Idol Chatter

I’m a sucker for unique music combinations (think: Metallica’s “S&M” collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony). So when I listened to the first track off Celtic punk band Flatfoot 56’s soon-to-be re-released album, “Knuckles Up,” I was immediately drawn in to the tribal-like drumming, electric guitar chords, and sweet mandolin playing–which soon gave rise to louder, faster drumming and more powerful guitar and mandolin playing. It was a much different sound than your standard punk song, which is usually very simple and predictable in style and arrangement (a couple of guitar chords and a screaming lead singer).

The song “This Town” is also unique in another way–it’s a positive anthem for change, something you don’t often hear in more traditional punk music, which is more aggressive. And then, of course, you’ve got the band’s Christian thing.

Although Christian punk bands aren’t new, they’re new to me. And, this one I like. Flatfoot 56 is comprised of three brothers from the south-side of Chicago–Tobin, Justin and Kyle Bawinkel– and their friend Josh Robieson on bagpipes and mandolin.

Lead singer Tobin, who writes most of Flatfoot’s songs, is very outspoken about the Christian messages in his work. In a 2004 interview with “The Phantom Tollbooth” he said, “Our lyrics talk a lot about brotherhood; standing strong with our brothers in the Lord, under Christ’s banner; being a light for Christ. Many times our lyrics talk about our struggle with sin; how God’s grace is always there to pick us all up when we fall down…”

Although the album was originally released in 2005, it will be re-released on June 27th, and will include new packaging, a new and sharper re-mastered sound, and a music video for their single “Brotherhood,” the album’s single about the power of friendship in standing up for what one believes.

One of my favorite songs off the album is a kicked-up version of “Amazing Grace.” You can listen to it streamed on Beliefnet here.

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