Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of music albums, singles or videos.

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!


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.


Get it or forget it – Chris Daniels and the Kings, Hodera, Billy Burnette, Cairo Knife Fight

Tuesday was Election Day here in Montana for a plethora of local officials, including our mayor, judges and city council.  Seems like a perfect day to review some new indie music, and vote on our favorites.  We’ve got four albums for you today, including an artist we recently met at the Durango Songwriters Expo in Denver last month.  Enjoy these new tunes and let us know what you think.

Artist NameChris Daniels and The Kings (with Freddi Gowdy)

Album NameBlues with Horns, Volume 1

Label:  Moon Voyage Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Sweet Memphis; 2.  Fried Food/Hard Liquor; 3.  Get up off the Funk; 4.  Soothe me Baby; 5.  Wouldn’t Treat a Dog (the way you Treated Me); 6.  Baby’s in Love with the Radio; 7.  Can’t Even do Wrong Right; 8.  You can Stay but That Noise Must Go; 9.  Them Changes; 10.  Rain Check

Publicist:  HyPR Media

Review:  I recently served with Chris Daniels on the DIY panel at the Durango Songwriters Expo last month, where we discussed his latest project.  After listening to the first track, “Sweet Memphis,” I was amazed that he has previously released 14 albums but had never crossed my radar, because this man and his music personifies old time blues, complete with an amazing horn section that rivals the Tower of Power horns.  This album has everything you like in the blues – great sax and horns, a powerful vocal with amazing harmonies, great songwriting, and that soulful harmonica rising above it all.  Every musician in this band is a stand-out, and the recent addition of Freddi Gowdy on vocals creates a special vocal harmony that, to quote track four, “is soothing for me.”  This one is perfect for repeated listens, as you will hear different things every time you listen.  Our favorite tracks include “Fried Food/Hard Liquor,” “Get up off the Funk,” “Soothe me Baby,” “You can Stay but that Noise Must Go,” and “Them Changes.”

Recommendation:  Definitely Get this one.  It is one of the best blues albums we have heard in a long time.

Artist NameHodera

Album NameFirst Things First

Label:  Take This to Heart Records

Genre:  Alt-Americana/Roots Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Out of Sync; 2.  Highways; 3.  North Dakota; 4.  Best Intentions; 5.  Four White Walls; 6.  Baltimore; 7.  Just for Today; 8.  The Saddest Sentence; 9.  My Daily Chemicals; 10.  Holding Patterns

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  Hodera has a unique sound that incorporates the best of indie rock and Americana music.  Their music is upbeat, with well written lyrics and music, incredible vocals and instrumentation.  The songs are memorable, with catchy melodies, great hooks and a down home sound that makes you want to listen over and over again.  Considering the subject matter, it is amazing how this band makes their message positive, much like The Mavericks’ “All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down.”  Our favorite tracks include “Out of Sync,” “Best Intentions,” “Baltimore,” and “Just for Today.”

Recommendation:  This is a good one for your Americana collection.   Grab it when you can.

Artist NameBilly Burnette

Album NameCrazy Like Me

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Rockabilly/Alt-Country

Track Listing:  1.  Tear it Up; 2.  (All I Can Do Is) Dream You; 3.  Crazy Like Me; 4.  Oh Well; 5.  When I Remember You; 6.  It’s Late; 7.  Nothing to do (and all Night to do it); 8.  Ghost Town; 9.  Do I Ever Cross Your Mind; 10.  She’s Burning the Honky Tonks Down; 11.  She’s Going to win Your Heart; 12.  River of Love; 13.  All Nighter; 14.  Anywhere you Go

Publicist:  MSO PR

Review:  You may or may not know that Billy Burnette was a long-time fixture for Fleetwood Mac, but his latest CD shows that he has the right stuff to make a name for himself as a solo artist.  The sound is very reminiscent of Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats, crossed with a little Jerry Lee Lewis, bringing us back to the early days of rock and roll.  This one is just plain fun, and provides the perfect backdrop for your next friendly get-together.  Our favorite tracks include “Tear it Up,” the title track, “Oh Well,” “It’s Late,” “Ghost Town,” “She’s Going to Win Your Heart,” and “River of Love.”

