Tag Archives: indie music

Get it or forget it: Janey Street, Meresha, Fallow Land, Shannon Hurley

Here it is, the last four reviews of the nearly 100 submissions we have received for the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017.  When we return from Los Angeles, we will be sorting through those reviews to select the nominees for the awards, which will be announced in early July.  Two of the artists reviewed today will be performing at the winner’s showcase on June 20th.  We hope to see you there.

Artist Name Janey Street

Album NameIn my own Skin

Label:  Blue Élan Records

Genre:  Singer-songwriter/R&B/Pop/Blues

Track Listing: 1.  Wrap my Mind Around You; 2.  When you are Loved; 3.  In my own Skin; 4.  Guilty Pleasures; 5.  Undone; 6.  Sex is Easy Love is Hard; 7.  I Wanna Love you Deep; 8.  Mixed Up; 9.  Wreckage; 10.  Waiting in the Wings; 11.  Dignity; 12.  Under the Clock 

Publicist:  MAD Ink PR

Review:  Janey Street, once a protégé of the legendary Clive Davis, continues to shine with the release of her latest project, In my own Skin, on Blue Élan Records on June 23.   The combination of Street’s songwriting and her confident soaring voice make this album a musical treat.  It has a retro sound with equal parts pop and R&B/soul, and brings back memories of the days when radio stations just played songs, not genres.   Street has penned some of the best songs this reviewer has heard in quite a while, and we believe that any song on this album could be a monster hit on radio and deserves placement in television and film.  It is definitely the type of album you put on repeat and listen to from start to finish.  While every song is amazing, we particularly like the sounds of “Wrap my Mind Around You,” the title track, “Guilty Pleasures,” “Sex is Easy Love is Hard,” “I Wanna Love you Deep,” and “Wreckage.”

Recommendation:  Janey Street is an American icon and deserves the attention of every music lover.  We highly recommend that you preorder this album now so that you will be sure to Get it as soon as it is available.

Artist NameMeresha

Album NameEnter the Dreamland

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Dance

Track Listing: 1.  Enter the Dreamland; 2.  Stardust; 3.  Jungle Potion; 4.  Violet Night; 5.  Lights Out 

Publicist:  None

Review:  Meresha is a young up and coming artist with a firm grip on what makes great dance music, despite her young age.  Her sound is tight, with a great beat for dance, but with a groove that makes it perfect for radio as well.  She couples that with well made music videos that capture the spirit of the song as well as give you a visual treasure.  All five songs on this too short EP are wonderful, and you can throw this one on repeat and dance, dance, dance.  This young artist has captured our heart and imagination and we can’t wait to see how her career progresses.  She is a modern-day combination of Selena and Shakira, and ready to conquer the music world.

Recommendation:  We think this one is a true keeper, regardless of what genre is your favorite.  Her music transcends those boundaries.  We think you should definitely Get it.

Artist NameFallow Land

Album Name Pinscher

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Yang; 2.  The Softboi Wields Guilt like a Floral Knife; 3.  Faux; 4.  410 S. Morgan 

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  A creative project of Ann Arbor born musician Whit Fineberg, Fallow Land is the result of his coping with several major changes in his life – moving to Chicago, losing a friend, the end of his band and the closing of a relationship.  He brought in Evan Veasey to play guitar, added Chris Bathgate to do the producing and recorded his EP at High Bias Studios with Chris Koltay as audio engineer, Matt Bayles as mixer and mastering done by Ed Brooks (Death Cab for Cutie).  The resulting EP is a beacon of hope in the sometimes depressing world of indie music.  This band has the potential to take off and is already head and shoulders above its peers.  We think the future looks pretty good for Fallow Land.

Recommendation:  We think you should definitely get this EP when it is released on June 30.  Make a mental note to follow Fallow Land.  We think they will be around for a while.

Artist NameShannon Hurley

Album NameNew Day

Label:  For Lenore Records

Genre:  Positive Pop

Track Listing: 1,  Make a Move; 2.  Number One; 3.  New Day; 4.  Who do you Think you Are?; 5.  Someday; 6.  Solitude (feat. Bissen); 7.  Soul; 8.  Stronger Still; 9.  Here I Am; 10.  Fairytale of New York (feat. Brandon Schott) 

Publicist:  None

Review:  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know that Shannon Hurley is the voice of the DIY indie artist.  Besides her solo work, she has collaborated with her husband Ben Eisen to form Lovers & Poets, as well as with countless DJs on numerous remixes of her earlier work.  On this her fifth studio album, Hurley is just approaching her potential, creating positive pop music that stands out from her peers.  The positiveness flows through all 10 songs on the album, and provides the perfect soundtrack for reflection and introspection.  She also makes amazing music videos that bring her creative vision to light.  We love all of these songs, but were particularly attracted to “Number One,” the title track, “Solitude,” “Stronger Still,” and her amazing duet with Brandon Schott on her stirring cover of The Pogues feat. Kristy MacColl classic, “Fairytale of New York,” which was requested by her fans.  With the release of New Day on June 30, we believe that her fan base is about to grow larger still.

