Tag Archives: album reviews

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!

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.

 

Get it or forget it – Curtis Peoples, Lydia Loveless, Standing Before Kings, The Oxford Coma

Time is quickly running out and there is still so much to do.  Spent all morning going through my emails and found a ton of review requests.  Unfortunately, they will have to wait until I return from tour with Jerad Finck.  We should have time for one or two more articles before then, so here we go with four more reviews.

Artist NameCurtis Peoples

Album NameFive-Nine

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  All Hands; 2.  Love on Fire; 3.  Last Night my Favorite Band Broke Up; 4.  Damage Control

Publicist:  None

Review:  Curtis Peoples has been a favorite of this reviewer since he first saw him perform at the Roxy on Sunset when he was signed to Maverick Records.  Peoples has been spending most of his time recently penning hit songs for others (including Pierce the Veil), and it is with much joy that we have received this latest offering, even if it is only four songs.  Lucky for us all four are amazing and ready for radio.  Peoples has a strong smoky baritone that lifts his carefully crafted lyrics to new heights.  His musical accompaniment is first rate and shows further signs of the growth of this artist.

Recommendation:  If you love great music, then you must Get this EP.  Hopefully we’ll have a full-length CD soon :).

Artist NameLydia Loveless

Album NameBoy Crazy and Single(s)

Label:  Bloodshot Records

Genre:  Indie Rock/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  All I Know; 2.  All the Time; 3.  Lover’s Spat; 4.  Boy Crazy; 5.  The Water; 6.  Mile High; 7.  Blind; 8.  Come Over; 9.  Falling out of Love; 10.  I Would die 4 U; 11.  Alison

Publicist:  Bloodshot Records

Review:  Lydia Loveless has been making a name for herself, both as an individual artist and a collaborator on such project’s as Earwig’s award winning hit, “Wasted on You.”  Her latest project combines new songs with re-releases of previous material, and is a wonderful addition to this year’s indie offerings.  She has a country-tinged voice that reminds us of Martina McBride, mixed with a rock and roll flavor that is perfectly suited to her music.  From the first notes of “All I Know,” it become quickly obvious that we are in the presence of greatness, witnessing the rise of indie music’s next big star.  On top of her originals, she delivers a stunning cover of Prince’s hit, “I Would Die 4 U.”  While we love every track, we were especially drawn to “All I Know,” “Lover’s Spat,” the title track, “The Water,” and “Falling Out of Love.”

Recommendation:  This one is a requirement for all serious music lovers – Get. It. Now.

Artist Name Standing Before Kings (SBK)

Album Name: Standing Before Kings

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Euro Alternative Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Intro (Explosions); 2.  Explosions; 3.  In Your Eyes; 4.  Your World

Publicist:  None

Review:  Standing Before Kings, formerly known as SIKA, is an alternative rock band begun in Russia and perfected in North Hollywood, California.   They have a heavy but pure rock sound that resonates with the conviction of their faith-based lyrics, similar to the sound of Christian rock bands Skillet and P.O.D.  We can feel the anguish in their song “In Your Eyes” as well as the power in their other tracks.  We would definitely love to hear more from this band and look forward to the release of a full-length album.

Recommendation:  If you love rock, and positive lyrics, then definitely check them out.

Artist NameThe Oxford Coma

Album NameEverything Out of Tune

Label:  Siggy Records

Genre:  Psychedelic Grunge

Track Listing:  1.  Trauma (Maybe I’m Forgetting Something); 2.  Inflatable Patriots (Touching People in their Sleep); Patterns of Though; 4.  Cartoons; 5.  Junkies & God; 6.  Everything is out of Tune My Only Victories are Other; 7.  Reciprocal Damage; 8.  Smack & Temporary Enlightenment; 9.  Good Job Boys

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  The Oxford Coma is frustrated with the current state of our country, and that frustration and angst comes through loud and clear on every dysfunctional track of their new album.  They wanted to create an album that would be the auditory soundtrack for a psychedelic hallucination, and they have achieved that goal.  They are also planning to release a feature film that will provide the visionary aspect of those hallucinations.  We think they definitely have the talent to pull off this multi-media project.

Recommendation:  If grunge and psychedelic music is your thing, then definitely check them out.  For the rest of us, just Forget it.

 

Get it or forget it – The Rasmus, Kele Okereke, Becca Richardson, Harper Grae

It’s been very busy this week preparing to take my client, Jerad Finck, on tour.  So much to do gathering merchandise, making last minute logistical runs and finalizing everything.  In addition to that, we have 21 new releases for the month of October to review, as well as eight more through the end of the year.  We will do our best to get all of the October reviews done before the end of the month, but that may be difficult being on tour.  Nevertheless, we will get them done and will start with four reviews for you today.

