beloved release (EP or LP doesn’t matter, just new music), and 2.) Another Advent release at the same time. You can never have too much of a good thing, right?
28. Altar Boys
For a band to play for over 40 years and still sound this good so many years later is an impressive fete. Sure Mike Stand and the gentlemen behind this legendary punk rock phenomenon, played live back in 2018 as a reunion of sorts and yes they also released a newer album called “No Substitute” but that doesn’t mean fans like myself can’t clamor for more legendary music making. You’re only as old as you feel and I bet they feel like a million bucks. Mike, if you’re reading this then know this – your music has not only touched my life as a kid but I’m sure with the creation of CDs, digital music, and streaming platforms, that many more new “fans” have been gained along the way. To be making music for over 40 years and still be considered underrated super stars (or should I say ‘super heroes’) is a beautiful sight. Now press all your old albums especially Hearts Lost in Nowhere and Forever Mercy, on Vinyl with the whole package not just one of those carbon copies of the real thing. We need in depth commentary, limited color options, new mastering job for vinyl, and beautiful one of a kind packaging. To top it off, you will play next year at the famed Throwback Festival someone is going to organize, at least I hope so.
29. Olivia the Band
This band from Hawaii was leagues ahead of anything the “Contemporary Christian Music” (CCM) industry tried to lump them in with. I think some people really wanted them to be the “Christian” version of Blink-182 which was really stupid because these guys were independent of corny, profanity laden, commercially processed punk rock that circled the drain for a decade or two. Blink are great, duh, but to lump this band in with them in hopes of getting them to stick in the hearts of angsty, frustrated teens who were actually seeking something different, was the wrong angle. I love who Olivia the band were before they released their debut full length and by the time of their final album in 2008. They released a couple albums on their own in the early 00’s one of which was the great “For the Kids” which had their original “Olivia” moniker before they had to change it. Turns out, Olivia Newton John kindly asked them (or legally threatened?) via her management to change the name so they added “The Band” after Olivia. I guess one of pop music’s legendary sweethearts is entitled to holding the rights to her name most definitely, and may she forever rest in peace. Olivia The Band made fun pop-punk that brought some of that infectious warmth from their refreshing waves and unforgettable Hawaiian sunsets to stereos across the United States and beyond. Their 2 professionally released full lengths had songs that were both memorable and inspiring. They will long be remembered and our souls need to be nourished by this punk rock music one more time.
30. Every Day Life (EDL)
The intensity from this band and Ted’s stage presence probably scared off more people than the fan count generated. They weren’t specifically a “Rap-core” band like they were introduced as back in 1995/96, but more of a heavy metal band with thrash influences and white man hip hop flow that was as legit as you could possibly get at that time. Nothing cheesy about EDL’s music and was a far cry from whatever you call Limp Bizkit. Not sure about that whole Rage Against The Machine and EDL beef but there is definitely a story there. Releasing “Disgruntled” with the album cover image of the Reginald Denny beating during the 1992 LA Riots was thought provoking to say in the least and the sounds from that album were nothing short of extraordinary. They were NuMetal before that was even a thing. I believe their first demos came out around the time of Rage’s first album and that first Korn release. “American Standard” was a step up from the debut and “Moment in Clarity” was the perfect final album in that trilogy. There is no reason after listening to their three 90’s era records that this band wouldn’t have achieved worldwide acclaim but they suffered from small time label marketing and management shuffling. “Moment of Clarity” in 1999 was supposed to be their biggest record which dropped at the same time as all the noteworthy genre defining albums in NuMetal that released. Maybe they were too heavy? Too much hardcore? Too much rap? Not enough profanity? If P.O.D., Project 86, Blindside, Korn, Deftones, Linkin Park, etc all made it work without having to do it for the Nookie, then there was no excuse EDL couldn’t have toppled charts. Oh well. Hopefully these men shake off the cobwebs, drop the walkers, straighten their backs, and take a little Neuriva weeks in advance 😉 Re-release those albums on Vinyl/Tape/CD and play a throwback festival of some kind. Definitely play Furnace Fest. Do it.
31. The Prayer Chain
This was an odd add on for this article because they technically did reunite for some shows about 5 years ago and re-released their two big albums on Vinyl/CD. Maybe they could re-release “Whirlpool Ep”? That would just be another excuse of mine to get them to play out in 2023 for a whole series of shows. I know for a fact that if Tim Taber is reading this, he has the necessary tools and skills to pull off a “Throwback Festival” with The Prayer Chain and every single band mentioned above (and below), right here in the heart of Orange County, CA. There are still some pretty big venues, either inside or outside that would be perfect to host this thing. Heck, make is a 2 day affair, multiple stages, merch rooms, and billboards all over town. Throw up an ad to run against the MyPillow man so that it’ll drown him out lol. Thank you Tim and Transparent Productions for hosting some of the biggest Christian Events of the past decade or two but you and I both know that that Throwback Festival dream needs to happen. Not just for myself, but for every single music fan who gained their interest in that lightning in a bottle time of underground Christian music. Tooth & Nail have existed for 30 years. Facedown Records is still going. Velvet Blue Music is amazing. We need a tribute to all past and present. Bettie Rocket, Screaming Giant, The Militia Group, XS Records, Rescue Records, Flicker, Floodgate, Frontline, Alarma, Brainstorm, Substant Records, Four Door, Via Records, REX, Gray Dot, Flying Tart, Boot to Head, Indie Vision Music.
32. OC Supertones
Ok, so I might be in the small minority here hoping for yet another OC Supertones reunion but this time – in 2023. They broke up in 2005, reunited in 2010, broke up again in 2017. Their final album from 2012 ranks as a fantastic closing on that chapter and is a favorite of mine in their vast, diverse discography. Really, I don’t have a least favorite except maybe the live recorded pre-2017 stuff. So here’s the deal. These gentlemen are not in wheelchairs. They are not staring at the walls in a senior center nor are they drooling in straight jackets somewhere in an institution (although Matt definitely was in the straight jacket for a music video back in 1997 but that’s another story). I really think that if there is any kind of “Throwback Festival” next year, then this band definitely deserves to be near the top of the lineup as a headliner. This band opened a lot of doors for that indie and underground ska-punk subculture of Christian kids seeking to find their place in this world. Yes, I did go there and so what. They could literally do an anniversary set of their first 4 albums and fans would be happy. Playing songs off Hi Fi Revival and Revenge of The OC Supertones would be the icing on the cake, and then “For Your Glory”, the perfect conclusion. Some of the guys in this band are pastors and a few others hold special places in ministry at their Churches. Oh and recent guitarist, Josh Auer, also plays with Phil Wickham. I would love to see this band celebrated for all their many accomplishments in the music scene and beyond, across the globe where their music continues to touch lives. You’re never too old to yell SKA SKA SKA and you can always skank to the beat. Even a little old school “Oi Oi Oi” can’t hurt.
33. Poor Old Lu
This is the band that carried me through some impressionable years. I felt like at that time NO ONE down here in OC knew who Poor Old Lu were. They were like this rare enigma, appearing seemingly from out of nowhere but swept up in that Northwest version of Rock that cemented Seattle into the minds of a generation. They may have been lesser known but they more than made up for it in their eclectic alternative rock sound. They could have simultaneously existed between genres like Grunge, Punk, Alternative, Christian Music, Shoegaze, and whatever was blowing up in the underground. Their appeal to a vast population of music fans but seemingly slipping under the radars of popular print media and radio DJs/VJs of major publications was a remarkable fete. Sure, the members have all gone on to projects like Rose Blossom Punch, Fair, Subways on the Sun, Demon Hunter, Dead Poetic, Vekora, as a major producer (Aaron Sprinkle) solo artists – Aaron and Jesse Sprinkle, and all those underground indie projects over the years. Each of the members of this band have done significant work both in the band and outside of it. The band last released one of their best songs “The Great Unwound” like a decade ago and served as the finest example of the band’s many talents. Poor Old Lu haven’t released an album since The Waiting Room in 2002. Throw Poor Old Lu on a Throwback Festival, put them at Audiofeed Festival, maybe even Furnace Fest. It shall be a wonderous time.
I loved Bleach. Even though their first Forefront album was kinda corny, I loved it. I played it for my future wife and she loved it! We would listen to that first album over and over, especially Epidermis Girl and Perfect Family. The band went on to release hit after hit after hit even when they experimented and stretched genre norms, the band was on fire. They are really a missed band and their sound never went out of style. I wish that Bleach reunion would have gone further and new music got made 🙁 It’s too bad people have hijacked the “Bleach” name, not even trying to put a variant on the spelling. Go look up ‘Bleach’ on digital networks and you’ll have to weed through all the junk to get to the juicy center, but I think that’s a lollipop? Bleach, if you’re reading this, you know what to do. Tim Taber? Reach out and put them on the Throwback Festival.
35. The Showdown
I ran out of space above and I’m too lazy to bounce around bands to fit this format (it’s already a lot of work). This band recently reunited at Furnace Fest this year and from what I hear, they blew everyone away. David has a huge, commanding, and menacing voice that carries significant weight, making all first time listeners, Instant fans! David also lent his vocal talents to the song “God Knows” with Nate Parrish which was released several months ago. There were even some melodic punk rock hints a year ago that he shared with me, a potential side project that was going to release new music. I guess it didn’t happen which bummed me out because I would have loved to hear this punk rock EP they possibly could have released. These guys have such huge talents and the variety between their releases certainly doesn’t disappoint. While I’m in the minority of heavy music too cool for school fans, I love Temptation Come My Way. It was a HUGE sounding album with great melodies, a certain heaviness that balanced out the melodic heavy metal and rock aspects. I know the screaming was to a minimum on that album but who cares, that album had massive appeal which took a back seat to the next 2 albums on Tooth & Nail. All they have to do is mix the influences between all 4 of their album and they’d would be an unstoppable force. They need to play Audiofeed Festival, a Throwback Fest (if they sign back to Solid State, a joint T&N and Solid State Throwback Festival would be definitely recommended).
