Tag Archives: LA Music Critic Awards

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 35

Well, we survived a fire in the apartment two doors down yesterday that totally destroyed it and caused damage to two other apartments.  Mucho thanks to the Fire Department for getting it out and limiting the damage.

Planning on heading down to Oklahoma next week to see my brother who just returned from a year in Iraq.  Looking forward to the beautiful trip through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas on my way to Lawton, Oklahoma.  When I get back I’ll be heading out on tour with Jerad Finck for three weeks.  Our first show is October 16 in Shoreline, Washington, where we will share the stage with Polly O’Keary & the Rhythm Method, winners of the Best Blues Band from the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017.  We currently have shows scheduled in Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Murrieta, San Diego and Missoula, and hope to add a few more along the way.

KELLY McGRATH TO TOUR UK AND EUROPE

Fresh off the release of her new video for “All That I Want,” Nashville’s own Kelly McGrath has signed with U Management and will be embarking on a tour of UK and Europe during October and November.  For more details, subscribe to her email list by visiting her Facebook page to sign up.  She’s doing a music video release/farewell show in Nashville on September 28 at The Family Wash.  Don’t miss your chance to see her before she leaves on tour.

NEW SINGLES

Here’s the latest single, “Secret Crush,” from Bay Area electropop band PARENTZ.  It has a great vibe that’s perfect for your Monday morning.  Please let us know what you think.

Speaking of great vibes, check out “Right Now,” the stunning new single from Becca Richardson.  We simply love her voice and this single, and can’t wait until she releases her album.  We’ll be reviewing it for sure.

For something totally different, check out “Final Step” from Jason Crosby.  It has a very strong Grateful Dead vibe that should strike a chord with those who love classic rock ballads.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

Our first new video this week continues in the mellow vein of the preceding artist.  Brandon  Bonine brings us a simple request:  “Remember my Name.”  We love the guitar and the sentiment.  This is his debut single – please let us know what you think.

Mellow seems to be the mood of the day.  Please check out the deep bass vocals of The New Faith in their video for “Fritter Away.”  The musical accompaniment is amazing and the videography is superb.  What do you think?

We close out this week with the first official video from Boomerang, the new album from Blue Élan artist Chelsea Williams.  This one is guaranteed to get your Monday off to a great start.  Please enjoy “Lonely Girl,” an Americana instant classic!

 

2017 Flathead Lake Blues Festival (day 2) – live performance review

Hope you enjoyed our reviews of day 1 of the Flathead Lake Blues and Music Festival, which featured some of Montana’a best musicians.  The theme for day 2 was “Ladies of the Blues,” and Steve Pickel pulled out all the stops to bring four of the finest and brightest to light up the stage.

First up was Missoula native Andrea Harsell with her new band, Luna Roja.  Harsell has become a Missoula icon with her sound, primarily as a solo artist.  She began hiring drummer Antonio Alvarez and guitarist Nick Hamburg for her gigs, and then asked them to join her as a band.  They hired bassist Michael Rhead to complete the band, and Alvarez came up with the name Luna Roja (Red Moon) because of his Spanish heritage.  They also recorded an album, which will be celebrated with a show at the Top Hat on September 15.  The album will also be reviewed shortly on this blog’s Get it or Forget it series.  Their sound is a mixture of Americana, rock, R&B and blues.  Harsell has a voice akin to Janis Joplin, and it showed on many of their songs, including new tunes “Oh Boy” and “Hard Times,” as well as on their cover of the Sam Cook classic “Bring it on Home to Me.”  The only thing missing was the stage banter, but we are sure that will come as they continue to grow as a band.

Next up was the power-packed sound of Seattle’s Michelle Taylor Band.  If Harsell had the sound of Joplin, then Taylor is the reincarnation.  With her band composed of Robert Morrill on drums, Lissa Ramaglia on bass, Jim Barnes on keys and vocals and her husband, Justin Dean on guitar and vocals, the MTB truly brought the blues home to Polson.  With a mixture of original tunes like “Black Lace” and “Trashy Queen,” and pop hits like Duffy’s “Mercy,” Elle King’s “Exes and Ohs,” Grace Potter’s “Paris” and “Medicine,” Bonnie Raitt’s “Angel From Montgomery,” Tracy Chapman’s “Give me a Reason,” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious,” MTB proved that any song can be stylized as blues.  But what really drove home their exceptional talent was their version of Ike and Tina Turner’s classic “Proud Mary,” which truly allowed Taylor to shine as both a singer and a performer, as she brought Tina’s unique energy to the show.  This performance was one of the pinnacles of the weekend.  Kudos also to both her husband and badass female bassist Ramaglia on their outstanding licks on guitar and bass.  The band also received the first encore of the Festival, and delivered a rousing version of Led Zeppelin’s “Been a Long Time” in response.

