Reissues, on CD and vinyl (and, in some cases, cassette) are a common occurrence when it comes to mainstream music. There are entire record labels, such as Rhino, Light in the Attic, Legacy, and Real Gone Music – among others – devoted to re-releasing albums by popular and obscure artists, often in remastered and expanded editions. Over the years, some of these labels have also included work by LGBT artists on their roster.
Patty Griffin’s brilliant 1996 debut album Living with Ghosts introduced listeners to one of the most impressive singer/songwriters of her generation. The combination of Griffin’s stunning voice and her skills as a composer of accessible and unforgettable tunes has earned her a steadily growing following over the course of almost 20 years. What’s more, other artists, including Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris, the Dixie Chicks, and even Susan Boyle, also love her songs and have made a point of recording them with reverence. Additionally, Griffin set herself apart from others by being daring on the edgy songs of her second album Flaming Red, the ambitiously spiritual Downtown Church and the consistently stunning pair, Impossible Dream and Children Running Through. Her new album Servant of Love (PGM/Thirty Tigers), leans more toward her experimental side, with Griffin taking new musical risks, especially with her vocals. This comes through most prominently on the title cut, the stomping “Gunpowder,” “There Isn’t One Way,” “Snake Charmer,” and “You Never Asked Me.”
Not since the late 70s / early 80s of its heyday has the EP (or mini-LP) experienced such an incredible resurgence of popularity. For impatient fans who simply can’t wait for their favorite artist to release a full-length album, an EP is a cost-effective stop-gap measure. On the other hand, EPs are a tease because just as you’re becoming familiar with a recording, it ends almost as abruptly as it began.
If you were wondering whether or not Active Child, a.k.a. Pat Grossi, could match the transcendence of his 2011 debut You Are All I See, after an EP that detoured into heavier electronics and featured duet work with Ellie Goulding, on his second full-length disc Mercy (Vagrant), rest assured. Mercy comes very close to recapturing the splendor of its predecessor. Grossi’s falsetto, set in the warmest of electro arrangements, can still raise goose-bumps, especially on “1999,” “Darling,” “Stranger” and “Lazarus.” Grossi hasn’t lost his knack for modern soul updates, something made abundantly clear on “These Arms,” “Temptation” and the title tune.
Everyone wants to be Avicii. Even established dance artists such as David Guetta and Calvin Harris. Unfortunately, both Guetta and Harris’s new albums come up short when compared to the incredible success of Avicii’s True disc, or Disclosure’s Settle, for that matter. Of the two, it’s French DJ Guetta who catches our ear with Listen (Atlantic / Parlophone), while Harris doesn’t move us with Motion.
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