New Releases: January 2014

January 2014 N_R

Welcome to the New Year!!! Our new website is ready to lunch and we’re excited. Unfortunately there is one bump; we will need to update all old articles. Our goal is to get all 2 years of articles up to date and meet our new standards by Spring time. We know that Spring is far off, but we don’t want to give you an early date and not have it done. Without further delay, here is January 2014’s New Releases.

David Thulin [The Reconstruction V2.1]David Thulin: The Reconstruction V2.1
Releases: 01/07/2014
Genre: Dance/Electric
Get To Know: David Thulin

Roy Tosh [Revert]Roy Tosh: Revert
Releases: 01/07/2014
Genre: Rap/R&B
Song: “Take Me Back

Switchfoot [Fading West]Switchfoot: Fading West
Releases: 01/14/2014
Genre: Alternative
Song: “Love Alone Is Worth The Fight

Elevation Worship [Only King Forever]Elevation Worship: Only King Forever
Releases: 01/14/2014
Genre: Praise & Worship
Song: “Grace So Glorious

Nine Lashes [From Water To War]Nine Lashes
: From Water To War
Releases: 01/21/2014
Genre: Rock
Song: “Break The World

Kye Kye [Fantasize]Kye Kye: Fantasize
Releases: 01/21/2014
Genre: Electronic
Song: “Dreams 2am

HeeSun Lee [Stereo Types]HeeSun Lee: Stereo Types
Releases: 01/21/2014
Gerne: Rap
Song: “I Break Stereotypes

Jake Hamilton [Beautiful Rider]Jake Hamilton: Beautiful Rider
Releases: 01/21/2014
Genre: Praise & Worship
Song: “Beautiful Rider

Number One Gun [This Is All We Know]Number One Gun: This Is All We Know
Releases: 01/21/2014
Genre: Alternative
Song: “Make This Last Forever

Casting Crowns: ThriveCasting Crowns [Thrive]
Releases: 01/28/2014
Genre: Contemporary
Song: “Thrive

Jamie Grace: Ready To FlyJamie Grace [Ready To Fly]
Releases: 01/28/2014
Genre: Contemporary/Pop
Song: “Fighter

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#SJDMustOwn: The Best of 2013


With 2014 now here, we decided we should put out  our first #SJDMustOwn article, The Best Of 2013. We are not sure how to start this, so we made a playlist of songs from each artist we picked to be apart of The Best Of 2013. Hope you enjoy and feel free to vote for your favorite below.

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The Latest (SJD): Rekoncyle – East & West Festival Voting


Hey, SJD MFCL fans and guests. Our dear friends from Rekoncyle are trying to get a spot in the East to West Festival and they need your help. It will only take a moment of your time. Click here and “vote” NOW for Rekoncyle.

A few months ago we worked on an interview with Rekoncyle. It was a real pleasure working with them. If you missed our interview now is your chance to take a look.

Do you want to get a good listen to how the band sounds? Check out this music video for their most popular song, “Running Out Of Air.”

SJD MFCL Exclusive:
The Story & Meaning Behind The Song – Running Out Of Air by Rekoncyle

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SJD MFCL On The Road (DJC & ARG): Hillsong United

Hillsong United banner_01

By eye, it seemed like your typical pre-concert madness; people of countless races and fashions surrounding the merch tables, and countless others downing bottled drinks and contemplating the prices of chicken fingers. But from the moment I set foot in the overcrowded stadium, I sensed that something bigger than any of us was moving in that place.

Hillsong United Live 5

Packed Arena
Live in Newark, NJ
Photo Credit ARG

In the arena, there was not an empty seat in sight, nor a moment of dead air space to be heard. Every soul in that room was excitedly chatting and yelling for their late friends to come get their seats, while Hillsong United’s Zion album occupied the arena stereo. The atmosphere was set for an electric night of worship, energy, and just plain fun. This was the night Zion invaded the untidy metropolis of Newark, New Jersey.

The lights dimmed and the people shouted. A piercing “Hello New Jersey!” echoed from the stage- but it wasn’t any voice I recognized. It wasn’t until the synthy intro to “Alive” that I knew it wasn’t United who took the stage, but their “youth group” counterpart, Hillsong Young & Free. The set was short, and the lightshow was mostly absent, but the ever-energetic Y&F succeeded in preparing the audience for a grand experience; in addition to “Alive”, “Brighter” and “Back To Life” were among the anthems played.


