May-June 2021

Cloud Merchants fall in the same 90s alternative art rock category fare along with bands suck as Choo Choo Pye, Midnight Oil, The Ocean Blue, etc… The band hails from San Diego, Cali & appears to have done 2 LPS. It was hard to narrow down between this catchy SOTD & another called It’s Dark Outside. Chose this one as YouTube did not have this one uploaded & due to feeling frustrated sometimes just like we all do & wanting to shout out loud.

FM Static was a pop punk side project of Canadian Thousand Foot Krutch. The SOTD has made a lasting impact on me & falls within a category of songs that I am planning a writeup on.  Its fun music contains lyrics that entail a very depressing subject of a guy who does not practice monogamy.

White Heart – Is there something that you’re holding onto that you need to let go?  I think we all have felt that from time to time as Christians as YHWH continuously works on us. White Heart was an amazing rock band that had a plethora of members & albums. I actually worked with Rick Florian’s son a few years ago! Anyways, today’s SOTD was chosen as a reminder of the joy of letting go of what hurts us/holds us back from the potential that YHWH wants for us. The band has an outstanding discography, but never won a Dove award which is basically the Christian equivalent of a Grammy & it’s a shame so be sure to check out the rest of their discography.

Crimson Moonlight – Beware, this song can cause massive headbanging with the pummeling sound from your speakers! Sweden’s Crimson Moonlight is one of the bands that I first heard of back in the day when I was stationed in the army. Met this guy named The Bat wearing a These 5 Down shirt & we became fast friends 20 some years ago. Check out his music on Reverb nation if you like industrial & hard trance here:  I mean how many Christian metalheads do you meet in your everyday life right?  Anyways, CM have continued making music & even performed about an hour from me at the Audiofeed festival in 2019. Also included a live version so you can feel the intensity.

Clash Of Symbols – Mike Stand has been mighty busy over the years with the ground breaking “punk” The Altar Boys, rockabilly Altar Billies, modern rock The Stand & Clash Of Symbols. I remember 7Ball magazine having this article featuring indie bands that included them, Raspberry Jam & the little known Sixpence None The Richer. I have always liked this SOTD best by them & I totally had it on cassette tape back in the day. Lol! Also, check out Give, Free, Absurd, Save Me & I Don’t Hear The Question.

Witness Protection Program – Pennsylvania’s Witness Protection Program bring to mind music that falls between the space where arena & modern rock. There a few bands with the same name, but the obscure 3003 release Fire Ready Aim is chalk full of hard rocking songs & is the reason why I wanted to write for IVM in the first place. Christian bands that have come & gone & not left much of a trace as one cannot easily find a lot of music in my collection. Today’s SOTD lyrics speak of being humble. Another thought provoking song Pearls To Pigs that speaks of temporary stuff that in the grand scheme of things means nothing compared to what YHWH has in store for us bringing to mind 2 Peter 3:11. Check it out

Black Eyed Sceva – I owned both the bands’ LP WBTF & EP back when I was in high school. I consider the band as thinking man’s music set to alt rock music & they had some minor hits back on Christian modern rock charts with Mudhouse, Ryan’s Driveway & Justified. The band would eventually reform as Model Engine. These lyrics always got me thinking & eludes to the yearning for Christian unity. The 5 Minute Walk record label (which I always thought was an outstanding label name) released the 2 albums along with music by Dime Store Prophets (whom I saw live), Mortal, The Electrics, amongst many others. The label’s slogan was Love God, Love Others, Take Time To Listen which is one of the reasons for me doing these writeups. Check out these thought provoking lyrics:

Soulstice is a very obscure band that released one S/T LP in 2003 on Faithrunner Records. That’s about as much as I know about the band. They seem to be a blues tinged hard rock band. Finally was able to obtain a copy via Ebay after looking for many years. I saw them pop up on 2 online Christian indie rock radio shows back in the day playing the song Away & this rocking SOTD.

Dakoda Motor Company was an awesome surf modern rock band that brought surf music to the 90s Christian rock scene imho. Guitarist Peter King even had a brief stint on MTV with its show Sandblast. The band had toured with several artists including Petra which I always thought was a weird matchup. This SOTD has always been my fave, but also check out Sondancer, Trip To Pain, All Good Generals & Railroad. I also included a live video of them performing Sondancer just because it’s cool to reminisce & wonder if they will come out with new music as they seem to be still playing shows.

