March-April 2021

When I have the chance, I write music reviews for Indie Vision’s website. Here is a compilation of what I have done so far…

The Clergy Pulling from the archives, Oregon’s The Clergy had a sound that was a cross between the Go-Gos & old skool punk rawk. With only one album under their belt & songs on several compilations, this seemed to be a one-off in Christian music. One of the band members even went on to start the quirky art rock band Yum Yum Children who found themselves eventually on 5 Minute Walk records. I remember this song on an indie college rock station that played Christian music every once in a while & has stuck with me as memorable over the years.

3 Days Under With the band name pulling from Matthew 12: 40, 3 Days Under is a hard rock band from Kentucky that is not ashamed of the Gospel. Today’s SOTD is my fave from them, but their song Mended comes in at a close second. They also just released a new single called Bleeding Through on March 21st, 2021.

The Calicoes are a fun rockabilly/psychobilly/surf rock band with a sound akin to Ruby Joe & mainstream band Social Distortion. Hailing from Texas, one can find their one full length, EP & single through Velvet Blue Music. As far as lyrics, they are atypical of the love lost variety. Hope you like the sound & if you do check out the instrumental Rice Burner.

Ravenhill is a soulful blues rock tinged band hailing originally from southern Illinois. Nearest mainstream bands would be The Black Keys or The Ranconteurs. My son Tyler & I had the pleasure of chilling with vocalist Joshua Clifton a few times locally at a music festival called Audiofeed & seeing them live.  To be honest, there are several great songs I could have chosen with this band, but another album review was done on Soul & Midnight Gold deserves some recognition! Anyways have fun with this rocker that eludes to our freedom in Jesus as only He has the cure for our sin-His forgiveness by His death burial & resurrection.

Rich Mullins Indiana’s Richard Wayne Mullins is a vital part of the Christian music industry. Besides penning & performing one of the best worship songs of all time, “Awesome God”, he also was a very talented musician who was proficient with the piano & the dulcimer which can be heard on many of his songs. His first couple albums did not gather much radio play, but The World As Best As I Remember It Vol 1 & 2 garnished many songs heard all over the radio at the time. My first cd was actually his Winds of Heaven Stuff of Earth. His lyrics were provocative & focused on his faith (he grew up as a Quaker”. This review is also long coming as his death occurred about 10 miles from where I live. I was in the military at the time & missed his funeral, but his impact lasted on me for my lifetime. I also cannot leave out the Ragamuffin concept that I first heard of from Rich. Although he has many songs which I would consider as some of the best in CCM, today’s SOTD was picked partially due to its Resurrection day lyrics & how we don’t have to worry about this world’s fighting’s & struggles. No matter how it appears, Jesus still is alive & all will face Him one day & His love needs to shine bright in this darkened world.

Common Children Arkansas’ Common Children reminded me plainly of a cross between The Prayer Chain & Skillet. Why, might you ask? Well, CC has some serious ethereal atmospheric music akin to The Prayer Chain. And Skillet due to the obvious grunge influences and the three male band members when they first formed. Skywire came out in 1996 as did Skillet’s S/T. As far as the band’s name, well Jesus Freak Hideout’s site interview vocalist Marc & it is “because we are all common children in the sense that we all live together, in a broken world, in need of grace—beggars attempting to tell other beggars where to get bread.” I love this SOTD due to its calming sound and its very alternative lyrics: Check it out!

Must Build Jacuzzi – Peoria, Illinois’ Must Build Jacuzzi are a throwback to 90s era ska music. Having seen them multiple times, I can say they are most def a fun band to catch live. My son had fun the last time back in 2019 when he learned how to crowd surf at 12 years old! They also released a 2018 album right here on our own IVM. Check this SOTD & try to stop you head from bobbin’.

Aaron Sprinkle – The Sprinkle brothers are very talented & have been very busy in the music world. Just think about all the bands the 2 of them have played in: Poor Old Lu, Demon Hunter, Rose Blossom Punch, Fair, Blank Books, The World Inside, The Wrong Mind, Serene, A Cold Vein & Transparent, amongst many others. Although most projects Aaron has worked on lean to the alt-rock genres, 2017’s Escaping Light had a synthpop indie flair. Elle Puckett from Poema & Eisley guest vocals on this SOTD.