Recommendation:  This one is a definite no-brainer.  Preorder this CD now so you can Get it as soon as it is released.


Get it or forget it: Float Here Forever, Ian Mahan, Banditos

Happy Sunday.  Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend, and you’re ready for another super week starting tomorrow.  We thank you for your support of our Get it or Forget it series.  We thoroughly enjoy introducing you to new artists, and for the opportunity to help you decide which ones to support.  Here are three more for your consideration.

Artist NameFloat Here Forever

Album NameInexhaustible

Label:  ALP Music

Genre:  Alternative Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Inexhaustible; 2.  Tranquilize; 3.  Goliath; 4.  Echolocation; 5.  Cobra Eyes 

Publicist:  None

Review:  Float Here Forever sounds like so many other alternative rock bands – lots of passion but an unrefined musical presentation.  While the drumming of Nick Marco is first rate, nothing else truly separates these guys from their peers.  Judging from the number of fans they have on their Facebook music page (42), they also haven’t yet learned the art of marketing and building a fan base in their native Detroit, which has always had an intense love for indie music.  Hopefully their new tunes will help awaken the sleeping fans around them.  All the five songs on this upcoming EP, which will be released on June 20 are good, but not outstanding, with the exception of “Goliath,” which sounds like it would make a great live performance.  We think that this band has potential to break out of the crowded alternative rock scene, but simply needs more time to hone their skills and develop a dedicated fan base.

Recommendation:  Keep your eyes out for this band in the future.  They remind me of the Not Ready for Primetime Players that used to be an integral part of Saturday Night Live.  They eventually became powerhouses, and we think these guys may yet attain that status.  In the meantime, unless you are a die-hard alt-rock fan, you should just Forget them.

Artist NameIan Mahan

Album NameRockford

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Singer-songwriter pop

Track Listing:  1.  Come Around; 2.  I’m not Me; 3.  Dear Louise; 4.  Rockford; 5.  Bet and Pray; 6. Elmhurst (feat. Stellan) 

Publicist:  None

Review:  We discovered this Denver-based artist when he opened a show for our friend Nina Storey at The Soiled Dove Underground.  His storytelling blew us away, with outstanding musical arrangements that perfectly complement his soaring vocals.   This is Mahan’s sophomore release, and we feel like he will be a player on the indie music scene for many years to come.  He opens up this strong EP with the amazing “Come Around,” and then proceeds to make each successive tune better than the previous one.  His vocals are reminiscent of John Mayer, and his songs are radio ready and perfect for placement in television and film.  The EP will be released on June 23.  By all means, if you have the chance to see him perform live, we highly recommend you do it – you will be sorry if you don’t.

Recommendation:  Ian Mahan has been added to our short list of the best male singer-songwriters in indie music today.  If you don’t rush out and Get it, we think you should have your head examined.

Artist NameBanditos

Album NameVisionland

Label:  Blood Shot Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Fine Fine Day; 2.  Strange Heart; 3.  Visionland; 4.  Thick n’ Thin; 5.  Healin’ Slow; 6.  Lonely Boy; 7.  Fun all Night; 8.  When it Rains; 9.  Still and Quiet; 10.  DDT 

Publicist:  Josh Zanger

Review:  Nashville/Birmingham based indie rock band Banditos are not scared to rock your world.  With just enough “southern style” rock to make it interesting, they have a unique sound that provides the perfect chill factor for a hot summer night under the stars.  We were especially blown away by the voice of Mary Beth Richardson, who took us by surprise with her Janis Joplin meets Lynyrd Skynyrd sound on “Strange Heart.”  Trust us when we tell you that this band will blow away any preconceived notions of what an indie band can deliver.  We think they are poised to take their music mainstream, and think they would be a fun band to see perform live.  Make sure you are first in line to purchase the new album when it is released on June 23.  Other worthy tracks include the title track, the stirring ballad “Healin’ Slow,” “Lonely Boy,” “Fun all Night,” and “Still and Quiet.”

Recommendation:  You simply must Get this album.  It is head and shoulders above its peers in the indie rock genre, and we believe this band will go far.  We encourage you to hop on their bandwagon now.


Get it or forget it: Jack Spann, Gold Casio, David Ryan Harris

Only two more Get it or Forget it articles left in our review of the indie music submitted to us for the first six months of 2017.  After that we will be focusing on the Hollywood Fringe Festival before announcing the nominations and winners for the next round of LA Music Critic Awards.  Then we will start the whole process all over again.  We already have nine submissions for the second half of 2017.

Artist NameJack Spann

Album NameBeautiful man from Mars

Label:  Big Boo Music

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Beautiful man from Mars; 2.  Time; 3.  Lies; 4.  She Makes Pornography on the Weekend; 5.  Songman; 6.  Fear or Loyalty; 7.  Deep Inside; 8.  Just Another Version of You; 9.  Jack Around; 10.  Man From Mars (reprise) 

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  Jack Spann has long been considered the consummate keyboardist, and a huge fan of David Bowie.  In fact, Spann performed the demos that became Bowie’s final album, Blackstar.  On Beautiful man from Mars, it becomes quickly evident that Bowie’s influence permeates the album.  The song titles, the musical approach and the sound all reflect the strong presence of Bowie.  On an album that contains simple arrangements and the solo voice of Spann, he shows that like Bowie he can carry the load.  When he does employ additional musicians, they are simply the best, as reflected on the amazing track, “She Makes Pornography on the Weekend,” with its amazing horns and a vintage sound like Louis Armstrong.

