Tag: 1980s

April 19, 2024

Song of the Day: Peace 586 - Hear Me Now

SoCal rapper Peace 586 (born Rene Vasquez) has been hitting the hip-hop game hard since the late 80s (first as M.C. Peace), as a member of the seminal and innovative Freedom of Soul, and through numerous collaborations with artists like S.F.C., Jon Gibson, Scott Blackwell, J.C. and the Boyz, and many others. He went solo following the break-up of Freedom of Soul and released his first solo album in 1996. As impressive as that is, what’s even more impressive is the fact that he’s still been active as recently as 2023, releasing a full-length solo album on his own label.… Continued →

March 15, 2024

Song of the Day: Michael Knott - Jail

As you’ve undoubtedly already read elsewhere, and seen all over the chrindie corner of the internet, Michael Knott died earlier this week. Much has been written about the man, the music, the iconic artist, so I don’t intend to re-tread any of that ground here. This is a Song of the Day post after all. Nonetheless it does seem fitting to use this week’s SOTD column to feature more of Knott’s work. He wrote and recorded so many incredible albums from the 1980s through the 2020s that it’s hard to pick a “best” or even a “favorite.”… Continued →

February 2, 2024

Song of the Day: World Theatre - Water Spill

World Theatre released only one album, the brilliant eponymous full-length, for Frontline-imprint Graceland Records in 1989. But the band’s credentials are deeper than that might suggest. Founder Tim McAllister (vocals, guitar, bass, programming) had previously been in another one-album-only new wave band called Flock 14. Jim Abegg (AKA Jimmy A, from Vector and more recently The Ascendants) provided some guitar work. Gene Eugene (Adam Again, Lost Dogs, hundreds of production and studio credits) mixed the album. And piano and keyboards (along with some additional bass guitar work) were provided by none other than Cincinnati’s own Linford Detweiler (this was pre-Over the Rhine).… Continued →

January 12, 2024

Song of the Day: Tonio K. - Without Love

Tonio K. was one of those hard-to-classify artists. He employed elements of rock, alternative, new wave, singer-songwriter, and more. He was too alternative for the mainstream, but not quite weird enough for indie rock. Let’s just call it rock and roll, shall we? Born in Southern California, the son of Armenian immigrants (born Steven Krikorian), K began his career with garage rock band The Raik’s Progress (who opened for Buffalo Springfield), then played a stint with Buddy Holly’s band the Crickets, but he got his first real break with a publishing deal for Intersong.… Continued →

December 8, 2023

Song of the Day: Lightforce - Metal Missionary

Lightforce was a heavy metal band from Australia, active in the late 1980s. They recorded 3 cassette demos from 1986-87, before getting the attention of US-based Pure Metal Records. The band’s label debut Mystical Thieves was a unique entry in Christian metal. While based in traditional heavy metal, it touched on speed metal and power metal without ever fully crossing into thrash territory. It was heavy, loud, and raw. In 1990 the band recorded a fourth and final demo called Break the Curse, which saw the band going in an even heavier direction, just before changing their name.… Continued →

November 3, 2023

Song of the Day: The Cynics - Rock Apocalypse

This punk/new wave band from Alaska released one 4-song EP via 7″ vinyl in 1980, entitled Beat the Cynics for their native Unregulated Records. The band was contemporary with other punk acts at the time who had already started shifting their sound to either new wave or post-punk. The Cynics don’t sound too far off from The Buzzcocks, The Clash, The Stranglers, and at times is reminiscent of the funky approach of Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Yes, their sound is remarkably British, considering how far they were geographically from that region.… Continued →

October 13, 2023

Song of the Day: Mylon & Broken Heart - Again and Again (RIP Mylon)

Okay, Mylon LeFevre is a stretch for inclusion on Indie Vision Music. But hear me out. He wrote a hit song for Elvis Presley in 1964, “Without Him” for the king’s Gospel album How Great Thou Art. He was only 17 when he wrong the song (in 20 minutes according to the songwriter), and was paid $90,000 for it. He walked out with a paper bag full of cash and bought his first car, a Corvette. His connection to Gospel music came earlier, as he performed with his southern gospel singing family The LeFevres.… Continued →

September 29, 2023

Song of the Day: Steve Scott - Heaven Hears the Heart That Breaks

British-born poet/artist/performer Steve Scott has been involved in or connected with Christian alternative music since 1983, having emerged from Croydon (South London) via the Bowery (New York City) before winding up in Sacramento, CA with the Exit Records scene there (Seventy Sevens, Charlie Peacock, etc.) where his debut album Love in the Western World was produced by Steven Soles (of Alpha Band fame). His solo work was a gleefully artistic take on new wave and/or post-punk with literate lyrics that pointed to his art school upbringing.… Continued →

September 15, 2023

Song of the Day: Eternal Ryte - The Killer

This band had the glammy looks and the flashy hooks, but their sound was heavier than the stereotypes led us to believe. Riding the line between glam metal and traditional heavy metal/power metal, the band played loud, melodic tunes with lots and lots of riffs. Hailing from Hollywood, California, the band came by their glam tendencies honestly. But listen to the riffs on “The Killer.” You won’t hear anything that heavy from Poison or Def Leppard. The band released a pair of cassette demos in 1988 and their only full-length album World Requiem in 1990 before calling it quits, with drummer Scott Ernest joining the ranks of another famed Christian melodic metal band, Angelica.… Continued →

