Category Archives: Get it or Forget it

Get it or forget it – The Yawpers, Upright Man, Melville

Had a blast out in Livingston, Montana yesterday when Redhead Express performed at the Music Ranch Montana.  What a great show.  Headed up to Polson, Montana today for the Flathead Lake Blues Festival.   Before we go, here are three more reviews for your Friday, all of which are being released today.

Artist Name:  The Yawpers

Album Name:  Boy in a  Well

Label:  Bloodshot Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Armistice Day; 2.  A Decision is Made; 3.  A Visitor is Welcomed; 4.  Room with a View; 5.  Mon Dieu; 6.  The Awe and the Anguish; 7.  Mon Nom; 8.  Face to Face to Face; 9.  No Going Back; 10.  God’s Mercy; 11.  Linen for the Orphan; 12.  Reunion

Publicist:  Bloodshot Records

Review:  Boy in a Well is a concept album set in the period following the end of World War I which tells the story of a woman who decides to abandon her child.  Besides the music, there is also a comic book that visually tells the story.  The Yawpers have an interesting genre-resistant vibe that sounds like Bob Dylan meets The Beatles, with elements of rock, Americana and folk.  Most of the songs are low-key, balladesque, with the exception of “A Decision is Made,” which contains all the rocky angst you would expect from that portion of the story.  Due to the nature of the album, it needs to be experienced from start to finish, as each song is an integral part to the story.   “Mon Dieu” and “Mon Nom,” though, have been released as singles, and are among the best tracks.

Recommendation:  If you like concept albums, this is a good one to check out.  It’s multi-media approach should play well to Millenials and Gen-X fans.

Photo by Sloane Morrison

Artist Name:  Upright Man

Album Name:  Upright Man

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Elysia; 2.  Agoragnostic; 3.  Say What you Mean; 4.  Upright Man; 5.  Ecstasy; 6.  Three Easy Pieces; 7.  Alaska; 8.  Designer Mind; 9.  Animals; 10.  Checked Out

Publicist:  Publicity Please

Review:  The band lists their influences as Pink Floyd, Radiohead, The Beatles, Yes and Genesis, and that rock style comes through on this album.  The band’s vocals are crisp, clear and smooth, and the lyrical content will give the listener much to consider.  The underlying musicianship is rich, with wonderful layers of instrumentation and vocal harmonies.  This is a good album to put on for your Friday chill session.  Best tracks include “Agoragnostic,” “Say What You Mean,” the title track, “Three Easy Pieces,” and “Checked Out.”

Recommendation:  A worthy effort, and we recommend you Get it.

Artist Name:  Melville

Album Name:  The New Zero

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alternative/Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Televised; 2.  Heart; 3.  Amnesia; 4.  Claws Out; 5.  Escape Plan; 6.  WDYK; 7.  Pickup Artist; 8.  War; 9.  Pics Lies; 10.  Headache; 11.  Einleitung; 12.  Forked Tongue

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  This album kicks off with a steady, upbeat rock beat and never lets up.  We love the vibe from the screaming guitars and strong, passionate vocals, which make this release a definite keeper.  Previous reviewers have likened their sound to groups like Snow Patrol, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams and REM, and we tend to agree.  These guys need to be on radio NOW, and so much of the album is radio friendly.  In addition, these tracks would do well when placed in television and film.  Best tracks include “Heart,” “Amnesia,” “Claws Out,” “WDYK,” “Pickup Artist,” and “War,” although there really aren’t any weak songs on the entire album.

Recommendation:  This is today’s no-brainer.  You simply must Get it and add it to your collection.

 

Get it or forget it – Dead Rock West, Jefferson Ross, Fernando Perdomo, SouthScope

Happy Hump Day!  Really looking forward to the next three days of great music.  In the meantime, here are four more reviews to get you closer to the weekend.

Artist Name:  Dead Rock West

Album Name:  More Love

Label:  Omnivore Records

Genre:  Alt-Country/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  More Love; 2.  Boundless Fearless Love; 3.  Stereo; 4.  Radio Silence; 5.  Nail Gun; 6.  All This Time; 7.  Singing on the Telephone; 8.  Waiting Patiently; 9.  Darkness Never Tells; 10.  Bleeding Blue; 11.  Tell me Goodbye; 12.  Bring it on Home to Me

Publicist:  MSO PR

Review:  Dead Rock West is a dynamic duo composed of Cindy Wasserman and Frank Lee Drennen whose vocal harmonies and musicianship are raising the bar for Americana music.  On More Love, they have combined with producer John Doe of X, as well as having D.J. Bonebrake of X, lead guitarist Elliot Easton of The Cars and pedal steel maestro Greg Leisz in their studio band.  The result is a well-crafted Americana masterpiece that will surely become the standard by which future Americana albums will be judged.  The album includes 11 originals with the central theme of love, plus an impressive cover of the Sam Cooke classic song “Bring it on Home to Me.”  The overall sound is reminiscent of 70’s country and 80’s soul, with most of the album radio ready, including their first single, “Boundless Fearless Love.”  We also really love the title track, “Stereo,” “All This Time,”  “Waiting Patiently,”  “Bleeding Blue” (with its obvious Doors influence), and their Sam Cooke cover.

