Listen to the new album from City Psalms!
Listen to the new album from City Psalms! The State Of Independents

Indie Spotlight Reviews

Album Cover

Brogan Gaskill


Album Cover

Ovation Worship

Ovation Worship

Album Cover

(the autumn)

Sessions, Vol. 1

Album Cover

Jason Piquette

Dance Again


Indie State Inspection Reviews

  • Jason Marion, Waiting for Grace / Welcoming Grace (2020) /
    Few things are as ambitious for a recording artist as producing a cohesive multi-part series of albums. But that's what pop/rock artist Jason Marion is up to with his latest project, collectively called The Grace Trilogy. Though part three is still in the works, parts one and two have already arrived as a double album. Waiting for Grace and Welcoming Grace are nine tracks apiece, each exploring a wide range of styles and genres. Waiting for Grace begins as an electronic pop album... Read the Full Review
  • Matt Case, If You Need Me EP (2019) /
    A longtime worship leader in his home state of Kentucky, singer/songwriter Matt Case was also no stranger to writing his own original material. In 2019, he made the decision to put his originals to use and record his debut album, If You Need Me. The seven songs on this EP showcase a talented artist with a love for the Lord that's displayed in worshipful and humble tracks like "How Could He... Read the Full Review
  • (the autumn), Unto Us - Single (2019) /
    The single version of "Unto Us," by (the autumn), was released on the same day as Sessions Vol, 1 featuring the live acoustic version. While Sessions features a very stripped down version, the single features full instrumentation. (the autumn)'s Ali Roth leads a beautiful worship song here with very nice and complementary music. Some of the atmospheric sounds Chris Shalter started the band with are featured here as light pads play over the reverb on the acoustic guitar to open the song, along with Roth's gorgeous vocals... Read the Full Review
  • City Psalms, City Psalms Four (2020) /
    When a church’s worship team records and releases new music, it’s usually only written, composed, performed, etc. by members of that specific body of believers. But in Tucson, Arizona, City Psalms is bringing a larger sense of community to its music. Each album is created by the hands and minds of different musicians, singers, and songwriters all throughout the city. Their fourth release, City Psalms Four, continues with the same idea in mind. Ultimately, the album is cohesive enough to avoid a jarring listening experience, but the different songwriters and vocalists throughout the album do manifest themselves in different styles and genres... Read the Full Review
  • Canyon Worship, Canyon Worship 2019 (2019) /
    When you take the fact that anyone anywhere can have their music on the internet at the drop of a hat, and you combine it with an influx of worship artists across the world releasing albums on a yearly basis, you're not going to be able to easily keep up. But if modern corporate worship acts are of interest to you, you may not want to overlook Canyon Worship. The official campus worship team of Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, Canyon Worship features original songs written by GCU students, and Canyon Worship 2019 is their latest endeavor... Read the Full Review
  • Torn Sky, Torn Sky (2019) /
    Chris and Josh Haynes released their first album together in 2001 under the name XD Out. The brothers released music under that name through 2017’s Better Day. In 2019, the duo is still at it, but XD Out has become Torn Sky - which is also the name of their newest album. Despite the name change, the sound is pretty much the same, as the brothers Haynes mix up a concoction of rock and alternative that spans the last few decades. “Hope” brings to mind names like Alice In Chains and Bon Jovi, “The Word” throws back to bands like Petra (despite being a cover of The Beatles)... Read the Full Review
  • The Birdsongs, The Journey, Act II: The War (2019) /
    Tennessee-based alternative rock band The Birdsongs is comprised of three brothers and a sister that have been releasing original music for more than ten years now, while playing music together in general for twice as long. After releasing a few singles, the band debuted their first album in 2012. The Journey, Act I: The Beginning was a terrific pop punk record that should have given the band a lot more attention than it did. A worship album and a Christmas album followed, but now they're back with the follow-up, The Journey, Act II: The War... Read the Full Review
