Nominations for LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2016 announced

Wow – what a year 2016 has been for indie music.  So much great music has come out that it has been a painstakingly hard effort to sort through it all and bring you our nominees for the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2016.

Remember – you the fans get to nominate your favorite artists for the Fan Favorite award, and your comments and feedback are considered by our panel when we decide who will be the winners.  So comment below, share this article with your friends, and let’s break 1000 comments.

You can also help us by nominating people who have either had a long indie career or have helped indie artists by nominating them for the Icon Award.

We look forward to your thoughts on our nominations, but above all, remember to support indie music.  It is the best music around.  Without further ado, here are the nominations for the second half of 2016:

Best EP Female: Katie Costello (From the Vault), Amie Miriello (Seeya When I Seeya), Gina Sicilia (Sunset Avenue)

Best EP Male:  McDougall (Reaching for Some Light), Year of Suns (Songs for Silence)

Best EP Band:  Stereo Off (EP III), The Spider Accomplice (LA:  The Abduction), JERK (Jerk)

Best CD Female:  Camille Bloom (Pieces of Me), Lauren Adams (Somewhere Else), Sonia Rao (Meet Them at the Door), Janey Street (Janey Street), Cindy Alexander (Deep Waters), Kari Kimmel (Poppyfields)

Best CD Male:  Sharif (Tangled Dreams and Empty Bottles), Bobbo Byrnes (Motel Americana), Patrick Joseph (Hindsight), Josh Farrow (Trouble Walks With Me), Michael Hornbuckle (Soul Repo)

Best CD Band: Streets of Laredo (Wild), Spiritual Rez (Setting in the West), The Congress (The Game), Spelling Reform (No One’s Ever Changed), Daddy Issues (Handle It)

Best Christmas Single:  Shannon Hurley ft. Brandon Schott (“Fairytale of New York”), Cindy Alexander (“Christmas Song”), Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”), Kaylee Keller (“Christmas in Your Arms”)

Best Video (Holiday):  Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Redhead Express (“Away in a Manger”),  Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”)

Best Video (cover):  No Small Children (“Ghostbusters”), Redhead Express (“Chocolate on my Tongue”), Redhead Express (“Clean”)

Best Video (live):  Patrick Joseph (“Piece of Your Love”), India Carney (“You”), Mitch Hayes (“All Fall Down”), The Congress (“Oh Babe”)

Best Video (lyric):  Jess Penner (“Together”), War and Pierce (“On and On”), Mikey Wax (“Helium”)

Best Video (official) Female:   Lucy Woodward (“Live Live Live”), Alexis Keegan (“Empty Heart”), Camille Bloom (“Pieces of Me”), Caitlin Eadie (“Don’t Want to Be”), Alyssa Jacey (“I Want it to Rain”), Shannon Hurley (“Heartbeat on the Radio”), Katie Garibaldi (“Delightful”)

Best Video (official) Male:   Jon Mullane (“Born Beautiful”), Dan Franklin (“Live to Dream Again”), Brian Travis (“Shipwreck”)

Best Video (official) Band:   The Spider Accomplice (“You Still Lie”), The Show Ponies (“The Time it Takes”), Spiritual Rez ft. Hirie (“Together Always”), The Congress (“Home Again”), Roots of Creation (“Struggle”), Sleep Machine (“Animal High”)

Best Video (Collaboration):  Earwig and Lydia Loveless (“Wasted on You”)

Best Rock Band:  The Spider Accomplice, Daddy Issues, Pollen Rx, Sleep Machine

Best Pop Band:  Lovers and Poets, Foxtraxx, The Congress, Ray and Remora, No Nets

Best Country/Americana Band:  Elouise Deep Water, The Show Ponies, Riddle and the Stars, Honey County

Best Pop/Rock Male Artist: Patrick Joseph, Year of Suns, McDougall, Mikey Wax

Best Pop/Rock Female Artist:  Jess Penner, Katie Costello, Cindy Alexander, Janey Street, Camille Bloom

Best Blues Artist:  Peach & the Almost Blues Band, The King Brothers, Papermoon Gypsys, Michael Hornbuckle

Best Country/Americana Artist:  Alice Wallace, Lauren Adams, Brian Travis, Katie Garibaldi, Mitch Hayes

