Tag Archives: Get it or Forget it

Get it or forget it – Granular, Tribal Seeds, Zilm, Ascending Dawn, Acadian Driftwood

The quality of indie releases remains high, and we have five more to share with you today.  Here we go.

Artist Name:  Granular

Album Name XI

Label:  Little Jig Records

Genre:  Electronic Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Ewe; 2.  Try; 3.  I Need You; 4.  Seven Weeks; 5.  Something in Between; 6.  You Don’t; 7.  Hypnotized; 8.  Youth; 9.  Wire; 10.  All Again

Publicist:  Little Jig Records

Review: Granular is a Swiss band from Lucerne who were formerly known as Augustine’s Suspenders.  They combine elements of electronica, dance and pop to form their own style of music.  Coupled with the amazingly smooth vocals of Sebastian Meyer, their music has an 80’s Tears for Fears vibe that is impossible to forget.  The first two tracks, “Ewe” and Try” have already been released as singles, and we think this album will yield a few more.  Our favorite tracks include “Try,” “Seven Weeks,” “Something in Between,” “Hypnotize,” and “”All Again,” although there really isn’t a weak track on the entire album.

Recommendation:  Definitely Get it.

Artist NameTribal Seeds

Album NameRoots Party

Label:  iSeed Industries LLC

Genre:  Reggae

Track Listing:  1.  Aroma; 2.  Gunsmoke (ft. Protoje); 3,  Roots Party; 4.  Empress; 5.  Rude Girl; 6.  Roots Dub; 7.  Aroma Dub; 8.  Empress Dub

Publicist:  Big Picture Media Online

Review:  Tribal Seeds has been creating fans and garnering critical support in their native San Diego for the past 13 years and recently won the title Artist of the Year from the San Diego Music Awards.  Just a casual listen to their most recent album, Roots Party, and it is easy to see why.  This is true reggae in the style of Bob Marley but with a laid-back So Cal vibe.  There are five new songs on the EP, as well as dubstep remixes of “Aroma,” “Roots Party” and “Empress.”  Needless to say, the entire EP rocks, and can easily turn anyone into a reggae music lover.

Recommendation:  Don’t even think about it – Get it now!

Artist Name Zilm

Album NameFunk the System

Label:  A&R Records

Genre:  Funk/Rap

Track Listing:  1.  The Least II; 2.  Set it Up; 3.  London BonBon; 4.  Life is Like

Publicist:  The A&R Department PR

Review:  Zilm is based in Adelaide, Australia, and is heavily influenced by artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers (check out “Life is Like”), and Reggie Watts.  His music is hip, funky and timely, with lyrics that speak to real world problems.  Unlike most rappers, he also accompanies himself on guitar and looper.  He recorded the EP in his home studio where he is currently working on a full length release.  We can’t wait.

Recommendation:  Hop on board his train now – don’t miss the chance to be a musical tastemaker.

Artist NameAscending Dawn

Album NameCoalesce

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Prog/Alt-Metal

Track Listing:  1.  All in Now; 2.  Miscommunication; 3.  Cannonball; 4.  Integral; 5.  Opposites; 6.  Simplify; 7.  Inside the Silence; 8.  Indiscretion; 9.  Cannonball (radio edit)

Publicist:  Effective Immediately PR

Review:  This is an amazing band, mixing prog sensibilities with alt-metal, and featuring the breathtaking vocals of Marlain Angelides, who is every bit as good as Amy Lee of Evanescence.  Despite the metal undertones, this band would do well on rock radio stations and fully deserves the airplay.  From the rocking first notes of “All in Now” through the radio edit of “Cannonball,” they prove their commercial appeal over and over again.  Just like Tribal Seeds could convert anyone to reggae, Ascending Dawn can convert non-metal lovers to their groove.  This one is a definitely winner.

Recommendation:  Get. It. Now.

Artist NameAcadian Driftwood

Album Name First Amendment

Label:   Self-released

Genre:  Roots Rock/Anerucana

Track Listing:  1.  Rain Falling In; 2.  Catch the Sun; 3.  Shallow Water; 4.  Arrival; 5.  Fair’s Fayre

Publicist:  Neon Tetra PR

Review:  This is the band’s debut EP, and it starts out slowly on “Rain Falling In” like good Americana, with a smooth country vibe and lots of guitar slide.   They add some congas to the drum beat on “Catch the Sun” while retaining all the previous elements.  They finally take off on “Shallow Water” after a mellow, acoustic intro, and show that they can bring the rock to their roots music.  “Arrival” returns to the slow guitar, drums and vocals, totally different from anything before it.  They close out with “Fair’s Fayre,” a renaissance-style ballad with a haunting harmonica on top of awesome guitar.

Recommendation:  Definitely worth checking out.  We love this British band’s approach to an American musical genre.

 

Get it or forget it – Miss Freddye, Amanda Mair, The Rigs, Marmoset Music, Demons

And the cycle begins again.  Now that the LA Music Critic Award nominations for the second half of 2017 have been announced, we can start reviewing the first of the submissions for the first half of 2018.  We have five of them for you today.  Hope you enjoy them.  Don’t forget to vote for your Fan Favorite.  Voting closes 1/31/18.

Artist NameMiss Freddye

Album Name Lady of the Blues

Label:  missfreddyesblues

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Miss Freddye’s Gonna Fix Ya; 2.  Luv ya Baby; 3.  Lady of the Blues; 4.  Don’t Apologize, Recognize; 5.  Home Improvement; 6.  Use the Back Door; 7.  Chain Breaker; 8.  Doorway to the Blues; 9.  These are my Blues; 10.  Freight Train Blues; 11.  A Losing Battle

Publicist:  Broads 4 Blues

Review:  Traditional Blues are a special kind of awesome, especially when the vocals are throaty, sexy and female.  Miss Freddye is the perfect kind of blues singer, and she brings it all to the table when she sings, kind of like a combination of Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt.  She has an amazing band that provides the perfect accompaniment to her down home sound, complete with an amazing horn section and a dynamic keyboardist.  The harmonies are also perfect, especially on “Luv ya Baby.”  The title track is a perfect representation of the quality of this whole album, and should hook you on Miss Freddye.  Other tracks we love include the amazing duet “Don’t Apologize, Recognize,” the jiving “Home Improvement” with its screaming sax and piano, “Chain Breaker,”  and the more traditional “These are my Blues” and “Freight Train Blues.”

