Tag: Alternative Pop

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

December 24, 2021

Song of the Day: Level Heads - Born in a Stable

This quirky alternative rock band released one independent EP and one full-length for Broken Records (also home to Undercover, The Holidays, Adam Again, etc.). While their normal material was interesting, to my ears the most compelling thing they recorded was a song for the Broken Christmas project, called “Born in a Stable.” While technically a Christmas song, it does a great job of pointing to Jesus’ purpose for coming to save us, by tracing the story of Jesus’ life and ministry all the way up to the empty tomb.… Continued →

September 11, 2021

Diving Deep into Shoegaze

So a new friend or acquaintance finds out you’re into music. The inevitable question follows: “what kind of music do you like?” How honest are you? Do you simply say, “I like a little bit of everything?” You know that’s not true. You can’t stand Matchbox 20. Do you try something a little more honest, but still generic, like, “mostly rock stuff.” No, that won’t work either–they might think you mean Lynyrd Skynyrd. Or are you blatantly honest with them, knowing they are unlikely to have a clue what you mean: “my favorite genre is probably shoegaze.”… Continued →

September 7, 2021

Jeff Elbel & Ping Announce a New Crowdfunded Album!

Jeff Elbel has been around the block a few times. Active in one form or another since the 1980s, first via Farewell to Juliet, then Sunny Day Roses, and then Ping. He’s played with members of mainstream new wave/prog band The Fixx and also new age instrumentalists Mannheim Steamroller. He’s even had songs featured on Dr Demento! His latest project The Threefinger Opera is almost at its goal of $5,000 and boasts a wide variety of packages from downloads to CDs, vinyl, and other merchandise! With only 22 days left in the campaign, you won’t want to wait on this one.… Continued →

December 4, 2020

Song of the Day: The Swoon - Sweet Ally

Don’t you hate it when an amazing band releases one stellar album and then disappears off the map leaving virtually no trace whatsoever? That’s more or less what happened to Minnesota’s The Swoon. This intelligent, artsy, literate (one of the band’s song titles is a Dante reference) band made up one third of Christian jangle-pop’s ‘holy trinity’ (also including The Throes and The Walk). Their debut album was released on Narrowpath Records, in conjunction with Refuge (the obscure indie label also released such classics as debuts by Breakfast with Amy and The Crucified), and was made up of two earlier cassette-only demos, ben son, ben son Beatrice and Neverland, the latter of which was produced by Charlie Peacock.… Continued →

July 24, 2020

Song of the Day: Black Carnation - One Fine Night in a Daydream

Jangle Pop. While the term might not mean much to most listeners today, it was the dominant form of alternative rock (on both sides of the Atlantic) in the late 80s to early 90s. As 70s punk gave way to 80s new wave and synth pop, underground bands were looking for more earthy sounds, moving away from sythesizers and often including acoustic guitars and instruments borrowed from folk rock. There was less emphasis on the lead guitar licks of glam metal and arena rock, and more emphasis on jangly guitar rhythms, hence the name.… Continued →

July 3, 2020

Song of the Day: Rick Altizer - Oyster

I’ve been listening to a lot of the Beach Boys lately. Like, a lot. They’ve been my favourite band since childhood. What is it about the comforting sounds of childhood that helps us make sense of turmoil? With covid19, racism, and political division, something about that longing for innocence, for simpler times has got me digging deep into those smooth sounds. In the late 90s, KMG Records put out a compilation of surf rock and surf-inspired tunes called Surfonic: Water Revival, which was spearheaded and produced by Terry Taylor of Daniel Amos.… Continued →

January 17, 2020

Song of the Day: The Innocence Mission - Lakes of Canada

If you asked me to name the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard, there would be a lot of contenders, but this one would certainly be up there. Haunting melodies (courtesy of Karen Peris), cryptic lyrics that hint at familial pain of some sort, topped off with Don Peris’s intricate acoustic guitar work and some incredible harmonies as well. It’s hard not to be moved by music this gorgeous. Check out the original version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izewuu3rX8k The band reworked the song last year. Listen to that version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPbWVCGt_eMContinued →

October 25, 2018

Mellowdramatic Wallflowers make all releases available

90s quirky alternative band Mellowdramatic Wallflowers have recently made all their releases available for free download here. The Oklahoma-based band remained independent throughout their existence, but released four full-length albums during their time. The band reluctantly changed their name to Admiral Twin (inspired by a historic Tulsa movie theater) to avoid confusion when the similarly-named mainstream rock band The Wallflowers gained in popularity. The Mellowdramatic Wallflowers might appeal to fans of They Might Be Giants, The Ass Ponys, Hokus Pick and other quirky bands.… Continued →

September 9, 2018

Alt-rock veterans, The Choir announce tour and give away free sampler.

From The Choir’s own website: “With support by many of you, we’ve been able to release 5 projects in the past 2 years. Thank you! We’ve put together a free download compilation that includes 1 song from each of our newest projects by The Choir, Derri Daugherty (solo) and Steve Hindalong (solo). If you haven’t checked these albums out, now is your chance to sample a free song from each project. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD. “Nearly every week we hear from fans that rediscovered our new music after losing track of us from way back in the day.… Continued →

August 11, 2018

April 17, 2018

October 17, 2017

for KING & COUNTRY to Stream Priceless Film for Free Via Facebook Live Thursday at 8pm ET

Christian alternative-pop band for KING & COUNTRY will be streaming their Priceless film from 2016 via Facebook LIVE for Free this Thursday evening at 8pm ET. You can either watch on your mobile device/desktop OR you can log in on your mobile device and CAST the video to your TV (if you have a smart tv). It’s a pretty cool feature on Facebook. In other for KING & COUNTRY news, the band is on their “A Glorious Christmas Tour” with Casting Crowns and Rebecca St. James, for dates click here.… Continued →