Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 28

Getting ready to head out on the road this week to check out some indie artists.  Will be leaving on Wednesday for Casper, Wyoming (anything we should see there that day), before heading down to Colorado Springs on Thursday to catch LA Music Critic Award winner Gina Sicilia at The Gold Room.  On Friday it will be back to Billings, Montana for the Magic City Blues Festival and a performance by Anni Piper.  Then on Saturday we’re off for Victor, Montana to catch Melissa Forrette.  Gonna be a busy week!

INDIE NEWS

Our dear friend and faithful indie supporter Heather Jacks has a couple of events coming up.  First up is the premiere of the Stilettos for Shanghai documentary For Chechyna on August 7 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, which is a fundraiser for ORAM and Rainbow Railroad.  The second is the Project Nunway 8 Charity Fashion Drag Show on August 19 at SOMArts in San Francisco.  Please support these worthy events.

IPO (International Pop Overthrow) is coming back to Los Angeles.  Please support local indie artists like Patricia Bahia, who will be performing at Club Fais Do Do at 1:45 p.m. on August 4.

NEW MUSIC

CHVNGES is an amazing band with a new single, “Mischief Managed,” being released on Friday.  We love it and think you will too.  Check it out and let us know what you think.

Another band we covered last year, Junk Parlor, is releasing its single “Vultures and Weasels” on Sunday.  They have a very distinctive sound that we think you’ll like.

NEW  MUSIC VIDEOS

Our featured video this week comes from Denmark.  Straw is an amazingly talented family with a mom and two daughters who can truly sing.  This video rocks and we are proud to feature it today.  Expect great things from them as they expand their reach internationally.  We believe they would be an outstanding addition to the American music scene.  Special thanks to Doug Deutsch Publicity Services for sharing this treasure with us.

Los Angeles transplant Caitlin Eadie has recently released a new album, Balancing Act, as well as a music video for her current single “Wolf Cry.”  We think it is one of the best we’ve seen in a while, and think you’ll agree.

Last but not least this week is the new lyric video for “New Kids” by multiple LA Music Critic Award winner Jerad Finck.  He has been blowing up recently with both “New Kids” and “Criminal” charting nationally.  Enjoy this treasure.

 

Get it or forget it – Greg Sover, Mare Island, House Hounds, Aviator

As we close out the month of July, we are doing the last of our reviews for CDs released during the first half of 2017.  Here are our final four.

Artist NameGreg Sover

Album NameSongs of a Renegade

Label:  Grounded Soul Records

Genre:  Indie Rock/Blues

Track Listing:  1.  My Moment; 2.  Heroes; 3.  Preacher; 4.  Quicksand; 5.  (Make Me) Say Yeah; 6.  After Me; 7.  Deja vu; 8.  Ain’t no Sunshine; 9.  Superman; 10.  Cherie

 Publicist:  Frank Roszak

Review:   OMG.  We have a man-crush on Greg Sover.  Talk about the total package – amazing guitar work, soaring vocals and a classic rock feel that just feels right.    Although technically released in August 2016, Sover has not had any publicity or assistance with his career until recently, and this artist deserves some attention.  We strongly suggest that the music industry take notice of this amazing artist NOW.  His music is just plain good, and deserves both radio airplay and placement in television and movies.  Every song crushes the competition, exposing the hidden talent that is this Philadelphia blues rocker.  He deserves a national stage for his music, and we are proud to (hopefully) be the first rung on his ladder of future success.

Recommendation:  We don’t know why this artist has not become a huge star, but we are offering his Songs of a Renegade our highest recommendation – Get it NOW!

Artist NameMare Island

Album NameMare Island

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Dream Pop

Track Listing: 1.  Alight; 2.  Anon; 3.  Vanish; 4.  Crushed; 5.  Unawake 

Publicist:  The Syndicate PR

Review:  This seems to be the day for hidden gems.  This Bay Area quintet is just too good to be unknown, and we think their debut EP just might shed the light on their talent.   Their first single, “Anon,” became a huge hit in the San Francisco area, and it’s time for the rest of the world to discover what San Francisco has been keeping to itself – Mare Island is a treasure that needs to be shared with the world.  The five-song EP is simply too short – we want and need more!  All five songs are amazing and deserve more attention, with their moving musical arrangements, the wonderfully written lyrics, the ingenious guitar licks and the dreamy vocals.  This is a band that we guarantee will do well in this industry.  Let’s get them on a nationwide tour soon.