Recommendation:  Definitely a winning combination, you simply MUST Get this one.

Artist NameAmanda Mair

Album NameTo the Moon

Label:  Despotz Records AB

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Stay you and I; 2.  Rush; 3.  Wednesday; 4.  Hopes; 5.  Empty Blockings

Publicist:  Mystic Sons PR

Review:  Amanda Mair comes to us courtesy of Stockholm, Sweden, and we think she is just what American pop radio needs to survive.  Her sound is dreamy, airy, upbeat and truly radio ready.  Her sound lifts your spirits and gets you ready to face the day.  She should be required listening for everyone who has to go out and work.  The EP chronicles her personal struggles and encourages her fans that they can successfully overcome them as well.  “Rush” would make a great house mix for the dance floor.  “Wednesday” and “Hopes” are light and airy reminiscent of Enya, before closing out the EP with the upbeat and danceable track “Empty Blockings.”

Recommendation:  A great start, this is definitely one of the best International EPs we have ever reviewed.  This one is a no-brainer – Get it now!

Artist NameThe Rigs

Album Name:  World on Fire

Label:  Sain Rogue Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  The Brave; 2.  Fault Line; 3.  Runaway; 4.  Fall or Fly; 5.  The Hunted; 6.  White Flag; 7.  World on Fire; 8.  When we Were Young

Publicist:  Magic Tree Productions

Review:  We fell in love with this band when we previewed their latest music video “When we Were Young” in our last Monday Mashup.  The EP is even better, as it shows a dynamic range of musical talent beyond that in the single.  This band hits the ground running on “The Brave,” and proceeds to blow their listeners away with strong vocals, well-written lyrics and a mind-blowing musical accompaniment that swells and grows to its climax.  The next track “Fault Line” continues that awesomeness, leaving no doubt that this band is ready for serious radio airplay, with a sound similar to Imagine Dragons.  Other songs that we loved include “Fall or Fly,” “The Hunted,” and the title track, basically everything on the EP.

Recommendation:  Don’t think twice – Get it ASAP!

Artist NameMarmoset Music

Album NameTransference

Label:  Marmoset Music

Genre:  Miscellaneous

Track Listing:  1.  Hot Time in the Old Town (Ural Thomas and the Pain); 2.  April Showers (Shaky Faces); 3.  Where the Glories Glow (Dear Nora); 4.  Play a Simple Melody (Trimountaine); 5.  Out Among the Sheltering Pines (The Helio Sequence); 6.  Wildflower Flower (Bouquet); 7.  The World is Waiting for the Sunrise (Distance (ft. Frankie Simone)); 8.  Beautiful Dreamer (Patternist); 9.  Shine on Harvest Moon (Mree); 10.  Me and my Gal (Hot Bloods)

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  What makes this compilation so special is that every one of these songs came out of the public domain and have been reimagined and redesigned by this amazing mix of eclectic artists, through the oversight of Marmoset Music.  The result is a fun album of songs that have been modernized and brought back to life for modern music lovers.  Our favorite tracks include “Hot Time in the Old Town,” “Where the Glories Grow,” “Out Among the Sheltering Pines,” “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” and “Harvest Moon.”

Recommendation:  This one definitely deserves a spot in your musical library.

Artist NameDemons

Album NameEmbrace Wolf

Label:  Spartan Records

Genre:  Punk

Track Listing:  1.  (telebrothy); 2.  Always Your Own; 3.  wish; 4.  Nobody Loves you the way you Are; 5.  Dig; 6.  Decibel Farmer; 7.  17:9; 8.  Arranged Marriage; 9.  Assured Retribution

Publicist:  Spartan Records

Review:  The album begins with the instrumental track (telebrothy) before launching into the full-blown punk track of “Always Your Own.”  Unlike other punk we have reviewed, the lyrics are understandable and the music is low key but highly effective.  The volume and feedback go up starting with “Nobody Loves You the way you Are,” “Dig” and “Decibel Farmer,” making it more difficult for a non-punk lover to enjoy the music.  Our favorite tracks are “wish,” “Arranged Marriage,” and “Assured Retribution.”

Recommendation:  If you are a true punk lover, you will enjoy this one.  If not, you should probably Forget it.

 

Get it or forget it – LeRiche, The Raft, Vinnie Paolizzi, Tall Men Group

Hope your first week of 2018 was a success. We have now arrived at the final reviews for all submissions for the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2017.  Here are the final four.  Watch for the return of Monday Mashup tomorrow, and our Best of 2017 lists later this week.  Have a great day!

Artist Name LeRiche

Album Name X-Dreamer

Label:  Big Story Entertainment

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Nomadic Heart; 2.  River Runs; 3.  Under Covers; 4.  Come Around; 5.  Dreamers; 6.  Roam; 7.  Briefcase Full of Booze

Publicist:  Auteur Research

Review:  LeRiche has such a dreamy voice that it makes his songs float on air.  His accompaniment is first rate, with a great singer-songwriter style.  From the first note of “Nomadic Heart,” we were hooked.  His music fits in with Andy Grammar, Jason Mraz, Ernie Halter, Tony Lucca and similar artists, and would be perfect for pop radio, as well as for placement for a myriad of television, film or commercial use.  This is his debut EP, and we are totally jazzed with his potential.  Our favorite tracks are “Nomadic Heart,” “Come Around,” “Dreamers,” and “Roam.”

Recommendation:  Definitely give the new kid a go – Get his debut EP now!

Artist NameThe Raft

Album NameOrion

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Blue and Blue; 2.  Orion; 3.  Into You; 4.  My Elusive Friend

Publicist:  Self-promoted

Review:  Phil Wilson aka The Raft has released a trio of EPs in 2017, and we think he saved the best until last.  We reviewed his previous efforts in July and September, and consider ourselves privileged to get to do it again with his third EP, Orion.  The songs are so upbeat and happy they bring a smile to our faces, especially the title cut.  We truly believe that the sky is the limit for this amazing and talented indie artist.  All four songs are wonderfully written and performed, making The Raft one of our favorite discoveries of 2017.  You can’t go wrong with this one.  Check out the amazing vocals of Claire O’Neill on “Into You” – they will definitely change your perspective of indie artists.