Recommendation:  If you are a Bowie fan, then this album is a must have.  We highly recommend you go out and get it next Friday when it is released.

Artist NameGold Casio

Album NameFever Dreams

Label:  Self-release

Genre:  Dance

Track Listing:  1.  Fever Dream; 2.  Socialites and Singer Types; 3.  She’s Bored; 4.  Delirium; 5.  Gold Mine (feat. Coco Columbia); 6.  Colors of the Wall; 7.  Last Song 

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  When you first start listening to Fever Dreams, you might feel like you’ve been teleported back to the 70’s, when disco and the B-52’s were king.  Keep listening and you can feel those influences and more.  Gold Casio perfectly captures that mood and puts its own spin on it, resulting in an EP that delivers the goods, repeat after repeat.  This album sounds great whether you just want to listen and remember or get up and boogie.  We see great things ahead for these guys, and look forward to the next chapter.  We especially love the title track, the first single, “Socialites and Singer Types,” and “Gold Mine.”

Recommendation:  This EP will be released on June 23 and we highly recommend you be first in line to Get it.  We think it will sell out quickly, so don’t delay.

Artist Name:   David Ryan Harris

Album NameSongs for Other People

Label:  Peace Pourage

Genre:   Indie Rock/Soul

Track Listing:  1.  Fascinated; 2.  Coldplay; 3.  Good; 4.  Kerosene; 5.  Darling; 6.  Red Balloons; 7.  Average Joe 

Publicist:  Red Boot PR

Review:  David Ryan Harris, or DRH, as he is known to his fans, has been a huge part of indie music in Los Angeles for the better part of 20 years.  In the early 2000’s, he provided guitar support and backing vocals for John Mayer, and has returned to that role for the current John Mayer tour.  His new album is scheduled for release on June 23.  His new release is powerful, showing one and all that he deserves the same spotlight as Mayer.  His first single, “Fascinating,” is a true hit, in the same vein as Keaton Simons’
“Currently,” and his new single, “Coldplay,” brings back memories of going to see our own favorite band.  Every song on the album has the potential to be a smash hit, both on radio and as placement in our favorite television shows or movies.  We are so proud of the treasure that DRH is becoming, and foresee even more accolades and stardom for this amazing musician.

Recommendation:  This album is an instant classic and definitely belongs in your music library.  Rush out and Get it as soon as it is released.  We strongly recommend you preorder it ASAP so you’ll have it as soon as it is released.


Get it of forget it: Junior Astronomers, Munroe, Rococode, Rod Melancon

Wow – almost done with new music reviews scheduled to be released through the end of June.  It’s been a long ride, but we’ve enjoyed it so far, and hope you’ve found some new artists that you like and want to support.  Here are four more for your consideration.

Artist NameJunior Astronomers

Album NameBody Language

Label:  Refresh Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Body Language Part 2; 2.  That’s Why; 3.  Mood Ring; 4.  Pyramid Party; 5.  An Idea; 6.  Exit Policy; 7.  Gabby; 8.  Favorite Hiding Place; 9.  Coming Home (to a house on fire); 10.  Laid Out; 11.  Body Language Part 1 

Publicist:  Noisy Ghost PR

Review:  We had an immediate “in” with this band, as they hail from the Tar Heel State which also spawned our illustrious head blogger.  They are loud and immediately make their presence known.  Thankfully, they have someone worthy to say, as they are impossible to ignore.  This album will wake you up and stimulate your mind, while keeping your toes tapping to the steady beat.  These Charlotte-based rockers have been steadily touring, and it is easy to imagine that their live shows are both electric and compelling.  They pack a lot of energy into their music, which also contains a grand story about coming of age and learning about love and life.  The album is well crafted and shows evidence that serious thought was put into the structure of the album itself, including the interesting placement of part 2 of the title track at the beginning of the album, and part 1 at the end.  Best songs include their single, “That’s Why,’ “Pyramid Party,” “Exit Policy,” “Favorite Hiding Place,” and “Coming Home (to a house on fire).”

Recommendation:  If you like your music with a driving beat and meaty lyrics forcefully and loudly delivered, then you should definitely Get this album.

Artist NameMunroe

Album NameOblivion

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Dream Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Fake Out; 2.  Oblivion; 3.  No Anchor; 4.  Your Pages; 5.  The Witness; 6.  Ever Be; 7.  Good Name; 8.  Bad Company 

Publicist:  Auteur Research

Review:  Canadian Munroe has arrived on the indie music scene with a sound reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan and Enya.  The music is light and airy while the vocals soar high above the music, pulling her listeners into her mood.  The entire album is dreamy and light, providing a safe haven to go about your daily life.  At the same time, the lyrical content is meaty and lush, painting pictures and describing universal truths.  While each track is worthy of your attention, we do love the title track, which has been released as the first single.