Recommendation:  Amazing work which we are proud to recommend – you should definitely Get this EP, and then pre-order the next one.

Artist NameHouse Hounds

Album NameSaturate

Label:  A&R Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Bird; 2.  Young Things; 3.  Karamel; 4.  Bully; 5.  Disquiet 

Publicist:  The A&R Department

Review:  House Hounds is another band from Australia who has a sound that we need here in the States.  They combine amazing guitar licks, drums and harmonious vocals to create a sound that is soothing and stimulating at the same time.  Their songs belong on the radio and deserve national attention.  From the first notes of “Bird,” to the haunting last notes of “Disquiet,” the band nails every song, providing a great soundtrack for life in the States.  We especially like their single, “Karamel.”  Australians are damn lucky to have these boys in their back yard.  We can’t wait until they visit us.

Recommendation:  Definitely Get it.  We promise you won’t be sorry you did.

Artist NameAviator

Album NameLoneliness Leaves the Light on for Me

Label:  No Sleep Records

Genre:  Indie Soft-core Rock

Track Listing:  1.  I Wanna Make a Movie, Heather; 2.  Nasonov Pheromone; 3.  Ad Nauseum; 4.  I Wouldn’t Leave Here if you Paid Me; 5.  Looks Deep Enough From  Here; 6.  End Scene; 7.  One Year Warranty; 8.  I Wouldn’t Live There if you Paid Me; 9.  Safety Coffin; 10.  Does it Make a Sound?

 Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Aviator has evolved from a hard-core metal screamo band to a more refined soft-core sound without sacrificing any of their passion or power.  The music still rocks, the screamo is still there, but the music is toned back enough that even other rock fans will enjoy the album.  You can feel the band’s angst and understand the lyrics enough to comprehend that they truly have a story to tell.  The pride of Boston will soon be heard around the country as it is impossible to keep a band this good regionalized.  Best tracks include “Ad Nauseum,” I Wouldn’t Leave Here if You Paid Me,” “Looks Deep Enough From Here,” “One Year Warranty,” and “Safety Coffin.”

Recommendation:  If you love metal, you will love this album.  If you like good rock music, you will probably like this album.  In fact, unless you only like soothing pop music, Get this album.

 

Get it or Forget it: The Vacationist, High Dive Heart, Franki Love

We had intended to publish this yesterday, but the link we were sent for Eli Raybon didn’t work, so we will publish it with just the other three reviews.

Hope you’re having a great Friday – here comes the weekend.  We’re busy around here finishing up on some reviews from the first half of 2017, while getting prepared for the second half.  We’ve included four more in this edition, with the final four coming in the next edition.  Let’s do this!

Artist NameThe Vacationist

Album Name Prime Colours/Bright Numbers

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing: 1.  The Sound; 2.  Daydream Preachers; 3.  Queen of Light; 4.  Elegance in Entropy; 5.  I am not This Face; 6.  We are the Right Now; 7.  The Bright White Lies; 8.  LaLaBot; 9.  The Catch; 10.  NZĒP 

Publicist:  None

Review:  As opposed to several artists from yesterday’s reviews, The Vacationist, or TVAC as they like to be called,  is a totally radio friendly artist whose songs belong on the radio.  Composed of long-time indie artist Cary Judd, Conor Souhrada and Sunnie Lynne, the band combines the best of these artists to create unique and insightful music.  They kick off their latest album with “The Sound,” and then proceed to blow our minds with their upbeat songs that bring positivity to the listener in the form of memorable musical accompaniment, well written lyrics and a happy sound that are the perfect recipe for a well-rounded life.  Best tracks include “The Sound,” “Queen of Light,” “Elegance in Entropy,” “We are the Right Now,” and “LaLaBot.”

Recommendation:  This is by far the best effort by Cary Judd to date, and we are so glad that he has found this band to bring his musical vision to life.  We highly recommend you Get it ASAP.

Artist NameHigh Dive Heart

Album NameGrunge Lullaby

Label:  abeautifularmyoftrees

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Smells Like Teen Spirit; 2.  1979; 3.  Bullet with Butterfly Wings; 4.  Creep; 5.  Black Hole Sun; 6.  Glycerine; 7.  One Last Kiss; 8.  The Freshman; 9.  In Bloom 

Publicist:  Red Boot PR

Review:  Composed of Grammy-nominated songwriters Jason Reeves and Nelly Joy, High Dive Heart puts its spin on mega hits from some of the biggest bands of the 90’s, including Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden.   The acoustic vibe along with the distinctive voices of Reeves and Joy bring clarity to these songs that was missing in the original versions.  Imagine being able to understand the lyrics, which are not lost in a loud rock accompaniment.  The listener gains a whole new perspective on these classic tracks.  The harmonies alone are worth the price of the CD.  We especially love the banjo on “Creep,” and their take on the 60’s classic, “One Last Kiss,” which was covered in 1999 by Pearl Jam).