This band deserves a spot near the top but like I mentioned on The Showdown section right above, it’s a lot work when everything is already written out 😉 Hangnail released 3 full lengths on Tooth & Nail/BEC Recordings, an Acoustic EP, and then an independent LIVE album, and a pre-T&N independent album. Short discography for such an influential underground punk band that drew upon strengths in both their Faith and Punk Rock in general. Encouraging, hopeful, inspirational, and energetic, their songs weren’t without substance and heart. While their BEC debut wasn’t my favorite, it’s still great when you listen to it and realize all these early Christian bands were actually in late teens early/20’s when they recorded. I mean look MxPx, they’ve been making music for nearly 30 years and all started in their teen years. Hangnail needs to permanently reunite and have your band member/super producer Nick R. put your next amazing songs to tape, err, I mean digital? If it’s anything like Transparent and your recent Christmas EP, this will be an unstoppable punk rock force for good. Play a Throwback Festival that I’m sure Tooth & Nail will put on in 2023 (are the hints starting to sink in deep yet?)
37. For Today
This heavy metalcore band really turned heads and led a generation of youth to drop their fronts and learn biblical truths they never would have gotten just going to other heavy music shows. Sure, there has been some controversies and lots of talk online but that’s what these modern-day keyboard warriors are so world renown for, am I right? Lots of lip smacking that really does little to impact the reach of a band and their mission. I am sure knocking members down will do wonders for their self-esteem and personal goals but what do I know. Anyway, For Today with Mattie Montgomery needs to happen and they can continue where they left off except this time they need to reconnect with Facedown Records. Play Facedown Fest, Audiofeed, and Furnace Fest, but just ignore the haters. Make people realize that you rise above the hate and conquer with love. If you can’t conquer with love and offer hope, what point is there in all this? End rant.
38. Every New Day
Almost forgot to mention this band from the great white north – Every New Day. Canadian lads who made heavy punk music for those that wanted a deeper bite than that whiney, faux brit punk sound (I’m not knocking, I like it too but there is a time and place). I have a feeling the majority of people in the punk scene and Christian rock subculture scene, do not know who this band is or anything really about them. I heard them via Salad Dressing Records at the start of Indie Vision Music and I even carried their releases in the IVM online discount superstore (I’m gonna trademark that). I have a bunch of albums that have slipped through the cracks in my collection and maybe had even loaned out. One of the band’s songs “Silent Streets” off their final full length was insane with that metallic edge and thoughtfully placed piano playing. There are so many countless, sometimes nameless, bands who have come and gone over many years and through different generations but a stand up act like Every New Day should always be remembered. The fact that these guys released 2 absolte perfect full lengths then just disappeared, is tragedy where there is no tying of loose ends. They left on a cliffhanger and the power just got cut in the theater. Time for a sequel, pass the popcorn and candy, and lean back, the shows about to start. Throwback Festival or Furnace Fest, make it happen. Someone needs to get these guys to reunite and gain back rights to those early albums and re-release them.
Attalus were always a favorite of mine, probably dating back to their early formation and Demos of which I promoted heavily on this website. They had a diverse sound that you couldn’t instantly define. It was a fair mix of melodic intensity, heaviness, ballad-esque songs evenly balanced with that beautiful piano influence. Their final album “Into The Sea” was an absolutely fantastic and epic sounding farewell. People might see this as a one album band but if you dig deeper into their indie catalog of old music I know you’ll all be pleasantly surprised. Facedown Festival Throwback Version needs this band or even at that famed Throwback Festival 2023 that I keep name dropping here. These guys should all reunite, maybe even from different states because with today’s modern technology you don’t always have to exist in that same shared space to make grand music. Facedown Records, please make this band reunite. They never should have quit.
A definite must have for any throwback event here in Southern California and other spot dates across the US next summer. Bill Power is a lead vocalist UNLIKE ANY OTHER! This band had such promise and a truly unique body of work. They came back in 2000 with an album that set the stage for what would come. However, they disappeared again just as quick as they made that Figureheads… album. Prime Candidate for a Burnout was the best label debut I’d ever heard. Usually you get a decent start and then a band builds upon those strengths on into the future. They had a fantastic debut then mixed things up with Muchacho Vivo which is also good in it’s own unique way. They were like a mix of Jawbox, Fugazi, Helmet, Pixies, and straight forward punk rock noise with a melodic side. You couldn’t really define their sound because they were in a league of their own. Blenderhead should play all these Throwback Fests in 2023. Maybe come out to introduce yourselves, play your hearts out, then say goodbye one last time? Or maybe not and the connection runs so deep that it sparks a new album.
41. Brave Saint Saturn
This side project of sorts featuring members of Five Iron Frenzy including lead vocalist, Reese Roper, dropped one of my favorite albums of all time “Anti Meridian” back in 2008. It released independently to little fanfare and flew under most people’s radars, but it was and still is, exceptional work. Reese is one of the best lead vocalists in all of rock music, and I say that without sarcasm, cynicism, or BS. He has the goods and brings it each and every time with lyrics that are as passionate and honest as they are poetically self-deprecating (isn’t most FIF that way?). That voice is so unmistakable that no matter what band has him, you can instantly recognize even with your eyes closed. Don’t discount the talents of all the other guys who’ve played on and off with Reese for more than two decades (approaching 3 decades soon, yikes!). The music of Brave Saint Saturn was a beautiful blend of indie rock music with a steady heartbeat and emotionally driven. They inspired you to think, to feel, and to rally behind in times of despair. Even more unique were the many times one could encounter true “praise music” without all the heavy-handed Nashville influence and production. They did it their own way on each of their 3 full lengths and steadily improved at their craft by the time “Anti Meridian” dropped. Not only does this album need to be pressed on Vinyl for the first time but the band should make a very special appearance live one day, maybe even as openers for Five Iron? What would be cool is a show entirely composed of FIF side projects and the band themselves. Five Iron Frenzy as headliners with special guests – Brave Saint Saturn, and Roper, with a one night only appearance from Guerilla Rodeo, and on stage for the last time – Exhumator. Maybe this is foreshadowing because I can totally see this happening someday. Bottom line is that Brave Saint Saturn is the band I most want to hear a follow up from. Ska and Punk are very much a part of my life but the music from Brave Saint Saturn is the like the icing on a cake. Play with Five Iron Frenzy at the Throwback Festival next year.
42. The Blamed
This band did not break up recently at all. In fact, they kinda released an ep and album through Indie Vision Music because I’ve always been a sucker for what this band created over the years. Really, each album starting with the first one (21) had fantastic songs with a jam-packed track listing. I loved “Frail” A LOT back in the day and played the heck out of that album but no band should dwell on the past, trying to reconnect with a sound that probably can’t happen again. It doesn’t matter because this band and their talents will never die, ever. Bryan Gray is a gentle soul with a heart for making music his own way over the years. They don’t bow to anyone. Jim Chaffin is a crazy drummer and one of the absolute best in our scene, probably the most unique of all metal/thrash/punk drummers. This band rules the day and I hope everyone rallies behind Bryan as he recovers from his illnesses and health scares that tried to break him. You can’t break his spirit and this band is proof that talent is bigger than the artists care to admit. The Blamed is all about longevity and perseverance. Long live The Blamed! Throwback Festival is an absolute MUST!
44. Further Seems Forever
Will they or won’t they? Are they back or aren’t they? These are just a couple questions myself and other music fans have. Admit it, every single one of their 3 studio albums on Tooth & Nail were some of the best in the genre. Really, they broke out of their pretty little “emo” confines to reach a whole generation of music fans looking for something deeper. While some of us drift toward our “favorite” FSF album (come on, list yours in the comments, I dare you) and have certain songs on repeat over the years, You can’t deny their diverse discography is just plain amazing music period. Whether its the vocal talents of Chris Carraba a man best known for leading an indie/emo band still at the top of their game more than 20 years later, the quiet aggression and strong commanding yet melodic voice of Jason Gleason, or from the voice of Jon Bunch who has single handedly brought passion and pain to the many projects he has been a part of, lifting everyone’s joy with his mere presence. Jon’s influence is bittersweet because he as insanely talented from writing music and performing with a band that most people can identify when thinking of emo music (Sense Field) but knowing that the man was truly suffering within and that pain was taking him down. Jon was a tortured genius, an artist who brough so much happiness to so many people yet couldn’t find that some joy inside. Mental Health is a really an important focus of mine and I wish attention was brought to others who suffer too and yes even Christians. It has to go beyond the sloganeering, attention seeking brands and organizations that are trying but not following through with their many promises. I could go on for hours about this but I just this band has made 3 incredible albums with T&N and “Penny Black” with Rise Records in 2012. The band has recently announced a few spot dates in 2023 at time of this writing. There is the possibility for more new music in the future. Are you ready?
