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JFH INDIE SPOTLIGHT
Lakesha A. Washington
Holy Spirit (Single)
 
Kristen Gilles
Parker's Mercy Brigade
 
The Love Amendment
The Love Amendment EP
 
Tim Serdynski
Healing EP
 
Dire
Dire EP
 
Vince Lichlyter
Helium Revisited EP
 
Lastwatch
Leave a Light On
 
LuminousCITY
LuminousCITY
 
The Beautiful Gate
We All Need Jesus
 
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  • STATE INSPECTION

    TLisa, God of Love (2014) / TLisaMusic.com
    Music with a mission of hope - that's the goal of indie artist TLisa (short for Terri-Lisa). With her latest release, God of Love, she's providing listeners with not only a taste of her music, but a full serving. The album opens with the title track "God of Love," it features beautiful piano and lyrics that clearly explains why God is so good. That clear message can be heard through each track. Those clear, straightforward lyrics are prominent in every song. If you read the title of each song... Read the Full Review

    Pop / Worship

    Doom Tiger, Mass Market Media for the Masses EP (2014) / SoundCloud
    Indie metal artist Doom Tiger is back with another self-produced EP. His first, simply titled EP, was a death metal EP, but his newest is a foray into the arena of drone metal. Mass Market Media for the Masses delves into the long, and I mean LONG, and winding road of drone music. Drone music in general is very minimalistic and, honestly, a tad boring at times. The music is completely stripped down... Read the Full Review

    Drone Metal

    At The Threshold, At The Threshold (2014) / AtTheThresholdMusic.com
    Corporate worship is important to every local church. Sometimes, the music is good quality and sometimes there are probably many attendees that are glad they only have to hear that music once a week. That being said, North Carolina based worship band At the Threshold, are bringing some pretty good corporate worship material to the table with their self-titled release. Songs like "Covert of Your Wings" and "Isaiah 6" are serious standout tracks. They feature strong vocals and full music that draws doctrinally sound lyrics from scripture... Read the Full Review

    Worship

    Shauna Marie, He Heals the Broken EP (2014) / ShaunaMarieMusic.com
    Artistry is something that not all musical artists actually have. The combination of unique lyrics, excellent musicianship, and breathtaking vocals sounds like something easy to concoct with a good quality synthesizer, the latest "in-home" studio, and Google. For indie artist Shauna Marie, she makes an honest and heartfelt effort with her latest release, He Heals the Broken. The opening track, "Can You Hear Me," is layered with beautiful piano and is an open cry to God for her to be heard... Read the Full Review

    Contemporary

    Leaving September, Rock Paper Love EP (2013) / LeavingSeptember.com
    Over the past few years, there seems to be a resurgence of the musical sounds of the 90's: somewhat of a neo-post-grunge sound. This sound tends to feature simple vocals with raw instrumentation and mildly catchy melodies. Indie rockers Leaving September are an excellent example of this with their latest EP release, Rock Paper Love. Opening the album is "This Is Love." Its sound is reminiscent of early Jars of Clay or Burlap to Cashmere: the music is simple but sweet and exudes a nostalgic feeling whilst singing... Read the Full Review

    Indie Rock

    Nalini Tranquim, As You Are (Single) (2013) / NaliniTranquim.com
    Nalini Tranquim is an Australian pianist, singer, and songwriter. Nalini has been hard at work developing her craft since the age of four. She is a classically trained pianist who has released a classic piano album, entitled Piano, as well as the worship album Lay Me Down. Nalini released her latest single, "As You Are," in July of 2013. On this DJ Jireh remix of "As You Are," Nalini sets the softer piano and subdued vocals of the original to a pop dance beat. The lyrics of the chorus are... Read the Full Review

    Electronic / Pop

    Elliott Powell, Songs of Ascent: Worship Songs Vol. 1 (2014) / EPmusicministries.com
    There are some great works of art that need no explanation - while others make no sense without clarification. Newcomer Elliott Powell has given listeners art that is full of explanation. His debut EP, Songs of Ascent: Worship Songs Vol. 1, is a compilation of straightforward songs of worship; this fact is both positive and negative. Lyrically, the album is very biblical and at points feels like a copy and paste of scripture. Tracks like "Majesty (Song of Heaven)" and "You Gave"... Read the Full Review