Recommendation:  The Raft should become one of your favorite indie performers and a household name for indie perfection.  Get all of his EPs ASAP, especially this one.

Artist NameVinnie Paolizzi

Album NameKids

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Ugly Drunk and Scared to Death; 2.  Over the Limit; 3.  Scarlet Sky; 4.  Kids

Publicist:  Self-promoted

Review:  Vinnie Paolizzi has been making a name for himself in his hometown of Philadelphia and his adopted home of Nashville.  He is garnering lots of local radio airplay in Philadelphia and being compared to such diverse artists as Jackson Browne, Jason Isbell and Ryan Adams.  Upon listening to his latest EP Kids, we can easily understand why he is being met with such critical acclaim.  All four songs are great and worthy of more expanded radio airplay, especially “Ugly Drunk and Scared to Death, “Scarlet Sky” and the title track, which has “HIT” written all over it.  We look forward to the release of his follow-up EP Grown Ups.  This one is a keeper.

Recommendation:  Get it now – you’ll thank us later.

Artist NameTall Men Group (TMG)

Album NameFeast

Label:  Tall Records

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Hey Loner; 2.  Unloved; 3.  Grandma; 4.  When we were Bad; 5.  Time Stands Still; 6.  Storm; 7.  The Night I met George Jones; 8.  Eggshells and Tears; 9.  California Soul Man; 10.  L’Amour; 11.  Surf the Mississippi; 12.  Baby Sleep

Publicist:  Self-promoted

Review:  What started as a request from acclaimed Los Angeles indie musician Jimmy Yessian to five of his friends to get together monthly for food and music has developed into one of the premier indie bands on the Folk Alliance circuit.  Composed of Marty Axelrod, Severin Browne, Jeff Kossack, John Stowers, Ed Tree, and Yessian, this “supergroup” has just released their third album, and it is a work of pure genius.  Every member contributed two tracks, and the combination of their musical, writing and singing skills make TMG the “Travelling Wilburys” of the indie world.  With traces of country, Americana and classic rock, the musical sound of TMG is second to none.  Lead vocals are shared, with the writer becoming the dominant voice.  Each of them have their own vocal style, but  Yessian’s vocals remind us of a cross between Gordon Lightfoot and Jim Croce, and highlight “Unloved.”  Other tracks we really love include “When we were Bad,” “Storm,” “The Night I met George Jones,” “California Soul Man,” “Surf the Mississippi,” and “Baby Sleep.”

Recommendation:  If you love just good ole music, then this one is a must have – we highly recommend you rush out and Get this musical feast.

 

Get it or forget it – Burgess Meredith, Wolf & Moon, Hundreds, Rick Shelley

We are winding down our coverage of indie albums released within the first 11 months of 2017.  We have four reviews for you today and the final four will be released tomorrow.  All reviewed albums are being considered for an LA Music Critic Award.  Here we go.

Artist NameBurgess Meredith

Album NameA Dimension of Sound

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Retro Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  When we Were Born; 2.  Wendy; 3.  Olivia; 4.  In and out of True; 5.  Outside; 6.  Welcome Home; 7.  The Leaver; 8.  Summers End; 9.  The man from Abilene; 10.  Just One, Cool Daddy; 11.  After You

Publicist:  Behind the Curtains Media

Review:  Burgess Meredith, named after one of American’s greatest supporting actors, is an Austin-based band that plays retro-style pop and rock music.  They are heavily influenced by such 70’s icons as Harry Nilsson, The Flaming Lips, Ricky Nelson and The Beatles.  Listening to them for a baby boomer is like stepping back into our childhood, evoking beautiful memories of a much simpler time.  Besides the familiarity the retro-style adds to their music, it is very much their own and they have infused that style with their own wit, amazing musicianship and incredible vocals.  Their music should be added to the musical catalogs of every music supervisor looking for retro material.  Our favorite tracks include “In and out of True,” “Outside,” “Welcome Home,” “The Leaver,” and “Just One, Cool Daddy.”

Recommendation:  If you love the retro sound, and great music in general, you simply MUST Get this one.

Artist NameWolf & Moon

Album NameFrames

Label:    Embassy of Music

Genre:  Dream Folk

Track Listing:  1.  Like a Shotgun; 2.  War; 3.  Wake Up; 4.  Home to Me; 5.  Stones

Publicist:  Guerilla Music Promotion

Review:  The quality of music coming from Scandinavia these days is unbelievable, and Wolf & Moon are no exception.  The harmonies are glorious, the accompaniment heavenly and the vocals contributed by Stefany and Dennis are some of the best we have heard all year.  This five-song EP barely whets our appetite for their full length album which will be released later this year.  Every song is a treasure, and would make a worthy addition to American radio.  You can not go wrong with this EP, which is by far one of the best released anywhere in the world in 2017.

Recommendation:  Don’t think twice –  Get onboard this train before it pulls out of the station.  Get this EP ASAP!

photo by Andreas Hornoff Fotografie

Artist NameHundreds

Album NameWilderness (Akustik Edition)

Label:  Embassy of Music

Genre:  Dream Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Unify; 2.  Spotless; 3.  Flume;  Black Sea; 5.  Lily

Publicist:  Guerilla Music Promotion

Review:  Hundreds has become one of the most successful indie bands from Germany, all without the advantage of radio or publicity.  This new EP features four original acoustic versions of their songs as well as an acoustic cover of Bon Iver’s hit, “Flume.”  This band has so much potential to crash into the American music scene, and we can hardly wait to see what comes next.  The haunting vocals, and ethereal quality remind us of the music of Enya, and are relaxing and nourishing to our artistic souls.  This music is perfect for evening chill time.

Recommendation:  A great EP which should be in the library of all music lovers.  Definitely Get this one.

