Get it or forget it – Great Willow, After Hours Radio, Nick Ferrio, Five of the Eyes

Happy Friday, the final one for September.  It’s been a busy month, and we’ve reviewed a lot of albums, 43 of them to be exact, and we still have eight more to do before the end of the month.  Here are the first four of those, with four more tomorrow, giving us 51 for the month – not bad indie artists!

Artist Name:  Great Willow

Album Name:  find yourself in Los Angeles

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Roots/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Many Things; 2.  Petaluma; 3.  Rear View Mirror; 4.  Find Yourself in Los Angeles; 5. The new Normal; 6.  With Care From Someone; 7.  Time Bombs; 8.  Secretly Happy; 9.  No City can Cure Me; 10.  Love Will Finally Find You

Publicist:  None

Review:  Perfect harmonies make any type of music sound better, and Great Willow has some of the finest harmonies we have reviewed in quite a while.  The perfectly combined voices of James Combs and Erin Hawkins is the stuff legends are made of, rising above the musical harmonies of the instruments in the band.  The lyrics are well crafted, creating a confluence of sounds that quiet the mind and ease the soul of the listener.  Best tracks include “Many Things,” the title track, “With Care From Someone,” and “Love Will Finally Find You.”

Recommendation:  This is an incredible addition to any Americana library.  Definitely Get it.

Artist Name:  After Hours Radio

Album Name:  What Happened?

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alternative

Track Listing:  1.  Shifting Standards; 2.  Nobody’s Home; 3.  Maryland; 4.  Wronged

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  Noisy Ghost brings us another unique act in After Hours Radio.  Their four-song EP is too short to adequately represent the level of potential for this band.  That potential screams out through every note, beginning on the first track, “Shifting Standards,” with its amazing keys.  In fact the keys are one of the best features of this EP, underscoring the intelligent lyrics and thoughtful arrangements.  This group is definitely worth checking out, especially the final track, “Wronged.”

Recommendation:  Although not well known, we think they are worth taking a risk for.  Grab your copy now.

Artist Name:  Nick Ferrio

Album Name:  Soothsayer

Label:  Self released

Genre:  Power-pop

Track Listing:  1.  Quit Acting; 2.  Squeeze the Breeze; 3.  That’s not how I Remember It; 4.  Soothsayer; 5.  Are you Listening to Me; 6.  Last Night; 7.  Everybody Talks; 8.  Food Court; 9.  Heart to Heart; 10.  Crow Song

Publicist:  None

Review:  If 70’s power pop is your thing, and you love Elvis Costello, then you should enjoy the sound of Nick Ferrio.  His tunes are upbeat in a way that brings back fun memories of a time when music truly reigned.  They also capture the feel of the 70’s, with its focus on the beat and the sheer joy of music.  It’s hard to go wrong with this collection of songs.  We really love “That’s not how I Remember It,” the title track, “Are you Listening to Me,” “Everybody Talks,” and “Heart to Heart.”

Recommendation:  We think this one will grown on you and become one of your favorite old school indie artists.  Give it a go, and see if you like it.

Artist Name:  Five of the Eyes

Album Name:  The Venue Transit

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Prog Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Atmosphere; 2.  Wasteland; 3.  Mirrors; 4.  Space Is; 5.  Passenger; 6.  Lust to Dust; 7.  Oblivion; 8.  Monsoon; 9.  Delta

Publicist:  Behind the Curtains Media

Review:  Their sound is a mixture of Rush meets U2, with screaming guitars, soaring vocals, intelligent lyrics, and a rocking beat that will capture your mind as you ears absorb the energy and power of this band.  The album hits the ground rocking, and never lets up as they take us on a musical journey that would not be complete with the requisite headbanging and air guitar of the listener.  This is an album to put on, sit back, and take it all in as the music swells around you and the lyrics creep into your consciousness, freeing you from the cares of the world.  Best tracks include “Wasteland,” “Mirrors,” “Passenger,” “Oblivion,” and “Monsoon.”

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk and Get this one.  It is a must have!!

 

Get it or forget it – Stacy Jones, Space4Lease, Amber Run, Pam Taylor

After nearly 23 hours of driving, I have arrived in Oklahoma where I will be visiting with my Dad and younger brother for the next week before heading to the Denver area for the Durango Songwriters Expo next weekend.  My brother just returned from his third tour of Iraq, and it has been nice catching up with him.  Family aside, we still have a few more CDs being released this month, so here are four more reviews for your consideration.

Artist Name:   Stacy Jones

Album Name:   Love is Everywhere

Label:   Self-released

Genre:   Blues/Americana

Track Listing:   1.  Mojo Potion 61 49; 2.  Wait for Heaven; 3.  Can’t Find Love; 4.  Stomp Jump Boogie; 5.  Can’t you be Mine; 6.  I Fell in Love; 7.  Love is Everywhere; 8.  One Stoplight; 9.  Gotta get Over You; 10.  Tough Girls Never Cry; 11.  I’ll be on my Way

Publicist:   None

Review:  Stacy Jones is another Seattle-based blues artist with a killer band.  Her music has drawn critical acclaim, including awards from the International Music and Entertainment Association and the Washington Blues Society.  Her latest offering not only features her award winning songs and band, but also a guest appearance from the one and only Lee Oskar on harmonica.   Jones incorporates roots, country and Americana into her blues regimen, and the result is a sure-fire sound that is sure to please all types of music lovers.  On this album she takes her listeners on a musical journey through the ups and downs of love, and what a journey it is.  Our favorite tracks included “Can’t Find Love,” “Stomp Jump Boogie” (which features those prolific harmonica licks), “Can’t You be Mine,” “One Stoplight” (with its upbeat rhythm, legendary harmonica and sax, and enough sass for an entire album), and “Gotta Get Over You.”