    Worship

    Summerhill, With Every Breath EP (2013) / SummerhillBand.com
    Corporate worship is an important thing for the church. It unifies believers with songs of adoration and praise to the God that they live for. However, for many bands and artists, there is a major lack: originality and creativity. That being said, it doesn't mean people shouldn't keep trying to put out music for the church to sing, and indie band, Summerhill, is doing just that with their latest release, With Every Breath EP. Songs like "Before My King"... Read the Full Review

    Worship

    Ryan Wesley, This Is The Morning (2013) / AmazonMP3
    2013 has seen a bevy of new artists, spanning over multiple genres, with some hits, and some misses. One of this year's newest artists is Ryan Wesley, a worship-based artist who seems to be following in the footsteps of artists like Chris Tomlin, Phil Wickham, and The Afters. Wesley recently released his EP, This is the Morning, and all six tracks provide a look into Mr. Wesley's style, and what we can expect from future releases. The EP opens with an intro track... Read the Full Review

    Worship

    Doom Tiger, EP (2013) / SoundCloud
    Doom Tiger is an indie death metal band looking to break onto the scene with a lot of youthful energy and hope. The three tracks on the EP are Doom Tiger's first foray into recording. The first two songs feature typical death metal vocals and the final song is a short instrumental. "Babylon Departed" starts things off with the same crunchy guitars that are expected for a death metal band as well as the nearly indecipherable grunted vocals. It's not a a bad song, but... Read the Full Review

    Death Metal

    Rueban, Indestructible (2013) / AmazonMP3
    Rueban (Rueban Isaac) is a multi-instrument musician from Hyderabad, India who draws his musical influence from hardcore, punk, thrash, and alternative metal. For his debut solo album, Rueban is a literal one-man-band as he plays guitar, bass, drums, sings, and writes both the music and lyrics. His album, Indestructible, features heavy guitars and a sound similar to that of early nu-metal bands with some hardcore and alternative metal elements thrown in for effect... Read the Full Review

    Rock / Metal

    Roland Dale Benedict, Gregorian Rock (2013) / GregorianRock.com
    Art is a subjective topic. What one person may find as beautiful, another individual may see as disdainful. In regards to Roland Dale Benedict's Gregorian Rock - it's very subjective art. It features aggressive rock elements such as heavy distorted guitars, grooving bass, slamming drums, but then adds vocals in the fashion of ancient Gregorian chants. Songs like "Sanctus," "Trusting," "Soli Deo Gloria," show off some great instrumentation, but with the... Read the Full Review

    Electronic

    Cloverton, Patterns (2013) / ClovertonMusic.com
    On Patterns, Cloverton blends symphonic sounds with intimate piano and vocals while maintaining an indie sensibility. Vocalist Lance Stafford melds his unique and warm voice with his piano alongside rich strings and synths. That's the basis of Cloverton, then add a great rhythm section and some ambient guitars to form a huge landscape of sounds which all take place on Patterns. The first few tracks on the record have cinematic... Read the Full Review

    Electronic

    Celestial Heights, The Cosmos (2013) / Facebook
    Over the past decade, electronica music has had a major influence on the music scene; elements of dub step, 8-bit, and auto-tune have really taken over the radio airspace. Celestial Heights is obviously a byproduct of this electronic siege and with their latest release, The Cosmos, they prove this without a doubt. The album opens with the auto-tune coated "First Love." Musically, it resembles a classic rhythmic rave sound as lead singer, Jonathan Wright, essentially sings about the beauty of true love... Read the Full Review