Recommendation:

Artist Name:  Jefferson Ross

Album Name:  Live at Hillbilly Haiku

Label:  Deep Fried Discs

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Intro/Two Horses; 2.  Arvin; 3.  Slap it On; 4.  Soul is Made of Broken Things; 5.  Dunwoody Train; 6.  Trying not to Lose my Mind; 7.  House of the Lord; 8.  Family Drama; 9.  Isle of Hope; 10.  77 Lime Green Cadillac Hearse; 11.  Confederate Jasmine; 12.  Yesterday’s Paper; 13.  Stories; 14.  Encore/Not the Thunder

Publicist:  Broken Jukebox Media

Review:  Jefferson Ross has a true musical legacy that began as a guitarist for Jimmy Swaggart, included stints as a staff songwriter for Curb Records and a studio musician and band member for Terri Clark until culminating in a proud indie artist that has found his own voice.   This live album features songs pulled from his four previous albums, and gives the listener a taste of the awesomeness that is part of Ross’ concert performance.  His songs are full of descriptive lyrics that tell stories in the style of Randy Travis.  But it is the rich baritone voice of Ross that truly sets his songs apart from his peers.   Every song on this album is simply amazing and gives concrete proof of why he is such a great artist.   After listening to his live album, we can only hope that we get to experience a Ross concert.  Until that happens, this album will have to tide us over.

Recommendation:  For those of you who love the concert experience, but don’t live close enough to get there, this album is a worthy substitute.  We highly recommend you go Get it.

photo by Derek Clintron

Artist Name:  Fernando Perdomo

Album Name:  The Golden Hour

Label:  Forward Motion Records

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Sunset (intro); 2.  Sleep; 3.  Spotlight Smile; 4.  Look at the Moon; 5.  The Light; 6.  Here With Me; 7.  Sunset; 8.  Love Loss Repeat; 9.  I Feel (Therefore I Am); 10.  When You’re Next to Me; 11.  The Golden Hour; 12.  Fine; 13.  Gold

Publicist:  Forward Motion Music Group

Review:  If you ever needed to musically describe that magical period when the sun is setting for the day, then Fernando Perdomo’s The Golden Hour would be the perfect vehicle.  Already one of the best musicians in Los Angeles, and an artist that has played for a plethora of the greats, Perdomo can now add his spotless songwriting and musicianship as a solo artist.  He wrote 12 of the album’s 13 tracks by himself, and co-wrote the 13th song (“Look at the Moon”) with Jordan Zevon, son of the late great Warren Zevon.  The album captures the spirit of 1970’s California, and is worthy of industry attention and radio airplay.  Put this one on repeat and you can’t go wrong.

Recommendation:  Fernando Perdomo should be on everyone’s desert island list of albums.  We highly suggest you Get it as soon as it is available on August 17 at his album release show at the Hotel Cafe.

Artist Name:  SouthScope

Album Name:  The Hindsight

Label:  A&R Records

Genre:  Alternative Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Lockdown; 2.  Hindsight; 3.  Selfless; 4.  Burden

Publicist:  The A&R Department

Review:  Australian siblings Leon, Tyrone and Ruby Stevens created something intensely amazing when they decided to join their collective talents and form SouthScope in 2016.  The three share in the vocal duties on songs lovingly written by Leon, while Tyrone and Ruby compose the rhythm section on drums and bass, respectively.  All four songs on this EP are very worthy of industry attention, and belong on American radio now.  The band’s sound is full of life and energy, especially the band’s first single, “Selfless.”  We think these guys will become a force in the alternative rock community in no time at all, and can hardly wait for their full length album.

Recommendation:  If you like the sound of sibling harmonies, coupled with energetic musicianship, then you need to Get this EP.

 

Get it or forget it – Jess Penner, Lazarus, KRON, Tim Bennett

We have a very eclectic group of album reviews for you today, including our first children’s album, which rocketed to #2 on the iTunes chart last Friday.  Kick off your shoes, grab a cup of joe and let’s get to it.