The third band for the day was Estelle and the Atomic Jive, who brought something entirely different to this day.  Atomic Jive is reminiscent of a combination of the Royal Crown Review and one of Brian Setzer’s various bands in that they bring an army of sound to the stage.  The band features Estelle on lead vocals, surrounding by the amazing talents of Mike Ruggles on guitar, Lee Cardella on bass, Brian Seagrave on keys, Bob Briley on drums and a horn section that is as powerful as the one from Tower of Power, composed of Russ Hoffer on sax and Mike Baker on trumpet.   Some of the highlights of the show were their version of the “Stray Cat Strut,” the classic jazz standard “Don’t Roll Your Bloodshot Eyes at Me,” Roy Head’s 1965 classic “Treat her Right,” and the theme from the Blues Brothers’ movies, “Peter Gunn.”  This was classic New Orleans jazz-tinged blues, and elevated the musical standard to a new level.

The final act for the weekend was another Seattle band, Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method.  We had the distinct pleasure of awarding them the Best Blues Band trophy for the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017.  O’Keary was totally taken by surprise, and the band joined in her gratitude for the award.  O’Keary is a red ball of energy, constantly dancing across the stage as she delivers true bad ass licks on her brand new wireless LedBelli Blackbird 6-string bass and vocals that stir the soul.  The band also includes the amazing David Miller on guitar and O’Keary’s husband, Tommy Cook, on drums.  The band performed primarily original material, many of which came from their latest album, Black Crow Callin.‘  Included in their amazing performance were “I Don’t Understand,” “Yours to Lose,” “Red Light,” “Wish You Could See me Now,” “Reconciled,” and “How the Mighty Fall,” which reminded this reviewer of “Mustang Sally.”   They also did a stirring rendition of Eric Bibb’s classic “In my Father’s House.”  Cook laid the perfect foundation on his drums, while Miller proved to be a true guitar aficionado, even playing the guitar behind his head at one point.  The band brought their set and the Festival to a close with an amazing encore with Michelle Taylor and Justin Dean of ZZ Top’s “Tush.”  It was the perfect cherry on top of a super delicious weekend of music.  Special thanks to Steve Pickel and Anderson Broadcasting for bringing these amazing artists to us.  We can hardly wait for next year!!!

 

Get it or forget it – My Girl My Whiskey & Me, Marina V, John Brownlow, MUTTS

Getting closer to that weekend, so we’re bringing you more great artists to get you ready.  We are pleased to present these four to you, which include multiple LA Music Critic Award winner Marina V.  We hope you enjoy the music and will continue to support indie acts.

Artist NameMy Girl My Whiskey & Me

Album NameIn the Ground

Label:  Other Southern

Genre:  Progressive Bluegrass/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  When I Die; 2.  Olive Branch Silhouette; 3.  Last Night I Dreamt I was a Ghost; 4.  Carolina Reel; 5.  Eye; 6.  Lucy; 7.  Cake & Wine; 8.  In the Ground; 9.  Petrichor; 10.  Last Night I Dreamt I was a Ghost (reprise)

Publicist:  None

Review:  Florida natives George William Beardsworth and Kelly Colyer form the nucleus of MGMWAM, a truly progressive Americana band that includes elements of Depression era bluegrass with the more progressive sounds of bands like The Punch Brothers, The Decemberists and The Civil Wars to create a wholesome family-friendly. sound that should appeal to most listeners.  They have embarked on a one-year tour of all 50 states, and we hope that they can accomplish their mission.  If this debut release is any indication, they will be selling out venues before the tour is done.   Their diversity is best shown in the songs “Last Night I Dreamt I was a Ghost” (with the amazing harmonies of Beardsworth and Colyer), “Carolina Reel” (showing off the amazing mandolin chops of Beardsworth, “Eye” (with its perfect marriage of mandolin and violin), current single “Lucy” and “Cake & Wine” (which feels like it would fit perfectly in the soundtrack of O Brother Where art Thou?  All in all, this is one of our favorite bluegrass albums to review, and a necessary addition to our library.

Recommendation:  We highly recommend this amazing CD.  Get. It. Now.

Artist NameMarina V

Album NameBorn to the Stars

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Soft Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Born to the Stars; 2.  I am Iron; 3.  Be my Light; 4.  Together Alone; 5.  Fire in the Sky; 6.  Beautiful Forever; 7.  Good; 8.  Bring it On; 9.  Autumn Song; 10.  Imagine

Publicist:  None

Review:  We have been fans of Marina V almost since she first set foot in California from her native Moscow, and have enjoyed watching her career and influence rise within the world-wide music community.  With the arrival of her new album Born to the Stars, she has brought us her best effort to date, and which has already spawned an LA Music Critic Award for the video to the title track.  Anyone who has seen her perform live knows that she always brings light into the room, and songs like “I am Iron” exemplify that fact.  It is an inspirational song that should find easy placement in television or film.  Other songs that stand out include “Together Alone” (with its amazing string background), “Fire in the Sky,” “Beautiful Forever” (with its simple guitar and vocals), and her cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” one of the best homages to this song we have ever heard.  Truth be told, there is not a weak song on the album, and we believe it will appeal to most, if not all, music aficionados.