Recommendation:  If you love the blues, roots or Americana music, then you simply must Get this album.  If you love music, then you must Get this album.  In other words, Get it.

Artist Name:  Space4Lease

Album Name:  Drifting

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Must be Something; 2.  Drifting; 3. Lately; 4.  If it’s True; 5.  I Tried Calling

Publicist:  Behind the Curtains Media

Review:  Oklahoma based quartet Space4Lease has an airy sound that entice their listeners to give them full attention.  Their indie pop/rock sound with hints of psychedelica is a soothing respite from your crazy day, making their music a necessary part of your daily chill down.   We only wish there were more than five songs on the release.  We think you will enjoy it as much as we do.  We especially like the title song and “If it’s True.”  They are heading out on tour next month.  It would be worth your time to get out and see them if you live near where they’re playing.

Recommendation:  Give this one a try – we think you’ll enjoy it.

Artist Name:  Amber Run

Album Name:  Alaska

Label:  Dine Alone Records

Genre:  Acoustic

Track Listing:  1.  No Answers; 2.  Higher & Higher, 3.  Fickle Game; 4.  Alaska

Publicist:   Auteur Research

Review:   Amber Run has released an acoustic EP featuring two songs from their album “For a Moment, I was Lost, which was released in March, plus two cover songs – the classic Jackie Wilson song “Higher & Higher” (heard in the original Ghostbusters movie) and Maggie Rogers “Alaska.”  The band known for their tight harmonies and thoughtful arrangements, truly leave their mark on these two covers, especially “Higher & Higher,” which has a sound like Snow Patrol meets Chris Isaak meets OneRepublic.  The only drawback is that their covers kinda suck all the energy from the original versions, as their focus more on the songwriting than the vibe of the original songs.  On the other hand, their acoustic versions of their own “No Answers” and “Fickle Game” have their own unique sound and make Amber Run a band to definitely add to your collective musical universe.

Recommendation:  Although not our favorite acoustic EP, it is a worthy effort and worth the risk.

Artist Name:  Pam Taylor

Album Name:  Steal Your Heart

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  House of Cards; 2.  Squeeze Me; 3.  It Ain’t Right; 4.  Already Alright; 5.  Mountain; 6.  Ordinary; 7.  The Rain Song; 8.  Make you Mine; 9.  Tangled Up; 10.  Witches Ball; 11.  Nirvana; 12.  SnakeButt

Publicist:  ABIK Promotions

Review:  There is nothing like the sound of a female-fronted blues band, especially when she knows how to wail and has a rocking rhythm section to back her up.  Pam Taylor is such an artist and her third release, Steal Your Heart, is one of the best blues records this year.  From the roots rocking “House of Cards” to the dirty blues of “It Ain’t Right” and “Already Alright,” Taylor brings us amazing songs that belong in the musical library of all true music lovers.   Other songs we love include “Squeeze Me,” “Ordinary,” “The Rain Song,” “Make you Mine,” and “Tangled Up.”

Recommendation:  Add this one to get your music library to the “gifted” stage.

 

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 36

Happy Monday.  Looking forward to my trip to Oklahoma tomorrow to visit with family.  I will have my laptop with me, so I’ll still be writing articles while I’m there.  Still have about 13 more albums to review for the month of September, so prepare to be wowed by these impressive indie artists.

RACHEL ARIANNA LAUNCHES ANTI-BULLYING CAMPAIGN

We first learned about Rachel Arianna when she was nine years old, and released a song that truly touched our heart, “Walking Away With Your Heart.”  Well, four years have passed and Arianna, now 13, has released her new video for “Imperfect” which was spotlighted in the Huffington Post on Friday.  We are so proud of the stand this young lady is making, and we believe she will be making music for a long time to come.  This video brought us to tears.

JAY TINSKY AND FRIENDS SHOW LOVE TO HARVEY VICTIMS

Long-time booker Jay Tinsky, like so many of us, was impacted by the tragic events of Hurricane Harvey.  He reached out to some of the myriad of artists that have played his venues, and set up several benefit shows at Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles and Dante’s in Portland.  He still has one show left on September 26, if  you missed the first one on September 17.  Multiple LA Music Critic Award winner Shannon Hurley was one of the artists who played that first show.  Not only did she donate her talents to the benefit, she also wrote a song and made a lyric video of the song, “Love Wins.”  Thank you to all who performed and especially to Tinsky for organizing the events.

NEW MUSIC

If you’re like us, you need something dreamy to get your week off to a good start.  If that’s the case, check out the new single from Nightshifts, “All Along.”  We think it might give you the chill needed to get through your Monday.

Now that you’ve been chilled, here’s something upbeat and electronic to jump start your day.  We really love the sound of this single, and hope you will too.  Here’s “Drive” by Lael.

Our final single today should guarantee a good musical day, with its upbeat groove, impeccable vocals and overall musical excellence.  Check out “Ayo” by Isac Elliot.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

Our first video today comes from one of our favorite publicists, Laura Goldfarb of Red Boot PR.  It is from the group Pet Fangs, and is their first video,  “Gold Coast Dreaming.”  We think it’s another winner for the reining queen of indie promo.