Best Jazz Artist:  Lucy Woodward, Nancy Sanchez

Best Reggae Band:  Roots of Creation, Spiritual Rez

Rising Star:  Juliana Wilson, Meresha, Kaylee Keller, Rachel Brett

Fan Favorite:  (To be nominated by  the fans)

Icon Award:  (To be announced)

 

 

MCT brings the beloved movie ‘A Christmas Story’ to life

Missoula Community Theatre (“MCT”) has been bringing quality theater to the Missoula community for quite a few years.  Every year we wait in anticipation for the announcement of the five shows that will comprise their season, and the 2016-2017 is one of their strongest to date.  The season kicked off with Disney’s Tarzan the Stage Musical, which we reviewed back in October.  Their second production, which ran December 1-18, was A Christmas Story, the Musical, and it played to mostly sold-out houses its entire run.

We had the opportunity to review the play on December 16, and we were not disappointed in the least.

Directed by MCT’s Executive Director, Michael McGill, and wonderfully choreographed by Christine Pepin, who had previously choreographed both Willy Wonka and Shrek the Musical, the show was musically directed by McGill and Eric Houchert, with scenic design by McGill, lighting design by Spencer Perry, Properties design by Lesley Washburn, costume design by Linda Muth and sound design by Gregory Boris.  Hannah Ettema also brilliantly stage managed the production.

There are very few among us who haven’t marveled at the wonder of this annual movie treat, or secretly wished they could help poor Ralphie get his Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun.  Those of us who are parents can probably understand why Mother and Dad were worried he’d “shoot his eye out.”  All of this drama is why A Christmas Story has become such a classic holiday favorite.  This musical captures the best of the movie and tells the story in such a way that it compels the audience to become an active part of the story.

The true stars of this production were the children, from the outstanding portrayals of Ralphie and his brother Randy by Scott Larson and Finn Goss to the absolute cuteness of their friends, especially Emily Fortune as Mary Beth, Olivia Farnes as Esther Jane and Alexa McLean and Harley Pohl Smith, who stole the show with their amazing dancing.  Quinn Wyland as Flick also had his moments, especially the hilarious “tongue stuck to the flagpole” portion.

On the adult side of the story, the spotlight shone brightest on Mother, played by Colleen Rosbarsky; Miss Shields, played by Dara Wilson and The Old Man, played by Alex Kowalchik.  Scoob Decker was also instrumental in the production with his stellar portrayal of grown-up Ralphie, aka radio personality Jean Shepherd, while Casey Chaloupek, Ellen Taylor, Erik Heuchert, Heidi Sedivy, Jessica Ballard, Kelly Wilson, Mandy Elgin and Scott Ranf contributed to the adult ensemble, ably performing their roles.  We also thoroughly loved the Miss Shields dream sequence and the lamp dance, featuring Mother and the other ladies dressed as the lamp.

Big thanks to MCT for bringing this Christmas classic to our community.  We can all hardly wait for the next production, Urinetown, the Musical, which debuts on January 19, 2017.

Get it or forget it: Imaginary Friends, AJ Hobbs, Andrea Hamilton

As 2016 draws to a close, we have one last Get it or Forget it to bring you.  We’ve reviewed a lot of great music this year and can hardly wait to see how 2017 turns out.  Watch out of the LA Music Critic Award nominations for the second half of 2016, which will be announced soon.

Artist NameImaginary Friends

Album Name Falling Inward

Label:  None

Genre:  Indie Folk Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Spirits of Ballona; 2.  On my way to Nowhere; 3.  Shades of Fire; 4.  Don’t You; 5.  I Wanna be There; 6.  Heaven Knows; 7.  Karma Doesn’t Sleep; 8.  Keep Hope Alive; 9.  Never-Ending Nights; 10.  Forever and a Day; 11.  Generations 

Publicist:  None

Review:  Imaginary Friends is a musical collaboration featuring Stacy Robin, Donna Rawlins, David James and Tom McCauley, as well as special guest musicians.  This time around, those guests include Michael Yorky, Barrie Berg, Angie Taylor, Chris Garcia and Ed Gould.   From the first percussive beat of “Spirits of Ballona,” it becomes quickly evident that this is going to be a great record.  Add in those seamless harmonies of Robin and Rawlins, coupled with the backing vocals of James and McCauley, and Falling Inward becomes a must-have for every serious audiophile.  The perfection continues with “On my way to Nowhere,” a dreamy song that brings memories of CSNY. which is followed by the equally wonderful “Shades of Fire.”  The indie rock sound finally manifests itself in track 4’s delightful “Don’t You.”  The band even does a beautiful cover of Cindy Alexander’s “Heaven Knows” that truly captures her spirit and attitude.  James knocks it out of the park when he takes over lead vocals on “Karma Doesn’t Sleep,” before Robins returns with her mystical sound on “Keep Hope Alive.”  The album concludes with an amazing instrumental by McCauley.  Overall, every song is worthy of attention and will provide thoughtful insight into things we can do to make this a better world.  Thank  you Imaginary Friends.  You are true friends to the world.