    Electronic

    Candice Russell, So Much More (2013) / CandiceRussell.com
    Candice Russell made her start on American Idol. Now she is releasing her first album, So Much More. Upon first listen, the music sounds pretty good. Her voice is reminiscent of Taylor Swift or Demi Lovato, but in the areas where these artists excel, Candice doesn't really match up. The actual tracks sound good, the lyrics are clear and well written, and each song is sung well. Additionally, there is nothing wrong with the production of the music, it was clearly... Read the Full Review

    Pop

    The Sunrise, Have We Not Heard (2012) / TheSunriseMusic.com
    From the colorful cover art to the throwback sounds contained inside, there is no mistaking that Cleveland, Ohio's The Sunrise is quite the nostalgia trip for the 1970's Jesus Music Movement, and that's exactly how James and Rebecca Mileti want it to be. Hearkening back to the earliest days of CCM as we know it -- The Resurrection Band, Larry Norman, and Christian hippies -- The Sunrise's sophomore release We Have Not Heard makes for a charming throwback in its best moments... Read the Full Review

    Jesus Music

    Mouth of the South, Transparency (2013) / Facebook
    Indie metalcore act Mouth of the South recently released their newest album, Transparency. Upon first listen, the record is a solid effort. The music and vocals highlight everything expected from the metalcore genre: chugging guitars, beefy breakdowns, tons of double bass, and screaming vocals. However, subsequent listens reveal nothing more. Everything seems to become monotonous and, many times, you'll miss the track change if you're not really paying attention... Read the Full Review

    Metalcore

    Digital Exile, Subtlety (2013) / Facebook
    Desiring to pursue music for several years, but having to put plans on hold because of various circumstances, Gabe and Luke Chase finally decided to dive head first into forming their band. With drums and lead guitar covered, the brothers from Connecticut recruited friends Jonny Hopwood and Kristian Otten for vocals and bass respectively, and Digital Exile was born. Boasting a progressive rock sound akin to veteran bands Incubus, Thrice, and Muse, the independent band's full-length project... Read the Full Review

    Progressive Rock

    Cannot Be Contained, Found EP (2013) / Facebook
    To inspire people is a honorable task, to inspire people to live for Jesus - divine. For Alabama-based worship band, Cannot Be Contained, that is their mission. They want to encourage everyone to make Jesus the focus of everything they do, all the while utilizing music to deliver this message. However with CBC's debut EP, Found, that message gets muddied with poor production values and lack of experience. The EP opens with the lackluster "Salvation." Sonically, the guitar... Read the Full Review

    Alternative Rock

    Hour6, This Is Life (2013) / Hour6Band.com
    Hour6 is a Southern Californian pop alternative band that has just released its second full-length album to the Christian music community. Recorded in various parts of Southern California (including this reviewer's hometown of Ontario), This Is Life is a thirteen-track endeavor that's dripping with praises of Jesus set to skillful and well-orchestrated pop, rock, and alternative music that rivals most modern radio music. And it's the music itself that is the album's strongest part, particularly when they're engaging in the... Read the Full Review

    Alternative Rock

    Ziklag Offramp, Ziklag Offramp (2013) / Bandcamp
    For the Canadian fourpiece Ziklag Offramp, nailing the sound to a single genre can be a bit of a difficult task, and this is very evident in their 2013 independent debut album, Ziklag Offramp. The band's sound contains traces of folk, Americana, southern rock, soul, and country. The varying sounds can partly be attributed to the fact that the tracks aren't all written or composed by the same member of the band; for instance, "Carpenter Song," "Broken," and "Vineyard of Red Wine" are all written by guitarist... Read the Full Review

    Americana / Folk Rock

    Line In The Sand, Line In The Sand EP (2012) / LineintheSandband.com
    If you're in your mid-teens and you can say that your band has opened for Building 429, Jeremy Camp, Tenth Avenue North, and BarlowGirl, then your band already has an impressive resume in the Christian music world. And the Indiana-based, power pop/rock band Line in the Sand is able to say that, at the ages of 15 and 16 years old. Their discography consists of a self-titled EP they put out in 2012, featuring three songs written and performed by these five teens. The three songs are super positive... Read the Full Review