Recommendation:  If you love classic and original rock and roll and alt-country music, then you owe it to yourself to Get this album.

Artist NameCairo Knife Fight

Album NameSeven

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alternative Rock

Track Listing:  1.  (1); 2.  A-Nine; 3.  (5); 4.  Six; 5.  (7); 6.  A-Four; 7.  (9); 8.  A-Seven; 9.  (3); 10.  A-Two; 11. (11); 12.  A-Three; 13.  (12); 14.  A-Eight

Publicist:  HyPR Media

Review:  Cairo Knife Fight is a very unique band that incorporates a radical hard rock soundtrack to support its well-crafted and substantial lyrics that discuss social issues and themes.  Interestingly, there is some rhyme and reason to their uninspiring song titles, as the titles in parenthesis are instrumental interludes between the different songs that are designed by the prefix “A-.”  Their music will get your head banging and your feet stomping while the lyrics will make you stop and think about their message.  The final track has been converted to a music video, which we recommend you check out.

Recommendation:  If you love hard rock acts like AC/DC and Rush, then this just might be the perfect album for you.  For the rest of us, it’s still a worthy addition to our musical libraries.


Get it or forget it – Jangling Sparrows, Warbly Jets, Elizabeth and the Catapult

It’s been a wild and amazing ride being on tour with Jerad Finck these past three weeks.    We played shows in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paso Robles, San Diego, and tonight is the final show in Missoula, Montana.  We will be booking his spring tour soon, so give us a shout if you want him to visit your area.  In the meantime, welcome back to another edition of Get it or Forget it.  We got more than 50 new requests in the past few weeks, so it’s gonna be a busy run to the end of the year.

Artist NameJangling Sparrows

Album Name:  140 Nickels

Label:  Palace/Flophouse

Genre:  Americana/Roots Rock

Track Listing:  1.  The Party Ain’t Over; 2.  Look Away Twice; 3.  Burnin’ a Hole; 4.  Take Home Your Coat; 5.  Ain’t Waiting for the Paint to Dry; 6.  One Good Piece of Advice; 7.  Great American Limbo; 8.  Cheaper Down the Road; 9.  Eyes of a Stranger; 10.  Catch That Ride; 11.  Pops is Comin’ Up

Publicist:  Doug Deutsch Publicity Services

Review:  Americana music is one of the fastest growing genres today, and that’s due in no small part to the amazing music being generated by artists like Jangling Sparrows.  Their music is upbeat and fun, with great songwriting and lyrics, and plenty of that good old down home musical sound of guitars, fiddle, steel and soaring vocals that truly capture the Americana sound.  Paul Edelman has outdone himself with his lead vocals, coupled with amazing harmonies.  You can also hear the zydeco influence throughout the album.  We think this is one of the best Americana bands we have heard this year, and would love to see their live performance.  Our favorite tracks include “The Party Ain’t Over,” “Burnin’ a Hole,” “One Good Piece of Advice,” “Great American Limbo,” and “Cheaper Down the Road.”

Recommendation:  This one is a no-brainer.  You NEED this one in your musical library, so run out and Get it.  Now.

Artist NameWarbly Jets

Album NameWarbly Jets

Label:  Rebel Union Recordings

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Alive; 2.  The Lowdown; 3.  RIDE; 4.  Shapeshifter; 5.  Keep Pushin; 6.  Raw Evolution; 7.  Fast Change; 8.  Head Session; 9.  Pt. II; 10.  4th Coming Bomb; 11.  Getting Closer (Than I Ever Have)

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  The Warbly Jets are sure to take the indie rock world by storm with this debut self-titled album, chock full of amazing guitar riffs, great vocals, and well-crafted songs.  From the first notes of “Alive,” it becomes quickly clear that this band has come to rock, and will quickly draw in a myriad of fans of rock and roll.  The awesome tunes continue with “The Lowdown,” and don’t stop until the final note of the album.  This one is a great candidate for the repeat button, as each track builds on the momentum created by the previous track.   It is no wonder why they are getting massive critical acclaim from tastemaker station KCRW in their native Los Angeles, and have already garnered considerable airplay on Sirius XM.

Recommendation:  We strongly recommend you catch Warbly Jets when they go out on tour.  In the meantime, Get this album by any means necessary.

