Thursday, January 12, 2017

What Caught My Ear - 17.1

New music every Friday ... its like perpetual Christmas, even a dream come true. I'd like to think that the search for new favorites yields satisfaction through the process of discovery alone, but also connects with something deep in our soul that music speaks to as well as making us culturally more relevant. Dietrich Bonhoeffer claimed that music "will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” Henry David Thoreau knew that when he heard music, it made him stronger - “I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

For years I have welcomed new music release day - always a Tuesday in the USA until July 2015 when it was moved to Fridays to get the entire world synced on the same day to standardize chart performance and reduce the potential for illegal downloads. So, I thought this year I'd let everyone in on what catches my ear as I look through the releases. I know my favorites will still be influenced by first what catches my eye - either by cover art, title, or the artist and will most likely be genres that I have an affinity towards - but I'll try to be more inclusive and wider in my considerations in selections.

So for the first release day of the year - 17.1 - I have two titles that I've been listening to.

Gone is Gone is a metal "super-group" composed of Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Tony Hajjar (At the Drive-In), Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age), and film composer Mike Zarin. Not a head-banger? I wouldn't say I am either, but don't let that stop you from giving "Echolocation" a spin. At times bleak and heavy, the disc has a solid rock groove. As the reviewer on writes, this collaboration is "a steely and glum collection, with crunchy guitar riffs giving way to brief expanses of ethereal textures".

One that I've listened to on repeat in the car even more this week is "11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory" - a product of the always-fun and raw Dropkick Murphys. Addictive in energy, Paste Magazine's description sums it up best... "Loss and the possibility of redemption represent the twin themes of pain and glory fueling the Celtic-punk band’s ninth album". And you really haven't heard "You'll Never Walk Alone" until you hear this brilliant cover version!

Let me know what you think about either of these ear-catching selections of the week.