Recommendation:  This is one of the best indie music albums we have reviewed this year.  We strongly urge you to Get it and support this artist.  If you live anywhere near where her tour takes her, you would be remiss not to attend.

Artist NameJohn Brownlow

Album Name The Summertime

Label:  Chromopop

Genre:  Britpop

Track Listing:  1.  Burn Hollywood Burn; 2.  Live Forever; 3.  Asteroids; 4.  Government Work; 5.  God Willing (and the Creek Don’t Rise); 6.  Already Gone; 7.  Baby got a Gun; 8.  Don’t Walk Away; 9.  Get yr Groove On; 10.  Gonna Have to let you Down; 11.  Let the Feeling Go; 12.  Man in the Mirror; 13.  On my Way; 14.  Bullet to the Head; 15.  Kingdom Come; 16.  Occupy my Heart; 17.  Rip it Up; 18.  You Slipped Through my Fingers; 19.  Shame the Devil; 20.  Sunshine on the Radio; 21.  Where my Mind Goes; 22.  Radiation; 23.  Let’s not and say we Did; 24.  The Pink Raincoat; 25.  Shalala Says I Love You; 26.  Where Does Love Go; 27.  Storm Coming; 28.  One Fine Day; 29.  Song for the Ferryman

Publicist:  Last Tango Productions

Review:  Veteran Hollywood screenwriter and former music journalist John Brownlow brings new life to the Britpop sound with his debut double album containing 29 original songs.  He wastes no time with the upbeat rocking “Burn Hollywood Burn” and proceeds to give us a dynamic musical journey with a colorful narrative that lasts through all 29 songs, almost two hours of non-stop entertainment.  This double album should be listened to several times in order to absorb all that Brownlow has to offer.  His songs have great lyrical content as well as incredible musical accompaniment that will keep his listeners engaged and coming back for more.  There is so much to this album, but we really like “Asteroids” (with its jazzy guitar), “Government Work” and “Baby Got a Gun (for their rockabilly/surf rock feel), “God Willing” (for its 60’s sound reminiscent of the Monkees), “Already Gone” (for its Smoky Robinson soulful feel), “Gonna Have to let you Down” (for its dynamic bass line); and “Let the Feeling Go (for its overall laid-back and groovy beauty.  All in all this album will keep you company for a long time, so make sure you make time to enjoy it,

Recommendation:  Brit pop is alive and well and we’re so glad we discovered this amazing artist.  This one should be one of your “desert island picks.”  Don’t delay – Get it today.

Artist NameMUTTS

Album NameStick Together

Label:  8eat8 records

Genre:  Indie Rock

Track Listing:  1.  I’ll be Around; 2.  Neighbor; 3.  Let’s Go; 4.  Tin Foil Hat; 5.  Don’t Touch It

Publicist:  Perpetual Media Relations

Review:  Critics are already hailing this Chicago-based band as the successor to Tom Waits, and we tend to agree with their assessment.  The music would make the Blues Brothers proud, with its almost gospel choir feel and its feel-good musical accompaniment.  If you are a Cubs fan, you’re probably already familiar with the band, as their song, “Let’s Go” was used extensively by the club during last season’s World Series run.  This band has the power and the spunk to make a huge name for themselves.  Check out “Tin Foil Hat” as proof.  Don’t be surprised to see them continue to break down the walls that separate indie from mainstream.  We expect these guys will go far in this business, and set a precedent that will enable other great indie bands to also bust out.  As the Cubs (through MUTTS) like to say, “Let’s Go.”

Recommendation:  Be the first in line to Get this one when it is released on September 12.  Pre-order it now.

 

Get it or forget it – Riley Smith, The Grascals, Istanbul Hippodrome, Gabe Dixon

Welcome to September.  We have a special edition of Get it or Forget it, featuring the debut EP from one of our favorite actors, Riley Smith, star of Nashville and Frequency.  In addition, we have the latest from The Grascals, as well as LA Music Critic Award winner Gabe Dixon.  Have a wonderful Friday, and let’s get cracking.

Artist Name:   Riley Smith

Album Name:   Riley Smith

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Country/Pop /Rock

Track Listing:  1.  I’m on Fire; 2.  I Can’t Keep on Missing You; 3.  Break Somethin’; 4.  Mad Love; 5.  Selfish; 6.  Change of a Season

Publicist:   Chloe Robinson

Review:  With a soulful voice over country tinged pop music, Riley Smith bursts forth on the indie music scene with “I’m on Fire,” the first single off his latest EP.  Smith has the kind of sound that is truly radio ready and is perfect for both country and pop/rock formats.  He has chosen a strong group of songs that showcase his voice and bring out the best possible sound.  Every song on this EP is amazing, and worthy of repeated listens.  We are pleased to welcome Smith to the club of artists with amazing voices, including the entire cast of Nashville, Lukas Haas, Minnie Driver and others.

