Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of music albums, singles or videos.

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 8

Happy Presidents Day.  Hope you’re all having a great day as we launch into our eighth edition of the Monday Mashup for 2017.

Indie artists have been hard at work, acting as the voice of our generation.  In particular, artists are speaking out about the current political tensions, as well as standing with causes that have become near and dear to many hearts.  Let’s see what’s happening this week.

Trapdoor Social stands with Standing Rock

Local Los Angeles group Trapdoor Social has released an official music video for their song “Never Stop Listening” that supports the ongoing struggle between the United States and DAPL and the Native American Standing Rock tribe.  The cinematography is breathless and the message is the heart of the video.  Check it out and let us know where you stand on this issue.

Here’s what Trapdoor Social and songwriter Skylar Funk had to say about the video:

“Last fall I helped organize a donation drive and trip up to North Dakota from LA to support the water protectors in the Oceti Sakowin camp, at the center of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. We spent a week there working in construction, in the kitchens, chopping wood and shoveling snow, and felt incredibly welcomed and honored for the chance to participate in something so powerful and historic.


One thing they asked of us in orientation was to “Bring It Home” – to share what we learned at camp and to make sure folks back in the communities we’d return to were aware that the struggle to protect that land and water continues. Of course with the recent executive order, the challenge is even more urgent… So we created a video about the people we met at camp paired up with a song I wrote and released with Trapdoor Social last year to share what we saw and hopefully inspire more action.” – Skylar Funk

The video was shot by acclaimed director Alexandra Velasco.

Blue Élan Records artists release new music videos

Two of the artists signed to Blue Élan Records have new music videos.

The first, See, released a live acoustic version of her song “Closed Eyes Open” last Monday.  Her smoky and heavenly voice brings back memories of a cross between Stevie Nicks and Adele, and will serve this up and coming artist well.  Her debut EP, Ties, was released last July, and the debut single, “Potions” has received more than three million hits.  This is definitely an artist to put on your radar, because we firmly believe she will soon be a household name as she skyrockets to the top of the charts.  Let us know what you think.

The second is Cindy Alexander, one of the strongest advocates for indie music in Los Angeles.  This official music video, which is debuting today on YouTube, is for her song “Deep Waters,” the title track of her latest album.  The song was co-written and produced by long-time legendary musician Colin Devlin, and is a powerful vision.  We love the cinematography and more importantly, the message, which is a beacon of hope for our troubled times.  Let us know what you think of this gem.

 

Alexander is also preparing to hit the road this summer, using the Road Nation program to plan her tour.  This amazing program allows fans to choose the itinerary, and allows Alexander to support cancer research, a cause near to her heart since she is a cancer survivor.  Check out her campaign and bring her to your town this summer.

The Thrillseekers and Shannon Hurley release new video

Last but certainly not least this week is the latest video from the ongoing collaboration between The Thrillseekers and indie guru Shannon Hurley (one-half of the award-winning band Lovers & Poets).  We think you’ll love the upbeat message and sound of “Stay Here with Me.”  Let us know what you think.

That’s it for this week.  Gonna be a busy one with volunteering for the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival here in Missoula.  If you have the time, definitely check it out.  Keep those emails and music referrals coming.

Invest in the latest from Kanisha K

Kanisha K has been a favorite of this writer since she was first introduced to us by Ue3 Promotions in August 2014.  During that time, she has upped her skills, had her music placed in more and more stores across the country, and received media and critical attention, including nominations for several awards.  This writer has shared her music through several media outlets, including Examiner.com, AXS.com, and Indie Voice Blog, adding them to the list of media outlets that look forward to each new release.

Her new single, “Bet on Me,” should quickly rise up the charts after its release on Friday, February 17, 2017, and will be available on iTunes.  It was co-written and produced by Joe Vulpis, who has worked with the likes of Lady Gaga, Richie Blackmore and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Having been a fan of her music for several years now, we can truly say that “Bet on Me” is the best song Kanisha has released to date.  This power ballad captures the amazing tone of her voice and provides the perfect vehicle to announce to the world that she has truly arrived and is a good bet for musical greatness.  We look forward to hearing this song on Top 40 radio.

“Bet On Me” continues the dynamic creative relationship between Kanisha and Vulpis that began in 2015 with the single “Oh Damn Yeah” (which was released to both Top 40 and CHR radio) and was mastered by Tom Coyne, who has worked on projects by Adele, Beyonce, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift, Pink and Ariana Grande.  The song also became popular during the Summer Olympics in Brazil.

