Tag Archives: indie music

Britroyal encourages us to ‘Change’ with their latest single

Just when you thought the British Invasion was over, along comes an indie group on a mission.  Composed of twin brothers Kais and Mazin Oliver, BritRoyal is taking the US and the world by storm.

They first came to light when they recorded their first EP with renowned Grammy-winning producer Mikal Blue (Colbie Cailat, Jason Reeves, FiveforFighting, Jason Mraz, OneRepublic, Carrie Underwood) and J.R Richards (Dishwalla), both of who shared in the songwriting.  That EP opened the doors for them to tour across the Continent and exposed their music to the masses.

In late 2015, they partnered with PledgeMusic to raise funds for their first full length album, London, which was released in February 2016.  The album has spawned several singles, including “Tears,” which was just featured on BBC, as well as “Count on Me” and “Love’s Burning Out,” which have been featured in Macy’s stores across the US.

“Change (Dream Mix)” is the latest offering from the album to be released as a single, and it is one of the most powerful songs we have had the privilege of reviewing.

The chorus tells us “It’s never too late to change your life,” while the song tells us in terms easily relatable, that we have the power to rise above our otherwise routine life and be something better.  The song is reminiscent of those provided by other great British bands like Spandau Ballet’s “True” and Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”  The simple piano accompaniment is the perfect backdrop, allowing the listener to focus on the words, which easily reach deep within and take root in the heart of the receiver.

The song is instantly memorable and the catchy chorus will run in your mind and become a mantra for social awareness and change.  BritRoyal practices what they preach, and are an active participant in the fight against cancer through the Cancer Research Campaign.

To find out more about this amazing group, check out their website, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify channels.  You can purchase London on iTunes.

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 11

Sorry about the past two weeks, but we have been hit with computer problems on our desktop, losing the CPU fan and, of course, the part is out of stock everywhere.  We have been forced to go back to our trusty lap top computer for the foreseeable future.

Consequently, we are offering a rare Wednesday edition of our Monday Mashup because we just couldn’t wait until next Monday to share indie news and these amazing videos with you.

REDHEAD EXPRESS SIGN LABEL DEAL

We are proud to announce that one of our favorite indie bands,  Redhead Express, have signed a record deal with a major indie label.  The band recently shone during their time at CRS in Nashville, and as a result, not only will they be signed to the label, but will also be the stars of a reality show based on the label.  We send our love and best wishes to these four amazing sisters, and wish them well in the future.  We will continue to update you here about their successes.

THE WILD NOW RELEASE VIDEO AND PERFORM AT SXSW

Noisy Ghost PR client The Wild Now just finished performing at SXSW and released a music video for their song “Run for Your Life,” ahead of the release of their new EP Afterglow, which is set for May 19.  We will be reviewing their new EP shortly, but in the meantime, enjoy this amazing video.

CHELSEA WILLIAMS RELEASES NEW ACOUSTIC VIDEO

Blue Élan Records artist Chelsea Williams has released another acoustic music video in support of her EP Little Halo – Demo Sessions.  Check out her incredible vocals and enjoy the simplicity of her song “Boomerang.”

my education releases dreamy video for ‘Class A’

Need some soothing background music?  Check out the new video by my education for their single “Class A” off their recently released album Schiphol.  This eight minute video should provide the perfect background for reflection, meditation or just chilling.

Have a wonderful first week of Spring and we’ll be back soon with more indie news, reviews and videos.  Please let us know what you think of this series and all of the rest of the content on Indie Voice Blog.  We love hearing from you.

Get it or forget it: Derek Davis, Of Verona, Findlay

Welcome back to our review series, Get it or Forget it.  We’ve gotten quite a few new submissions since 2016 closed out, and we have been listening to them in preparation for the return of this series.  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and learn about these three great artists and their latest offerings.