45. The Insyderz
Some music fans are embarrassed of their “Ska” roots and pretend they were never there, “nothing to see here, move along…” but those whiners in their late 30s and 40’s acting tough as crap but lacking humble contentment are the ones who should have fingers pointing back in their embarrassed faces. Beside our graying hair, expanding waistlines, and the need for glasses which all put an age stamp on our existence, we know what made us feel young and alive. These songs, these bands, and these years are some of our best moments in time and without it, we wouldn’t be the people we’ve ended up as. Whether you choose to walk away and burn it to the ground, or stand up, brush off the stains of defeat with weathered hands and heaviness in the chest to march forward toward forgiveness, we can collectively agree that some of this music touched us deeply. Time may have brushed away the newness of it all but I know, you know, that you can’t forget. The Insyderz are a skacore band of their own and stood apart from the whole entirety of the ska scene to do it their own way. These guys are another product of label shakeups and suffered some of that same fate that a few of these bands on this list also went through. “Fight of My Life” is my favorite album of theirs but the debut and that short-lived comeback in “Soundtrack of a Revolution” on Floodgate back on 2004, were all great. The worship albums were delightful as well but I loved their originals the best. Oh and that reunion record “The Sinner’s Songbook
” had definite high marks, especially the combination of 3 monstrous ska superheroes on the lead track. Joe Yerke seems like a super cool guy and him and Reese Roper (Five Iron) have a podcast together you might be interested in called “The Boot and Pickle Shop Podcast” which is like the greatest team up of superheroes of conflicting timelines and companies. They are the DC vs Marvel, the Star Trek vs Star Wars, Pixar vs Dreamworks, Back to the Future vs all those knock offs, Avatar vs The Abyss vs Titanic…wait. The Insyderz deserve just as much praise and adoration as other bands like OC Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy, Skadaddles, Nifty Tom Fifty, Dingees, Freeto Boat, Godrocket, you name it and that’s without taking a dive into that other scene of amazing bands. This is another band put on the map and recognized by Joe’s gritty, almost hardcore at times, very punk, and at times soothing, entirely melodic, voice. This band was known for their lyrical honesty that dug into not onto the collective consciousness of Christian youth but also people looking for a little real-world grit. The Good band needs reunion badly 😉
There really isn’t anything more you can say about Sweden’s own Blindside, other than we want a reunion. Not in the future, not as one-off reunion show to celebrate the legacy of this album or that album. No, we need an actual reunion of the band back at it, on stage, on record, and making new music again. There are a variety of ways a band can outlast fads and gimmicks and Blindside thankfully never gave in to all those selling points. They were and are a legitimate hard rock band that does it their own way and forces everyone to stand and witness their strengths as musicians and performers. All their albums deserve celebrations but especially with “Silence” and onward till their final one “With Shivering Hearts We Wait” before their hiatus. As of this writing, it looks as though something exciting might happen. I really don’t want to believe it’s just wishful thinking, but I believe the band is about to make a huge comeback. We shall see. For now, go buy “Silence” on vinyl (only black was left available at the time of this typing). This band needs to be booked throughout 2023 especially at one of those Throwback Festivals.
Last on this little list under “Bonus Features” is a reunion that has happened a couple other times in the past post 205, sometimes with different members. The last reunion in 2017 that I saw had all the original members and it was a solid show. They aren’t young anymore and it’s tough to embrace that sound when so many other big bands are just out of step here in 2022 (or doing it for the ‘nookie’) but Pax217 played that music gracefully and not as a gimmick or sales pitch. I saw them first as “Pax” when they were a ska band with a guy named Frank on vocals with Ethan Luck, Dave Tosti, and I believe even Aaron Tosti playing drums but he had to have been a wee little lad. Yes, I booked them too to play at my underground youth group music dungeon. Rainy Days and Value Pac played that night too. Anyway, back then with the original iteration of Pax, The members played great but the singer at the time was an awkward fit. They eventually ditched the ska, Ethan went to the Dingees, Frank left, and then Dave Tosti picked up the mic, wrote some lyrics and they became the Pax217 you heard on record. The core sound from Dave, Jesse, Josh, Aaron, and percussion from Bobby “Bobito the Chef” was extraordinary. I used to think the same thing (the elephant in the room) that 311 had a younger brother named Pax217 but they were a far cry from that. Some elements slipped in but the production on TwoSeventeen was bar none, a commercial and mainstream sounding rock record. I say that as a compliment, not a knock. It’s not a surprise because Forefront Records were considered a major Christian Rock label at that time. While I’ve heard rumblings, mainly from Dave, about possible reunions and classic band history, nothing concrete has ever really happened and nor do I think it will. I think those days have long past and maybe certain things everyone believed in at one time or another, possibly doesn’t carry the same weight? Great band though and “Engage” was even better than the debut. Don’t remember much about “Check Your Pulse” but the LIVE Reunion Concert album from 2017 was also very good. One aspect I must address is their reliance on bass heavy instrumentation. Those albums sound stellar on any stereo I’ve listened on. I am a bass sound music buff and I always crank up that part on the equalizer. Believe it or not, I kind of have to turn it down a tad when spinning the first record. It’s not a bad thing, in fact it puts a smile on my face but not sure how the rest of the family feels. Going deaf never felt better. *PS, Josh Auer also played in OC Supertones and now with Phil Wickham and CHPTRS.
48. Noise Ratchet
There were hints of a reunion coming but I think it fizzled out when Covid took its grip. This band released 1 major full length, 1 EP, then signed to American Recordings (Rick Rubin’s Label) and recorded what would have become the best full length of the entire genre and their peers. It has a big sound and would totally fit on both TV and Radio (back in the day). This unreleased album is locked in a vault somewhere and will only be cut loose if someone buys the rights from American Recordings, or Rick Rubin himself. Noise Ratchet had a big sound and their music was the best of the best. They played out here in Southern California all the time back in the 2000s. Frontman Joel Hosler now has projects of his own and some of the guys formed as The Delta Spirit. You can’t go wrong with this band and you can’t go wrong with requesting a serious reunion not to mention getting those rights to finally get an actual release date more than a decade later…
49. Seraphs Coal
One of my most desired reunions. This melodic punk band from Australia released albums on both Boot To Head and Volcum Entertainment, played real music from the heart that wouldn’t be too much out of place up against bands like Autopilot Off, Over It, Sugarcult, Blink-182, and Slick Shoes. There was that classic emo influence mixed in with some solid fast melodic punk that people would probably label “SKATE PUNK”. The band’s final album “The More Things Change” released in 2002 on Volcum was one of the best releases of not only that year but of the past 20 years. It’s classic that no one has heard outside their home country. This is just sugary sweet, addictive music that you’ll find yourself singing a long with. They have to reunite and they absolutely have to record another new album. Go listen and then nod your head in agreement with me. Then when they have this new album, Brandon Ebel and Tooth & Nail will be forced to work with them after I twist some arms. Ok, not really but my imagination does run wild sometimes…
50. House of Heroes
This band are appearing near the bottom because they have been playing some off and on shows and never completely broke up. It’s like a start, stop, start, stop, up and down extended hiatus. The band has been together for in one form or another for over 20 years since they first appeared as “No Tagbacks” in 2000. They regrouped, changed their name and got more serious by the time their full-length “What You Want Is Now” for Vanishing Point Records, dropped (Later Re-Released). There is no doubting, not even a question on my mind that this band deserves a top spot on everyone’s most favorite rock bands of the new millennium. To have that vast discography filled with so much high-quality music and consistency the band has become known for is an absolute impressive skill they’ve managed to pull off with album released. This band NEEDS to reunite and release more music. Beginning with “The End is Not The End” in 2008, they have become an unrelenting force with superhero worthy strengths. Where some of their contemporaries have gotten all political, forming their own brands and rebrands seeking to stay relevant in a jaded and cynical marketplace focusing on “deconstruction” or whatever popular emerging term they want to throw out in. Those once sugary sweet gummy worms have suddenly become worm like parasites in our music scene, eating you from the inside out, causing sickness and decay, eventually leading to a premature death that was once highly preventable. Enough with that, I love House Of Heroes and they need to make more music. It has been too long and us old folk are losing patience. Nostalgia rules the day but a talented rock band rises above the sentimental nonsense to make honest music from their hearts and do it on their terms. Thank you, House of Heroes and may you never stop making great music, just watch out for poisonous gummy worms lol.
51. Hawk Nelson (feat. Jason Dunn)
It can’t be any more obvious to early fans of this 2000’s era classic pop-punk band that they are forever remembered as champs in a genre that has seen it’s fair share of volatile ups and downs over the years. They are remembered for far more than just the “Drops in the Ocean”, Christian Radio, sugary sweet unicorn droppings that modern day audiences are reminiscing about. Oh, and that other thing. Anyway, Jason Dunn with his “perfect for pop-punk” voice & guitar playing, has always been a well established part of this band and led them through a decade+ of fan adoration. What am I getting at? Well, Jason needs to reunite with the band he became the voice of. Bands that replace a long running vocalist don’t always have the best outcomes. Van Halen? Queensryche? Close Your Eyes? Take it Back!? Ignite? Pennywise? and so on. In rare instances like Further Seems Forever, and The Wedding, it DID work out great. Blink-182 is a toss up, you decide but at least Tom is back. Jason, we need you back!
