HEAR THIS: Mike Sempert
On his new album, Mid Dream, Mike Sempert (former frontman of Birds & Batteries) does the usual phrase-bending magic you’d expect from any singer-songwriter worth their salt, but his sonic adventurousness — with help from an all-star cast — makes it something you’ve got to hear. The stomping march of “Oceans of Rock and Roll” that drowns you in churning guitars and absolutely massive drums, electronic elements in “Finest Line,” subtle soul (complete with Rhodes and saxophone!) in “Ms. Metronome” (which has some clever…”percussion”), and even some straight-ahead classic 70’s-style singer-songwriter-y tunes like “Good Morning Young Artist.” Listen twice: once just for the playful and powerful tunes, and again to dig into Sempert’s natural-but-sophisticated verbiage.