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk to your computer and pre-order this CD, which will be released in January 2017.  You simply must Get it.

Artist NameAJ Hobbs

Album NameToo Much is Never Enough

Label:  Booker Records

Genre:  Country

Track Listing:  1.  Too Much is Never Enough; 2.  Life Without You; 3.  The Loser; 4.  The Bottle let me Down; 5.  Daddy Loved the Lord; 6.  Eastside; 7.  Shit Just got Real; 8.  Are you Going to Tennessee?; 9.  A Whole lot of You and Me; 10.  Take it Slow; 11.  Waylon & Merle; 12.  Tomorrow I’ll be Hurtin’ 

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:   There has been a lot of chatter these past few years from old time country fans who want more of that old style country music.  If this describes you, then your ship has come in.  AJ Hobbs has a style that mixes in equal parts Travis Tritt, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, which seems appropriate since the album was mastered by Grammy winner Pete Lyman, who has worked with this year’s Grammy nominee Sturgill Simpson, as well as Jason Isbell.   Hobbs even has that “country outlaw” look, with his hat, denim shirt and two-day beard.  He has also surrounded himself with some of the best musicians in country music today, including Storm Rhode IV, Jeremy Long, John Schreffler, Jr., Aubrey Richmond, Matt Lesser, Jim Doyle, Brian Whelan and Jeremy Long.  But the important fact is that Hobbs can sing country music like he belongs on the radio.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him amongst the nominees for next year’s Grammies.  He even gives a loving tribute to Haggard with an excellent cover of “The Bottle let me Down.”  This is a great album from start to finish, with “Life Without You” being our pick for the best cut.

Recommendation:  This album is scheduled for release on February 17, 2017, and we HIGHLY recommend you pre-order it to ensure you Get it before it becomes scarce.  We highly recommend Hobbs and expect to see more great things from  him in the future.

Artist NameAndrea Hamilton

Album NameHope and Struggle

Label:  None

Genre:  Hopeful Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Am I Dreaming; 2.  Finally Free; 3.  Our Love; 4.  Carry Me; 5.  Higher; 6.  Fevertown; 7.  An Easy Life; 8.  Love you Better; 9.  Meant to be; 10.  Colors; 11.  You Bring to Mind; 12.  Shadow Dancer 

Publicist:  None

Review:  The angelic voice of Andrea Hamilton, coupled with the insane production work of Kevin Penner, give Hope and Struggle life and instantly make it one of the best albums that will be released in 2017.  It’s hard to believe that Hope is Hamilton’s seventh album, and yet she is still a relatively unknown indie artist.  Although she has had some success in the pop world with co-writes with award winning songwriters and producers like Kevin Fisher, Ashley Argotta, Matt Arcaini, Jonathan Lee, Eman Cervantez and Tyrone Wells, Hamilton has not reached household name status like Kari Kimmel. This should not be true.  Hamilton’s voice alone, as well as the incredible songs on Hope, demand a larger audience and we think this album may just finally introduce Hamilton’s greatness to the world at large.  Every song grabs you with its musicality, while the thoughtful and heartfelt lyrics soar on Hamilton’s vocals, giving you hope in the midst of your daily struggles.  This album belongs on stations like KLoVE and Air One, as well as on other mainstream stations.  We especially like “Am I Dreaming,” “Carry On,” “Higher” and “Meant to Be.”

Recommendation:  Although the album is not out until February 1, 2017, we think this one is truly worthy.  We strongly advise you to pre-order it so you can listen sooner.  Go out and Get it.

 

Get it or forget it: Pollen Rx, Kari Kimmel, Daddy Issues

Only ten more days until Christmas.  We thought we’d get you ready with our latest edition of Get it or Forget it, featuring three entirely different artists for your musical edification.  Today we feature releases from two artists we’ve told you about before:  Kari Kimmel (pop) and Daddy Issues (rock), and introduce you to a new artist, Pollen RX (punk).  Check out our reviews below.