Ballydowse – Celtic punk-now that’s a genre one doesn’t hear much of!  But, Chi-town’s Ballydowse does it well. along with other genres such as oi, folk, klezmer & aboriginal. The band rose from the ashes of one of the best hard punk bands ever Crashdog & released 2 LPS produced by Steve Albini. Their lyrics dealt with many social issues that were taboo in the “Christian” music industry. They used many instruments besides the normal guitar, bass, drums including the mandolin, didgeridoo, moorhen, bodhran, whirligig, concertina, fiddle, bagpipes & bullroarer. Try to pronounce all those names & know what they even look like is most definitely a task & this comes from a guy who was attached to an army band back in the day. The most closely related Christian band would be imho The Psalters. Check this SOTD out. & the rest of the Grrr records catalog while you’re at it.

L.S.U. has been around since the mid 80’s & have had several monikers including Lifesavers, Lifesavers Underground & L.S. Underground. They have also attacked several genres including, alternative, new wave, indie rock, surf rock & a tad being goth tinged with Michael Knott being the mainstay. Freedom is the first I heard from them from 1994’s Grace Shaker & the lyrics portray an homage to the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus. Hopefully you will like this song as much as I have over the years.

Then It Ends – Rising from the ashes of 2 other bands (one of which A Past Unknown has been played on a few Christian radio shows, including Ohio’s RadioU), Iowa’s Then It Ends is a metalcore band that has some great melodic stuff. Besides their most awesome energetic Kingdom which has profound lyrics (Someone else already beat me to a quasi review on July 3, 2014!), their rendition of Bethel’s It Is Well is worship music with a metalcore twist. Be prepared to raise your hands in worship to our Saviour Jesus with this one.

Fit For A King – Bam-this is hands down one of my fave songs of all time from a band that hails from the same town as another great (softer) band Eisley. This ballad just has some type of energy with its musical prowess & soaring vocals & provocative lyrics that makes me contemplate my life & relationship with YHWH. FFAK also still keeps releasing more music it seems like very year & vocalist Ryan has recently joined forces with Chris Wiseman from Currents on the metalcore project Our Eternity (see my review on that January 27, 2021). Check out the lyrics below.

Laing – Now here is a rarety from a Texan industrial rock artist known as Laing. His given name is Trevor (Laing) & his music falls somewhere in between Circle Of Dust & Mortal or even Skillet’s Hey You, I Love Your Soul release. He released 2 LPs 2001’s Groove & 2005’s Ashes. If you like this SOTD, check out my other fave from him the similar The Finish Line.

David Meece is a classic singer/songwriter hands down. Known primarily for his piano skills & his many Christian contemporary radio hits, he was also a subtle rocker. I think I remember seeing him on Trinity Broadcast Network’s Fire By Night hosted by Blaine Bartel back in the day.  Today’s SOTD is a bittersweet story of his life growing up & how Jesus was there all along. I think we all can understand that still small voice of Jesus calling for us while we were yet sinners.

Trust Divided – This band reminds me so much of mainstream’s 5 Finger Death Punch. Hailing from Kentucky, the band incorporates melodic hard rock from a Christian perspective. The band formed in 2009 with 2 members meeting due to the military bringing them to the same area. Being prior military for close to 8 years, this resonated with this reviewer. They have toured with mainstream & Christian bands alike & have great songs such as From The Inside Out (Not the worship song cover) & Still Standing. Check out my fave from them.

White Collar Sideshow – This Arkansas macabre husband/wife team has finally crossovered to mainstream with their catchy song Bring Out The Dead. Their musical talents seem to have many influences as heard in their many great songs including Try The Swine & Black Heart Hearse (alt-rock) & I Didn’t Come Here To Die (alt-country). This band is on my bucket list (to see live In person that is!). They seem to have high energy shows & wear various masks through them & their music videos. Check out the SOTD (which is in homage to my fascination of arachnids) & also a live quarantined concert below! Also, check out TD Benton’s various freestyle drumming skill videos.

Kiros (Greek for a moment of divine time) was a Canadian punk influenced modern rock band that had an 11 year career ending in 2013.  It also appears a review was made on their release prior to today’s SOTD on this very website! Today’s SOTD is extremely catchy so check out these lyrics & hilarious video!

Veio is a crossover Oregon band that has a progressive metal sound akin to Tool & Deftones & being a fan of Maynard’s voice, I was happy when I found about this band on another Christian online radio site. Their mainstream song was Flare of Defiance & they have toured with other crossover bands Red & Starset . They formed in 2010 through Craigslist when the 2 originating brothers decided to start a band with their name being inspired by a Da Vinci sketch. Today’s SOTD is in prep for the new album that they are starting to write, but also, check out their cool cover of Filter’s Hey Man, Nice Shot. There are also some lyrics easily Google searched for this song, but they are incorrect.