  • Haunted No More, Vol. 1 (2019) / Facebook
    Bride's Dale Thompson has been a very busy man as of late. His main band released their 14th album, Snake Eyes, last year. His side projects, Dabster Gentlemen and Perpetual Paranoia, released their debuts last year as well. His most recent release is with another side project known as Haunted No More. This duo with Myles Barfield has a sound very befitting of their name. A soft and "haunting" piano serves as the backdrop for the very minimalistic sound provided on Vol. 1. Some bass and lighter drums and percussion also join in from time to time... Read the Full Review
  • Chris Stephens, When It Was Dark (2019) /
    After playing with the award-winning Canadian rock band Three Season Ant for eight years, frontman Chris Stephens headed slightly south to New York, where he's played along with the band Landmark and is now writing music as a solo act. His first solo release (save for a Christmas EP last year) is a five-track EP, called When It Was Dark, that focuses on Stephens’ softer side. Whereas... Read the Full Review
  • Vaughn, Vaughn EP (2019) /
    With a number of performances under her belt, both live and as a guest vocalist on albums, Vaughn is finally branching out and releasing her own album of original songs. The self-titled EP contains five songs that give the listener a glimpse into who Vaughn is, as well as some of the other artists she's inspired by. Among those artists are folks like Lauryn Hill and Kim Walker-Smith, both of whom you can pick up in these songs (more so the latter). Vaughn's music really walks the line between praise & worship and pop... Read the Full Review
  • The Crossing Crew, Child Faith (2019) /
    The Crossing Crew is the brainchild of the Texan singer/songwriter James Paul Moravec, who builds all his songs on his own and brings in other musicians for the finishing touches. With a handful of releases to his name already, Moravec's ready to unleash the next Crossing Crew album, Child Faith. This collection of songs is rather interesting, because it takes us through a variety of different genres before we reach the final track... Read the Full Review
  • Light the Way, Dad Gang EP (2019) /
    Since forming in 2016, the Californian pop punk band Light the Way has kept quite busy, with a new EP or LP on an annual basis. Continuing this pace in 2019, the band is back at it with the Dad Gang EP, a pack of five brand new tracks. In true Christian pop punk fashion, Light the Way typically rides the line between having a good time and reflecting on God. However, Dad Gang focuses more on the latter. “Feelin’ Fine Since ‘89,” “Jimothy Halpert,” and “I Liked Old AFI Better” are terrific song titles, but are almost deceptive, as they’re songs that are surprisingly more on the... Read the Full Review
  • Satellite View, This is NOT the End (2019) / Bandcamp
    Christopher Lewis is a multi-talented, Floridian musician, songwriter, and producer who owns and operates a recording studio and spends a lot of his time writing his own music. Although he’s been a musician since his teenage years, Lewis is now branching out into the world of releasing his music to willing listeners. Under the name Satellite View, he’s written and recorded twelve songs for his debut album, This is NOT the End. Lewis’ musical inspirations range from the classic rock of The Beatles and Pink Floyd to modern artists like Josh Garrels and Beautiful Eulogy, and the creativity and... Read the Full Review
  • Him + Her Worship, Beacon EP (2019) /
    What started as a small endeavor performing their songs at various churches has become a full-time ministry for Seth and Jenna Herlich. In the past year, the Herlichs have been spending their time worshiping the Lord and helping usher those they meet into the throne room of God. Now the duo, going by the name Him + Her Worship, have taken the next step and recorded a few of their original songs for their debut EP, Beacon. Seth and Jenna both prove to be competent and passionate musicians and vocalists as they earnestly humble themselves... Read the Full Review
  • Inner 29, Now and Again, Here - EP (2019) / Facebook
    Music really is a universal language. No matter where you go, it seems you’ll be able to find a sound that is familiar. For instance, if you head south to Santa Catarina, Brazil, you might just run into a pop punk band known as Inner 29. This trio of rockers has only come together in the last year or so but are ready to show the world what they’re made of with their four-song EP, Now and Again, Here. As far as sound and production, Inner 29 is quite impressive; in fact, the whole EP sounds like it was touched on by the... Read the Full Review