Artist NamePollen Rx

Album NameSunbelt Emptiness

Label:  Austin Town Hall Records

Genre:  Dance Punk

Track Listing:  1.  Billboard Promises; 2.  Control; 3.  Packaging; 4.  Apartment; 5.  Sunbelt Emptiness; 6.  Interstate; 7.  AR AK; 8.  Again; 9.  Sand in the Well

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  Composed of Maud Morgan, Ben Hirsch, Caroline Sallee and Maggie Exner, the music of Pollen RX is part punk, part pop, part indie rock and part dance, seasoned with a healthy dose of 60s rock and roll.  The music is memorable, complete with catchy hooks and beats you can groove to, as well as a message that needs to be heard about the difficulties of growing up.  Both Morgan and Hirsch provide electric vocals as they trade off on the lead, and the music this band creates is worthy of your attention, especially the amazing guitar riffs.  Best tracks include “Control,” “Packaging,” the title track, “AR AK,” and their single, “Sand in the Well.”

Recommendation:  Pollen Rx is the perfect prescription for what ails you.  We definitely think they have a great future and recommend you Get It, play it and dance on.  This album will drop on January 27, 2017.

Artist NameKari Kimmel

Album NameCovers One

Label:  Rykim Records

Genre:  Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Against all Odds; 2.  Eternal Flame; 3.  Ring of Fire; 4.  Rocketman 

Publicist:  None

Review:  By now the music of Kari Kimmel should be very familiar to readers of this blog.  We have been fans of hers since her early days, and she continues to surprise us with hit after hit, not to mention weekly placements on television shows, movies and commercials.  This time around, Kimmel reinvents four classic songs as only she can, adding that special Kimmel magic to the mix.  We love all four of these covers, and think that they stand up well to the originals.  our favorite is “Against all Odds.”  Let us know what you think.

Recommendation:  Kimmel’s latest EP drops this Friday, December 16, and we think you should definitely Get it, especially if you love cover songs by a classy artist.

New album releases on September 10

Artist Name Daddy Issues

Album NameHandle It

Label:  Play Like a Girl Records

Genre:  Alt Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Inside my Mind; 2.  Different; 3.  Dead end Road; 4.  Too Soon; 5.  Nice Try; 6.  Rusty; 7.  My Favorite Fantasy; 8.  Born to Fly; 9.  Your Lies; 10.  The Blade

Publicist:  Jennifer Allison Publicity

Review:  Girls rock, and no band exemplifies that more than Daddy Issues, who we introduced back in September.  With Angela Alvarez on lead vocals and rhythm guitar and Julia “Jules” Whelpton on bass and rhythm guitar, supplemented by Andrew Cushman on lead guitar and Brett Weir on drums, this band has a sound that sets them apart and creates an atmosphere where it would be cool to be a groupie.  Reminiscent of the Wilson sisters of Heart, Daddy Issues truly bring “girl power” to a whole new rocking level.  There is such a sweetness to their music that complements the cutting edge guitar sounds laid down by both Alvarez and Whelpton.  We love every song on this debut album, but are especially impressed with “Inside my Mind,” “Different,” “Too Soon,” with its obvious No Doubt influence, “My Favorite Fantasy,” and “Your Lies.”  The album closes with a very personal song, “The Blade,” which gives an intense message about the dangers of depression.

Recommendation:  One of the best CDs of 2016, this one is a true no-brainer:  you simply MUST Get it!

 

Monday Mashup Vol 4: What’s new in the indie world today?

Happy Monday – can you believe there are only two more Mondays after today left in this year?  Has it been a good one for you?  If not, what are you doing to change the future?  Indie artists are our hope for a brighter tomorrow, so get up, get busy, and let’s change the world for the better.

Kari Kimmel releases new album

Indie artist extraordinaire Kari Kimmel is one of the most well-known of indie artists, since her music has been heard in countless television shows, movies and commercials.  Hot on the success of her last release, Poppyfields, Kimmel is releasing an album of covers on December 15.  Check back for our review of the new CD.  In the meantime, get out and add it to your collection.  You can pre-order now on iTunes.

