All posts by lamusiccritic@gmail.com

Get it or forget it – Kate Steinway, Emmer Effer, The General Assembly, Maggie McClure, Ra Ra Ruby

The weekend is upon us.  Hope yours is relaxing and refreshing.  Here are five more reviews to entice you into supporting indie music.

Artist NameKate Steinway

Album NameTrue North

Label:  Roscomare Records

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Hurricane; 2.  Tiny Home; 3.  True North; 4.  Wayfaring Woman; 5.  Young Heroes

Publicist:  None

Review:  Kate Steinway (yes, she is related to the founder of Steinway Pianos) is an amazing singer-songwriter who has chosen the ukulele as her primary instrument.  She writes strong songs that reflect her choice of accompaniment, and supplements that sound when necessary with quality musicians and backing vocals.  She starts off her short 5-song EP with the impressive and radio-friendly “Hurricane,” before simplifying with “Tiny Home,” which we understand may be used in one of the Tiny Homes shows on HGTV shortly.  The title track adds in a folky background that perfectly fits the lyrics and story with a Celtic vibe.  We especially love the alt-country/Americana vibe of “Wayfaring Woman,” which is also quite radio friendly.  Steinway closes out the EP with “Young Heroes,” a sweet lullaby that will quiet even the rowdiest of youngsters with its sweet sound and lush vocals.  We look forward to a full-length album from this truly original American songwriter.

Recommendation:  This one is a no-brainer – Get it while it is still available.

 

Artist NameEmmer Effer

Album Name From the Bottom Down

Label:  Felony Records

Genre:  Punk

Track Listing:  1.  Koch Bros.; 2.  Shredder; 3.  Prader Willi Syndrome; 4.  Soldier; 5.  What was Your Name?; 6.  Fight On!; 7.  Pick a Hand; 8.  Peanut; 9.  Futility; 10.  She Bite; 11.  Hands Off; 12.  Sure it Died; 13.  Copper; 14.  Sombreros to the Sky; 15.  Knuckle Smasher; 16.  Emmer Effer; 17.  Ten Days Gay; 18.  Houdini; 19.  Two-Timer

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  This is their debut album, and it shows much promise for lovers of punk rock.  The lyrics are understandable and highly political.  The songs are short and to the point, and less than two minutes each.  Unfortunately, all the songs seem to sound the same, and there is very little reason to listen to the entire album, as only the lyrics seem to change.  “Pick a Hand” does seem to be different, kind of like Floggy Molly on speed, but the next track goes back to the same fast-driving punk rhythm.  This album is definitely not appropriate for younger audiences, with a plethora of f-bombs.

Recommendation:  Unless you are a true lover of punk rock, you might want to hold off on this one.

Artist NameThe General Assembly

Album Name Vanishing Point

Label:    Self-released

Genre:  Electronica/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Cape Grim; 2.  The Wild Child; 3.  Fever Dream; 4.  Things Fall Apart; 5.  Anatomy of Melancholy; 6.  Asleep with a Compass in our Hands; 7.  Forest Fire, White Walls; 8.  Black is my Colour; 9.  Return to the Bluff at Cape Grim; 10.  New Myth:  Siren Song; 11.  Vanishing Point; 12.  Field Recording 1977-2015

Publicist:  Penney and Logan

Review:  Most lovers of indie rock and electronica will love this effort by The General Assembly.  The music is melodic and big, with an intense bass foundation, wicked guitar riffs and soaring vocals.  The lyrical content is great, giving the songs a majestic quality.  We especially put “Things Fall Apart” into this category.  In addition, there are three instrumental tracks: “Fever Dream,” “Asleep with Compasses in our Hands,” and “Return to the Bluff at Cape Grim,” which serve as mile-posts on this auditory journey.   The final three tracks are more prog rock, and bring the album to a satisfying conclusion.

Recommendation:  If you love good music, then Get this one,

Artist NameMaggie McClure

Album NameColor it Up

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana/Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  You for Me; 2.  Do it Again (ft. Graham Colton); 3.  Coming Home; 4.  Be Right Here for You

Publicist:  Chloe Robinson

Review:  Maggie McClure is a gifted songwriter who has had success with placements on such shows as Dr. Phil, Cougar Town, The Real World, The Vineyard and The Hills, as well as the movie Cowgirls n’ Angels.  She has been co-writing with Blues rocker Shane Henry, and recently toured with him.  Her music belongs in the same category as Sara Bareilles, Suzanne Santos, Katie Costello, Alicia Witt and other “Hotel Cafe” type artists.  We are truly impressed with this EP, and only wish it had more than four songs.  Every song is a winner, especially “Do it Again” and “Coming Home” (which could have so many placement opportunities, and is truly radio friendly).

Recommendation:  Don’t delay – Get it today!

Artist NameRa Ra Ruby

Album NameDancing with Mannequins

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Her; 2.  Undress; 3.  I Need a Woman; 4.  Pam

Publicist:  The A&R Department

Review:  This 4-song EP hits the ground running, with a steady beat, intense guitar riffs, and soaring vocals that perfect convey the powerful lyrical content.  This is a party band that will keep their fans on the dance floor.  The music grabs your heart and pumps it up, while the lyrics keep your brain engaged.  This debut EP provides hope that this band will be around for a long time.  We can hardly wait to hear what’s coming next.