Recommendation:  This album drops next Friday, following the release of the first single last month.  We love this album, and recommend you pre-order it so that it will be yours on release day,

Artist NameRococode

Album NameYoung Ones

Label:  Marquis Artists

Genre:  Indie Pop, Electronica

Track Listing:  1.  Young Ones; 2.  Why do I; 3.  Is it Real; 4.  Brutal; 5.  A Love That you can Never Know; 6.  Can’t get Enough 

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  With a sound reminiscent of 80’s pop, this Canadian duo is a treat.  Alternating vocals keeps the music interesting, much like darkness and light show us where we are within the day.  All six songs are a treat, but none so much as the title track and “Why do I.”  The music of Rococode is tasty and fun, and brings back great memories of when we as a society had so much less to worry about.  Honestly, we can’t say enough about this release, which is surely one of the best EPs of 2017.  We hope to see this band live when they next track through the US.  In the meantime, we are content to put the EP on repeat.

Recommendation:  We highly recommend you pre-order this EP, which drops on June 16.  It is one of the finest we have heard this year, and give it a rating of Get It Now

Artist NameRod Melancon

Album NameSouthern Gothic

Label:  Blue Élan Records

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  With the Devil; 2.  Perry; 3.  Lights of Carencro; 4.  Dwayne and Me; 5.  Promises; 6.  Redhead; 7.  Praying for Light; 8.  Mary Lou; 9.  Different Man; 10.  Outskirts of You 

Publicist:  MAD Ink PR

Review:  Rod Melancon has been a favorite of this blog and the LA Music Critic Awards, accumulating multiple nominations and awards from his previous EP release LA 14.   On his new album, which drops on June 16, he picks up where he left off and continues to deliver impressive material that should cement his place in the Americana community.  Not only is his music memorable, but he has turned into quite the actor, starring in his own music videos that are both impressive and interesting, including the award-winning “Perry” and his latest, “Different Man.”  Two of the songs, “Perry” and “Lights of Carencro,” were previously released on LA 14, and are included on the new album, which was produced by another award-winning Americana artist, Brian Whelan, former guitarist for Dwight Yoakum.  Melancon is a force to be reckoned with, and should provide his label with another Grammy-nominated artist.  We strongly encourage you to get out and see him at his CD release show at the Grand Ole Echo on June 11 – admission is FREE before 5 p.m.  Best tracks include “Perry,” “Dwayne and Me,”  “Promises,” “Praying for Light,” and “Different Man.”

Recommendation:  This one is a no-brainer – do whatever it takes to Get this album as soon as it is released.  It belongs in the music library of every red-blooded American.


Get it or forget it: Jeff Simmermon, James Litherland, Hayride Casualties

This time next week we’ll be back in Los Angeles for the Hollywood Fringe Festival and the LA Music Critic Awards winners showcase.  Can’t wait to be there, hear great music, witness theatrical spectacles and see old friends.  Here are three more reviews to whet your appetite for the next round of LA Music Critic Awards.  Nominations will be announced in early July.

Artist NameJeff Simmermon

Album NameAnd I am not Lying

Label:  Comedy Dynamics

Genre:  Comedy, spoken word

Track Listing:  1.  Intro; 2.  Fake Job; 3.  Doctor Guerilla; 4.  Vomit Fist; 5.  Royal Quiet Deluxe, Chicken Band vs. Reverend Al Sharpton (part 1); 6.  Royal Quiet Deluxe, Chicken Band vs. Reverend Al Sharpton (part 2); 7.  Buy a Gun; 8.  ‘Roo Shooter; 9.  Cancer Survivor; 10.  Dating After Seven Years; 11.  Subway Groceries; 12.  Brown Birds, White Lightning, by the band Royal Quiet Deluxe (Bonus) 

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  Music comedy is a new frontier for us to review, but we have been pleased so far with Scout Durwood and now Jeff Simmermon.  A former musician himself, Simmermon delivers hilarious social commentary on the music scene, and life in the United States, especially the south.  We assure you that you have never heard anything like him.    And I am not Lying is the perfect vehicle for this amazing comedian, and we look forward to hearing more from him.  The entire routine is hilarious, especially the two track story line about his band (Royal Quiet Deluxe, Chicken Band), and his encounters with the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Recommendation:  If you like to laugh, and enjoy comedy about music, then you simply must go out and Get this album when it is released tomorrow.

Artist NameJames Litherland

Album NameBack ‘n Blue

Label:  Confidential Records

Genre:  Indie Rock/Folk

Track Listing:  1.  What you Want; 2.  Back ‘n Blue; 3.  Close to Me; 4.  Miss you Blues; 5.  Unconditional Love; 6.  At Least I Didn’t Bore You; 7.  Pink Corvette; 8.  Can’t Live Without You; 9.  Naughty Boy; 10.  Freedom Road 

Publicist:  Neon Tetra

Review:  James Litherland has cemented his place in rock music history, based on his dealings with some of rock’ elite songwriters and musicians.  In addition, he is the father of James Blake, an incredible musician in his own right, and has returned with a new solo project that stands alone in its musical greatness.  From the first notes of “What you Want” through the last sounds of “Freedom Road,” Litherland delivers an incredible album that will remind you of classic rock acts like Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton.  Our favorite tracks include “What you Want,” the title track, “Unconditional Love,” “Pink Corvette,” and “Can’t Live Without You.”