Undercover went through a ton of style changes during their extensive tenure as a band. Labeled as new wave, punk, rock & even gothic, the band had its humble beginnings as a 2nd generation Jesus music band (which I briefly mentioned in another SOTD review) associated with Calvary Chapel in the early 80s. Bandmates including a wide variety of musicians including Ojo Taylor, Ric Alba, Chuck Cummings whom all 3 would go on to other projects. I remember picking up the gothic tinged Balance Of Power at my local library back in the day & was amazed at what I heard.

Crashdog – So I saw a video recently on an Christian punk rawk Facebook group of Crashdog on Jerry Springer where they sang their The Pursuit Of Happiness song & vocalist Spike Nard had to defend it to some church looking guy whom was talking smack about Spike being a Christian & playing that genre of music. This totally made me want to do a SOTD on them so check it out sometime as is great if you can find it. Gotta love the bagpipes in this song which is why I specifically chose this one. Also wrote another STD recently that featured the band Ballydowse which is what this band evolved to be.  Also check out their music video for Voice Of Defiance.

Doomsday Hymn – Brazilian Doomsday Hymn remind me of Sepultara or Soulfly for some reason with their 2015 Rottweiler Records release. This post is in anticipation of an upcoming possible new release as they teased 3 newer songs back in 2018/2019 respectively. Today’s SOTD & album name is a play on MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN from the book Of Daniel when the handwriting on the wall doomed Belshazzar’s kingdom that was about to be conquered by the Medes & Persians which also eludes to the band’s name.

Lightworker – So this post marks my 100th for the site! Today’s SOTD features the newer band Lightworker from California & is great metalcore ballad that falls in the lines of TDWP: Louder Than Thunder, Underoath: Too Bright To See Too Loud to Hear & Fit For A king Skin & Bones. The song features the regular vocalist & also Laura McElroy who also sings for Comrades (a band that I’ve seen live).

Hoi Polloi – Today’s SOTD was one of my top 10 songs of all time growing up. I have this song hundreds of times & it has never gotten old. The lyrics deal with YHWH being there for us & is patiently waiting for us to come to HIM or return home. Hailing from New Zealand, the band dabbled in roots, funk & modern rock, but Jenny Gullen’s voice set the band apart from any other. I remember actually playing this song in a setlist I was djing in Columbia, SC at an outdoor festival.  Also incld a live video for your listening/viewing pleasure.

Hokus Pick – Another quirky 90s alternative rock fun band, Hokus Pick (Maneuver) hailed from Canada. The band focused on writing sarcastic silly lyrics that portrayed a deeper message of Christian truths such as revealed in this SOTD – that  Jesus will hold true to His promise that He will return. Now that is an optimistic feeling. I chose this SOTD for a few reasons, with one being to make my son laugh. Listen to the guy yell at the beginning lol!  Also included a live show from them. If you like the band, check out some of my other faves from them: I’m So Happy, Love Stuff, Bye Bye Bye & Learn To Laugh.

Prepare The Way hails from Mississippi & appears to have sadly only released one EP. But, this title track is powerful. I guarantee all of us have felt the sting of failure & sin in our lives. To rely on Jesus to get us through turmoil & tragedy is a touch thing to do, but that is where His perfect peace can shine the brightest. Hope you like this SOTD as much as I have the past few years.

Petra – So I’m going a long ways back for this SOTD. But, the truth is that it brings still holds true today. Pulling from 3 different Bible verses, the lyrics deal with going through life while dealing with different choices that can take us down a dark path. The most relevant is 1 Peter 5:8  “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I really do miss the days when my fave music was directly tied to the Bible & the lyrics sheet had the scripture reference. The music video is grainy so I also added another version. And yep, that is bassist Ronny Cates talking in the beginning. This song is so powerful to me.

