In With the Old and In With the New

By Andy Argyrakis | senior editor,
Posted: Mon, 01/09/2012 - 11:36

album promo image for New Tunes For the New Year

Although January is traditionally slow in the music industry, 2012 isn't falling into that same old rut. In fact, the new release list looks especially healthy with a mix of established acts (Kari Jobe, Myron Butler and even Elvis Presley), alongside several relative newcomers (Lindsay McCaul, Tidewater, Rachel Chan). So pile up those gift cards you scored at Christmas and see what gmc considers some of this month's hottest titles.

The Act: Kari Jobe
The Album: Where I Find You (Sparrow Records)
The Sound: Contemporary Worship
The Scoop: For her sophomore CD, Kari Jobe returned to collaborating with Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman, Matthew West) to churn out another batch of organic praise, alongside a few singer/songwriter-styled reflections. In fact, the Dove winner who leads worship at Texas’ Gateway Church has clearly settled into her own artistic skin with Where I Find You, which marks her most assertive and engaging effort to date.
The Best Download: “Steady My Heart”

The Act: Rend Collective Experiment
The Album: Homemade Worship By Handmade People (Kingsway)
The Sound: Alternative Worship
The Scoop: Rend Collective Experiment continues to grow by leaps and bounds with its second unconventional worship recording. Recorded at a slew of Irish churches, the cleverly titled collection puts lyrics at the center of an indie rock sound that’s garnered critical comparisons to current tastemakers like Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes.
The Best Download: “Praise Like Fireworks”

The Act: Lindsay McCaul
The Album: If It Leads Me Back (Reunion)
The Sound: Contemporary Pop
The Scoop: She was once a linguistics major at Moody Bible Institute, wound up leading praise at various churches around Chicago and eventually turned towards full time Christ-inspired artistry. Rather than taking a strictly praise approach, If It Leads Me Back is loaded with storytelling songs along the lines of Mark Schultz or Cindy Morgan, the latter of whom co-wrote the title track.
The Best Download: “Say My Name”

The Act: Tidewater
The Album: The Beautiful Life EP (ROXR Records/Inpop)
The Sound: Modern/Indie Rock
The Scoop: Fresh off the full-length The Seas We Sail, which landed on iTunes’ Top 40 singer/songwriter chart, Tidewater crafts an undeniably catchy and artistically satisfying EP. Besides one man band leader Brett Allen playing practically all the instruments and writing sophisticated love songs, the project also benefits from producer Kevin Gales (Fiona Apple, Sarah McLachlan) and illustrious session drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge).
The Best Download: “The Beautiful Life”

The Act: Myron Butler
The Album: Worship (EMI Gospel)
The Sound: Urban
The Scoop: Often times the name Myron Butler is linked to T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House (where the veteran leads worship), though he’s certainly become a gospel luminary on his own accord. This project serves as a superb example of the Stellar Award-winning star, who blends contemplative moments of R&B-infused praise with foot-stomping congregational romps.
The Best Download: “Bless the Lord”

The Act: One Sonic Society
The Album: Forever Reign (Essential Worship)
The Sound: Modern Worship
The Scoop: Anyone who grew up on internationally-leaning worship like Delirious and Hillsong are sure to gravitate towards One Sonic Society, an all-star band of sorts featuring former Delirious member Stu G., former Hillsong United drummer/writer/producer Paul Mabury and Dove Award winning writer/producer Jason Ingram. The new praise collective promises plenty of uplifting lyrics, all while pushing the sonic envelope beyond its previous projects.
The Best Download: “As For Me”

The Act: Rachel Chan
The Album: Go (in:ciite Media)
The Sound: Pop
The Scoop: The daughter of author/pastor/speaker Francis Chan makes her first foray into the musical spotlight with a little help from producer/co-writer Dave Lubben (Kutless). The 16-year-old newcomer’s results include perky pop, a few AC-leaning ballads, plus plenty of relatable lyrics for her mostly teenage audience.
The Best Download: “Ready and Waiting”

The Act: Various Artists
The Album: Please Please Please: Tribute to the Smiths (American Laundromat)
The Sound: Indie/Alternative Rock
The Scoop: Fans of Sixpence None the Richer will be elated to find the group tipping their hats towards Morrissey, Johnny Marr and The Smiths across Please Please Please: Tribute to the Smiths. Catch 20 of that band’s most beloved tunes spread across two discs, also featuring interpretations from Telekinesis, William Fitzsimmons and The Wedding Present, plus members of Throwing Muses and Built to Spill.
The Best Download: Sixpence None the Richer’s “I Won’t Share You”

The Act: Elvis Presley
The Album: Elvis Country (Sony Legacy)
The Sound: Country
The Scoop: He might be best known as the “King of Rock and Roll,” but Elvis Presley also spent time dabbling in gospel and country throughout his illustrious career. The double disc set Elvis Country (Sony Legacy) finds the late great legend channeling 29 tunes through that stylistic lens, including a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lot-ta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”
The Best Download: “Rags to Riches”

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About the Writer

Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, IllinoisEntertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, and He’s also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel’s very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).

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