Next up is the new single from Emma Cairo which we reviewed last week.  Here is her video for “L.A.,” one of the best songs on her new album.  We think you’re gonna love it as well.

Last but not least this week is the latest from indie pop icon and multiple LA Music Critic Award winner Katie Costello, who has consistently delivered some of the best videos in the world.  Here’s her song, “Hearts on Fire,” from her current album, New World.  Turn this one up!

 

 

 

 

Get it or forget it – The Persian Leaps, Surf Rock is Dead, Jon Langford, RVBY MY DEAR

We’re winding down through the September releases, with only 12 more after this batch,  We have four very eclectic bands for you today.  Hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed reviewing them.

Artist Name:  The Persian Leaps

Album Name:  Bicycle Face

Label:  Land Ski Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Picture my Reaction; 2.  On the Downside; 3.  Even Less; 4.  About the Lions; 5.  Pushpins

Publicist:  Behind the Curtains Media

Review:  The Persian Leaps release an EP every year, and Bicycle Face is their fifth.  It contains five high energy rocking songs that will help get the cobwebs from between your ears as they deliver their well-written lyrics in a perfect indie rock/power pop package.  Their previous releases have received critical acclaim, and their latest one will surely earn more of the same.  Their publicist pointed us to focus on tracks 1 and 3, and we would tend to agree, although we personally enjoyed track 3 more than track 1.  All in all this is a worthy effort, and we look forward to what next year brings.

Recommendation:  Just released on September 22, you can Get this one now.

Artist Name:  Surf Rock is Dead

Album Name:  We Have no Friends?

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Dream Pop

Track Listing:  1.  In Between; 2.  As If; 3.  Everything They Said; 4.  White Salsa; 5.  Fitting the Mold

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  Their music definitely has a new wave feel as they bring us their version of Dream Pop enveloped in an 80’s vibe, like A Flock of Seagulls meets Howard Jones.  The result is music that brings back memories for those of us who lived through the 80’s, and creates fond memories for those who didn’t.  All five songs are worthy of attention, but we really love “As If.”  The band will be celebrating with an EP release party on October 6 at Rough Trade NYC, so if you happen to be in the Big Apple then, we recommend you check them out live.

Recommendation:  The EP was just released on September 22, so Get it now so you’ll know all the songs before the Release Party.

Artist Name:  Jon Langford

Album Name:  Four Lost Souls

Label:  Bloodshot Records

Genre:  Folk Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Poor Valley Radio; 2.  Natchez Trace; 3.  I Thought he was Dead; 4.  In Oxford Mississippi; 5.  Mystery; 6.  Half way Home; 7.  Fish out of Water; 8.  What’s my Name; 9.  Masterpiece; 10.  Snake Behind Glass; 11.  I Felt my Courage Fail; 12.  Indestructible; 13.  Waste

Publicist:  Bloodshot Records

Review:  Jon Langford has a sound that marries country with folk rock, reminiscent of Cat Stevens.  His songs are well crafted with witty lyrics, incredible harmonies, and a simple musical accompaniment that highlights his vocals.  The pedal steel adds a unique depth to the music that further complements the songs, especially on “Poor Valley Radio.”  The music revs up a bit with “Natchez Trace,” before returning to the slow and steady rhythm of “I Thought he Was Dead,” with its bluesy feel and amazing female lead vocals.  Langford shows his love for his hometown in the song “In Oxford Mississippi.”  “Mystery” reminds us of those girl group ballads of the 60’s.  Other sounds that caught our interest include “Fish out of Water,” the rocking “What’s my Name,” the soft and dreamy “Masterpiece,” “I Felt my Courage Fail,” and “Indestructible.”

Recommendation:  You should definitely Get this one, as it will bring back memories of days gone by, while creating memories of the future of indie music.

Artist Name:  RVBY MY DEAR

Album Name:  Cycles

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alt Pop

Track Listing:  1.  10-17; 2.  Try; 3.  Cycles; 4.  Draw

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  RVBY MY DEAR aka Gabbi Cosnen comes to America via Perth, Australia, and we are sure glad she has arrived.  Her music is dreamy and radio-friendly pop, with a voice that hasn’t been on American radio since Dido.  The first track, “10:17,” which is also her first single, leaves no doubt that this young artist has come to capture the hearts of her new home.  The remaining three songs are just as sweet, and leave us wanting much more.  We can only hope that a full-length album will arrive soon.  Until then, just put Cycles on repeat and find your happy place in her succulent voice and sweet sound that envelopes you with hope and love.

Recommendation:  This one is a no-brainer – you had better Get it or you will truly miss out.

 

Get it or forget it – Vattnet, Elephant Stone, Halladay Quist, Christian O’Connor

TGIF – welcome to another weekend. The Griz play their first league game when arch-rival Eastern Washington comes to Missoula for a night game, just as the temperature is turning cold.  Should be an interesting match-up.  In the meantime, let’s check out these four new artists, including Montana’s own Halladay Quist (daughter of Rob Quist, who lost to Greg Gianforte in the last election).  Let’s hit it!