Recommendation:  If you love the sound of classic rock, then this is definitely the album for you.  Rush out and Get it as soon as it is released tomorrow.

Artist NameHayride Casualties

Album NameFossil Fuel Kid

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Folk/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Antarctica; 2.  Coal Fired Train; 3.  Deepwater One; 4.  Fossil Fuel Kid; 5.  Hi Def Sex; 6.  Muryo; 7.  Offshore Wind Farm; 8.  Same Side; 9.  Storm of Light; 10.  The Catskills Aren’t for Sale 

Publicist:  Behind the Curtains Media

ReviewFossil Fuel Kid is the debut album from indie folk/rockers Hayride Casualties, and is reminiscent of many of the social and protest albums of the 60’s.  It’s like listening to Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie only with modern-day problems to discuss.  The sound is truly a flashback to those olden days, with the crystal clear voice of Daniel DeWald bringing his incredible lyrics to life.  Most powerful tracks include “Coal Fired Train,” the title track, “Hi Def Sex,” “Offshore Wind Farm,” and “Same Side.”

Recommendation:  If you like the protest music of the 60’s, but with timely content, they you should definitely Get this album.  We hae a feeling that the sentiments discussed in these songs will find their own place in today’s protest movements.


Get it or Forget it: Husky, Warriors of the Dystotheque, Tara Dente, Jared Tyler

We’re finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  After today’s four reviews, we’ll only have 16 more to do to get through all the LA Music Critic Award submissions.  Speaking of that, if you live in the LA area, have you purchased your tickets yet for our winners showcase on June 20th on the Second Stage at the Hotel Café?  We truly expect it to sell out, so don’t delay.  You can buy tickets in advance on the venues website for only $10 or pay $12 at the door.

Artist NameHusky

Album Name Punchbuzz

Label:  Liberation Music/Embassy of Music/Nevado Music

Genre:  Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Ghost; 2.  Shark Fin; 3.  Punchbuzz; 4.  Late Night Store; 5.  Cut the Air; 6.  Splinters in the Fire; 7.  Walking in Your Sleep; 8.  Cracks in the Pavement; 9.  Flower Drums; 10.  Spaces Between Heartbeats 

Publicist:  Guerilla Music Promotion

Review:  Australian duo Husky have reinvented their sound on their third album Punchbuzz and are set to embark on a tour encompassing their native Australia, as well as Europe and the UK.  Their sound is tight and radio ready, while their lyrics are thought-provoking and worthy of consideration.  Their first two singles, “Ghost” and “Late Night Store” are already garnering extensive streams on an album that was just released last Friday.   Particularly impressive are the band’s more than two million streams on Spotify.  This band deserves an American audience as well, and we are super pleased that they reached out to us to review their album.   Besides the aforementioned two singles, we also dig “Splinters in the Fire,” “Walking in Your Sleep,” and the dreamy “Cracks in the Pavement.”

Recommendation:  Obviously the rest of the world already knows about this awesome band, and we think America should definitely jump on the bandwagon.  Get this album as soon as possible.

Artist NameWarriors of the Dystotheque (W.O.T.D.)

Album NameWe’re Taking Control

Label:  Fly Beat Music

Genre:  Indie Dance

Track Listing:  1.  We’re Taking Control (feat. Pop Will Eat Itself); 2.  Thou Shalt not Follow; 3.  We’re Taking Control remix (Justin Robertson); 4.  We’re Taking Control remix (Kalahara); 5.  We’re Taking Control (dub) 

Publicist:  Vision Music Promotion

Review:  This five song EP includes three remixes of the title track, a heavy, beat driven song that begs your body to get up and dance.  Although definitely low on lyrical substance, the band definitely knows their audience, and provides them with songs that are worthy of dance clubs everywhere.  Obviously, there are a lot of DJs that want to do remixes of their music, and the ones selected seem to be talented in their own right.  We think Justin Robertson’s is the best of those remixes.  This is music at its core, fun to listen and dance to, without any lyrical challenges to dampen the mood.

Recommendation:  This one is strictly for lovers of dance music.  If you want answers or crave knowledge from your music, this is not for you.  However, if you love to dance, then definitely go Get it.

Artist NameTara Dente

Album Name The Gleaner

Label:  Travianna Records

Genre:  Folk, Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Blind Pilot; 2.  Sleep Well; 3.  The Moon; 4.  Screens; 5.  Who Will Save my Soul; 6.  Could I be Wrong; 7.  Who are You; 8.  Never Going Home; 9.  Road; 10.  Never Going Home (acoustic); 11.  Sleep Well (acoustic) 

Publicist:  From the Top Communications

Review:  Haunting lyrics and powerful vocals with just the right amount of musical accompaniment highlight this album.  After the first note of the first song, it is obvious that the listener is in for a treat.  Tara Dente’s voice is unique and soars like a bird, reminiscent of the great Enya, while the music simply surrounds everything in a beautiful shell that captures the listener’s best memories of life.  We could easily just put this album on repeat and listen to it all day, over and over – it’s that good.  Our favorite tracks include “Blind Pilot,” “Sleep Well,” “Who Will Save my Soul,” “Could I be Wrong,” and “Never Going Home.”  We also love the acoustic versions she has included of “Sleep Well” and “Never Going Home.”