Artist Name:  Jess Penner

Album Name:  Imagination

Label:  Position Music/Recurrent Records

Genre:  Children’s

Track Listing:  1.  I’ve Got no Strings; 2.  I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon; 3.  Imagination; 4.  Mr. Sun; 5.  You are my Sunshine; 6.  Somewhere Over the Rainbow; 7.  Thank you for Being a Friend; 8.  Forever in my Heart

Publicist:  None

Review:  This is the first children’s album we have reviewed, but it comes from a trusted source.  We have previously reviewed the music of Jess Penner, and stand behind what this indie artist is trying to accomplish.  Our most recent review was of her band KayJez.  Penner also earned nominations for Best Pop/Rock Female Artist and Best Video (lyric) in the 2016 LA Music Critic Awards.  Needless to say, with that kind of history, we expected to be blown away by her latest foray into children’s music.    We were not disappointed.  From the electronic sounds of the first track, Disney’s “I’ve Got No Strings,” through the simple accompaniment and golden sound of “Forever in my Heart,” Penner delivers her take on these classic songs that will satisfy children of all ages.  We really love her upbeat approach to the Andrew Gold classic “Thank you for Being a Friend.”  She even gives us a couple of amazing originals, including the title track and “Forever in my Heart.”

Recommendation:  Penner delivers to kids of all ages.  We highly recommend Imagination, and suggest you Get it now – the kid in you will thank you.

Artist Name:  Lazarus

Album Name:  Rock n Roll Heart

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Roots/Rock/Country

Track Listing:  1.  Rise; 2.  Making Good Time; 3.  Promise not to Tell; 4.  Rock n Roll Heart; 5.  Small Axe; 6.  Shit and Shame; 7.  Come Again in Glory; 8.  Diggin’ a Hole; 9.  Loathsome Shadow; 10.  Gonna be Okay; 11.  Exit Music

Publicist:  Broken Jukebox Media

Review:  Austin-based Lazarus does not possess the best singing voice, but what he brings to the roots/rock genre is his ability to tell a story.  He exemplifies the old country adage of “three chords and the truth” in his songs that capture and convey the truth of his words.  He starts off simply with just a guitar on the first track, “Rise,” before building to a full band on “Making Good Time,” which brings in amazing fiddle work with the harmonious backing vocals and guitar in this homage to his hometown.  “Promise not to Tell” then adds a flamenco touch to his sound, revealing that his music is multi-dimensional and inclusive.  He continues his musical journey with the addition of electric guitar on the title track, an upbeat two-step that begs the listener to get up and dance.  The remainder of the album is just one gem on top of another, making this a great album to put on repeat while you chill with a cold one.

Recommendation:  Lazarus has something to say and it deserves to be heard.  We recommend you Get this album as soon as you can.

Artist Name:  KRON

Album Name:  Raptoid

Label:  Ring the Alarm

Genre:  Synth/Rock/Electronica

Track Listing:  1.  Poof You’re Gone; 2.  Arcane Sanctuary; 3.  Raptoid; 4.  Celestial Spheres; 5.  Valley of the Wind; 6.  Fondu Sunset; 7.  NeoKong; 8.  Starlight Zone

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  Every now and then most of us love to hear music that you can feel, without any lyrics to distract you.  When the feeling hits you, we think you should pull out this EP.   KRON has evolved from being a house band at a monthly art/tech dance party in Los Angeles into a full fledged musical experience, delivering a sound that is all encompassing of your senses.  This music should be played LOUD with lots of flashing lights, compelling your body to get up and Dance!  This is the only album you need for a successful dance party.

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk to your favorite music source and GET IT NOW!

Artist Name:  Tim Bennett

Album Name:  The View From Here

Label:  Sandy Beach Records

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  As Long as You’re Buying; 2.  Forgive & Forget; 3.  There was Nothing I Could Do; 4.  Coulda Woulda Shoulda; 5.  I’ll be Expecting You; 6.  Hot Town; 7.  A Dangerous Man; 8.  Tonight I’ll be Staying Here With You; 9.  Ain’t got Time for This; 10.  Awakened by my Breaking Heart; 11.  The End of the Line

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:   With a voice akin to Merle Haggard, Tim Bennett’s music will appeal to Americana and hard-core country fans equally.  It has all the elements of Merle’s music, with a down-home feel that begs you to throw your boots on and get up and boogie.  Like Merle, Bennett knows how to tell a story, and his lyrics will get into your heart and deliver their truth, while the music will give your ears something to celebrate.  The album features both upbeat songs as well as tearjerkers that will make you want to reach out and hug your sweety.  Underneath it all is a collection of outstanding musicians that have been called “the Wrecking Crew of country music.”  This album is definitely a keeper and deserves your attention.