Once Y&F left the stage, spirits were high and hearts were primed for worship, dancing, and…well, videotaping. iPhones were raised high in anticipation of a explosive entry by United, which was preluded by a down-to-earth (and slightly anticlimactic) walk-in appearance by United’s very own singers Jonathon “JD” Douglass and Jad Gilles. The singers tossed out free t-shirts and albums, taught the audience how to dance “Australian” (good skill to have under your belt), and promoted the anti-trafficking A21 campaign (, before uttering a fervent prayer over the event.

The lights once again dimmed, and it was as if the arena was sealed off from civilization. Voices rose and the one and only Joel Houston led the people in a breathtaking rendition of “The Stand”. A massive neon mountain illuminated behind the band, radiating a spectum of colors throughout the arena like a brush to a canvas. “Relentless”, “Go”, and “Break Free” followed, kicking the concert into high gear and flooding the air with a potent energy of praise. Regardless of age or instruments, the band had a way of breathing new life into old favorites such as “Hosanna”, “From The Inside Out”, and “Mighty To Save” never sounded better.

The hauntingly enjoyable “Aftermath” drew listeners into an interlude of sorts, and led in to an adrenaline-pumping build of “Shout Unto God” and “Freedom Is Here”. However, the atmosphere was electrified when rookie lead vocalist Taya Smith serenaded us with the infamous Zion melody, “Oceans”. Smith’s angelic and passionate voice ushered the crowd into the throneroom of the Lord, proving to be a memorable attribute of the show.

Hillsong United Live 2

Live in Newark, NJ
Photo Credit ARG

What seemed like an eternity passed us by until the encore came. It was as if Jad, JD, Joel and the crew couldn’t resist making us jump and frolick in our seats one last time. The farewell punch was delivered with “Your Name High”, “Yours Forever”, and Hillsong Young & Free’s “Wake”, the one song that Y&F left off their opening set. With “Wake” my favorite Y&F song, I was ecstatic when United headbanged to the music alongside their youth group companions.

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Christmas Albums 2013

Merry Christmas 2013 N_R

Sidewalk Prophets [Christmas To You]Sidewalk Prophets: Merry Christmas To You
Released: 09/24/2013
Album Review (ARG): Merry Christmas To You – Sidewalk Prophets
Song: “What A Glorious Day”

Phillips, Craig & Dean [Hope For All The World]Phillips, Craig, & Dean: Hope For All The World
Releases: 09/30/13; 10/01/2013
Genre: Christmas/Worship
Preview: “Born Is The King” (Hillsong Cover)

Luke McMaster [Merry Christmas, Beautiful]Luke McMaster: Merry Christmas, Beautiful
Releases: 10/15/2013
Genre: Christmas/Contemporary
Preview: “Merry Christmas, Beautiful

Brandon Heath [Christmas Is Here]Brandon Heath: Christmas Is Here
Releases: 10/15/2013
Genre: Christmas/Contemporary
Song: “Away In A Manger”

for KING & COUNTRY [Into The Silent Night]for King & Country: Into The Silent Night EP
Releases: 10/22/2013
Album Review (SJD): Into The Silent Night – for KING & COUNTRY
Song: “Into The Silent Night”

Paul Baloche [Christmas Worship]Paul Baloche: Christmas Worship
Releases: 10/29/2013
Genre: Christmas/Worship
Song: “Hark The Herald Angels Sing/King Of Heaven”

John Schlitt [The Christmas Project]John Schlitt (Petra): The Christmas Project
Releases: 10/29/2013
Genre: Christmas/Rock
Song: “Little Drummer Boy”

North Point [Christmas Let There Be Light]North Point: North Point Christmas: Let There Be Light
Releases: 10/29/2013
Genre: Christmas/Worship
Song: “Hallelujah (Let There Be Light)”

Julie Meyer [Christmas]Julie Meyer: Christmas 
Releases: 11/05/2013
Genre: Christmas
Album Promo

Andrew Greer [Angel Band The Christmas Sessions]Andrew Greer: The Christmas Sessions 
Releases: 11/05/2013
Genre: Christmas
Song: “The First Noel”

Page CXVI [Advent To Christmas]Page CXVI: Advent To Christmas
Releases: 12/03/2013
Album Sneak Peek

Francesca Battistelli [Christmas]Francesca Battistelli: Christmas
Released: 10/16/2012
Album Review (PAK): Christmas – Francesca Battistelli
Song: “Christmas Is”

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New Releases: December 2013

December 2013 N_R

This month is short and sweet. Not to many new releases, but we will be releasing second New Release article later this week with All the Christmas albums of 2013.