Artist NameDerek Davis

Album Name Revolutionary Soul

Label:  Apocalypse Records

Genre:  Classic Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Revolutionary Soul; 2.  Rapture; 3.  Valerie; 4.  Think About It; 5.  Love and Abuse; 6.  Nobody Knows you When You’re Down & Out; 7.  Vicious Heart; 8.  Woman’s Gotta Have It; 9.  King of Fools; 10.  Picture of Love; 11.  Stop!  Wait a Minute; 12.  All the Roads 

Publicist:  Doug Deutsch Publicity Services

Review:  If Janis Joplin and James Brown had a child who grew up playing the music of Grand Funk Railroad, the result would be a fitting description of the musical style of Derek Davis.  Formerly the lead vocalist of Babylon A.D. , Davis combines the best elements of Joplin, Brown, Jim Morrison and GFR to create his own musical genre, which hits you right out of the box on the title track.  He especially shows off his abilities on covers of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” Jimmy Cox’s “Nobody Knows you When You’re Down & Out,” and Bobby Womack’s “Woman’s Gotta Have It, all of which he makes his own with his dynamic interpretations.  Of the rest of the self-penned songs, “Rapture,” “Think About It,” and “Love and Abuse” continue to showcase his rock side, while “Vicious Heart,” “King of Fools” and “Stop! Wait a Minute” highlight the R&B and soul side of his repertoire.  He wraps it all up with the heartfelt “All the Roads,” which is the perfect icing on this magnificent cake.

Recommendation:  This album releases next Tuesday, but we highly recommend you Get it  by any means possible.  This one will rock your world for years to come!

Artist NameOf Verona

Album NameGlass Beach

Label:  None

Genre:  Alternative Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Kids on the Street; 2.  Can you Hear Me; 3.  Under a Purple Sky; 4.  Glass Beach (interlude); 5.  Fleurs de la Lune; 6.  Bright Precious Things; 7.  Wish you Were Here; 8.  Miracles 

Publicist:  De Novo Music Management

Review:  We have followed the career of Mandi Perkins, lead singer of oV, as the band is affectionately known by is fans, for many years.  Their first album, The White Apple, released in July 2012, and its key single, “Dark in my Imagination,” has been streamed more than one million times, while other songs have received placements on such television shows as Grimm, Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Teen Wolf, and Stalker.  Their new album takes off from there, and should propel this dynamic duo even further into the musical stratosphere.   The first two tracks, “Kids on the Street,” and “Can you Hear Me” are already receiving massive attention while being constantly streamed on such sites as Spotify and SoundCloud.  There are no bad songs on this second masterpiece,  and their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish you Were Here” is especially poignant, not only capturing the true meaning of the song, but giving it that special oV treatment.

Recommendation:  If you love music that comes from the heart, and is true to itself, then we highly recommend you rush out and Get It.  This album, which was released on February 24,  is perfect for repeated listens and can form the soundtrack for your daily living.  Be one of the first to grab it and share it with your friends.

Artist Name: Findlay

Album Name:  Forgotten Pleasures

Label:  The End Records/Mint Records-BMG

Genre:  Electronica/Garage Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Electric Bones; 2.  Waste my Time; 3.  Stuck in Your Shadow; 4.  Greasy Love; 5.  Monomania; 6.  Junk Food; 7.  Off and On; 8.  Wild & Unwise; 9.  Forgotten Pleasures; 10.  Stoned and Alone; 11.  We are Never the Last; 12.  St. Elmo’s Fire; 13.  Sunday Morning in the Afternoon 

Publicist:  The End Records PR

Review:  Manchester, England born Findlay is an artist that has been around the industry and back again.  Signed to a major label at the tender age of 17, she found the arrangement stifled her creativeness.  Consequently, she created her own label, Mint Records, which is distributed by BMG in the UK and Europe and by The End Records in the United States.  She has had success in the European music festival scene, while writing and putting together the 13 songs on her debut indie album.  She’s inspired by such diverse creative muses as David Lynch and Michael Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Working with such great producers as her accompanist Jules Apollinaire, as well as Jake Gosling, Samy Osta and Flood, she has assembled an album that takes you on a musical journey across time and space.  The best tracks include “Electric Bones,” “Waste my Time,” “Monomania,” “Stoned and Alone,” “Sunday in the Afternoon,” and “St. Elmo’s Fire,” on which she collaborated with Carl Barat of the Libertines.  In addition, her song “Off & On” was used by BMW on a recent international campaign.