Recommendation:  Definitely worth it to Get this one.

Get it or forget it – The Commotions, Fred Smith, Holy Hum, Katie Costello, Social Repose

Happy Friday – been a really crazy week, busier than I thought it would be.  The new job is fun, but there is so much to learn.  Really happy to be working again, though.  Sorry we missed our daily review yesterday, but here we come with five more reviews today.  Enjoy.

Artist Name:   The Commotions

Album Name Volume II

Label:   Self-released

Genre:   R&B/Funk

Track Listing:   1.  Good Enough; 2.  Bad Girl; 3.  Masquerade; 4.  Let me Kiss you Baby; 5.  Too Little Too Late; 6.  Say Yes to me Tonight; 7.  Right Kind of Wicked; 8.  Believe in Yourself; 9.  Don’t Walk Away; 10.  Last Look; 11.  Loving You; 12.  Take a Chance; 13.  Come Clean

Publicist:   Last Tango Production

Review:  At first listen, it was almost like Motown has returned with the amazing sound of The Commotions.  Reminded us of the Tower of Power backing up the Supremes.  The horns are powerful, the keys are as good as Grace Potter, and the vocals from both Rebecca Noelle and Jeff Rogers  are second to none.  This is the perfect soundtrack for any TGIF celebration, or any other party for that matter.  This band can jam and raise the funk.  All 12 members of this band are at the top of their class, and we could not be happier with the result.  There is not a weak track on this platinum collection.  This one definitely deserves repeated spins.

Recommendation:  Definitely one of the best albums of 2017.  Get this one like your life depends on it.

Artist NameFred Smith

Album NameGreat (double album)

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana & more

Track Listing:  Disc 1:  1.  Some Lovers; 2.  Little Jimmy Boy; 3.  Wind and Wind; 4.  If I’m Free; 5.  Texas; 6.  Lover Like Me; 7.  Emily Rose; 8.  Ellie May; 9.  Raggedy Anne; 10.  Zeebrugge FOB; 11.  Greezy Spoon; 12.  American Guitar; Disc 2:  1.  What Could go Wrong; 2.  Nice to Meet You; 3.  Addicted to Addiction; 4.  My Girlfriend; 5.  Satisfied; 6.  Backwoods Burn; 7.  Sister Sandinista; 8.  Watch the Road; 9.  Sugar Boy; 10.  New York City; 11.  Go Fast Eddy; 12.  Frederique Q. Love

Publicist:  Penney & Logan

Review:  Australian singer-songwriter Fred Smith has also spent time as the first Australian Ambassador to Uruzgan, as well as spending time as a merchant marine and working alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan.  He turns his love of American history and literature into a double dose of songwriting bliss with this collection of story songs.  Smith dabbles in a myriad of genres, ranging from Americana, bluegrass and alt-country to rock, pop and blues, and even throws in a little glam rock and jazz for good measure.  His vocals have a Gordon Lightfoot vibe, and fit the quirky folk rock mixture to a “T.”   From start to finish, his lyrical content tells interesting story after story, making each song worth the time it takes to listen.  This one is a worthy addition to your Americana/folk collection.  We really love “What Could go Wrong,” the lead track on Disc 2, a rousing and hilarious look at the tirades and boasts of Donald J. Trump.

Recommendation:  A worthy effort by an outsider, who has captured the American spirit in storytelling.  We recommend you Get this one.

Artist NameHoly Hum

Album NameAll of my Bodies

Label:  Heavy Lark Records

Genre:  Ambient Pop

Track Listing:  1.  All of my Bodies; 2.  Yoo Duk Lee; 3.  Flower in the Snow; 4.  Heavy Lark; 5.  Sex at 31; 6.  Joseph pt. 2; 7.  White Buzz; 8.  Sun Breaking; 9.  Ready to Have It; 10.  Space and Time; 11.  Mellotron Doom

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:    Andrew Lee aka Holy Hum creates a masterful blend of ambient noise to go with his keen mastery of instrumental music and brilliant lyrical content.  On this, his debut album, he shares that knowledge with his listeners in a most profound and interesting manner, creating songs that are complex in their structure but easy on the ears.  While not radio friendly, they provide an excellent musical background to keep you company when nothing else seems to fit.

Recommendation:  This one is different enough to hold a special place in your musical library.  Check it out.

Artist NameKatie Costello

Album NameTwice the Love

Label:  REBEL POP Records

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  New York Graffiti; 2.  Up in the Air; 3.  Why Does my Heart Break; 4.  New World; 5.  Roses; 6.  Silver & Gold; 7.  I’ll be Here; 8.  A Beautiful Mystery; 9.  Lights; 10.  Here & Now; 11.  Holiday

Publicist:  Far Digital PR

Review:  Katie Costello is the reigning Indie Pop Princess, and with the quality of this recording, is poised to take her place on the Indie Pop throne.  Two of the tracks, “New York Graffiti” and “New World” were featured on her New World EP released earlier this year, but bear repeating, as this lady knows how to write great radio-friendly songs that keep her fans entertained and glued to her musical treasures.  She also makes amazing videos, which have been a regular addition to this Blog’s Monday Mashup columns and a big hit on YouTube.  Quite frankly, Costello could release and re-release her songs monthly, and we would never grow tired of them.  Best tracks include “New York Graffiti,” “Up in the Air,” “New World,” “Silver & Gold,” “A Beautiful Mystery,” and “Here and Now.”