Six Feet Deep were insanely great, not just in the 90’s but as a hardcore band in general that might not have gotten their fair shake at the time but played with power and passion. Sometimes a band needs to end, to become legends in their dust and from out of the ashes another artist to emerge. That artist is beyond a doubt, the one and only Brandtson. They paved the wave and laid the groundwork for many artists to pop that whole late 90’s emo scene, you know like before black hair swoops, lip rings, and flaunting depression around like a call to arms. Anyway, Brandtson are legends both in their craft and in their delivery of a finished piece of work that stands the test of time. That last album had it’s misses but there are some songs which are enjoyable. Their entire work of art from 1997 till the end is truly captivating. You can’t help but hum quietly to yourself anytime you’re out in public like at grocery store while putting a carton of ice cream in your cart to indulge in your sorrows. This band has always been one that I wish would make more music and not with a modern, overproduced synth heavy, electronic beat driven whatever you call it (not knocking anyone because I listen to this as well but for Brandtson it would be off putting), I’m talking about meat and potatoes, classic, emotion drawing, head bobbing indie rock music. This is one of those bands that if you’ve hear a song you just immediately know who it is. It’s certainly not a Where’s Waldo scenario of trying to differentiate colors against a sea of sameness. Brandtson needs to reunite and I bet it’ll be at Furnace Fest but we shall see. Someone make a 90’s/00s Emo/Indie rock throwback festival that isn’t in Vegas. Thnx.
53. The Dingees
This band released 3 full lengths + a few covers and a Christmas track or two, under the Tooth & Nail Records umbrella. They got their start back around the time after that first OC Supertones record. Had some members of The OC Supertones during their formation (Tony & Dan? + Ethan Luck who would play later with Supertones) and a vocalist who was making his rounds around OC here with a punk rock snarl and heavy heart for doing things his own way. You might remember Pegleg from his guest vocals on the song “OC Supertones” off “The Adventures of the OC Supertones”, a definite classic of the hometown heroes back in the day. I saw The Dingees a few times over the years before that first record and before they settled on a solid lineup. I believe they played one of the shows I booked at The Flipside club in 1996 (I will upload all old flyers soon). They were/are unmistakable as a gritty yet poppy, punk rock band, and dabbled in that ska and reggae realm, freshening up a sound that was beginning to fizzle out. OP Ivy were dead long before Dingees were playing and releasing music, and all the other Third Wave Ska and Ska-Punk bands were grabbing fans by the thousands. They had their niche and had a unique platform to share from. Things change over the years and some people gravitate towards different things but this band certainly can’t be classified as boring. I still love that first album the most and wished I had an early demo pre-T&N. Next year is the 25th Anniversary of their first national release, a debut they became known for. “Armageddon Massive” should be re-released (On Vinyl/Tape/CD) alongside some Value Pac, more Ghoti Hook, Plankeye, Stavesacre, and professional re-releases of OC Supertones on Vinyl. Yes, I know this band hasn’t broken up and are still playing with their own vibe but I love this early sound. Throwback Festival 2023 needs this band!
Kauai + indie/emo = A music listening experience in paradise. First heard these guys in like 2001 on the island of Kauai, Hawaii when a couple guys played in the band Longshot808 which was a great melodic pop-punk act with an Island vibe. I wish I had the demos/early releases, but I don’t think I ever owned them. Saw them that warm summer night in 2001 with a slight taste of that unforgettable island rain pelting my cheeks and a vibe being in the midst of the familiar and friendship. They played with Dogwood headlining which was the main reason I was there. I mean who would turn down an exceptional melodic punk band from So Cal. playing in my favorite vacation spot seemingly at the same time. I was really impressed the opening band of Longshot808 and kind kept a little contact over a couple years so when I heard about Pennylane I was pumped. A friend was at one my shows in Anaheim at Chain Reaction back in 2003, coming up to me with a band’s studio demo and that band happened to be Pennylane, a name I wouldn’t soon forget. The moment I put that CD in my stereo I was floored with how good it sounded right at the moment without any studio trickery. I was releasing a couple band’s albums that year from Dismissed, Next In Line, and Forgotten Arrival, so with all the debut I was swimming around in with a smile on my face, I decided to press it further by connecting with this band and then Josiah and Joey’s Loss. Pennylane is a cherished part of my life and a band I really feel connected with. I connected with them in person, online, loved their island (and state), and for the obvious reason that their music was something different, heart tugging and commercial, and honest. That’s what I enjoyed about them best, they weren’t a gimmick, they weren’t some dreamt up label creation, and weren’t shining bright onstage with glistening dollar bill avatars atop their heads waiting for young kids to click on to gain more points and prestige. They were the real deal and their talents went far beyond mundane, far above the lonely mess of substance lacking, despair circling scene people swimming to get out while they circle the drain with the sharks surrounding, just waiting for those to give in and give up. Pennylane will be remembered not just as a band with just one long EP worth of songs (5 of them + newer live tracks), but as a group of guys who had an idea to spark change and make people think differently about Hawaii and the locals making music there. The band even moved to Portland, Oregon to pursue their dreams and take their talents further which led to the album title “From Paradise to Parking Lots”. They filmed a music video for “Riverside Waiting” which was the very first IVM video and we did an enhanced CD which was something people did for a short while and as evidenced by the digital market, has been forgotten. You might even still be able to pop your Pennylane cd in a game console, computer, or if you have a dvd/Blu-ray player and see what happens. David Tamaoka, Josh Tamoaka, Laine Furokawa, and Kellen Craddick (sp?), will forever be legends in my eyes. David has a big family now and still plays “solo” music and with his Church. Josh Tamoaka is a killer drummer and played with Olivia The Band after Pennylane ended. Laine also has a “solo” act and has played music in his Church as well. Kellen is out there too making awesome music as well but he might be MIA on my radar (hey Kellen!). You definitely need to stream these songs and hopefully in 2023 they come back with a rightful follow up to that one and only EP.
55. Focal Point
Another “one and done” band. They had 1 single nationally released full length record through Tooth & Nail Records back in 1996. They also had a 7″ right before the full length which I bought at the first Tooth & Nail Festival before the new album came out and guess what I did? Oh you know, sell on Ebay because I didn’t have a record player (at the time) and wanted to make some quick bucks. Lesson 101, do not sell old vinyl or any classic media with the intention of making a quick buck because you’ll regret it later. Just get some storage containers, crates, boxes, etc. and store your stuff. Not everyone has open space for storage but put them somewhere safe, anywhere, just don’t sell it right away. I will probably die someday, leaving behind my collection and I’ve already told my wife to please not sell in a yard sale for $1 and don’t give away at Goodwill. If you knew me, reach out to my family but if I’m 80, this stuff will non-existent, forgotten in a heap of microplastics, burnt rubber (vinyl), and those weathered old album cover jackets that lost their sheen years ago. Well, at least it was fun while it lasted LOL. So back to Focal Point. I loved this one record, it was amazing stuff and set them apart as trailblazers. They were ahead of their time both in sound and quality of presentation. Go back and listen and tell me I’m wrong. Yes, Ryan Clark played in this band and I believe his brother may have had a hand in it too at one point. That painting/drawing for album art was mind blowing. You’ll see it around and instantly call out FOCAL POINT. I may not be 18 anymore, but I know it and I know it well. “Suffering of the Masses” is a classic and should be remembered by getting a vinyl re-release. In fact, I saw them at Tooth & Nail Festival (Suburbia Fest) in 1997 at a college in Irvine which was a fun day and burns bright in my memories. Throwback Festival 23′ has this band playing on the Hardcore Stage.
Another Australia based band who dabbled more in that classic early 00’s emo sound. They had a huge sound that was bigger than a lot of “signed” artists at that time. I want them to reunite then I want them to show the youngsters how it’s done. Addictive music crosses all boundaries and across continents to affect people all across this planet. If a band makes good music then it needs to be heard by a global audience. There is a lot more good underground music being made outside the United States but people forget that, only choosing to focus on or very large country but there is life outside North America, I promise. That “Here is the Moment” release from 2002 is simply amazing and a time stamp of that special time in our musical history.
57. Wish For Eden
You can’t say classic, mention nostalgia, and try to arrange a Throwback Festival without at least mentioning the very first band to release an album on Tooth & Nail Records nearly 30 years ago. Wish For Eden released a solid debut then split up. Rob Walker continued on and released an album under his own name which was underwhelming. The band needs to play any kind of Throwback Festival in 2023 or else the festival is doomed to leave some nostalgia in 90’s dust.