Recommendation:  If your musical tastes include artists like Bjork, Beck, Tame Impala and The Velvet Underground, then this is definitely the album for you.  It will be released on March 3, and we recommend you go out and Get it.

 

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Allison Iraheta

Over the past few years, we have had the chance to see quite a few of our indie music friends take the national stage on American Idol and The Voice, including Brooke White, Tony Lucca, Katrina Parker, and Justin Hopkins, to name a few.  However, this is the first time that we have become friends with an artist who has gone indie after appearing on one of those shows.  Thanks to Patrick O’Heffernan for introducing us.

We had a delightful time interviewing Allison Iraheta, who appeared on season 8 of American Idol and was originally signed to Jive Records.  Many of her greatest achievements, though, have been accomplished after she became an indie artist.  Iraheta was the winner of the Best Pop/Rock Female Artist for the first half of 2016, primarily on the strength of her band’s single, “Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena).”  Iraheta and Halo Circus also finished second in the Fan Favorite category.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

AI:  Since I was six years old when I got my first gig at an opening for a department store.  I sang a ranchera song.  I was also a big fan of Selena, but unlike her, I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, and primarily spoke Spanish, being the child of Salvadorian parents.  We were surrounded by a true cultural mix of music.  I loved the emotion behind rancheras music, which in turn became the inspiration for our current music.  I recently turned 24.

IVB:   Who are your influences?

AI:  My first big influence was Linda Ronstadt, especially her album “Canciones de mi Padre.”  My dad also turned me on to Paul Williams.  Other artists that inspired me included Amy Winehouse, Roy Orbison, Brenda Lee, PJ Harvey, and Radiohead  This definitely led to our music being very diverse.  We didn’t have to be stuck with one sound but were able to show a myriad of colors.

IVB:   What made you decide to DIY?

AI:  I didn’t really have much of a choice.  As you know, I was signed to Jive Records just as the old music business began to fall apart.  There were lots of job upheavals and a change in the rules, affecting the whole industry.  I was actually dropped by Jive in the middle of my tour and found out about it via Twitter.  I was only 18, but decided to finish out the tour.  It was in shock, having gone from nothing to successful and then back again.  Once I got back from tour, I didn’t know where I was musically, and felt lost, not sure what to do anymore.  I did a few demos to make money and was very close to giving up on the industry.  I felt betrayed and injured and was not yet aware of the DIY side of the industry.  However, I don’t hold any resentments and am still friends with some of those same industry people.

I met Matthew (Hager) when I was doing a demo for a song he was pitching to Carrie Underwood.  We started writing together and I returned to my roots to find inspiration.  Everything we were doing sounded like it needed to be done by a band, which led to the formation of Halo Circus in 2013.  The support we have received is what has propelled us to where we are now, and new opportunities are happening all the time.  Everyone in the band is a veteran musician.  Matthew was a No. 1 Billboard multi-platinum producer who crossed multiple genres working with the likes of Duran Duran, Scott Weiland, Mindi Abair, and Mandy Moore.  Brian Stead was and is a relentless guitar aficionado who evokes energy and charisma.  In addition to being an accomplished Cantonese and orchestral drummer, Veronica Bellino worked with Jeff Beck and DMC of Run DMC before leaving Halo Circus.  She was replaced by Stead’s friend, Matteo Eyia.  

Magic happens in this band.  It happened when we were writing, when we were recording, and when we were failing.  The only thing that mattered was keeping it honest and getting it right, whatever that meant. We may be inconvenient, but we continue to attract believers.

IVB:  Do you want to go back to being a mainstream artist?

AI:  There is a balance to moving on from the previous level of exposure to the creative freedom we have now.  We believe we can return to that level, but on our own terms.  We are doing it through the back channel and believe that is a better way for us to return.  We love what is happening in the indie scene.

Last February, we shocked the music industry when we announced in Billboard Magazine that we would be embarking on the first fully crowd-sourced American tour ever to be attempted on such a large scale.  With the help of our fans and Road Nation, the program that allowed this format, we reached full funding just nine weeks later, and confirmed a tour of 30 cities.