Recommendation:  If you loved the original songs, you will definitely love these stripped down acoustic versions.  We highly recommend you Get this album now.

Artist Name Franki Love

Album NameOTIAS

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.   Notes; 2.  Dreams; 3.  Walking Wounded; 4.  Truth; 5.  Shoes; 6.  Hearts; 7.  First Degree; 8.  One Light; 9.  Crazy Ride; 10.  Lullaby

Publicist:  None

Review:   Franki Love has such a pure sweet voice, that she could sing the phone book and it would sound great.  These songs are radio friendly, chill-worthy and suitable for placement in a myriad of commercials, television and movies.  They soothe the wounded soul and provide a perfect environment for introspection and relaxation.  Love is definitely an artist for the present and the future, and we believe she and her songs will only get better.  She deserves a wider audience and Otias is the perfect vehicle to make that happen.  Best tracks include “Dreams,” “Walking Wounded,” “Shoes,” “First Degree,” and “Crazy Ride.”

Recommendation:  If you love ballads with soothing vocals and meaty lyrics, then this is definitely the album for you.  We highly recommend you Get it as soon as you can.

Get it or forget it: Maita, Scarlett Taylor, Garrison Starr, Vacant Home

Now that the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017 have been put to bed, we can begin looking at submissions for the second half.  With the exception of Maita’s Waterbearer, these albums will be considered for the second half awards, even though they were technically released in June 2017.  They were unfortunately overlooked in the nearly 100 submissions for the first half, so we are giving them a fresh look now.

Artist NameMaita

Album NameWaterbearer

Label:  Maita Music

Genre:  Folk/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Kinder Than Most; 2.  Geography; 3.  Too Tired to Love You; 4.  Burned Out Has Been; 5.  Waterbearer

 Publicist:  None

Review:  Maria Maita-Keppeler is one half of the Americana duo The American West, but also is the lead singer of her own band, Maita.  Her short five-song EP is a breath of fresh air in the female singer-songwriter genre, and bodes well for this budding artist.  Her voice is haunting like Gillian Welch and Shannon Hurley, and is perfectly suited to the lyrics she has skillfully written.  All five songs are perfect for a chill afternoon or night, enjoyed with a beer or wine, while the listener contemplates the meaning of life.  Give her a listen and let us know what you think.

Recommendation:  We definitely think this one is a keeper and recommend you Get it for your collection.

Artist NameScarlett Taylor

Album NameIII

Label:  Borderline Musick

Genre:  Alternate Pop

Track Listing:  1.  I can Fly; 2.  Children of the Sun; 3.  Concrete Angels; 4.  Orphan; 5.  Unborn 

Publicist:  None

Review:  We reviewed her second album, Churches, last November.  What we said then still goes, but Taylor continues to work on her style, and the lyrical content has gotten better.  She is still not a radio friendly artist, but her music makes you stop and think about the issues she is addressing, and her unique musical background provides the perfect foundation for her truth.  This album is dedicated to those who suffer from addiction, and the toll it takes on them and those who love them.  She also continues to make interesting music videos that bring out the darkness in her music, and we think that she still has a lot to say.  Our favorite cuts are “Children of the Sun” and “Concrete Angels,” and the music video for the latter is definitely worth checking out.

Recommendation:  If you like your music dark, disturbing but relevant, than you should Get this album.

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Artist NameGarrison Starr

Album NameWhat if There is no Destination

Label:   Self-released

Genre:  Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Track Listing:  1.  Put Your Weapon Down; 2.  Hollow; 3.  Easy Mark; 4.  All About You; 5.  The Lucky One; 6.  Tough Girl

Publicist:  Red Boot PR

Review:  From the opening notes of the powerful protest song, “Put Your Weapon Down,” it becomes quickly apparent that this is no ordinary indie artist.  Starr is a woman on a mission, with a dynamic story to tell and a lesson to teach.  Her voice is throaty and unique, carrying the truth of her words deep into your consciousness.  Her musical background is simple but provides the necessary foundation for these liberating words.  Starr is an indie artist who has come full circle, and is content in her DIY “indieness.”  But that doesn’t mean the world is not taking notice of her music and her message, as indicated by her recent participation as part of Amy Pohler’s Smart Girls.  We love everything on this EP, but especially “Put Your Weapon Down,” which was Starr’s response to the Pulse tragedy in Orlando last June.  Stop and smell the roses while you listen to the wisdom of these songs.