Artist Name:  Vattnet

Album Name:  Vattnet

Label:  New Damage Records

Genre:  Hard Rock/Metal

Track Listing:  1.  Spun; 2.  Dark Black; 3.  Sugar; 4.  Better Ghost; 5.  Sister; 6.  Chains; 7.  Time Will Prove Everything; 8.  Funeral

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  What sets this album apart from its peers is the fact that this band is good, really really good, and is not ashamed of that.  They sing, not scream, while amazing music lays the foundation for those songs, much like STRYPER in their heyday.  The songs are well written and easy to understand, while the guitar is hot and tireless, and the drum beat is wicked.  This is a band that, like Metallica, could cross over to other rock fans and actually become popular, not stuck in a heavy metal niche where others are afraid to go.  We are truly impressed with this band and would love to see them perform live, as we are sure that they would bring it home.  Best tracks include “Dark Black,” “Better Ghost,” “Sister,” and “Funeral.”

Recommendation:  You don’t have to be a fan of metal to like this band, but it helps.  We definitely think you should Get this one.

Artist Name:  Elephant Stone

Album Name:  Remix of Fools

Label:  Elephants on Parade/Burger Records

Genre:  Psych Rock Dance remix

Track Listing:  1.  The Devil’s Shelter (Young Galaxy remix); 2.  Silence can say so Much (Dominic TOY remix); 3.  Where I’m Going (Pick a Piper remix); 4.  Cast the First Stone (Al Lover remix); 5.  Love is Like a Spinning Wheel (Xavier Boyer remix)

Publicist:  Auteur Research

Review:  This EP features dance remixes of five songs from the band’s previous release Ship of Fools.  Most of the tracks are upwards of nine minutes in length, so get your dancing shoes on before listening.  On the first track, the sound is decidedly house and has garnered a lot of interst, while the second track features a more Bollywood, rave kind of vibe.  Track three returns to the more house dance groove, while the fourth track combines the two styles with a steady beat.  The final track is our favorite, and could actually find a radio home outside of the club with its consistent beat, great vocals and good grove.

Recommendation:  This is our first review of a remix album, and it is decidedly different.  If you are into remixes, and like a psych rock undertone, then definitely Get this album.

Artist Name:  Halladay Quist

Album Name:  Halladay Quist

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Blues/Americana/Roots Rock

Track Listing:  1.  The Ballad of Pretty Mae; 2.  What’s Coming Down; 3.  Fly Away; 4.  Let it Burn; 5.  Whirlwind; 6.  Go With You; 7.  Harvest Moon; 8.  Meteors; 9.  Love Come In; 10.  Just a Little Love; 11.  Mermaid Song

Publicist:  None

Review:  We first met this intriguing artist at the Flathead Lake Blues and Music Festival last month.  She is a multi-instrumentalist with a truly unique style that mixes portions of country, bluegrass, folk, Americana and good ole rock-n-roll to form her music.  Her voice is pure and smooth, like fine wine, and her songs are well-crafted with intelligent lyrics and just the right instrumentation to fit the song’s mood.  This is definitely one of those albums you put on and just sit back and listen, as every track is worthy of attention.  Nevertheless, we truly dig “The Ballad of Pretty Mae,” “Fly Away,” “”Let it Burn,” “Go With You,” “Meteors,” and “Love Come In.”

Recommendation:  Don’t even think about it – just Get it!

Artist Name:  Christian O’Connor

Album Name:  Wine Over Water – Blood Over Wine

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Something to Believe In; 2.  Down; 3.  Who I Want to Be;  4.  Yearn to Fly; 5.  Love Steps; 6.  Never Going Back; 7.  All That’s Dead and Gone; 8.  Believe; 9.  Friday Night Rocks

Publicist:  Inferential Management & Direction

Review:  This young man is getting a plethora of industry interest in his music, which has been used by such diverse entities as the NFL, NASCAR, NCAA Final Four Basketball, MLB and the Boys and Girls Club.  Just a casual listen to his new album and it becomes quickly apparent why.  From the hard-hitting “Something to Believe in” to the latest single, “Who I Want to Be,” O’Connor delivers music that has mass appeal.  He is chock full of talent, and knows how to share that talent through his intelligent lyrics, great vocals, and just the right amount of instrumentation to complement his song.  His groove is similar to that of John Mellencamp and Ryan Adams, and should serve him well in the long run.  We fully expect O’Connor’s music to last for many years to come.

Recommendation:  Don’t miss your chance to get onboard this fast-moving train.  Get his album, which is being released today, and be the envy of all your friends.

 

Get it or forget it – JunkYardFieldTrip, The Empty Pockets, Luke Dowler, Arro

Happy Thursday.  Getting ready to hit the road again on Tuesday to head down to Oklahoma to visit my brother who just returned from a year in Iraq.  After that it’s off for a three-week tour with Jerad Finck.  Life is exciting right now.  We wanted to introduce you to four new artists, so sit back and check them out.

Artist Name:  JunkYardFieldTrip

Album Name:  JunkYardFieldTrip

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:    1.  2 a.m.; 2.  Blind; 3.  Dusty Radio; 4.  Mercy; 5.  Collide; 6.  Lucky One; 7.  Sometime Never; 8.  Why not Me; 9.  We’re all Here

Publicist:  Working Brilliantly

Review:  A lot of bands today are labeling themselves as Americana, when what they are is more 70’s folk rock.  Such is the case with JunkYardFieldTrip.  While they have some elements of Americana, such as amazing fiddle work, their sound is more closely akin to that of 70’s groups like The Eagles and the Little River Band.  The closest they come to a true Americana song is “Collide”   On the other hand, their sound is very soothing and a true breath of fresh air in what can sometimes be a very stale indie market.   Their harmonies, well-crafted lyrics and overall sound place them squarely head-and-shoulders above the majority of their peers.  We really love the upbeat rocking sound of “Dusty Radio.”  Other songs that stand out include “Blind,” “Mercy” (with its Daughtry vibe), “Sometime Never,” and “Why Not Me.”

