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BROW BEAT - UNPLUGGED ALTERNATIVE (*NEW-PURPLE VINYL, 2024, Retroactive) Mike Knott, Undercover, Adam Again, Mortal etc

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  • Officially licensed
  • Originally released 1993 on Alarma! Records
  • Mastered for vinyl by Rob Colwell (Sixpence, Mad At the World)
  • 12x12 lyrics insert
  • Limited to just 200 copies world-wide
  • Featuring tracks by Michael Knott & L.S.U., Adam Again, Terry Scott Taylor (DA), The Lost Dogs, The Choir, The Throes, DigHayZoose, Mortal, Undercover, Poor Old Lu

The Christian Alternative scene of the 90’s was one that seemed to have a hard time fitting in anywhere: far too curious and challenging for the CCM bubble, but it's not like 120 Minutes was filled with poetry to drum loops either. So somewhere in the middle sits this glorious album putting together two of the most mid-90’s phrases around: Unplugged and Alternative. Songs of praise, reality, depression, joy, confusion, confession, invitation and separation fill this record by some of the best musicians of the scene. The original 1993 Brow Beat, Unplugged Alternative is hard to top. The album served as such an eye-opener to so many - simultaneously introducing our ears to good acoustic music, as well as to Michael Knott, LSU, The Choir, and others. Their quiet rebuking of legalism and abusive, rigid dogma was a turning point for a good many spiritual lives. The songs on this release had an undeniable impact on those in the 90’s scene seeking something, NEEDING something more. Espousing one poetic message of truth after another, Unplugged Alternative offered hope that maybe we had found that very thing our souls craved. Even if we couldn’t wrap our heads around what we were hearing, we felt the powerful, emotional impact it was having on us as it resonated deep within us.

It can be hard to pick a favorite. The Choir does a fine job of their song "Wilderness," while Michael Knott puts together a song called "Deaf and Dumb" that sounds a little like a take on Rocket and a Bomb. Knott shows up later on an LSU track as well. Arguably, the show stoppers are Mortal and Terry Taylor. Taylor's "Have to Do For Now" has a dirge-like feel with a touch of dread included, implying there may be no quick solution to denying oneself or getting through life. Mortal, which up to this point was largely known as a screaming industrial band, puts out a melodic pensive song about the faithfulness of God and the Holy One’s promises that includes winds and mournful strings accompanied by a unique drum beat that accents the music, rather than fills the space. It's one of Mortal's best and possibly one of the best tracks in the 90’s Christian Music scene. The glut of worship music over the past 20 years has yet to approach the simple beauty of this song. It’s hard to resist the soul-melding tracks from the down-and-out Lost Dogs, an inventive jazzy tune by Dighayzoose, The Throes, Undercover, and Poor Old Lu. The album closes with Adam Again's "Don't Cry" which will have the opposite effect and is the perfect goodbye to a near perfect listening experience. Brow Beat - Unplugged Alternative is one of the best kept secrets of the 90’s Christian Alternative scene. Yet, after all this time, this reissue is more than just a collection of excellent songs; it’s a time capsule from an era of Christian music the likes of which we’ll probably never hear again. An era when artists who didn’t fit comfortably in either Christian or secular settings carved out a sort of parallel universe all their own, and in the process made music driven by faith and artistic expression. We don’t need to over-nostalgify that era — it had plenty of its own faults, flaws, and scandals — but that sense of authenticity and artistry comes through all the more clearly in this acoustic context. The 2024 Retroactive Records reissue comes on red vinyl, mastered for vinyl by Rob Colwell, and includes a 12x12 lyrics insert. Limited to just 200 copies. Enjoy.  

Wilderness - The Choir
Drenched Decent - Poor Old Lu
Deaf And Dumb - Michael Knott
Will Have To Do For Now - Terry Scott Taylor
Keep Me In Mind - DigHayZoose
Monday World - The Throes
No Ship Coming In - The Lost Dogs
Bleeder - Mortal
Crack - L.S.U.
Symbol - Undercover
Don't Cry - Adam Again

Drenched Decent/Deaf And Dumb/Will Have To Do For Now/Keep Me In Mind/Monday World/No Ship Coming In/Bleeder/Crack/Symbol/Don't Cry