    Electronic / Rock

    Redeemed, The King Is Coming (2011) / Redeemedmusic.webs.com
    A group of five friends who love Jesus and music, Redeemed exists to sing their praises to the God who created them. In 2011, they recorded their debut full length album, entitled The King Is Coming. Redeemed's sound is quite recognizable from the get-go; you may not have heard them before (or heard of them), but as a Christian music fan, you've undoubtedly heard your fair share of bands that sound just like them. Let me pinpoint their specific sound a little more precisely: imagine a merging of Hillsong... Read the Full Review

    Electronic / Rock

    The Explanation, The Explanation (2013) / Myspace
    Robert Harris is a man of many trades; from programming, mixing, and producing albums to writing and performing his own music, he knows the technical aspects of music inside and out. In 2013, he is debuting his very first album, under the project name The Explanation. And his self-titled debut is sure to catch the ears of some fans with his untypical approach to pop music. The Explanation is a rather interesting ride at first, with the opening song, "The Circuit," taking on a very heavy Metric... Read the Full Review

    Electronic / Rock

    Ergo Rex, Breathe In The Roar (2013) / ErgoRex.com
    Rock trio ER released their debut album, The Risk of Tragedy, a couple of years ago, not too long after initially forming. Now, just over two years later, the boys are back with a new album, and a new name (or they possibly just revealed what ER stood for all along). Ergo Rex is back with their second full-length album, Breathe in the Roar. Ergo Rex opens up their album with a bit of an odd track, "Save the Freaks." It features a strange mixture of 80s anthemic metal and modern rock (like what you would have... Read the Full Review

    Rock

    Joe Miralles, Under The Sun EP (2012) / JoeMiralles.com
    For the better part of two decades, Pennsylvania-based singer/songwriter Joe Miralles has been honing his craft, writing and performing his own songs for varying crowds. Now, with a handful of albums to his name, Miralles has five new songs ready for his 2012 EP Under the Sun. It doesn't take long to get a feel for what Miralles has to offer here; just a few lines into opener "Under the Sun," you know what to expect for the rest of the EP. Under the Sun is a slightly-underproduced, 90s style singer/songwriter... Read the Full Review

    Acoustic / Folk / Pop Rock

    Narrow Path, And Still (2012) / NarrowPath.us
    From the state of Indiana comes independent rock band Narrow Path, with their latest composition, And Still. The album is all Narrow Path original recordings, which were mixed and mastered by none other than The Digital Age themselves at Asterisk Sound studio. It's a wise move on the part of Narrow Path, as The Digital Age is not only known for quality musicianship, but also making what they touch sound as best as they can (and they captured Narrow Path's sound perfectly). If you're wondering what you can expect from them before... Read the Full Review

    Pop Rock / Southern Rock

    Christa Rooks, At His Feet (2012) / ChristaRooks.com
    Christa Rooks is a singer/songwriter and worship leader at her home church in Covington, Georgia. In an effort to further her ministry with her husband, Rooks took to recording worship songs, which lead to a recording partnership with Jason Hoard (known for his work with According To John and Third Day). Rooks' first EP, At His Feet, is a contemporary pop release, mixing two Rooks originals and three borrowed songs. The EP starts with the three covers; "Carry Your Name," as made famous by Christy Nockels, leads the pack... Read the Full Review

    Worship / Contemporary

    Chris Bernstorf, Move (2012) / Facebook
    The art of spoken word was something you didn't hear too much about in Christian entertainment for a long time. In the last decade, though, we've gotten excellent artists to have offered up their talents in the field, such as Bradley Hathaway, Levi the Poet, and Propaganda. At the same time, thanks to the internet, which gives anyone, anywhere, and at anytime the power to do whatever they want, we've also gotten loads of people who have a passion for spoken word, with more failures than accomplishments. Enter Chris Bernstorf and his new album Move... Read the Full Review