“The song is about feeling like the underdog and asking the question, ‘If I were at my lowest point,’ would you still bet on me and take a chance on me?’” says the Holland, Michigan based pop singer.  “I wrote it in kind of a love song mode but am in a very different place in my life now, so I can embrace its much deeper meaning.  When we’re not at our best, are the people we love and count on going to be there for us through the hard times?  Who’s going to stick around and who is not?  I’m really proud of ‘Bet On Me.’  It’s a powerful and inspiring song and I love belting it out!”

We think that Kanisha K is a worthy investment.  We can hardly wait to hear the rest of the new music she is working on in Nashville with such veteran songwriters as Britton Cameron, Nathan Meckel and Jane Bach.  If it’s anything like her past work, then we think you the listener should heed Kanisha’s advise to “Bet on Me.”

 

Indie artist Janiva Magness deserves the hype

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, otherwise known as NARAS, gives out the Grammy Awards each year for the best in recorded music and spoken word.  While almost all winners are signed to one of the major labels, every now and then The Academy stands up and takes notice of indie artists or shines the spotlight on a legend making a comeback.

The trend began in 2012, when Linda Chorney became the first truly independent artist to secure a Grammy nomination in the Americana category.  Although she did not win, she did open the door for others like Omar Akram, an independent new age artist who won the Grammy for best new age album in 2013.

This year The Academy has shined its spotlight near and far, resulting in quite a few nominations of artists who are previously unknown or obscure, and at least one more indie artist.   Although she is signed to Blue Élan Records, a major independent label based out of Los Angeles that is also home to such legends as Gerry Beckley of America and Eagles songwriter Jack Tempchin, Janiva Magness is a relatively unknown indie artist whose music demands attention.

Believe it or not, Love Wins Again is the 12th album Magness has released in her career, and the fifth time she has worked with producer Dave Darling, who has personally garnered four Grammy nominations for his work with such artists as Glen Campbell, Brian Setzer, John Waite and the Stray Cats.

From the first notes of the title cut, Magness shatters the barriers between genres and unleashes an album that must be sonically experienced, with a healthy heaping of indie rock, soul, jazz, gospel and funk to sweeten the overall blues feel.

The album progresses with a stop on the Soul Train vibe of “Real Slow,” before kicking it singer-songwriter/ indie rock style on “When you Hold Me,” which just happens to be one of our favorite cuts.  The album continues with a gospel, soul feel on “Say You Will” before the almost Americana/indie rock feel of “Doorway.”   Magness kicks in with her full blues regiment on “Moth to a Flame” and “Your House is Burnin'” before dialing it back down with “Just Another Lesson,”  “Rain Down,” and “Long as I can see the Light.”  She closes out with the moving ballad “Who Will Come for Me,” to which we state the obvious – your fans.

Magness is a true artist who has mastered the art of bringing a message that transcends musical genres and ties an album together.  She definitely has our vote for Grammy and for providing one of the best albums of 2016, indie or otherwise.  We can hardly wait to see what’s next.

 

Montana Rep celebrates 50 years with a classic production

Besides MCT, Missoula is also home to another theater company with a long rich history.  The Montana Repertory Theatre is celebrating 50 years by delivering one of their finest productions and by doing it differently than they have in the past.

Neil Simon has generated some of the most comedic plays ever written, and Barefoot in the Park is definitely one of the best of his best.  It is perfect suited as the cornerstone for this Golden Anniversary celebration, and should contribute to making this year’s national tour a smashing success.

Normally the Montana Rep’s show features Actors’ Equity members in the lead roles, but director Greg Johnson turned that around when he cast UM students Whitney Miller and Hunter S. Hash in the roles of Corie and Paul Bratter, newlyweds moving into their first apartment in NYC in the 60’s.  Although they are not (yet) Actors’ Equity, they are no strangers to theater-goers in Missoula.  Miller just completed a run in the lead role of Elle in Legally Blonde the Musical, while Hash appeared in Dracula and A Christmas Carol.

As for the rest of the cast, all of them are veterans of previous Montana Rep productions.  Laurie Dawn portrayed Kate Keller in last year’s All My Sons, which also featured Colton Swibold as her son Chris.  Mark Kuntz starred as Jay Gatsby two years ago in The Great Gatsby, which also featured Swibold.

The set was a masterpiece of simplicity, perfectly created by Scenic Designer Joey Sarno and complemented by Props Artisan Jerry Goodwin.  The set was further brought to life by Lighting Designer Brian Hapcic and Audio Designer Timothy McHenry, while Costume Designer M L Hart provided the final touches that catapulted the stage into a true icon of the 60’s.