IVB:  What are your future plans? 

AI:  We are definitely going back on tour in the not too distant future.  We would love to revisit some of the places where we played on our last tour.  We have some new stuff on the horizon and are so proud of those who have supported us from the beginning.  There will be surprises and thank you’s and fun stuff for everyone.

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

AI.  During the tour we were scheduled to play a show in Orlando during Hurricane Matthew.  We played the show despite the weather.  When we got to the venue under very gray clouds, there were about 30 of our fans waiting for us with signs proclaiming “End of the World” show.  We lost our AirBnB reservation for the night due to the storm, and had no place to stay after the show.  Consequently, we started heading out of Orlando, but couldn’t find anyplace open that had gas or water.  We did finally find some gas, and just kept driving until we found a hotel where we could stay.  It was a scary time and we saw cars driving on the wrong side of the road, trying to get away from the storm.

IVB:  What is the significance of the rabbit?

AI:  It represented humans for me during the writing of our first album Bunny.  I seemed to notice them everywhere.  The totem for bunny meant prey, with their fluffy tails for hawks to see, but they are also very cute, adorable and fast.  I came to the conclusion that the prettier you are, the more different you are, the more likely you are to become prey.

IVB:  What social media do you use?

AI:  I have a Facebook page with a link to the band’s website.  I also use Twitter and Instagram, and of course we have a channel on YouTube, all of which our fans can subscribe to or follow.

Monday Mashup 2017: Vol 5

Wow – five weeks into 2017, and indie artists are really making noise.  Milck, an artist we introduced you to back on September 21, 2015, is truly blowing up!!!  In the past seven days, her official music video for “Quiet” has gone from just over 142,000 views to more than 400,000.  She has been featured in Billboard, Allure, ET Online, Twitter and Facebook, and made several appearances on national TV, including her appearance on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.  The YouTube video of that appearance has already drawn more than 75,000 views in less than three days.  We are so proud of you Connie Lim aka Milck.  Thank you for having the courage to bring your message of hope in a time of increased insanity.  We are proud to support you!!!  We are also proud of her PR effort, spearheaded by the Big Kahuna herself – Go Laura and Red Boot PR as you champion another worthy indie cause!!!!

KEATON SIMONS JOINS WITH BACKBONE POSSE

LA Music Critic Icon Keaton Simons has been busy, but not in the typical way.  Always a firm believer in collaboration, Simons has lent his talents to the Backbone Posse on their new music video for “Supawaz Gaz,” which also features the talents of Slimkid3 and Adam Vadel.  Please be warned this video is NSFW or young kids.  Enjoy.

GRAMMY NOMINEE PERFORMS AT THE TROUBADOUR

Indie artist Janiva Magness, nominated for Best Blues Album for Love Wins Again, is having a birthday today.  She recently performed before a packed house at the world famous Troubadour in Los Angeles, and posted several videos of her live performance.  Please enjoy this one and make sure to send her best wishes.

NEW MUSIC VIDEO

We are proud to spotlight this incredible new indie video.  Watch for us to review her new release soon.  Please give it up for Emily Zuzik from Los Angeles with the amazing release of “Alone,” which has garnered more than 25,000 views in the past four days.  We think this one is a definite keeper!!!

We look forward to chatting with you again next month.  Have a great week!

Monday mashup 2017, vol 4

OMG what a weekend.  Were you as impressed with the million woman march as I was?  So many indie artists participated in the marches across the globe, but none of them had the impact of one young woman from Los Angeles.  Connie Lim, aka MilCk, has written an anthem that has become the voice of the Women’s March.  Her music video, which was released just one week ago, already has almost 142,000 views.  Check it out and see why this song has struck such a chord with people across the globe.  #ICANTKEEPQUIET.

NAMM ONCE AGAIN A SUCCESS

If you’re like me, then your Facebook was blowing up all weekend.  So many friends performing at NAMM, running into old friends at NAMM, running into new friends at NAMM, and witnessing those wonderful NAMM moments.  My long-time friend Tim Moyer, who helps schedule, host and maintain the nightly musical entertainment at the Marriott and Hilton Hotels during NAMM posted a video by a friend that captured one of those moments.  Check it out. Thanks to Marcy Kraft for the video.  Thanks to Rolling Stone for spreading the word.

