Tag: 90’s

January 20, 2023

Song of the Day: Geoff Mann - Hope Hospital

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

January 6, 2023

Song of the Day: Coolidge - Trapped

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

December 30, 2022

Song of the Day: Haven - The Calling

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

December 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 19, 2022

SHORTHANDED Have Returned

Another awesome blast from the past punk rock band called – Shorthanded, have returned and will grace our ears with their musical presence very soon. The band have been recording new stuff at The Blasting Room in Colorado and the songs will be available in the coming months. Members of Crux and Shorthanded intermingled back in the 1990s and each did their own thing with great love and admiration. Go back and spin some of the early Shorthanded material and get ready for the new stuff.… 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 →

October 28, 2022

Song of the Day: Remnant Militia - Syberian Winters

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

September 16, 2022

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

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

September 9, 2022

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

There was a lot of hype surrounding this band when they were first signed by Facedown Records, in large part based on the fact they had three vocalists. While the hype, and sadly also the band, were short-lived (they only released one full-length and one 3-way split album), they definitely generated a healthy buzz in their short existence. And for good reason too. Soli Deo Gloria (roughly translated as “to the glory of God alone”) dropped in 2001, and stylistically the album shows its age. Torn in Two were building off of the heavy, metallic, chugga-chugga or “new school” style hardcore of the 1990s, and adding more metallic leads and riffs without ever fully crossing over into metalcore.… Continued →

August 26, 2022

Song of the Day: Tourniquet - Tears of Korah

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

August 19, 2022

Song of the Day: Braille - This Year

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

August 12, 2022

Song of the Day: Twotimer - I Forget

Pop-punk band Twotimer released 2 albums and then called it quits. Very little is known about the band, other than their recorded output. After a self-titled and self-released debut in 1998, the band signed to punk stalwarts Screaming Giant Records and issued See What Happens from Here in 2000. The album featured snot-nosed, yet melodic tunes that bordered on pop-punk and new school/skate punk, but with vocal harmonies. Recommended for fans of Side Walk Slam, Shorthanded, and early MxPX. “I Forget” is taken from the Screaming Giant full-length album.… 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 30, 2022

Introducing: The Rocky Valentines (Ft. C. Martin of Starflyer 59)

I am going to take a moment and introduce you all to a brand new band featuring C. Martin who is the son of Jason Martin (and also a current member) of Starflyer 59. The new band is called “The Rocky Valentines”. The debut single “Off & On” will debut on August 19th via Velvet Blue Music with the full Self Titled EP out on September 2nd 2022. From the sounds of the preview video below, it is both classic and modern, alluring and full of melodies and sounds that his father I’m sure must be super proud of.… Continued →

July 29, 2022

Song of the Day: Vaakevandring - Some Day

This Norwegian band formed in 1999, and sadly by 2007 had called it quits. Hailing from Nannestad, just outside Oslo, they played a formed of atmospheric BM that appealed to many who heard them. While their lifespan was short, their impact was huge. You can still read accolades from fans on music-related social media pages, and band members have also been associated with a number of other, more well-known bands including Antestor, Frosthardr, and Grave Declaration. “Some Day” is taken from their 3-song self-titled demo CD, which was also re-issued a few years later by Momentum Scandinavium with an extra song as Vaakevandring.… Continued →

July 8, 2022

Song of the Day: Jyradelix - Out for Love

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

June 17, 2022

Song of the Day: Travail - Weakling

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

May 27, 2022

Song of the Day: Sincerely Paul - Nineteen Years

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

May 13, 2022

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

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

April 22, 2022

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

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

April 15, 2022

Song of the Day: MxPx - Want Ad

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

April 1, 2022

Song of the Day: The Israelites - Israelite Train

The 1990s saw a huge revival of ska music–that funky fusion of reggae and punk, or so it seemed at the time. The real history of ska was much deeper than that. Unbeknownst to the general populace, ska actually pre-dates reggae, going back to at least the 1960s. It fused traditional calypso beats with horns and sounds gleaned from New Orleans jazz. Reggae emerged in the 70s, as tempos slowed down and the overall feel became more relaxed. In the 1980s, amidst emigration from the Caribbean to England, ska mixed with punk and/or new wave to create the “Two-tone” scene, a sign of racial integration amongst working class punks and skinheads represented with the ever-present black and white checkerboard imagery.… Continued →