Foxtrax plays Sofar Sounds Los Angeles

Foxtrax, who we introduced to you in August, performed at last night’s Secret Holiday Show for Sofar Sounds Los Angeles, which was the 300th Sofar Sounds show.   They previously had performed a residency at Sofar Sounds in October.  Unfortunately we couldn’t be there, but we are sure it was a smashing success.  If you are an indie artist, you owe it to yourself and your career to become part of the Sofar Sounds experience.  Congratulations to Sofar Sounds on 300 shows.  Thanks for all you do for indie artists!!!

Alexis Keegan set to perform at The Mint

The music of Alexis Keegan was born in the soulful sounds of Motown and R&B, and Keegan wants to go back to those roots.  If you’re lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, you can get an early taste of the new sound by attending her performance on January 28, 2017 at the world famous Mint.  We think you will be pleased with the new sound.

Cindy Alexander to open for Eagles songwriter Jack Tempchin

Speaking of upcoming concerts, two of the best artists on Blue Élan Records will be performing together in a special show at Hollywood’s famed Hotel Café on January 22, 2017 on their Second Stage.  Don’t miss this opportunity to hear some of the best music in Los Angeles when Cindy Alexander opens for the famed Eagles songwriter Jack Tempchin.

Congrats to Janiva Magness for her Grammy nomination

And speaking of Blue Élan Records’ artists, we send out our heartiest congratulations to Janiva Magness for her recent Grammy nomination for Contemporary Blues for her album Love Wins Again, a first for both Magness and Blue Élan Records.

StageCrafts, L.L.C. to take over management of Stage/Sound

Theatre Unleashed Managing Director Gregory Crafts and his talented wife Jenn Scuderi Crafts have launched a new venture, StageCrafts, L.L.C., which will take over management of Koreatown’s Stage/Sound venue, effective January 1.  This is an amazing venue where we were able to catch Round Rock a few years ago.  We wish them the best as they continue to keep intimate theatre alive in the Los Angeles area.

Video Releases

Redhead Express, one of our favorite indie groups, has released their latest music video, just in time for Christmas.  This one is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit, as Kendra, LaRae, Alisa and Meghan cover “Away in a Manger,” bluegrass style.

Patrick Joseph has released a live video of his amazing song, “Piece of Your Love.”  This one gives us goosebumps.  Enjoy.

Come back tomorrow for another edition of Get it or Forget it.  Until then, keep it indie!

 

Get it or forget it: Landing, Serengeti & Sicker Man, Stereo Off

Wow – we finally did it.  This is volume 20 of our Get it or Forget it review series, and that equals 60 reviews in the past three months.  We are overwhelmed at the quality of indie music and the shear volume that has been recently released.  Congrats to all of you on releasing such amazing material.  Today we cover three more artists from the Noisy Ghost PR catalog.  Enjoy these reviews as we help you decide where to spend your hard-earned cash on music.

Artist NameLanding

Album NameComplekt

Label:  These are Not Records

Genre:  Dream Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Light; 2.  Complekt; 3.  Weft; 4.  Shifts; 5.  Thither; 6.  Grow; 7.  Coulds II; 8.  World 

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

ReviewComplekt is the tenth full-length album released by Landing, a four piece band formed when Aaron and Adrienne Snow, guitarist and keyboardist, met drummer/bassist Daron Gardner and guitarist/bassist Dick Baldwin after moving to Connecticut following graduation from Brigham Young University.  They later added multi-instrumentalist Peter Baumann to perfect their sound.  Multi-instrumentalist John Miller later joined the group to replace Baldwin.   Their music has an airy cosmic sound with elements of indie rock that focuses on instrumentation versus vocals, creating an atmosphere that envelopes the listener like a snowy avalanche of sound.  Like prog rock, this is the type of album you put on and listen to straight through, as each track builds upon the foundation laid by the previous track.  The album provides a surreal soundtrack to your daily relaxation and meditation period.

Recommendation:  If you like having music in the background while you go about your daily life, this is the perfect album for that.  We recommend that you Get it and enjoy it.

Artist NameSerengeti & Sicker Man

Album NameDoctor My Own Patience

Label:  Graveface Records

Genre:  Hip Hop/Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Doctor my own Patience; 2.  Boy; 3.  Impress a Girl; 4.  Loose Control; 5.  Hotelroom; 6.  Hills; 7.  Top Up; 8.  Beltloop; 9.  Remember 

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  Formed as a collaboration between rapper Serengeti and Tobias Vethake aka Sicker Man in 2013, this duo have created songs that add keyboard based musical beats to Serengeti’s verses and bring them to life.   Sicker Man has an intense control of his keys, which gives Serengeti the perfect foundation to share what’s on his heart.  Although these are the type of songs you might expect at a techno club or a rave, the lyrical punch provided by Serengeti makes them also songs you want to listen to and not just dance to.    Best tracks include the title track and “Loose Control.”