THE SHOW PONIES CELEBRATE THEIR NEW CD

Tonight’s the night when The Show Ponies and special guest Freddy & Francine celebrate the release of the new album by the Ponies, How it All Goes Down.   Tonight’s show is at the world-famous Troubadour in West Hollywood.  If you are in LA, we highly advise you to get down there and enjoy the show.  Here’s the link for tickets.

SHANNON HURLEY ANNOUNCES NEW KICKSTARTER

Los Angeles Indie Music Queen Shannon Hurley announced this week that she has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund her fifth studio album.  She celebrated the moment by releasing a video of an acoustic version of her song “Number One,” which will be the first single released.  Check out the video and support indie music by contributing to the campaign.

Have a great week and we’ll catch you next Monday.  If you have anything coming up that you want to promote, please let us know.

 

 

Best Indie Albums of 2016 (an unbiased opinion)

Happy new year.  While you’re all chomping at the bit to find out who won the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2016, we thought we would give you our take on the best indie albums of 2016.  The list is in alphabetical order, as we could not rank them otherwise.  Each of these albums has been reviewed by Indie Voice Blog (except for one), so we are providing the link so you can check out the full review.  Here we go . . .

Camile Bloom – Pieces of Me

We have been fans of Bloom for many years, and her latest masterpiece is also one of her best ever.  You cannot go wrong in adding this one to your musical collection.

Chely Wright – I am the Rain

This is the one album we have not previously reviewed.  Wright was a huge country star 20 years ago when she was signed to MCA Nashville.  I discovered her talent in the late 90’s when she and another “unknown,” Kenny Chesney, opened a show for Confederate Railroad at the Date Festival in Indio, California.  Since MCA stupidly dropped her, Wright has continued making music, as well as being the first country artist to come out.  We were privileged to have been a supporter of her crowd-funding campaign for this album, which is one of her most intimate and profound projects to date.  Needless to say that most people will be deeply touched by the music on this album, and we highly recommend it to all our readers.

The Congress – The Game

Thanks to our friendship with the Big Kahuna, Laura Goldfarb, of Red Boot PR, we discovered this gem in September.  It has all the right elements to propel this band into the spotlight.  Grab it while you can.

Daddy Issues – Handle It

This band took us by storm after Jennifer Allison introduced them to us.  They are gorgeous and even more talented, and are taking the rock world by the sheer force of their music.  This is a band that will only get better as they mature.  Check them out now – you won’t be sorry.

Earwig –  Pause for the Jets

We must admit, what first caught our attention about this band was their collaboration with Lydia Loveless on “Wasted on You.”  However, once we had a chance to hear their CD, we were equally impressed by them.  We think you’ll be hearing about them for years to come.  Thanks to Michelle King for introducing them to us.

Janey Street – My Side of Paradise

Janey Street has been writing great songs for as long as Janice Ian, but has remained relatively obscure, until now.  Her latest on Blue Élan Records is amazing, and truly deserving of recognition and industry attention.  Definitely add this one to your collection.

Sharif – Tangled Dreams and Empty Bottles

Sharif is another artist we have followed for years while we were in Los Angeles.  He has since returned to college for his Masters degree in music.  While there he discovered Middle Eastern music, and incorporated it into his style as part of his thesis.  The resulting album is by far one of his best.  Check it out and we think you’ll agree.

Sonia Rao – Meet Them at the Door

Another artist who reached out to her fans for crowd-funding help, Sonia Rao is just becoming known outside of the indie music scene.  Her recent tour in support of this album was a rousing success.  Take a listen to these tunes and we think you’ll understand why.

The Spider Accomplice – Los Angeles:  The Abduction

We have followed the work of VK Lynne, lead singer for The Spider Accomplice through her journey from singer-songwriter, country, pop, rock, and metal to her rightful place as the voice of indie music.  This EP is the second in their Los Angeles trilogy, and solidifies their place as one of the premiere indie rock bands in the world.

