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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Panic! at the Disco, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Brothers Osborne, Hank Williams Jr. and more

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, January 15, 2016

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Panic! at the Disco

"Death of a Bachelor"

(DCD2/Fueled by Ramen)

Grade: B

Within the confines of Panic! at the Disco, Brendon Urie has largely been a theater geek in rock 'n' roll clothing -- a guy who could hang at the Vans Warped Tour but attend Drama Club meetings at the same time. In that regard Panic!'s gleefully and unapologetically schizophrenic fifth album lets Urie do all that. With the official departure of drummer Spencer Smith and the relegation of bassist Dalton Weekes to Panic!'s touring lineup only, singer and multi-instrumentalist Urie IS Panic! now, and "Death of a Bachelor" is for all intents and purposes a Urie solo album, created with some key collaborators -- including chief co-producer Jake Sinclair and a cadre of hit-making co-writers -- and letting Urie traipse through hip-hop flavored pop anthems such as "Victorious" and "Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time" (with its lick from the B-52's "Rock Lobster"), the brassy gospel of the Chicago-sampling "Hallelujah," the big band shuffle of "Crazy = Genius" and the crooning vocal showcases "Impossible Year" and the title track. It's all polished, pristine and confident, even if the dramatic arrangement of "House of Memories" is hanging on a thread at times. "We got to turn up the crazy," Urie declares at the start of the 11-track set, but in his hands this wide-ranging stylistic adventure winds up making absolute sense.

New & Nteworthy:

Blaze Ya Dead Home, "The Casket Factory" (Majik Ninja): The Mount Clemens rapper's eight release is his second for Twiztid's Majik Ninja label and features Kung Fu Vampire on the single, "Ghost."

Brothers Osborne, "Pawn Shop" (EMI Nashville): The sibling country duo drops its debut album after lighting up fans with previous singles such as "Rum" and "Stay a Little Longer."

Baaba Maal, "Traveller" Marathon ARtist): The Senagalese artist recorded his these nine tracks at home and in London, with Mumford & Sons' Winston Marshall joining the party.

Randy Rogers Band, "Nothing Shines Like Neon" (Lil' Buddy Toons): The Texas country troupe's latest features collaborations with Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson and Jerry Jeff Walker.

Hank Williams Jr., "It's About Time" (Nash Icon): The grizzled country veteran's latest features team-ups with Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Brantley Gilbert and Justin Moore.

Danny Wood, "Look At Me" (Essential Media Group): The New Kid on the Block takes a more serious singer-songwriter turn on his seventh solo album.

Also Out: All Them Witches, "Lightning at the Door" (New West); Anderson Paak, "Malibu" Steel Wood/OBE/Art Club); Arena, "XX" (Metal Mind); Matt Costa, "Live in London" (Colored Glass); Daughter, "Not to Disappear" (Glassnote); Peter Erksine, "Dr. Um" (Fuzzy Music); Frank Foster, "Boots on the Ground" (Malaco); JD & the Straight Shot, "Ballyhoo!" (self-released); Jefferson Grizzard, "A Daydream of Hope" (self-released); Jesus Culture, "Let It Echo" (Jesus Culture); Stacey Kent, "Tenderly" (Sony Masterworks); Kidz Bop Kids, "Kidz Bop 31" (Razor & Tie); Dylan LeBlanc, "Cautionary Tale" (Single Lock); Charles Lloyd & the Marvels, "I Long To See You" (Blue Note); Lycus, "Chasm" (Relapse); Milos and the Beatles, "Blackbird: The Beatles Album" (Mercury Classics); Old Man Canyone, "Delirium" (self released); Opprobrium, "Serpent Temptation" (Relapse); Professor Louie & the Cromwells, "Music From Hurley Mountain" (Woodstock); Raffi, "Owl Singalong" (Rounder); Linda Randle, "Ageless Hymns: Songs of Joy" (Gaither Music Group); 7 Year Bitch, "Live at Moe" (Moe Recordings); Ches Smith and Craig Taborn, "The Bell" (ECM); Svetnia & the Delancey Five, "Night at the Speakeasy" (Origin/OA2); Brooke Waggomer. "Sweven" (Swoon Moon)

From The Vaults: Bob Dylan, "Minneapolis Hotel Tape & The Gaslight Cafe" (Bda); Roger McGuinn, "Electric Ladyland 1991" (Sonic Boom); Wes Montgomery, "One Night in Indy" (Resonance); John Prine, "Bottom Line" (All Access); Pearl Jam, "Chicago 1995" (Smokin'); Stephen Stills, "Central Park 1979" (Zip City); Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Happy New Year Blues" (Hobo); Warren Zevon, "The Coffee Break Concert" (Good Ship Funke)

Soundtracks: "Downton Abbey -- The Ultimate Collection" (Decca); "Flesh & Bone: Music From the Starz Original Series" (Varese Sarabande); "The Revenant: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (Milan)

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