5 Bands Reinventing Praise and Worship Music for the Next Generation

hillsong conf 2014

Worship music seems to go hand in hand with Sunday morning church services, and often times people, more specifically "young people," grow tired of the same songs every week. Although Christians are supposed to use praise and worship as a time to open their hearts to God, it can be kind of hard if the person cannot get behind the music. So for those that are suffering from worship music boredom, BREATHEcast decided to compile a short list of just a few people who can get you excited to lift your hands again.

Kings Kaleidoscope

Kings Kaleidoscope
(Photo : Facebook)

Where do we start with Kings Kaleidoscope? These guys and girls sure do know how to make fantastic inventive music. Consisting of 10 members, including lead vocalist Chad Gardner, K.K. stretches the limits of what people consider worship in every direction. The band has a sound that is entirely unique to them, and features an array of instruments aside from the standard guitars, bass, piano, and drums. The band includes violin, accordion, cello, flute, and trumpet, even trombone, all perfectly layered together into a wall of sound that brings vibrancy and life to each song.

The band started out as a project of Mars Hill Church, but has since moved on to a joint partnership with Tooth & Nail Records and Bad Christian.

Their latest full-length release is 2014's Becoming Who You Are. They also have a number of EP's, Sin, Live in Color, Asaph's Arrows, and the recently release Live in Focus.

Read our review of Sin EP here and check out our interview with Gardner here.  

Pacific Gold

Pacific Gold
(Photo : Facebook: Pacific Gold)

Fellow Bad Christian band, Pacific Gold is doing the same thing K.K. is doing, except they are reinventing classic hymns. The very talented band repurposes old hymns and brings them into modern times, but with a catch - they send them back in time.... P.G. are a refreshing breath of air for anyone who enjoys classic '60s and '70s rock. The band touts themselves as "Indie/Psychedelic/Dream Pop," which means, sounds like Revolver Beatles, the Beach Boys and the modern influence of Radiohead and the Postal Service.

Led by vocalist Dan Koch, also known for his band Sherwood, Pacific Gold features incredible three part harmonies that bring "old and sometimes forgotten hymns" new life with an array of old timey piano and guitar riffs and studio tricks such as backwards instruments. The results are nothing short of magical!

The band's latest release, Sing My Welcome Home, came out earlier this year. Prior to this record, they released a self-titled EP, The Holly & the Ivy, and The River.

Read our review of Sing My Welcome Home here.


(Photo : Facebook: Gungor)

Michael Gungor has long been a name associated with Christian worship and has been on the scene since the early 2000s. His music started out more in the realm of corporate worship as he worked with Battle Cry under his name and later as The Michael Gungor Band. However, it was the musical shift under the new name, "Gungor," which consists of he and his wife that is transcending worship music.

They consider themselves a collective because of the constant shift of musicians, but the family unit stays consistent, and their music reflects that relationship. It is hard to pinpoint exactly how to describe Gungor as their music touches on indie pop, post rock, worship, folk, and alternative.

Gungor's latest album I Am Mountain perfectly encapsulates these sounds and serves as almost a sound collage of music filled with thought provoking lyrics and spiritual topics. The pair is currently in the process of recording a new album that will be released later in the year and are also putting out music with a side project, The Liturgists.


(Photo : The M Collective)

Crowder is a name that has almost become synonymous with worship for nearly two decades, most notably his work with the David Crowder Band. Now, as a solo artist, Crowder has explored different genres to incorporate into his music and even described his music as, "folktronica," which takes its roots from country, bluegrass, and elements of EDM.

Crowder has had a hand in penning some of the modern church's most poignant worship anthems, and now is looking to continue this in his next chapter of music, which is opening the door for a compilation of sounds that many different listeners will enjoy.

His latest release, Neon Steeple gained a ton of mainstream attention as he appeared on 'FOX & Friends' and placed high on the Billboard charts. His first foray into life post D.C.B. proved to be just as successful, and audiences can expect the mighty bearded singer to continue to break molds with his music and his band of like minded individuals.

Read our review of Neon Steeple here.

Hillsong Young & Free

Hillsong Young & Free
(Photo : Facebook: Hillsong Young & Free)

Hillsong Young & Free is one of the newest incarnations Hillsong Music Australia and features the youth portion of the worship team creating waves with EDM infused worship music. In the past there have been many worship groups that embody a youthful energy for a younger audience, but none have ever captured the essence of today's culture with the feel of Young & Free.

The group consists of a number of different singers and musicians and every song usually has a different singer leading to mix things up. This allows for each song to sound fresh, all while capturing the same musical synths, beats, and pulses of the other tracks.

They have one full-length album, We Are Young & Free and the recently released EP, This is Living, which contains the title track featuring Lecrae as a hit single. While their body of work is quite small with just these two records, these young worshippers seem to be at the forefront of propelling worship into the next generation of listeners.

Check out our interview with Young & Free's Taya here.

What do you think of our list? Are there other artists who are leaving a major impact on the direction of worship that we should highlight? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out these great bands!

*Note - This is not a complete list of everyone stepping out of the box of worship music. We picked the five who most stood out, and tried to pinpoint bands rather than solo artists with Crowder falling somewhere in between.