March 11, 2022

Subsist announce vinyl pressing of The Rhythm Method

Legendary, underground, Midwest technical hardcore/metalcore band Subsist announce a vinyl pressing of their acclaimed (and originally self-released on CD only) album The Rhythm Method. The Midwest band released 2 CDs in the late 90s/early 00s before calling it quits. Those in the know have always been aware of their greatness, despite their underground status. This first-ever vinyl pressing is a co-release through Steadfast Records and Dropping Bombs. See the Big Cartel link below for ordering info. Pre-orders are live as of today.… Continued →

Song of the Day: Eden Burning - My Senses Fly

The 90s comprised an amazing decade for alternative Christian music. We had metal, punk rock, emo, industrial, and out of left field we also had an amazing run of alternative-tinged folk rock. I was primarily a metalhead/hard alternative guy when I got hit by this amazing run of folk acts like Lost Dogs, Nicolas Giaconia, Acoustic Shack, and the UK’s own Eden Burning. While Eden Burning had been going in their native England for several years prior, their first US release was Vinegar and Brown Paper, for Storyville Records, a folk imprint of R.E.X.… Continued →

March 4, 2022

Song of the Day: Brainwash Projects - Want for Nada

If anyone asked me to name my favorite Christian hip-hop project of all time, it is without a doubt Brainwash Projects, and their sole album The Rise and Fall of . . . . Perhaps the album title was a hint at how long the project would last, and we all just missed it at the time. Rise and Fall had everything: lyrical witticisms, dope beats, funky rhymes, and humor by the bucketloads. While the whole album is worth listening to straight through without skipping any tracks, one of the strongest singles is “Want for Nada,” a testimony to God’s faithfulness.… Continued →

February 25, 2022

Song of the Day: Painted Orange - You Walked

Synth-pop is sort of the illegitimate child of alternative rock and disco. Although it’s not obvious, its roots like in experimental forms of music like krautrock and post-punk. As new wave splintered further and further away from punk, and added more and more synthesizers, synth-pop was being birthed. In the mainstream, acts as diverse as Kraftwerk, New Order, and Pet Shop Boys were solidifying the sound. I loved 90s synth-pop, or simply “techno” as we called it then. It was fun and danceable, dark and poppy, all at the same time.… Continued →

February 11, 2022

Song of the Day: Driver Eight - Cheers

This band was the epitome of one of those all-too-common scenarios in 90s Christian music: the frustratingly great one-album wonder. Driver Eight released Watermelon via Tooth and Nail Records in 1996, to high acclaim from fans and critics alike, and then disappeared into the . . . well, that’s just it–we don’t know what happened! The album featured a highly-effective mix of alternative rock styles including Britpop (even though the band was American), quasi-shoegaze, and jangle pop. It seemed that they were channeling equally such disparate influences as Smashing Pumpkins, Catherine Wheel, R.E.M.,… Continued →

January 7, 2022

Song of the Day: LN - Better to Be Cool

If you’ve followed my writings for any amount of time, it’s not hard to discern my love for all things shoegaze, dream pop and the like. One of the best in the game was the mysterious LN. I was never quite sure if it was a band, or a solo project masquerading as a band. Sure, it was fairly well known that Gary Murray (who later recorded as Gary Murray and LN, and then just as Gary Murray) was the principal of the band, but not as clear who else was involved or at what level.… Continued →

December 31, 2021

Song of the Day: Mike Stand - Footsteps of Love

I don’t know why it took me so long, but recently a very simple thought has helped me out immensely in my spirituality and my walk with Christ. It’s simply this: choose love. That’s it. When I am tempted to sin, choose love instead. When I want to be selfish, choose love. When I want to do something that would only please or elevate myself and not others, choose love. Mike Stand was singing about it decades ago. And of course, the ultimate trump card here is Jesus himself.… Continued →

November 19, 2021

Song of the Day: The November Commandment - High

It’s time for some industrial! But not the guitar-heavy metallic brand. The November Commandment (or often Nov*Com) were doing EBM/electro before it was trendy–or even before it was called that. Hailing from Sweden, the band emerged with an independent cassette in 1988 called Complete Structure. The tape featured a minimalist sound driven by synthesizers, not too unlike Coil and some of Wire’s more experimental material. They released another cassette in 1991, this time a 5-song EP. The band made their appearance in the consciousness of American fans via the fantastic SLAVA compilation, Voice of the People, co-released through Blonde Vinyl Records.… Continued →