Recommendation:   If you love hip-hop, techno or house, you will probably dig this release.  For the rest, it might not be the best fit.

Artist NameStereo Off

Album NameEP III

Label:  None

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Sunsetting; 2.  Wolves; 3.  Venir; 4.  Disaster Plan; 5.  Ordinary Lives 

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  Based in Brooklyn, this dynamic band of musical wizards create music unlike anything you have heard before.  The beats swirl underneath the song, while outrageous saxaphone solos and deep throaty vocals emanate from the foundation to create a sound that is impossible to pigeonhole but which will appeal to listeners of a myriad of musical tastes.  It’s upbeat, catchy and fun, kinda like an 80’s new wave band discovering techno music.  We think you’ll like it, especially the first track, “Sunsetting.”  Check it out below and let us know what you think.

Recommendation:  This album won’t be released until February 3, 2017, but we highly recommend you pre-order it now so you can be sure to Get It.

 

Get it or forget it: Year of Suns, Fort Frances, The Show Ponies

Happy Tuesday.  Time now for the 19th installment of Get it or Forget It.  Today we’re featuring music from a pair of clients of the uber amazing indie PR firm Red Boot PR, as well as a long awaited review of a truly outstanding artist from In Music we Trust.  Grab a cup of coffee and join us as we discuss these three new releases.

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Artist NameYear of Suns

Album NameSounds of Silence

Label:  Milk + Gum

Genre:  Indie Rock/Singer-Songwriter

Track Listing:  1.  Rode the Darkness Home; 2.  Hard to Forget; 3.  Once it Comes; 4.  Plain Sight; 5.  Autumn Light 

Publicist:  Red Boot PR

Review:  Chris Matthews aka Year of Suns has had an interesting year.  According to his publicist, Matthews moved from one unstable living scenario to another, this relative died, that relative died, then another, and another, in what would become a tragic comedy of biblical proportions . . . except it wasn’t ever funny.  To top it all off, he also had an intimate relationship fall into dissolution, and was hit by a car in the San Fernando Valley.  Despite all of this, he has created a masterpiece of simplicity with an honesty and rawness that cuts through the crap to deliver powerfully inspiring music.  All five tracks deliver a message of hope, enthroned on a simple musical backdrop that focuses the listener on the lyrics.  It is in our opinion one of the premier indie releases of 2016.  We also discovered this gem from earlier in the year.  Check it out and we think you’ll agree that this artist is the real deal, whether simple and intimate as on the EP, or with a full soundtrack as below.

Recommendation:  Don’t stop, don’t think, just Get It!

ff-alio

Artist Name: Fort Frances

Album NameAlio

Label:  Roadblock Records

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing: 1.  You got the Wrong Man; 2.  Take the Wheel; 3.  Days get Heavy; 4.  Best of Luck; 5.  Sigh of Relief; 6.  Anonymous; 7.  Everything is Starting to Make Sense; 8.  Building a Wall; 9.  These are the Mountains Moving; 10.  The Light Years; 11.  This Year is Yours 

Publicist:  In Music we Trust

Review:  On first listen, you might confuse Fort Frances with Maroon 5, as they share a great lead vocalist and an ‘in your face’ musical style that is instantly memorable.  But on closer examination, Fort Frances separates itself in a way that only indie bands can.  They recently completed a very successful tour in support of their new album, Alio.  Listening to this amazing disc confirms the reason why – this band simply rocks!  Every song is radio ready, and keeps the listener occupied with its dynamics and great lyrics.  We could easily put this album on repeat and never get tired of listening to potential hit song after potential hit song.  Best tracks include “Take the Wheel,” “Days get Heavy,” “Best of Luck,” “Anonymous,” “Building a Wall” and “These are the Mountains Moving.”  So glad we were able to introduce you to this band with an exclusive preview of their video for “Going to California” back in October.  These guys are gonna be around for a long time to come!