Harvest – Pulling from the way back archives, Harvest was an original ministry oriented band from Texas. Comprised of Jerry Williams & Ed Kerr & Paul Wilbur when I first heard of them, their releases appealed to Christian radio big time. Mostly an 80’s band, their discography entailed many early Christian radio hits ranging from the worshipful All That I Am to the rocker We’re Gonna Take Hell.  I always dug Jerry’s voice & his charismatic way of leading the audience to see Jesus. A Few years I did communicate w/ Ed on social media. This title track SOTD was selected due to its big sound & guitar solo & lyrics that reference 2 Samuel 22:29-51. The 2nd video appears to be a muddy live video. Also, check out harvest777.com for their bios & discography.

Plankeye – There are so many songs I could have chosen from this Californian band that are top notch such as Struck By The Chord, Step Away, The Meaning Of It All, etc… I remember being at Central Bible College) in Springfield, MO during a college days back circa 1995 when I first heard the Spill album. I was amazed point blank. I dug their raw sound especially Open House & Free Me. The band split into 2 different bands by the time this song was released. So why did I choose this one? Because, there are so many times in life that the grass seems greener on the other side & life seems hard & I get overwhelmed just like most. We have this hope in Heaven & for that we cannot complain as Christians. We are sinners save by His grace.

Jonah33 – Today’s SOTD from Arkansas’ rock band Jonah33 was a single released during a 2004 campaign called Redeem The Vote that in essence was shooting to let Christian voices be heard during voter registration aimed for youths. This has always been my fave song due to the lyrics which remind me of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Willet – Another holy themed SOTD that belongs in my top 20 worship releases! Formerly known as Clearview, this hard rock band had some great songs such as Disaster, Wineskin & We’re Not Keeping This Quiet. Also check out the video for Searchlight which features American Sign Language. Hailing from Maryland, the 3 Willet brothers have since disbanded circa 2019. Members are still in the industry leading worship & filing & editing music videos. Check out these worshipful lyrics & the live video.

Daniel Band – Canadian’s hard rock Daniel Band found its way to my collection via a local pawn shop in my hometown in Illinois back in the early 90s I would guesstimate. My mother used to buy these old totally illegal rips of bands on cassette tape. It seems so weird now that these arena rock bands we thought of as heavy metal back then! My fave bands back then was Petra, Harvest & White Heart & Whitecross & so this band made sense. Between the lyrics & the rocking music, this song has a special place in my top songs ever. Check out these poignant lyrics as they mean a lot to me.

Addison Road is a pop/rock Texan band that had a 10 year span of releases. I was drawn to their singer’s (Jenny Chisholm) vocals that stood out among many female fronted bands. The rockier flair is not present though on today’s SOTD which is the last track to their 2008 S/T release. This is in my top 20 worship songs of all time. Check out these worshipful lyrics.

Trouble – Doom Metallers Trouble’s debut Psalm 9 release has been out for 30+ years. Imagine that!  Signed by Metal Blade Records, the 1984 album is commonly known as one of, if not the first doom metal releases. They were given the “white metal” moniker because of the obvious Biblical references.  I had a friend who passed recently who hung out with the band back in the day & it was nice to actually meet someone who listened to my “Christian music.” Guitarist Bruce Franklin would go on & join Supershine w/ Dug from King’s X & also release an outstanding industrial album generation-Brutal Reality. Check out some great reviews of their releases on Scott Waters’ Nolifetilmetal site. Here is my fave from them live.

Everdown is one of those bands that I heard back in the 90s that quickly rose to the top of my bands that never got old. Their sounds closest mainstream counterpart would be Helmet. The vocalist did not growl or give any guttural sounds & in essence the lyrics are easily understood. Forming in 1992, 1995’s Sicken’s grunge/sludge sound housed personal faves such as Sufferman, Crush & Nation while 1996’s Straining sounded much cleaner w/ greats Unleaded, Flown, One Knuckle Shy, & Seasons In Doubt. This is in the days before Solid State Records when punk, hardcore & alternative bands where thrown in under the Tooth & Nail Records label. Times were great! The band released another song called Easy & called it quits, until 2009 when they released a 2-song single. There is another one that was unreleased per their guitarist John Helmig. Today’s SOTD comes from their 2nd LP.