Recommendation:  You simply must add this one to your musical library.  We think that Smith will become a very important member of the exclusive club of actors that can sing.  Get it now!

Artist Name:  The Grascals

Album Name:  Before Breakfast

Label:  Mountain Home Music

Genre:  Bluegrass

Track Listing:  1.  Sleepin’ with the Reaper; 2.  Demons; 3.  Delia; 4.  I’ve Been Redeemed; 5.  Lonesome; 6.  Beer Tree; 7.  Pathway of Teardrops; 8.  Lynchburg Chicken Run; 9.  He Took Your Place; 10.  Lost and Lonesome; 11.  There is You; 12.  Clear Corn Liquid

Publicist:  So Much Moore Media

Review:   The Grascals have earned their reputation for quality bluegrass music by choosing the right songs and arrangements.  Since they were introduced by Rounder back in 2005, they have thrilled bluegrass fans around the world.  On this collection, they have chosen to cover some of the classic songwriters of bluegrass and country music, like Bill Anderson, Jon Randall, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Paul Overstreet and Tim Stafford, while also showing their skills at writing (“Lynchburg Chicken Run”).  Composed of John Bryan (guitar, clawhammer banjo and vocals), Terry Eldredge (guitar and vocals), Terry Smith (bass and vocals), Adam Haynes (fiddle), Danny Roberts (mandolin) and Kristin Scott Benson (banjo and guitar), this dynamic sextet take bluegrass to h\new heights, thrilling old fans and creating new ones.  The Grascals continue to set the bar high, and every song on Before Breakfast only strengthens their position as one of the premier bluegrass bands in the world.

Recommendation:   Lucky for you, this album is being released on September 1.  We strongly recommend that you Get it before it sells out.

Artist Name:  Istanbul Hippodrome

Album Name:  No Way Home

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Electronica/instrumental

Track Listing:  1,  Overlord; 2.  No Way Home; 3.  Servovar Vent; 4.  Diet of Worms

Publicist:  Neon Tetra

Review:   Istanbul Hippodrome is a British band with an entirely different sound.  Their music is not so much songs but soundscapes, with a cinematic sound you would expect from your favorite movie soundtrack.  Their music is eerie and ethereal, encompassing all your senses.  It is music that you feel even more than just hear, as the unique yet cohesive sounds envelop you from head to toe, transforming your environment and setting your mind free to wander through the vast possibilities set forth in the notes.  Their music is perfect for your solitude and meditation, when you want your thoughts to wander free.

Recommendation:  This unique blend of sounds and moods is a perfect addition to your musical library.  We recommend you pre-order it so that you will have it when it is released on September 8.

Artist Name:  Gabe Dixon

Album Name:  Live in Boston

Label:  BirnCORE

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Holding her Freedom; 2.  Crave; 3.  If I Love You; 4.  Flow Like Wine; 5.  Five More Hours; 6.  Last Fool; 7.  Find my Way; 8.  All Will be Well; 9.  Till You’re Gone

Publicist:  Berklee College of Music

Review:  This live album was recorded on the independent label of Berklee College of Music in Boston from a performance by Gabe Dixon, who is no stranger to indie music lovers.  Dixon won Best Single for “Crave” and Best Male Pop/Rock Artist in the 2016 LA Music Critic Awards, and has been nominated for Best CD (Male) and Best Video (Live).  We also reviewed his last album, Turns to Gold, and interviewed him after his LAMCA win.  In this stellar live performance, Dixon shows his major piano chops as he brings to life nine of his best songs.  He has that mastery of the ivory that was previously exhibited by the legendary Bruce Hornsby, as well as an uncanny ability to capture emotions in his songwriting.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend one of his live shows, then this is the next best thing to experience Dixon’s brilliance.  It is obvious even from this live album why he was chosen to appear on the Carson Daly show last year.  Although every song is amazing, we simply love his live arrangements of “Holding her Freedom,” Crave,” “Flow Like Wine,” and “Find my Way.”

Recommendation:  If you love great music, then this one must be included in your musical library.  We strongly suggest you pre-order it so that you will be among the first to have it when it is released on September 8.  You can find it here.

 

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 28

Getting ready to head out on the road this week to check out some indie artists.  Will be leaving on Wednesday for Casper, Wyoming (anything we should see there that day), before heading down to Colorado Springs on Thursday to catch LA Music Critic Award winner Gina Sicilia at The Gold Room.  On Friday it will be back to Billings, Montana for the Magic City Blues Festival and a performance by Anni Piper.  Then on Saturday we’re off for Victor, Montana to catch Melissa Forrette.  Gonna be a busy week!