Recommendation:  This one is a total no-brainer.  You NEED to Get it, now!

Photo courtesy of Split Task Media

Artist NameVacant Home

Album NameReflect, Respond

Label:  Mutant League Records

Genre:  Post Hardcore Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Lament; 2.  Bliss; 3.  Inner Peace; 4.  Shiver; 5.  Back Bay; 6.  Reflect Respond; 7.  Heirloom 

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Vacant Home comes to us from Perth, Australia.  Their music starts out as great indie rock, with stirring guitar riffs and pounding drums, providing a nice musical interlude.  But then the Screamo vocals come in and the serene mood is lost.  This is definitely an album for hard rock lovers.  There are moments when the lyrics are sung, but they are lost amidst the angst and the screams.  It is apparent that this bad is pissed off and wants the world to know it.  Were it not for the screaming of the lyrics, we might actually be able to understand their message.  Nevertheless, their instrumentation is strong, and make it worthy of a closer listen.

Recommendation:  This is another artist that is not radio friendly.  However, if you can understand the screaming, and like that kind of music, then this is a strong effort.  For the rest of us, just Forget it.

 

Announcement of LA Music Critic Award winners for first half of 2017

Wow.  Color us impressed.  The article revealing the nominations for the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017 has set records for Indie Voice Blog.  During the past two weeks, the article alone generated 3,706 views in 36 different countries, who left a staggering 526 comments.  Overall, our blog has seen 4,523 total views during the same two week period.  We thank you for your support of indie music.  Without further ado, here are the winners for the first half of 2017.  The winner’s name is indicated in bold type.

BEST EP (Male) – Joe Goodkin (Record of Loss); Ed Prosek (Flesh and Blood Part 1); Ian Mahan (Rockford); Ray Goren (Free)

BEST EP (Female) – Meresha (Enter the Dreamland); Carrie Lane (California Freaks); Kris Angeles (Heartbreak is Contagious)

BEST EP (Group) – Gold Casio (Fever Dreams); Stereo Off (EP III); Echo Underground (Vows); Rococode (Young Ones); The Wild Now (Afterglow)

BEST CD (Male) – Chris Shifflett (West Coast Tour); Rod Melancon (Southern Gothic); David Ryan Harrris (Songs for Other People); AJ Hobbs (Too Much is Never Enough); Jared Tyler (Dirt on Your Hands)

BEST CD (Female)Janey Street (In my Own Skin); Wendy Sweetlove (Dirty Sunday); Sara Petite (The Road Less Traveled); Jennifer Vazquez (Rediscovering Me); Amilia K. Spicer (Wow and Flutter)

BEST CD (Group) – The American West (The Soot Will Bring us Back Again); Jeffrey Halford and the Healers (Lo-fi Dreams); King Washington (Potential); The Dream Eaters (We are a Curse); The Show Ponies (How it all Goes Down); Breaking Grass (Warning Signs)

BEST VIDEO (OFFICIAL) (Male) – Curtis Peoples (“Damage Control”); Dario (“Good Morning World”); Jared Tyler (“Dirt on Your Hands”); Rod Melancon (“Different Man”); Chris Shiflett (“Sticks and Stones”); Michael Hornbuckle (“Angel”)

BEST VIDEO (OFFICIAL) (Female) – MILCK (“Quiet”); Alice Wallace (“The Same Old Song”); Shannon Hurley (“Someday”); See (“Green Line Killer”); Marina V (“Born to the Stars”); Cindy Alexander (“Deep Waters”)

BEST VIDEO (OFFICIAL) (Group) – Backbone (“Supa Waz Guy”); The Wild Now (“Run for Your Life”); The Show Ponies (“Kalamazoo”); Halo Circus (“Band Aid”); King Washington (“My Reflection”)

BEST VIDEO (LIVE) – Jerad Finck (“Pieces of April”); The Spider Accomplice (“User”); Chelsea Williams (“Boomerang”); Gabe Dixon (Balcony TV) (“Holding Her Freedom”); Lucy and La Mer (Balcony TV) (“Honey, Put Your Weapons Down”)