Artist NameElizabeth & the Catapult

Album NameKeepsake

Label:  Compass Records

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  We can Pretend; 2.  Underwater; 3.  Something More; 4.  Ambrosia; 5.  Magic Chaser; 6.  Mea Culpa; 7.  Method Acting; 8.  Better Days; 9.  Less Than you Think; 10.  Tread Carefully; 11.  Land of Lost Things.

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  At one time, the “Hotel Cafe” sound filled the indie music charts with names like Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Colbie Caillat, Charlotte Martin and Elizaveta.  We are proud to announce that Elizabeth and the Catapult are rekindling that sound and bringing it back to indie music.  Her vocals are supreme, with catchy hooks and a bright upbeat feel that is missing in much of today’s music.  This is a deeply personal and introspective album, and we are so glad to be able to share in it.  We still can’t get the sound of the first track, “We can Pretend,” out of our head, and we are happy for this earwig.  This is another album destined for the “repeat” button, and we could not be happier.  The band is planning on taking their show on the road to celebrate the album release, and we strongly encourage you to catch their live show.  Our favorite tracks include “We Can Pretend,” “Underwater,” “Ambrosia,” “Magic Chaser,” “Method Acting” and “Better Days,” but in actuality, there isn’t a weak song on the album.

Recommendation:  Don’t delay – Get this one TODAY!

Michael Shynes is having one of those kind of days

Michael Shynes is a gifted singer/songwriter who is only recently beginning to come into his own.  He lost his Father to an auto immune disease at the age of 25.  To honor his Dad’s legacy, he decided to chase those dreams he had put off for so long.   At that time he was working at a residential treatment center for teens and playing the occasional show on the weekend.

Shynes eplained, “It was important work, and shaped who I am today in a lot of ways.  But after three years, I just got tired of getting beat up, spit on, and called everything you can imagine.  I loved those kids though, and wouldn’t trade my time there for anything.”

Shynes moved back home to keep costs down while trying to become a full time musician.  “It worked out well because I didn’t want to think of my Mom being alone in the house after my Dad’s passing.  But by the same token, it felt like a lateral move being back in my childhood home.  I had many an existential crisis during that time.”

Shynes began playing every show that he possibly could, and as time went on, he was able to pay all his bills (and student loans) with an acoustic guitar.  “Paying rent every month by writing and performing songs was pretty surreal, and the harder I worked, the better the gigs got.”

Shynes was often considered to be a strong local candidate to open up for national acts as they came through town, and even ended up on a tour with platinum recording artist Howie Day.  “That really taught me a lot because I was playing for theaters full of people who were not there to see me.  But I was telling the stories and playing my songs, and everyone was listening.  That was a landmark experience.”

Since that time, Shynes has worked to become one of the most sought after acoustic performers and songwriters in the Midwest. He has an ability to blend shades of multiple genres over an acoustic landscape, and his songs are ripe with lyrical depth rarely paired with mainstream appeal.  “The thing that seems to separate Shynes is unquestionably his voice and phrasing.  With a range and falsetto that is nothing short of captivating, his acoustic finger picking style acts as the perfect bed of warmth on which his soulful lyrics can rest.” (Up Next, a local Minnesota publication)

Shynes has recently completed a new album that will be released on November 18, 2017.   In the meantime, he is already getting favorable press, including The Huffington Post, as to his first single and the title track, “Cold Day in Hell,” which was released on October 13.

This song is the perfect track for sharing his talents.  It combines comedic lyrics with a truly relatable story that most of us have endured at some point in our life.  He has followed up the single release with a hilarious lyric video that further drives home his story.

We love the new single and the lyric video.  We also encourage you to check out the live videos he has recently posted on his YouTube page.


Get it or forget it – The Elwins, Tout, John LaFayete Ramey, Noon

Happy Friday the 13th.  Hope you have a spooky good time today.  We have four reviews for your today, two of which are instrumentals courtesy of Trestle Records, which specializes in that genre.  We are proud to welcome them to our family of music enablers.  We hope these albums put you in the weekend mode.  Since we are going out on tour with Jerad Finck, this may be our last Get it or Forget it for a few weeks, but we will do our best to continue to enlighten you on the amazing indie artists we meet.