INDIE NEWS

Our dear friend and faithful indie supporter Heather Jacks has a couple of events coming up.  First up is the premiere of the Stilettos for Shanghai documentary For Chechyna on August 7 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, which is a fundraiser for ORAM and Rainbow Railroad.  The second is the Project Nunway 8 Charity Fashion Drag Show on August 19 at SOMArts in San Francisco.  Please support these worthy events.

IPO (International Pop Overthrow) is coming back to Los Angeles.  Please support local indie artists like Patricia Bahia, who will be performing at Club Fais Do Do at 1:45 p.m. on August 4.

NEW MUSIC

CHVNGES is an amazing band with a new single, “Mischief Managed,” being released on Friday.  We love it and think you will too.  Check it out and let us know what you think.

Another band we covered last year, Junk Parlor, is releasing its single “Vultures and Weasels” on Sunday.  They have a very distinctive sound that we think you’ll like.

NEW  MUSIC VIDEOS

Our featured video this week comes from Denmark.  Straw is an amazingly talented family with a mom and two daughters who can truly sing.  This video rocks and we are proud to feature it today.  Expect great things from them as they expand their reach internationally.  We believe they would be an outstanding addition to the American music scene.  Special thanks to Doug Deutsch Publicity Services for sharing this treasure with us.

Los Angeles transplant Caitlin Eadie has recently released a new album, Balancing Act, as well as a music video for her current single “Wolf Cry.”  We think it is one of the best we’ve seen in a while, and think you’ll agree.

Last but not least this week is the new lyric video for “New Kids” by multiple LA Music Critic Award winner Jerad Finck.  He has been blowing up recently with both “New Kids” and “Criminal” charting nationally.  Enjoy this treasure.

 

Announcement of LA Music Critic Award winners for first half of 2017

Wow.  Color us impressed.  The article revealing the nominations for the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017 has set records for Indie Voice Blog.  During the past two weeks, the article alone generated 3,706 views in 36 different countries, who left a staggering 526 comments.  Overall, our blog has seen 4,523 total views during the same two week period.  We thank you for your support of indie music.  Without further ado, here are the winners for the first half of 2017.  The winner’s name is indicated in bold type.

BEST EP (Male) – Joe Goodkin (Record of Loss); Ed Prosek (Flesh and Blood Part 1); Ian Mahan (Rockford); Ray Goren (Free)

BEST EP (Female) – Meresha (Enter the Dreamland); Carrie Lane (California Freaks); Kris Angeles (Heartbreak is Contagious)

BEST EP (Group) – Gold Casio (Fever Dreams); Stereo Off (EP III); Echo Underground (Vows); Rococode (Young Ones); The Wild Now (Afterglow)

BEST CD (Male) – Chris Shifflett (West Coast Tour); Rod Melancon (Southern Gothic); David Ryan Harrris (Songs for Other People); AJ Hobbs (Too Much is Never Enough); Jared Tyler (Dirt on Your Hands)

BEST CD (Female)Janey Street (In my Own Skin); Wendy Sweetlove (Dirty Sunday); Sara Petite (The Road Less Traveled); Jennifer Vazquez (Rediscovering Me); Amilia K. Spicer (Wow and Flutter)

BEST CD (Group) – The American West (The Soot Will Bring us Back Again); Jeffrey Halford and the Healers (Lo-fi Dreams); King Washington (Potential); The Dream Eaters (We are a Curse); The Show Ponies (How it all Goes Down); Breaking Grass (Warning Signs)

BEST VIDEO (OFFICIAL) (Male) – Curtis Peoples (“Damage Control”); Dario (“Good Morning World”); Jared Tyler (“Dirt on Your Hands”); Rod Melancon (“Different Man”); Chris Shiflett (“Sticks and Stones”); Michael Hornbuckle (“Angel”)

BEST VIDEO (OFFICIAL) (Female) – MILCK (“Quiet”); Alice Wallace (“The Same Old Song”); Shannon Hurley (“Someday”); See (“Green Line Killer”); Marina V (“Born to the Stars”); Cindy Alexander (“Deep Waters”)

BEST VIDEO (OFFICIAL) (Group) – Backbone (“Supa Waz Guy”); The Wild Now (“Run for Your Life”); The Show Ponies (“Kalamazoo”); Halo Circus (“Band Aid”); King Washington (“My Reflection”)

BEST VIDEO (LIVE) – Jerad Finck (“Pieces of April”); The Spider Accomplice (“User”); Chelsea Williams (“Boomerang”); Gabe Dixon (Balcony TV) (“Holding Her Freedom”); Lucy and La Mer (Balcony TV) (“Honey, Put Your Weapons Down”)

BEST VIDEO (LYRIC)The Spider Accomplice (“Atmosphere”); Gerry Beckley (“Serious”); Jennifer Vazquez (“Rocked”); Jennifer Vazquez (“Worst Enemy”); Gigi Rich (“All in my Head”)

BEST VIDEO (COVER)Alexis Keegan (“When Doves Cry”/”Purple Rain”); The Daybreaks (“Nothing Compares 2 U”); Dave Yaden (“Humble”); Frank Shiner (“Rainy Night in Georgia”)