Artist Name The Rasmus

Album NameDark Matters

Label:   Playground Music Scandinavia

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Paradise; 2.  Something in the Dark; 3.  Wonderman; 4.  Nothing; 5.  Empire; 6.  Crystalline; 7.  Black Days; 8.  Silver Night; 9.  Delirium; 10.  Dragons into Dreams

Publicist:  Guerilla Music Promotion

Review:  The Rasmus have previously released eight studio albums between 1996 and 2012, and are making their comeback with Dark Matters.  The sound is indie rock meets anthemic heavy metal, and is worthy of serious consideration.  Recorded and mixed in Sweden and produced by The Family, Dark Matters arrives at a time when the USA market desperately needs new rock music.  This album hits the ground running and never lets up.  It is the type of album you want to hear again and again, especially “Something in the Dark,” “Nothing,” “Empire,” “Silver Night” and “Delirium.”

Recommendation:  This one rocks – Get it Now!

Artist NameKele Okereke

Album NameFatherland

Label:  BMG

Genre:  Indie Singer/Songwriter

Track Listing:  1.  Overture; 2.  Streets Been Talking; 3.  You Keep on Whispering his Name; 4.  Capers; 5.  Grounds for Resentment (ft. Olly Alexander); 6.  Yemaya; 7.  Do U Right; 8.  Version of Us (ft. Corinne Bailey Rae); 9.  Portrait; 10.  Road to Ibadan; 11.  Savannah; 12.  The New Year Party; 13.  Royal Reign

Publicist:  The End Records PR

Review:  British artist Kele Okereke of the band Bloc Party has been working on his acoustic release Fatherland for quite a few years, and the resulting album was definitely worth the wait.  The album shows the singer/songwriter side of Okereke, and we are impressed with the finished product.  The sound is definitely international with insightful lyrics that offer a rare glimpse inside this amazing artist.  He even throws in a couple of duets:  “Grounds for Resentment” with Olly Alexander and “Version of Us” with Corrine Bailey Rae.  Best songs include “Streets Been Talking,” “Capers,” “Yemaha,” “Do U Right,” “Portrait,” and “Savannah,” as well as the aforementioned duets.

Recommendation:  If you like acoustic music with an international flavor, then this is your lucky day.  We recommend you Get this one.

Artist NameBecca Richardson

Album NameWe are Gathered Here

Label:  Pink Mirror Records

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Wanted; 2.  My Father’s Daughter; 3.  Stronger; 4.  Right Now; 5.  Dig; 6.  Killing all the Beautiful; 7.  Before the Chorus; 8.  Crooked Hearts; 9.  Rise; 10.  Are you Ready?

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  We fell in love with this artist when we first heard her single “Wanted” and couldn’t wait for her to release her album.  OMG – this one is a definitely keeper that should find a lot of repeat time on your music player, and belongs on your local radio station.  Her voice is crisp and clear, soaring above the music as only those few special artists can.  The songs are well crafted with intelligent lyrics, a steady beat, and just the right instrumentation to support Richardson’s amazing voice.  Besides the killer first single, “Wanted,” we also love “Stronger,” “Right Now,” “Dig,” “Crooked Hearts,” and “Rise.”

Recommendation:  This one’s a keeper.  We think once you’ve heard it through you’ll want to hear it over and over again.  Get this one Now!

Artist NameHarper Grae

Album NameBreak Your Crowns

Label:  Oliver Ann Records

Genre:  Pop Country

Track Listing:  1.  Young Blood; 2.  Dear Daddy; 3.  Blame it on You (ft. Corey Bost); 4.  Thunder Rolls; 5.  7 Years; 6.  Good with your Goodbye; 7.  Break Your Crowns; 8.  True Love; 9.  Free; 10.  Where my Heart has Been (ft. Rand)

Publicist:  Alliance Media Relations

Review:  Harper Grae is a product of the awesomeness that was Glee, and was a contestant on the Glee Project 2.  Break Your Crowns is her debut album, and what a debut it is.  Grae contributes most of the tracks and adds an impressive cover of Garth Brooks’ classic hit, “Thunder Rolls.”  This album deserves serious radio air play, as well as consideration for placements in television and movies.  Our favorite tracks include “Young Blood,” her duets “Blame it on You” and “Where my Heart has Been,” “Good in your Goodbye,” “the title track and “Free.”

Recommendation:  Don’t even think about it, just Get it!

 

Get it or forget it – Canyon City, Monica Chapman, Marc Berger, Alex Mabey

We were so amazed at the level of talent at this year’s Durango Songwriters Expo.  It was our first trip since we moved to Montana, and the talent pool, which has already spawned such acts as Meghan Trainor, Alissa Moreno, Tim Fagan and others just keeps getting better.  Two of our reviews today are artists we saw perform at DSE.  We think all of these reviews will encourage and entice you to continue supporting indie music.

