sojourners has a great article presenting some leading voices in the “new folk” or “anti-folk” music movement. included, of course, is critical indie darling sufjan stevens. however, lesser known artists such as anathallo and half-handed cloud are also highlighted. apart from musical eclecticism and enthusiastic performances, these artists also share faith in christ. as the article asks, “is a movement of post-punk, justice-seeking, jesus-following musicians on the rise?”

as someone whose formative years were spent in and out of the punk scene, these kinds of questions always intrigue me. i love that these artists not only create wonderful, joyful noises, but that they also embody the diy (do it yourself) ethic of the old punk scene from the 80s and 90s. the article notes, “this diy sensibility of both folk and punk has shaped a new artist collective that is creating its own networks, communities, and culture through self-promotion and distribution rather than relying on corporations.”

labels like asthmatic ktty and sounds familyre remind me of the heyday of indie rock, when labels like dischord, merge, simple machines and kill rock stars were releasing innovative, inspiring music that people could actually afford to buy….

hopefully, the emerging church can continue to embody the best of this diy spirit…. where the reason we get into the whole church deal is not for numbers or “success”, or even results…. where we foster small, creative communities that, against the odds, feel like they can make a difference…. where we encourage, and even equip, those with the same heart to pursue their God-given vision as well, even if we don’t get the credit.

one of my favorite relics from the indie-rock days is a manual simple machines records distributed called “an introductory mechanic’s guide to putting out records” – basically, the blueprints for starting your own record label (before the onset of the digital music revolution). instead of seeing other potential labels as competitors, simple machines sent out over 10,000 copies of their mechanic’s guide in their brief eight-year history, to empower friends to get involved as well. a quote from the manual, “there is nothing that you can’t do with a little time, creativity, enthusiasm and hard work. an independent business that is run with ingenuity, love and sense of community can even be more important than the products and services it sells… independent buisnesses can offer alternative notions of success, fame and rewards – all traits that are sorely needed in a society as consumer-focused and capitalistic as ours”… churches marked by creativity, enthusiasm, hard work, ingenuity, love, community (and a healthy dose of God’s Spirit)…

i remember the willingness of bands like braid, endeavor and back of dave being willing to drive for hours and hours for no pay to play a show for a small handful of kids – all because it was for a good cause.

i think i’ll go listen to some unrest