    Spoken Word

    Jamie Nunnally, Hope Remains EP (2012) / JamieNunnally.com
    A humble and God-loving singer/songwriter from southern Georgia, Jamie Nunnally has written and recorded seven new worship tracks for his EP Hope Remains. The purpose of the EP was not to make a name for himself in the Christian music industry, but to give the Body of Christ some new songs with which to worship the Savior. With this in mind, Nunnally's music is such that it would definitely fit in to most contemporary church's Sunday morning worship services, so long as they don't mind a little... Read the Full Review

    Worship

    OneNameOnly, Jesus (2012) / OneNameOnly.org
    The United Kingdom-based worship project OneNameOnly is an interesting concept; it's a band full of songwriters and musicians that are so focused on putting Jesus in the center of everything, that they're choosing to remain completely anonymous. In a further effort to put Him front and center, the title of their new worship album is the name referenced in "OneNameOnly," Jesus. Theirs is a worship album like many, many others in their genre, sounding as contemporary pop as it gets. They change the sounds... Read the Full Review

    Worship

    Machaira, Play Loud, Preach Hard (2012) / Machaira
    Machaira is a jazz and blues foursome from the Northern California area, and is composed of four tight-knit friends and believers in Jesus. The group has been playing for more than twenty years (in various incarnations), and have even traveled the world with their music. Machaira released a couple of albums during the nineties and then released their first album with frontman Jon Brown in 2002. Their sixth album release is a very full, full-length album called Play Loud, Preach Hard. The album's tracklist is definitely an intimidating one... Read the Full Review

    Jam / Funk

    Various Artists, Hip Hop and Jr. College EP (2012) / Noisetrade
    Chicago radio personality Seth Tower Hurd is writing a four-part book series with the first volume to focus on racial healing. Hurd pens his thoughts and experiences of playing basketball at a predominantly black college and what he took from those times. The ebook will be offered for $0.99, and this little EP is absolutely free and designed to give a bit of backstory of where he's coming from while featuring the artists who supported his first book. Titled Hip Hop and Junior College, the EP offers four hip... Read the Full Review

    Hip Hop

    David Hertweck, The Mendon House EP (2012) / iTunes
    Oftentimes, all it takes is a friend's guidance for a musician to get a footing and put out some music. Such was the case for singer/songwriter David Hertweck. After teaming up with an independent producer friend, Hertweck took to a small studio and recorded The Mendon House EP. The opening song, "Chosen Mystery," has some fun, upbeat piano that doesn't rely on merely chords, but the rest of the EP offers song structures that are rather quiet and simple, with a lot of basic keyboard, guitars, synth, and drums... Read the Full Review

    Contemporary / Pop

    Rachel Frecka, Rays of Mercy (2012) / Facebook Page
    Rachel Frecka is a Texan-turned-Russian who got her start in music with family sing-alongs and leading worship for her church youth group. After putting her missionary journey in front of her music, she finally started writing again in 2011, and has now readied her first album, Rays of Mercy. Frecka's debut recording is a contemporary worship album that has a lot of American influence as well as influence from the different parts of the world she's visited. "Holy" is the first example of this, with... Read the Full Review

    Random Hero, Breakdown EP (2011) / Facebook Page
    Last year, independent music was treated to a small offering by rock band Random Hero. The EP was called Breakdown and featured three songs, all of which were produced and co-written by former Skillet guitarist Ben Kasica. Knowing Kasica was involved becomes all too apparent when you listen to Breakdown, as each song sounds like it could've been a Skillet b-side (but maybe with a different vocalist, although John Cooper definitely has some sort of influence on the vocals). There's also a little... Read the Full Review

    Rock

    Jimbo Rocko, Real Life Stories EP (2012) / JimboRocko.com
    Pop musician James Larrick, aka Jimbo Rocko, released a five-song EP in 2010 called Future Sounds. His signature style was urban, auto-tune laced party pop music, which, if nothing else, sounds fun, but the EP as a whole was underwhelming. Two years later, Jimbo Rocko is back with five more songs that have a different musical focus for his new EP Real Life Stories. The sound shift is rather interesting; while Future Sounds tried very hard to make Christian-themed club music, Real Life Stories... Read the Full Review