Artist NameCanyon City

Album NameConstellation

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Folk

Track Listing:  1.  Our Way; 2.  Find You; 3.  Midnight Flight; 4.  Like I Did; 5.  Train; 6.  For the Day; 7.  Oh my God; 8.  Satellite; 9.  Run; 10.  Be Scared With Me

Publicist:  Red Boot PR

Review:  Canyon City aka Paul Johnson has a sound smooth as silk, with a dreamy voice that will soothe the listener’s soul and provide the perfect background for a major chill session.  His music goes down like a fine glass of wine, warming your body as his vibe eases your tensions and stresses, creating a truly relaxing feel.  This is music that would be at home on Hot AC and AAA stations, as this music demands radio airplay.  From the first track onwards, Canyon City gives you song after song that will change your mind about indie music.  There are no weak tracks on the album, but we really love “Our Way,” the title track (which is also the first single), “Train,” “For the Day,” and “Satellite.”

Recommendation:  This is a must have for your musical collection.  It will soon become one of your favorites, so Get it now and play it often.

Artist NameMonica Chapman

Album NameSmall World

Label:  Live Records

Genre:  Jazz

Track Listing:  1.  A Shine on Your Shoes; 2.  Goldfinger; 3.  Piel Canela; 4.  Small World; 5.  Caravan; 6.  Baby It’s Cold Outside; 7.  Big Spender; 8.  What Kind of Fool am I; 9.  So in Love; 10.  Orange Colored Sky; 11.  Don’t Explain; 12.  A Foggy Day

Publicist:  None

Review:  Monica Chapman is a Canadian artist who was born in Romania, and teaches jazz in her spare time.  She has gathered a stellar collection of jazz standards and incorporated the incomparable voices of Mike Murley, Reg Schwager and Kevin Turcotte into her sound.  Jazz standards never go out of style, and Chapman has the perfect voice for these songs.   We love great horns, and she uses them to perfection, especially on “A Shine on Your Shoes.”  This is a great soundtrack for your daily or weekly happy hour, and the tunes will surely put a smile on your face.  We love her take on the James Bond classic “Goldfinger,” as well as the Duke Ellington classic “Caravan.”  Other impressive gems are “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “Big Spender,” and “Orange Colored Sky.”

Recommendation:  If you love jazz, then this is a great album for your collection.

Artist NameMarc Berger

Album NameRide

Label:  Real Records

Genre:   Americana/Roots

Track Listing:  1.  Nobody Gonna Ride on the Railroad; 2.  Take it on the Chin; 3.  Ride; 4.  Time Waits for no Man; 5.  Montana; 6.  Twister; 7.  Heavenly Ancients; 8.  Object of my Affection; 9.  Long way from Vixenburg; 10.  A Bottle of Wine, a Suitcase, an Umbrella; 11.  Object of my Affection (instrumental)

Publicist:  None

Review:  Marc Berger has the perfect voice for roots/Americana – full of gravel, spit and determination.  He underscores his gritty sound with a musical background that is soothing, smooth and pure.  The underlying mandolin, accordion, slide guitar and harmonica flow seamlessly with the percussion and acoustic guitar.  This album takes off from the first note and never disappoints.   While every track is wonderful, we particularly love the title track, “Time Waits for no Man,” “Montana,” “Twister,” and “Long Way from Vixenburg.”

Recommendation:  This one is a worthy addition to your Americana collection – Get it.

Artist NameAlex Mabey

Album NameEnough

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Folk/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Bravest Daughter; 2.  Enough; 3.  Wild and Free; 4.  Soldier’s Wife; 5.  Run to the Edge; 6.  Jesus Was

Publicist:  None

Review:  We met this artist at DSE, and were immediately overcome with the beauty of her voice and the power of her words.  That amazement continues from the opening notes of “Bravest Daughter,” the first track of her EP Enough, as it becomes quickly clear that Alex Mabey has arrived as the new voice in folk/Americana music.  Her songs are well crafted, her voice soars like a bird, and the musical accompaniment is first rate, especially the cello on the first track and on “Soldier’s Wife.”   Our only complaint is that this six-song EP is simply too short – merely teasing us with her greatness.   The title track has such potential for placement in television and film, and creates a yearning for Mabey’s music that can never be fully quenched, but will keep bringing the listener back for more.  “Wild and Free” and “Run to the Edge” likewise grabbed our attention, and deserve serious radio airplay.

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk, and Get this one now.  It is an absolute must have for your musical library.

Get it or forget it – Chris Pierce, Raleigh, Chris Rea, Fool Heavy

Enjoying my final day in Oklahoma before heading off to the Durango Songwriters Expo in Wellington, Colorado this weekend.  It’s been an exciting week of reconnecting with my brother, Maj Charles Leggett, an Army chaplain who just returned from his third deployment to Iraq, as well as spending time with my father, who turned 85 in May.  Gonna be sad to leave them, but so glad I had the opportunity to visit.