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk, to your favorite retailer and Get this one.  Now.

Artist NameSocial Repose

Album NameEmpress

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alternative Electronic Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Chemistry; 2.  Empress; 3.  Filthy Pride; 4.  Mother; 5.  Villain; 6.  Behave

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Social Repose is the electronic alter-ego of YouTube sensation Richie Giese, who has amassed more than 140 million views on his channel.  He has a truly unique style that is instantly recognizable, filling your ears with auditory excellence that penetrates to the very cells of your body.  All six songs are masterpieces, and show a depth of songwriting and maturity that marks Giese as a visionary and an artist that will be around for a long time.  Empress is his sophomore release, and shot to #9 on the Alternative charts immediately upon release.  We can only hope for more of the same from this amazing musician.  Until then, enjoy Empress as one of the best EPs of 2017.

Recommendation:  Get. It. Now.

 

Get it or forget it – FXRRVST, The East Pointers, Dave Kerzner, Roslyn Moore, McKee Brothers

It’s been almost a month since our last album reviews, and as you can imagine, we have quite a few left from 2017.  We will do our best to get them caught up by the end of the year.  As such, we will now be reviewing five albums each time to help in that process.  Here we go.

Artist Name:   FXRRVST

Album Name:   May XXVI

Label:   Self-released

Genre:   Folk Rock

Track Listing:   1.  Road to Nowhere; 2.  Picture Frames; 3.  Drown Me; 4.  Parks; 5.  Tidal Wave; 6.  Lovely; 7.  Safe House; 8.  June 8th; 9.  Roofs

Publicist:   Last Tango Productions

Review:   The first thing that grabbed our attention was the amazing lead vocals of Holly Forrest and the harmonies of Matthew Fuentes, and the perfect accompaniment underscoring those vocals.  FXRRVST is a Canadian import that should do very well in the States.  They have already taken Canada by storm, and secured a nomination for Best Indie Act from the Toronto Independent Music Awards.  Their music is soothing with intelligent lyrics and a groove that incorporates the best parts of folk, indie rock and Americana.  Every single track is memorable – we love them all.  We especially love the obvious Blue October influence on “Tidal Wave.”  If this is the quality of their debut full-length album, then we can’t wait for the next one.

Recommendation:   Don’t even think about it – you simply must Get this one for your musical library.

Artist Name: The East Pointers

Album Name:   What we Leave Behind

Label:   Self-released

Genre:   Celtic

Track Listing:   1.  Tanglewood; 2.  82 Fires; 3.  Party Wave; 4.  Two Weeks; 5.  What we Leave Behind; 6.  Miner’s Dream; 7.  Pour Over; 8.  The Crossing; 9.  John Wallace; 10.  No Bridge too Far; 11.  Hid in Your Heart

Publicist:   Penney and Logan

Review:   OMG!  It’s no wonder that this band won the JUNO Award for Best Traditional Roots Album for their debut album back in 2015, and are surely in the running for another one for this album.  As a true connoisseur of Celtic music, The East Pointers definitely hit all our buttons – great fiddle and vocals, well crafted story songs and the added cherry of some amazing banjo and drums.  Although we are used to the mandolin in a Celtic band, Koady’s banjo skills more than make up for the lack of mando.  We love the mixture of instrumentals with story songs, in true Celtic tradition.  Here’s another album that is amazing from start to finish.  Consequently, we love every song, and especially “82 Fires” and “Party Wave.”  This one is perfect for the whole year, and not just to pull out in March.

Recommendation:   Get this one like there’s no tomorrow.  It is a MUST for every music aficionado.

Artist NameDave Kerzner

Album NameStatic

Label:  RecPlay

Genre:  Prog Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Prelude; 2.  Hypocrites; 3.  Static; 4.  Reckless; 5.  Chain Reaction; 6.  Trust; 7.  Quiet Storm; 8.  Dirty Soap Box; 9.  The Truth Behind; 10.  Right Back to the Start; 11.  Statistic; 12;  Millenium Man; 13.  State of Innocence; 14.  The Carnival of Modern Life

Co-Manager:  ACR Management

Review:  Dave Kerzner may be familiar to lovers of Prog Rock, as he was the co-founder of the band Sound of Contact, along with Simon Collins, son of Genesis drummer Phil Collins.  This album is a prog rock opera, and not since Jesus Christ Superstar have we heard anything this awesome.  There is perfect harmony between the guitars, keys, drums and vocals.  Special guests Steve Hackett (Genesis), Durga McBroom (Pink Floyd), Nick D’Virgilil (Big Big Train) and Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) join regulars Fernando Perdomo, Randy McStine, Matt Dorsey and Derek Cintron.  The music has the distinctive flavor of Pink Floyd, and is a welcome addition to the indie rock community.  The music will provide the perfect soundtrack for a night of reflection and relaxing.

