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  • STATE INSPECTION

    Cloverton, We Sing Joy EP (2014) / Clovertonmusic.com
    With humble beginnings as the worship team at a small church in Manhattan, Kansas, The Lance Stafford Band - now known as Cloverton - got a chance to spread their music to a broader audience when they were picked up by nationally-syndicated radio station K-LOVE/Air-1. They followed it up with a tremendously successful Kickstarter campaign and the following full-length album Patterns last year. And this year, the band is back with a six-track Christmas EP entitled We Sing Joy... Read the Full Review

    Christmas

    Doom Tiger, Pelagia (2014) / Twitter.com/Doom_Tiger
    Death Metal is some of the most interesting music to listen to. While some listeners only hear screams and growls, beneath that extreme aggression there tends to be some lyrically deep content and technically rich music. With that in mind, returning indie artist Doom Tiger is giving listeners another collection of death metal recordings with his latest release, Pelagia. The album opens with the droning "All Roads Lead to the Ocean;" the music is exaggerated but has a constant building... Read the Full Review

    Death Metal

    the | Dave Ellis, To Whom It May Concern/Yours Faithfully (2014) / theDaveEllis.com
    A big trend that has been gaining momentum in the music market is the bold double-album. UK-based indie artist the | Dave Ellis is among one of the brave souls attempting this feat with his latest project, To Whom It May Concern/Yours Faithfully. Without a doubt, it is a hefty album. The tracks are somewhat dichotomous; while one song may dwell on redemption, like "Oh My Lord," another may be about pretty girls. For those looking for some silly easy-listening tracks, there are "Krush" and... Read the Full Review

    Hip Hop / Rap

    Flagz da Bad Boy, Imitators (2014) / Flagzdabadboy.com
    Rap and hip hop have steadily gained popularity over the last few decades and have become two of the most popular and influential cultures and styles of music in the modern times. This goes for both the secular world as well as the Christian world. No matter how you feel about that, it's spawned an entire market of Christian emcees who use the same sounds but change the lyrics to glorify Jesus. Flagz da Bad Boy has been doing this very thing for the last several years... Read the Full Review

    Hip Hop / Rap

    Joshua Mills, Christmas Miracle (2014) / JoshuaMillsMusic.com
    Joshua Mills is a multi-faceted, and multi-talented, artist. Mills has been a worship leader for 15 years, a speaker, and is an ordained minister. Including his newest album, Christmas Miracle, Mills has recorded six studio albums and two live albums. While some of the material is original, most of the songs are Chirstmas covers; many are lesser known, or at least lesser covered, songs. Frank Sinatra's "The Christmas Waltz," Meghan Smith... Read the Full Review

    Christmas

    Tim Korry, Above the Snakeline (2014) / TimKorry.com
    Wisconsin native Tim Korry has been playing and writing music for quite some time. He has recently released his 4th, and newest, solo album Above the Snakeline. On the record Korry shows off his wide array of musical tastes and blends several different styles throughout the album. Korry goes from a worshipful acoustic number like "Revolve," to a world vibe, like the Latin flavor of "Sacred Place" or the world beats and eastern flare in "Snakeline Reprise," to a pop/rock jam... Read the Full Review

    Alternative

    Tiffany Noel Watkins, Stronger (2014) / TiffanyNoelWatkins.com
    Recorded worship music has made a huge impact on the Christian market over the past 15 or so years. With every passing year it grows and grows and grows. Indie newcomer Tiffany Noel Watkins is evidence of this growth as she offers her latest release, Stronger. The album opens with upbeat "Brave." It has an almost Darlene Zschech feel as Watkins sings of all of God's works inspiring the believer to be brave. The vocal work is very high quality and musically it is... Read the Full Review

    Worship

    Phillip Sandifer, Of Songs and Sacraments (2014) / PhillipSandifer.com
    Good quality CCM might not sound too hard to come by. All you need is an approachable soothing voice, decent instrumentation, and positive lyrics, right? Veteran independent singer-songwriter Phillip Sandifer might have a CCM radio-friendly sound but with his latest release Of Songs & Sacraments, he's bringing along a healthy dose of theological discourse. The album opens with soft yet sweet "To The Table." Sandifer's vocals are reminiscent of Steven Curtis Chapman and Chris Rice while... Read the Full Review