BEST VIDEO (COMEDY)Scout Durwood (“All the Pretty Bottles”); Scout Durwood (“Take One Thing Off”); Un5Gettable (“Honest Singing Telegrams – part 2”)

BEST VIDEO (COLLABORATION) – Curtis Peoples & Marie Digby (“Not Enough Drugs”); Frank and Lindsay Shiner (“When Something is Wrong With my Baby”); DJ Polique (ft. Snoop Dog, Follow Your Instinct and Jacob Luttrell) (“Dimes Only”)

BEST SINGLE (Male) – Curtis Peoples (“Damage Control”); Frank Shiner (“Rainy Night in Georgia”), Jerad Finck (“New Kids”)

BEST SINGLE (Female)Susan Calloway (“No Time for This”); Marina V (“Born to the Stars”), Kanisha K (“Bet on Me”); DANI Le Rose (“I’ve Told Lies”); Wendy Sweetlove (“Delilah”)

BEST SINGLE (Group) – Brit Royal (“Change”); Basement Revolver (“Tree Trunks”); FlecHaus (“What We’ve Got”); Breaking Grass (“Annie”); Birds and Arrows (“Stay Down”)

BEST COUNTRY ARTISTAlice Wallace, Jennifer Vazquez, Rod Melancon, AJ Hobbs, Warren Sellers, Tara Dente

BEST COUNTRY BAND – Calico the Band, Honey County

BEST BLUES ARTIST – Janiva Magness, Gina Sicilia

BEST BLUES BANDPolly O’Keary & the Rhythm Method, Papermoon Gypsys

BEST FUSION ARTIST/BAND – Mitre, Nancy Sanchez, San Miguel

BEST POP ARTIST – Shannon Hurley, David Ryan Harris, Wendy Sweetlove, Meresha, Ian Mahan

BEST POP BANDLovers and Poets, The Dream Eaters, The Wild Now, Rococode, Single by Sunday

BEST ROCK ARTISTJaney Street, Lizard McGee, Jack Spann

BEST ROCK BANDThe Spider Accomplice, Desert Culture, Husky, Hayride Casualties, Banditos

BEST R&B/SOUL ARTIST – Ray Goren, Derek Davis

BEST ROOTS/AMERICANA ARTISTAmilia K. Spicer, Sara Petite, Chris Shiflett, Jared Tyler, Pi Jacobs

BEST ROOTS/AMERICANA BANDThe Show Ponies, The American West, Imaginary Friends, Jeffrey Halford and the Healers

BEST BLUEGRASS BANDBreaking Grass

BEST JAZZ ARTIST – Dave Yaden, Irene Diaz

BEST REGGAE BANDRoots of Creation, 9 Mile Roots

BEST COMEDYScout Durwood, Jeff Simmermon, Un5Gettable

RISING STAR – Meresha, Jamey Geston, Bess, Kaylee Keller, Ray Goren

MOST SUPPORTIVE INDIE LABELBlue Élan Records

MEGHAN TRAINOR AWARD (Indie Artist Most Likely to Become a Household Name) – Jerad Finck

FAN FAVORITE – What a flurry of opinions for this year’s Fan Favorite artist.  In all 38 artists were nominated, but the focus seemed to be on five of them.  Honorable mention goes to Rod Melancon, Sara Petite, Breaking Grass, Pi Jacobs, Warren Sellers, The Spider Accomplice, Roots of Creation and DJ Polique, each of which garnered at least 10 votes.  When the smoke cleared, however, FlecHaus squeaked out a victory over Dario by only two votes, with Polly O’Keary and Janey Street tied for third and just six votes behind.  Wendy Sweetlove rounds out the Top Five vote getters.

Thanks again for all of your support of indie music.  Now it’s time to get back to reviewing the CDs submitted for the second  half of the year, along with live performance reviews and our weekly Monday Mashup column.

Monday mashup 2017: Vol 27

Happy Monday as we enter the final full week of July 2017.  It’s been extremely busy in the indie world, so we’ve got a few things to share with you this week.  Please keep supporting indie music.

LA MUSIC CRITIC AWARDS

Speaking of which, tomorrow is your last chance to vote for the Fan Favorite for the first half of 2017.  Among the current leaders are FlecHaus, Polly O’Keary, Janey Street, Wendy Sweetlove and Dario.  To vote just click on this link, scroll to the bottom and add your comment.  The winners will be announced on Thursday, July 27.

LIVE PERFORMANCES

Last week was filled with great indie performances, as we travelled to Stevensville to see The American West and Maita, to Darby for Melissa Forrette and Mabel’s Rage, and to Spokane for Chris Chilton and Jerad Finck.  The American West review is up, and the rest will be published shortly.