Recommendation:  Get. It. Now.

Artist Name Roslyn Moore

Album NameTropic of Cancer

Label:  Borderline Musick

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Mermaid Heroin Prologue; 2.  The Burbs 17; 3.  Deep Blue; 4.  XO; 5.  Cream; 6.  Electric Pill Intermission; 7.  Hazy/Agents at the Ferris Wheel; 8.  The Great Escape/15 Rounds; 9.  Coke & Weed; 10.  Shampoo 17; 11.  The Beach; 12.  Mermaid Heroin Epilogue

Publicist:  None

Review:  Roslyn Moore subtitles her latest release “A Desert Opera.”  It is the perfect album to follow the masterpiece created by Dave Kerzner, and with its dark tones, underscores why Moore calls her music “Gloompop.”   Her vocals remind us of The Bangles meet Avril Lavigne, and despite the darkness of the music, are still upbeat.  These songs would be perfect for placement in numerous television shows, and deserve industry attention.  The harmonies are dreamy, with just the right amount of scoring beneath to portray a ship lost at sea, just before an encounter with creatures from the deep blue.  This is an album that would make your daily escape into a delightful musical journey.  Despite the numerous “F-bombs” on “XO,” the rest of the album is more or less appropriate listening material for all ages.

Recommendation:  This one is a no-brainer.  You need to Get this one for your collection.

Artist NameThe McKee Brothers

Album NameMoon Over Montgomery

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Delta Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Pig Feet; 2.  Confidential; 3.  I Feel Like Dynamite; 4.  Worried About Tomorrow; 5.  You Know how I Lie; 6.  Moon Over Montgomery; 7.  Kicks; 8.  Bayou Man; 9.  Go 2 Work!; 10.  Where you Gettin’ It?; 11.  Runaway Love; 12.  Late at Night; 13.  Remember When; 14.  Flat, Black & Circular; 15.  Blues of the Month Club; 16.  Celebrate me Home

Publicist:  Frank Roszak Promotions

Review:  What do you get when you cross blues with Americana, cajon rhythm & blues and New Orleans jazz?  Why, the McKee Brothers, of course.  Their sound is full and hearty, like Southern cooking, with a healthy dose of guitar and horns.  The vocals are authentic and fit the music perfectly.  Each song has a special place in this collection, and combine to form a solid soundtrack for a Louisiana Saturday Night.  Favorite tracks include “I Feel Like Dynamite,” “Worried About Tomorrow,” the title track, “Bayou Man,” “Go 2 Work!,” “Where you Gettin’ it?,” “Blues of the Month Club,” and the simply amazing cover of “Celebrate me Home.”

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk, and Get this one.  It’s the hottest thing out there right now!

 

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 45

It only took us 825 days (or from September 7, 2015) to break 40,000 views on Indie Voice Blog, which we accomplished on December 10, 2017.  That’s an average of nearly 50 views a day, with our biggest day being July 11, 2017, when we had 1,100 views.  During that time we have posted 322 articles, including 88 “Get it or Forget It” reviews covering 304 EPs and CDs, as well as numerous artist profiles, Fringe and local theatre reviews and coverage of the semi-annual LA Music Critic Awards, with special features on the 2016 winners.  Not too shabby, right?

MEDIA EXCELLENCE AWARDS TO BE HANDED OUT

The 10th Annual Media Excellence Awards will be handed out in a ceremony at the Laemmle Theater (8556 Wilshire Boulevard) in Beverly Hills on January 18, 2018.  The Red Carpet will start at 7 p.m. with the ceremony to follow at 8 p.m.  For more information, please send an email to the organizers, or give them a call.

LAST CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

The LA Music Critic Awards have issued a final call for submissions for the second half of 2017.  If your single, video, EP or CD was released between July 1 and December 31, 2017, then it is eligible for submission.  Nominations will be announced during the second week of January, with the winners announced by the end of the month.  Several of the winners will be selected to perform at the annual LA Music Critic Award Showcase in June 2018.

NEW SINGLES

We love introducing new artists to you.  Check out the new single, “Wishing Upon a Star,” from Delsinki, which features the amazing Brooke Taylor.  We think you’ll love these vocals and Americana soundtrack.

Australian artist Zvchvrivh blasts onto the scene with a chill track for his new single, “Think of Me.”  We love the groove – let us know what you think.

Our final single today comes from one of our favorite performers, based in Nashville.  Heather Bonds is an amazing solo artist as well as the lead single for The Daybreaks.  We think her new single may be one of her best yet.  Check out “Keep it Quiet.”

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

First up today is the hot new video from Austin, Texas based  FlecHaus.  This band continues to amaze us with their harmonies and funky sound, especially on their latest tune, “Tell Me Something.”  Let us know what you think.

Check out this dreamy video from Kramies, shot in the incredible Shankill Castle in Ireland earlier this year.  The lyrics from the single, “I Wish I Missed You,” are haunting and perfectly fit the incredible cinematography of the video.  Let us know what you think.

Our final video for today is from The Zephyr Bones for their single, “Telephone.”  We think it’s the perfect way to close out this edition of Monday Mashup.  See you soon.