This production achieves its success through the overall direction of Montana Rep’s Artistic Director Johnson, while Stage Manager Hope Rose Kelly ensured that each performance was true to that direction.

Suffice it to say that this is one of the finest productions we have every witnessed, including off Broadway and national touring Broadway productions.  Every cast member left it all on the stage as they transported the audience back to the 1960’s in such a natural way that it felt like we had boarded a time machine and travelled there.  This is a true ensemble piece, and every actor had the chance to shine at some point in the show.  The pacing was brisk and moved the show along without ever dragging.

Do not miss this show.  Remaining performances in Missoula are scheduled for January 26 at 7:30 p.m., 27 (sold-out) and 28 (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.), as well as February 2 and 4 at 7:30 p.m.  Performances are held in the Montana Theater on the campus of the University of Montana.  Tickets are available at the UMArts Box Office or online at GrizTix.com.

 

MCT rises to new heights with its production of Urinetown the Musical

Community theatre, when it’s done well, can be a true blessing, and the community of Missoula is very fortunate to have MCT in its midst for the past 29 years since it opened its doors in 1988.

We have been lucky to have witnessed the past four seasons of MCT productions, and we can truly say that the work done on the 2016-2017 season is some of the best we have ever witnessed.  Case in point – the current production of Urinetown: the Musical is easily the best show to come out of MCT during its tenure.  We were so glad to be there on opening night on Friday to witness its greatness.

What sets this show apart is the fact that it does not take itself seriously, but from start to finish takes a tongue-in-check approach that truly endears the show to participants and audiences alike.

Reid Reimers as Officer Lockstock is the consummate narrator and a damn fine actor.  His portrayal is spot-on, and his interactions with Haley Court as Little Sally are among the many bright spots of this production.  Speaking of Court, and having performed with her in her first show (Spamalot) four years ago, her growth as an actress has been nothing short of remarkable.

But they were not the only stars of this remarkable show, which was brilliantly directed by Joseph Martinez, with choreography by Megan Wittshire, music direction by Scott Koljonen, Scenic Design by Theresa K. Jenson and J. Scott Reilly, Lighting Design by Daniel Norton, Props Design by Lesley Washburn, Costume Design by Linda Muth and Sound Design by Gregory Boris, all perfectly carried out by stage director Kera Rivera.

Rachel Shull, who recently returned to Missoula from Utah, is pivotal as Penelope Pennywise, the administrator of Public Amenity #9.  Her voice took her solos to new heights and her comedic timing was perfect as she brought this very interesting character to life.  Equally as compelling was the return of Tim Shonkwiler as Bobby Strong, who provided the perfect nemesis for Shull’s character and ultimately led to her redemption, and Taylor Caprara as Hope Cladwell, the naïve daughter of villain Caldwell B. Cladwell, owner of UGC, played by Kelly Cutler.  Caprara was perfectly cast in this role, and demonstrated immense talent in her portrayal of her character’s eye-opening experience and eventual rise to power.  On the other hand, Cutler’s performance brought forth the perfect villain in Cladwell, and gave the audience a character truly worthy of its animosity.

Of the remaining cast members, all 17 turned in outstanding performances, but one truly shone in her role as one of Bobby Strong’s followers.  Carlyn Runnels, who portrayed Tiny Tom in the cop ensemble, was a singing and dancing machine, and stole the scene with her brilliance and award-worthy skills.

If you are a true musical theatre nerd, MCT is having a contest to see how many of the many musical references contained in this production can be identified by the audience.   Some of them are quite obvious to even the casual theater lover, while others will only be apparent to the true connoisseur of musical theater.   Regardless of which category you fit, it is fun to try and find them, sort of like the theatre’s version of Pokémon Go!

You should definitely make plans to attend this show, which continues today with performances at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., followed by 7:30 p.m. performances on January 25-28, 6:30 p.m. performance on January 29, and 2 p.m. matinees on January 28 and 29.  Call the box office at 728-7529 to inquire about the availability of tickets.   Friday’s opening night was sold out.

 

Best Indie Albums of 2016 (an unbiased opinion)

Happy new year.  While you’re all chomping at the bit to find out who won the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2016, we thought we would give you our take on the best indie albums of 2016.  The list is in alphabetical order, as we could not rank them otherwise.  Each of these albums has been reviewed by Indie Voice Blog (except for one), so we are providing the link so you can check out the full review.  Here we go . . .

Camile Bloom – Pieces of Me

We have been fans of Bloom for many years, and her latest masterpiece is also one of her best ever.  You cannot go wrong in adding this one to your musical collection.

