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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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MUSIC&web29 Sep 2017 10:51 am

After much ado, the dust has finally settled over at the Studio DNA camp and we’re back with a fresh New Music Digest. The brief respite gave us a wealth of newly released albums to choose from, which makes it a little easier to bring a wider selection and variety of styles. This week, we’ve got some CCM pop, an R&B album with a twinge of country, and some rap – all capped off with an old standby in the tune du jour. As I prepared this, the theme that came through was one of finding your lane and staying in it. Let’s just get right into it.

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Album 1: All In, by Matthew West (9/22/17)
Matthew West is probably one of the more likeable guys you could ever meet in the industry. This is technically his seventh studio album according to PR standards, but that excludes at least 2 Christmas albums, not to mention 3 independent releases, which I understand. He first hit my radar in the early 2000s with SELLOUT and it’s been a fun time watching his career unfold through the years, even though his core sound and song structure has remained steady.

This album opens with the title track and lead single and for a brief instant, I think it may be something entirely unexpected. The little chipmunk-y screech of “All In” conjured up images of a venture into modern rock, but alas, we are still firmly entrenched in the pop craftsmanship we have come to expect from Matthew West. Hard to not let that heavy snare that comes in for the chorus take over your head and force a nod. It’s good stuff. BROKEN THINGS comes in with an almost identical harmony, just taken slightly out of context. It’s really uncanny and it’s no surprise that this is another single currently charting high on the airwaves. These songs are so anthemic – it’s a real talent, for sure. The third song, MERCY IS A SONG, tones things down a little bit before opening up into a gospel-esque, down-home chorus. This is all exactly what you want from this album – especially if you are marketing the album.
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MUSIC&web05 Sep 2017 11:01 am

It’s not Monday, though it may feel like it, and there isn’t a new episode due until next week at the earliest while the studio is relocated, but here I am trying to bridge the gap by holding these show notes until some time in the middle. Eventually, I may be posting things in between these updates, but for now, my writing efforts are primarily elsewhere. Anyway, this last episode was dubbed, “Bears and Beers” and it features another wide range of styles and topics. Enjoy…

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Album 1: Painted Ruins, by Grizzly Bear (8/18/17)
It’s hard to ignore a release from a band named Grizzly Bear, I guess. At least it caught my attention and piqued my curiosity this week in the midst of a lot of nothing. And I had no idea what to expect and I know nothing about them, so I’m just going to dive right in.

Even though, I wasn’t sure what to expect, I still had expectations and they certainly weren’t what I’m hearing on the opening track, WASTED ACRES. Very soft, subtle melodies, almost like a soundtrack, but it’s charming in its own way. A steadier rhythm here on MOURNING SOUND, but still somewhat muted, almost like a 90s new wave thing going on. I’d have to listen more carefully to figure out what the lyrics are talking about, but for now, it’s just a fun listen. FOUR CYPRESSES is the third song and it starts out almost like a sped up game of Pong. I’m pretty sure I like it. I’m glad I caved in to my curiosity.
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MUSIC&web23 Aug 2017 11:45 am

I didn’t see the podcast pop-up in the Stitcher feed until later than normal and then, there wasn’t a good time to post these notes while I was actually around to do it, so now, I’m writing up the show notes for episode 20 and thinking, “hmm… I should post last week’s notes.” And, through the miracle of future-dating posts… here we go…

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Album 1: Every Mile Mattered, by Nichole Nordeman (7/28/17)
I typically spare DNA the quiet albums – especially if they fall in the realm of CCM (no offense to fans of CCM). However, this is the first full album from Nordeman in 12 years, meaning she’s been out of the industry longer than some of the new faces have been out of diapers. Always exemplifying the balance between artistic and accommodating, she tells stories with each song, a canvas for lyrics that convey meaningful depth.

EVERY MILE MATTERED opens the album with a subtle piano refrain that leads into an immediate conversation designed to catch the listener up like two long-time friends reuniting over a cup of coffee (or tea). It all comes back so quickly. The sentimental journey continues with YOU’RE HERE and her vocal is just plain endearing. The chorus opens up a little into a catchy melody and rhythm that maintains a grip on youth and adulthood. And I know that the Digest won’t get far enough into DEAR ME to fully capture the marvel of this song construction, but I’ll encourage you to go back and take a listen to the entire song because it’s quite a moving experience (I’ve gotten goosebumps every time I’ve listened so far). Like what MercyMe attempted with DEAR YOUNGER ME, except that it’s done so. much. better. It’s like she never left.
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MUSIC&web10 Aug 2017 02:43 pm

I missed the live show yet again, but just finished up the podcast and I was a little surprised by some of the reactions – and I was surprised by this week’s “winner”. That’s part of what makes this fun. Not every album is going to be a hit and, fortunately, not all of them will be misses. That’s why I try to pick albums and songs that are distinct – that’s where the voting comes in.

I suppose it might be helpful to explain that, while they are hearing the music for the first time on the show, I listen a few times before making the selections – and sometimes first impressions do not prevail. Anyway, I write a lot below so I don’t have to write a lot here… So let’s just dive into the show notes.