Recommendation:  If you love country or Americana music, then you simply must add this album to your collection.  Get out and Get it.

 

Get it or forget it – DieAlps!, Emily Zuzik, Andrea Stray, Johnny Paglino

Well, the weekend is here and so are more album reviews here on Indie Voice Blog.  We hope you will check out these artists, and continue your support of indie music.

Artist Name:  DieAlps!

Album Name:  Our City

Label:  New Granada Records

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing: 1.  Running into Walls; 2.  Invincible; 3.  Mayfly; 4.  Trust Me; 5.  Our City; 6.  Dwight; 7.  Get Yours; 8.  In the Country; 9.  I Can See it Now; 10.  Battles; 11.  Hands Up; 12.  We Fought the Sea

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  DieAlps! is a spirited foursome from Florida led by Austrian-born Connie  Calcaterra and her husband Frank.  The band’s name, which translates to The Alps, is an homage to their native Austria.  Their music has a true 90’s vibe, and is perfect for lovers of such groups as Pavement and Radiohead.  Connie and Frank split the lead vocal duties, while the rest of the band provides the perfect musical soundtrack for their thought-provoking lyrics.  They have brought their best on this debut album, and clearly show why they are such a crowd-pleasing hit in central Florida.  The entire album is noteworthy, but we think the best tracks are “Invincible,” “Mayfly,” “Trust Me,” the title track (with its surf rock vibe), “Dwight,” and “Get Yours.”

Recommendation:  We love this CD and think you will too.  Don’t waste any time – go Get it!

Artist Name:  Emily Zuzik

Album Name:  Tender

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Roots/Rock/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Tender; 2.  Ernst Kirchner; 3.  Winter in California

Publicist:  None

Review:  Tender is a short and sweet three-song EP that merely whets our appetite for more of this amazing Americana artist.  We recently reviewed her last release, Angelenos, and have nothing but good things to say about her continuing growth as a musician.  This time around her music has a little bit more bluesy soul, especially the title track, which is topped off with classy horns and the sweet sound of Zuzik’s voice.  “Ernst Kirchner” has a spooky vibe, while “Winter in California” has a rockier beat and is a beautiful story song with sweet harmonies and a memorable sound, with a vibe reminiscent of the Mommas and Poppas.

Recommendation:  Zuzik truly brings it every time, and always leaves us wanting more.  Grab this tasty hors d’ouevres to tide you over until her next full length release.

Artist Name:  Andrea Stray

Album Name:  Into Blue

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana/Roots/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Into Blue; 2.  Don’t Cry; 3.  Little Word; 4.  Forgive and Forget; 5.  You’re the Kind

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  Andrea Stray is the kind of musician that thinking people love.  She recently won the lyric writing contest for American Songwriter Magazine, and this album is further proof of her lyrical prowess.  Her well-crafted lyrics give you plenty of food for thought, and allow her to craft music around those words to bring you a story, not just a song.  This also allows her to not be confined to any particular genre, but simply write the perfect music for the story.   A prime example of this is “Into Blue,” which incorporates some amazing guitar riffs into a perfectly told story, while “Don’t Cry” brings in a rich piano sound in the style of Bruce Hornsby.   “Little Word” brings a sassy, jazzy sound to Stray’s words, while “Forgive and Forget” is pure Americana, with acoustic guitar and pedal steel.  “You’re the Kind” keeps that Americana vibe, but adds some amazing guitar riffs, which serves to bring this amazing EP full circle.

Recommendation:  Get this one like your life depends upon it.  It is one of the best we’ve reviewed this year.

Artist Name:  Johnny Paglino

Album Name:  21

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  SynthPop

Track Listing:  1.  Today is Tomorrow; 2.  Sunset Key; 3.  Anna; 4.  Kant at the Dinner Thing; 5.  When Xanax Came to Rule the World; 6.  Juan was Pistol Whipped; 7.  South Chicago; 8.  Heroin; 9.  I Will Kill Myself; 10.  I Could Forgive You; 11.  21

Publicist:  None

Review:  This album has a soothing mellow sound that belies the hard-hitting lyrical content.  If you listen carefully, however, you will hear tales of triumph over drug addition, and of living a better life, despite what’s going on around us.  This is an album that needs to be listened to repeatedly, first just to enjoy the music and then to concentrate on the stories that Paglino is telling about living in this crazy world of child trafficking, drugs and political unrest.  We think that the listener will feel empowered after hearing these songs, and encouraged to make a difference.  Best tracks include “Sunset Key,” “Juan was Pistol Whipped,” “South Chicago,” and his current single, “Heroin.”