Recommendation:  Another no-brainer.  If you love quality rock with great musical backdrop to brilliant lyrics and a lead singer that is fast becoming one of the premier voices in indie music, then get off your butt and Get It.

photo by Daley Hake
photo by Daley Hake

Artist NameThe Show Ponies

Album NameHow it all Goes Down

Label:  FreeMan Records

Genre:  Folk/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  The Time it Takes; 2.  This World is not my Home; 3.  Kalamazoo; 4.  Someone to Stay; 5.  Shoulda Showed Him; 6.  Folks Back Home; 7.  Only Lie; 8.  Something Good; 9.  Sweetly; 10.  If you Could Break That Chain; 11.  Don’t Call on Me; 12.  Bravery be Written; 13.  How it all Goes Down 

Publicist:  Red Boot PR

Review:  Laura Goldfarb of Red Boot PR has introduced this writer to a few amazing artists over the years, but none of them compare to this amazing band.  The Show Ponies combine the fun of Mumford & Sons with the lyrical brilliance of Bruce Springsteen to create musical genius that is destined to propel this band to the head of the pack and make them a household name.  Their video for “The Time it Takes,” which was formed from tour footage, is simply amazing.  The second track, “This World is not my Home,” rocks as only a true gospel bluegrass song can.  It is impossible to pick the best tracks, as every song delivers in its own way.  The multiple lead singers (Andi Carder and Clayton Chaney) make every song like a Christmas present that you can’t wait to open.  One thing that truly stands out is the amazing fiddle work of Phil Green, as well as the banjo of Carder.  Add to that the perfect percussive foundation of Kevin Brown on drums and Chaney on bass, coupled with the guitar and piano of Jason Hawk Harris and it is easy to see why we are so in love with this band.  If they ever come within 500 miles of your home, you owe it to yourself to get out and see them perform.

Recommendation:  This album is not scheduled to be released until January 20 2017, but we highly suggest you pre-order it NOW so you don’t miss out.  Here are the links:  iTunes or Google Play.

 

Monday Mashup: what’s happening in the indie world?

Welcome to our third installment of Monday Mashup.  The year is drawing to a close and indie musicians are as busy as ever.  The LA Music Critic Awards are on the horizon and this one appears to be one of the strongest ones we’ve seen in recent memory.  If you have released an album, EP, single or video since July 1, or plan to release one before December 31, please contact us so we can consider it for one of the awards.  In addition, we will have some great news to share in January regarding the Awards.  You don’t want to miss that announcement, so make sure you’re subscribed to our blog.

Jerad Finck wins grand prize in US Songwriting Competition

We reported last Monday that Jerad Finck had won the Best Pop Song in the annual US Songwriting Competition for his title track to his latest album, Criminal.  We have since learned that he also won the overall Grand Prize for the best song of 2016.  We are so proud to have introduced you to this amazing artist, and look forward to seeing what comes next.  Finck is a client of Ue3 Promotions.  Congratulations to you both.

Teen sensation Meresha releases new single “Together”

Meresha has released a new single.  According to Meresha, “In today’s world, we can’t let ourselves be divided because of our skin color, national background, religious practice, sexual preference or other beliefs.”  We wholeheartedly agree.  We think this song is great in many ways, and should be a part of your daily dose of healthy music.  Meresha is another client of Ue3 Promotions.  Download her song on iTunes or Google Play.

LA Music Critic Award winner Rod Melancon scheduled to play Hotel Café

Americana artist Rod Melancon, a two-time LA Music Critic Award winner will be playing a special show at the world famous Hotel Café in Los Angeles on Saturday, December 10.  He will be performing at 11 p.m. after the set by The Vegabonds.  Melancon is signed to Blue Élan Records and is a proud client of MAD Ink PR.  We only wish we could be in LA next weekend for this show.

Blue Élan Records releases A Blue Élan Christmas

LA Music Critic Award winner Cindy Alexander is among the artists with singles on the new Christmas release from her label, Blue Élan Records.  Check out her cover of the Dave Matthews Band’s “Christmas Song” below:

Video Releases

Red Boot PR client Lucy Woodward has released a video for her hit single “Live Live Live.”  We think you’ll agree this is an amazing song and an even more amazing video.  Check her out.

Multi LA Music Critic Awards winning trio The Spider Accomplice has released the latest in their video series supporting their album Los Angeles:  The Abduction.  Check out their video for “You Still Lie.”  We think you will see why this blog and LA Music Critic are so in love with these indie rockers.

 

That’s it for this week.  Please let us know if you have any news you want us to share.  Until next Monday . . .