Get it or forget it – Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers, Helen Culver, JD & the Straight Shot, The Black Hand

We made it to another hump day, which just happens to be the first day of fall.  We love this time of year as the seasons change and we prepare for the winter.  What are your favorite memories of this time of year?  Hopefully some of them will be great music, as we have four new artists to introduce today.  Grab your coffee and let’s get started.

Artist Name:  Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers

Album Name:  Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Blues and Funk

Track Listing:  1.  No Good; 2.  Trouble; 3.  Leopard Lounge; 4.  Move on Down the Line; 5.  Lost my Mojo; 6.  All I do is Work; 7.  When the Blues Come Calling; 8.  I Didn’t Know; 9.  Blue as Blue can Get; 10.  What the cat Dragged In; 11.  Last man Standing; 12.  Black Cat Boogie

Publicist:  Broads 4 Blues

Review:  There is nothing like a good solid blues rhythm coupled with an amazing female voice that understands the true sound of the blues.  Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers have definitely learned those lessons, and turn in a worthy performance on this song of solid tunes that should be a case study for anyone interested in studying the art of the blues.  They understand that there are different grooves for great blues music, and they have mastered all of those styles on this album.  From the upbeat style of “No Good” to the slow sexy groove of “Trouble” and “All I do is Work” to the funky sound of “Leopard Lounge,” this band brings us some of the best blues we have heard this year.  This is a band that should be the house band for any television show that features the blues, as they bring an authenticity to their sound not normally heard by today’s modern blues bands.  Besides the aforementioned songs, we were also digging the sound of “Move on Down the Line,” “When the Blues Come Calling,” and “What the Cat Dragged In.”

Recommendation:  If you love the blues, you will love this album.  We strongly urge you to Get it.

Artist Name:  Helen Culver

Album Name:  Seven Year Glitch

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alt-Pop/Electronica

Track Listing:  1.  Ctrl-Alt-Delete; 2.  Drink by Myself; 3.  Red Light; 4.  Selfish Lover

Publicist:  None

Review:  Helen Culver creates the kind of music that house DJs love – a steady beat, great vocals and a catchy chorus that will stick in your mind long after the song has ended.  Her four- song EP is more like an appetizer, leaving us hungry for more.  She provides us with a myriad of alt-pop sounds that stimulate the senses, creating an urgency and desire for additional tasty morsels.  Although short, the EP is packed full of intelligent lyrics, great grooves and enough diversity that most listeners will find something they like.  No two songs sound the same, giving Culver a number of ways to continue delivering great music.  We will be here patiently waiting for the next chapter of this amazing artist.

Recommendation:  You should definitely Get it.  It shows great promise for what is yet to come.

Artist Name:  JD & the Straight Shot

Album Name:  Good Luck and Good Night

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Redemption Train; 2.  Ballad of Jacob Marley; 3.  Moonlight; 4.  I Know you Know I Know; 5.  Run for Me; 6.  Shambala; 7.  Good Luck and Good Night; 8.  Tonight; 9.  It’s Your World Now; 10.  Never Alone

Publicist:  Publicity Please

Review:  OMG – Americana will never be the same with the release of the latest from JD & the Straight Shot. Composed of vocalist and guitarist Jim Dolan, bassist Byron House (Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton), violinist/fiddler Erin Slaver (Martina McBride, Rod Stewart) and guitarist Marc Copely (B.B. King, Rosanne Cash), they pack so much experience into a tight package that it has to be good – and it is.  In fact it is so good that they are currently supporting The Eli Young Band, The Doobie Brothers and Chicago on their respective tours.  The chemistry and harmony between Dolan and Slaver is the stuff of Hollywood movie magic, and the musical accompaniment this band of experts puts together puts them at the top of the Americana genre.  Slaver’s fiddle work is also above and beyond, as she brings a quality not heard in many years, reminiscent of Charlie Daniels.  There isn’t a weak song on the CD, but we really love “Ballad of Jacob Marley, “Moonlight,” their amazing cover of Three Dog Night’s “Shambala,” the title track, “Tonight,” and “It’s Your World Now.”

Recommendation:  Get it while it’s hot.  These guys will make a memorable and lasting addition to your musical library.

Artist Name:  The Black Hand

Album Name:  The Black Hand

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Electro-metal

Track Listing:  1.  Every; 2.  Easy to Hate; 3.  Disappear; 4.  Daydreamer; 5.  Where are you Now?  6.  The Thickening; 7.  The American Pastime; 8.  Clarity; 9.  Bliss; 10.  Chosen

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Los Angeles is often considered to be a difficult town for a musician to shine in as there is so much talent and so much variation in the indie music scene.  The Black Hand hails from Southern California, and has decided to stand out by being hard in a town where soft sells.  Their music is reminiscent of Death Pool, with the requisite sreaming intact, but it is their musical sound that stands out from the plethora of other metal bands.  Absent the screamo vocals, the music is hardcore, well written and even better performed.  Their music could very well be a soundtrack for numerous films and television shows, minus the vocals.  When the lead vocalist does decide to sing, he has a good voice, but looses all credibility (to this reviewer, at least) when he decides to scream instead.

Recommendation:  Unless you are an avid lover of death metal/ screamo music, you’d best Forget this one.