Hearkening back to the heyday of indie Christian music

The mid to late 1990s was an incredible time for Christian music. No matter what genre of music you enjoyed listening to – punk, ska, Goth, Celtic – you could find a Christian equivalent. And as a brand-new Christian and a high school freshman in 1996, I felt like a kid in the sonic equivalent of a candy store.

To clarify, in my personal lexicon, the definition of Christian music is twofold:

  • Music that contains obvious or subtle references to the Christian faith in its lyrics.

Or:

  • Music that is created and performed by musicians who are Christians with the intent of glorifying God through the use of the talents He has given them.

There was plenty of both kinds of Christian music during that time. The digital revolution, I’m afraid, seems to have put a lot of the smaller record labels who signed these artists – and the magazines that promoted them – out of business, but their work lives on in my CD collection.

One of my favorite music resources in high school was 7ball, a now-defunct bimonthly magazine focusing on alternative Christian music. Joy of joys, each issue came with a CD sampler containing songs from a mix of established, lesser-known and unsigned artists.

I’m amazed I didn’t wear these CDs out through their constant playing in my Discman on the school bus and in my CD player at home to record mix tapes for my friends. I’m also very grateful, because these CDs are still in my rotation today.

Below are a few of my favorite songs from 7ball’s GAS collection. Many of these bands have faded into obscurity, but some, like Danielson Famile and Slick Shoes, have had reunion shows in recent years.

Either way, these songs continue to be awesome almost two decades later. Give them a listen.

Martha’s Wake – “Razorblade Girl” (Goth-influenced)

Polarboy – “In My Shoes” (alternative rock)

Johnny Respect – “Ballad of the Invisible Man” (punk)

Danielson Famile – “Potty Mouth” (experimental/spoken word)

Rick Altizer – “In L.A.” (alternative rock)

Bon Voyage – “Honeymoon” (shoegaze rock)

Slick Shoes – “Angel” (punk)

What are your thoughts on old school indie Christian music? How do you think it compares with the Christian music that’s out there today?

– Teresa Santoski

www.teresasantoski.com

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