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 44

And we’re back!  After 19 emotionally charged days, we’re back in Montana and ready to rock!  Although the circumstances were not the best, the time spent with family these past two plus weeks was worth the pain.  So much has been going on in the indie music world during our time away.  Here are some of the latest happenings.  Enjoy our holiday edition.

BLUE ÉLAN RECORDS TO SUPPORT ALLIANCE FOR CHILDREN’S RIGHTS

Blue Élan Records has released its annual Christmas album, featuring such Indie Voice Blog favorites as Cindy Alexander, Chelsea Williams, SEERusty Young, Janiva MagnessJaney Street and Jack Tempchin, among others.  Please buy a copy today and help them support the Alliance for Children’s Rights.  All proceeds are being donated to the Alliance.

CHELSEA WILLIAMS LOVES CHRISTMAS

Check out her lyric video for “Peppermints and Mistletoe.”  We think it will put you in the mood.

JERAD FINCK WANTS A WHITE CHRISTMAS

Spokane native Jerad Finck has released a Christmas single, and is making it available for anyone to download.  Check it out below and head to SoundCloud if you want a free download.

KATE STEINWAY RELEASES VIDEO FOR “WHITE CHRISTMAS”

We recently discovered Kate Steinway when she was the featured artist at Songwriters at Play in Paso Robles.  Check out her lovely video for “White Christmas.”

PAM TAYLOR WANTS TO GET IT ON FOR CHRISTMAS

Blues artist Pam Taylor is ready to rock your Christmas season with a little bit of naughtiness.  Check out her new single and see what we mean.

ECHOSMITH SHARES THEIR CHRISTMAS YULE LOG

Indie darlings Echosmith have a Christmas EP, which they are sharing in their annual Yule Log video.  Check it out.

REBEL POP PRINCESS KATIE COSTELLO NEEDS A HOLIDAY

Here’s a new one from one of Indie Voice Blog’s favorite artists, Katie Costello.  Enjoy the holidays.

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy holiday season!

 

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 43

Day three of hospice care and I’ve discovered that this is definitely not for the faint of heart.  My brother and I are working hard to provide care for our Dad.  I had no idea how much work is involved in that.  Mad props to anyone who does this for a living.  Taking a break from duties while the hospice nurse works on him and thought it was time to work on our Monday Mashup.

WENDY SWEETLOVE SELLS OUT CD RELEASE SHOW

Wendy Sweetlove, who we introduced to you a few months back at our LA Music Critic Award winners showcase, recently performed at Hotel Cafe for a sold-out house, performing all the songs from her recent release Dirty Sunday.   Alana Sweetwater opened the show, and we wish we could have been there.  From what we hear, it was one of the best shows of the year.

KELLY McGRATH SIGNS NEW PUBLISHING DEAL

Kelly McGrath, who just returned from a tour of the UK, signed a new publishing deal with Luna Music Group, and released her holiday single on iTunes.  We expect even greater things from this indie superstar in the new year.

NEW SINGLES

First up is the latest from powerhouse band FlecHaus with “Finding.”  This one is a keeper – let it inspire you this season.

Next check out “Big G,” the latest from Neosho.  This one has enough energy to get you up and dancing with encouragement for the new year.  Let us know what you think.

Our last new single today comes from the band Echo City.  The tune is called “Burn Me,” and it definitely gets our flames arising.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

Our first video today is “Shooting Stars” by Mellott.  We love this lyric video with its awesome background of shooting stars – it is perfect.  Enjoy.

Our next video, “Paint the Road,” by Sierra Blanca, has visually stunning cinematography and a beautiful story sung with a incredibly strong voice.  Please share this one with your friends.

Our final video for the week is “Rise” by Sluka, an intense protest song complete with images to drive home his point.  Let us know where you stand.

 

Get it or forget it – Sarah Rogo, Blues Goose, Ray Goren, Amy Clarke

After 23 hours of driving, I arrived last night at my brother’s home in Lawton, Oklahoma, where I will be helping him provide hospice care for our father.  I don’t know how long I will be here, but don’t have any current plans.  I do, however, have a lot of albums to review, so here are another four for your consideration.

Artist NameSarah Rogo

Album Name Live at Lestat’s West

Label:  Funzalo Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Born to be Blue; 2.  It’s Gonna be Alright; 3.  Oh my God 4.  Misbehave; 5.  These are the Blues; 6.  Loving her Tonight; 7.  Going Where the Weather Suits my Soul

Publicist:  Independent Music Media

Review:  It is rare for an indie artist to release a live album.  It is even rarer that the genre be blues, and original blues at that.  At a time when so many blues artists continue to record the same old classics over and over again, it is refreshing to hear a complete album of original blues, and from such a young artist as Sarah Rogo, who is all of 25 years old.  Having recently been at a live show at San Diego’s Lestat’s West, we can honestly say it is one of the best small venues in the country, with by far one of the best sound engineers, Louis Brazier.  Rogo has such an amazing voice that soars above her guitar accompaniment, bringing life to her well-crafted lyrics.  The only thing that could be better than this live album would be to hear it with a full band.