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Album 1: Revival, by Third Day (8/4/17)
If I have to be the first to say it, let me say it as loudly and clearly as possible: I’m so tired of hearing how Third Day is going “back to their roots” every time they release a new album. It’s been so long since the early days of Third Day – you know, when their sound was still kind of fresh, new, and unaffected by the yearn for a better bottom line. That was so long ago that it really doesn’t matter anymore if they DO go back to their roots because it’s as stale as a bag of cheetos that has been sitting around in a dorm room all semester. It’s time for a new bag of chips and REVIVAL is that chance to crack open a… aw, never mind, it says this is a “return to their roots.”
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MUSIC&pop culture&web07 Aug 2017 12:46 pm

In case you don’t know, I am “producing” a weekly podcast covering music. Don’t worry, I’m not talking or anything – the dynamic duo of Aaron and Denee’ handle that. I just give them things to talk about. In an effort to cross-promote (or something that sounds social media conscious), I’m posting the show notes here.

Ideally, you’ll read them here, listen to them there, and really enjoy both experiences. I’m starting this week because… that’s it. Just because. Click the link below to listen to the show and read the text below for my thoughts. Simple, right? Here we go.

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Album 1: Wildfires, by Stephen Christian (7/28/2017)
Stephen Christian fronted the modern rock band, Anberlin, until they disbanded in 2014. He also launched a solo side project, Anchor and Braille, with a slightly mellower sound. Now he steps out again, moving from Tooth and Nail (home of some of CCM’s more controversial artists) to BEC Records (home to some of CCM’s more commercial acts). WILDFIRES is a solo album that serves as a worship project of sorts as Christian follows the footsteps of Aaron Gillespie. One can’t help but wonder if this is simply a sales grab.
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general&MUSIC&My5&web25 Aug 2015 04:58 pm

Today’s “My Five” (yes, I’m ignoring my absence) is in conjunction with a podio/radicast/talk show that I listen to live pretty much every Tuesday and Friday. Shoe the Doe Live (or Later) is the brainchild of Aaron and Deneé and if you catch it live, you get to chat along with them and try to distract them and affect the show. (Not that anyone would do such a thing).shoethedoe

Every once in a while, they do a special show, dubbed a New Music Digest, where they look at four new albums that have been released recently. They let the first few songs play on the show and add their comments as they listen to it for the first time. (Yes, very similar to when I used to do walkTRus, but I don’t think they stole the idea or anything.)

Anyway, since I don’t talk about music much anymore and since I’m trying to get back into writing more, what better entrance than this one to talk about. Here’s how it went down today:
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business&web08 May 2015 06:25 pm

I got an email yesterday from some movie theater chain that I must have signed up to receive rewards from at some point. The funny thing was, it was in Spanish and I know I didn’t sign up for the Spanish version. I chuckled at their mishap and figured that would be the silliest email I received, but I was wrong.

Shortly after that, I checked my inbox and found a Mother’s Day offer from a restaurant that I like a lot, but my wife isn’t the biggest fan. Naturally, I opened it – not for the offer per se, but to make myself have pleasant day dreams of smoked meats and spicy sides. What I found was a very confused offer.

famousflop-email

Reading from top to bottom (as most of us do), I immediately assumed this was an offer for Mother’s Day, which is this Sunday, May 10th, by the way. A little further down, I see that it’s for “this weekend only” – which still includes Sunday, but makes it a Mother’s Day weekend thing. Okay, I’m following it so far, but then at the very bottom, we get actual dates: May 11 – June 14, which not only extends well beyond this weekend, it also excludes this weekend and Mother’s Day.

Double check your work people. Put as much care into your marketing as you do into those wondrous ribs. Now, onto day dreaming…

peace… love… bdg…

MUSIC&news&pop culture&television&web30 Jan 2014 04:31 pm

Okay. Enough dragging my feet. I’ve been tossing around the idea of a new format for this blog for a while. One that involves, you know, blogging once in a while. I know, it’s a crazy idea, but we’ll give it a shot, right?

So here’s how this might work. Each day, I’m going to try to talk about something that grabbed my attention in the news or pop culture (assuming there’s a difference anymore), something I’m listening to, reading, and/or watching, and something outside of categories that seems worth sharing or talking about. Then, I might sum it up and let you know what to expect next time. And, I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. This won’t replace the occasional book, music, movie or TV reviews, but will be passing mentions for the most part.

You can still expect reviews, commentary, and other features as time allows. I’m hoping that by forcing myself to write more often it will start a snowball effect. Let’s see how it shakes out.
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Bookshelf&business&web09 Apr 2013 12:59 pm

NOTE: I have some book reviews and another issue of The Overflow in the works, but first, this little rant/confession about eBooks.

The trouble with eBooks is the publishers, am I right? Or is it just the rights? As publishers are still trying to figure out how to best make money on these new-fangled formats, consumers are stuck in the lurch.

Publishers argue with libraries about lending their books and what restrictions need to be in place. Everybody and their mother wants to use a proprietary format to make sure no one else can read their books without following proper protocol.

And things like this image start to happen.

No reading aloud. No sharing. No joke.

In stark resistance to a culture that has leveraged digital platforms to over-socialize and over-share everything for the sake of “community,” the publishing world is doing their best to define their digital world with high walls, secure isolation, and clandestine individualism. If we’ve learned anything from the music industry, we know it won’t last.

And yes, I understand that the “reading aloud” that is forbidden by the restrictions above refers to built-in audio functionality of some devices that steps on the toes of the audiobook industry. They’re not really trying to outlaw reading to your children. Or are they?

Now, my problem with eBooks is that it exposes my bent towards becoming a full-fledged digital hoarder. [continue reading this post…]

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