Recommendation:  Take a chance on this new artist and Get his debut album.

 

Get it or forget it – Bryan Stephens, Katie Costello, Gerry Spehar, Flood Coats

Happy Friday – looking forward to some rodeo action today as we head to the Western Montana Fair.  Yesterday’s trip was cancelled as we spent the afternoon in the ER.  Nothing to worry about.  Here are the last of the July releases.  Enjoy our reviews.

Artist Name:  Bryan Stephens

Album Name:  Village of Dreams

Label:  Blue Élan Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  River Flows; 2.  In June; 3.  Turnabout; 4.  Revolution; 5.  Deprivation; 6.  Out of her Mind; 7.  No Time; 8.  Generations; 9.  Taking Time; 10.  Attrition; 11.  Wars Again; 12.  Dreams

Publicist:  MAD Ink PR

Review:  OMG – smooth vocals, amazing musical tracks and noteworthy lyrics – this new CD by Bryan Stephens has it all.  The songs are perfect for radio and placement, and brighten up the listener’s day.  From the first note, Village of Dreams provides adequate proof that Stephens is the real thing.  Dave Darling has done it again with his production, creating a musical masterpiece that needs to be put on repeat.  There is not a weak track on this album.  Rumor has it that Stephens is already at work on his next project, an album of covers – we cannot wait to hear his interpretations.  Check out his cover of the classic song “No Time” for an example.  Look out music industry – we have a new superstar.

Recommendation:  A true no-brainer, you simply must Get this album.  What a perfect album to celebrate Friday!

Artist Name:  Katie Costello

Album Name:  New World

Label:  REBEL POP Records

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  New World; 2.  A Beautiful Mystery; 3.  Hearts on Fire

Publicist:  FAR Digital PR

Review:  What can we say that hasn’t already been said about the powerful pop princess named Katie Costello?  She has been the topic of quite a few articles on this blog, and the recepient of several LA Music Critic Awards.  She also performed at the recent Winners Showcase back in June, and brought the house down.  Costello has previously released “New World” and “A Beautiful Mystery” as singles.  Her new addition on this EP is “Hearts on Fire,” and it is just as powerful as her previous releases.  Costello is our choice to be the next Meghan Trainor – her music is ready for worldwide distribution and deserves to be on the radio and receive a Grammy.  Keep up the awesome work – we need more artists like Katie Costello!

Recommendation:  Get it NOW!

Artist Name:  Gerry Spehar

Album Name:  I Hold Gravity

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Country

Track Listing: 1. Dirt; 2.  Muleshoe Mules; 3.  I Hold Gravity; 4.  Be Nemanic; 5.  Holy Moses Doughboy; 6.  Here in the Pass; 7.  Mr. & Mrs. Jones; 8.  How to get to Heaven From LA; 9.  God Lubbock; 10.  Into the Mystic

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  Gerry Spehar brings a classic country vibe to his songs, which are well crafted lyrically and musically.  His tunes have a familiarity that makes them seem like you’ve heard them a million times.  They are truly radio ready and provide a sound that is missing on today’s pop country stations.  Listening to the first track, “Dirt,” feels like getting together with an old friend, and the album just gets better from there.  The entire album feels like it was heavily influenced by such country greats as Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks, with Spehar’s own creative genius added in.  It is a loving tribute to his late wife, Susan.  While the entire album is great, we really love “Dirt,” “Muleshoe Mules,” “Here in the Pass,” “How to Get to Heaven From LA,” and “God Lubbock.”

Recommendation:  If  you love classic country music, you owe it to yourself to Get this album.

Artist Name:  Flood Coats

Album Name:  Vaquita

Label:  Hey Amigo Recording Co.

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Billowing Open; 2.  Hurricanes; 3.  Don’t Hold the Door; 4.  Ultraviolet; 5.  P-22; 6.  Window Seat; 7.  Magic Ones; 8.  Still Life; 9.  Vaquita

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  Flood Coats is a collaborative effort from two of LA’s best indie musicians, Joel P. West and Darla Hawn.  While we are not familiar with West, we have known Hawn for quite a few years from her time playing drums for Curtis Peoples.  Needless to say, the collective sound of Flood Coats is rich and vibrant, with perfectly written pop melodies supporting strong lyrical content, topped off with the amazing harmonies of West and Hawn.  The entire album has that 80’s pop feel that uplifts and empowers the listener, and is just plain fun.  We especially love “Billowing Open,” “Don’t Hold the Door,” “P-22,” “Window Seat,” and “Magic Ones.”