Artist NameRick Shelley

Album Name Hope Wrapped in Razor Wire

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Sing Waiting on a Friend; 2.  All she Really Wants; 3.  Dead Horse Hollow; 4.  Easy Lies; 5.  Home to the Bed I Made; 6.  Hope Wrapped in Razor Wire; 7.  Highway 99 (Bakersfield); 8.  Kisses Bitter; 9.  Long way Around; 10.  Right Back in my Arms; 11.  Sweet Poetry; 12.  Heart I Never Had

Publicist:  Self-promoted

Review:  We had the pleasure of seeing Rick Shelley perform at the Songwriters at Play showcase back in October in Paso Robles.  We were so impressed we simply had to review his CD, and we were not disappointed.  Shelley has a strong masculine voice that is perfectly suited to Americana music.  His instrumentation is first rate, with everything you’d expect from an Americana band, including guitar, dobro, lap steel, fiddle, upright bass and pedal steel.  His voice is like a cross between Chris LeDoux, Clint Black and Vince Gill.  His songs will definitely get your feet to moving around the dance floor, while his lyrics give your mind something to chew on.  Country and alt-country/Americana radio needs to stand up and take notice of this amazing musician.  Special kudos to Chris Unck, who not only provided guitar, bass, lap steel, drums, percussion and vocals, but also produced, recorded, mixed and mastered the album.  While almost every track is well done, several truly stand out, like the Steve Earle vibe on “Dead Horse Hollow,” the Eagles-like vibe on “Easy Lies,” the amazing fiddle on “Home to the Bed I Made,” the lonesome and soulful sound of the title track, the Dwight Yoakum feel of “Highway 99 (Bakersfield),” the Goyte-influence on “Kisses Bitter,”  and the Vince Gill take on “Right Back in my Arms.”

Recommendation:  This one is first rate and deserves your consideration and addition to your musical library.  Get this one now!

 

Get it or forget it – Jay Asher, John Fogerty, Jules Shear, Strange Boy, Jacquie Lee

TGIF!  Are you ready for some great tunes to prepare you for the first weekend of 2018?  We have five more reviews for you today, so here we go!

Artist NameJay Asher

Album Name Honestly

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Playing Detective; 2.  I’ve got the Question Right; 3.  Hurt me Twice; 4.  Show me how you Really Feel; 5.  Norman the Doorman; 6.  Texas Dreaming; 7.  When I was Young; 8.  How Blind can I Be?; 9.  Only Everyday; 10.  Someone Will be Watching

Publicist:  Self-promoted

Review:  Jay Asher brings a refreshing breath of fresh air to 70’s pop/rock style music, very reminiscent of early Elton John.  He hits the ground running with “Playing Detective,” before slowing it down to a sweet ballad with “I’ve Got the Question Right.”  He adds a little soul and dance vibe to “Hurt me Twice” and then back to the ballads with “Show me How you Really Feel.”  “Norman the Doorman” is a fun, upbeat pop ditty that would have played well on 70’s radio.  In fact, these songs are perfect for a music supervisor looking for retro-style songs for placement in period television and film.  Our favorite tracks are “Playing Detective,” “Hurt me Twice,” “Norman the Doorman,” “When I Was Young,” and “How Blind can I Be?”

Recommendation:  Definitely get this one.  For those of us who lived through the 70’s, it is a wonderful trip down memory lane.  For the rest, it is just plain good music.

Artist NameJohn Fogerty

Album NameBlue Moon Swamp (20th anniversary vinyl release)

Label:  BMG

Genre:  Classic Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Southern Streamline; 2.  Hot Rod Heart; 3.  Blueboy; 4.  A Hundred and ten in the Shade; 5.  Rattlesnake Highway; 6.  Bring it Down to Jelly Roll; 7.  Walking in a Hurricane; 8.  Swamp River Days; 9.  Rambunctious Boy; 10.  Joy of my Life; 11.  Blue Moon Nights; 12.  Bad bad Boy; 13.  Just Pickin’; 14.  Endless Sleep

Publicist:  MAD Ink PR

Review:  Originally released on May 20, 1997, Blue Moon Swamp won the Grammy for best rock album, despite the fact that it peaked at #37 on the Billboard charts.  In addition, the backing vocals for “Southern Streamline” and “Rambunctious Boy” were supplied by the amazing Lonesome River Band.  The album was remastered and reissued in 2004, and tracks 13 and 14 were added as a bonus.  The 2017 vinyl release uses the concert backdrop from the supporting tour, and retains all the incredibleness of the original release.  For those of us boomers who grew up on the music of Credence Clearwater Revival and the original American Son, John Fogerty, this vinyl release could not have come at a better time.   Memories flood back one by one as the intensely CCR-influenced sound comes across the record player speakers.  This one is a masterpiece, and we are so proud to have been chosen to review this impeccable album.  If you live in or near Las Vegas, or plan to be there January 10-20, we highly recommend you check out Fogerty in concert at Wynn’s  Encore Theatre.

Recommendation:  If you are a true audiophile, and love vinyl, then you simply must Get this one.  Now!

Artist NameJules Shear

Album Name One More Crooked Dance

Label:  Funzalo Records

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Rules of the Game; 2.  Painkiller; 3.  Be with You; 4.  Don’t Remember; 5.  Guessing; 6.  Looking for Me; 7.  The Hunter and the Hunted; 8.  A Color that Barely Exists; 9.  Oh Marlena; 10.  This Flame; 11.  Half Hearted Head; 12.  When It’s Right; 13.  Wrong Again

Publicist:  Independent Music Media

Review:  If you are a fan of 80’s music, then the name Jules Shear is probably familiar to you, as he wrote Cyndi Lauper’s hit “All Through the Night,” as well as the Bangles’ “If She Knew What She Wants.”  He also hosted and co-created the MTV Unplugged series.  He recently signed with Funzalo Records and released his firm album of new music in many years.  His new music has a very soothing sound, with well-crafted lyrics and simply elegant and jazzy piano accompaniment, with some harmonica thrown in for good measure.  Our favorite tracks are “Don’t Remember,” “Guessing,” “A Color That Barely Exists,” “Oh Marlena,” and “Half Hearted Head.”

Recommendation:  This one is great for all true music lovers.  Check it out and let us know what you think.

