October 2017


MUSIC&web30 Oct 2017 04:03 pm

I’m a little thin on show notes this week, but I’m pretty tired and short on time, so I just patched together what I could. These three mix things up nicely. I was really anticipating the first two and had never heard of the third. And that one ended up… well, just wait and see. Enjoy.

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Album 1: Faith Hope Love Repeat, by Brandon Heath (10/20/17)
I didn’t realize that this was as big of a release as it is – I mean, I like Brandon Heath and have since I first heard him give a showcase performance in Nashville many moons ago, but I never considered him to be much of a mainstream artist. Then he showed up in a PEOPLE magazine exclusively revealing the gender of his soon-to-arrive baby (spoiler alert: it’s a girl). Anyway, as I said, I like Brandon Heath, but his “noteworthy” songs are all from his first two albums (which are – I can’t believe this – about 10 years old). What has he done for me lately? Let’s see.

THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT starts out with a nice syncopated beat accented by strings. It’s a nice pop tune. He makes no bones about his faith in the lyrics, but people may not even notice the first few times because the rhythm works so well. Track two is the lead single (I believe), WHOLE HEART. It has tamer production and a more robust chorus. Less risks, like the radio prefers. Little falsetto action, too. Nice. Wrapping it up, is I RUN, which I’ll assume includes a reference to Jonah somewhere, but we’ll see. Oh, no, the good type of running. I like that they cleared out the instruments to let Brandon just sing, but I’m not too fond of the little run up the scale as the hook. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing outstanding either.
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MUSIC&web24 Oct 2017 11:10 am

This is a good batch of music. These three albums each have something to offer and, even though I think the choice will be easy, I’m sure that I’ll spend a fair amount of time with each of these albums in the future. All three of the main selections exhibit intriguing combinations of styles in an effort to defy genres and express a nice bit of creativity.

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Album 1: Colors, by Beck (10/13/17)
Beck made waves back in the 90s with his surprise hit song, LOSER. Since then, he’s made his name as a bonafide artist exploring every corner music has to offer and walking the fine line between fresh new music and nostalgia. He’s a bit of a hoarder stylistically, in that his songs are so crowded with odds and ends. However, he manages to arrange all the pieces in such a way that there’s no doubt it all belongs. Digging into a Beck album often feels like unfolding origami.

We begin with the title track, COLORS, which features a throbbing bassline, a driving tempo, and a very full sound. This is like a combination of disco and pop and funk. It seems he never runs out of new elements to include and yet it’s all so very cohesive. SEVENTH HEAVEN begins a little lower key, but with the promise to swell into another spectacle. As we get to the chorus, it’s almost like stepping into a roadside convenience store with windchimes guarding the door. And the shelves are once again fully stocked with all the tchotchkes you could ever imagine. Our third song is called, I’M SO FREE, which offers a third palette of sound. There’s some 90s Alt-rock a la Smashing Pumpkins mixed with the driving electro-dance of BLUR, and eclecticism of a Radiohead all in one package. Not many artists can successfully make unlikely musical bedfellows sound so organic and natural. Quite an achievement.
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MUSIC&web17 Oct 2017 02:35 pm

Okay, this week, the new show is going on right this moment and I’m just now getting around to posting the show notes from last week. Just trying to continue to adjust my scheduling and stay on top of things. What’s that? Oh, okay, I need to go… enjoy the show notes from LAST week. This week’s notes should be up later this week.

Three of the artists/bands represented here today are completely new to me. This was a fun week of discovery, but unfortunately it also means that I don’t have much background info on any of them. But that’s never stopped me before. We’ll just dig into the music and see what shakes loose.

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Album 1: Lost in Translation, by New Politics (10/6/17)
The album opens up with what feels like an 8-bit video game soundtrack, before it starts building with additional musical components – including a nice driving rhythm, some intriguing tempo changes, and a solid guitar part. And halfway through CIA, there’s like an entirely different song going on. ONE OF US starts out almost like a Matthew West song, then kicks off with more of a fun. (the group not the emotion) sound. This is such an eclectic group. It’s a great mix of pop rock and orchestral experimentation. Piano in this one. So cool. Our third entry, TELL YOUR DAD features Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) and you can feel the influence immediately. However, it most definitely is not enough to derail their signature appeal as they’ve incorporated a lot of other elements to make the track their own.
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MUSIC&web10 Oct 2017 12:22 pm

Another week, another set of distractions, another busy schedule, another bit of change. Looks like the New Music Digest will be airing live on Tuesdays from now on, starting… TODAY. So this post with last week’s Show Notes may seem somewhat untimely, but at least I didn’t get “lapped” by the broadcast. (Close, but no cigar). Anyway, Episode 23 is all set to go – I’ll post those show notes sometime later this week – but first, here are the show notes from Episode 22, which earned the title, Wildermusic (pronounced however the mood strikes you). Enjoy – and perhaps we’ll see you in the live chat later today. (Sign up at Mixlr to get a notification of when they go live).

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Album 1: Mercury and Lightning, by John Mark McMillan (9/1/17)
John Mark McMillan wrote HOW HE LOVES, which became an extremely popular worship song after it was sanitized and covered by David Crowder*Band (CCM has its limitations on which types of kisses are allowed to be celebrated). This is his sixth album and it a worship project only in an atypical sense of the term.

Leading off with the title track, MERCURY & LIGHTNING could easily find a home on the alternative or even top 40 airwaves. There’s a thickness to the soundtrack, underscored by an organ, that exploits the magnetism of McMillan’s deeply rich vocals. There’s a lot going on in these songs and it’s all pretty spectacular. WILDERLOVE opens with an exposed vocal track that is simply captivating. When the music fills in around it, it’s just great. What else is there to say? If you’re looking for a comparison, you may find some similarities to Hozier. GODS OF AMERICAN SUCCESS will round out our three-song taste test and it’s a little more uptempo and has a different appeal altogether. Really nice album that may take a minute to grow on you.
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