Recommendation:  This lady is gonna be huge.  Jump on board this train now cause it is about to leave the station.  Get her live album now.

Artist NameBlues Goose

Album NameQuestions

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Flat Tire Blues; 2.  You’re Fine You’re Mine; 3.  Questions; 4.  I’m a Woman; 5.  Let it Out (Blues for Veterans); 6.  Stay Away; 7.  Sweet Love; 8.  Got a Broken Heart; 9.  Wooden Shoes (Pub Blues)

Publicist:  ABIK Promotions

Review:  There’s nothing like female-fronted blues, and Blues Goose has a definite winner in Ingrid.  Her powerful and soulful voice is the perfect complement to the intense tracks laid down by the band, especially Frank’s mean keys.   The songs are well-crafted, witty and fun, and can be played on repeat without ever getting sick of them.   Our favorite tracks include “You’re Fine You’re Mine,” the title track, the fantastic cover of the Peggy Lee classic hit “I’m a Woman,” “Let it Out,” and “Sweet Love.”

Recommendation:  If you love the blues, then you simply must add Blues Goose to your musical library.  Get this one today.

Artist NameRay Goren

Album NameMe

Label:  Palmetto Records

Genre:  Blue-eyed Soul

Track Listing:  1.  Ain’t Here; 2.  Feeling; 3.  Have a Nice Day; 4.  Yes No Maybe So; 5.  Manners; 6.  I Do 7.  When I’m Gone; 8.  Outta Sight, Outta Mind; 9.  Don’t Worry; 10.  Cash and Gold; 11.  Fallen Angel

Publicist:  None

Review:  “When you ain’t here with me, I ain’t who I wanna be.”   So says the chorus of the first track of the latest from teen phenom Ray Goren.  Goren has switched his style from blues to indie rock tinged blue-eyed soul, and the difference is amazing.  This talented young man has a tremendous future ahead of him, and based on both of his works to date, he has the chops to do it all.  He combines the vocals of John Legend and Justin Timberlake with the guitar chops of Keith Urban and Brad Paisley to create music that is compelling in its intensity and craft.  He adds to that the keyboard skills of Phil Vassar and Dave Yaden that take his music to an even higher level, especially on “Yes No Maybe So.”   His song “Manners” would be perfect for the Fox hit show “Empire.”  Overall, this is definitely one of the finest albums of 2017, and a true contender for an LA Music Critic Award.

Recommendation:  This is today’s no brainer.  Run, don’t walk, and Get this one now!

Artist NameAmy Clarke

Album NameA New Way

Label:  ScorpFaery Productions

Genre:  Singer-songwriter

Track Listing:  1.  Rain Come Round; 2.  Once; 3.  Belmont Blues; 4.  May; 5.  Goddess; 6.  We are the Web 7.  Between the Ice and the Ocean 8.  Love is the Way; 9.  From Here; 10.  Ella Mira; 11.  Give it Back 12.  A New Way; 13.  Shine

Publicist:  None

Review:  Amy Clarke has always been one of the best indie keyboard players.  Her songwriting is always well-crafted and compelling, with deep lyrics imposed upon complex instrumentation, creating songs that don’t just sound great but bring awareness to issues affecting the world at large.  She pours her passion into her tune, and passes that passion on to her listeners.  You cannot listen to a song like her first track, “Rain Come Round,” without feeling a charge in your soul, which in turn increases your hunger for justice, and your quest to help others find and achieve it.   Best cuts include “Belmont Blues,” “Mary,” “We are the Web,” “Love is the Way,” “From Here,” “Give it Back” and the title track.

Recommendation:  Accept her challenge – be the change you want to see.  Support this amazing artist and Get her latest CD.

 

Get it or forget it – Dave Hunt, Riot in the Attic, Sunday Wilde and Reno Jack

We’re just a week away from Thanksgiving, and we are so thankful for the amazing indie music that just keeps getting better.  We have four reviews for your today, including two separate albums by Dave Hunt.  Sit back, grab some coffee and let’s dig in to these new releases.

Artist Name Dave Hunt

Album Name:   100 Horses

Label:   Mad Ears Productions

Genre:   Blues

Track Listing:   1.  Across the U.S.A.; 2.  100 Horses; 3.  Blues Highway; 4.  Love’s Just a Killer; 5.  Doghouse; 6.  Moonshine Chevrolet; 7.  Deadman’s Shoes; 8.  Tell Me; 9.  Rehab; 10.  I’m on Fire Baby; 11.  I Told You (ft. Darren Yates); 12.  Shot Down

Publicist:   ABIK Radio Promotions

Review:   If you look up “blues” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Dave Hunt.  He is the very definition of the genre, with blues music that feels like the dirty south, hitting on all pistons as it delivers the goods.  Check out the title cut to see what we mean.   We also love the harmonica on “Blues Highway” and “Moonshine Chevrolet.”  Hunt’s vocals are meaty and gritty, perfectly fit for these songs about life.  Some of our favorite songs include the title track, “Love’s Just a Killer,” “Deadman’s Shoes,” “Tell Me,” “I’m on Fire Baby,” and “I Told You.”

Recommendation:  If you love the blues, you must have this album.  In fact, we recommend everyone Get this one.