Recommendation:  Definitely a no-brainer – Get It while you can.  This young lady is destined to become a superstar, and we are so proud of  be a part of spreading her music to you.

Artist Name Jared Tyler

Album NameDirt on Your Hands

Label:  Blue Alleluia Music

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Death of Me; 2.  Dressed in White; 3.  Dirt on Your Hands; 4.  Heart Open Wide; 5.  Waltzing Around with my Shadow; 6.  Gwendolyn; 7.  Lucky I Am; 8.  Fort Gibson Lake; 9.  A Little Tonight; 10.  The Door (feat. Malcolm Holcombe); 11.  Norway; 12.  Love of You 

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:  Shades of the roaring 20’s.  Jared Tyler’s music brings back memories of the Soggy Bottom Boys from the Coen Brothers’ classic film Oh Brother, Where are Thou?   His voice is perfect for this type of music, which evokes a feeling of better days gone by.  It is the perfect soundtrack for a lazy summer day, sitting on the front porch with an ice-cold lemonade, enjoying the cool of the evening after a long hard day of work.  Words cannot suffice to describe this incredible musical treat.  You simply must listen for yourself.  Our favorite songs include the title track, “Heart Open Wide,” “Gwendolyn,” “Lucky I Am,” “A Little Tonight,” and “The Door.”

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk, and Get it.  We couldn’t think of a better way to support indie music than to add Jared Tyler to your catalog of musical greats.


Artists worth checking out: Interview with Montanan Melissa Forrette

A couple of months ago we had the chance to see Jason Michael Carroll in concert at our local honky-tonk.  His opening act was a young Montanan named Melissa Forrette.  We were impressed with her stage presence and original material, although we felt her set had a few too many covers.  We got the chance to meet her later, and were impressed with her enough to want to do an interview and introduce her to you.  Please welcome former Californian and now Montanan Melissa Forrette to our list of up and coming indie artists.

IVB:  What is your musical background?

MF:  I played piano for about ten years growing up.  When I was a senior in high school, I was given an old Fender acoustic guitar by my uncle, which was his when he was a kid.    I stayed up all night learning my first three chords.  Having the guitar spurred me to do more songwriting, which has always been my passion.  I grew up in Santa Clara, California, and moved to Montana after I graduated from high school.  I had met a boy, a “cowboy,” headed to Montana, and decided to move here to work on ranches.  The relationship didn’t work out, but I got a great song from it – “You were a Cowboy when you were Mine.”

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

MF:  Actually I’ve only been performing for two years and my first show was at the Bitterroot Brewery in Hamilton.  I went to Nashville the year before I started to participate in the American Country Star competition as a songwriter, where I won the award for Singer/Songwriter of the Year for “I Made him Your Man.”

IVB:  Who are your influences?

MF:  Obviously, Merle Haggard.  I’ve also been influenced by Gary Stewart, George Jones, Vern Goskin, Randy Rogers,  and Turnpike Troubadour.  I love classic country, not the country music of today.

IVB:  What made you decide to DIY?

MF:  I didn’t really have a choice.  I’m not rich and was just learning how to be a musician.  It seemed the best way to do that was to just do it.

IVB:  Do you want to be a mainstream artist?

MF:  In a word, yes, although I’ve always considered myself to be more of a writer than a performer  However, I’ve reached the point where I refuse to sell myself short, and I want to see how far I can go.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

MF:  I will be going into the studio soon to record my first EP.  I’ve picked out five of my original songs to be included.  I eventually want to do a full length album, and have enough songs to do two albums.  I also plan to continue booking shows, maybe go on tour and get into some music festivals.  I am scheduled to open for Sawyer Brown on July 21 at the Darby Logger Days, and for classic country artist Moe Bandy for the 4th of July Roundup Rodeo.  I also want to go back to Nashville and play the Bluebird Café.  Last but not least, I want to put a band together, but it will have to have a steel guitar player.

IVB:  Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

MF:  Once a police officer named Brian McPhillips contacted me on Facebook.  He had heard my song “Old Guitar” and wanted to cover it.  He did an amazing job and recorded a video on YouTube.

I also finally got to participate in a songwriter’s round at Douglas Corner in Nashville.  I flew in and got the slot around 1 a.m.  It was a fast trip but something I had always wanted to do.

IVB:  What kind of social media presence do you have?

MF:  Of course I have a Facebook account, and I recently created both Twitter and Instagram accounts.  I also have a website, which is still  under construction.

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 22

Happy Monday.  It was a busy week of reviewing, and we still have a few more to do.  We are also busy preparing for the Hollywood Fringe Festival and our winners showcase for the LA Music Critic Awards.  We’re happy to be able to share some news with you and kick off another week.


