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.

BONUS: ENEMY, LOVE is blends the deliberate vocal style with a poppy song – and there’s even some falsetto for the fun of it.

Album 2: MCMXCV, by Stavesacre (9/1/17)
Stavesacre was a rock band in the late 90s that walked the line of CCM and Mainstream thanks to the intentional vagueness of Tooth and Nail records. They had some modest success and have had some side projects since the good old days, but I for one was excited to learn they had re-entered the studio to record again. (For those unfamiliar with Roman Numerals, the title translates to 1995, the year the band formed).

Skipping the intro, we’ll dive into track two, THE DEAD REJOICE, and you immediately know what to expect from the album. An inexplicable combination of distortion and clean guitars. A distinct voice that’s shouting, but not too much. Nostalgia, sure, but it’s still fun after all these years. THE TOWER keeps things rolling and, I suppose, if you didn’t like them back in the day, it may not be an appealing sound for you, but if you grew up listening to them, this album falls right in line with their legacy. More of the same on ACCELERATING INTO BRAKE LIGHTS with the bonus of a crunchy guitar solo around the 2:20 mark.

BONUS: There’s a slightly more laid back tone to ONE HAND CLAPPING but the group simply knows their strengths and plays well to them.

Album 3: Play Dead, by Mutemath (9/8/17)
This album takes on new meaning now that Darren King (drummer) has parted ways with the band. For me, Mutemath has always been defined by King’s drumming. He’s here on the album, but he has taken less of a prominent role in the group’s sound over the years. Let’s see how this one plays out.

HIT PARADE opens up with an emphasis on Paul Meany’s vocals and has a nice ethereal sound. And here comes the rhythm section. Yes. It’s just off enough to keep you completely engaged. Track two, PIXIE OAKS, is a little better for me, but I’m not sure if it’s not because I’ve heard HIT PARADE and STROLL ON a few times already as they were released as teasers for the album. It almost makes me want to swear off listening to lead singles before the album comes out to make sure I hear them in context first. Almost. Where would I get Tune Du Jours then? I love the quirkiness of this beat, though. I mentioned STROLL ON has been out there in the wild for a bit now. I think it was actually a Tune Du Jour back in July. It’s still really good, but I’m ready to stroll on (see what I did there?)

BONUS: BREAK THE FEVER is definitely different than the other three. Not a single by any means. If I were actually trying to digest this one, it might get stuck in my throat. The hook is nice enough though. I really like Mutemath.

TUNE DU JOUR: DIVE, by Social Club Misfits
Speaking of quirky, here’s a little indulgence of mine. Marty and Fern make up Social Club Misfits and they definitely don’t fit the mold of hip hop. Their label debut came out back in January and I still listen to it regularly. They don’t care about the confines of what radio expects from rap. They do their own thing. They have fun. And it works. But they are definitely an acquired taste. I hope this means there’s more new music coming soon from them.

Okay, I’ll work on scheduling for everything else and you just keep tuning in… deal?

peace… love… bdg…