Artist NameStrange Boy

Album NameAnnuniciation

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Electronic Ambient

Track Listing:  1.  Annunciation; 2.  Love the Night; 3.  I Won’t say Those Things; 4.  Corbusier

Publicist:  Practise Music

Review:  The vocals stand out as they soar above the simple accompaniment on the first track, “Annunciation,” leaving the listener with a feeling of airiness like a good yoga stretch.  The songs are so complexly constructed but fit together so nicely that it is easy to just sit back, relax and let the music take you on an amazing auditory journey.  It is hard to believe that this is a debut EP because the sound is that of truly accomplished musicians.  It is a bit unusual but no less enjoyable, although it may not have a lot of commercial appeal.  Nevertheless, it is a worthy effort.

Recommendation:  Give these lads a chance.  They deserve it.

Artist NameJacquie

Album NameThe Only One

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop/Soul/R&B

Track Listing:  1.  Am I the Only One; 2.  California Dreaming; 3.  Manipulation; 4.  The Old Me; 5.  For You; 6.  What’s a Girl to Do

Publicist:  SG PR

Review:  You may well remember Jacquie from her appearance on The Voice at the age of 15 where she was mentored by Christina Aguilera.  Immediately signed to a major label after the show, she was not ready for the onslaught of the music business.  Now 20, she is making a comeback as an indie artist with the release of her new EP.   We have featured the music videos for the first two tracks in our Monday Mashup column and are proud to be able to finally review her EP.  Needless to say, we were not disappointed.  This young artist is one of the rising stars in pop music, and should go far with her soul-tinged pop music. “Am I the Only One” is a powerful pop empowerment song with a stunning music video, as is “California Dreaming” (and no, it’s not a cover).  We love how she has taken the painful lessons of the past five years and used them to become stronger and more powerful than she was when she shone on Season 5 of The Voice.  Every song is strong, and we expect any one of them would shine on pop radio.  This

Recommendation:  Don’t think twice.  Grab this one now.  It’s one of the best of 2017.

 

Get it or forget it – Ben Anderson, Miller Campbell, Sam Marine, The County Liners, Ryan Sims

Happy first Hump Day of 2018.  We’re back with five more reviews for you, leaving only 12 more which we’ll get out by Sunday.  Once that’s complete, we will prepare our list of Top American Indie Albums of 2017, Top International Indie Albums of 2017, and Top EPs of 2017, before preparing our nominations for the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2017.  In order to be considered, the album, EP, single, or video had to be released between July 1 and November 30 of 2017.  We had to cut back on this cycle’s eligibility period because of the surplus of submissions.  The eligibility period going forward will be December 1 through May 30 for the first half awards, and June 1 to November 30 for the second half awards.  Now, back to our reviews.

Artist NameBen Anderson

Album NameYouTopia

Label:  Chromodyne

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Clay Pigeon; 2.  Absentia; 3.  Goodbye Serenity; 4.  Lukewarm

Publicist:  Chromodyne

Review:  With a bevy of interesting sounds and textures, the music surrounds you in its complexity.  Although discordant at times, somehow Ben Anderson makes it work together.  Add to that the amazing lyrical content and the strong and smooth vocals and you have music that is commercially viable and suitable for placement in television and film.  His tunes begin acoustic, but build layer upon layer until they reaching their satisfying climax.  We also love that the four songs are all part of one concept, and that the accompanying music videos will be released as three parts of a trilogy.  Definitely give this guy a chance.  “Goodbye Sereny” is our favorite track.

Recommendation:  He’s worth the risk – we recommend you grab his EP.

Artist NameMiller Campbell

Album NameSweet Whiskey

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Country

Track Listing:  1.  All Summer’s Breaking Loose; 2.  Obsession; 3.  Ghosts of Fidalgo; 4.  One Step; 5.  Emmeline; 6.  Baby Back off of Me; 7.  Sweet Whiskey

Publicist:  Ever Kipp

Review:  For a young lady from Washington State, Miller Campbell has taken to classic country like she was raised in Nashville.  Her lyrical content reflects her youth, but the music is downhome country, and suitable for country dancing, drinking and partying all night long.  Campbell performed at our Western Montana Fair this year, and totally wowed the crowds with her country sound.  This young lady has a tremendous future ahead of her, and should definitely consider moving to Nashville to further pursue her goals.  She has some of the same feistiness of early LeAnn Rimes and Taylor Swift, without the pop music influence.   Check out the fiddle on “Ghosts of Fidalgo” and the Linda Ronstadt vibe on “One Step.”  Our favorite track is “Baby Back off of Me.”

Recommendation:  Hop on the train early before it leaves the station – this one’s a keeper.

Artist NameSam Marine

Album NameBig Dark City

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Roots Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Big Dark City; 2.  Dawn Come and Gone; 3.  Freeze em Out; 4.  I’ll Soon be Gone; 5.  Mike Lee

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  Sam Marine has been creating a name for himself on the California Country scene, playing alongside such indie greats as Rod Melancon, Jamie Wyatt and Sam Morrow.  Consequently, it only made sense that Marine would choose Brian Whelan to produce this EP, especially considering Whelan’s track record this year with mega hits for Rod Melancon and Chris Shifflet, as well as his pedigree as the lead guitarist for Dwight Yoakam.  His songs are pure roots rock, his lyrics are well written and his raspy vocals have been compared to Tom Petty and Springsteen.  The bottom line is this EP rocks, and we are proud to add it our list of the best EPs of 2017.

Recommendation:  Don’t hesitate – Get this one today!

Artist NameThe County Liners

Album NameMary Jane Dunphe & Chris McDonnell in the County Liners

Label:  Wharf Cat Records

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Love Letter; 2.  Walkin’ Out; 3.  Maria; 4.  The County Line; 5.  Oklahoma

Publicist:  Promo Juke Box

Review:  Very strong effort, with top-notch guitar rifts, soaring and unique vocals, and a total package that keeps your toes a-tapping and makes your body want to get out and cowboy boogie.  Both sets of vocals are haunting and draw the listener into the story line and the mood of the song with hook after hook.  We just wish they could get the notes right!  Great job, however, on the cover of  Lucinda Williams’ hit “Maria.”