September 1, 2023

Song of the Day: Jimmy Hotz - Observations of a Larger Reality (R.I.P. Jimmy Hotz)

Independent Christian music lost another legend recently. Jimmy Hotz (inventor/producer/solo artist/band member/producer/engineer/electronic music pioneer/author/multi-instrumentalist–and we’re not even exaggerating) died in June. Hotz first recorded in CCM in the 1970s with the group Dove, and then a handful of other mostly CCM artists before recording his solo album–and many would say his magnum opus–Beyond the Crystal Sea, released in 1980 on Oklahoma City-based Vision Records. Fortunately for fans, Born Twice (a division of Retroactive/Boone’s Overstock) re-issued the album in 2010. Hotz wasn’t content to release one of the greatest Christian rock albums of all time (this claim is verifiable too, repeatedly making appearances in all-time lists from reputable sources like HM, CCM, and various others).… Continued →

July 21, 2023

Song of the Day: Sacred Warrior - Sword of Victory

Everyone has their gateway. That first band or artist that got them into a particular style of music. I got into Christian rock in 1988, first hearing and enjoying artists like Petra and Russ Taff, and then quickly moving on to Jerusalem and Whitecross. But this band right here–Sacred Warrior–was my gateway to true Heavy Metal with a capital HM. They had no pop songs, no sleazy hooks or glammed-out looks, but their debut album Rebellion was full of heavy riffs, melodic (but not glam) vocals, and super-heavy and dark chord progressions.… Continued →

April 7, 2023

Song of the Day: Vengeance Rising - Human Sacrifice

The first time I heard this band, I was completely blown away. The year was 1988. I was about 14 years old, and I had just started getting into Christian metal via bands like Jerusalem, Whitecross, and Barren Cross. Sacred Warrior was probably the heaviest I’d heard at the time. Then one night I was listening to KOKF 91FM out of Oklahoma City, a Christian radio station that had a late night metal show. I heard the most intense, loud, gnarly thing I’d ever heard in my life.… Continued →

March 24, 2023

Song of the Day: Elim Hall - Hypothermia

Elim Hall was ahead of their time in so many ways. It’s a real shame that they are just a blip on the radar screen of indie rock nowadays, as their preeminence is hard to over state. One of the earliest alternative rock bands to be signed to a major label in the CCM market, their only label release was snappy, melodic, memorable, and well-produced (somewhat surprisingly by Gary Chapman, along with veteran Jesus rocker Tim Marsh). This Canadian band wrote incredibly catchy, somewhat complex (for pop music) songs that were primarily in the power pop realm, but infused with touches of new wave and at times a punk-like urgency.… Continued →

January 20, 2023

Song of the Day: Geoff Mann - Hope Hospital

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

December 30, 2022

Song of the Day: Haven - The Calling

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

December 16, 2022

Song of the Day: Walk on Water - Time

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

November 18, 2022

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

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

November 11, 2022

Song of the Day: Body and Soul - The Graylands

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

August 5, 2022

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

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

July 1, 2022

Song of the Day: Deliverance - No Love

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

June 24, 2022

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

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

June 10, 2022

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

The Awakening was a progressive pop-rock/AOR band from Canada, active in the 1980s–not to be confused with the goth/industrial band from South Africa. This Awakening was poppy enough to be CCM-adjacent (in fact, this is probably the poppiest SOTD I’ve ever featured), but yet had a slight progressive/alternative edge that set them apart from other bands. The band released three albums, culminating in their excellent Into Thy Hands (Reunion Records, 1988). It featured 12 tracks of progressive pop goodness, not too dissimilar to 80s-era Yes. Lyrics were filled with encouraging but never preachy biblical references.… Continued →

May 6, 2022

Song of the Day: The New Presidents - Arabian Nights

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

March 25, 2022

Song of the Day: Apostle - The Sword

One of the most beloved and respected bands in the traditional heavy metal scene, Apostle was a slight anomaly in that they never released an album on a record label. Formed in 1983 in Jacksonville, FL, the band released a total of 5 independent full-length albums (not to mention EPs and compilations) all while remaining an unsigned band. Apostle opened for Christian metal stalwarts Whitecross on a national tour, and also had a song featured on East Coast Metal for Regency Records, in 1988, where I first heard the band.… Continued →

January 28, 2022

Song of the Day: Dwayne Omarr - Anointed One

We’re digging deep into the archives for this one. For those not familiar with electro-funk, it was an underground genre in the 1980s that bridged electronic dance music and hip-hop. In fact, in many ways it was a predecessor to the proliferation of rap music. The genre was known by a variety of names: electro-funk, techno-funk, and simply electro (not the goth/industrial version from a few decades later). In the mainstream scene, some of the most well-known names were Newcleus, Shannon, Egyptian Lover, Afrika Bambaataa, and some of Midnight Star’s mid-80s material.… Continued →

July 12, 2019

Song of the Day: Saint - Steel Killer

I woke up this morning with this song in my head, so it clearly has the be the Song of the Day. Classic metal. You either love it, or just don’t really get the appeal. It’s 1986, and the only Christian metal that most people are aware of is Stryper. But hairspray and over-the-top production was not all that Christian metal had to offer in ’86. The same year the glam kings released To Hell with the Devil, Saint was dishing out their best album, Time’s End (in fact, it’s in the top 5 Christian metal albums of all time, IMO).… Continued →