First off, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the significant influence of this podcast. If you think it’s a coincidence that, within mere days of New Music Digest talking about pickle juice, Sonic has decided to offer a pickle juice slush drink, you are naive, my friends. Behold, the power of the StudioDNA bump.

That aside, we’ve got another selection of music for your digestive pleasure today. The new bi-weekly format gives us plenty of options (and makes it difficult to narrow down the most worthy candidates), but I think these are some good ones. This week, it’s a singer songwriter you may know without knowing, a band you know unless you are lying to yourself, and a trio you’ll probably want to get to know. To cap it off, we have a special Tune Du Jour, that fulfills a long standing promise and will satisfy a particular itch in several ways.Let’s get to it, shall we?

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Album 1: Moment of Bliss, by Katie Herzig (3/1/2018)
I first heard of Katie Herzig through a website called Grassroots Music when she was just getting started as a solo artist and making some waves as an independent singer songwriter. Since then, she’s managed to land several of her songs in the background of movies, TV shows, and more – most recently with Netflix’s The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show. This is her first new release in about four years.

The opening strains of STRANGERS reminds me of Cyndi Lauper’s TRUE COLORS (and/or TIME AFTER TIME). It has a nostalgic feel to it and the music is completely peeled away, leaving nothing but a vocal track and subtle background touches. It’s great. BEAT OF YOUR OWN has a bit more energy to it, but still has those 80s-esque pop touches that complement a modern feel and make this a comfortable and enjoyable listen. I’m not going to lie, the first thought I had at the beginning of FEEL ALIVE was… “There, you see her. Sitting there across the way… “ Yeah, that’s right, a Little Mermaid reference. That’s just how the open hit me. The rest of the song doesn’t really follow the path of KISS THE GIRL but I may just like it more because of that.

BONUS: LEARN TO HIDE reminds me of Yazoo’s ONLY YOU. Man, talk about nostalgia. Good stuff. She’s talented. (My favorite song fell out of the opening four, but if you like what you heard so far, check out I DON’T MIND (track 5).

Album 2: This House Is Not for Sale, by Bon Jovi (2/23/2018)
Everyone knows Bon Jovi, so I don’t have to waste much space talking about them. Here’s the question, though. Is this Bon Jovi of old, acoustic/solo (Jon) Bon Jovi, prom ballad Bon Jovi, countrified Bon Jovi (a la Lost Highway), or something new altogether. That’s why we listen to new releases from old standbys.

First up is WHEN WE WERE US, with a determined effort to answer that question. Looks like this is a mid-classic “Keep the Faith” era Bon Jovi, right? Definitely not country. This has a nice feel to it, though there are times when his vocal feels way more strained than it used to. I mean, he has been singing for well over 30 years. WALLS continues the momentum with a driving hair band guitar part and everything feels right for Jon’s vocals. I really like the break down for the bridge and chorus. That’s nice. Roll credits! Track three is the title track. I always feel like the title track should carry more weight or at the very least define the tone of the album. Yep. This has all the elements you expect from a Bon Jovi album and I think it stands as a nice indication of what to expect from this album as a whole.

BONUS: Since we really didn’t have any surprises in the first three songs, I doubt that LIVING WITH THE GHOST will see the light of the podcast, but if you choose to listen to it, you’ll be treated to another rock anthem with a good energy and, if you listen carefully, some interesting lyrics.

Album 3: In Your Own Sweet Time, by The Fratellis (3/16/2018)
The Fratellis is kind of a new group to me, but the name was so familiar I can only assume I listened to some of their singles in the past. I was initially drawn to the clever song titles, which include wit and sarcasm. And that led me to listen to them blindly. I was not disappointed.

STAND UP TRAGEDY is the opening salvo and it lands with a high energy rhythm and a really nice blend of instruments. I get the feel of a vinyl throwback band, incorporating elements of disco and soul and R&B and folk and rock. As a fan of Shakespeare, I chuckled at the title, STARCROSSED LOSERS. This has a 70s feel – the vocal actually reminds me of Big Tent Revival from the 90s, but the arrangement feels more, vintage. Maybe Burlap to Cashmere? This is a fun listen and gives us a great little falsetto. SUGARTOWN rounds out the trio of tunes and I feel like I’m listening to The Wonders playing their latest hit song, THAT THING YOU DO. Very mellow. Very reminiscent of an era gone by without feeling old.

BONUS: The fourth song here is called, TOLD YOU SO. And it kind of bridges the gap between the mellowness of SUGARTOWN and the upbeat feel of STAND UP TRAGEDY. This one doesn’t do much for me actually. It’s just there. Song five, though… oh well.

TUNE DU JOUR: The Hamilton Polka, by Weird Al Yankovic
Polka? Check. Hamilton? Check. Weird Al? Check. What else is there to say, really? Perfect.

peace… love… bdg…