The snow continues to fall here in Montana, with more than two feet additional snow forecast by the end of the year. Guess I’ll have some time to try and review the remaining 60 or so requests for review. No promises that I can get them all done by the end of the month, but I’m gonna do my best. Here are another five for your reflection.
Artist Name: Franks & Deans
Album Name: The Best You’re Gonna Feel All Day
Label: SquidHat Records
Genre: Punk Rock & Roll/Ska
Track Listing: 1. Fly me to the Moon; 2. Chain Gang; 3. Just a Gigolo; 4. Splish Splash; 5. Sway; 6. Down in Mexico; 7. Feeling Good; 8. I’ll be Glad When You’re Dead (You Rascal You); 9. Luck be a Lady; 10. Hello Mary Lou; 11. The Candy Man; 12. That’s Life
Publicist: SquidHat Records PR
Review: Franks & Deans are a Las Vegas legend, transforming songs of the Rat Pack into punk rock and ska classics. On their sophomore release, they also tackle more modern songs from the likes of Sam Cooke/The Pretenders, Louis Prima/David Lee Roth, Bobby Darin, The Coasters, Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong, and Ricky Nelson, This is a party album and the perfect background for time with your friends. It is a blast to hear these songs totally re-arranged in a truly original way. We would really love to see these guys live, because it must be a blast to hear them in that arena. This is one of the best, if not the best, cover albums we have ever reviewed. Imagine Sinatra’s “Luck be a Lady” as ska. Unbelievable, but they pull it off with flair.
Recommendation: Don’t think twice – Get this one today!
Artist Name: The Innocent Bystanders
Album Name: Attractive Nuisance
Label: Bystander Records
Track Listing: 1. Gotta get Outta Here; 2. Highways; 3. Emerald Eyes; 4. Working Man’s Daughter
Review: We have been fortunate to have seen The Innocent Bystanders back when we lived in San Diego. This is their first album of original music, and we couldn’t be happier. We only wish there was more than four songs. Fortunately, the four songs are enough to whet your appetite and make you crave more. These songs are super radio friendly and deserve major industry attention. “Gotta get Outta Here” has some amazing keys, sax and a Jimmy Buffett vibe, while “Highways” has more of a Chrissy Hind/The Pretenders feel. “Emerald Eyes” has a very jazzy blues kind of vibe, while the final track, “Working Man’s Daughter,” adds some flute to the guitar to give it a Seals and Croft/Steely Dan feel. This band is truly a Southern California treasure that we would love to see shared with the rest of the world. At least London is already on board the train!
Recommendation: This band may be a guilty pleasure, but you simply must Get their music. By the way, it’s free to download.
Artist Name: Pistoleros
Album Name: Silver
Label: Fervor Records
Track Listing: 1. You are not Alone; 2. Lost and Gone; 3. Did you Wake up all Alone; 4. Living in the Dark; 5. Parts of Yesterday; 6. Always You and Me; 7. NYC Queen; 8. You Belong; 9. Gimme Gimme (explicit); 10. Summertime; 11. Don’t Break my Heart; 12. Broken Man
Publicist: Noisy Ghost PR
Review: The Pistoleros have been around for 25 years, and have gone through quite a few personnel changes during that time. On this special album, three of the founding members return to contribute to this momentous occasion, and the result is breathtaking. The band started out as The Chimeras and was founded by the legendary Doug Hopkins of the Gin Blossoms, who added Mark and Lawrence Zubia, Scott Andrews and Mark Riggs. The band was signed to Hollywood Records and EMI Publishing before changing their name to the Pistoleros. Hopkins and Riggs were the first to leave, but Riggs has recently rejoined the band after an absence and his presence is truly felt. You can definitely feel the Gin Blossoms influence on the band’s sound, making every song radio friendly and worthy of industry attention. Best songs include “You are not Alone,” “Lost and Gone,” “Living in the Dark,” “Parts of Yesterday,” “Always You and Me,” “NYC Queen,” “You Belong,” “Summertime,” and “Don’t Break my Heart.”
Recommendation: This one is a true keeper – rush out and Get it now!
Artist Name: Jason Hawk Harris
Album Name: Formaldehyde Tobacco and Tulips
Label: Free Man Records
Track Listing: 1. Phantom Limb; 2. Give Myself to You; 3. Tell me I’m Good for You; 4. I’m Afraid; 5. The Smoke and the Stars
Publicist: Lucky Bird Media
Review: If you are a fan of indie folk band The Show Ponies (one of our favorites), you are already familiar with the amazing guitar work of Jason Hawk Harris. Like the Foo Fighters’ Chris Shifflett, Harris is doing some of his best work as a solo artist. This five-song EP gives Harris the chance to try some things differently with a more Americana feel than The Show Ponies style allows. He starts it off with the hard-hitting “Phantom Limb,” which explains the album title within its lyrics. “Give Myself to You” has a Lumineers feel, with incredible guitar picking and lyrics that are visceral in their clarity, painting a word picture that is crystal clear. “Tell me I’m Good for You” has a sound and a story like a good country song. Harris totally changes direction on “I’m Afraid,” with its rapid-fire drums and Garth Brooks-like lyrics and delivery. He closes out the EP with “The Smoke and the Stars,” an eerie, haunting tune that returns to his Americana/alt-country roots. All in all, this is an excellent solo effort, and deserves strong industry attention.
Recommendation: One of 2017’s best EPs, you had better Get it now. This artist is going places.
Artist Name: Kaylee Keller
Album Name: Rubies
Genre: Country Pop
Track Listing: 1. Nowhere America; 2. Let Your Love; 3. Get Back Up; 4. You’re my Broken Compass; 5. Taking out the Trash; 6. What I Believe
Publicist: Nashville Publicity Group
Review: Kaylee Keller is a true home-grown musician, who has stayed true to her roots despite her success. With a sound similar to that other small-town girl Carrie Underwood, Keller could be a huge star on country radio. She is also trying her hand at acting, and has the potential to be a double success. Her first song, “Nowhere America,” belongs on radio now, as does “You’re my Broken Compass,” and the rest of her songs deserve further industry attention. Her music is lighthearted, uplifting and just plain fun. Check out the fiddle work on “Let Your Love” and the ukulele on “Get Back Up” (which was recorded live). She closes out her EP with the stunning ballad “What I Believe,” which could be an amazing theme song for a non-profit. This EP is awesome from start to finish, but our favorite tracks are “Nowhere America” and “You’re my Broken Compass.”
Recommendation: Kaylee Keller is the voice of the future for country pop. Jump onboard the train and Get her EP today!