Recommendation:  If you’re looking for Americana, then this is not the band for you.  But if you want great music and a sound all their own, we highly recommend you Get this album.

Artist Name:  The Empty Pockets

Album Name:  Voices

Label:  MT Pockets Music

Genre:  Americana/Roots Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Voices in my Head; 2.  I’ll Follow You; 3.  I am Strong; 4.  You be the High; 5.  The Bubble; 6.  Need to Know; 7.  Reprise; 8.  Built to Last

Publicist:  None

Review:  Just listening to the first note of this album, and it quickly becomes evident why they are currently charting on seven different Billboard charts and touring with the legendary Al Stewart.  Their music is incredibly well written and performed and the vocal harmonies are outstanding, especially the voice of Erika Brett, which soars heavenward every time she opens her mouth.  This is true Americana.  We can only imagine how wonderful this band would be in concert, and can’t wait until we get the chance to see them live.  There are no weak songs on this album, but we really love “I’ll Follow You,” “I am Strong,” “The Bubble,” and “Reprise.”

Recommendation:  This is a definite no-brainer.  Get it and enjoy.

Artist Name:  Luke Dowler

Album Name:  South

Label:   JED Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1. For God’s Sake; 2.  Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!; 3.  A Good man Loves Somebody Else; 4.  Honey Don’t Leave; 5.  Out of my Hands; 6.  Hemingway Romance; 7.  Everything’s Gonna Work out Fine; 8.  Baby, We’re all Monsters

Publicist:  None

Review:  We met this artist at the 2014 Zootown Music Awards, and were impressed with his songwriting and stage presence.  He has now released a new album, and we are pleased as punch to be asked to review it.  Dowler’s music shows his Montana roots and determination as he brings those qualities to the indie music scene.  We will be showcasing his music video for the first track, “For God’s Sake,” in an upcoming Monday Mashup.  His vocals soar over the music, with its steady drums and well performed accompaniment, including a beautiful string arrangement on that first track.  Our favorite tunes include “For God’s Sake,” the rocking “Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!,” “Hemingway Romance,” and “Everything’s Gonna Work Out Fine.”

Recommendation: Definitely take a chance on this Montana indie artist and Get his new album.

Artist Name:  Arro

Album Name:  Freak Show Collaborations

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Circus (ft. Bo Power; 2.  Maze (ft. Josey Marina); 3.  She’s the City (ft. G.R.I.M.); 4.  Keep Moving (ft. Joe Gorman)

Publicist:  Vision Music Promo

Review:  Arro has been making a name for themselves in the UK, resulting in their single “Fever” being chosen by Best of British Unsigned.  They have crafted this short four-song EP with collaborative efforts from other UK bands.  The result is a finely crafted appetizer that leaves you wanting much much more of this tastiness.  We especially love the sound of “Circus,” with its hints of Maroon 5 setting the foundation for a great collaborative effort, as well as “She’s the City.”

Recommendation:  Another artist worthy of your attention, we recommend you Get this EP now.

 

Get it or forget it – Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers, Helen Culver, JD & the Straight Shot, The Black Hand

We made it to another hump day, which just happens to be the first day of fall.  We love this time of year as the seasons change and we prepare for the winter.  What are your favorite memories of this time of year?  Hopefully some of them will be great music, as we have four new artists to introduce today.  Grab your coffee and let’s get started.

Artist Name:  Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers

Album Name:  Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Blues and Funk

Track Listing:  1.  No Good; 2.  Trouble; 3.  Leopard Lounge; 4.  Move on Down the Line; 5.  Lost my Mojo; 6.  All I do is Work; 7.  When the Blues Come Calling; 8.  I Didn’t Know; 9.  Blue as Blue can Get; 10.  What the cat Dragged In; 11.  Last man Standing; 12.  Black Cat Boogie

Publicist:  Broads 4 Blues

Review:  There is nothing like a good solid blues rhythm coupled with an amazing female voice that understands the true sound of the blues.  Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have definitely learned those lessons, and turn in a worthy performance on this song of solid tunes that should be a case study for anyone interested in studying the art of the blues.  They understand that there are different grooves for great blues music, and they have mastered all of those styles on this album.  From the upbeat style of “No Good” to the slow sexy groove of “Trouble” and “All I do is Work” to the funky sound of “Leopard Lounge,” this band brings us some of the best blues we have heard this year.  This is a band that should be the house band for any television show that features the blues, as they bring an authenticity to their sound not normally heard by today’s modern blues bands.  Besides the aforementioned songs, we were also digging the sound of “Move on Down the Line,” “When the Blues Come Calling,” and “What the Cat Dragged In.”

Recommendation:  If you love the blues, you will love this album.  We strongly urge you to Get it.