Here are four more reviews that should complete all the September releases.  It’s been a very busy month.

Artist Name:  Chris Pierce

Album Name:  You’ve got to Feel It

Label:  Calabama Records

Genre:  R&B/Soul

Track Listing:  1.  Cry to Me; 2.  Slip Away; 3.  The Dark end of the Street; 4.  You Better Move On; 5.  Don’t Fight It; 6.  I’m a Ram; 7.  Trouble Man; 8.  Stop; 9.  That’s how Strong my Love Is; 10.  Is it Something You’ve Got; 11.  You Haven’t Done Nothin’; 12.  Many Rivers to Cross

Publicist:  Rogers & Cowan

Review:  Chris Pierce is considered to be one of the treasures of Los Angeles, and this album of covers will only cement that reputation even more.   Pierce traveled to Alabama to the famed Muscle Shoals Studio to record this tribute to some of the greatest songwriters in R&B and soul, including Wilson Picket, Clarence Carter, Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.  The album was recorded using original members of The Swampers, the Muscle Shoals Horns and the Shoals Sisters, and ranks in the top 5 of all cover albums we have heard.  Pierce has the same powerful voice as the aforementioned greats, and knows how to bring out the emotion in any song.  His sound is a combination of Van Morrison and Otis Redding, among others, with the ability to channel the energy and power of these greats.  He even closes out the album with a song by one of our favorite reggae singers, Jimmy Cliff.  This album is sheer perfection to anyone who loves the golden age of soul.  Thank you Chris Pierce for your beautiful homage.

Recommendation:  This is a must have album for your collection and a worthy addition to your desert island collection.  Get. It. Now.

Artist Name:  Raleigh

Album Name:  Powerhouse Bloom

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Just Kids; 2.  Dead in Tracks; 3.  Smoke in our Eyes; 4.  Wake up Evangelist; 5.  Costume Party; 6.  We met in Alcatraz; 7.  Tithing, 8.  Nice Mistake; 9.  Acid Tongue

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  Raleigh has a wonderfully raw sound that sets their music apart from many other indie artists.  The lyrics resonate over skillfully crafted musical accompaniment, allowing the power of the words to shine through.  There is no bravado in the album’s title, as “powerhouse” is an apt description of this band and their sound.  It is the perfect album to turn on and let it run from start to finish.  Our favorite tracks include “Just Kids,” “Smoke in our Eyes,” “We Met in Alcatraz,” and “Nice Mistake.”

Recommendation:  A most worthy addition, we recommend you take a chance on these guys and Get this album.

Artist Name:  Chris Rea

Album Name:  Road Songs for Lovers

Label:  BMG

Genre:  Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Happy on the Road; 2.  Nothing Left Behind; 3.  Road Songs for Lovers; 4.  Money; 5.  Two Lost Souls; 6.  Rock my Soul; 7.  Moving On; 8.  The Road Ahead; 9.  Last Train; 10.  Angel of Love; 11.  Breaking Point; 12.  Beautiful

Publicist:  The End Records PR

Review:  For those of us who have been around music a long time, the name “Chris Rea” brings back memories of a super hit from 1978 – “Fool (If you Think It’s Over).”  Rea has stayed active in the music industry over the past almost 40 years, making a total of 22 studio albums, releasing four other singles, and amassing sales of more than 30 million albums.  All of that experience pays off on this new album, which should once again make Rea a household name.  From rootsy rock songs like “Happy on the Road” to the laid back sound of the title track, this album has something for every music lover.   Check out the horns and keys on “Money.”  We are in awe of this album, and Chris Rea.  At a time when we are losing so many of our musical legends, let’s rally behind Rea and support his return.  He will be touring Europe and the UK for the remainder of 2017.

Recommendation:  If you love great music by a legend of guitar, check out this one.  You should definitely Get it.

Artist Name:  Fool Heavy

Album Name:  Gusto

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alternative

Track Listing:  1. Pulp Fiction, 2.  Dude Quest; 3.  Orange Dracula; 4.  Canada Dry; 5.  Lil’ Brains; 6.  Avant Garbage; 7. Bruise; 8.  Homebody

Publicist:  Behind the Curtains Media

Review:  Vocalist/guitarist Taylor Berke and vocalist/bassist Sam Coughlin combine to form Fool Hardy, mixing garage, punk and alternative rock into their own sound that is full of energy.  On their debut album Gusto, they show that they have much to contribute to the indie music community.   This album will get your juices pumping to a steady beat and amazing riffs, with the vocals rising to the top like fine cream.  Our favorite tracks include “Orange Dracula,” “Canada Dry,” “Lil’ Brains,” and “Avant Garbage.”

Recommendation:  If you love rock, especially grunge and/or punk, then this is the group for you.  Run out and Get it – you’ll thank us later!