Get it or forget it – Phantom Phunk, VTCN Radio, John Verity, Matt Westerman, Lavender Child

Well, it’s our final Get it or Forget it for 2017.  We will have reviewed 316 albums and EPs this year, with only 40 or so more to review after today’s article, plus another 15 requests for the new year.  We’ll knock the 2017 ones out early in January, as well as our list of the Best Albums and EPs of 2017 before launching into our nominations for the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2017 and the new requests for 2018.  That is going to be a gargantuan task, since we have had more than 200 submissions during that period (225 to be exact), and so many of them are amazing.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, here are our final five reviews for this year.

Artist NamePhantom Phunk

Album NameTurtle Stand

Label:  Harmonic Factory

Genre:  Alternative Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Back Seat Sax; 2.  My Hands; 3.  Sleepy Willow; 4.  Turtle Stand; 5.  Paper Neck; 6.  Raymond Saunder’s Funhouse; 7.  Shadow Lawn; 8.  Memory’s a Ghost; 9.  Steep Your Body; 10.  People Watcher; 11.  Arecibo’s Lullaby

Publicist:  Presstown PR

Review:  Phantom Phunk packs a lot of energy into their songs, mixing alternative rock and powerpop into a bundle of interesting indie funk.  The first track is a little out there, but the band hits their stride on the second track, “My Hands,” which was also their first single.  The goodness continues with the instrumental track, “Sleepy Willow,” before they come back harder with solid vocals on the title track.  “Paper Neck” starts out as just another crazy instrumental, before the vocals kick in and it becomes almost prog rock-like in its sound.  We also like “Shadow Lawn,” “Memory’s a Ghost,” and “People Watcher.

Recommendation:  If you’re feeling adventurous, then give this one a spin.  We guarantee it’s different from your average indie alternative rock sound.

Artist NameVTCN Radio

Album NameMydriase

Label:  Five to Six Records

Genre:  Experimental

Track Listing:  1.  Mydriase; 2.  Riddle Song; 3.  Subtle Body; 4.  Venus Flytrap; 5.  Moon Motion; 6.  Late Night Shuttle; 7.  Bucket List; 8.  POP; 9.  Wet Widow

Publicist:  Self-promoted

Review:  We love the sound of the rain, and the way this album starts, with the rain, hooting owls and other sounds is very interesting, soothing and reflective.  There are no words to describe the genre their music falls into, so I guess we’ll call it experimental environmental bliss.  It definitely shows a classical influence, as well as that of those nature albums you put on as white noise.  Still it retains the beauty of nature as well as the intensity of good music, and is the type of album you can leave on repeat for your daily musical backdrop.  It’s not radio friendly, but is still commercially viable, and would make a great soundtrack for documentaries and commercials.  Best track is “Subtle Body.”

Recommendation:  Another one for the adventurous type, or just someone who likes to have music in the background of their life.  It’s definitely worth checking out.

Artist Name John Verity

Album NameBlue to my Soul

Label:  VaVoom Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1/  Such a Feeling; 2.  This old Dog; 3.  Blues in Heaven; 4.  The Blues is my Business; 5.  Never Gonna Change; 6.  Alabama Blues; 7.  Say the Word; 8.  Wasted Years; 9.  A Better Way; 10.  Hold Your Head Up

Publicist:  ABIK Promotions

Review:  This is the 20th album for John Verity, and he continues to show why he has lasted so long in the indie world.  This release contains six original tunes, as well as four covers, including the classic rock smash “Hold Your Head Up.”  He hits the ground running with “Such a Feeling,” and the album just takes off from there.  The first track  has a “Journey” feel, almost more like classic rock than the blues, which he returns to with his second and third tracks, “This Old Dog” and “Blues in Heaven,” before turning in spotless covers of “The Blues is my Business,” “Never Gonna Change,” and the totally relevant story contained in “Alabama Blues.”  He closes out the album just as strongly, with the rocking “Say the Word,” the soulful “Wasted Years” and “A Better Way,” and his final cover.  What an incredible album.

Recommendation:  This one is a no-brainer – Get it now!

Artist NameMatt Westerman

Album NameLife Out Loud

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Don’t Give up on You; 2.  One Fine Day; 3.  Wait and See; 4.  Flower Dress; 5.  She’s More; 6.  Sunrise

Publicist:  Far Digital PR

Review:  Matt Westerman’s music is like a beacon in a foggy sky, illuminating the hope that gives a promise of better days in the future.  His voice is soothing, his lyrics are well-crafted, and the simple accompaniment is the perfect supplement to make his songs well rounded and perfect for your musical library.  These songs are memorable and deserve industry attention for both radio and future placements in television and film.  Our favorite tracks are “Don’t Give up on You,” “One Fine Day,” “Wait and See,” “Flower Dress,” actually the whole damn album!

Recommendation:  Definitely get this one.

Artist NameLavender Child

Album NameReflections

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Dream Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Beautiful Landscapes; 2.  Plutomania; 3.  Happy Illusions; 4.  Reflections (Interlude); 5.  Reflections

Publicist:  Auteur Research

Review:  In a similar vein to VTCN Radio, but with a more meditative and reflection vibe, Lavender Child brings their unique style of music to the world on their debut EP, Reflections.  As you can imagine, this album is perfect for your yoga workouts, your introspective reflections and mediation time.  It reminds us of the music of Enya with a more environmental sound.  It’s not for everyone, but we happy to appreciate its uniqueness.  Hopefully, you will too.

Recommendation:  We bet you don’t have anything like this in your current library.  We recommend you add this EP.


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