  • Nathan Bankhead, Worship With Your Headphones On (2018) /
    Nathan Bankhead is a worship and gospel artist looking to innovate the scene. His most recent album, Worship With Your Headphones On, takes on gospel music with hip-hop/R&B beats and some club sounds as influence on the musical side of things. Lyrically, Bankhead takes the approach from a gospel and worshipful perspective. It's an interesting and eclectic blend that you certainly won't hear every day... Read the Full Review
  • Living Waters, Overflow (2019) / Official Blog
    It was 43 years ago that the worship collective known as Living Waters was formed. Though the band isn't as active as most bands, it's still an impressive length of time to stay together. Despite the decades of existence, 2011 was the first time Living Waters released an album, with a follow-up in 2016, and now a third release in 2019. Overflow is chock-full of classic Christian contemporary rock, much like what you'd hear from acts like Big Tent Revival, with a focus on storytelling like you might hear from The Choir... Read the Full Review
  • Orion Walsh, Foreigner EP (2019) /
    On Orion Walsh's latest solo EP, the Slow Coming Day frontman trades the electronic vibes of the band's album, 1,000 Years (Like a Day), for quirky coffee shop acoustic. As great as that niche can be, Foreigner doesn't quite hit its mark. The first two tracks, "Slaves to our Screens" and "Barista Love Song," could've playfully poked fun at our caffeine and tech-obsessed culture, but Walsh sticks to cliché lyrics that feel like an afterthought to otherwise fun-sounding songs. One of the few bright spots on the EP is the title track, where... Read the Full Review
  • Loudbrook, No MoRE NiGHT (2019) /
    Loudbrook is a worship act comprised of the husband and wife duo Bryan and Melissa Lautenbach. The two recently ran a successful crowdfunding campaign which led to the production of their forthcoming new album, No MoRE NiGHT. The fifteen-track album spans an hour in length and is full of original songs that fit in quite well with the current landscape of worship bands. Musically, Loudbrook is quite captivating, with lots of instrumental variety while maintaining a cohesive sound... Read the Full Review
  • True Strength, Sanguinary Vivification (2019) /
    Though it's not as much in the spotlight as it was in the 80s, heavy metal is still alive and kicking in various circles. And while the secular industry has bands like Iron Maiden and Dio, the Christian industry is getting its fair share with the likes of Deliverance, Narnia, and True Strength, who have a new album on their hands called Sanguinary Vivification. The album features nine songs that all really take their time getting to their respective destinations, having an average track length of around six minutes or so, with the longest track... Read the Full Review
  • Whitlee Casey, Dream (2019) /
    Whitlee Casey is a songwriter and worship leader in Texas who was inspired at a young age by his dad to pick up a guitar. Casey has been influenced by artists ranging from Garth Brooks to Steven Curtis Chapman and David Crowder. As a traveling musician for the past 10 years or so, Whitlee has been able to travese the country and play alongside CCM artists, such as for King & Country and even Crowder himself. Casey's influences can certainly be heard on his latest full-length album, Dream... Read the Full Review
  • Wes Powell, Experience Points (2019) / Official Facebook
    It's no secret that modern worship music can be a bit lacking in creativity. That's not to say that there aren't creative artists making worship music, but it seems to be more the exception than the rule. One independent artist from Layton, Utah is also trying his hand at making music for the Lord without falling into stagnancy. That artist's name is Wes Powell, and his album Experience Points is full of genuine praise music that, musically speaking, leaves you guessing from one track to the next. Powell's spectrum is wide open, with songs ranging from piano ballads (the humble and... Read the Full Review
  • Peter118, Waiting - Single (2019) / Official Site
    Punk rocker Peter Field is no stranger to the scene, having contributed as a member of bands like Senseless and Ambassadors of Shalom. But for the past five years, he’s instead focused on his three-piece act, Peter118. With a couple of EPs to the band’s name thus far, Peter118 is starting off 2019 with a brand new single called “Waiting.” The band’s previous release, a split EP with No Lost Cause, displayed their predilection for UK punk rock (with a dash of pop punk, of course)... Read the Full Review
