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SUMMER MIXTAPE VOL. ONE

If the above player doesn’t load, work, or is just too confusing, then head here to download it:
http://thegcmblog.bandcamp.com/

Dear Listener,

I hope that this mixtape exposes you to some new music – that you may discover musicians and bands you perhaps had not previously heard. If so, I encourage you to look up the artists’ other music – use this mixtape as a springboard for hearing more music.

I also hope that this mixtape shows you just how diverse Christian music is – just like the body of Christ which has created it. If there are genres on here that you wouldn’t usually listen to, don’t just skip past them, try hearing something new! I believe that each genre serves different purposes, thereby meaning that no one genre is necessarily better than another, but each has their own perks.

My prayer is that as you enjoy the music you would pass it to friends, family, colleagues, fellow church goers etc. Please pass it on, these artists work hard and their music deserves to be heard, enjoyed and supported by more Christians.

However, having said that, this music also needs to be shared with people who don’t know Christ. It’s got a great message and the world needs to hear it, so don’t be afraid to play it loud, and share it with those people you’d rather hide it from.

Also a massive thank you to all the artists that agreed to have their music given away for absolutely no cost. Please could you, as a listener, thank them with a purchase, a tweet, a like etc. and let them know it’s appreciated by you fans!

Finally, this is a SUMMER mixtape – this will be the soundtrack to my summer and I hope it becomes yours also. Thanks for listening, downloading, and supporting the blog and the artists involved.


In Christ,
Stephen Bradley,
TheGoodChristianMusicBlog.com

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Genre: 80s Power Ballad, Pop, Worship

It seems like 80s is all the rage these days, so here’s another rare track from the past, this time taken from Bash -N- The Code’s self titled debut album (released in 1986). Driven by the husband and wife duo of Greg & Rebecca Sparks, Bash -N- The Code aimed to spread the gospel to youth of the 80s through popular music of the time. Though it may be slightly cheesy (but what 80s pop isn’t?) Bash -N- The Code added some originality to the Christian music scene and it was backed by good biblical lyrics. If you like this, I recommend listening to the rest of the album (especially their version of I Exalt Thee – retitled ‘We Exalt You’).

Download this rare record for free from:

http://oldchristianmusic.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/bash-n-the-code-bash-n-the-code/
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Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop

Hot on the heels of his latest album ‘The Loner’, SPZRKT (pronounced Spazzy Rocket) joins fellow SCMGWP (Social Club Misfit Gang Wolf Pack) member and producer, Tyshane, to release the single ‘Best Of Your love’. On this track, Spazzy uses his smooth vocals to sing of God’s grace and love over this sweet summer beat. This tune is only further proof that SPZRKT is one of the most exciting guys in CHH right now, constantly pushing his style forward and driving his creativity further.

Download Best Of Your Love from Rapzilla.com for free:
http://www.rapzilla.com/rz/music/freemp3s/6524-spzrkt-best-of-your-love

For more info on SPZRKT visit:
https://twitter.com/SPZRKT

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Ghost Ship - The Good King Album Cover - 4.5 Star Rating
It’s no great secret that I have a soft spot for Mars Hill Music, so naturally I was rather excited when Ghost Ship announced that they would be releasing their first full length album, titled ‘The Good King’. Different in sound to the many other Mars Hill bands, Ghost Ship bring their own blend of alternative rock to the mix. However, at times it seems that they are still somewhat unsure of where they want to be musically placed, leading to a slightly disjointed first listening experience.

The album kicks off with the pop infused track ‘Mediator’, written as a sequel to their song ‘One God’ (From their EP, A River With No End). As we’ve come to expect from Mars Hill, the theology in the song is spot on, diving in to deep biblical truths so often missed in a lot of popular romanticist worship music of today and to call it catchy just doesn’t quite do it justice.

It’s after this opening track though where I feel that Ghost Ship really come in to their own, leaping from one huge song to the next. This starts with ‘Orion’ which musically wouldn’t feel out of place on a Kings of Leon album. Lyrically, this song also sets the tone for the majority of the album by questioning pain, suffering and doubt but ultimately knowing that God has answered our call and holds us close throughout. It’s this attitude of worshipping through the trials shown in the lyrics of this album that makes it a real challenge and encouragement to the church, and it’s a welcome change to worship music in my opinion.

Moving on to the third track and another personal favourite is the epic rock song ‘Lion Man’ which a friend rightly pointed out sounds ironically like Black Sabbath. This focuses on the power of God, and how when Jesus walked among us “He could have killed us where we stood” yet in humility and out of love He instead came to serve us and bear the wrath that we deserved. Epic indeed!

It seems that the frontman Cam Huxton’s talents in songwriting lie in theologically rich depictions of what it actually means to live a worshipful life rather than just singing worshipfully. If the overall album feels like the band wrestling to discover their true sound, it seems that they are most comfortable in the less orthodox worship songs like ‘Son Of David’, ‘Orion’, ‘Lamb Of God’ and the most beautiful ‘Where Were You’.

In fact it seems rather fitting to use the word unorthodox when describing Ghost Ship – it’s on the more experimental tracks where they seem to find their true style. For example the booming organs at the end of their rendition of the hymn ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ would be completely out of place with any other worship band, yet seems perfectly natural on this album. This then leads to the indie-pop songs like ‘The Gospel’, ‘Mediator’ and the cover of ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus’ (though as great as they are) seem slightly unnatural to Ghost Ship’s style, and sounds more like the type of worship I would expect to hear from another Mars Hill band such as The Sing Team.