    AC / Worship

    Adam Villiers, Show Me The Way To Your Heart (2012) / AdamVilliers.com
    One of the saddest things in music is when a Christian artist writes songs of worship for the sole purpose of selling it and making money. This doesn't apply to 100% of artists who make worship music, but the number is a lot larger than it should be. That's why it's encouraging to come across a worship leader whose backstory shows you that he or she is authentic. Such is the case with singer/songwriter Adam Villiers and his new album Show Me The Way To Your Heart. Reading his backstory before listening to his songs almost adds... Read the Full Review

    AC / Worship

    Todd Hoover, The Whole Spirit: Redemption Songs (2012) / Bandcamp
    Phoenix, Arizona-based singer/songwriter and theological seminary student Todd Hoover has been hard at work lately both earning his degree and writing songs for his new album, The Whole Spirit: Redemption Songs. The style of music that Hoover best fits into is something like what you might call "gypsy music." It's very folksy and a little hard to get into unless you're in the absolute right mood. The first three tracks follow this pattern, singing about God's continued faithfulness over the years and His promise... Read the Full Review

    Folk / Indie

    Mosteller, This Is Life (2012) / Facebook
    Composed of four worship pastors with a heart for ministry, Ohio contemporary pop rock band Mosteller has been creating their own tunes for about four years, fronted by guitarist and lead singer Justin Mosteller. Their first full-length record released this year, entitled This Is Life. The whole of the record has a ring of familiarity to it, resembling a lot of rock-based contemporary Christian artists that are ever so popular these days, like Jeremy Camp and Matt Maher. Tracks like the opener "Glorious Day" and "Remember"... Read the Full Review

    Pop Rock / Worship

    Mike Pavelka, Life Is A Journey (2012) / MikePavelka.com
    Robstown, Texas native Mike Pavelka is making waves in his surrounding area with his music, having recently released an EP called Guided By The Holy Spirit. It created a lot of anticipation for more, which he satisfied back in February with his first full-length solo album called Life Is A Journey. Pavelka's Texas roots really show in his music, as it leans very heavily toward country music (except that Pavelka doesn't really have a twang in his voice - though some of the songs have a twang in the guitar, such as the love song "My Very Angel")... Read the Full Review

    Adult Contemporary

    Christa Wells & Nicole Witt, Image of God EP (2011) / christawellsmusic.com
    Christa Wells and Nicole Witt are two singer/songwriters who have spent most of their music career writing songs for other artists, such as Rodney Atkins, Point of Grace and Natalie Grant (Christa Wells actually wrote Grant's mega popular song "Held"). With some solo work also under their belts, they've shown they can hold their own. In late 2011, the two got together to record a short EP entitled Image of God. The duo's sound consists of a little bit of folk (most notably in the EP's highlight "Set Free," which bears a Tal & Acacia resemblance)... Read the Full Review

    Worship

    737, Convinced (2012) / 737music.com
    Hailing from Indianapolis, rapper and speaker Jeff McIntosh, better known as 737 (pronounced seven-three-seven), and formerly known as J-Mack, has recently released his newest independent album, Convinced. While Indiana is far from a hot bed for rap artists, 737 is making a strong go of it. While he looks like a younger Joshua Jackson, he doesn't have the Eminem sound you may expect. Instead, 737's sound is more similar to that of Json or Flame (there's even a hint of Red Cloud here and there). Overall, the record... Read the Full Review

    Hip Hop / Rap

    Summertime's End, Light and Colour (2012) / SummertimesEnd.com
    One-man band Summertime's End is the brainchild of Australian singer songwriter Daniel Throssell. He self-released his first album, With Love From Where You're Not, in December of 2010, and recently released his follow up, Light and Colour. He admits that his intent with Summertime's End is to blend the music and lyric stylings of his two favorite artists, Relient K and Owl City (in fact, he mentions their names several times in his bio). The good news about this is that he happens to succeed in his attempts. From the very start of... Read the Full Review