  • The Ashamed & Shunned, Walking Contradiction - Single (2019) / Official Site
    The Ashamed & Shunned is a solo hip-hop artist hailing from Kokomo, Indiana. The Ashamed & Shunned is back again with his newest EP, Walking Contradiction, following 2017's album Kill Your Coward. TA&S brings a sort of low-tech version of hip-hop, but manages to produce catchy beats and capture solid production. An example of this "low-tech" approach is what sounds to be an 80's Casio keyboard set to mandolin on the opening track, "Still Unworthy." The lyrics in that opening number are a prayer and proclaim... Read the Full Review
  • Dabster Gentlemen, Death or Life (2018) / Facebook
    In the 1980s, the rock music scene was dominated by a style of music affectionately known as “hair metal.” The genre’s reign even reached into Christian music, where you could find bands like Stryper, Whitecross, Petra, and Bride. Of course, Stryper is still active, and Bride releases new music from time to time, but the frontman of the latter, Dale Thompson, is also taking on a new venture in the form of Dabster Gentlemen. With the band’s debut album, Death or Life, Dabster Gentlemen is a far cry from the hair metal sound you might know Thompson for... Read the Full Review
  • wes, with us EP (2018) / Bandcamp
    “I was created to know my Creator and to make my Creator known by creating.” The official bio for wes has more to say, but this line sticks out as perhaps his mission statement. This past Christmas, wes began putting that statement into action, using his love for hip hop as a ministry tool and releasing his debut EP, with us. Declaring that it’s “more than just a Christmas EP,” the five songs do heavily mention the birth of Christ... Read the Full Review
  • Jelani Aswad, The Revival Project (2018) /
    Jelani Aswad is a worship leader from the New York tri-state area. Aswad has been working and traveling as a professional vocalist with recording artists for the past 14 years, but just recently released his first solo album, The Revival Project, this past October. On top of being a professional vocalist, worship pastor, and licensed minister, Aswad also has his own record label in The Launching Pad Music Group. Jelani's sound is very eclectic and has the ability to reach across genres to meet and minister to people from different backgrounds and walks of life... Read the Full Review
  • Lousie Pollok, I'll Be Your Bride (2018) / iTunes
    Louise Pollok is a worship leader and songwriter from Australia who has just recently released her first album. I'll Be Your Bride is inspired by the Song of Solomon (aka: Song of Songs) with the idea being that we are the Bride of Christ. Louise wrote this album amidst trying times in her own life, but the hope of Christ shines through each song. Musically, I'll Be Your Bride carries a pretty common worship sound by today's standards. There is a lot of piano and some guitars and other instruments added into the tracks to fill them out. The lyrics are worshipful and Christ-centered... Read the Full Review
  • What They Died For, Can't Stop Now (2018) /
    Though it's existed for the better part of a decade, the New York rock band What They Died For is still a bit of a fledgling outfit. In the half decade since their last release (which was also their first release), the band has seen members come and go, but they finally settled on a line-up to write and record their first full-length record, Can't Stop Now. Musically, What They Died For takes the listener back to the days when rapcore was king (or was at least trying to usurp the throne). The band's blend of rap, rock, and hardcore easily brings to mind the old Bettie Rocket Records group... Read the Full Review
  • Jessica Johnson-Garcia, JJ+Garcia (2018) /
    Sometimes, living as an independent musician means putting your music career aside when life becomes demanding. Jessica Johnson had a promising career, even having some songs featured on some official mixtapes distributed by Mercedes Benz, but the call of marriage, motherhood, and her family became stronger. However, in 2015, the time came to get back into songwriting. Now Jessica Johnson-Garcia, she began work on what would become her new EP, JJ+Garcia... Read the Full Review
  • Joe Miralles Trio, Narrow Path - EP (2018) /
