Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best New Artists of 2011

I hope everyone has had a great week of holidays! 2011 is coming to a fast close, and we have seen several new artists this year. From the bad (Rocky Loves Emily, anyone?) to the good, no one can disagree that some great bands hit the scene this year. Let's see who made my list.

#10. Shine Bright Baby
Shine Bright Baby hit the scene in 2009 with their debut, and now it seems they have signed to Tooth & Nail Records. Although there is no mention of them on Tooth & Nail's site, SBB announced on their Facebook page they are recording their first full length album on the label. SBB played Creation NE 2011, and have won me over with their catchy pop rock sound. Shine Bright Baby is a band to watch in 2012 for sure. Grab a free download of their song "Dare To Dream" as well as the acoustic version of "Deadbolt" (my personal favorite) by visiting their Pure Volume page.

#9. Nine Lashes
Boy, Tooth & Nail signed a ton of artists this year, with Nine Lashes being one of the more recent. All they've put out in 2011 is the single "Anthem Of The Lonely", and their full length debut will hit Valentine's Day 2012. With Trevor McNevan credited as the man who discovered the band, I think it's safe to say we can expect some great music from them. "Anthem Of The Lonely" sounds great, and this is one band I'll definitely keep my eye on.

#8. Jamie Grace
After being a teen star on the popular TBN kid's show iShine, Jamie Grace was discovered by Toby Mac, who couldn't wait to sign her to Gotee Records. After releasing an EP in Spring of 2011, she followed up with "One Song At A Time" in the fall. Her song, "Hold Me" became a hit single, and now she's been nominated for a GRAMMY! As a long time fan, I feel she has surpassed anything we expected and deserves that Grammy.

#7. Royal Tailor
Their debut album won them the attention of many, with fun pop beats and clever lyrics. ("Control" has some stand against lyrical references to Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Ke$ha in it.) Vocalist Tauren Wells has an OUTSTANDING voice, and like Jamie Grace, have been nominated for a Grammy. Keep your eye on them.

#6 Anthem Lights
Anthem Lights, formerly known as Yellow Cavalier, released their debut on Reunion Records this year and just took off. Easily one of the most popular Christian pop bands, Anthem Lights has brought the pop rock sound Christian music once had and is lacking. I love their music, and right now they have nowhere to go but up. They are releasing a new acoustic EP soon, and I'm sure 2012 is full of great things for them. Check out the interview I did with them earlier this spring by clicking here.

#5. Hyland
Another one of Tooth & Nail's new artists, Hyland released their debut, "Weights & Measures" to great response. With comparisons to Anberlin and Switchfoot, Hyland was definitely one of 2011's best new artists. Keep following these guys, as they will no doubt become one of Christian Rock's top bands.

#4. Attalus
Yet another one of my favorite independent bands, Attalus was introduced to me on New Release Tuesday when a band member posted about them in the forums. I was pleasantly surprised with their EP, "The Greater Tide" which is one of my favorite EPs of 2011. Although there have been a few member changes since then, the band has kept it's signature rock sound, and hopefully these guys catch a label's attention soon. Great stuff.

#3. Dara MacLean

With a soulful voice and great lyrics, Dara MacLean's single "Suitcases" received tons of airplay this year. Although I haven't heard all her songs, she's definitely "got my attention" (was that a cheesy pun or what?) and I can't wait to see what happens with her in 2011.

#2. Skyhawk Drive

Now, was this REALLY a surprise to you? I've been a fan for a while now, posting about them on the blog, tweeting about them, all that other stuff. But I don't do that unless I really believe in the band and their heart to minister. Skyhawk Drive caught the attention of Ben Kasica. They have some of the best music and lyrics I've heard all year. So why haven't they been signed to a larger label? Tooth & Nail is signing everyone under the sun, but if there's anyone that deserves to be signed, it is Skyhawk Drive. Their EP that came out this November had them sounding great with more of a mature sound. Definitely a top pick for 2011.

And now we have it....the best new band of 2011.....

....are you ready?
....for real?

#1. Icon For Hire
When I added them to the list of "New Bands You Should Know" earlier in the year, I had no idea they would be this popular this soon. Easily the best band signed to Tooth & Nail this year, their debut album, "Scripted" did very well and got great reviews. They stand for a message and put out some pretty awesome music. 2012 is sure to bring even greater things from them, and hopefully we'll see an acoustic or B-side album with "Conversation With A Rockstar" on it. 

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know what you think! 


  1. I LOVE Icon For Hire! They are super awesome. And even though they call themselves "Christians in a band, but not a Christian band," they have excellent lyrics, and some of the best rock music I've ever heard. They're definitely my favorite rock band at this time! :)

  2. All good picks! These are great bands and I can't wait to see what's in store for them in the future! :)

  3. Nice list! Nine Lashes and Icon for Hire are my favorites here. I didn't know that Shine Bright Baby are with Tooth and Nail now. Good for them! I saw their show at Creationfest and they were pretty good.