Ask anyone who attends Hardcore shows regularly: There aren't that many active bands taking chances with the music. It's easy, and I say so from personal experience, to leave a show after seeing four or five bands and only have one hold your attention. This can be applied to the greater scheme of the current scene as far as I'm concerned. Don't get me wrong, there are literally hundreds of solid bands with sincere members currently breaking their backs to tour across the US as well as the rest of the world. But as far as musical experimentation is concered, the well is pretty dry.
One band that I have kept my eyes and ears on over the past couple of years is Lion Of Judah. I checked out their demo after the initial hype on HYE, and have been hooked ever since. I heard elements of bands I loved that many modern Hardcore bands hadn't looked to: Burn, Fugazi, later-era Bad Brains, etc. That demo and subsequent 7" on Lockin' Out entitled "Soul Power" were good, but I could tell that some things needed polishing and looked forward to another release.
Last week, after finally hooking the band up with a show in Alabama, I got my hands on that next release. The polishing I had hoped for took place, and it was evident in the band's performance and also on the record I brought home. I've been listening to it constantly since and I believe it will easily slip into my top 10 of '06. Check the cover art:
I love that the cover looks NOTHING like your average HC release. The best description of it I have heard compared it to the cover of a Love album.
Hardcore needs more bands like LOJ. Along with their wide range of influences, they are unafraid to tackle complex issues in their lyrics including, but not limited to: the current state of the World, Religion, Philosophy, Immigration policies, body image conflicts, and much more. There is also the issue of experimentation with album art and merch setting them apart from the flock.
I feel like I could rant for hours about this band, but enough of that. Go pick up the record at Youngblood (who also put out a number of other good records) and you'll (hopefully) see what I'm talking about.