Spiritual Rez – Setting in the West

We at Indie Voice Blog have always been fans of reggae music, and no one did it better in 2016 than Spiritual Rez.  Not only are their tunes impossible to sit still through, they have also incorporated and featured other amazing artists into their groove, including Daddy B of Dirty Heads, HIRIE and Billy Kottage of Reel Big Fish.  In addition, their music videos are ‘off the hook’ wicked.  Thanks again to Laura Goldfarb for introducing them to us.

Looking forward to revealing the LA Music Critic Award winners on January 17.

Monday Mash-up 2017, Vol. 1

Happy new year – so glad you made it through 2016.  Here’s hoping that 2017 will be your best year yet.  If you believe in the power of indie music, it should be a great one 🙂

LA Music Critic Awards

The nominations for the second half of 2016 for the LA Music Critic Awards were announced last week.  Already almost 300 people have voted on their Fan Favorite or suggested nominees for the Icon Award.  There’s still time to vote.  Simply click here to review the nominations, go to the bottom of the article and add a comment about your favorite artist.  The winners will be announced on January 17.

K-Syran to perform first American show

European dance-pop artist K-Syran will perform her first show in the United States this year.  The event is scheduled for Monday, January 9 at the world-famous Los Angeles venue, The Mint.  The show is one of the monthly events for local promoter Hunnypot.  K-Syran will perform at 8:45pm.   The Mint is located at 6010 West Pico Boulevard.

2016 Best Of Lists

You’ve probably seen them everywhere by now, this penchance for always making a “Best of” list for every category every year.  What’s been nice about this year’s music “Best of” lists is how many indie artists are being included among their mainstream peers.  It’s a good sign that indie music is finally making it on to the radar of the general public.  Congratulations to all the indie artists that have made these lists, including The Spider Accomplice, Jerad Finck and Janiva Magness, who by the way is up for a GRAMMY.  Keep spreading the message of indie music until we conquer the world!

Have a wonderful day and we’ll be back soon with more reviews and news.

Nominations for LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2016 announced

Wow – what a year 2016 has been for indie music.  So much great music has come out that it has been a painstakingly hard effort to sort through it all and bring you our nominees for the LA Music Critic Awards for the second half of 2016.

Remember – you the fans get to nominate your favorite artists for the Fan Favorite award, and your comments and feedback are considered by our panel when we decide who will be the winners.  So comment below, share this article with your friends, and let’s break 1000 comments.

You can also help us by nominating people who have either had a long indie career or have helped indie artists by nominating them for the Icon Award.

We look forward to your thoughts on our nominations, but above all, remember to support indie music.  It is the best music around.  Without further ado, here are the nominations for the second half of 2016:

Best EP Female: Katie Costello (From the Vault), Amie Miriello (Seeya When I Seeya), Gina Sicilia (Sunset Avenue)

Best EP Male:  McDougall (Reaching for Some Light), Year of Suns (Songs for Silence)

Best EP Band:  Stereo Off (EP III), The Spider Accomplice (LA:  The Abduction), JERK (Jerk)

Best CD Female:  Camille Bloom (Pieces of Me), Lauren Adams (Somewhere Else), Sonia Rao (Meet Them at the Door), Janey Street (Janey Street), Cindy Alexander (Deep Waters), Kari Kimmel (Poppyfields)

Best CD Male:  Sharif (Tangled Dreams and Empty Bottles), Bobbo Byrnes (Motel Americana), Patrick Joseph (Hindsight), Josh Farrow (Trouble Walks With Me), Michael Hornbuckle (Soul Repo)

Best CD Band: Streets of Laredo (Wild), Spiritual Rez (Setting in the West), The Congress (The Game), Spelling Reform (No One’s Ever Changed), Daddy Issues (Handle It)

Best Christmas Single:  Shannon Hurley ft. Brandon Schott (“Fairytale of New York”), Cindy Alexander (“Christmas Song”), Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”), Kaylee Keller (“Christmas in Your Arms”)

Best Video (Holiday):  Katie Garibaldi (“Tomorrow is Christmas Morning”), Redhead Express (“Away in a Manger”),  Frank Shiner (“Please Come Home for Christmas”)