58. Joey’s Loss / The Hotshot Freight Train
I’ve got a warm spot in my heart for this band and the members who also went on to star in The Hotshot Freight Train after the demise of Joey’s Loss. Joey’s Loss believe it or not, were around quite a while before I connected with them and pushed out their final album on Indie Vision Music in 2004 – “Unwelcome Travelers and Other Brave Men”. You can listen to Joey’s Loss and right away go “Oh yeah, uh huh, they are a total ____ rock band”! That wasn’t expletive laced inuendo just descriptive reasoning, right? From the moment I heard them on several early 00’s underground compilations released by young labels that disappeared faster than a shooting star, I knew they were unique and when a band escapes descriptive labeling, they’re great. You know, there are a lot of genre-bending bands that have no consistent uniform songs, but rather play heavy or hard and take you down a rabbit hole of noise that spark more headaches than sing a longs, but these guys sure aren’t that. They were loud, could be aggressive at times, but were also gentle, soothing, melodic, and full of punk rock pride. It’s time for the band and members to not only play some reunion shows/new music, but also upload ALL of their old songs, releases, and demos, to digital networks. They have a vast library of recorded music so it’d be great to hear some of it again. That leaves me with The Hotshot Freight Train. The reason I did a shared, two for one, double post, is that the voice of both bands is so similar that you know him but then you like, don’t. You know what I mean? Two very different bands, one unmistakable voice, and a consistent sound between both of their acts. The Hotshot Freight Train released a favorite album of mine back in 2012 called “Get Low” that is simply, a beautiful album and one most people have probably NEVER heard. To describe this band would be a impossible task. Sure, it’s easy to go “Oh yeah, they’re totally a folk this or that band, and they are like, like a, like you know, kinda like Mumford and Sons but like kinda not, you know?” That’s when you do a total face palm, head in the hands, crying out in despair, weeping for that young generation to just see outside “the box”. They too escaped generic descriptions and AI hive-mind-like mental manipulation. They are in a league of their own and their sound reached beyond genre boundaries certainly making a fan out of me. I shared this band’s music each and every time I could, hoping to spark some sort of interest in their music over the years. If you know early IVM, you’ll remember all the news posts and reviews right here on this site. It’s kinda tragic that all the old IVM news stories were deleted but 10 years of news stories fills up a lot of space on servers and it was time to start fresh in 2016. Starting fresh seems like a nice theme for Joey’s Loss AND The Hotshot Freight Train. They can righteously co-exist in the same multi-verse and not foul up the space time continuum. You won’t be yelling “Great Scott!” and won’t need to drive out fear about a “Paradox” for even considering 2 bands, (some) same members, same label, dueling releases at the same time. It can happen, oh it can happen, and it WILL happen…muahhh haa haa haa? Indie Vision Music will forever be remembered as either catalyst for simultaneous band break ups and career ending destruction or maybe a spark an enduring legacy that led people forward? Sometimes I think it’s the former rather than the latter. Either that or everything I touch is cursed 🙁 At least we have many wonderful releases to cherish.
59. Maylene and the Sons of Disaster
This insane band was born out of the departure of Dallas Taylor from the well known metalcore band, Underoath, all the way back in 2002/03. He brought that chaotic hardcore, in your face blend of fury and power, to a heavy rock band then smashed it all to pieces to watch the liquid metal form back into that southern metalcore Terminator demanding your attention. Over the years they would drop 4 albums between Mono Vs Stereo and Ferret Music. The band went on hiatus after the band’s front man had a horrific accident with wounds that sought to topple his strength and drain his resolve. God is good and Dallas Taylor has come to grips with his inner demons to push back and pull himself up again. He is back and I mean that with sincere gratitude. It was tough to think about what he endured and how he managed to survive. I’m sure many had forgotten about the band over time, leading many to assume that it was the end. By the grace of God and Dallas’s unwavering strength his Faith brought him, is why Maylene and the Sons of Disaster stepped on the stage this past summer. Now they seem to be back in the studio and dropped insane new song, “Burn The Witches” just a couple months ago. Its obvious fans love this band and we all rally around Dallas in his recovery. The nice thing about some bands is that if it’s not a full time gig and you can’t tour 365 days a year, you can still survive and create powerful music from anywhere. If Dallas has the strength put his voice down in the studio to pummel those n00bs with his unrelenting energy, then he’ll call the shots and 2023 will be a perfect launching off point for a new EP or Album. I’m just happy they can do things their own way without all the deadlines, promotional materials, overbearing publicity hype, and put out a piece of art whenever and however they choose. 2023 is the year of comebacks and this band deserves theirs.
60. Driver Eight
This short lived band released just 1 album on Tooth & Nail Records back in 1996 titled “Watermelon”. Over the years it has become somewhat of a cult classic. I think even music listeners who were into other things at that time will admit now that this album was a fine alt-rock album for that time period and these sounds have stood the test of time. However short lived the music of Driver Eight was, you can’t deny the mark they left in just a few short years. They may have had small crowd numbers when they played live at the time, but had the album come out early in in the first part of the 2000s, it might have had better traction. Theft is great also but this is where it started. Re-release this album on Vinyl and step on stage at that throwback concert that keeps getting name dropped above 😉
61. Roadside Monument
This is a band that is a question mark. They reunited recently but was mainly just for some shows to honor vinyl pressing of a classic album. Could they live last these reunion gigs? I mean Unwed Sailor is big, and all the side projects like Calm Collapse, Cussing, and anything Matt Johnson touches is further proof of this band’s staying power. They need to reunite and play some Throwback Fests. Do it!
This goofball pop-punk band with a 80’s glam metal soul, introduced themselves with their 5 Minute Walk Records debut in 2000 and it became a huge indie hit. There were songs with humor, serious subject matter, hopeful, and that zeal for doing things their own way really shined through. That Bon Jovi cover of “Livin on a Prayer” was played a bunch back in the day. A re-release would be cool but maybe with some refreshed artwork. The band went on to record a follow up full length that most people still haven’t heard. It did take the band in a different direction theme wise (less goofball, more rock) but was just as good. I believe it was release on Mike from Puller’s label XS Records. I tried once to get a new song before that 2nd album for Biggest Fan 2 but was turned down because of the T&N contract (them and Seraphs Coal). Would love some sort of reunion or re-release. Make it happen guys.
63. Tasty Snax / The Snax
This is a weird mention because some of their music had a goofy side. They had talent in their younger years, I mean one guy went off to spend decades in one of the biggest hard rock bands of modern times – Linkin Park. I know this reunion will never happen but who knows, maybe they’ll read this post and go “Oh yeah, I once played in this Orange County band called Tasty Snax”, “We had cheesy artwork and a food based name just never hits as hard” lol. I enjoyed this band a lot at times, heck I even passed their demos to Kendall Nadeau who told me to get them signed and to release their future album on Screaming Giant Records. I remember sitting in a hallway at a Church and handing them the contracts. Crazy times. They even played a backyard party for a school friend alongside Value Pac.
64. Shop 11 Phoenix
Dude, this band was tight. Super-fast and melodic and full of grit. I really enjoyed their releases and that last collection of songs they put out post-Bettie Rocket was incredible stuff. They had some fun songs on their split with Hanover Saints as well. Come on guys, time to reunite. Do it!
65. Noggin Toboggan
Noggin Toboggan were a super young pop-punk band. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes poppy, and at times chaotic. Their sound was all over the place between their 3 albums on Bettie Rocket but the first one holds a special place in my heart. Bettie Rocket were known for solid underground, garage-y pop punk music and this band was certainly no exception of the great talent Bettie Rocket had. While they’ll probably never reunite, you never know. Never say never. Maybe Watashi Wa could play some Throwback dates and bring up Noggin Toboggan, Sick of Change, Freeto Boat, Shop 11 Phoenix, War Rocket Ajax, Like David, Prosper, etc.
66. Freeto Boat
This ska-core-punk band had a weird sound on the first album but by the time of their album “End of the Beginning”, they were an impressive force. Great fast melodic punk and ska elements. A reunion would be special. Bring back Bettie Rocket Bands for a one day fest somewhere in California feat. all connected bands and local artists that are forever tied to one another.
67. Sometime Sunday / Tragedy Ann
*Update: Mikee may or may not have said “We’re Not Gonna Take It!”, but I guarantee that the Star Wars tribute band shared more in common with Princess Leia and less Twisted Sister.* These were two very different bands but both featuring Mikee Bridges. There was also a Star Wars Tribute band set to hard rock called Twin Sister that featured some of these guys. Sometime Sunday were very much a heavy hard grunge band. They fit that scene, fit that style but were much less commercial and polished. They were a talented band that played songs with their talents, not studio mastery. Mikee has crazy, aggressive singing voice that fit this music perfectly and complimented the mostly punk rock like sounds of Tragedy Ann. Reunite, play some Throwback dates, record some new music and continue on. Please?
68. Flight 180
This was a ska-pop band similar to Save Ferris, No Doubt, with a little splash of The Go Gos, and yes, some Dance Hall Crashers influence. I believe the band had their own distinct sound were fun, lots of fun. Sometimes its best just to sit back and enjoy music you like not be consumed with bitterness and decay. That first album was originally released under the name “One Eighty”, and was an instant classic, still is. Their cover of Vacation is a favorite of mine and their Christmas cover “Mele Kelikemaka” is the best. 2 great ska-pop-punk albums and 1 swing thing that no one remembers. A fun band that I had the pleasure of seeing several times pre-Tooth & Nail/BEC and got to book myself twice 1997 and again in 2001 where they put on a stellar show but at that time they were down to just one main female lead. It was perfect and showed potential for future music. Too bad they broke up.
This hard rock band came from big beginnings (For Love Not Lisa) and that talent shined through on their debut “Sugarless”. Such a good band and I enjoyed their 3 Tooth & Nail albums quite a bit. They need to reunite without a doubt and play that same throwback stage alongside their fellow Tooth & Nail brethren. Stavesacre and Puller go together so well. Maybe a split release in the future??? Reunion time.
70. Denison Marrs
Was this band incredible or what? By the time I heard “World Renown For Romance” after their fabulous split with Stavesacre, I knew what was coming. Every part of that full length on Floodgate was perfect. This band is perfect. They need to get back together and keep making music because their songs have universal appeal and are just as good as anything the market churned out. Come on guys, make it happen.
71. Children 18:3
Children 18:3 are unlike any other band in the punk pop rock arena. They can go hard, go soft, go ska, go punk, and just flat out – entertain. They were always a phenomenon, but a far cry from a flash in the pan deserving of their exit 15 minutes later. These 3 siblings made exceptional music, showcasing their strengths as songwriters and instrument slayers. I never saw them in a live setting but I’ve seen plenty of videos, heard from many fans, and I fully appreciate everything they stand for as a band. Just a killer collection of songs throughout their catalog on Tooth & Nail Records. From their “Self Titled” 2008 debut and ending with “Come In” in 2015, these 4 albums are life and I live and breathe the music of Children 18:3. This band needs another record. ONE MORE RECORD! (chant it on repeat).