BEST VIDEO (LYRIC)The Spider Accomplice (“Atmosphere”); Gerry Beckley (“Serious”); Jennifer Vazquez (“Rocked”); Jennifer Vazquez (“Worst Enemy”); Gigi Rich (“All in my Head”)

BEST VIDEO (COVER)Alexis Keegan (“When Doves Cry”/”Purple Rain”); The Daybreaks (“Nothing Compares 2 U”); Dave Yaden (“Humble”); Frank Shiner (“Rainy Night in Georgia”)

BEST VIDEO (COMEDY)Scout Durwood (“All the Pretty Bottles”); Scout Durwood (“Take One Thing Off”); Un5Gettable (“Honest Singing Telegrams – part 2”)

BEST VIDEO (COLLABORATION) – Curtis Peoples & Marie Digby (“Not Enough Drugs”); Frank and Lindsay Shiner (“When Something is Wrong With my Baby”); DJ Polique (ft. Snoop Dog, Follow Your Instinct and Jacob Luttrell) (“Dimes Only”)

BEST SINGLE (Male) – Curtis Peoples (“Damage Control”); Frank Shiner (“Rainy Night in Georgia”), Jerad Finck (“New Kids”)

BEST SINGLE (Female)Susan Calloway (“No Time for This”); Marina V (“Born to the Stars”), Kanisha K (“Bet on Me”); DANI Le Rose (“I’ve Told Lies”); Wendy Sweetlove (“Delilah”)

BEST SINGLE (Group) – Brit Royal (“Change”); Basement Revolver (“Tree Trunks”); FlecHaus (“What We’ve Got”); Breaking Grass (“Annie”); Birds and Arrows (“Stay Down”)

BEST COUNTRY ARTISTAlice Wallace, Jennifer Vazquez, Rod Melancon, AJ Hobbs, Warren Sellers, Tara Dente

BEST COUNTRY BAND – Calico the Band, Honey County

BEST BLUES ARTIST – Janiva Magness, Gina Sicilia

BEST BLUES BANDPolly O’Keary & the Rhythm Method, Papermoon Gypsys

BEST FUSION ARTIST/BAND – Mitre, Nancy Sanchez, San Miguel

BEST POP ARTIST – Shannon Hurley, David Ryan Harris, Wendy Sweetlove, Meresha, Ian Mahan

BEST POP BANDLovers and Poets, The Dream Eaters, The Wild Now, Rococode, Single by Sunday

BEST ROCK ARTISTJaney Street, Lizard McGee, Jack Spann

BEST ROCK BANDThe Spider Accomplice, Desert Culture, Husky, Hayride Casualties, Banditos

BEST R&B/SOUL ARTIST – Ray Goren, Derek Davis

BEST ROOTS/AMERICANA ARTISTAmilia K. Spicer, Sara Petite, Chris Shiflett, Jared Tyler, Pi Jacobs

BEST ROOTS/AMERICANA BANDThe Show Ponies, The American West, Imaginary Friends, Jeffrey Halford and the Healers

BEST BLUEGRASS BANDBreaking Grass

BEST JAZZ ARTIST – Dave Yaden, Irene Diaz

BEST REGGAE BANDRoots of Creation, 9 Mile Roots

BEST COMEDYScout Durwood, Jeff Simmermon, Un5Gettable

RISING STAR – Meresha, Jamey Geston, Bess, Kaylee Keller, Ray Goren

MOST SUPPORTIVE INDIE LABELBlue Élan Records

MEGHAN TRAINOR AWARD (Indie Artist Most Likely to Become a Household Name) – Jerad Finck

FAN FAVORITE – What a flurry of opinions for this year’s Fan Favorite artist.  In all 38 artists were nominated, but the focus seemed to be on five of them.  Honorable mention goes to Rod Melancon, Sara Petite, Breaking Grass, Pi Jacobs, Warren Sellers, The Spider Accomplice, Roots of Creation and DJ Polique, each of which garnered at least 10 votes.  When the smoke cleared, however, FlecHaus squeaked out a victory over Dario by only two votes, with Polly O’Keary and Janey Street tied for third and just six votes behind.  Wendy Sweetlove rounds out the Top Five vote getters.

Thanks again for all of your support of indie music.  Now it’s time to get back to reviewing the CDs submitted for the second  half of the year, along with live performance reviews and our weekly Monday Mashup column.