Recommendation:  In a year of some many great alt-country and roots rock artists, and the amazing albums they have generated, you should probably just Forget this one, unless tonal quality is not a priority for  you.

Artist NameRyan Sims

Album NameMy Side of the Story

Label:  High 4 Recordings

Genre:  Country Rock/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Get Away; 2.  American Things; 3.  Black and Blue; 4.  Tragedy; 5.  Red Head; 6.  Before I Sell Myself; 7.  Little Ms. Bad Decision

Publicist:  MSO PR

Review:  We must admit that we have been waiting to review this one ever since our friend Jason “Slim” Gambill, the guitar player for Lady Antebellum, raved about working with this artist.  Ryan Sims has been paying his dues for quite a few years, but finally broke out in 2011 when he was chosen to perform on The X Factor.  For this EP, he had help from the aforementioned Gambill, as well as Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones), Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty, John Mellencamp) and Kim Bullard (Elton John).  The result is a dream come true for true music lovers.  Sims has a voice that squarely puts him alongside his superstar peers like Brad Paisley, Diercks Bently, and Florida Georgia Line.  These songs have “HIT” written all over them, starting with the rocking tracks “Get Away” and “American Things.”  “Black and Blue” has that Tim McGraw feel while “Tragedy” reminds us of one of Collin Raye’s tearjerkers.  “Redhead” is a beautiful waltz with a sweet story.  Sims closes out with a pair of rockers, “Before I Sell Myself” and “Little Ms. Bad Decision.”  Truly one of the great EPs of 2017.

Recommendation:  Add this one to your list of must-haves.  Get it now!

 

Get it or forget it – BB and the Blues Shacks, Matthew Battle, Case Garrett, Laini and the Wildfire, Red Hymns

Hope you all survived the NYE festivities.  We’ve been sick for the past two days and only beginning to feel back to normal.  We’re back to plow through the remaining 22 requests we need to finish before we can assemble the nominations for the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2017.  Enjoy these five and we’ll be back soon with the remaining 17.

Artist NameBB and the Blues Shacks

Album NameReservation Blues

Label:  Rhythm Bomb Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Reservation Blues; 2.  Lay Some Shuffle Down; 3.  Mad About You; 4.  I Can’t go On; 5.  Year of Strife; 6.  From now On; 7.  Angry Cat; 8.  Not Much to Loose; 9.  Honeycomb; 10.  All About That; 11.  My Time Ain’t Long; 12.  Little Secrets; 13.  Things Won’t Change; 14.  Why Can’t I go Home

Publicist:  Airplay Direct

Review:  BB and the Blues Shacks are a European band that has been putting out quality blues for the past 28 years.  Their current album returns the quintet to their vintage blues roots.  The gravelly vocals provide the perfect authenticity to the screaming blues guitar accompaniment.  From the first note of the title track, it becomes quickly apparent that the blues are alive and well and in great custody of a European band that seems to have mastered this purely American genre.  The second track brings in some dynamic keys and horns action with a 50’s Chicago blues style, while the third track replaces the keys with organ and keeps the 50’s vibe.  The keys are back on the fourth track, and the feel is pure 50’s style, plus they have added some harmonica to spice it up.  You get the picture – this one is a true keeper.  All 14 songs on this amazing album deserve the attention of blues lovers everywhere.

Recommendation:  Don’t think twice – Get it now.

Artist NameMatthew Battle

Album NameWhat’s the Difference Between a Book and Your Self

Label:  Southend Records

Genre:  Folk/Indie Rock/Pop

Track Listing:  1.  There’s Always Something in the Way; 2.  Nothing Much More Left to do; 3.  Buddy Holly’s There; 4.  Music Saves; 5.  What’s Right is Right, What’s Wrong is Wrong; 6.  Dylan Fan Blues; 7.  What’s the Difference Between a Book and Your Self; 8.  Our Island; 9.  Our Bodies; 10.  So sad I’m Leaving; 11.  Blowing; 12.  Witching Stones; 13.  World Goes Round; 14.  We are Fiction; 15.  Time; 16.  Out Here in Space; 17.  You’re too Good to Me

Publicist:  Self-promoted

Review:  Matthew Battle does not have the best voice, but he writes such incredible and thoughtful lyrics and melodies that it is easy to ignore the tonal qualities and just focus on what he is trying to say in his song.  His songs run the gamut from folk to indie rock to 60’s pop.  Best tracks include the title track, “Our Island”, “Our Bodies,” “Witching Stones,” “World Goes Round,” and “Out Here in Space.”

Recommendation:  If you can look beyond the vocals, you should take a chance on this artist.  If you require perfect pitch, then you might just forget it.

Artist NameCase Garrett

Album Name Aurora

Label:  Suitcase Records

Genre:  Alt-country

Track Listing:  1.  What can I Say?; 2.  Long way Down; 3.  Going Down to Mobile; 4.  She Never Liked Elvis; 5.  Call me the Breeze; 6.  The Thought of You; 7.  Fill ‘er Up; 8.  Going Down to Mobile (Alt Mix)

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  On his debut album, Case Garrett brings hints of classic country, great fiddle, well-crafted storylines, and a steady beat for all the cowboy dancers out there.  Whether they be two-steppers, waltzers,  or line dancers, Garrett’s music has something for everybody.  Every country saloon/dance club should definitely add this album to their collection.  His voice has a hint of Willie Nelson on most songs and a Jimmy Buffet vibe on “She Never Liked Elvis.”  We really love the lap steel and cajun feel of “Call me the Breeze,” while “Fill ‘er Up” has an authentic gospel feel and impeccable harmonies.  He closes out with an alt-country mix of “Going Down to Mobile,” which we like more than the earlier version.

Recommendation:  If you love country music, or country dancing, this is your album.  We recommend you go out and Get it.