72. Close Your Eyes
Break down inspired hardcore melodic punk is played with perfection by Close Your Eyes. They dropped some early demos and independent releases before they signed with Victory Records who released their solid debut – “We Will Overcome”, in 2010. It’s hard to believe that more than a decade has passed since the original lineup released those 2 amazing records. They briefly tried to continue on with Sam Ryder, a British singer/guitarist who got his start in Blessed By a Broken Heart and now is a huge solo artist in the UK smashing up the charts. It was obvious the fit wasn’t good for either party in terms of style delivery. It doesn’t matter though because now we get word this band is possibly making a return soon and with new music. Their old songs really speak volumes on how to incorporate lyrical honesty, looking heavenward, being guided by faith, and screaming out in worship holding your friends up. These guys played really well and their music matched the intensity. They never should have slowed down and definitely not taken that extended break. I’m sure it was label related because V…nvm not going there. Close Your Eyes, if you’re reading this just know I full appreciate your music and Indie Vision Music has your back. Throwback 2023.
73. Forever Changed
This little known emo-alt-rock band from Florida made music that was a delight to listen to and showed promise beyond their years. They only released 2 major full length albums before they broke up. I was fortunate that the band contributed one unreleased track before they took off that you can still hear on “Hearts Bleed Passion Vol. 1” a compilation I put out on Indie Vision Music. Love these guys and their sound plus their strong faith based center made them a unique force in the scene. They weren’t tarnished by their connection to Christian Music and really stood out among the boring masses of future bargain bin alternative rock being spit out by Nashville. Glad these guys were around and I’m happy I made that connection with them years ago. They need to reunite and put out some new tunes.
74. Kids in the Way
These guys made 2 fabulous albums after their debut. Really talented guys and music you could listen to over and over again. They came at the right time but sadly had a tough go of it standing out among the masses in that style of music. A lot of bands suffered a similar fate in a sea of overindulgence. They should reunite but please, keep the name and don’t try to make acronyms or shortened titles. Just be who you are and no one cares if you aren’t actually “Kids” anymore. Fergie will always be that girl on Kids Incorporated and you’ll always be Kids In The Way.
75. Letter Kills
This band was huge in sound. I always assumed they were going to be huge, bigger than all the other bands in the scene because Matt’s voice was killer and their balance of heavy and melodic was perfectly executed. Their music was like a precision instrument, built to inspire and lead but at the same time filling your head with dopamine inducing joy. The band broke up not long after this full length and an ep I think. Matt Shelton went on to take over vocals in the band The Wedding, played some killer solo music even worship songs, and now he fronts Panther City Riots (which is another fantastic project). Letter Kills should reunite, and they should do a better job at promoting this second go around. Get on a good label and don’t settle for being second best. You guys are number one in my book. It shows that you don’t need all the profanity, middle fingers, beer-stained shirts, black swooped hair, lip piercings and hot topic accessorizing to just make good music. It goes beyond the image if you want lasting legacy.
This band released a couple early albums when they were unsigned and just one final album called “Thrifty Mr Kickstar” back in 1997. This was insanely good music for that time period and even more so now. When it came out I think they got buried beneath that whole punk, ska, hardcore, odd whatever you call it, music of the 1990s, and they definitely deserved a spot at the table. My hope is that they would come back for one last time, record new music, re-release their old music on vinyl/tape, and play that Throwback Festival alongside Black Eyed Sceva. Their sound was a definite bright spot for that time period with groups like – Gin Blossoms, Tonic, Counting Crows, Collective Soul, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Caedmon’s Call, etc. all doing their own thing. Train wished they wrote songs this good.
77. Stretch Arm Strong
This melodic hardcore band needs no introduction. They were years ahead of so many bands in the scene but also heavy bands in general. From the moment their first nationally released album “Rituals Of Life” dropped, we weren’t prepared for the presence of this really fast and heavy melodic hardcore band. Every album released and especially “Free at Last” which was their final, parting gift of an album in 2005, was magical. In fact, that album has long been “out of print” through digital networks but the band recently put it back up. Everything they’ve done, even those early pre-Solid State albums, are great. This band has reunited, yes I know which is why they rank toward the bottom but we still don’t know if we’ll get another new record from them or if they can even pull it off. We shall see. Play that Throwback Festival, not just the great one in Alabama. Do it!
This is another band who just reunited but under a different name and touching on their combined talents with both Mortal and Fold Zandura. That band is now called MorZan and they just dropped a brand new song “The Fisherman” which is a new take on a Mortal classic. Believe it or not, this is a modern sounding project that I didn’t think I would enjoy as much but from this first new song in ages, but I can tell that their talent runs deep. Jyro and Jerome have been a part of so many bands, projects, and behind the producer’s board, that it would be tough to list it all here. Are they industrial? Are they Electro-pop? Are they techno? Are they hard rock or soft rock? and so on. You can’t label them and that in and of itself is perfection. Throwback Festival is calling and asking for MorZan to play. Hello? You there? 🙁
79. 7-10 Split
7-10 Split were a melodic punk band that played hard, played fast, played loud, and yet always let those melodies flow through the noise. They released a full length and EP on Screaming Giant Records back a hundred years ago and that last ep was a perfect introduction to the band and showed the direction they would take in the future. When “The Stars Have Fallen” dropped in 2003, it was a new band with better production, better songwriting, and a heavy melodic punk-metal sound that you couldn’t help but love. They fit in that whole early 2000s scene with early Thrice, Death By Stereo, AFI, The Used, Story of the Year, As Friends Rust, Glasseater, Finch, Emery, etc. They weren’t some complex, arty, hipster blend of nonsense, they were just hard rockin, melodic punk band with metal roots. The band released 2 albums a long time ago on New School Records then broke up and disappeared. Lead vocalist Jon Ladd started a killer company called Terminus Tees and they printed a lot of the Indie Vision Music shirts post-2016. Jon and the other guys briefly reunited, recorded a new song as 7-10 Split called “The Messenger Has Fallen” in 2018 and more recently the cover track “Shallow” a year after. I’m definitely scratching my head wishing for more music and to see them rocking live again. There has to be some demand for new
7-10 Split with that modern day production sound but still very punk rock, right? 2023 is calling and it wants it’s 7-10 Split back.
80. Life In Your Way
This band had a harsh sound but a definite soft side. They were the perfect musical interpretation of a sour patch kid set to song. You get the sour but then that sweetness just washes over you. It’s tough at times for bands to pull off that delicate balance between being a true “heavy” band yet pulling in the sweetest sounds to match that ferocious intensity. Life In Your Way were both the hot shower and cold shower raining down from above, tricking you into believing that this is comfort while what you are actually feeling is, uncomfortable truth seeking. You scream out loud at the top of your lungs hoping others nearby feel your passion and will join you soon in unison. 2023 might just be that time. Let’s get them back and let’s get a new record. Throwback 2023. This is who we are.
81. Sent by Ravens
This post-hardcore band was another big surprise back in 10’s. They released 2 full lengths starting with “Our Graceful Words” in 2010. Their sound was much more melodic and less chaotic than some of their other Post-Hardcore contemporaries. They had a definite commercial polish that anyone would find enjoyment in listening to. They had that mass appeal and yet I think most people maybe didn’t know who they were, but most definitely should have been paying attention to. This was a really good band. I admit, I even glossed over some of their stuff that first introduction I had. I listen back and I was so wrong in ignoring them. The problem like I mentioned a bit more in this article is that music oversaturation in the marketplace led to a lot of really high quality acts getting forgotten and passed by. Listen to the songs on both of their full lengths and let the words speak to you over and over again. Reunite. New album. New promotion and hype. Vinyl pressing . More Live Shows. Throwback Festival.
This hardcore band was fast and furious. They only have a couple of releases under the Venia name and on Blood & Ink Records, their label back in the day. They were a big hit on Indie Vision Music back in the day and everyone was raving about this small-time heavy hardcore act with a huge sound. I still have their last EP that was pressed in a couple different colors and the EP/7″ was a really promising collection of songs. This band should have been a huge act. * I believe their “Frozen Hands” album is unavailable on digital networks which leaves only an ep and full length left. Throwback 2023.
I was probably one of the very few in Southern California that liked this band from the get-go. I saw the ads, the promotion, a one time live show spot at a big Christian Festival here with punk, hardcore, and alternative bands (ZOOM 95′), and that first album on Tooth & Nail called “Failure to Yield”. The band’s logo and art packaging on that first album was incredible and perfect for their sound and energy. Their music is tough to describe because it’s like a fast melodic punk rock band with a vocalist who has this almost opera-like, symphonic metal style but set to a punk summer soundtrack. Whatever you call it, it works so good and the musicians mesh well with one another. “Cakewalk” was good and had some really fast and short songs. The art on “Cakewalk” was also a standout and also used that new logo they were using. They need to reunite and mix the fast with the slow, the pop with the heavy, then shake it all up and dump upside down with a heavy dose of melody. Crux were always a good band, there was no question. Crux were certainly no boy band and thanks to their creativity, they remain one of a kind. You can’t copy the CRUX, and besides, they could care less about your copy anyway. Now get off my lawn! There is going to be a comeback in 2023, I just know it. Play Throwback Festival 2023.