This week Melissa is performing twice (The Ranch Club on Wednesday and at Highlander Brewery on Saturday, both in Missoula), while Shakewell will be performing at Missoula’s Downtown Tonight on Thursday.  The biggest event, though, will be Missoula’s annual Celtic Festival on Saturday in Caras Park, which will feature several indie acts including Spokane’s Broken Whistle, The Gothard Sisters, RUNA and headliner, Young Dubliners.

KELLY McGRATH

Kelly McGrath moved to Nashville about two years ago, and her music has taken off since.  Her last single, “You and Me Today,” debuted at #1 on CMT, and her next single,  “All That I Want,” looks to be even better.  Here’s a sneak peak of the new music video, debuting soon.

MUSIC VIDEOS

We’ve got a few great videos for you this week, and leading the pack is a past LA Music Critic Award winner, The Daybreaks.  It’s a highlight video from their recent CD Release Party in Nashville.  Check out our review of the album 🙂

Next up is one of our favorite artists on Blue Élan Records, and one of the hardest working Americana artists working today, Rod Melancon.  His past videos have been impressive, and his new one for “Dwayne and Me” will not disappoint.  Let us know what you think.

Last but not least this week is the latest from Amie Mirello, who has also found success after moving from Los Angeles to Nashville.  We are excited about this new direction for Mirello, and think you will be impressed as well.  Here’s her latest video for “Move Me.”

 

LA Music Critic Award nominations for first half of 2017

We are so proud to finally be able to present our nominations for the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017.  This year we wrote reviews on every CD/EP submitted for consideration, and we had nearly 100 submissions.  You can find those reviews on this blog under the tag “Get it or Forget it.”  We look forward to your comments on our nominations.

Here are the rules.  The public may only vote for the Fan Favorite award, and must do so by commenting on this article only – comments on social media posts will not count.  Any indie artist may be nominated (with the exception of past winners Papermoon Gypsys, Diane Rein, Zach Linley and Annette Conlon) and the winner will be the artist with the most votes.

The voting period will expire on July 25, with the winners in all categories announced on July 27.

We also encourage readers to comment on the other nominations, which will be considered by the awards panel members.  However, only the votes of the panel will determine who wins the award in all categories except Fan Favorite.

Speaking of the awards panel, thank you so much for all of your suggestions and help in compiling the nominations for this cycle.  The members are Jennifer Lyneis (Ue3 Promotions), Laura Goldfarb (Red Boot PR), Jennifer Allison (Jennifer Allison Publicity), Melissa Dragich-Cordero (MAD Ink PR), Doug Deutsch (Doug Deutsch Publicity Services), Michelle King (Noisy Ghost PR), Steve Belkin (Open All Nite Entertainment), Michelle Crispin (Music Supervisor), Kim Grant (KG Music Press), Patrick O’hefffernan (Musica LA), Heather Jacks (Author) and Rosine Avedissian Correa.

And here are the nominations:

BEST EP (Male) – Joe Goodkin (Record of Loss); Ed Prosek (Flesh and Blood Part 1); Ian Mahan (Rockford); Ray Goren (Free)

BEST EP (Female) – Meresha (Enter the Dreamland); Carrie Lane (California Freaks); Kris Angeles (Heartbreak is Contagious)

BEST EP (Group) – Gold Casio (Fever Dreams); Stereo Off (EP III); Echo Underground (Vows); Rococode (Young Ones); The Wild Now (Afterglow)

BEST CD (Male) – Chris Shifflett (West Coast Tour); Rod Melancon (Southern Gothic); David Ryan Harrris (Songs for Other People); AJ Hobbs (Too Much is Never Enough); Jared Tyler (Dirt on Your Hands)

BEST CD (Female) – Janey Street (In my Own Skin); Wendy Sweetlove (Dirty Sunday); Sara Petite (The Road Less Traveled); Jennifer Vazquez (Rediscovering Me); Amilia K. Spicer (Wow and Flutter)

BEST CD (Group) – The American West (The Soot Will Bring us Back Again); Jeffrey Halford and the Healers (Lo-fi Dreams); King Washington (Potential); The Dream Eaters (We are a Curse); The Show Ponies (How it all Goes Down); Breaking Grass (Warning Signs)

BEST VIDEO (OFFICIAL) (Male) – Curtis Peoples (“Damage Control”); Dario (“Good Morning World”); Jared Tyler (“Dirt on Your Hands”); Rod Melancon (“Different Man”); Chris Shiflett (“Sticks and Stones”); Michael Hornbuckle (“Angel”)

BEST VIDEO (OFFICIAL) (Female) – MILCK (“Quiet”); Alice Wallace (“The Same Old Song”); Shannon Hurley (“Someday”); See (“Green Line Killer”); Marina V (“Born to the Stars”); Cindy Alexander (“Deep Waters”)

BEST VIDEO (OFFICIAL) (Group) – Backbone (“Supa Waz Guy”); The Wild Now (“Run for Your Life”); The Show Ponies (“Kalamazoo”); Halo Circus (“Band Aid”); King Washington (“My Reflection”)