Artist NameLaini and the Wildfire

Album NameWandering

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Wandering (Radio Edit); 2.  Copilot; 3.  Bricks in the Water; 4.  All the Love in the World; 5.  Good Night is not Goodbye; 6.  Thunder; 7.  Outside the Norm; 8.  Sound of Change; 9.  Sunday

Publicist:  Self-promoted

Review:  This is the band’s first full length album, and we are truly pleased with the result, which has drawn critical praise and comparison to the sound of Florence & the Machine meets Adele.  Trust us when we tell you this band not only lives up to the hype, but raises the bar beyond that hype.  Their first single, “Wandering,” is a first class hit that should do well on radio.  The band adds some great soulfulness into the mix on “Copilot,” with just a touch of vintage Elton John.  The Adele comparison is obvious on “Bricks in the Water” ‘All the Love in the World,” and “Good Night is not Goodbye.”  The vibe returns to Florence & the Machine on “Thunder,” “Outside the Norm,” and “Sound of Change,” before closing out in Adele mode on “Sunday.”  This is a solid album from start to finish.

Recommendation:  Truly one of the best of 2017.  Run, don’t walk and Get this one!

Artist NameRed Hymns

Album NameVol. 2

Label:

Genre:  Alternative Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Callisto; 2.  Vultures; 3.  Terra Preta

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Not only has the band found time to release its second EP, it has also collaborated with Barrier Brewing Company to produce its own beer, Endless Sky IPA.  If it goes down as tasty as these three tracks, then it is a fine brew indeed.  These songs might be good placement material in film, as they have a hard edge but a great story, and the accompaniment is first-rate.  We would appreciate it if one of our east coast readers would check out the IPA (available in New Jersey and New York) and let us know what you think.

Recommendation:  If you like rock music, this is the perfect band for you.  Check it out.

 

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.

 

Get it or forget it – Peter Simpson, Downfall 2012; Peter Oren, The Zephyr Bones, Sierra Blanca

So the heavy snow never materialized but we still got lots of freezing rain.  Luckily, today was a better day, and our Lady Griz won again to go 2-0 in the conference.  In celebration, here are five more reviews for your New Year’s Eve Eve.  Enjoy them.

Artist NamePeter Simpson

Album NameReturn of the Dilettante

Label:  Verified Records

Genre:  Alternative Rock

Track Listing:  1.  All my Tomorrows; 2.  She’s Gone; 3.  Stain in the Sand; 4.  Stare at the Sun; 5.  Every Time we say Goodbye

Publicist:  None

Review:  After being a part of the Australian music scene for 20 years, beginning in the 80’s, Peter Simpson has returned as a solo artist, recording the songs he has been writing during his 20 years of absence from music.  These five songs bode well for his potential, and reaffirm his role as a musical pioneer.  All of the songs are great, and deserve industry attention as a voice of the future.  They have a strong guitar soundtrack, well-written lyrics, and capable and strong vocals.  We especially love “She’s Gone” and “Stare at the Sun.”

Recommendation:  Definitely give this one a listen.  We encourage you to Get it and see what we mean.

Artist NameDownfall 2012

Album NameWe Welcome the Pain

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Metal

Track Listing:  1.  Take Control; 2.  Find Your Enemy; 3.  Attack Point; 4.  We Welcome the Pain; 5.  Fooled Once; 6.  Save the Queen; 7.  Don’t Give In (Nine More Lives); 8.  The Mission; 9.  Forward Movement; 10.  Make us One; 11.  End Credits

Publicist:  Yvonne Laughlin

Review:  With strong drums and guitar riffs, vocals that are sung and screamed and a strong message, Downfall 2012 is not your typical metal band.  As such, they will find an audience beyond the normal metal crowd, as their music is good enough to deserve industry attention.  The first track, “Take Control,” would work on radio, and be perfect for placement in television and film.  It firmly establishes this band as a voice for their generation.  It is hard to believe that this incredible music comes from a trio of musicians.  Besides “Take Control,” we also love “Find Your Enemy,” “Don’t Give In (Nine More Lives),” “The Mission,” “Forward Movement,” and “Make us One.”

Recommendation:  If you are a die-hard metal fan, then you must add this one to your collection.  For any true music lover, we recommend you also consider it.  If you don’t like rock music, then you’d best forget it.

Artist NamePeter Oren

Album NameAnthropocene

Label:  Western Vinyl

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Burden of Proof; 2.  Anthropocene; 3.  Falling Water; 4.  Chain of Command; 5.  Throw Down; 6.  Canary in a Coal Mine; 7.  New Gardens; 8.  Pictures from Spain; 9.  River and Stone; 10.  Welcome, Goodbye

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  We can pretty much guarantee you’ve never heard a voice like Peter Oren.  It’s part Leonard Cohen, part Josh Turner, and totally unique, with its deep bass throatiness.  The lyrics are cleverly written, and the studio musicians he and his producer Ken Coomer have assembled are some of the best in Nashville, including Michael Webb (John Fogerty), Maureen Murphy (Zac Brown Band), Sam Wilson (Sons of Bill) and Laur Jaomets (Sturgill Simpson).  This is an album for reflective times when you just want to separate yourself from the world around you.  We really love the title track, “Falling Water,” “Throw Down,” “New Gardens,” “Pictures From Spain,” and “River and Stone.”

Recommendation:  Get it – you’ll thank us later.

Artist NameThe Zephyr Bones

Album NameSecret Place

Label:  La Castanya

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Black Lips; 2.  Hurricanes; 3.  I’ve Lost my Dinosaur; 4.  Jugular Child on the Carousel; 5.  Las Olas; 6.  Penny’s Week; 7.  Secret Place; 8.  September; 9.  Telephone; 10.  The Arrow of our Youth

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  Light, dreamy, airy and upbeat – these words describe the awesomeness of Secret Place, the debut album of The Zephyr Bones.  It is music without compartmentalization, free of genre restraint, and perfect for all types of musical tastes.  We previously shared their music video for “Telephone” in our Monday Mashup column on December 12, but that song was only the tip of the iceberg for what is included in their album.  Best tracks include “I’ve Lost my Dinosaur,” “Jugular Child on the Carousel,” “Las Olas,” “Penny’s Week,”” the title track, “September,” “Telephone.,” and “The Arrow of our Youth.”

Recommendation:  Definitely Get this one.