84. I Am Empire
Another heavy rock band from the 10s who rose and fell in one continuous movement. You listen to these records from I Am Empire, Secret and Whisper, and Sent By Ravens, you’re reminded of how many truly remarkable bands have only been listened to a couple times and then left for dead to be consumed by endless swarms of hive mind zombies. I Am Empire had really great songs and solid albums. Why didn’t they conqueror and take over the music scene? Oversaturation is one and the other is that people can be fickle with their music preferences. Go back and listen to these I Am Empire songs and you know I’m right about good music. Reunion and a Vinyl repressing. Throwback Festival 2023 and a new album.
85. Blessed By a Broken Heart
Heavy Pop Metal never sounded as good as this. Glam Rock meets Punk Rock meets Heavy Metal. Thankfully we get Tony instead of Vince Neil. That “Feel The Power” album was huge, both in sound and style. There were a couple of other bands doing similar pop-metal stuff but Blessed By a Broken Heart were ahead of the game and made an album that stayed on constant repeat. As of this writing, it has been announced that Blessed By a Broken Heart are reuniting, and I believe Tony will be back on lead vocals, with a slightly retooled lineup. Can’t wait to hear them making music again and hopefully a rightful follow up to this pop-metal masterpiece.
When I first heard Jonezetta I thought, oh great another band trying to cop The Killers sound. Listening a little deeper I discovered an intersection of rock music complexities, pop hooks, and genre bending through the underground. This is another promising young band that disappeared at the height of their popularity (not a pun, stop it) when people were just beginning to talk loudly about them to friends. I understand there was some inner turmoil and a member is not with us anymore but the band’s music lives on and their sound deserves some respect. Nothing Cheesy about Jonezetta at all and if it’s at all possible, maybe a short reunion and album? Go jam some “Popularity” and “Cruel To Be Young” right now. You’ll thank me later.
87. Haste The Day
Haste The Day proved that you could be insanely heavy and yet have melodies that made you sing along while simultaneously head banging and desk diving (that thing you do when no one else is around). Jimmy Ryan was a real character, not the typical metal vocalist/screamer, and that energy on his Haste The Day albums he screamed on were some of the biggest Metalcore records of the 00s. It was like ZAO meets Killswitch Engage and Thrice. I remember releasing the Josiah “Verona” album that same year, only a few months apart from “Burning Bridges” and just being blown away by this Haste The Day band. Josiah were killer on an underground level but Haste The Day took it up a whole other level, going worldwide. It all worked perfectly and then Jimmy Ryan stepped down only for Stephen Keech to join as new vocalist, releasing their 3rd Solid State Records album “Pressure The Hinges”. All of this band’s prior material was perfect, it really was. It was one band with 2 different singer/screamers. They each brought their individuality to the band and a unique sound. I wasn’t the biggest “Coward” fan but all the other albums hit me at different times in my life and I really am impressed by the guys in Haste The Day. New music please with more singing parts and melodies. Vinyl repressing please. Oh and that “TRENCHES” project really needs a comeback as well. Hear that Jimmy?
88. Dakoda Motor Co.
This sweet little pop-rock band who got their start 30 years ago, released their debut “Into The Son” in 1993. The band were their absolute best with Davia on lead vocals and those 2 early albums were a mason jar full of sunshine, ocean waves, warm summer breeze, 90’s vibes, and a surf-punk-rock devotional. The band released an album – “Railroad” in 1996. These first 2 albums are my faves and I sincerely hope and with all the wishful thinking I can muster, that I’d very much like more music with Davia on vocals and the entire original lineup of Chuck, Derik, and Peter King. Throwback Festival 2023.
The voice of Mike Knott is completely irreplaceable. His music talents have filled our realm of a music scene with brightness and discovery for more than 30 years now, probably even inching towards that 40-year mark. There are a lot of strong Mike Knott releases from Lifesavers to LS Underground, to LSU, Mike Knott, Michael Knott, Aunt Bettys, CUSH, and more. He has never left us even when at his lowest, and you know that voice is still aching to speak and to share these thoughts on his mind with that worn out heart still beating hard in his chest. Still a lot to say, still a lot to sing about. The album “Grace Shaker” by L.S.U. is definitely great, some of their finest work. I bet several artists in this “list” are fans of Mike Knott and I bet his music has influenced some of their own albums over the years. We’ve all grown a lot older, but we can’t deny solid talent and the skill of an artist when we see it right there in front of us. This needs to happen next year, without a doubt. I hope he is presented with a lifetime achievement award while standing on the stage with a banner of congratulations draping his body and a steady flow of flowers to fill the room with that powerful aroma of success, hard work, and our collective admiration. We all need to honor these legends and congratulate these battle weary, mighty music warriors with more than just clicks and selfies. Anyone reading up to this point, please read through this list carefully. Find any musician above or below this section and just tell them they are appreciated. We don’t do that enough in any music scene and within “Christian Music” our mighty heroes are forgotten by all the industry shot callers and money talkers. How can you honor the past when it is erased from beneath you. When your art is just another cracked case thrown into a used box at the local thrift shop. Honoring Legacies is what needs to be done because without the past, we are nothing and the future is bleak. Mike Knott, you are never forgotten. Thank you.
90. Precious Death
Christian Heavy metal in the 90s was sometimes hit or miss. Some of it was due to poor marketing and being sold on cheesy gimmicks where a band’s many talents became overshadowed by carefully placed bible verses and constant need for testimonials to sell a product. There were some really good bands that got glossed over and many were forgotten. Go back and listen to some of these bands without looking at album covers, magazine ads, postcards, or old band testimonies posted on YouTube and you’ll have a different outlook. I am so sorry that a lot of those bands that poured their soul into their work got used by some label person and tossed out like old dialup no longer connected. Precious Death were in a league of their own. I wasn’t listening to this band because they sounded exactly someone else and I liked that comparison. No, I listened to Precious Death because I thought they sounded unlike anything else I was listening to yet something so familiar about it all. Their albums are all great but “If You Must” is my favorite. I’ve heard they are possibly working on a new album and could be reuniting to jump on stage one more time as of this writing.
91. Rainy Days
This was literally a one and done band. They were so much fun and I saw them play in 1996, more times than I remember. I even applauded myself for booking them a couple times here locally and some shows I put on. The band had this insane momentum leading up to their debut full length called “Homecoming” toward fall of 1996. The band had started falling apart by their actual album release date and if my mind recalls correctly, “Homecoming” was briefly shelved then released with little to no promotion. Finding Rainy Days in a store and listening to them alone in your car was like finding a beautiful raw diamond stone in the middle of a busy park with no one caring. You reach down and pick it up with that glimmering stone shining bright, then walking away with everyone still staring down at their phones. Pass that popcorn. While you grip that diamond stone, whispering to it and calling it your “precious”, Gollum is over there in the back listening to this album. For that time period and even now, it is just the perfect collection of pop drenched rock hooks with a heavy pop-punk influence. They were billed as a distortion-free, Pop-Punk band and I like that description. They could please just about anyone even the snobs and those pop hooks made anyone a fan. Rainy Days, you were one of a kind. You are all still alive, you are all still living in the United States, and you know what that means – reunion time. More music please, thnx.
This insane Post Hardcore/Screamo band that formed in the early 00’s, released an ep “My Hands, My Greedy Hands” in 2006 and then their final (First) full length record titled “My Morning; Migration” which dropped in 2008. I really enjoyed this band’s music, I mean I even put the song “Mockingbird After the Picture Show” on an IVM compilation “Hearts Bleed Passion Vol. 2” and followed them for a few years until they broke up and went their separate ways. They were steadily building hype and had major interest from a lot of outside parties and could have been absolute giants in the scene but that’s how life goes sometimes. It might be cool to maybe see them reunite and do things at their own pace. Tour with Underoath, Life In Your Way, and Close Your Eyes. Sounds tight right?
93. Outer Circle
Mark Salomon of Stavesacre and The Crucified is a living legend. Seriously, not just a big pat on his back to gain points but literally there are a lot of people out there including myself, that can thank Mark for all of his many music endeavors and the creative art he has blessed us with. When a front man for a huge thrash punk band like The Crucified can then lead the mighty Stavesacre and create the same fantastic output as his prior band but just in a different flavor then you know you’ve stumbled onto something incredibly grand. When Mark wanted to try a punk rock side project on, people were very open to it and probably immediately bought this Outer Circle album on his vocal strengths alone. Not joking, I probably would have heard “Featuring Mark from The Crucified and Stavesacre in the biggest punk rock supergroup of all time!” and thrown my money on the table to buy 10 copies to give everyone I knew. I don’t even remember smirking or scratching my head but the very the moment I looked at the album cover and popped the CD into my car stereo it matched the album art in intensity. It was an immediate smile and finger crank on the volume knob. Sometimes, “supergroups” are more than just words, they are a feeling, a moment in time, a memory of the strength in songwriting, and a leading voice that is easily identifiable. Mark, we need more music just like the first album and maybe even use it as a base for jumping further into the punk rock realm. This album needs a vinyl pressing and a special appearance next year LIVE somewhere at some festival, like say maybe a “Throwback Festival” might actually work.
94. Seventh Star
A straight up HEAVY HARDCORE band. There were no clean singing parts or studio trickery and electronic beats, just quality meat and potatoes heavy hardcore. 3 major albums that slammed the listener to the ground with face smashing intensity. Every once in awhile, one needs to release some stress and this band should be the soundtrack to that frustration. They were good and would be even better in a reunion setting. Re-release these tunes and throw them up with all the other heavy hardcore bands deserving of a second chance. Nostalgia rings true.