Artist Name:  Helen Culver

Album Name:  Seven Year Glitch

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alt-Pop/Electronica

Track Listing:  1.  Ctrl-Alt-Delete; 2.  Drink by Myself; 3.  Red Light; 4.  Selfish Lover

Publicist:  None

Review:  Helen Culver creates the kind of music that house DJs love – a steady beat, great vocals and a catchy chorus that will stick in your mind long after the song has ended.  Her four- song EP is more like an appetizer, leaving us hungry for more.  She provides us with a myriad of alt-pop sounds that stimulate the senses, creating an urgency and desire for additional tasty morsels.  Although short, the EP is packed full of intelligent lyrics, great grooves and enough diversity that most listeners will find something they like.  No two songs sound the same, giving Culver a number of ways to continue delivering great music.  We will be here patiently waiting for the next chapter of this amazing artist.

Recommendation:  You should definitely Get it.  It shows great promise for what is yet to come.

Artist Name:  JD & the Straight Shot

Album Name:  Good Luck and Good Night

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Redemption Train; 2.  Ballad of Jacob Marley; 3.  Moonlight; 4.  I Know you Know I Know; 5.  Run for Me; 6.  Shambala; 7.  Good Luck and Good Night; 8.  Tonight; 9.  It’s Your World Now; 10.  Never Alone

Publicist:  Publicity Please

Review:  OMG – Americana will never be the same with the release of the latest from JD & the Straight Shot. Composed of vocalist and guitarist Jim Dolan, bassist Byron House (Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton), violinist/fiddler Erin Slaver (Martina McBride, Rod Stewart) and guitarist Marc Copely (B.B. King, Rosanne Cash), they pack so much experience into a tight package that it has to be good – and it is.  In fact it is so good that they are currently supporting The Eli Young Band, The Doobie Brothers and Chicago on their respective tours.  The chemistry and harmony between Dolan and Slaver is the stuff of Hollywood movie magic, and the musical accompaniment this band of experts puts together puts them at the top of the Americana genre.  Slaver’s fiddle work is also above and beyond, as she brings a quality not heard in many years, reminiscent of Charlie Daniels.  There isn’t a weak song on the CD, but we really love “Ballad of Jacob Marley, “Moonlight,” their amazing cover of Three Dog Night’s “Shambala,” the title track, “Tonight,” and “It’s Your World Now.”

Recommendation:  Get it while it’s hot.  These guys will make a memorable and lasting addition to your musical library.

Artist Name:  The Black Hand

Album Name:  The Black Hand

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Electro-metal

Track Listing:  1.  Every; 2.  Easy to Hate; 3.  Disappear; 4.  Daydreamer; 5.  Where are you Now?  6.  The Thickening; 7.  The American Pastime; 8.  Clarity; 9.  Bliss; 10.  Chosen

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Los Angeles is often considered to be a difficult town for a musician to shine in as there is so much talent and so much variation in the indie music scene.  The Black Hand hails from Southern California, and has decided to stand out by being hard in a town where soft sells.  Their music is reminiscent of Death Pool, with the requisite sreaming intact, but it is their musical sound that stands out from the plethora of other metal bands.  Absent the screamo vocals, the music is hardcore, well written and even better performed.  Their music could very well be a soundtrack for numerous films and television shows, minus the vocals.  When the lead vocalist does decide to sing, he has a good voice, but looses all credibility (to this reviewer, at least) when he decides to scream instead.

Recommendation:  Unless you are an avid lover of death metal/ screamo music, you’d best Forget this one.

 

Get it or forget it – Emma Cairo, Steve Azar & The Kings Men, Life Lessons, Jordana Talsky

It’s the last day of summer, and winter is knocking at our door here in Montana.  There is snow on the mountaintops and the night time is already getting cold.  Seems like the perfect time for another edition of Get it or Forget it.  We have four artists for you today, two of which are new to us, and one of which was a country legend.  We hope you enjoy these reviews and will heed our advice when it comes to great music to check out.  Let’s get started.

Artist Name:  Emma Cairo 

Album Name:   In East & West

Label:   North South Sounds

Genre:   Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  In it for the Money; 2.  Stalker; 3.  L.A.; 4.  Muse; 5.  Dirty Dishes; 6.  Colors of the Forest; 7.  Britney Wannabe; 8.  Sandstorm; 9.  Be With Me; 10.  I Don’t Understand; 11.  Monique Says; 12.  Intuition; 13.  Who am I

Publicist:   None

Review:  Emma Cairo hits the ground running on the first track of her new CD, In East & West, and never lets up, as she, very tongue-in-cheek, lets us know she’s “In it for the Money.”  Cairo mixes her Nordic heritage into her indie pop/rock sound to create her own unique musical manna.  We love the piano on the second track, “Stalker,” and the semi-serious conversation within the lyrics between a stalker and his victim.  The third track features an homage to her adopted home of Los Angeles, and also resulted in her first music video for this album.  Suffice it to say that every track of her latest project is worthy of attention, and should help her be able to “stay in L.A.”  Although the album was released in March, Cairo has only recently begun to promote the album due to a myriad of personal reasons.  Regardless of the delay, we are thankful to be able to add this album to our musical library.  Our favorite tracks include “In it for the Money,” “L.A..,” “Muse,” “Colors of the Forest,” “Britney Wannabe,” and “Sandstorm.”

Recommendation:  Get it now and support this amazing transplant.  We are so glad you decided to stay.