Monday mashup 2017: Vol 27

Happy Monday as we enter the final full week of July 2017.  It’s been extremely busy in the indie world, so we’ve got a few things to share with you this week.  Please keep supporting indie music.

LA MUSIC CRITIC AWARDS

Speaking of which, tomorrow is your last chance to vote for the Fan Favorite for the first half of 2017.  Among the current leaders are FlecHaus, Polly O’Keary, Janey Street, Wendy Sweetlove and Dario.  To vote just click on this link, scroll to the bottom and add your comment.  The winners will be announced on Thursday, July 27.

LIVE PERFORMANCES

Last week was filled with great indie performances, as we travelled to Stevensville to see The American West and Maita, to Darby for Melissa Forrette and Mabel’s Rage, and to Spokane for Chris Chilton and Jerad Finck.  The American West review is up, and the rest will be published shortly.

This week Melissa is performing twice (The Ranch Club on Wednesday and at Highlander Brewery on Saturday, both in Missoula), while Shakewell will be performing at Missoula’s Downtown Tonight on Thursday.  The biggest event, though, will be Missoula’s annual Celtic Festival on Saturday in Caras Park, which will feature several indie acts including Spokane’s Broken Whistle, The Gothard Sisters, RUNA and headliner, Young Dubliners.

KELLY McGRATH

Kelly McGrath moved to Nashville about two years ago, and her music has taken off since.  Her last single, “You and Me Today,” debuted at #1 on CMT, and her next single,  “All That I Want,” looks to be even better.  Here’s a sneak peak of the new music video, debuting soon.

MUSIC VIDEOS

We’ve got a few great videos for you this week, and leading the pack is a past LA Music Critic Award winner, The Daybreaks.  It’s a highlight video from their recent CD Release Party in Nashville.  Check out our review of the album 🙂

Next up is one of our favorite artists on Blue Élan Records, and one of the hardest working Americana artists working today, Rod Melancon.  His past videos have been impressive, and his new one for “Dwayne and Me” will not disappoint.  Let us know what you think.

Last but not least this week is the latest from Amie Mirello, who has also found success after moving from Los Angeles to Nashville.  We are excited about this new direction for Mirello, and think you will be impressed as well.  Here’s her latest video for “Move Me.”

 

The American West and Maita: live performance review

We love to attend and review live shows, but seldom get to see some of the great indie artists that have been nominated for awards.  The winds have apparently changed, and we have quite a few coming to Montana and the surrounding area in the coming months, including several this month.

The first of those bands to visit were The American West, with Maita, who performed at the Blacksmith Brewing Company in Stevensville on July 19.

Based out of Portland, Orego, these two groups, which share the same players (Matthew Zeltzer and Maria Maita-Keppeler) bring some of the best Americana and indie folk music around.  As The American West, Zeltzer plays acoustic guitar and provides lead vocals while Maita-Keppeler plays violin and provides backing vocals.  Zeltzer plays electric guitar and provides backing vocals to Maita-Keppeler’s acoustic guitar and lead vocals when performing as Maita.

We previously reviewed The American West’s album, The Soot Will Bring us Back Again, but this was our first exposure to Maita.  Both groups were worth it.  The American West is up for two LA Music Critic Awards, Best CD (Group) and Best Americana Band.

Zeltzer has the perfect voice for Americana – soothing, but a little rough, which perfectly matches the mood set by the group’s music.  Maita-Keppeler contributed haunting violin that amplified the Americana feel.  They performed seven of the nine songs on the album, including three of our favorites – “Ghost Town,” “Voices,” and “Heart of Stone.”  Their harmonies are sheer perfection, and they kept the packed house engaged and entertained.

After a short break, Maita began her set, with a haunting voice that perfectly met the tone of her indie folk music.  Her songs were also haunting and memorable, while the guitar riffs supplied by Zeltzer added a bit of rock to the songs.  After hearing her songs, we can’t wait to review her album, Waterbearer.

We wish them well on the final week of their tour, which will bring them through Colorado on their way back to Oregon.

 

 

Lexie Rose makes ‘wrong’ feel right

We just discovered this amazing young artist, and felt it was the perfect time to introduce to you a future member of the Women in Entertainment family we started covering a few years ago.

Lexie Rose is a young lady with a killer voice.  She made her live debut at the tender age of 13.   Now 17 and on  the verge of releasing her debut EP, she has released an amazing first single, which we predict will be a huge hit on radio stations nationwide.

