Greetings and welcome to a new attempt at getting more folks excited about music. If you’re just looking for something new to jam to, or you’re a music crazed maniac like I am who can’t get enough, you’ve come to the right place! My goal here is to introduce you to the newest releases that will be hitting shelves each month, one for each week (I was originally going to do three per week, but as you will soon see, I can talk quite a bit…). There’s so much to get excited about out there, but never enough time to absorb it all – but no fear – I’ll get you pointed in the right direction. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Gavin DeGraw – Something Worth Saving
Release date: 9/9
This is probably the release I’m most excited about this fall (only slightly more than Yellowcard, but we’ll get to that later in the month). I’m so excited that I pre-ordered both a signed CD copy as well as the LP (basically so I won’t be without it anywhere). I truly believe that Gavin is one of the most underrated artists out there, even though he does have a legion of devoted fans.
For a guy that started out as the “One Tree Hill” theme song dude, he has come a long way and danced across several genres. Yes, everything has kept up that pop-rock vibe, but every album has had a slightly different sound to it. Free was almost all classy piano, slow and soulful. Sweeter rocked us a little more, with harder drum lines. Now we get Something Worth Saving, which someone on Gavin’s team has gracefully already allowed three tracks of to be streamed on Spotify: “Kite Like Girl,” “Making Love With The Radio On,” and the first single, “She Sets The City On Fire.” This is the most pop I’ve ever heard Gavin go, and after a few listens I have to say, it kind of works for him.
“She Sets…” is a power song for any chick walking through New York – and I say this from personal experience. It’s got enough to make your heart race and plaster a confidence across your face. So, I was sold on the new music just based off of this. However, when “Making Love…” and “Kite Like Girl” hit, I began to have my doubts. Where was my sweet soulful Gavin in the midst of these poppy tunes with… was that seriously a ukulele? Granted, he’s touring with Andy Grammer this fall, who went through a similar transition with his last album, so the concert’s mood will be set and consistent, so I gave it a chance. If there’s one thing Gavin’s already proven, it’s that he can give you lyrical work, and that, my friends, is how these tracks pulled me in.
Other 9/9 releases:
Jack White – Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016
Jason Aldean – They Don’t Know
Dawes – We’re All Gonna Die
Release date: 9/16
Dawes has been making waves the past few years. A big contributor to that was the song “All Your Favorite Bands,” whih has been praised as ‘comfort rock,’ bringing all the hipster kids to tears (I say that out of love, and being one of them). This time though, we’re promised something with a harsher sound; something sharper for our ears.
Taylor Goldsmith (Mandy Moore’s boyfriend – hey, I’m justified in that mention since she’s on the album too) leads the band now, but Blake Mills is responsible for the majority of this new production. The title track is a quick example of this, with the stripped-down sound of just a guitar and drum machine backing the airy vocals. It’s even a kind of call to what we’re seeing in musical attempts now – something driven by GarageBand as the primary instrument, allowing some creativity in whole new ways. Dawes managed to keep it just on this side of actual music though, instead of going too far into the ‘creative’ realm.
With Blake’s return to the band he originally played such a huge part in fronting, this new collaboration shows a growth in their sound and maturity. They’ve been saying this allowed for somewhat of a musical challenge, bringing a clearly different sound, while still at its roots, in all ways, Dawes.
Other 9/6 releases:
Meat Loaf – Better Than We Are
Taking Back Sunday – Tidal Wave
Kristin Chenoweth – The Art of Elegance
Release date: 9/23
I guess the first thing you should know about me is that, in regards to music, I truly have eclectic taste. I was brought up on The Beatles and Frank Sinatra, have been a Hanson fan for over 20 years, lost some hearing to heavy metal and pop punk as a teenager, and was (and still remain) a musical theatre geek. So on that last note, I bring you one of my favorite theatrical voices, Miss Kristin Chenoweth.
Kristin has graced the Broadway stage in so many memorable roles, possibly most notably as Glinda in the OBC of Wicked. She’s also made numerous TV appearances (The West Wing, Glee) and been one of America’s sweethearts for the better part of the past 15 years. She’s just so dang adorable!
In this collection, she brings us her classy take on timeless classics like “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Skylark.” If you haven’t heard her operatic abilities meshed with sweet soft vocals, this might be the time. While some might know her for her cutesiness, I have a feeling this time we will truly see that elegant performer side of this lady. And while we may have heard these songs for years upon years, it always remains a challenge to bring a new and interesting take on them in order to push an album. If anyone is capable of taking on this challenge, it’s Kristin. She knows these songs just as we all do, and now she’ll show us what they mean to her, too.
Other 9/23 releases:
Bruce Springsteen – Chapter And Verse
Shawn Mendes – Illuminate
Yellowcard – Yellowcard
Release date: 9/30
Let’s get a couple of things out of the way. First, Yellowcard is stating that this will be their last album. While I don’t believe them (I feel like we’ve been down this road before, boys), I will absolutely buy into this and cry when I see them in New Jersey (as any good little Jersey pop punk kid should) in November. Second, it’s hard to believe that after all this time the band hasn’t had a self-titled album, yet it seems so simple and fitting if this is really the end. One last story of us. Third, yes, I have pre-ordered this. The CD. The vinyl is already sold out. (Insert tears here)
So the band put out this incredibly sincere letter on the front page of their website about making the decision that this is the end. They explained that this is the time for it to happen, and this final release is a true labor of love. The entire site is overcast with grays, which is telling of the end, and brings the whole experience full circle (seriously, go look at the Ocean Avenue cover and tell me that doesn’t contrast perfectly).
The music has matured perfectly though. “Rest in Peace,” the incredibly appropriate first single, is so gripping in only the way Yellowcard can be. The lyrics are heart-wrenching and the music has you singing it loud as we have been since “Only One.” It’s a reflection for the band, and since those of us this devoted have been in it so long, truly a reflection for us all.
If this really is the end for this band, then they are starting it off very well. And while we’ll hate to see them go, this album is going to be a flawless send off.
Other 9/30 releases:
Amy Lee – Dream Too Much
Pixies – Head Carrier