Recommendation:  This album belongs to all true music lovers and will surely be the first of many that you add to your collection.  We strongly suggest you Get it ASAP!

 

Get it or forget it – Relaye, Choir Vandals, Nescora, Detroit Rebellion

Today and tomorrow we will be bringing you eight new Get it or Forget it reviews that should complete the albums that were released in the month of July.  Enjoy these first four today as we get ready to go out and review a local live performance this afternoon as Miller Campbell comes to the Western Montana Fair in the first of three shows.

Artist Name:  Relaye

Album Name:  9 to 5

Label:  Blue Élan Records

Genre:  Hip-Hop

Track Listing:  1.   Vibe; 2.  Cookin’ (ft. Old Man Saxon); 3.  Snob (ft. Kelli Wakili); 4.   Comfort Food; 5.  LA; 6.  Make Her Say It

Publicist:  None

Review:  Relaye is an anomaly for his label, Blue Élan Records, being their first foray into the crowded hip-hop market.  His album 9 to 5 is also the first album released by Blue Elan that requires a “Parental Advisory” label for language.  With a sound like a young Snoop Dog and language that would make NWA proud, Relaye raps about the problems facing black men in Los Angeles (and probably elsewhere).   Relaye will be celebrating the release of his album with an EP Release Show at the Airliner Lounge in Los Angeles on August 13.  For details, click here.

Recommendation:  If you are a hard-core hip-hop and rap lover, you will love this album.  For the rest of us, Forget it.

Artist Name:  Choir Vandals

Album Name:  Dark Glow

Label:  Animal Style Records

Genre:  Alternative

Track Listing:  1.  A Place to Hide; 2.  Head in the Oven; 3.  Holiday Girls; 4.  Keep it Under; 5.  The Gardener; 6.  Mother; 7.  Sequencer; 8.  White Gloves; 9.  Hard to Hold; 10.  For Lovers; 11.  The Ones With the Bomb

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Their vocals are raw, but their musicianship is first rate, firmly establishing the Choir Vandals as a future leader of the alternative scene.  Their music is appealing, real and fresh.   Their music has to have been influenced by The Cure, as that vibe flows throughout the album.  Best tracks include “Head in the Oven,” “Holiday Girls,” “Keep it Under,” “The Gardener,” and “Mother,” but the entire album is noteworthy.

Recommendation:  This one is a keeper, regardless of your musical tastes.  We highly recommend you Get it.

Artist Name:  Nescora

Album Name:  Someplace Somewhere

Label:  Self released

Genre:  Folk Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Together Play Together Play; 2.  Rescue (Radio); 3.  Krazy Over U; 4.  Pray for Rain; 5.  Find Out; 6.  Buy U a Mini Coop; 7.  Rapid in my Head; 8.  Days are Gone

Publicist:  Working Brilliantly

Review:  This album is full of acoustical brilliance, from the simple arrangements to the vocals to the lyrical excellence.  Nescora delivers his music with a mixture of Americana, blues, folk and rock, stylistically similar to the White Buffalo and Joe Purdy, with a taste of Tom Petty.  We especially like his first single, “Rescue,” as well as “Krazy Over U,” “Buy U a Mini Coop,” and “Days are Gone.”

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk, and Get this one.  It will surely become one of your favorites.

Artist Name:  Detroit Rebellion

Album Name:  The Man

Label:  Bodan Kuma Recordings

Genre:  Modern Blues/Garage Rock

Track Listing:  1.  The Man; 2.  Fork in the Road; 3.  Dirty Boots; 4.  Desire; 5.  Detroit Rebellion of ’67; 6.  Some of the Time Some Other Time; 7.  Trash Talk; 8.  Dark Lady; 9.  Nothing to Lose; 10.  Echo Chamber; 11.  Speak Your Mind; 12.  The Spy

Publicist:  The Syndicate PR

Review:  Named after the infamous Detroit Riots of 1967, this dynamic duo from Providence, Rhode Island create blues music for the modern world, combining their song and music writing skills to create protest songs that would make Woody Guthrie proud, using a myriad of musical genres in the style of Bob Dylan.  Really loved the stand-up bass sound of his guitar and the simple snare accompaniment.  Best tracks include “Dirty Boots,” “Desire,” “Detroit Rebellion ’67,” “Some of the Time Some Other Time,” “Dark Lady,” and “Nothing to Lose.”

Recommendation:  This album belongs in the library of every true audiophile.  It’s simplistic tone and dynamic lyrical content are worth the price.  We definitely recommend you Get it.