Artist NameRiot in the Attic

Album Name Under the Sun

Label:  Monkey Road Records

Genre:  Psychedelic Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Free the Sky; 2.  Incomplete; 3.  Men in Shades; 4.  Floating; 5.  Only in my Mind; 6.  Sunny; 7.  Don’t Let me Down; 8.  Keep it Inside (bonus); 9.  Karma 3.0 (bonus); 10.  The Other Side (bonus); 11.  Rollercoaster (bonus); 12.  Seal the Deal (bonus)

Publicist:  None

Review:  This album is perfect for lovers of classic rock like Guns and Roses, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and the Rival Sons.  This band out of Cologne, Germany has captured the best of these bands, and added a few tricks of their own to create their own vision of the best of 70’s rock.  The music is very commercial and would do well as placements in TV, advertising and film.  Some of our favorites include “Men in Shades,” “Floating,” “Only in my Mind,” “Sunny” (a delightful change of pace ballad), “Don’t Let me Down” (an amazing cover of the Beatles classic tune), and “The Other Side.”

Recommendation:  Get. It. Now.

Artist Name Sunday Wilde & Reno Jack

Album Name Two

Label: Hwy 11 Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Howling for my Darling; 2.  Moonlight Rising; 3.  Love Contest; 4.  Van Horne; 5.  5-10-15 Hours; 6.  Back Lane Man; 7.  Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day; 8.  No Matter how Far; 9.  I Wanna do more; 10.  Leaving on Your Mind

Publicist:  ABIK Radio Promotions

Review:  The album kicks off with a bang with the sweet vocals of Sunday Wilde leading the way on “Howling for my Darling,” immediately followed by those Kris Kristofferson-style vocals of Reno Jack on “Moonlight Rising.”  Two things make this album unique – the fact that it is recorded acoustically with just basic instrumentation, and the fact that the entire album was recorded in one eight-hour session.  The display of their talents is exemplified on “Love Contest,” which combines Wilde’s soaring vocals with Reno’s gritty bottom, creating the kind of song that memories are made of.    They ratchet it up a notch with the rocking rhythm and harmonica sound of “Van Horne,” and we could go on and on.  This is one of the best blues albums we have ever reviewed.

Recommendation:  Don’t miss your chance to hear some good down-home blues from our neighbors to the north.  Get this one for sure.

Artist Name:   Dave Hunt

Album Name:   Shade of Grey

Label:   Mad Ears Productions

Genre:   Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Shade of Grey; 2.  Bad Vibe Calling (ft. Andy Littlewood); 3.  That’s Life (Skype Song); 4.  Honeysuckle Rose (ft. Donna Shaw); 5.  It’s not me It’s You; 6.  Swamp Cougar

Publicist:   ABIK Radio Promotions

Review:  As if the greatness exhibited on 100 Horses was not enough, Dave Hunt has now released an EP that further demonstrates his high standing in the blues.  The Bo Diddly inspired tune “Bad Vibe Calling,” with its amazing harmonica, ranks with the best of the best that today’s blues scene has to offer.  Add to that the duet with country singer Donna Shaw and you can easily see why all six tracks are exquisite and will definitely get you in the blues mood.  Grab a glass of wine, relax and enjoy this treasure trove of blues bliss.

Recommendation:  You cannot go wrong with a Dave Hunt CD.  Get this one ASAP.

 

Get it or forget it – 61 Ghosts, Rich McCulley, The Fisherman & the Sea, Never Ending Fall

We have spent the last two days organizing review requests for the remainder of the year, of which we have now received 97, including three holiday releases.  This will bring our total reviews for 2017 to a staggering 331, two-thirds of which will have been written in the second half of 2017.  Needless to say, it’s time to get writing.  Here are our next four reviews.

Artist Name61 Ghosts

Album Name . . . to the Edge

Label:  Bluzpik Media Group

Genre:  Blues/Roots

Track Listing:  1.  Heartbeat; 2.  No One at Your Door; 3.  World Gone Crazy; 4.  If Tears were Dirt (ft. Joe Mazzari); 5.  Show me Your Scars; 6.  Passion Tipped Arrow

Publicist:  Frank Roszak Promotions

Review:  With a raspy vocal delivery like Bruce Springsteen, 61 Ghosts lay down a roots rock and blues vibe that delivers.   Composed of Joe Mazzari on vocals and lead guitar and Dixie Deadwood on drums, this band from the upper left hand of the United States mixes blues and roots rock into their own secret formula, creating stimulating songs that just plain rock.  Check out the guitar riffs on “If Tears Were Dirt.”  This one is great from start to finish, and we guarantee you will want to listen to it over and over.

Recommendation:  Definitely Get it.

Artist NameRich McCulley

Album NameOut Along the Edges

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Hey Trouble; 2.  Eventually; 3.  Burn a Hole in the Sky; 4.  Summer Storm; 5.  The Pilot; 6.  When I Get to Memphis; 7.  Come Home Mama; 8.  Out Along the Edge; 9.  Midtown; 10.  Sinking Sun; 11.  Chase the Sun

Publicist:  None

Review:  Rich McCulley is not only the guitarist for Great Willow, one of the best Americana bands we have recently reviewed, but also an incredible solo artist.  From the first notes of “Hey Trouble,” it becomes quickly obvious that this album is a keeper.  The songs are well crafted, with above-average vocals and a musical accompaniment that rises above his Americana peers.  The music is easy-going and relaxing, providing a perfect background for daily chill time.  Our favorite tracks include “Eventually,” “Burn a Hole in the Sky,” “The Pilot,” the title track and “Sinking Sun.”

