WHAT IS THIS LIST FOR?
Consider this a “parking lot” for artists I’ve heard little to no credible news about in terms of an upcoming album, but would still like to keep an eye on just in case they resurface with something tangible that I would have otherwise missed. If an artist announces an actual, or at least tentative, release date for an album, I’ll move them from this list to the current year’s Music Journal. Otherwise, all I have to go on is the speculation I’ve managed to cobble together from infrequent bits of news and hearsay regarding each artist’s recent activity.
Last Release: Sound and Color, 2015
Last Sighting: Lead singer Brittany Howard released a solo album, Jaime, in 2019.
My Speculation: This band seems to have disappeared right after I finally got into them, which is right when they seemed to be generating a decent amount of buzz that should have led to a wider fanbase. Four years since the release of their second album, plus their lead singer branching out for a solo project, doesn’t bode well for the future of the band.
Last Release: Thief EP, 2013
Last Sighting: The aforementioned EP
My Speculation: Thief was an amazing comeback, but I don’t know if it was enough to get her a foot in the door in either Christian music or the country/indie folk/Americana world. She may resurface with new music sporadically, but considering the decade-plus gap between Thief and her last true album, this probably shouldn’t be expected any time soon.
Last Release: Hymns of Christmas (with Jennifer Knapp), 2012
Last Sighting: Singing background vocals on Jennifer Knapp’s 2017 album Love Comes Back Around.
My Speculation: 2007’s Air was her last true studio album; since then she’s mostly appeared on collaborative worship projects, compilations, and so forth. I’m gonna guess that she’s transitioned from the “active recording artist” phase of her career into more of a songwriter/speaker/studio player phase where she’s mostly giving speaking engagements or assisting on other people’s recordings (most notably Jennifer Knapp – it seems like the two women’s careers have been intertwined for quite some time now).
Last Release: Happy Birthday Flutterby, 2014
Last Sighting: She’s got co-writing credits and some BGV’s on a few songs from Katie Herzig (who she’s also been dating). She’s released a few singles following the Flutterby re-release, but they haven’t led to a new album. She’s a member of Ten Out of Tenn, which still seems to be active. But no news on any new solo work for several years now.
My Speculation: No idea.
Last Release: Raising Up the Dead, 2010
Last Sighting: For a while they were releasing standalone songs via Brite Revolution on a monthly basis, but according to Wikipedia, they’ve been largely inactive since the tour for Raising Up the Dead. Derek Webb and Andrew Osenga are still active as solo artists.
My Speculation: Family responsibilities, Derek and Andy’s solo projects, living apart from each other, and not being on a label probably conspired to make it worth laying low for a while. I’m willing to bet one day they’ll get some configuration of the band back together for old times’ sake, but probably not on a permanent basis.
THE ECHOING GREEN
Last Release: In Scarlet and Vile, 2011
Last Sighting: Their last album
My Speculation: This may be another group that only pops up once in a blue moon with a new single or EP. I don’t hold out much hope for any more albums from them these days. I was quite surprised to find out a good year after the fact that In Scarlet and Vile even existed, since it had been nearly a decade before that point since they last released a full-fledged album. So that may be a harbinger of (a lack of) things to come.
FIVE O’CLOCK PEOPLE
Last Release: Temper Temper, 2008
Last Sighting: Their last “album” (it was really more of an EP)
My Speculation: Temper Temper was a fluke to begin with; I had honestly thought the band had broken up long before that due to Alex Walker going into some sort of a self-imposed exile and the other members scattering to the wind not long after their touring cycle for The Nothing Venture was over. This group is so obscure that they don’t even have a Wikipedia page, nor are they on Spotify, so if they or any of their individual members have done anything since 2008, I don’t even know how I’d manage to dig up this information. A quick Google search only brings up scattered references to where their old albums can be purchased, and a few articles/fan pages that have been gathering dust since 2008.
Last Release: Blonde, 2014
Last Sighting: Their last album
My Speculation: No idea. These guys didn’t have a terribly high profile to begin with, but their only album so far was a fun exercise in 80s synthpop revival, and I wouldn’t mind another helping.
THE GOOD MAD
Last Release: Face Your Feels, 2015
Last Sighting: The aforementioned EP
My Speculation: The Good Mad is just one of a few musical side projects that Allie Gonino has had over the years to supplement her main gig, which is acting. I was hoping the string of EPs they put out in the early 2010s would culminate in an LP, but apparently they didn’t earn a big enough following for that.
Last Release: Making Mirrors, 2011
Last Sighting: He put out an album with his band The Basics in 2019.
My Speculation: It’s really weird for an artist who had as high of a pop culture profile as Gotye did back when “Somebody that I Used to Know” was near-ubiquitous on the charts to not follow up on that momentum. A long gestation period for a new album would sort of make sense, given the enormous pressure that sort of breakout success tends to put on an artist. But to see no evidence at all that he’s been working on new solo music in recent years is just plain odd.