Artist NameThe Elwins

Album NameBeauty Community

Label:  Hidden Pony

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Hey! Ya, You; 2.  Don’t Walk Away From Me; 3.  OMG; 4.  Hocus Pocus; 5.  Dreamgirl; 6.  Looks Like You’re Hiding; 7.  Never Felt so Good; 8.  Your Very own Beauty Community; 9.  How do you Feel; 10.  Watercolour; 11.  Grind you Down; 12.  C’mon C’mon; 13.  This is It

Publicist:  Auteur Research

Review:  The album kicks off with “Hey! Ya, You,” which is also their first single.  It is a powerful pop/rock song that will play well on the radio, with its cool beat, hooky lyrics and impressive sound.  The album delivers hit after hit, all of which deserve serious industry consideration.  Our favorite tracks include “Don’t Walk Away From Me,” “OMG,” “Dreamgirl,” “Never Felt so Good,” “How do you Feel,” and “Grind you Down,” as well as the superb first single.  We have been seeing some impressive Canadian acts recently, and The Elwins top the list.  The band is headed out for a tour of the northern United States and Canada, and we only wish we had known they were just down the road in Bozeman last weekend.

Recommendation:  This one is super catchy and fun, and belongs in your music library.  Get it.

Artist NameTout

Album NameLive

Label:  Trestle Records

Genre:  Instrumental

Track Listing:  1.  Have set the Trees A’Sobbin; 2.  Tis Munny in his Purse; 3.  I Pictured Him; 4.  My Condition Can’t be Worse; 5.  So Here I’ve Stood

Publicist:  Trestle Records

Review:  Tout brings us prog rock instrumentals that are interesting and complex, with a steady beat and impressive guitar work.  They provide an excellent background for your daily life, with music that will keep your ears and mind alert.  This live album follows their first three studio albums, which have garnered industry praise and created a huge fan base for this thoughtful and reflective tunes.  All five tracks are noteworthy and unique.  Take time to be reflective – just add these songs to your daily routine.

Recommendation:  If you love prog rock and instrumentals, take these tunes for a test drive.

Artist NameJohn Lafayette Ramey

Album NameExposition Lines

Label:  Self released

Genre:  Roots Rock/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Cheap Rent (Move On); 2.  Guadalupe; 3.  Amelia; 4.  Jenny; 5.  Troubled Soulful Mama of the Deepest Blue; 6.  Parnell; 7.  Let me Down Easy; 8.  Sad Song, Sad Town; 9.  I Don’t Believe You; 10.  Still with Me

Publicist: KB Music Press

Review:  John Lafayette Ramey is a multi-talented Americana artist that brings the total package to the genre.  His songs can be rocky, like “Cheap Rent” or heartfelt and sincere, like “Guadalupe” and “Amelia.”   He even throws in his own version of the blues with “Troubled Soulful Mama of the Deepest Blue.”  His album shows a firm understanding of the many facets of Americana music, and Ramey has the chops to make it in this very competitive marketplace.  He also shows a healthy respect for classic rock with a pair of songs that feel heavily influenced by the Beatles (“Parnell”) and Tom Petty (“Let me Down Easy”), as well as the country feeling “Sad Song, Sad Town” and “I Don’t Believe You.”

Recommendation:  Check this one out if your love the variety of sounds incorporated in the Americana genre.

Artist NameNoon

Album NameDisquiet

Label:  Trestle Records

Genre:  Instrumental

Track Listing:  1.  Use on Floor; 2.  Wow Ashen; 3.  Imani’s Call; 4.  Living Above Visions; 5.  Disquiet; 6.  Plastic White; 7.  Llangrannog; 8.  Obviously Having it Believers; 9.  London Swims

Publicist:  Trestle Records

Review:  The album is aptly named as this album is chock full of discordant notes, eerie and spooky undertones and an overall feeling of unease, making it the perfect soundtrack for the horror movie industry.  Amazingly, it was recorded live at conversational levels during their show at Netil House.  The band incorporates a myriad of styles and tones in creating their unique sound.  This one is not for the faint of heart, but the audiophile in search of something totally different.

Recommendation:  Check it out, if you dare.