 

Get it or forget it – Julian Borrego, Cara Frew, fos, Sundara Karma

Still trying to catch up on the multitude of submissions we have recently had from indie musicians.  Still have about 15 to do to bring us up to last Friday, and another three being released this Friday.  We will do our best to be caught up by then.  Here are today’s four reviews.

Artist Name:  Julian Borrego

Album Name:  Ouroboros

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Psychedelic Funk/Electronica

Track Listing:  1.  Small Talk; 2.  Weekdaze; 3.  Xeriscape; 4.  Sound Is; 5.  1 2 3; 6.  Mbuti/Devotion to the Rainforest; 7.  OutroThanks4ListeningAdios

Publicist:  Mora May Agency

Review:  Eerie, psychedelic, electronic, dreamy, synthy and funky – all of these words describe the music of Julian Borrego, which combines so many individual types of sounds to create a rainbow of music – think OEM meets Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix.  Borrego is fast becoming an force both inside and outside the indie music community.  His single “Xeriscape” is introducing people to the power of his songs, and propelling Borrego into the spotlight.  Judging from this eclectic collection of music, that spotlight is well deserved.  We really love “Weekdaze,” “Xeriscape,” and “123.”

Recommendation:  This album can send you on an acid trip without the drugs.  We recommend you Get it and give it a spin.

Artist Name:  Cara Frew

Album Name:  Dance

Label:  Sony Music Entertainment

Genre:  Pop/Dance

Track Listing:  1.  Only High With You; 2.  You Got Me (SNBRN & Blu J ft. Cara Frew); 3.  Dance; 4.  You Got Me POP Mix

Publicist:  The Blossom Agency

Review:  Cara Frew is an artist who splits her time between her native South Africa and London.  Her music is a mix of both her cultures, infusing pop lyrics over African beats to create music that makes your toes tap and your body want to get up and dance.  All four songs are fun and serve as a perfect tease of Frew’s potential.  We especially like her collaboration with SNBRN & Blu J on “You Got Me” as well as the title track.

Recommendation:  If you love to dance, then this is the perfect EP for you.  Get it and dance!

Artist Name:  fos

Album Name:  Captain Free

Label:  Near the Exit Music

Genre:  Electronic Folk

Track Listing:  1.  Captain Free; 2.  Aeras Fissa; 3. Better no Map; 4.  Adamos; 5.  Captain Free II; 6.  Captain Free III; 7.  Sailing out of the Storm; 8.  Wild on Blue; 9.  Captain Free IV

Publicist:  Vision Music Promotions

Review:  London based Greek artist Katerina Koutouzi is the force behind fos.  She takes traditional Greek folk music and gives it an electronica feel.  The title track is presented in four different styles, each of which show just a portion of the immense talent of this artist.  Although this is not the type of album that is radio friendly (except for maybe NPR), it is perfect for those with eclectic tastes who crave something different.   Her music does have that eerie ethereal feel of Enya, which makes the album perfect as background music.  Best tracks include “Aeras Fissa,” “Better no Map,” “Adamos,” and “Wild on Blue.”

Recommendation:  This one is not for everyone, but if you have eclectic taste, it should be a perfect fit.  We still recommend you Get it.

 

Artist Name:  Sundara Karma

Album Name:  Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect

Label:  Chess Club/RCA Victor

Genre:  Alternative

Track Listing:  1.  A Young Understanding; 2.  Loveblood; 3.  Explore; 4.  Olympia; 5.  Lakhey; 6.  Happy Family; 7.  Flame; 8.  She Said; 9.  Lose the Feeling; 10.  Vivienne; 11.  Be Nobody; 12.  Deep Relief; 13.  Watching From Great Heights; 14.  The Night; 15.  Another Word for Beautiful

Publicist:  Stache Media

Review:  UK natives Sundara Karma are back with an extended version of their latest album, which was released digitally earlier this year.  The extended version adds three songs, including their latest single “Explore.”  Their previous single, “She Said,” reached #31 on the Alternative Songs chart while “Explore” has already reached #18 on the Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists chart and is still climbing. The band has charted on three additional charts:  Next Big Sound, Rock Airplay and Spotify Viral 50 with a total of four different songs.  Needless to say, this band seems to be just what the indie world needs right now.  Even with just a casual listen to the album, it quickly becomes apparent why this band is having so much success.  The music is upbeat with great rock vocals that play well on the radio.  The lyrics are great without being so deep that the listener gets lost in them, instead of the steady alternative rock beat lurking underneath.   There is not a weak song on this 15-song treasure chest.  Have fun exploring this emerging giant of music.

Recommendation:  You simply must Get this album.  It is that good!