Artist NameSierra Blanca

Album NameHonorable Mention

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Folk

Track Listing:   1.  Broken Gun; 2.  Book; 3.  Paint the Road; 4.  Beds; 5.  Former Core

Publicist:  Effective Immediately PR

Review:  Jethro Gaglione aka Sierra Blanca is a self-taught, multi-instrumentalist who began playing music while in Mexico as part of his parents’ missionary team.  Beginning with keys, he has also mastered bass, guitar and drums since moving back to the States in 2002.  He created the Sierra Blanca name when he relocated to Nashville in 2015.  With his rich vocals and well-written lyrics, he has the complete package to continue to grow as an artist, and his music should receive serious industry consideration.  All five songs on the EP are amazing, but we really love “Broken Gun,” “Book,””Paint the Road,” and “Beds.”

Recommendation:  Get it, sooner rather than later.

 

Get it or forget it – Tony Lovato/MEST, The Marias, Orissa, Belle Miners, The Speedlights

It’s the final Friday of 2017, and we are bracing for a huge winter storm.  Good thing we’ve got five more reviews for you today to help get you ready for NYE.  Enjoy them.

Artist NameTony Lovato/MEST

Album NameBroken Down II

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Acoustic

Track Listing:  1.  Say so Long; 2.  Paradise (122nd Highland St.); 3.  It’s Over; 4.  Burning Bridges; 5.  Until I Met You; 6.  Chelsea; 7.  3’z my Lucky Number; 8.  Another Day; 9.  M.D.M.A.; 10.  This Time; 11.  Opinions; 12.  Can’t Take This

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Tony Lovato is the frontman for Chicago punk rock group MEST.  He has released Broken Down II as the second in a series of acoustic albums of the band’s material.  They say that the mark of a good rock song is if it sounds as good acoustically as with the full band.  If that is the case, then these songs must be masterpieces, because the acoustic versions retain the power of the lyrics and the strength of the musicians behind them.  These stripped down arrangements give the songs a style similar to Hanson.  The album starts off strong with “Say so Long,” and just takes off from there.  There are quite a few F-bombs (especially in “Until I Met You”), but overall the sound is appropriate for most.  Best tracks include “Say So Long,” “Burning Bridges,” “Chelsea,” “3’z my Lucky Number,” “M.D.M.A.,” and “This Time.”

Recommendation:  This one’s a keeper.  We highly recommend you Get it.

Artist NameThe Marías

Album NameSuperclean Vol. 1

Label:  Superclean Records

Genre:  Jazz/Latin/Soul

Track Listing:  1.  I Don’t Know You; 2.  Basta Ya; 3.  I Like It; 4.  Only in my Dreams; 5.  Superclean; 6.  Déjate Llevar

Publicist:  Cosmica Artists

Review:  What an awesome and original sound The Marias bring on their debut release.  The sound is soulful, jazzy, with a Latin edge that is perfect for that end of the day cocktail while you chill from a long day of work.  The sweet lead vocals of Maria are backed by all the other members of the band, creating a funky and jazzy harmony that are only topped by the keys of Edward James.  This band should do well in a myriad of radio formats, including R&B/soul, pop and Latin.  They deserve serious industry attention.  Best tracks include “I Don’t Know You,” “I Like It,” and the title track.  In addition, both of the Latin tracks are wonderful.

Recommendation:  Take a chance on these guys and Get their debut EP.

Artist NameOrissa

Album Name Resurrection

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Prog Rock/Metal

Track Listing:  1.  Circle X; 2.  Tara; 3.  Resurrection; 4.  Shades of Grey; 5.  Dissolution; 6.  Primordial; 7.  Verse V; 8,  Blue Communion

Publicist:  Effective Immediately PR

Review:  On first reflection, the sound is reminiscent of two pioneers of rock – Kansas and Rush, with a heavy influence from Metallica.  The guitars do not overwhelm you but rather stimulate and uplift, and fit the lyrical content to a “T.”  This new album goes far beyond the band’s metal roots, and is the result of a very successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $20,000.  The band has obviously spent the money well, as the resulting album is one of the best rock albums of the year.  Best tracks include “Tara,” the title track, “”Shades of Grey,” and “Verse V.”

Recommendation:  Definitely Get this one!

Artist NameBelle Miners

Album NamePowerful Owl

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Folk/Pop

Track Listing:  1.  25 Years; 2.  Fall in Love with Me; 3.  Dance in my Kitchen; 4.  Who I Was; 5.  Strange World; 6.  Stop Sign; 7.  Junkyard; 8.  Night Flight; 9.  Periphery; 10.  You, the Birds and I

Publicist:  Penney and Logan

Review:  Were they not from Canada and Australia, you might mistake their sound for just another of the “Hotel Café” crowd.  These three ladies, however, have developed their own quirky folk style on their own both north and south of our border, and their music is the perfect fit for American radio.  Their harmonies are seamless, the songs are upbeat, and the American music industry needs to pay attention.  The entire album is noteworthy, but we really loved “Dance in my Kitchen,” “Who I Was,” “Strange World,” “Junkyard,” and “You, the Birds and I.”

Recommendation:  If you love great harmonies and upbeat music, then definitely Get this one.

Artist NameThe Speedlights

Album NameNight Driver

Label:  Jigsaw Records

Genre:  Powerpop

Track Listing:  1.  After Tonight; 2.  She’s Alright; 3.  What’s it Gonna Take; 4.  Blame it on the Stereo; 5.  She’ll be There; 6.  Head in the Clouds; 7.  Summer Nights; 8.  Out of Sorts; 9.  Try to Forget You; 10.  Pawn Takes King

Publicist:  Beatkid Records

Review:  The Speedlights’ sound is reminiscent of Rock of Ages, with a powerful pop/indie rock groove and vocals reminiscent of Tom Petty.  Their vintage sound would also work well for placement in television and film, as they truly capture the 80’s new wave/rock feel, sorta like The Cars.  The musical score more than makes up for the sometimes wavering vocals, which match their obvious influences.  Among the best tracks are “After Tonight,” “What’s it Gonna Take,” “Blame it on the Stereo,” “She’ll be There,” and “Head in the Clouds.”

Recommendation:  If you love the music of the 80’s, and powerpop/ new wave rock, then this is the album for you.  Go Get it!