Chely Wright – I am the Rain

This is the one album we have not previously reviewed.  Wright was a huge country star 20 years ago when she was signed to MCA Nashville.  I discovered her talent in the late 90’s when she and another “unknown,” Kenny Chesney, opened a show for Confederate Railroad at the Date Festival in Indio, California.  Since MCA stupidly dropped her, Wright has continued making music, as well as being the first country artist to come out.  We were privileged to have been a supporter of her crowd-funding campaign for this album, which is one of her most intimate and profound projects to date.  Needless to say that most people will be deeply touched by the music on this album, and we highly recommend it to all our readers.

The Congress – The Game

Thanks to our friendship with the Big Kahuna, Laura Goldfarb, of Red Boot PR, we discovered this gem in September.  It has all the right elements to propel this band into the spotlight.  Grab it while you can.

Daddy Issues – Handle It

This band took us by storm after Jennifer Allison introduced them to us.  They are gorgeous and even more talented, and are taking the rock world by the sheer force of their music.  This is a band that will only get better as they mature.  Check them out now – you won’t be sorry.

Earwig –  Pause for the Jets

We must admit, what first caught our attention about this band was their collaboration with Lydia Loveless on “Wasted on You.”  However, once we had a chance to hear their CD, we were equally impressed by them.  We think you’ll be hearing about them for years to come.  Thanks to Michelle King for introducing them to us.

Janey Street – My Side of Paradise

Janey Street has been writing great songs for as long as Janice Ian, but has remained relatively obscure, until now.  Her latest on Blue Élan Records is amazing, and truly deserving of recognition and industry attention.  Definitely add this one to your collection.

Sharif – Tangled Dreams and Empty Bottles

Sharif is another artist we have followed for years while we were in Los Angeles.  He has since returned to college for his Masters degree in music.  While there he discovered Middle Eastern music, and incorporated it into his style as part of his thesis.  The resulting album is by far one of his best.  Check it out and we think you’ll agree.

Sonia Rao – Meet Them at the Door

Another artist who reached out to her fans for crowd-funding help, Sonia Rao is just becoming known outside of the indie music scene.  Her recent tour in support of this album was a rousing success.  Take a listen to these tunes and we think you’ll understand why.

The Spider Accomplice – Los Angeles:  The Abduction

We have followed the work of VK Lynne, lead singer for The Spider Accomplice through her journey from singer-songwriter, country, pop, rock, and metal to her rightful place as the voice of indie music.  This EP is the second in their Los Angeles trilogy, and solidifies their place as one of the premiere indie rock bands in the world.

Spiritual Rez – Setting in the West

We at Indie Voice Blog have always been fans of reggae music, and no one did it better in 2016 than Spiritual Rez.  Not only are their tunes impossible to sit still through, they have also incorporated and featured other amazing artists into their groove, including Daddy B of Dirty Heads, HIRIE and Billy Kottage of Reel Big Fish.  In addition, their music videos are ‘off the hook’ wicked.  Thanks again to Laura Goldfarb for introducing them to us.

Looking forward to revealing the LA Music Critic Award winners on January 17.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artist NameImaginary Friends

Album Name Falling Inward

Label:  None

Genre:  Indie Folk Rock

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

Publicist:  None

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

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

Artist NameAJ Hobbs

Album NameToo Much is Never Enough

Label:  Booker Records

Genre:  Country

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

Publicist:  KG Music Press

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

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

Artist NameAndrea Hamilton

Album NameHope and Struggle

Label:  None

Genre:  Hopeful Pop

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

Publicist:  None

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

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

 

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

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

Artist NamePollen Rx

Album NameSunbelt Emptiness

Label:  Austin Town Hall Records

Genre:  Dance Punk

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

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

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

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

Artist NameKari Kimmel

Album NameCovers One

Label:  Rykim Records

Genre:  Pop/Rock

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

Publicist:  None

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

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

New album releases on September 10

Artist Name Daddy Issues

Album NameHandle It

Label:  Play Like a Girl Records

Genre:  Alt Pop/Rock

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

Publicist:  Jennifer Allison Publicity

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

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

 

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

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

Artist NameLanding

Album NameComplekt

Label:  These are Not Records

Genre:  Dream Pop

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

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

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

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

Artist NameSerengeti & Sicker Man

Album NameDoctor My Own Patience

Label:  Graveface Records

Genre:  Hip Hop/Pop

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

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

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

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

Artist NameStereo Off

Album NameEP III

Label:  None

Genre:  Indie Rock

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

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

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

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