THE HAWK IN PARIS
Last Release: Freaks, 2013
Last Sighting: The singles “Dream with You” and “Frozen Heart”, 2015/2016
My Speculation: Since some of the other members of Jars of Clay have been pursuing musical side projects during the band’s long hiatus, it makes sense that lead singer Dan Haseltine might continue to pursue his little synthpop side gig at some point. But he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry, and aside from the occasional “for old times’ sake” gig with Jars, he seems to have fallen off of the music map entirely.
Last Release: Fantasize, 2014
Last Sighting: A remix project for Fantasize, also 2014
My Speculation: Fantasize seemed poised to break the group out to a much wider audience, especially after their tour with Gungor, so I’m a bit surprised at the complete lack of any follow-up.
Last Release: They Reappear, 2011
Last Sighting: He’s recorded an album and EP as a member of Sucré in 2012 and 2014, and he’s been doing production work for a wide variety of artists over the years, which is his main gig.
My Speculation: Since Jeremy seemed to put out a new solo project every few years up until I first listened to him on They Reappear, I assumed this trend would continue. Now I’m not so sure. Sucré is working on a new project, but their promotional imagery and Facebook posts give the impression that the group only consists of Stacey and Darren at this point.
Last Release: “Animals Pt. 1” single, 2011; their only true album (if you don’t count their earlier incarnation as The Rock & Roll Worship Circus) was The Listening LP in 2006.
Last Sighting: Wikipedia says Gabriel Wilson has been working as a worship leader for a church in Redding, California. He’s also released material as a solo artist. The other members have pretty much been scattered to the wind. At one point they announced an upcoming project called LMNOP, but there’s been no news of this in ages. All of this information could be years out of date, for all I know.
My Speculation: This band vanished under rather mysterious circumstances. Their website domain is for sale. It’s probably not worth holding out any hope for these guys.
LOST IN THE TREES
Last Release: Past Life, 2014
Last Sighting: The aforementioned album
My Speculation: They’d been bleeding members by the time the last album came out, and it came with a pretty radical change in sound. I’m guessing that didn’t retain or grow their fandom in any meaningful way. Wikipedia refers to them in the past tense, indicating that the group was active through 2014, but I can’t find any definitive news of a breakup, nor do I know if such a concept is even meaningful considering that Ari Picker pretty much was the band toward the end there.
Last Release: Current, 2012
Last Sighting: A few compilation appearances in 2014-16
My Speculation: She could be continuing in her capacity as a worship leader locally, but she’s released nothing commercially for a while now, and her website and blog are gathering cobwebs. I’ll consider her retired as a recording artist unless I hear otherwise.
Last Release: North, 2012
Last Sighting: They’ve toured together as recently as 2017.
My Speculation: I’m not sure whether to consider them has-beens only touring for nostalgia’s sake, or a hard-working band still firing on all cylinders. Lead guitarist Kyle Cook recently rejoined the band after being gone for a year or so; Rob Thomas put out another solo album in 2015… by all accounts, these guys still have plenty to do. I’m just not sure if any new music is in the cards (or if I honestly care all that much, as bland as North turned out to be).
MY MORNING JACKET
Last Release: The Waterfall, 2015
Last Sighting: Jim James has released a handful of solo albums over the last few years. MMJ reissued their debut album The Tennessee Fire for its 20th anniversary in 1999.
My Speculation: MMJ is on this list for the exact same reason Modest Mouse once was. Their recording sessions for The Waterfall were supposedly fruitful enough to yield almost two whole albums’ worth of material, and they suggested that the follow-up album was just around the corner. But I’ve seen no evidence that this is still being worked on. Meanwhile, Jim James has had the time to come out with two solo albums, which suggests that MMJ has been back-burnered for the time being.
Last Release: Push and Shove, 2012
Last Sighting: Well, duh. Gwen Stefani is still a household name, as a solo artist and as a judge on The Voice.
My Speculation: Stefani mentioned the possibility of new No Doubt material to follow up on Push and Shove a few years back, but since then, she seems to have walked back her comments and even suggested that the band wasn’t in the right space to really function as a band when recording Push and Shove. I agree that they shouldn’t force it if they’re not feeling it, but the band hasn’t officially broken up, either.
Last Release: Hungry Ghosts, 2014
Last Sighting: They recorded a cover of Morrissey’s “Interesting Drug” in 2017. They’ve continued to make music videos for tracks from Hungry Ghosts over the years.
My Speculation: OK Go is such a weird case because they’re quite clearly still active as a band, performing live shows and putting a huge emphasis on the visual aspects of their art via their elaborate music videos and art contests they’ve been holding for the fans to participate in. They’re quite involved on social media. But I can’t find any evidence that they’ve been working on actual new music after all these years. The gaps between their last few albums were between four and five years, so perhaps this shouldn’t be too surprising.