“Wrong” is a stand-out Americana/pop masterpiece featuring the sweet voice of Rose singing some hard-hitting lyrics that belie her young age.  The song is upbeat and radio ready, and makes this reviewer look forward to the opportunity to see her perform it live.  Her music evokes comparison to Fiona Apple and Martina McBride, with a little Lana Del Rey thrown in for good measure.  The melody is memorable and the chorus of “I was wrong, I was wrong, I was wrong,” will have everyone relating to the song.

“Listeners can find what they want in them,” she says.  “Like a lot of young songwriters, I’ve been on an extended circuit these past few years co-writing with many others,” Rose says. “The songs I want to sing are those I write about myself, reflecting my own life experiences and worldview. I always want my work to be personal yet universal, and relatable to anyone.”

Rose has become something of a favorite on the LA club scene, which she entered four years ago.  She regularly plays such hip joints as The Hotel Café, Genghis Cohen, the Hi Hat and The Troubadour, and recently performed at The Peppermint Club.  In addition to her solo and band shows, she also plays keyboards and acoustic guitar in her brother’s alt-rock band, Night Talks.  She is exactly what this industry needs, an artist that is staying true to her style and her soul, with her heartfelt lyrics.

“I love the time I spend songwriting,” she says, “but there’s nothing more enjoyable for me than playing live and feeding off the audience’s energy in those moments when they truly connect with my songs.  It’s also a mind blowing experience to be in the studio and be part of the process as a song that started in a raw, simple form comes to life as a full blown production.  After writing and recording material for so long, I’m really excited about finally having the opportunity to officially release my music and share it with a wider audience than ever before.”

We look forward to hearing what Rose and her producer, Max Allyn, have cooked up for her EP.  In the meantime, enjoy this first taste in her single, “Wrong.”  As the old song goes, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”  We await the release of her EP with baited breath.

To keep up with this dynamic artist, check out her Facebook and  web pages, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to subscribe to her Spotify and SoundCloud channels.

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 26

Welcome to another week of summer.  This was one of the weekends we wished we were still in Los Angeles, because we definitely would  have been at Dodger Stadium for the amazing Classic West festival which all our friends are talking about.  To those of you who attended, hope you had a great time with The Eagles, the Doobie Brothers, Steeley Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Journey and Earth Wind and Fire.  We’re so jealous!!!

INDIE NEWS

Heather Jacks, author of The Noise Beneath the City, creator of the Drinking from the Jug blog, as well as a huge supporter of indie music has announced that she is joining an artists’ collective and opening her first brick and mortar store, Rock A Record, at the Sea Hive, an artisan marketplace located at 1555 S. Coast Highway in Oceanside.  The new location will open next month, so please go out and support this true patron of the arts.

Montanan Melissa Forrette continues her busy July with an opening slot for the legendary country band Sawyer Brown at Darby Logger Days on July 21.  Tickets are still available at the event’s website.

Several of the nominees for the LA Music Critic Awards are visiting Montana or the surrounding area in the near future, and we plan to get out and support them.  This Wednesday (July 19) we will be heading to Stevensville, Montana to see The American West at the Blacksmith Brewery.  We will also be attending the performance of Jerad Finck at Bellwether Brewery Co. in Spokane, Washington on July 22.  Then on August 3, we will be seeing Gina Sicilia at The Gold Room in Colorado Springs, Colorado before heading to Billings, Montana to catch Australian Anni Piper at Magic City Blues on August 4.  We also hope to catch Redhead Express when they play at Music Ranch Montana in Livingston, Montana on August 17.

Other artists on tour in our area include Nina Storey at the Marmelade Concert Series in Salt Lake City on July 20 and Trevor Hall headlining at the Top Hat on November 7.

NEW MUSIC

Here’s an amazing track from Space4Lease entitled “Must be Something” that should help kick-start your Monday.  Please let us know what you think.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

There have been a boatload of new music videos released in the past week or so, and we have selected three to share with you.  Please also check out “You!” by Floco Torres, “Snitches get Stiches” by Wieuca, “Learn to Be” by Bryan Mackey and “Concrete Angels” by Scarlett Taylor, as well as “Coldplay” by David Ryan Harris.  All are available at YouTube.com.

First up today is the latest from one of our favorite singer-songwriters and close friends, Kim Divine.  Her new lyric video is entitled “This Time Around,” and we definitely think you will enjoy it.