Best Video (cover):  No Small Children (“Ghostbusters”), Redhead Express (“Chocolate on my Tongue”), Redhead Express (“Clean”)

Best Video (live):  Patrick Joseph (“Piece of Your Love”), India Carney (“You”), Mitch Hayes (“All Fall Down”), The Congress (“Oh Babe”)

Best Video (lyric):  Jess Penner (“Together”), War and Pierce (“On and On”), Mikey Wax (“Helium”)

Best Video (official) Female:   Lucy Woodward (“Live Live Live”), Alexis Keegan (“Empty Heart”), Camille Bloom (“Pieces of Me”), Caitlin Eadie (“Don’t Want to Be”), Alyssa Jacey (“I Want it to Rain”), Shannon Hurley (“Heartbeat on the Radio”), Katie Garibaldi (“Delightful”)

Best Video (official) Male:   Jon Mullane (“Born Beautiful”), Dan Franklin (“Live to Dream Again”), Brian Travis (“Shipwreck”)

Best Video (official) Band:   The Spider Accomplice (“You Still Lie”), The Show Ponies (“The Time it Takes”), Spiritual Rez ft. Hirie (“Together Always”), The Congress (“Home Again”), Roots of Creation (“Struggle”), Sleep Machine (“Animal High”)

Best Video (Collaboration):  Earwig and Lydia Loveless (“Wasted on You”)

Best Rock Band:  The Spider Accomplice, Daddy Issues, Pollen Rx, Sleep Machine

Best Pop Band:  Lovers and Poets, Foxtraxx, The Congress, Ray and Remora, No Nets

Best Country/Americana Band:  Elouise Deep Water, The Show Ponies, Riddle and the Stars, Honey County

Best Pop/Rock Male Artist: Patrick Joseph, Year of Suns, McDougall, Mikey Wax

Best Pop/Rock Female Artist:  Jess Penner, Katie Costello, Cindy Alexander, Janey Street, Camille Bloom

Best Blues Artist:  Peach & the Almost Blues Band, The King Brothers, Papermoon Gypsys, Michael Hornbuckle

Best Country/Americana Artist:  Alice Wallace, Lauren Adams, Brian Travis, Katie Garibaldi, Mitch Hayes

Best Jazz Artist:  Lucy Woodward, Nancy Sanchez

Best Reggae Band:  Roots of Creation, Spiritual Rez

Rising Star:  Juliana Wilson, Meresha, Kaylee Keller, Rachel Brett

Fan Favorite:  (To be nominated by  the fans)

Icon Award:  (To be announced)

 

 

Get it or forget it: Imaginary Friends, AJ Hobbs, Andrea Hamilton

As 2016 draws to a close, we have one last Get it or Forget it to bring you.  We’ve reviewed a lot of great music this year and can hardly wait to see how 2017 turns out.  Watch out of the LA Music Critic Award nominations for the second half of 2016, which will be announced soon.

Artist NameImaginary Friends

Album Name Falling Inward

Label:  None

Genre:  Indie Folk Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Spirits of Ballona; 2.  On my way to Nowhere; 3.  Shades of Fire; 4.  Don’t You; 5.  I Wanna be There; 6.  Heaven Knows; 7.  Karma Doesn’t Sleep; 8.  Keep Hope Alive; 9.  Never-Ending Nights; 10.  Forever and a Day; 11.  Generations 

Publicist:  None

Review:  Imaginary Friends is a musical collaboration featuring Stacy Robin, Donna Rawlins, David James and Tom McCauley, as well as special guest musicians.  This time around, those guests include Michael Yorky, Barrie Berg, Angie Taylor, Chris Garcia and Ed Gould.   From the first percussive beat of “Spirits of Ballona,” it becomes quickly evident that this is going to be a great record.  Add in those seamless harmonies of Robin and Rawlins, coupled with the backing vocals of James and McCauley, and Falling Inward becomes a must-have for every serious audiophile.  The perfection continues with “On my way to Nowhere,” a dreamy song that brings memories of CSNY. which is followed by the equally wonderful “Shades of Fire.”  The indie rock sound finally manifests itself in track 4’s delightful “Don’t You.”  The band even does a beautiful cover of Cindy Alexander’s “Heaven Knows” that truly captures her spirit and attitude.  James knocks it out of the park when he takes over lead vocals on “Karma Doesn’t Sleep,” before Robins returns with her mystical sound on “Keep Hope Alive.”  The album concludes with an amazing instrumental by McCauley.  Overall, every song is worthy of attention and will provide thoughtful insight into things we can do to make this a better world.  Thank  you Imaginary Friends.  You are true friends to the world.