THE RIVER EMPIRES
Last Release: The River Empires – Epilogue, 2010
Last Sighting: Jessy Ribordy’s main gig, Falling Up, reunited from 2011-2015. Casey Crescenzo is still active as a member of The Dear Hunter.
My Speculation: This is one of those side projects that started off with great ambitions, but not enough of an audience to see it through. Epilogue was meant to be the end of a story that would be told in reverse over the course of seven albums. At one point there was even talk of it being tied into a TV series! Unfortunately the Kickstarter for their second (sixth?) album was unsuccessful, and not long after that, Falling Up got back together. I’m still unclear on whether The River Empires is permanently dead or just dormant, especially now that Falling Up has called it quits again. Knowing Jessy and Casey, some ideas for how to finish the story are still floating around in their heads somewhere, and they just lack the time/funds/fan enthusiasm/ability to coordinate their schedules to see the rest of it through. I’d love to see it happen, though. Epilogue was such a unique and immersive experience, and I still return to it pretty regularly all these years later.
SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER
Last Release: Lost in Transition, 2012
Last Sighting: They’ve played at least one gig in the last few years, but don’t seem to be actively touring or recording. Leigh Nash is active as a solo artist (and has even gone so far as to re-record “Kiss Me” for the single’s 20th anniversary), while Matt Slocum continues to do string arrangements for other artists.
My Speculation: Sixpence took so long to get an album out after reuniting in 2008 that they pretty much lost all momentum their reunion might have afforded them. Record industry red tape seems to make releasing albums such a genuine drag for these guys that I would completely understand if they had lost all interest in trying to make any more new music together.
Last Release: No One in Control, 2013
Last Sighting: Their last album
My Speculation: Despite a brief bump thanks to Edward Snowden (no relation) being in the news a lot around the release of their last album, it doesn’t seem to have given the band any long-term momentum. I wouldn’t be surprised if they disbanded and one or more members started recording under an entirely different name.
Last Release: Wow to the Deadness EP (as Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil), 2016
Last Sighting: The aforementioned EP
My Speculation: Since nearly twenty years passed between Taylor’s most recent solo album, Squint, and his comeback as Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil, Goliath, I’m guessing he’ll continue to make new music sporadically (as he did with the Danielson Famile in 2016), but probably in more of a collaborative way with other artists when the inspiration strikes, and not as a full-time gig. He’s got plenty of other irons in the fire due to his career as a director.
Last Release: The stage musical The Fourth Messenger in 2015
Last Sighting: The aforementioned musical
My Speculation: Vienna announced at the beginning of 2018 that she would be taking a longer hiatus from music than she had previously anticipated in order to help… uh, save the Earth with renewable energy or something like that, which I admire even if I don’t understand the full details of it. She announced in early 2019 that she had gotten married, and was still writing songs from time to time, but that this should not be construed as news of a forthcoming album. And she’s still playing gigs every now and then. I would sure love a proper follow-up to 2013’s Aims, but apparently it’s gonna have to wait.
TRAILS AND WAYS
Last Release: Own It, 2016
Last Sighting: Their last album
My Speculation: This indie rock foursome shone bright and then burned out rather quickly. The recipe of two guys, two girls, a sunny, Latin American-influenced indie pop sound, and lyrics in three different languages gave way to the phenomenal EP Trilingual, which was followed up by a really darn good full-length LP Pathology. Then it all fell apart in record time. The two female members left the band, their record deal fell through, the two remaining members recorded another album independently, and the magic just wasn’t there any more. (Turns out that taking a supposedly “anti-capitalist” stance while asking fans to fund your record sends some confusing mixed messages.) I’m guessing they packed it in after that point, since I’ve heard literally nothing about them since then. It’s too bad, because of all the new bands I discovered in the 2010s, they were probably the most ripe with unrealized potential.
Last Release: Christmas Is Here, 2007
Last Sighting: A few compilations and guest appearances since then. Nothing since 2009 as far as I can tell.
My Speculation: She’s probably gone the Margaret Becker route, where she may well still be writing songs, perhaps even singing backup as a day player on other people’s recordings, just not doing anything active as a solo artist in her own right.
Last Release: The single “Name” in 2010. Their last album was Wonderfully Made in 2001.
Last Sighting: “Name” was announced as the lead single from a new album called Mysteriet, which thus far has failed to materialize. The band has given updates as recently as 2016 suggesting it’s still being worked on.
My Speculation: Honestly, the last time I really cared about anything this band recorded was in the late 90s, so they wouldn’t even be on my radar any more if not for the promise that their new material was aiming to recapture the mood of their classic song “Hands in the Air”, which is definitely my favorite thing they’ve ever done. Their more pop-oriented stuff hasn’t really done it for me outside of the occasional superficially catchy song. So I won’t exactly be devastated if their new album never gets completed, but if it does, I’ll definitely be expecting more than just a thinly veiled attempt to re-assert themselves into the contemporary Christian pop music landscape and make some quick cash off of my generation’s nostalgia.
Last Update: 1/9/20