Next up is “Underneath,” the latest single from Rosi Golan, one of the many amazing artists represented by publicist Laura Goldfarb of Red Boot PR.  We just reviewed the album, and definitely think this one is a keeper.

Last, but definitely not least, is the latest from California Country artist and multiple LA Music Critic Award nominee  and past winner, Calico the Band, with their latest, “The 405.”  Everyone in the greater LA area will be able to relate to this video.  Have a great week.

 

 

Get it or forget it – Wieuca, Daley, Mike Younger

Happy Friday.  Hope your week has been as awesome as ours.  Indie music rules, and we are happy to get your weekend off to a good start with these three artist.  Please let us know what you think.

Artist NameWieuca

Album Name Guilt Complex

Label:  Land of the Freak

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Snitches get Stiches; 2.  Slow War; 3.  Atrium; 4.  Enamel; 5.  Building a Shrine; 6.  Broke; 7.  Gas Giant; 8.  Canadian Tuxedo; 9.  Cold Beach; 10.  No G*d; 11.  Polyp 

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  This band wastes no time in letting the listener know that they have come to rock, with the first track (and current single), “Snitches get Stitches,” hitting on all cylinders in a style reminiscent of The Clash.  The second track, “Slow War,” which was the first single, reminds you of early Genesis.  Both of these tracks lay the foundation for what is to come, and we believe that listeners will enjoy the ensuing tracks just as much.  After the first two tracks, the vocals are not as polished, but they fit with the indie rock feel of the musical accompaniment, which borders on punk rock.  Best tracks include “Snitches get Stitches,” “Enamel,” “Building a Shrine,” “Gas Giant,” and “Canadian Tuxedo.”

Recommendation:  These boys deserve your attention, even if you’re not a huge fan of punk/metal/indie rock.  They have interesting things to say and an interesting way to say them.  For that reason alone, we think you should Get the new album, which is being released today.

Artist NameDaley

Album NameThe Spectrum

Label:  BMG

Genre:  Soul/R&B

Track Listing:  1.  Introlude; 2.  Until the Pain is Gone (ft. Jill Scott); 3.  Selfish; 4.  Temple; 5.  Slow Burn; 6.  Sympathy (ft. Swindle); 7.  The Only One; 8.  On Fire; 9.  Second to None; 10.  True; 11.  Distance; 12.  The Fabric; 13.  Careless (ft. Chiiiild) 

Publicist:  The End Records PR

Review:  We don’t ordinarily review albums released by major labels, but this one was just too good to pass up.  The first single, “Until the Pain is Gone,” features the voice of the one and only Jill Scott and has reached the top 10 on the Billboard R&B charts.  Daley’s voice is dreamy and the addition of Scott to the mix makes it a track that deserves to be put on repeat.  Once again the UK has given us an artist for the world, and his songs are some of the best we have heard in quite a while.  It is no wonder that his music has attained more than 25 million streams on Spotify and over 17 million views on YouTube.  This artist is so good that even Simon Cowell would have difficulty finding fault.  We especially love the funky sound of “Sympathy” (featuring Swindle), but honestly, there’s not a weak song on the entire album.  Even the closing song, “Careless,” (featuring Chiiiild) has a funky R&B beat, begging you to listen to the entire album again and again.

Recommendation:   This is one of the finest albums we have ever heard, and we strongly recommend you Get it when it is released today.

Artist NameMike Younger

Album NameLittle Folks Like you and Me

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Roots/Americana/Country/Folk

Track Listing:  1.  If I was a Wheel; 2.  Never was a Dancer; 3.  Poisoned Rivers; 4.  Drifter’s Lament; 5.  Rodeo Queen; 6.  What Kind of World; 7.  With Every Heartbeat; 8.  How to Tell a Friend Goodbye; 9.  Walk in the Mud; 10.  The Living Daylights 

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  Mike Younger likens himself to the social justice musical pioneers like Woody Guthrie, John Lennon and Bob Dylan.  After listening to his latest project, we would tend to agree.  His voice has that perfect swagger that makes you stop and listen to the words of the song.  Definitely check out “Poisoned Rivers,” which talks about the damage being done to our environment.  The album was produced by the legendary Bob Britt (Leon Russell, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Delbert McClinton), and that brilliance shines through every track.  We especially like “If I was a Wheel,” “Never was a Dancer,” “What Kind of World,” “With Every Heartbeat,” and “The Living Daylights.”

Recommendation:  Don’t think twice, just Get this album when it is released on July 14.