    Pop / Rock / Electronic

    Robbie Oster, My King (2012) / RobbieOster.com
    Moorpark, California worship leader, Robbie Oster started leading worship in 2005. A couple of years later (with several years more of playing music behind him), Oster started focusing more on writing and recording his own music. In 2011, he finished his first studio album, My King. Oster's music has a heavy 90s music vibe, but is more like a modern take on the 90s alternative scene than anything. Vocally, he sounds like he could have been in a pop punk band from that era, and then his voice matured some; in fact, think blink 182's Tom DeLonge mixed with a good... Read the Full Review

    Rock / Pop / Worship

    mikemurphyband, Rise + Awaken EP (2012) / mikemurphyband.com
    In February of 2011, a group of college kids leading worship for their campus' outreach program decided to make more of the situation and start recording some of their songs. Exactly a year later, mikemurphyband released their debut worship EP, Rise + Awaken. The band's mission with this album, according to their bio: "Musically, Rise + Awaken offers a new take on worship music, that they hope will be used to glorify God in the local church as well as the global church to impact generations." From the opening guitar riffs of "Forevermore," it becomes very apparent... Read the Full Review

    Modern Worship

    CoveredScars, What Words Will Do (2012) / CoveredScars.com
    For 13 years, hard rock group CoveredScars (formerly Covered In Scars) have been creating music that they hope will glorify the name of Jesus and help people find their way. Their latest album is called What Words Will Do. CoveredScars lists bands like Alice In Chains, Metallica and Static X (among a few others) as musical influences, and when you listen to What Words Will Do, you'll know it even without reading their bio. Json Eaves' vocals go back and forth between melodic and screaming. When he's singing, it sounds like an exaggerated take on Alice In Chains' Layne Staley... Read the Full Review

    Rock/Grunge

    Dan Macaulay, From You, For You (2012) / DanMacaulay.com
    Dan Macaulay is a Canadian-born worship leader for a church in Connecticut, as well as an accomplished musician who has won several Canadian music awards. After teaching how to lead worship to a group of believers in Malaysia, Macaulay came back home inspired to write a new batch of songs. These songs, along with a song penned by Michael W. Smith ("Breathe In Me," which actually features Smitty on piano), make up Macaulay's new worship album, From You, For You. Even from the album title, one can tell that the songs will be completely and totally dedicated to God; one listen confirms it... Read the Full Review

    Worship

    Jehu Riders, Awake O Sleeper (2011) / AmazonMP3
    Jehu Riders are a young, three-piece hardcore band from Williamsburg, Virginia. Referring to their brand of music as "warship" (because their message is both worshipful and focused on spiritual warfare), they've recently released a six-track EP on their own that they call Awake O Sleeper. While the warfare aspects are mainly that of a spiritual nature, they use physical warfare as a metaphor. The militaristic metaphor gets going from the EP intro, "The Alarm," which features an awkward sort of marching music... Read the Full Review

    Hardcore

    The Psalms Project, The Psalms Project - Volume 1: Psalms 1-10 (2011) / iTunes
    In an effort to bring a renewed sense of wonder and realism to the book of the Bible we call the Psalms, singer/songwriter Shane Heilman teamed up with a host of other musicians to work on a multiple-album project called The Psalms Project. The first edition is called Volume One: Psalms 1-10. Each track is numbered along with its respective Psalm, with a summary of the Psalm's message in parentheses to serve as its song title. Lyrically, the songs are not the Psalms word-for-word (or if they are, it's not clear which Bible translation is used), but rather, a reimagining of the words... Read the Full Review

    Worship / Contemporary

    Kevin Danzig, Believe (2011) / CDBaby.com
    Acoustic rock singer Kevin Danzig has been releasing his own albums since 1983, and has kept going strong all these years. Almost thirty years later, Danzig traveled to Lawrence, Kansas to record his newest album, Loud and Clear, which he released in December of 2011. Danzig's folk and Americana roots show up, giving each song a sort of down-home feel. Loud and Clear can easily be considered a southern rock album in those aspects. There are also very noticeable traces of other bands' sounds throughout the album; whether he considers them influences or not isn't mentioned in his bio... Read the Full Review