Everything In Slow Motion [Phoenix]

Everything In Slow Motion: Phoenix
Releases: 12/10/2013
Song: “Most Days” + Album Preview

My Epic [Behold]My Epic: Behold
Releases: 12/10/2013
Song: “Zion

Acquire The Fire [Epic Truth]Acquire The Fire: Epic Truth
Releases: 12/17/2013
Contemporary Worship
Album Preview


Page CXVI [Advent To Christmas]Page CXVI: Advent To Christmas
Releases: 12/03/2013
Album Sneak Peek

Our Christmas Music Media Player is back! Enjoy the large selection of Christmas music while we continue to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Merry Christmas!

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Album Review (ARG): Merry Christmas To You – Sidewalk Prophets

Sidewalk Prophets Christmas
The year 2013 is drawing to a close. As Christmas nears, we enter a period during which humanity is struck with a condition I call “HPS”- holiday preliminary syndrome. It’s essentially a time of planning, stress, and spending. It’s the time when families gather over larger-than-life meals to give thanks, and then hypocritically transform into desperate madmen stampeding to black friday sales. It is indeed a hectic time of year, when one can easily forget the happiness and cheer that the holidays bring.
Thankfully, the Sidewalk Prophets are here to help us remember with MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU, their first ever Christmas album. Listeners will be pleased with this 12-track record, which contains superb original songs by the Prophets themselves, along with some irresistable classics that we’ve all grown fond of.
The catchy kick-off “What A Glorious Night” exceeded my expectations for a Christmas song. Driven by soft guitar strums and jingle bells, the five-minute song captures the holiday essence in a way that not many bands do.
Lead singer David Frey talks about what went into making “What A Glorious Night”:
Yep. It’s even got a Charlie Brown voiceover. Well done, Sidewalk Prophets. But that’s not the only present that MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU brings to the tree. The very next track, a smart cover of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”, features the one and only Francesca Battistelli, and follows a softer, snap-your-fingers tune. The band’s own “Give Me Christmas” follows, delivering a bright and piano-driven reminder of the reason for the Christmas buzz. Love, not tradition, is the true purpose of giving.
Several well-done neo-classics can also be found on the record, including the well-wishing “Holly Jolly Christmas”, “What Child Is This”, and the choir-and-organ “That Spirit Of Christmas”. The infamous “Silent Night” is also featured; although the song does its job of allowing a sort of “selah” moment to the album, I can’t help but ask…did we REALLY need another cover of this song?
As for the rest of Sidewalk’s originally-written songs- the MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU album is among the best you can get. It’s not often that NEW Christmas music is written, and it’s even less likely that music will stand the test of time and not be buried under next year’s holiday tunes. In that case, the Sidewalk Prophets shine in the realm of lasting impressions, the crown jewel of which being the fifth track “Hey Moon”. It’s an ingeniously magical dialogue from the star of Bethlehem to the moon, watching HPS-stricken humanity down below [get your tissues when this one plays, people].
The album closes out its merry journey with a bang; the joyful “Hope Was Born This Night” features vivid choruses of worship that reminisce the angels that announced the birth of Christ, and “Because It’s Christmas” combats the stress of the holidays head-on; too many times we’ve dropped the Christmas spirit in exchange for the anxiety of visiting families, purchasing gifts, and bringing food (or forgetting to). The song culminates the MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU album with the truth of all the lights and trimmings- Christmas is a time of celebration.
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Album Review (PAK): Christmas – Francesca Battistelli

Francesca Battistelli Christmas

To say that Francesca Battistelli’s recording, Christmas, is just another Christmas Album, would be as insulting as saying the Mona Lisa is just another painting, or that Brooklyn and San Francisco’s iconic bridges are just more roads.  Truth be told, Christmas is one of the most refreshing albums to come along in quite some time, and while it came out in 2012, I personally was both shocked and very disappointed that we somehow missed this gem.

