Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wherefore Art Thou, Indie Gospel?

I'm starting to find that most contemporary Christian music sounds similar. I can see the industry is trying to appeal to the younger generations and little by little, its pouring out alternative band after alternative band to much success. However, I tire of the lack of variety.

On the one hand, there is 90s-inspired bands that are still riding the wake that dcTalk, Newsboys, and Jars of Clay created with their popularity. While the aforementioned bands were huge successes and basically paved the way for mainstream Christian music, they hit their peaks 15 years ago.

Is there a difference? No, really...

On the other hand, there are the countless bands under whatever genre you consider 3 Doors Down, Linkin Park, Nickelback, and Creed to be under. Bands like Skillet, Red, Decyfer Down, Flyleaf (though, I admittedly like a couple of their songs), and Demon Hunter are almost indistinguishable to my ears at this point, much like the secular bands I mentioned before.

I do see why they are popular. Nickleback, though a pickle has more fans on Facebook than they do, is still widely known and can be heard at any point on any "80s, 90s, and Today"-type stations.

So, honestly, although I don't like it, I get it.

Then, there are Christian bands and singers whom most have either never heard of or simply do not exist. I recently discovered a singer named John Mark McMillan who just released his first single on iTunes called "Skeleton Bones". I discovered him a few months ago when I sought the author of my new favorite David Crowder*Band song, "How He Loves".

Now THIS is my kinda musician.

McMillan is a little-known fellow with a small fanbase, who's based out of North Carolina. He writes amazing lyrics and has the kind of voice I love to hear in my "indie" music.

Another artist named Phil Danyew, who calls his music project simply "Danyew", has a song called "Nothing Without You" that I've actually known and loved for quite some time, but completely forgot about until I saw him in concert with DC*B.

Other than those two artists, my search for "indie" Christian music has come up empty handed.

Even if there are other artists like McMillan or Danyew, I realize that they will never receive much airplay or garner the attention of millions of fans. Even the secular indie music I listen to is little-known by the Average Joe. Ask any member of my family who Miike Snow is and you'll see what I mean.

I guess I don't need my Christian indie music to be popular. Most of the time when my music gets popular, I start to like them less. They become property of "The Man" and their music suffers. All I'm asking- and I feel it's a pretty simple request- is that this kind of music EXISTS.

Who knows, maybe I'll have to learn to play guitar, write music, read music, etc. and start the indie Christian music REVOLUTION myself.

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