It took multiple listens for me to fully appreciate the excellent offering that Ghost Ship deliver with ‘The Good King’, but even now that I’m there I still feel that the best is yet to come from this relatively young worship band. Despite saying that though this is still a brilliant debut, and though ‘The Good King’ may be a slow grower, I truly believe that over the next few months it will gradually emerge as one of the most exciting worship releases of this year.

Album Highlights: Orion, Lion Man, Son Of David, Where Were You

Purchase The Good King from iTunes:
United Kingdom:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-good-king/id644039595
United States of America:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-good-king/id644039595

For more info on Ghost Ship visit:
http://marshill.com/music/artists/ghost-ship
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Genre: Worship, Singer/Songwriter, Pop-Rock,

Singing and writing worship music since he was a teenager, Will Retherford takes on worship music slightly different to most artists. It’s clear on this 2011 release of his that he has spent years developing his own style and it’s that uniqueness that makes this song sound so fresh. There’s a hint of pop, a little bit of rock, and a lot of good songwriting. On this track, Will is also joined by Lisa Gungor who provides backing vocals for this upbeat worship song.

Lyrics:
(Verse 1)
Be wise in the heart, blameless from the start, build your house on the rock not the sand
Walk upright with the fear of the one who brings life to the dead and dry.

(Chorus)
When I fail your grace is always there for me
When I fail your mercy is surrounding me

(Verse 2)
Bring words to the soul like a sweet honeycomb that brings healing to the bones
Comes pride before a fall in my weakness you are strong you fulfill my emptiness

(Chorus 2)
When I fail your grace is always there for me
When I fail your mercy is surrounding me

(Bridge)
Fill our hearts with Joy
Fill our hearts with Hope
Fill our hearts with Love
Fill our hearts

Purchase Awake from iTunes:
United Kingdom:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/awake/id425708645
United States of America:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/awake/id425708645

For more info on Will Retherford visit:
http://www.willretherfordmusic.com/
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Genre: Synth-Pop, Electronica, Worship, Hymn

On this track, singer/songwriter Josh White (under the name Pilgrim) clashes synth pop/electronica with the gospel. Not the most popular of combinations in the Christian music scene, but it works, and it works surprisingly well! Drawing on elements from other sub genres such as glam rock and even trip hop, Josh White has yet again brought something fresh to the offering and all it makes me want to do is dance and praise the Lord. The lyrics to this track were written by Fanny Crosby in 1915 and was originally published as ‘All Will Be Well’.

Lyrics:

Only Your presence, O Savior divine,
Only Your Spirit to merge with mine;
Only Your image of love on my breast,
Seal of forgiveness, assurance of rest.

Only Your presence to lead me aright,
Out of the darkness and into the light;
Only a whisper to tell You are near,
Only Your sunshine to banish my fear.

Only Your presence when trials I bear,
Lifting so gently my burden of care;
Only Your presence to show me the way,
Home to the garden of the infinite day.

Only Your presence when wild is the gale,
Only Your presence when joy is my sail;
Only Your presence my vessel to guide
Into the harbor and over the tide.

Even tho’ the billows like mountains may swell;
All will be well; all will be well;
Under Your shadow in peace I shall dwell;
All, all will be well.

Download Pilgrim’s self titled album for free from Noisetrade.com:
http://noisetrade.com/pilgrim/pilgrim

For more info about Pilgrim visit:
http://deeper-well.com/artists/pilgrim/
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Pompton Lakes - Rest Cover - 4 Star RatingFormed in 2011, Pompton Lakes is the musical union of Jeff Martin, Dan Desrosiers, Isaac Strader, Vinnie Lupoli and Dennis Archer. Previously, Jeff Martin had been the frontman for the rock band This Day & Age from 2001-2007, and so brings a wealth of experience to Pompton Lakes.

Listening to Rest, it’s clear that despite this being Pompton Lakes‘ first release, the band have truly found their distinct sound as the album – though varied – does have a strong coherence from start to finish. Comparable to bands such as Death Cab For Cutie or (Pre-X&Y) Coldplay, Rest also brings to mind many Brit-Pop bands of the early 2000s, such as Doves, Feeder, Travis and Starsailor – just to name a few.

Lyrically, Rest is a very intimate exploration into the singer’s relationship and perception of God. On songs such as Searching there is a real sharing of struggles, often not expressed in mainstream Christian music with lines such as If I don’t see anything, does it change who You are?/Can I be in Your house while I still have doubt? The opening track Home is also of a similar nature as Jeff Martin sings Lately I’ve tried to find hope/In places where I know it can’t be found.

Other songs such as Trust could be compared to modern hymns with worshipful lyrics like – I trust in Your name/Lord, You are worthy of my praise/I don’t have much to give/But what I do, I offer it to You. Though worshipful in lyrics, by sound alone you could quite easily not notice that Pompton Lakes are praising the God they very much love if your only experience of worship music is from a contemporary church service. However, this is still an album that can be appreciated by anyone, regardless of faith. As Christians all that we do is considered worship, and so though the album isn’t always ‘Worship’ music it still seems fitting to give it that label because it’s clear that this album is all for God’s glory.

Rest is an excellent debut release by Pompton Lakes, and I feel that they have a lot to offer to not just the Christian music market but the music scene in general. Hopefully, there are more albums to come from this band but for now head over to iTunes or Amazon and get yourself a copy of this brilliant album now!

Album Highlights: Home, Merciful, Trust and Hope (Banjo Song).

Purchase Rest on iTunes:
United Kingdom:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/rest/id567124723
United States of America:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/rest/id567124723

For more info on Pompton Lakes visit:http://www.pomptonlakesmusic.com