The key for this album is diversity.  So many times when an album comes out, you listen to the first two songs and you’ve heard the entire album, because the rest of the album sounds identical to the first two songs.  This, however, is NOT the case for Francesca’s Christmas album.  After listening to the first two songs, I hadn’t even scratched the surface on this great project.
So many genres and themes can be found on this album.  You have classic Christmas songs, like “The Christmas Song”, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, done in anything but a classic way.  You have the sacred in “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, and “Joy to the World”, and the whimsical in songs like “Marshmallow World” and “Christmas Is”.  And how about style?  Like that Big Band feel?  It’s in there!  How about contemporary, rock-a-billy, jazz, traditional, and that’s just to name a few.  Did I mention country twang?  It’s all there.  This album truly is one of the must get albums to add to any Christmas album collection!  In a nutshell … variety.  Simply put, this album is anything but ordinary, anything but usual, and anything but boring.  Have you gotten the impression yet that we here at SJDMFCL like this album?  … Cause we do, and we think you will too.
Speaking of liking her music, Francesca’s Christmas Tour runs from December 7th, through December 22nd, and if you’re in Mississippi, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana or Illinois, then you are one of the very blessed few who will have a chance to see Mrs. Battistelli perform some of her best work in person.  You can visit her website for more information on venues and tickets.  From all of us here at SJDMFCL, wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!  (A few weeks early)
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Album Review (SJD): Into The Silent Night – for KING & COUNTRY

for KING & Country_Christmas.2
How many of you have started listening to Christmas music? Well, we have been. A few months ago, for KING & COUNTRY released their live album Hope Is What We Crave. Now, the talented Australian Brothers put out their first Christmas album, Into The Silent Night EP.
Joel & Luke made two original Christmas songs and released two classics. “Baby Boy” continues to be one of my favorites. You can also find it featured on their LIVE album. It is a beautiful song that reminds me of Christmas time.
“Into The Silent Night” is a song that captures the joys of Christmas. If you release your imagination, you can picture yourself walking around at night on a dimly lit road taking in the peaceful scenery. The snowfall continues to pile, creating a thick white carpet into which your boots gently make their impressions. Now, here is your chance to tell us what you feel when you listen to this song.
for KING & COUNTRY also do a beautiful job on their renditions of two classics, “Angels We Have Heard On High” and “Little Drummer Boy”. You are going to want to add Into The Silent Night to your Christmas Music Collection. Christmas is 41 days away.
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The Latest (ARG): Engine Of A Million Plots – Five Iron Frenzy

Five Iron Frenzy Banner

They’ve been calling themselves an undead band from Denver. We have called it the rebirth of an unforgettable sensation- one worthy of an #SJDMustOwn tag. Grab your blue combs, everyone. Five Iron Frenzy has returned from the grave.

The leading single off their upcoming new record, “Into Your Veins” shows that the artists have not lost any of the spunk that carried them through their first eight years as a band. The song hints that the album, Engine Of A Million Plots, could display a bit more of a punk-laden, beat driven rock sound, to appeal to a 2013 generation. However, Five Iron’s work on the album makes just as big of a point of keeping up with the times as keeping faithful to their own.

The Frenzy began progress on their first album since 2004 with a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. With a devoted fanbase pledging more than six times the amount, the project set the record for the highest-pledged fundraiser on the site. With 2013 marking a decade after the band’s initial farewell tour, a shining green light illuminated FIF’s future, and a new day dawned on not only the Christian scene, but in the ska music world. 

Remember ska? The trumpet-laden, edgy pop rock craze of the 1990’s? It’s the movment that delivered some of the most diverse music of the time, and introduced the strike-back O.C. Supertones, the classy Insyderz, and the memorably wacky Five Iron Frenzy. These are names we all know and love; all of which are making their comebacks today.

Stamped with an #SJDMustOwn tag, the much-awaited Engine Of A Million Plots releases on November 26th.
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