Artist Name:  Steve Azar & The Kings Men

Album Name:  Down at the Liquor Store

Label:  Ride Records

Genre:  Delta Soul

Track Listing:  1.  Rena Lara; 2.  Start to Wanderin’ my Way; 3.  Tender and Tough; 4.  Wake me From the Dead; 5.  Down at the Liquor Store; 6.  She Just Rolls With Me; 7.  I Don’t Mind (Most of the Time); 8.  Chance I’ll Take; 9.  Over it All; 10.  The Road Isn’t There Anymore; 11.  The Crossroads; 12.  Ode to Sonny Boy; 13.  Greenville

Publicist:  Play it Loud Music

Review:  Most of you will remember Steve Azar’s huge hit back in 2001, “I Don’t Have to be me til Monday,” but you’ve never heard him like this.  He has returned to his Mississippi roots and added The Kings Men, a group of musicians that have backed such legends as B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Little Milton, Albert King and others.  The result of this musical union is Azar’s first album in five years, and the first album ever recorded at Club Ebony, now part of the B.B. King Museum.  Azar combines elements of blues, country, Americana and R&B to create what he dubs “Delta Soul.”  It is an amazing combination which should return Azar to the lofty heights he once inhabited.  It is packed with hit songs from start to finish, and is the perfect Saturday night party album.  We especially love the horns and the vibe of “Wake me From the Dead,” as well as the genuine down-home goodness of “Rena Lara.”  Other notable tracks include “I Don’t Mind (Most of the Time),” “Chance I’ll Take,” “Over it All,” “The Road Isn’t There Anymore,” and “Greenville,” his homage to his hometown.

Recommendation:  This is the album to Get.  We guarantee there will be no regrets.

Artist Name:  Life Lessons

Album Name:  Best When in Motion

Label:    Triple Crown Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Control; 2.  Attention to Detail; 3.  Collapse; 4.  Without Looking Back; 5.  Bury It

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  And now for something completely different, we turn to Life Lessons, aka the boys of Oklahoma.  With elements of punk added to blistering guitar riffs and a pounding beat, they strive to be our go to band for rock nirvana.   Their music will get your head to banging while your toes are a tapping.  They definitely have a radio friendly sound, with thoughtful lyrics for the intellectually inclined.  The only drawback is that just when the beat and the rocky groove have taken root, this five-song EP is over.  Thankfully, we can put it on repeat and listen again.  We look forward to hearing more from these future rock superstars.

Recommendation:  If hard rock with a strong drumbeat is your cup of tea, then this is a must have for your collection.  Get it now before they become so well known that you won’t be able to find it.

Artist Name:  Jordana Talsky

Album Name:  Neither of Either

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Run; 2.  Around you all the Time; 3.  Ways; 4.  Sick; 5.  Bitter Sweet Heart; 6.  Spark; 7.  Wave of Emotion; 8.  Neither of Either; 9.  Don’t Know; 10.  You Oughta Know; 11.  You Oughta Know (clean version)

Publicist:  Last Tango Productions

Review:   Jordana Talsky is a voice to be reckoned with and a sound reminiscent of Enya meets Dido, with a healthy dose of Marina V.   Her music has a jazzy vibe that works well with the lilting quality of Talsky’s voice.  In addition, her scatting abilities remind me of Ella Fitzgerald.  Her background of opera and musical theater adds to the dynamic nature of her sound, making her music go down easy like fine wine.  She could easily become your “go-to” sound for your weekly (or daily) chill time.  It may be cliche’ but Talsky is definitely one of those voices who can sell albums by just singing the phone book.  Her voice will take you on a magical aural journey that will leave you with a peaceful, easy feeling.  Just put this one on repeat, relax and enjoy.  Our favorites include “Run,” “Around you all the Time,” “Bitter Sweet Heart,” “Spark,” and her brilliant cover and arrangement of Alanis Morissette’s masterpiece, “You Oughta Know.”

Recommendation:  Definitely Get this one – it will make chill time easier to attain.

 

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 35

Well, we survived a fire in the apartment two doors down yesterday that totally destroyed it and caused damage to two other apartments.  Mucho thanks to the Fire Department for getting it out and limiting the damage.

Planning on heading down to Oklahoma next week to see my brother who just returned from a year in Iraq.  Looking forward to the beautiful trip through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas on my way to Lawton, Oklahoma.  When I get back I’ll be heading out on tour with Jerad Finck for three weeks.  Our first show is October 16 in Shoreline, Washington, where we will share the stage with Polly O’Keary & the Rhythm Method, winners of the Best Blues Band from the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017.  We currently have shows scheduled in Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Murrieta, San Diego and Missoula, and hope to add a few more along the way.

KELLY McGRATH TO TOUR UK AND EUROPE

Fresh off the release of her new video for “All That I Want,” Nashville’s own Kelly McGrath has signed with U Management and will be embarking on a tour of UK and Europe during October and November.  For more details, subscribe to her email list by visiting her Facebook page to sign up.  She’s doing a music video release/farewell show in Nashville on September 28 at The Family Wash.  Don’t miss your chance to see her before she leaves on tour.

NEW SINGLES

Here’s the latest single, “Secret Crush,” from Bay Area electropop band PARENTZ.  It has a great vibe that’s perfect for your Monday morning.  Please let us know what you think.

Speaking of great vibes, check out “Right Now,” the stunning new single from Becca Richardson.  We simply love her voice and this single, and can’t wait until she releases her album.  We’ll be reviewing it for sure.

For something totally different, check out “Final Step” from Jason Crosby.  It has a very strong Grateful Dead vibe that should strike a chord with those who love classic rock ballads.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

Our first new video this week continues in the mellow vein of the preceding artist.  Brandon  Bonine brings us a simple request:  “Remember my Name.”  We love the guitar and the sentiment.  This is his debut single – please let us know what you think.