Recommendation:  If you like Americana, give this one a listen.

Artist NameThe Fisherman & The Sea

Album NameBeggar Princess

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Beggar Princess; 2.  Sea of Pleasantries;  3.  Trail of Lies; 4.  Sick Song

Publicist:  Neck of the Woods Records

Review:  Great harmonies, upbeat musical soundtrack with above-average vocals and songwriting give this debut EP the status of a rich appetizer.  This Europe-based band is planning on releasing four EPs in advance of their debut full-length album in May 2018.  Based on this EP, we can hardly wait for more.    Our mouth is watering and our ears are buzzing at the prospects of what is yet to come.  There is so much wonderfulness about this EP.  We are so glad the band decided to share their music with us.

Recommendation:  This band should definitely be on your radar.  Get their EP now and enjoy it until the next one comes out.  It will be May 2018 before you know it.

Artist NameNever Ending Fall (NEF)

Album NameStart Livin’

Label:  Montauk Music

Genre:   Indie Pop/Rock/Reggae

Track Listing:  1.  Sao Paolo; 2.  Hold Tight; 3.  Desperate Times/ Desperate Measures; 4.  Devil in Red; 5.  Black Magic; 6.  Manhattan; 7.  Give it Away; 8.  Simmer Down; 9.  Forget About It; 10.  Nashville; 11.  Feel Your Love

Publicist:   Jeff Schad

Review:  Reggae has always been one of our favorite genres, and NEF definitely is head and shoulders above their peers in their interpretation of this international musical form.  Combining elements of indie rock, pop and funk into their mix creates a unique form of reggae that is sonically pleasing while cementing their status as one of the best we have reviewed this year. We especially love the horns.  In addition, every member contributes vocals, and we are truly impressed by those of Madeline St. Clair on “Hold Tight.”  Other amazing tracks include the aforementioned “Hold Tight,” “Desperate Times/Desperate Measures” (check out the guitar riffs),  “Devil in Red,” “Black Magic,” “Manhattan,” and “Simmer Down,” although there really aren’t any weak tracks on the album.

Recommendation:  This one is a no-brainer – you simply MUST Get it.  Now.

 

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 42

What a wonderful Veterans Day weekend!  All of our favorite sports teams – Griz, Deacons and Wizards – won their games and the Dolphins play tonight on Monday Night Football.  The only thing that can top that is great indie music, and we have that in spades!

NINA STOREY LAUNCHES ASTRAL QUEEN

One of our favorite indie musicians, Nina Storey, recently joined with Mark McGee and launched their new techno-pop band Astral Queen.  The first single, “Take  it all the Way,” is a smash and the obvious next step in the evolution of her music.  Check it out below, and don’t forget to subscribe to her amazing blog Strangely Optimistic, as well.

THE CREAM CONTINUES TO RISE WITH MILCK’s REMAKE OF HER VIRAL HIT, “QUIET” 

In light of the recent news about sexual assault in the entertainment industry, MILCK has remade her video for  “Quiet.”  We think it is one of the most powerful videos we have ever seen, both visually and sonically.  We especially love the inclusion of the orchestra, as well as the multiple story lines.  Thank you Atlantic Records for allowing your artist to speak her mind and share this amazing song, which should help in bringing closure to these victims.

DAVID GARFIELD TEAMS WITH SMOKEY ROBINSON FOR NEW SINGLE

The new single by David Garfield, “I Lied,” ft. J. Paris, was co-written by the one and only Smokey Robinson.  The vocals of J. Paris soar on wings of angels, perfectly highlighting the instrumental soundtrack provided by Garfield.  The country vibe fits perfectly with the strings and vocals to highlight this “instant classic.”  We guarantee this one will make your day.

NEW SINGLES

First up today is “Common Sense,” the latest from Down and Outlaws, a San Francisco-based rock and roll quartet.  This one is sure to get your new week off to a rocking start.

Our second new single this week is from Australian brother duo Sellars.  “Linear Time” is a classic rock tune that will surely stand the test of time.  Welcome to the indie rock world, Sellars.  We look forward to hearing much more from them in the future.

Last but not least, here is “The Weight” (ft. Sickflip), from FRASE, an electronic artist from Montreal.   Let us know what you think.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

“Take Your Time” by Lender is an amazing dance video that has been making the film festival circuit, garnering critical and fan praise and support.  We think it is an artistic masterpiece.  Let us know what you think.

Next up is “Give Erin a Compliment (so Kind)” ft, April Olsen, the latest single from Jaye Bartell.  It is an interesting Americana song that should stimulate your senses as you begin a new week.

Our last new video this week is a lyric video from Durango Songwriter Expo alum Rachel Price.  Check out “Love is War” and have a great week.