Recommendation:  Run, don’t walk to your computer and pre-order this CD, which will be released in January 2017.  You simply must Get it.

Artist NameAJ Hobbs

Album NameToo Much is Never Enough

Label:  Booker Records

Genre:  Country

Track Listing:  1.  Too Much is Never Enough; 2.  Life Without You; 3.  The Loser; 4.  The Bottle let me Down; 5.  Daddy Loved the Lord; 6.  Eastside; 7.  Shit Just got Real; 8.  Are you Going to Tennessee?; 9.  A Whole lot of You and Me; 10.  Take it Slow; 11.  Waylon & Merle; 12.  Tomorrow I’ll be Hurtin’ 

Publicist:  KG Music Press

Review:   There has been a lot of chatter these past few years from old time country fans who want more of that old style country music.  If this describes you, then your ship has come in.  AJ Hobbs has a style that mixes in equal parts Travis Tritt, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, which seems appropriate since the album was mastered by Grammy winner Pete Lyman, who has worked with this year’s Grammy nominee Sturgill Simpson, as well as Jason Isbell.   Hobbs even has that “country outlaw” look, with his hat, denim shirt and two-day beard.  He has also surrounded himself with some of the best musicians in country music today, including Storm Rhode IV, Jeremy Long, John Schreffler, Jr., Aubrey Richmond, Matt Lesser, Jim Doyle, Brian Whelan and Jeremy Long.  But the important fact is that Hobbs can sing country music like he belongs on the radio.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him amongst the nominees for next year’s Grammies.  He even gives a loving tribute to Haggard with an excellent cover of “The Bottle let me Down.”  This is a great album from start to finish, with “Life Without You” being our pick for the best cut.

Recommendation:  This album is scheduled for release on February 17, 2017, and we HIGHLY recommend you pre-order it to ensure you Get it before it becomes scarce.  We highly recommend Hobbs and expect to see more great things from  him in the future.

Artist NameAndrea Hamilton

Album NameHope and Struggle

Label:  None

Genre:  Hopeful Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Am I Dreaming; 2.  Finally Free; 3.  Our Love; 4.  Carry Me; 5.  Higher; 6.  Fevertown; 7.  An Easy Life; 8.  Love you Better; 9.  Meant to be; 10.  Colors; 11.  You Bring to Mind; 12.  Shadow Dancer 

Publicist:  None

Review:  The angelic voice of Andrea Hamilton, coupled with the insane production work of Kevin Penner, give Hope and Struggle life and instantly make it one of the best albums that will be released in 2017.  It’s hard to believe that Hope is Hamilton’s seventh album, and yet she is still a relatively unknown indie artist.  Although she has had some success in the pop world with co-writes with award winning songwriters and producers like Kevin Fisher, Ashley Argotta, Matt Arcaini, Jonathan Lee, Eman Cervantez and Tyrone Wells, Hamilton has not reached household name status like Kari Kimmel. This should not be true.  Hamilton’s voice alone, as well as the incredible songs on Hope, demand a larger audience and we think this album may just finally introduce Hamilton’s greatness to the world at large.  Every song grabs you with its musicality, while the thoughtful and heartfelt lyrics soar on Hamilton’s vocals, giving you hope in the midst of your daily struggles.  This album belongs on stations like KLoVE and Air One, as well as on other mainstream stations.  We especially like “Am I Dreaming,” “Carry On,” “Higher” and “Meant to Be.”

Recommendation:  Although the album is not out until February 1, 2017, we think this one is truly worthy.  We strongly advise you to pre-order it so you can listen sooner.  Go out and Get it.