    Folk

    Pilgrimsprog, Do You Have Thanatophobia? (2013) / Pilgrimsprog.com
    Progressive rocker Scott Miller, AKA Pilgrimsprog, has released another collection of inspired songs. With this project the theme is entirley based on the Christian life and the fear of death, thus the aptly titled, Do You Have Thanatophobia? Those who are familiar with Miller's previous release, Pilgrimsprog, will know to expect his straightforwardness and very eclectic sound. Musically, it combines different genres, from 80's metal to grunge to adult contemporary... Read the Full Review

    Prog Rock

    Knight 7, The Sword of the Spirit (2014) / knight7.com
    Experimental music is a very real thing today. While many people don't want to reinvent the wheel with their music, a select few completely color outside the lines. Their sound will fuse unrelated genres, rhythms, melodies - everything is up for grabs. The only downside with this approach to music is that it only reaches a very limited market. Indie artist and newcomer Knight 7 is most definitely made for a select group of musical adventurers. His unique... Read the Full Review

    Gospel

    Pilgrimsprog, Pilgrimsprog (2010) / Pilgrimsprog.com
    Inspiration and influence are heavy within CCM. Pointless and meaningless songs are scarcely heard and that's a good thing. For indie artist Pilgrimsprog, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Scott Miller, there is no doubt that John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress heavily influenced him, as he released his debut album, Pilgrimsprog. The album is broken up into two parts, much like Bunyan's story... Read the Full Review

    Prog Rock

    Embers in Ashes, Killers & Thieves (2014) / EmbersinAshes.com
    Embers in Ashes is a Christian rock band that doesn't really fit inside a box. They use light metal elements with their guitars but have a distinct pop sound as well. The first two songs, "Set Fire" and "Into My Arms," are great rockers that get you pumped up for the album ahead. Sadly, the rest of Killers and Thieves is up and down, with the last two tracks being ones you'll likely skip... Read the Full Review

    Prog Rock

    Paul Demer, Canvas of Sky (2014) / PaulDemer.com
    Good quality Christian contemporary music is hard to come by, but Texas singer-songwriter Paul Demer is looking to bring something refreshing to listeners with his latest release, Canvas of Sky. The album begins with the somewhat folky "Bound for Home." His sound is slightly reminiscent of early Plankeye and Smalltown Poets. The lyrics are straightforward biblical principles and motivational to the core... Read the Full Review

    Alternative

    Circle of One, Part of the Plan (2014) / CircleofOneBand.com
    Rock music. Many would think that it should be easy to make: distorted electric guitars, crashing drums, aggressive bass, and strong vocals - that's all you need right? Wrong. It's so much more. Rock isn't just music - it's a culture. Indie band Circle of One is taking on the beast that is rock music and they are going full-force with their debut EP release, Part of the Plan. The album opens with the raw "Cut Away." Its sound is reminiscent of early Linkin Park with a dash of Alter Bridge... Read the Full Review

    Rock

    Circle of Faith, Always (2014) / CircleofFaithMusic.com
    Many veteran CCM fans like to reminisce about pre-2000 music. They'll reference the heartfelt lyrics of the 90's, the boldness of the 80's, and the freshness of the 70's. Indie group, Circle of Faith is a band that some may feel fits that sentimental sound with their latest album, Always. Songs like "Praying to Jesus" and "Give Music to the Lord" has an almost Maranatha! Music sound - and are most definitely not what most listeners will hear often in today's music scene... Read the Full Review

    Contemporary / Jesus Music

    NazB, Thank You God (Single) (2014) / NazB.com
    NazB (Nazodobas) is a Nigerian born rapper who is now based out of Zurich, Switzerland. As a young adult, he moved around throughout Africa and even South America before settling in Zurich. While NazB's journey has been an interesting one, it has been one full of persistence and dedication to his craft. His single, "Thank You God," is a brief story of how God changed NazB's life through his long journey. He says, "It's been a long, long time I've been on the... Read the Full Review

    Hip Hop / R&B

    The No Longer, INRI (2014) / TheNoLonger.com
    Concept albums are ambitious - but to create a rock opera? Insane! Indie band The No Longer has decided to embrace the challenge and they do so with extreme vigor with their release, INRI. The album is the story of Christ through progressive and theatrical song. From the eerie "Prologue…" to the "…Finale," it is something very fresh and special. Listeners may be intrigued by songs like, "Wake Up, Lazarus" with its catchy gang vocals, and the folksy "We Are Not Far from the Kingdom... Read the Full Review

    Alternative / Rock Opera

    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




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