The 8th Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival kicked off its preview week, and the majority of the previews were sold out.  According to my sources, the first four days of the week have been a huge success.  Not only that, but the Festival received a huge slice of press when the Los Angeles Daily News did a wonderful article on the Fringe.  Can’t wait until the 15th when our Fringe adventure begins.  #HFF17


Our dear friends at Crimson Calamity have come a long way in the past year.  They are part of the 2017 Stadium of Fire competition and have managed to earn a spot in the Top 25.  If they reach the top 10, they will be considered for an opening spot for Little Big Town.  As of this morning, the band is at #11, and the contest ends tomorrow night.  Can you help them make it over the top?   By the way, the video they’re using is super hot.  Check it out when you vote.


Check out “All About Love,” the new single from LA’s transplanted Danish artist Ronny Morris.  It has such a sweet dreamy feel that is perfect for your evening chill time.  What do you think?


Our first new video this week is from Superet.  With the return of Twin Peaks, it seems like the perfect fit.  Let us know what you think.

Los Angeles country sensations Honey County recently debuted their new song “Love Someone” on Radio Disney Country.  Here’s the music video of the song – we love it!

Another of our favorite indie bands, Fort Atlantic, has just released a lyric video for their single, “Just Hold On.”  We love the sound and believe these guys belong on the radio.

Closing out this Monday is “User,” the latest video from six-time winners of the LA Music Critic Awards, The Spider Accomplice.  The band will be performing on June 20 as part of the Winners Showcase on the Hotel Cafe’s Second Stage.  We strongly encourage you to attend.

Get it or forget it: foreverandever<3, Megafauna, OOLALA, Kiriyama Family

It’s a special weekend for us, with the birthdays of my granddaughters Kira Belle (12) and Konstance (13) and my daughter Grace (35), as well as Grace’s wedding anniversary.  Looking forward to seeing them when we visit Los Angeles in a few days.  Until then, we will continue to work our way through the indie releases, and have four more reviews for you today.

Artist Nameforeverandever<3

Album NameLate Walk/Spacewalk

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Electronica, dance

Track Listing:  1.   drnk b t be@ch; 2.  feel smthn (with Sameblod); 3.  you/blind; 4.  so guud (with Summer Heart); 5.  gn (with Ingrid Witt) 

Publicist:  Mystic Sons

Review:  Stockholm based producer and songwriter foreverandever<3 continues the Swedish tradition of delivering electronica/dance music that is unique in its sound while still being attractive to those who just want to groove.  This five song EP ushers in a new level of thoughtful electronica, what the artist calls a “sweet synth-world.”  All five tracks use multi-layered instrumentation, coupled with intriguing and thought-provoking lyrics to create an interesting sound that lingers long after the track ends.  We really love both of the tracks that have been released as singles, “So Guud” and “Feel Smthn.”  We could definitely dance to these grooves.

Recommendation:  This one is a definite Get for lovers of electronica.  If you like your music straight up, then you might want to pass.

Artist NameMegafauna

Album NameWelcome Home

Label:  Danimal Kingdom

Genre:  Metal, hard rock

Track Listing:  1.  Desire; 2.  Doubt; 3.  Panpsychist; 4.  It’s so Simple; 5.  Interlude; 6.  Gaia; 7.  Hogs Out; 8.  Keep Learning the Same Thing; 9.  Don’t Ask Questions; 10.  Welcome Home 

Publicist:  Neon Tetra

Review:  Megafauna bills their music as “the thinking woman’s hard rock,” and we would tend to agree.  The music is so much more than just hot guitar licks and discordant notes as Dani Neff’s voice rises above it all to deliver well-thought-out lyrical content.  In addition, some of the tracks are just straight ahead indie rock, offering a broader appeal than your typical metal band and more akin to the style of Evanescence.  We especially like the tracks “Doubt,” “Panpsychist,” the instrumental track “Interlude,” “Hogs Out” (with its Metallica feel, and “Keep Learning the Same Thing.”

Recommendation:  For all you metalheads, this band should definitely be on your playlist.  For the rest of you, if you like to be challenged in your music, and like bands that push the boundaries of rock music, then you should Get a copy and expand your musical taste.

Artist NameOOLALA

Album NameThe New RockRoll Cosmology

Label:  The Giving Groove

Genre:  Space rock

Track Listing:  1.  Falling out of the Universe; 2.  Whatever can Be; 3.  Get yo Ass in that Space Camaro; 4.  Universal Travel 

Publicist:  Glow Marketing

Review:  This is the debut release for this Philadelphia based band of rockers.  What makes it unique is that the band is donating half of the proceeds to the musical charity MusiCares.  According to their press release, the band uses their influences from such diverse genres as psychedelic jazz, stadium glitter rock and heavy soul to create this montage of sounds.  In truth, this is pure rock and roll, with screeching guitars and throaty vocals that hit you like a hurricane of sound, unleashing your inner desire to play air guitar.  We think “Whatever can Be” is the best track, while “Get yo Ass in that Space Camaro” evokes memories of a harder version of Steve Miller’s “Space Cowboy.”  We look forward to your opinion.