Esterlyn were a strong band, melodic, and full of pop anthems that any rock band would be jealous of. They rode that 00’s underground rock scene train all the way over the hill where it met it’s end in a parting sunset full of vibrant color and falling stars. Some of the really good rock bands from the past decade or two, had such promise and Esterlyn was one of the best. Luke Caldwell was the driving force of this band. His voice, songwriting, promotions, and the way his band backed him up, proved just how capable an indie act such as this could carry on. It’s always a bummer when a promising band just falls off the face of the planet and then everyone goes, wait, who was that? Short attention spans sadly drive purchases in the modern world but bands like Esterlyn should and hopefully will, live on. Luke, TV shows and all are great fun and I’m sure are very rewarding, but…. we the fans need more Esterlyn and if some industry person were smart enough, they’d capitalize off your shows and launch new Esterlyn music on the audiences. Heck maybe make a special Christian music documentary show on the past, present, and future, that you can host? Great band. Gone far too soon. *At time of writing, a couple of the band’s early albums are now on digital networks.
96. Beautiful Eulogy
This eclectic, rap centric, indie lurking hip-hop super group called “Beautiful Eulogy”, absolutely need to return. Not as some sort of gimmick or grasp at fading words and songs but to just come back from the hiatus and release a new album. The group last released “Worthy” in 2017 and it’s time for a new one! Their ambient blend of rhyme and melodies would soothe and encourage deeper devotion. A lot of people like me and our fellow readers appreciate the music of Beautiful Eulogy.
97. Secret and Whisper
This post-hardcore/emo act came out in 2008 as a new band and immediately signed with Tooth & Nail Records. They really weren’t that new because the talented guys in the band Stutterfly who came from the great white north, pushed forward with a new vocalist and changed the name to Secret & Whisper. I remember they literally just popped up, T&N did some hype and their first nationally released album came out really fast, knocking over some of the more low-key bands and their pop-punk cousins. There was so much music that came out in the 2000s and into the 10’s that many music fans became overwhelmed with the over saturation of the marketplace. This band was great and their albums deserve more credit than they were given. There were some similarities to a couple bands in our scene which people tried to throw at them but Secret & Whisper stood in a league all their own. “Great White Whale”, and “Teenage Fantasy” are two really good, perfect albums for a band to debut with but we want more, don’t we? You hear that S&W guys? More music, more shows, throwback festival 2023. Done.
98. Spooky Tuesday
Another band I loved who also came from the Hawaiian islands, Kauai in particular. Such a good 90’s era Alt rock band. The band’s first album “It’ll Never Fly Orville!” dropped in 1995 and I stumbled upon it at this local Christian Bookstore in Mission Viejo called “Sonshine” that I often times wandered into (and even worked there for a year). This store had a full on CD listening bar which was a fantastic way of discovering new albums. I would grab releases by the handful and throw them up on the tables to listen, fully adrift in my own thoughts. This band was a solid stand out at that time. The male/female vocal tradeoffs on most of these songs were such a pleasant change of pace. The band released I believe 3 or 4 albums before their breakup. Front woman Jess Penner has gone on to make an incredible collection of albums and EPs under her name as well as in the projects Chandelle, and Kayjez. Spooky Tuesday is the reunion no one else is probably wishing for, but well, I am. A re-release of all their old music and maybe some new music would be sweet. More Jess Penner albums would sound incredible too. I miss the 90s.
I listened to a band that played a lot locally called “Spud Puddle”. The band dropped a debut on Brainstorm Records then regrouped, shook up their style, changed their name to Quayle (not after Dan Quayle k? Wait, who’s that?) and released their 2nd album (Self Titled) on a new label called Sublime Records (which also had Fold Zandura and a couple others). Blink and you would have never known the label existed nor would you remember who Quayle were. That’s the whole purpose of us aging fans, Indie Vision Music, and the freedom of a modern day internet. To learn, remember, and never forget. Anyway, this band disappeared much too soon. I believe their front man Nick P. recorded with Scott S. of Plankeye/Fanmail a few times and even had a solo song on the Bounce movie soundtrack which starred Ben Affleck and Gweneth Paltrow. Why do all the good bands die so soon? Re-release this full length please. Come out of retirement with the rest of us in the retirement community to play once last time.
100. Relient K
This is a very, very odd addition to the list since they are actually still together and making music. It’s just that everything post-“Forget and Not Slow Down” has been like an entirely new experience. Many of us (and newer fans) love that classic sound of their first 6 albums from 2000-2009. I am sure there are many of you that can narrow that list down significantly into your top 2 or 3, am I right? Who can argue that “Deathbed” is the best mini-pop-punk concept and operatic song of all time. Seriously I never thought I’d ever appreciate 11min pop-punk song but I did, and I still listen, playing on repeat in my head. It’s the perfect embrace of haunting melodies and stirring emotions that’ll spread over you like wave of bittersweet nostalgia. I used to think the band was goofy and juvenile, fun to listen to but not quite reaching the peaks other bands of that same caliber had. Like any good band, they improved with each and every subsequent release and although some members left, others joined, and a departure from the straightforward pop-punk of their infancy of their youth, we still have these classics to wash over us in war torn nostalgic attire. This is another band that is recognizable the instant you hear Matt’s voice and it is for good reason. Great vocalist and songs he projected from that beating heart resting upon his sleeves. Everyone is at a different point in their lives now but there is no denying the power of song and our presence of living in that very same scene was full of so much joy. These songs were uplifting and hopeful. The words shining from out of those ever so familiar instruments could move mountains. Reunite with that early sound and maybe a few familiar players. Full band experience is what we all want and please dig into that classic catalog without running in shame. Nothing embarrassing about enjoying a band’s art because it serves as snapshot of a moment in time.
Deluxe Version Re-Release:
101. A great little pop-punk band that first signed with BEC Recordings and released a genre defining Self-Titled full length in 2000. These songs were so sugary sweet and so catchy that not singing a long is impossible. The band only released 3 full lengths on BEC/Tooth & Nail and while they were all great it’s that self-titled year 2000 release that garners the most attention. It’s easy to see why. I loved the art design for that first album, all those singalongs, the song production, and those layers of melodies, were just perfect. It would be absolutely tragic if this band doesn’t get back together in 2023 and doesn’t play some sort of Throwback Festival 2023. Someone, anyone, rerelease that Self Titled album on Vinyl. Please? Like say, “Tonight”?
*Some artists above at time of this article being written weren’t completely reunited nor comeback confirmed
- Bonus Features:
This is a tribute to all the bands not listed above and whom we all have a desire to hear something new from
All Star United
Whitecross with Scott
Seven Day Jesus
Josiah / The Unfolding
NO LOST CAUSE
Blaster The Rocket Man
Ninety Pound Wuss
World Against World
Sixpence None The Richer
Black Cherry Soda
One Star Story / Storyline
Cool Hand Luke
Ever Stays Red
Destroy The Runner
Clash of Symbols
I Am Alpha and Omega
Nifty Tom Fifty
Nodes Of Ranvier
Nifty Tom Fifty
Not For The Crowd
Upside Down Room
Riding the Reunion Wave and Disqualified for this List (because they are just too good and too amazing)
Five Iron Frenzy
The Echoing Green
The Violet Burning
- Most Likely to Never Happen:
For many reasons, this band’s legacy should be honored by the art they wrote, recorded, and created for all the music fans who were collectively inspired over several decades. It’s unfortunate the world lost Ted but God gained a truly incredible talent that lived out his Faith by sharing with others. Ted is jamming in heaven right now alongside all those greats that came before him. God is smiling and embracing him while we all honor his legacy down here on Earth. Shall the music of Tourniquet forever live on, to inspire countless more youth and adults on into the future. No, there should never be a Tourniquet reunion but other bands covering their songs shouldn’t be a problem, maybe even as benefit?
Family Force 5
So many lineup and personal changes that it would be weird to reunite at this point. Which lineup would get back together? The original group from “Business Up Front/Party In the Back”? I mean if they could make it work and stay true to what they always were then maybe. What do you think?
As much as I would dig a reunion with Stephen Christian fronting, especially along the lines of their 2001 release “Then I Corrupt Youth”, I know it’ll never ever ever ever happen. I always thought it would be cool to hear this harder side from Sagoh but with modern day production. Curious minds want to know.
Those last few albums were the band at their best. Mark will always be Audio Adrenaline and their is no replacing him. Sadly, it sounds like this band will never come back and play with the best. They learned their lesson from earlier mistakes in the style of music they first made and by the time their last album released, it was a fresh and unique sound that kept them apart from the blandness. RIP Audio Adrenaline.
I highly doubt this reunion will ever come to fruition. It would just be weird at this point. They all have excellent voices but their music is so eclectic and different. Michael Tait could have fronted any band and his voice alone is stronger than most. But, Newsboys. Anyway, this might happen someday but at that point, will anyone still care? Hopefully there will still be positive, optimistic, and hopeful Christians that won’t snicker at Jesus Freak but rather embrace the good sounds. Oh wait, this is the future and not the 90’s, sad face.
Sorry folks, too soon. Much too soon.. Come back in 5 years 😉
These guys were an awesome band without a doubt but Tommy has HolyName which further carries his heavy music background on into the future. Why do we need a Sleeping Giant reunion right now? Just let HolyName take off and enjoy the new music.
- This Reunion is Cancelled (and Blocked):
A reunion no one really wants or needs. The one man drumming super show carries on for another day, in dreams and messages across the globe…..