    Singer/songwriter Joe Miralles has spent most of his career as a solo artist, releasing his material at his own steady pace. But after the release of his 2015 EP, Five, Miralles decided it was time to put his creative talent together with other musicians, teaming up with a bassist named Nick Priessnitz and a drummer and keyboardist named Gary Houk to form the Joe Miralles Trio. The trio’s debut, Narrow Path, makes for an easy transition for longtime listeners, bearing similar sounds and influences... Read the Full Review
  • Connor Flanagan, Skyscrapers (2018) /
    When NF first came out with the song "I'll Keep On" it was an overnight sensation for the mainstream CCM industry that has largely moved away from any hip-hop influence. Clearly, this was a style of music and emotional message that resonated with Christians young and old. Emerging from the underground, Connor Flanagan brings his own mixture of hip-hop and worship. Though there are some definite comparisons to NF (specifically on "Anchor" and "Into The Wild") and even some Social Club Misfits (second verse of "Into The Wild"), Connor Flanagan does plenty to create his own vibe... Read the Full Review
  • Lauren Béa, Wildflower (2018) /
    To say that Austin native Lauren Béa isn't quite a household name just yet would be something of an understatement. Indeed, unless you happened to attend one of the women's conferences for which she provided music, you've probably never heard of her. Luckily for the members of the listening audience, an exhaustive knowledge of her back catalog isn't a requisite for enjoying her debut effort. Purveying a sort of dance/pop/adult contemporary hybrid, Wildflower is aimed at fans - of both genders - who happen to favor those particular musical genres... Read the Full Review
  • Brandon Hixson, Seasons (2018) /
    If you take a minute to read through the professional biography of singer/songwriter Brandon Hixson, you'll find a long string of terrific achievements. From fronting multiple bands to winning music awards to receiving a Master's Degree, Hixson has accomplished much, but his journey in the world of music isn't over. This year, he releases his newest batch of music, in the form of an album titled Seasons. If ever there was an appropriate use for the term "mixed bag," it would be with this album. Seasons features multiple genres, as well as themes and messages with varying depths... Read the Full Review
  • Behold the Dawn, Oh God What Have I Done (2018) / Official Facebook
    "Oh God, what have I done?" That's the cry of the sinner realizing that his life and actions have been unclean and filled with sin. It's also what sparked the idea (and title) for the new album from hard rock and metal band, Behold the Dawn. Oh God, What Have I Done pulls no punches with its straightforward, biting judgment of sin, coming at it from different angles. From the eyes of a sinner repenting, to a proclamation of God's victory over sin and death, Behold the Dawn makes every effort to declare Jesus' triumph over the world and its wicked ways... Read the Full Review
  • Eddy Mann, Worship in Spirit and Truth (2018) /
    The name may not be familiar to you, but over the last couple of decades or so, worship leader and musician Eddy Mann has been striking a chord in some independent music circles, with numerous albums and some independent music awards to his credit. Over the last year, Mann has worked on album number twelve, a worshipful batch of songs collectively (and aptly) titled Worship in Spirit and Truth. Mann clearly has a wide range of musical influences, as you�ll hear different genres and styles throughout the eleven tracks. A lot of what you�ll hear seems inspired by what is typically referred to as oldies, such as the... Read the Full Review
  • Ross King, This Hope Will Guide Me (2013) / Official Site
    Somewhere around the turn of the present millennium, Ross King was busy crafting songs like "Small Victories" ("We don't always like the taste of Living Water/ So we look around until we find a drink that we prefer") and "Clear the Stage" ("Tell your friends that this is where the party ends/ Until you're broken for your sins you can't be social/ Then seek the Lord and wait for what he has in store"). Both tracks were fairly representative of King's skill at crafting thought-provoking, often jarringly honest... Read the Full Review
  • Written to the Heavens, Long Time Coming (2018) / Spotify