    Americana / Southern Rock

    Brandee Nielsen, Believe (2011) / BelieveinChrist.net
    After struggling with boldness for her Savior, and subsequently falling into a load of addictions, pop rock artist Brandee Nielsen refound her faith in Christ and started on her latest album, Believe. Some of Believe consists of songs that Nielsen rewrote to give them a clearer spiritual message, such as the album's opener, "I'm Alive." Speaking from her past experiences, Nielsen has an easy time crafting encouraging lyrics that remind us that Jesus is alive ("Behold The Barren Cross")... Read the Full Review

    Pop / Alternative

    Adam Wheatley, Beauty In The Breaking Down EP (2011) / AdamWheatley.com
    Sometimes an artist's start can come in a completely unexpected manner. Such is the case for Tennessee pop/country artist Adam Wheatley. Wheatley was randomly asked to lead his church's youth group in worship one evening, and from there, he began to feel that his knack for music would take him places. After meeting a few other singer/songwriters in the surrounding area, such as Andrew Osenga from Caedmon's Call, Wheatley started... Read the Full Review

    Folk Rock

    Brightwork, Loving Rescue EP (2011) / BrightworkBand.com
    Brightwork is a group of four guys who got together in early 2009 and have been relentlessly playing shows and recording albums ever since. 2010 saw their first official EP, and now they're back a year later with their follow up EP, Loving Rescue. The five songs show a talent for their respective instruments, but they also give off the feeling of "playing it safe." Brightwork's sound is somewhat of a hybrid of Jars of Clay, Nevertheless... Read the Full Review

    Pop Rock

    Don Ward, Broken (2011) / Facebook
    Don Ward is a musician who has worked with quite a few big names in the music industry. He's either played with or recorded music for artists like Olivia Newton-John, Journey, CeCe Winans, Eddie Money and more. He's also a Grammy-nominated artist who has recently released his own solo album, entitled Broken, which explores some of his gospel stylings as well as a good portion of jazz. It's easy listening that makes for good background music... Read the Full Review

    Gospel / Jazz

    Aryn Michelle, Last One Standing (2011) / ArynMichelle.com
    A self-taught and self-motivated musician from the middle of Texas, Aryn Michelle has been determined to make a name for herself in the music industry. She debuted in the industry when she released Lockless Heart in 2009 while still working toward a degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The next couple of years were kind to her, as she received lots of recognition for her music, including being a finalist in several different... Read the Full Review

    Pop / Alt Rock

    Five Smooth Stones, Beneath The Finite Sky (2011) / BeneathTheFiniteSky.com
    Coming out of the Hereford Zone in Maryland, indie rock band Five Smooth Stones are familiar with playing shows for both large and small crowds. Whether it's a coffee shop or a semi-local festival, they've been there, done that. They put out a five-song EP in 2004, with their first official full-length releasing in early 2009. Still an independent band, this year saw their second full-length album, Beneath The Finite Sky... Read the Full Review

    Rock

    Keith Elgin, Keith Elgin EP (2011) / KeithElgin.com
    Washington, D.C. worship leader Keith Elgin has been receiving accolades from the likes of Grammy Award-winning producers for his last two worship albums. In 2011, he's ready for his third release, a short, self-titled EP. The EP contains six songs, two of which are cover songs ("Stronger" and "Remain," originally by Hillsong and Starfield, respectively), while the rest are originals. The last song on the tracklist, "Our Hope Is In You"... Read the Full Review

    Worship / Pop

    Aaron David, This Is Me (2011) / AaronDavidMusic.net
    San Antonio, Texas native Aaron David has been involved in church worship teams since the late 90s when he was playing keyboards for the youth worship team (while primarily focusing on another band called Dave Bell and the Lion of Judah). He soon moved up to leader of the youth worship team, then relocated to Houston in 2006 to lead the youth worship team at Lakewood Church, and shortly thereafter became the lead worshiper... Read the Full Review

    Pop Rock




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