A Hill To Die Upon – Galesburg/Monmouth, Illinois is the first place you think of when you think of blackened melodic death metal, isn’t it. But, since 2004, AHTDU has been playing just that. I have seen the band numerous times & even been to a few shows with members of the band in the crowd or playing with other bands, like the southern rock The Comancheros. This is some true headbanging stuff so if you get a chance, check them out live. The band is also cool enough to post videos on YouTube of bass & guitar playthroughs if you’re interested like me. Another tidbit is IVM’s Taylor C’s review snippet for the band’s Omen release is totally on their Wikipedia page! I had a hard time picking between this SOTD, Cloven Hoof Hava Nagila or their cover of satan, your kingdom must come down.

Headnoise was a band I found while thumbing through one of my friend’s CDs back in the early 2000s. They are most def a true hxc punk rawk band but with a twist, Edie Goodwin’s vocals. She can really belt out this genre of music & has been going since 1994. Think Crashdog, The Distillers, dreads, & mohawks. Life was different back then-Lol! You can find their stuff on Glenn Kaiser’s Grrr records as they were part of the Jesus People USA commune for some time. This song was released in 2019 & amazingly enough, I am totally looking at their Facebook page that tells me they have new music coming! What a coincidence. Also, check out their official YouTube page as they have tons of live music videos. Also, check out my fave from them Take Up Your Cross.

Believable Picnic – The 90s were a great time for quirky fun Christian rock music. Believable Picnic is closely related to the Beatles-esque PFR aka Pray For Rain as the frontman was the older brother of PFRs frontman. The lyrics for this SOTD elude to the Biblical viewpoint that Christians are not of this world per John 17:14 & 18:36. Sadly, the band only followed up with one more LP.

Plain Jane – This band is “Anything But Plain” as their debut released in 2003 & was a modern rock band fronted by a female singer who had a distinct way of singing her vocals with Guardian’s Tony Palacios helming the production. Their name comes from the idea that no one is a plain jane in God’s eyes. One can still find their old Myspace & Soundclick pages & other goodies from the band is The Door & Gravity.

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. PS, I moved this SOTD til a later date due to another review being on the band in April! Lol

Breakfast With Amy – When I first heard this song, I was diving in the “alternative rock” scene & my musical overfilled mind was whirling from all this weird music that was not like the Petra’s or White Hearts I had grown up listening to. There were so many linked bands to this project such as Fluffy (check my review on Guitars Guns & Girls!) & Duraluxe which was formed with Hoi Polloi’s Troy Daughtery to name a couple. Check out the website for more info. It was hard to choose between this SOTD & Icky & Cavewoman so check them out also. On a different note, one of my friends plays Sister Rosetta Sharpe (often called the mother of rock & roll) on his Christian rock show sometimes & included below is also her rendition!

American Made was a fun band that only released 2 LPS, but some of their songs have remained my fave in their tiny genre. What I mean by that is that they combined rapcore with funk & punk & hip hop. Interesting combo for sure, but imho it worked for its time. Both releases garnered Christian rock airplay with the Against The Flow title track, Earth Girls, Matt & Benny & the awesome Better Off Dead. Today’s SOTD believe it or not, was produced by White Heart’s Billy Smiley! Just listen to the intro’s driving bass line & grab your instruments!

East West – Not to be confused with the AC pop band East to West (lol), Cali’s East West were a driving force in the rap metal scene in Christiandom along with EDL, Pillar, Beanbag, etc… I actually saw them live in Greenville, SC in the early 200s with Pillar & The Benjamin Gate. Known for their unabashed view on Christianity with the band name derived from Psalms 103:12, they were known as Rachel’s Silence at one point. They have had many songs which I would consider to be outstanding including, Seven, Thru 2 U, Breathe & Closure, but my fave is today’s SOTD.

Balance Of Power – British progressive power metal band Balance of Power is what I would consider a unappreciated gem in the genre. Forming in circa 1995, they have release 5 full lengths & one comp. Vocalist Lance King eventually joined in 1997 & left in 2003 & I would think he is the most well known member as he was in Pyramaze, Avian, Defyance, Ilium & Shining Star, all of whom I have heard over the years. Today’s SOTD hails from the Perfect Balance LP which does not have an appropriate cover so I chose the one we here. One of HM Mags comps had this song on it & that is how I came to hear of them. Hope you like it!