Get it or forget it – LOLAA, Shannon McNally, Eli Raybon, Kelly Fitzgerald

Because of some snafus with getting access to several of the CDs and EPs that were released in June, we now have quite a few that need to be reviewed so that we can get back to the reviewing those that have been released since July 1.  Here are (we hope) the final three from June, as well as one from July.  While we try to catch up, we will be interspersing the Get it or Forget it reviews with our live performance reviews of recent shows, including Chris Chilton, Jerad Finck, Celtic Festival Missoula, and Anni Piper/Magic City Blues Festival.  Let’s get this party going!

Cover by Jose Garcia

Artist Name:  LOLAA

Album Name:  LOLAA

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Breaking Sound; 2.  Always Been; 3.  Lola; 4.  Song 6; 5.  Barricades; 6.  Spirits

Publicist:  The Syndicate PR

Review:  Toronto based sisters Lex Valentine and Nadia Valerie King combine their amazing voices to form LOLAA, and the result is pop heaven.  The music is upbeat and makes you want to tap your toes or get up and dance.  The songs are radio friendly.  This band deserves industry attention.  We love all six songs on this all-too-short EP, and can hardly wait to see what comes next.  We especially love their first music video of “Always Been” and also love the song “Barricades.”

Recommendation:  Don’t waste any time.  Just Get this one – trust us.

Artist Name:  Shannon McNally

Album Name:  Black Irish

Label:  Compass Records

Genre:  Roots/Americana/Blues/Soul

Track Listing:  1.  You Made me Feel for You; 2.  I Ain’t Gonna Stand for It; 3.  Banshee Moan; 4.  I Went to the Well; 5.  Roll Away the stone; 6.  Black Haired Boy; 7.  Low Rider; 8.  Isn’t That Love; 9.  Stuff You Gotta Watch; 10.  Prayer in Open D; 11.  It Makes no Difference; 12.  Let’s go Home

Publicist:  The Syndicate PR

Review:  Shannon McNally has been floating around the indie music community for quite a few years.  In fact, Black Irish is her tenth studio album.  But what sets this one apart is the fact that it is produced by Roots icon Rodney Crowell, who brings out the best of McNally, both in her vocals, the musical arrangements and the overall sound of her songs.  He also wrote two of the songs, including “You Made me Feel for You,” and co-wrote one additional song.  These songs are radio ready and definitely should be considered for placement in a myriad of television and movies.  McNally’s interpretations of songs from classic artists like Robbie Robertson, J.J. Cale, Muddy Waters, The Staple Singers and Stevie Wonder, clearly establish her as a major voice in today’s music market.

Recommendation:  We can’t believe we haven’t heard of this artist until now.  If you’ve also been in the dark about this amazing voice, remedy that by running out to Get this CD.

Artist Name:  Eli Raybon

Album Name:  Green

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alt/Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  30 Cents; 2.  Like an Eel; 3.  Sucker me In; 4.  Unsymmetrical

Publicist:  Working Brilliantly

Review:  Don’t let them tell you that 80’s music is dead, because it is alive and well in the person of Eli Raybon.  His songs bring back memories of such acts as A Flock of Seagulls, and have a soothing effect, especially on those of use who still remember that decade.  This four-song EP is far too short, but is the perfect teaser of what is to come from this truly outstanding artist.  We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Recommendation:  Definitely Get this EP digitally now, even before the hard copy comes out.  It will brighten your day.

Artist Name:  Kelly Fitzgerald

Album Name:  Find the Silver Lining

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Singer-Songwriter Pop

Track Listing:  1.  I Think You’re out of my Mind; 2.  You’re the man for Me; 3.  Piece of Cake; 4.  Behind Bars; 5.  Everything That’s Good; 6.  I Can’t Stop Thinking About You; 7.  Make Your Heart Happy; 8.  Sweet Love; 9.  Thinkin’; 10.  Bring me Back

Publicist:  None

Review:  Kelly Fitzgerald is one of those old school indie performers.  Her songs are well crafted and upbeat, her voice is heavenly and she is one of the sweetest and most personable of performers.  She sings about everyday subjects in such a way that they become instant classics.  This time around she has hooked up with Brian Pothier and the result is one of the most fun CDs we have reviewed in quite a while., as she mixes genres with ease.  We especially love the jazzy fun horns on “You’re the Man for Me,” and the ukulele on “Piece of Cake.”  Our other favorites include “Behind Bars,” “Everything That’s Good,” and “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You,” which pretty much sums up the way we feel about Fitzgerald.

Recommendation:  If you love great music, then this one is a no-brainer – Get it ASAP.  If  you’re in Southern California, we strongly suggest you see her perform live.  It is definitely a rewarding experience.

 

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.