Issue 7 Cover

JOHN THOMPSON, Chicago, True News. Is alternative music actually happening large-scale in the Christian Market? No, you're kidding! Check this out, Blonde Vinyl, only 7 months old, will have fourteen or fifteen albums released before the end of '91! They'll soon bring us a re-released Dead Artist Syndrome project Prints of Darkness and a collection/compilation of Lust Control, as well as Sincerely Paul, Acoustic Shack, Dietiphobia, Shelly Rogers and Love Life. R.E.X. is also not silent these days. Signed artists include Circle of Dust, Code of Ethics, and possibly Crying Out Quiet. Hot new alternative rock from Koala-land. Some of you may have picked up an import E.P. by a group called Tall Stories a few years back. They've since changed their name to Seven Stories and signed with Columbia Records. From just across the ocean, Stress Music is bringing several Kiwi (New Zealand) bands - Hunting Man, Jono Jack, and Luke Hurley to name a few. ACM Journal is unleashing their 2nd CD sampler as a perk to stimulate subscriptions. Nineteen bands for $5 is cool in my book, anyway. The Throes are going to tour. God voted The Choir best all around people in general. Over the Rhine is still unsigned, but since they've turned down most of the big-wig CCM labels I'm not too worried. Word has it that Warner Brothers is going to push David Mullen's first single. Mission of Mercy just released Cages Crashing, their best, darkest, crunchiest, most gothic tape to date. Within the last couple of months, they changed guitar players (now Mark Schwartzburg, Kings X guitar tech) and started recording again. If this is ever released for sale, it will be even hotter than "Cages Crashing." The Alarm's Dave Sharp released his debut solo album - very bluesy gritty Rock & Roll. Interesting lyrics too. Chagall Guevara gets my vote for best alternative band of '91. Now Sparrow is going to release this debut, self titled album. One promo piece I received had the band called Chagall Guavara with Steve Taylor. I wonder if the postscript will stick. Anybody with a few extra bucks want to come to Chicago and start a decent radio station? Our WYLL 106.7 will reportedly go "All-Talk" within 6 months. That's great, there really is a need for more talk Christian Radio, isn't there? The new artsy and moody Ocean Blue album is out. It's very cool, even better than their debut. Painted Orange is out with their first mainstream StarSong release. There could soon be literally dozens more "underground" releases available. There seems to be a renaissance in independent music lately. Hooray! Mortification's supposedly "Radical" art cover is a joke! P.S. Hi Ed! Now out on the ever extinct list is Urban Edge! Our friends from the south decided that a name and identity change was a must. They changed their name to Two Pound Planet and have stopped all sales of Hydrogen Jukebox cd's and cassettes. We haven't heard about any Planet tapes yet. Also included is Situation Taboo. They're in the studio hoping to use a new tape to score a big-time record deal and therefore don't want to sell anymore old demos. Such goes the demise of these bands. Oh well. The beat goes on and more bands are popping up everywhere.

WIM BOLUYT, Holland, Pure Rock Report. Tuesday night and back home again. Sitting with a cup of coffee in my hand and still enjoying the bath that washed away two eight-hour boat trips and four days of the usual Greenbelt Festival dirt away, my thoughts wander back to England. It was a very good festival, like the previous four I attended. But perhaps this year was even better, because I choose what I wanted to hear rather than run like a mad dog after all that's new. But choice means alot gets lost. In fact, I didn't see a whole lot of good bands and performers. Some of them were ill, like Michael Sweet of Stryper (pneumonia) and Mark Heard. Stryper had played at the Dutch Flevo Festival with Oz Fox doing lead vocals, but here they decided to cancel. Mark Heard canceled the second time in a row and yes - both times ill. Peter Case, Scaterd-Few and No Laughing Matter were promised to us by the pre-festival news, but they were not there.

The Electrics are a rootsy, celtic rock band from Glasgow who just released Visions and Dreams on Full Circle Records, but like Detritus, 7th Angel and Ben Okafor, I didn't have a chance to see them. I saw Dan Donovan of Tribe of Dan but missed his performance. Dan described Tribe of Dan's cd Shook up as "13 tracks of pure mooserock." Raw and raunchy, but passionate as nothing else - a great band indeed. Dave Sharp of the Alarm performed an acoustic song on the main stage from his solo album. I missed the opportunity to speak with writers like Aussie Tim Winton and American Harold Fickett. The latter wrote a critical biography of the late, great Flannery O'Connor called Images Of Grace. Never without controversy, this year's festival had seminar titles like God's Gift Of Gayness? and The Sacred Sex Life Of Adrian Plass as well as a seminar which offered a discussion between a Christian and a real witch. But like Martin Evans, General Manager of Greenbelt explained about the theme Wrestling With Angels in the festival's souvenir programmme: "It's now a firm tradition that leading Christian thinkers from around the world - often from politically troubled areas - visit each summer to share with us what they have found the Gospel of Jesus to mean." That's why Mike Yaconelly, Stewart Henderson and all the others were there. Speaking of seminars, Steve Scott's three lectures under the title of his new book about the arts, Crying For A Vision, were great. As was his poetry performance in The River. The Throes played a good set, though still a young band. Sam Hill released his new project Thunder and Rain and played a wonderful set. So did Jeff Johnson (though much too short) Billy Penn's Brother and The Violet Burning. Hope Springs Eternal stays a promising band, sounding like a cross between Adam Again and the Seventy Sevens playing Violent Femmes songs, though they still wrestle with being and staying a band. Their promo single sounds great. This Picture played most of their new worldwide release A Violent Impression. This is the best new band I have seen this year. Their album is something to look for! A little disappointing was Cactus World News. Too much U2 and too little of their debut album Urban Beaches. Sounds Of Blackness was good , though I prefer black gospel without a hip-hop beat. Gary Hall and the Stormkeepers did a wonderful set, playing their new single Jesus Christ (a Woodie Guthrie cover that U2 did once) which will soon be released on Wide Open To The World. Gary proved himself an amazing guitar player and his Violent Femmes cover of I Held Her In My Arms was simply fun. And now that we are talking about fun, Chagall Guevara was really fun, though a little too loud for my ears. Galactic Cowboys was a big surprise. They filled in for Stryper and did well.

So it's time for another cup of coffee, and I'm still enjoying the bath I had. I listening again to the At The End Of The Pier Show cd by Marc Catley and Geoff Mann. Who said progressive rock is dead?

TOM STEPHENSON, Seattle, ACM Journal. Alternative music news is now changing on almost a weekly basis. In just one week, a regional compilation cd of 14 alternative, club-oriented Christian artists from Seattle, Vancouver and Portland was completely defined. Already over half of the artists have committed for a Spring release, including Gloria, Johnny & the Stickmen, Shattered Image, Don't Know, and Poor Old Lu. The Alternative Dance and Modern Rock formats should begin developing quickly over the next several months. Code of Ethics is setting high standards for alternative dance while others like Adagio and Tim McLaughlin will soon make their distinctive marks. Painted Orange's remarkable self-titled independent release in 1991 was tailor-made for college radio and alternative formats, however StarSong's release is more appropriate for AC/CHR formats. True Tunes may still have a few copies of their original cassette. Deitiphobia is nurturing other industrial-dance and post-modern bands across the country, in addition to finishing their upcoming projects. And finally, Jeff Johnson has several upcoming projects and will be appearing in a live concert in Seattle during November. There is more information sprinkled throughout the Artist & Product Lisings section starting on Page 11.

Tom D. Stephenson