Crate-Digging: The Old Timers – Turn It Off! Turn It Up!

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(Thumper Punk, 2015)

One of my favorite musicians who just so happens to also be a Christian said, “If you put the label Christian on anything other than a person you are using the label as a marketing tool.” I have a healthy skepticism for Christian music for that very reason. I know far too many people that listen to bad music because the band is all, “Yeah Jesus!” I am all about “Yeah Jesus!” but we can make good music while we do it.

Hello Old Timers. This South African Punk outfit is fronted by a Scottish missionary and driven by a Sunday school teacher.  Oh stop rolling your eyes. I know, it sounds like it’s going to be rough but I promise you Turn It Off! Turn It Up! is a stellar punk rock EP. For all of you purists out there, the longest song is 2:38. The guitars are fast and threatening and the drums thunder at an inhuman pace. The vocals are chaotic and loud with just that fun tinge of Scottish accent.

Lyrically the band stays true to the social angst and nonconformity that made punk rock appeal to those of us who refuse to adopt the cultural status quo.  In line with the missionary work the band is involved in, the songs are challenging all of us, especially those identifying as Christians, to reach beyond ourselves and be one with those who are on the fringes of society. Songs like Untouchables, This City and Homeless Friends are staunch reminders that we are all equal, and it is our job to help each other out. There are no outsiders, just other humans.

No Regrets (featuring Sef Idle of band Self Idle) really hit home with me being a punk rock dad. Yes, there is a system to tear down, yes there are things to fight and scenes to build, but if we don’t raise our kids and be there for our families we are only perpetuating the cycle we say we want to break.

I wouldn’t say this EP is against society and the church as much as it is just saying what needs to be said. In our comfortable, self-absorbed spiritualities we often forget the real message behind it all. We can give a couple of dollars, say a few prayers, but not actually be an agent of change. Turn It Off! Turn It Up! is a call to action that reaches beyond faith lines and appeals to us where we can all relate.  Get this record, and get off your butt and do some good.

[Ed. note: “All proceeds go to U-turn, a ministry that directly supports our homeless friends in Cape Town, South Africa as well as raising awareness about the issues surrounding homelessness. Find out more about them here – www.homeless.org.za.”]

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