Recommendation:  If only to help the efforts of MusiCares, we believe that everyone should grab themselves a copy of this EP.  Regardless of your philanthropic desires, this EP stands as a worthy addition to your music library.

Artist NameKiriyama Family

Album NameWaiting for …

Label:  Record Records

Genre:  Electronic pop

Track Listing:   1.  About You; 2.  Light Years Away; 3.   Apart; 4.  Innocence; 5.  Chemistry; 6.  Push Further; 7.  While you Wait; 8.  Anywhere but Here; 9.  Waiting for Your Love 

Publicist:  None

Review:  Considered to be one of Iceland’s best kept secrets, the band is in the midst of a Continental tour to expand their already tight fan base.  The music is dreamy and fits perfectly into your chill time.  It is easy to see why two of their first four singles went to #1 on the Icelandic music charts.  Both “Apart” and “Innocence” could easily make a mark on the American charts as well, and are two of the best tracks on an overall worthy effort.  In addition, we totally dig “Chemistry,” “While you Wait,” and “Anywhere but Here.”

Recommendation:  We are truly impressed by the quality of international indie music hitting the airwaves, and would love to see more like Kiriyama Family.  We believe they have a world-wide appeal and highly recommend that you Get this album.


Get it or forget it: Dan O’Farrell & The Difference Engine, 9 Mile Roots, Midnight Vesta

Here’s another batch of indie music for your Saturday, with still more to come over the next two weeks.  Enjoy this batch of reviews and chime in with your opinion as well.  Have a wonderful day!

Artist NameDan O’Farrell & The Difference Engine

Album Name:  Self-titled

Label:  Humphry Records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Haunted Houses of the Hollywood Hills; 2.  Problems Inherent within Global Capitalism; 3.  Rosaline wins; 4.  England’s so Ugly; 5.  Anhedonia; 6.  Your Facebook Feed is not the World; 7.  Broken by Love; 8.  Light in Your Darkness; 9.  The Nazarene Rifle Association; 10.  Why I Don’t do Covers; 11.  Death Rattles; 12.  Easterly

Publicist:  Neon Tetra

Review:  Woody Guthrie marked the back of his guitar with the words, “This machine kills fascists.”  In the same manner, Dan O’Farrell and his band are using their music to make social commentary.   Just a glance at the song titles, and you can see that the album covers a gamut of social issues, including Hollywood and media, capitalism, Facebook and the NRA.  Using a myriad of musical styles, and O’Farrell’s wit and humor, the album brings attention to some of the issues facing our daily life without being heavy-handed and overly critical.  It is an album that requires you to pay attention to the lyrics and message, couched in exquisite musical accompaniment that, like a spoonful of sugar, “makes the medicine go down.”

Recommendation:  If you believe in the power of music to make change in our world, then you should definitely check out this collection.

Artist Name9 Mile Roots

Album NameReEvolve

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Suburban Roots Reggae

Track Listing:     1.  Feel; 2.  Drifting; 3.  Bad Blood; 4.  On the Floor; 5.  The Battle; 6.  On the Wire; 7.  Premonition; 8.  Paper; 9.  Sun; 10.  Stand; 11.  Hands Back Up; 12.  Volcano

Publicist:  Montauk Music

Review:  This band mixes hip-hop, rock and reggae to form their own genre, which they have dubbed “suburban roots reggae,” and it’s HOT!  Their horns contribute a dynamic that sets them apart, while the groove will definitely get your attention.  This is a party record that would go well with a gathering of your favorite friends and some liquid refreshment.  From the first notes of “Feel,” the listener can immediately sense that they are in for a treat, and 9 Mile Roots does not disappoint.  Just a casual listen and it becomes immediately clear why this band is receiving rave reviews of their music – they simply rock!  We can’t say enough about the quality of every song on this album, but truly connected with “Feel,” “Drifting,” “On the Floor,” “The Battle,” “Premonition,” and “Stand.”

Recommendation:  This album makes you feel like every day is 4-20.  It’s great vibe and overall musical groove make it a must have, so go Get it.

Artist NameMidnight Vesta

Album NameSecond Chances

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Indie Southern Folk Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Someone to Call my Own; 2.  Take me Back; 3.  Old Boy; 4.  Moving Day; 5.  Second Chances; 6.  Annie; 7.  On the Water; 8.  Cut From the Cloth; 9.  The Only Other Person in the Room 

Publicist:  Auteur Research

Review:  Toronto-based Midnight Vesta breathe new life into the tired folk rock scene with their second album, “Second Chances.”  While the music contains some of the typical folk sound, it also has a driving southern rock groove that provides the perfect foundation for incredible harmonies and storytelling lyrics that make this the type of album you can listen to over and over again.  The album starts off strong with “Someone to Call my Own” and never lets up, with each track even more appealing than the previous one.  These guys deserve serious American radio airplay and a coast to coast headlining tour.  Give them a listen and we think you’ll be hooked as well.

Recommendation:  Oh Canada – thank you for the bountiful gift you have given the world in Midnight Vesta.  This album is a must-have for every true lover of music.  Get it while you still can.