Slam Dunk or Slump? New Music for Spring

By Andy Argyrakis | senior editor,
Posted: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:38

album promo image for Slam Dunk or Slump? March's New Releases

As winter melts into spring, the musical forecast also heats up with arguably the strongest release month thus far in 2012. In fact, new discs from TobyMac, Israel Houghton and Paul Baloche are compelling enough to turn even the most avid sports fan away from March Madness, while there’s at least ten more slam dunks in store. Check out gmc’s March New Release Round-Up for the greatest from Jeremy Camp and Hawk Nelson, plus the latest by KJ-52, Passion, Take 6 and Fireflight
(amongst others).

The Act: Jeremy Camp
The Album: I Still Believe: #1 Collection (BEC Recordings)
The Sound: Pop/Rock/Worship
The Scoop: Now that he’s had a decade worth of hits, Jeremy Camp is certainly worthy of this retrospective collection. As the title implies, it sticks strictly to his 15 most popular personal and praise-filled chart-toppers, including the title track “Take You Back” and
“There Will Be a Day.”
Best Download: “Walk By Faith”

The Act: KJ-52
The Album: Dangerous (BEC Recordings)
The Sound: Rap/Hip-Hop
The Scoop: Throughout the past decade, KJ-52’s made the leap from fresh-faced newcomer to one of the industry’s hip-hop trendsetters. His cutting-edge streak continues on this follow-up to the Dove Award-winning Five-Two Television, which features production from both Tedd T (Mute Math) and Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, Kutless) as he splits his time between singing and rapping through socially conscious storytelling.
Best Download: “Plane Song”

The Act: Passion
The Album: White Flag (sixsteps)
The Sound: Modern Worship
The Scoop: What was once a small college-age worship gathering is now a full-fledged movement starring some of the church’s most prominent worship leaders. White Flag reunites Chris Tomlin, David Crowder*Band, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, and Charlie Hall, who individually and collectively offer up a creative take on corporate praise.
Best Download: "Jesus, Son of God"

The Act: Todd Agnew
The Album: How to Be Loved (Fair Trade Services)
The Sound: Modern Rock
The Scoop: His gritty vocals are unmistakable and his songwriting is becoming equally lauded thanks to a string of singles that includes “Grace Like Rain” and “My Jesus.” Todd Agnew continues in that tradition on How to Be Loved, a deeply personal project that covers a series of life changes, including buying his first house and becoming a husband and stepfather (all in the same weekend).
Best Download: “God Undefeatable”

The Act: Fireflight
The Album: Now (Essential)
The Sound: Alternative Rock
The Scoop: Female-fronted favorites Fireflight turn a pivotal corner on this third full-length, after a season of hurt and disappointment in members’ personal lives. But the players have clearly regrouped to offer a snarling soundtrack for believers to trust the Lord throughout even the most heartbreaking circumstances.
Best Download: “Rise Above”

The Act: Take 6
The Album: One (Shanachie)
The Sound: R&B/Gospel
The Scoop: Take a little bit of jazz and pop, plus plenty of R&B and gospel, and that pretty much sums up the smooth sounds on Take 6’s latest recording. All the while, the crossover favorites sing of culturally relevant subject matter from a faith perspective with harmonies that are nothing short of heavenly.
Best Download: “One”

The Act: Phillips, Craig & Dean
The Album: Breathe In (Fair Trade Services)
The Sound: Adult Contemporary/Worship
The Scoop: With two decades under their belts and well over 20 chart-topping singles, Phillips, Craig & Dean doesn“t show signs of slowing down anytime soon. The trio’s twelfth studio disc follows in the footsteps of its career revival cut “Revelation Song,” promising plenty of string-soaked worship and inspiring contemporary pop reflections.
Best Download: “When the Stars Burn Down”

The Act: FLAME
The Album: The 6th (Clear Sight Music)
The Sound: Rap/Hip-Hop
The Scoop: The GRAMMY, Dove and Stellar Award nominee FLAME is quickly becoming one of the rap and hip-hop scene’s most celebrated artists, especially following tour time with The Cross Movement and LeCrae. He tag-teams with the latter, along with Decemberadio, Thi’sl, Young Noah and V.Rose, as he assesses the human condition from a Godly point of view.
Best Download: “Caught In the Light”

The Act: Hawk Nelson
The Album: The Songs You’ve Already Heard: Best of Hawk Nelson (BEC Recordings)
The Sound: Pop/Punk
The Scoop: Another act that’s been in business for a decade that’s deserving of a greatest hits disc is certainly Hawk Nelson. Expect plenty of sputtering guitars, high-octane power choruses and a faith-friendly alternative to bands like Blink-182 and Sum 41.
Best Download: “Crazy Love”

The Act: Dave Barnes
The Album: Stories to Tell (Razor & Tie)
The Sound: Acoustic Pop/Rock/Country
The Scoop: With flavors of country and acoustic pop/rock, Dave Barnes possesses tremendous crossover appeal, as evidenced by his recent GRAMMY nomination for “God Gave Me You” as Best Country Song (as performed by Blake Shelton). That trend continues on his fourth studio CD, but also features a little more gusto than usual given his production alliance with John Fields (Switchfoot, Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse).
Best Download: “Heaven Help Me”

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About the Writer

Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, IllinoisEntertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, and He’s also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel’s very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).

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