It’s a bit late, but here is the April Edition of Opening Notes! For those just wandering here, I’m journaling through my year in music, writing down first impressions of every album I hear, then listing the month’s highlights here for my amusement and your potential discovery.

This month was a pretty slight selection, but here are a few of my favorites. It’s a rather eclectic mix this time…

Kristene DiMarco – Safe Place
Genre: Soft-spoken piano-pop/worship. Think Sara Groves meets Feist.
First Impressions: This was a pleasant surprise from music review land. Kristene is a member of worship collective Jesus Culture, but this is nothing like the megachurch bombast of her regular gig. Understated piano pop and gentle worship ballads are the standard on Safe Place. My full review is here at JFH… major thanks to John DiBiase for sending it my way or I would have missed out.
Source: JFH pre-release

Andrew Osenga – Leonard the Lonely Astronaut
Genre: a sci-fi concept record.. fok meets rock meets singer/songwriter
First Impressions: Just as weird, awesome, and epic as I hoped. He takes the endearingly geeky premise and gives it heart and soul with thoughtful songwriting and a heartbreaking, yet quirky story. The emotions are raw and — dare I say it? — human after all. Extra credit for the Solar Wind EP, a collection of instrumentals and b-sides that didn’t make the cut, yet are still as good as the main record itself.
Source: Donating to Kickstarter. The Rabbit Room pre-release window is over (boo) but it’ll be out for real in September.

Jack White – Blunderbuss
Genre: Classic blues rock, with some strokes of country, rockabilly and such.
First Impressions: I have mad respect for Jack White. He’s just one of those freakishly talented guitarists with a trademark, old-school sound, and I can’t help but at least be curious about any new project he does. Blunderbuss, as the first solo album, really lets his passions out there and gives me a better sense of what he’s about. It’s a real throwback blues sound that reminds me of the classic rock I grew up on (yes, raised on my parent’s music… to my benefit.) and a fun mix of American rock history from start to finish. Bonus points for “I’m Shakin'” for making me miss swing dancing terribly.
Source: iTunes

Pioneer – Pioneer
Genre: melodic pop-punk
First Impressions: I admit to being a bit jaded about the rock scene, but while I’m reconnecting with bands I loved not too long ago, I’ve found something promising and new now and then. I met the Pioneer guys a week or so ago when they visited the radio station, and after giving their album a quick listen online, I bought it shortly after. Pioneer has that youthful, almost-poppy rock sound that takes me back. It’s a fun listen, and I predict will be getting quite a few spins this summer. Check out the acoustic version of “Treason”, recorded for 106.3 The Rock
Source: Stream on their website, then bought it on iTunes

New Records for April: 8. I’m not sure what happened. Guess I wasn’t on Noisetrade enough.