    The digital age of music has its notable pros and cons, but one advantage of its existence is that it's easier than ever for aspiring musicians to get their music into the proverbial hands of potential fans. Having felt inspired to try his hand at it, and with the intent to bring glory to God and point people to Him, Andrew Bauschlicher put... Read the Full Review
  • Various Artists, 7Core Sonics #3 (2018) /
    As I was starting to discover music for myself, I can recall saying that the best music was that which was released outside of the major label market, and in a general sense, I believe that stands true today. As more artists are gravitating towards independence, labels like 7Core have made the marketing process a lot easier. And what better way to sample your roster than with a good compilation? 7Core Sonics #3 showcases six of their most popular artists. Each artist receives two slots in the tracklist which makes for a diverse sampler. Tina Boonstra's "Concrete Heart" and "Prodigal"... Read the Full Review
  • Sarah Felicia, Take Flight EP (2018) /
    The story of Sarah Felicia's journey into the music industry may not sound unfamiliar to you, but to the young singer/songwriter from Ontario, Canada, it's an important one. Growing up with a passion for music has led her to releasing a single called "Red Balloon" in 2017 (and a French counterpart called "Ballon Rouge"), as well as her debut EP this summer. Take Flight explores Felicia's talents as both a musician and a singer, with simple but effective instrumentation and a keen ear for melody and harmony. That being said, Felicia's songs are also relatively simple - but not in a... Read the Full Review
  • House on Solid Rock, Revivify (Single) (2018) / Bandcamp
    Christian Joseph Allbee is an indie artist who goes by the name House On Solid Rock. Allbee recently released his newest, self-produced, single back in April. The name of the song is "Revivify," which simply means, to give new life. The song has a melody somewhat similar to Blink-182's "Don't Leave Me," but musically sounds nothing like the 1999 pop/punk tune. In the first verse, the lyrics talk about how God has saved him from a childhood of depression and a life of troubles, while the chorus focuses on how God's love has breathed new life into him... Read the Full Review
  • Jeremy Ryan, Into The Light: Songs of Redemption and Hope in the Midst of Despair EP (2018) / Facebook
    For Texas native Jeremy Ryan, playing music has been nearly a lifelong passion. Learning the craft in middle school led to fronting bands in high school, and now, as a believer in Jesus, he's using that same passion to worship his Savior and share the Gospel. His first outing as a solo artist is a short, five-song EP with a long title, Into the Light: Songs of Redemption and Hope in the Midst of Despair. Ryan's style has always been influenced by rock and metal, and you really hear those influences play out in these songs... Read the Full Review
  • WILKES, WILKES EP (2018) / Official Site
    Jason Wilkes has always been a master of genre jumping--he started off his career as the lead singer of the alternative rock band High Flight Society from 2001 - 2012, became the bassist / backing vocalist for Disciple (2012 - 2015), and transitioned to pop/rock when he went solo in 2015. After a recent stint on NBC's The Voice, Wilkes is following up with a five-song pop/country album simply titled Wilkes EP. To those who followed him on The Voice, or know of his position as a staff writer for country music publisher Dan... Read the Full Review


Visit our full Indie Review Archive for more reviews!


Indie SubmissionsIndie Submissions


Check out the new album from Ovation Worship!

Search JFH

This Friday, February 21, 2020
David & Nicole Binion Glory of Eden [Integrity]
Natalie Grant My Weapon - Single [Curb/Word]
Ellie Holcomb Sing: Remembering Songs EP (independent)
Hulvey BRKNHRT EP [Reach]
Jordan and Jessa Glorious (independent)
North Point Worship Just Getting Started (feat: Lauren Anderson) / Nothing Else Matters (feat. Heath Balltzglier and Desi Raines) - Single [Centricity]
Chris Renzema 17 - Single [Centricity]

Next Friday, February 28, 2020
Paul Baloche Behold Him [Integrity]
Tina Boonstra Out of My Depth - Single [7 Core]
The Classic Crime Patterns in the Static (independent?)
Rob Graves Solstice (independent?)
Neon Feather Do or Die - Single [Centricity]
John Schlitt Go [Girder]

Next Saturday, February 29, 2020
20 lb Sledge Divine Battery [Roxx]
The Thomas Thompson Earth Project Dreamland Lovecraft [Roxx]

For all release dates, click here!

Listen to the new album from City Psalms!

Win The Shack Movie and Soundtrack!