Mellow seems to be the mood of the day.  Please check out the deep bass vocals of The New Faith in their video for “Fritter Away.”  The musical accompaniment is amazing and the videography is superb.  What do you think?

We close out this week with the first official video from Boomerang, the new album from Blue Élan artist Chelsea Williams.  This one is guaranteed to get your Monday off to a great start.  Please enjoy “Lonely Girl,” an Americana instant classic!

 

Get it or forget it – Rusty Young, Calico the Band, Andrea Harsell & Luna Roja

It’s Friday again, and time for the release of new albums from two of our indie favorites as well as the solo debut of a rock legend.  Please grab a cup of joe and let’s review these sure to be classic albums.

Artist Name:  Rusty Young

Album Name:  Waitin’ for the Sun

Label:  Blue Élan Records

Genre:  Roots Rock/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Waitin’ for the Sun; 2.  My Friend; 3.  Honey Bee; 4.  Sara’s Song; 5.  Heaven Tonight; 6.  Hey There; 7.  Seasons; 8.  Innocent Moon; 9.  Down Home; 10.  Gonna’ Let the Rain

Publicist:  None

Review:  Rusty Young was the former lead singer for Poco, and has signed with Blue Élan Records as a solo artist.  He and Poco have reunited for several shows, including a few at this week’s AmericanaFest in Nashville.  His debut solo album, Waitin’ for the Sun, is being released today,   Stylistically, Young’s solo album fits like a continuation of the Poco legacy, and reminds us why Poco is still as popular in 2017 as it was when it emerged from Buffalo Springfield in 1969.  It reminds this writer of the amazing country rock music that sprang forth in the early 70’s from bands like The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Loggins and Messina and the Little River Band.  Although it features the simpler sounds of music without all the added layers, it comes from such a pure place that it makes the listener feel at peace in the world.  We love every song on the CD, but especially the title track, “Honey Bee, “Sara’s Song, “Heaven Tonight,” and “Hey There.”  We also love the instrumental track, “Seasons.”  Welcome back Rusty – we simply love your solo effort.

Recommendation:  If you’re in Nashville, definitely get over to the Blue Élan showcase on September 15 at the Filming Station to check out this amazing artist, and run to your nearest music outlet and Get this album.  You won’t regret that decision.

Artist Name:  Calico the Band

Album Name:  Under Blue Skies

Label:  California Country

Genre:  Americana/Country

Track Listing:  1.  Fine Line; 2.  Cold Cold Love; 3.  The 405; 4.  Roll Away the Stone; 5.  The Leaving Kind; 6.  California Dreamin’; 7.  Free Man (ft. Jason Charles Miller); 8.  Under Blue Skies; 9.  Fly me Away; 10.  Love Gets in the Way; 11.  Come to Me; 12.  Into the Unknown; 13.  Ladies of the Canyon

Publicist:  MSO PR

Review:  One thing that has always set Calico the Band apart from their peers is the incredible harmonies of founding members Manda Mosher and Kirsten Proffit.  That trend continues on the sophomore release, Under Blue Skies, which will only strength their position as one of the premier Americana bands in the world.  It doesn’t hurt that the duo has created their own label, California Country, which supports not only their music, but their vision as well, with the addition of such amazing acts as the Alice Wallace Band, who, like Calico, are multi-LA Music Critic Award winners.  Two of the songs have already been released as videos, “The 405” and “Cold Cold Love,” and the band is showcasing their talent in Nashville this week at AmericanaFest.  This is an album you listen to from start to finish, and never need to skip a track – every single one sets the Americana bar high, allowing Calico to lead by example.  Besides the first two singles, we really love “Roll Away the Stone,” their dynamic cover of “California Dreamin’,” “Free Man,” “Fly me Away,” and “Ladies of the Canyon.”

Recommendation:  If you are in Nashville, definitely check out one of their three showcases at AmericanaFest.  We also strongly encourage you to Get their album and put it on perpetual repeat.

Artist Name:  Andrea Harsell & Luna Roja

Album Name:  Something for the Pain

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Blues/Roots-Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Didn’t do It; 2.  Oh Boy; 3.  Singles; 4.  Singing Angel; 5.  Something for the Pain; 6.  Hush Little Baby; 7.  Teenage Girl; 8.  Hard Times; 9.  Hearts Were Made to Mend; 10.  Like we Used to Do; 11.  Medicine and Chains; 12.  Born in the Valley

Publicist:  None

Review:  When we first moved to Missoula, Andrea Harsell was one of the first local indie artists we met.  We have loved her solo material, but had not had a chance to see her perform with a full band until the recent Flathead Lake Blues and Music Festival.  Her band, Luna Roja, gives her the dynamic edge she needed to add to her amazing voice and incredible songwriting chops.  With the band, she adds a strong roots rock vibe to her bluesy songs, creating a sound that lifts the spirits and gets the toes first to tapping and then onto the dance floor.   Their debut album is a fabulous collection of songs that should serve to elevate Harsell & Luna Roja into the elite ranks of great musical bands.  We especially love “Oh Boy,” “Singing Angel (with its gentle reggae sound),” the title track, “Hush Little Baby,” and “Hard Times.”

Recommendation:  We can hardly wait to attend the CD release show on September 15 at Missoula’s Top Hat Lounge.  If you are anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, we encourage you to join us and to grab a copy of her CD.  It is the perfect culmination to any musical library.