BEST VIDEO (LIVE) – Jerad Finck (“Pieces of April”); The Spider Accomplice (“User”); Chelsea Williams (“Boomerang”); Gabe Dixon (Balcony TV) (“Holding Her Freedom”); Lucy and La Mer (Balcony TV) (“Honey, Put Your Weapons Down”)

BEST VIDEO (LYRIC) – The Spider Accomplice (“Atmosphere”); Gerry Beckley (“Serious”); Jennifer Vazquez (“Rocked”); Jennifer Vazquez (“Worst Enemy”); Gigi Rich (“All in my Head”)

BEST VIDEO (COVER) – Alexis Keegan (“When Doves Cry”/”Purple Rain”); The Daybreaks (“Nothing Compares 2 U”); Dave Yaden (“Humble”); Frank Shiner (“Rainy Night in Georgia”)

BEST VIDEO (COMEDY) – Scout Durwood (“All the Pretty Bottles”); Scout Durwood (“Take One Thing Off”); Un5Gettable (“Honest Singing Telegrams – part 2”)

BEST VIDEO (COLLABORATION) – Curtis Peoples & Marie Digby (“Not Enough Drugs”); Frank and Lindsay Shiner (“When Something is Wrong With my Baby”); DJ Polique (ft. Snoop Dog, Follow Your Instinct and Jacob Luttrell) (“Dimes Only”)

BEST SINGLE (Male) – Curtis Peoples (“Damage Control”); Frank Shiner (“Rainy Night in Georgia”), Jerad Finck (“New Kids”)

BEST SINGLE (Female) – Susan Calloway (“No Time for This”); Marina V (“Born to the Stars”), Kanisha K (“Bet on Me”); DANI Le Rose (“I’ve Told Lies”); Wendy Sweetlove (“Delilah”)

BEST SINGLE (Group) – Brit Royal (“Change”); Basement Revolver (“Tree Trunks”); FlecHaus (“What We’ve Got”), Breaking Grass (“Annie”), Birds and Arrows (“Stay Down”)

BEST COUNTRY ARTIST – Alice Wallace, Jennifer Vazquez, Rod Melancon, AJ Hobbs, Warren Sellers, Tara Dente

BEST COUNTRY BAND – Calico the Band, Honey County

BEST BLUES ARTIST – Janiva Magness, Gina Sicilia

BEST BLUES BAND – Polly O’Keary & the Rhythm Method, Papermoon Gypsys

BEST FUSION ARTIST/BAND – Mitre, Nancy Sanchez, San Miguel

BEST POP ARTIST – Shannon Hurley, David Ryan Harris, Wendy Sweetlove, Meresha, Ian Mahan

BEST POP BAND – Lovers and Poets, The Dream Eaters, The Wild Now, Rococode, Single by Sunday

BEST ROCK ARTIST – Janey Street, Lizard McGee, Jack Spann

BEST ROCK BAND – The Spider Accomplice, Desert Culture, Husky, Hayride Casualties, Banditos

BEST R&B/SOUL ARTIST – Ray Goren, Derek Davis

BEST ROOTS/AMERICANA ARTIST – Amilia K. Spicer, Sara Petite, Chris Shiflett, Jared Tyler, Pi Jacobs

BEST ROOTS/AMERICANA BAND – The Show Ponies, The American West, Imaginary Friends, Jeffrey Halford and the Healers

BEST BLUEGRASS BAND – Breaking Grass

BEST JAZZ ARTIST – Dave Yaden, Irene Diaz

BEST REGGAE BAND – Roots of Creation, 9 Mile Roots

BEST COMEDY – Scout Durwood, Jeff Simmermon, Un5Gettable

RISING STAR – Meresha, Jamey Geston, Bess, Kaylee Keller, Ray Goren

FAN FAVORITE – open for nominations

Get it or forget it – Carrie Lane, Echo Underground, Breaking Grass

We discovered a few more June releases that were submitted recently, so we thought we’d get them reviewed before we announced the LA Music Critic Award nominations for the first half of 2017 on Tuesday.  We think you’ll like this eclectic group of indie musicians.

Artist NameCarrie Lane

Album NameCalifornia Freaks

Label:  FACTION Entertainment

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Florida Keys; 2.  Drowning; 3.  If I Can’t be with You; 4.  Think About It 

Publicist:  Total Assault

Review:  We discovered Carrie Lane when she was featured by Balcony TV, and we instantly took a liking to this young indie artist.  Now that her latest EP has been released, we have even more to love.  She has a sweet sound and a voice that rises above the music to connect with our auditory senses.  The four-song EP is simply too short, and we can’t wait until she releases a full length album.  This is the kind of music that deserves to be on the radio instead of the usual drivel.  Her songs are thoughtful while at the same time fun to listen and dance to.  We think that she’s gonna be on the music scene for quite a while.  Our favorite track is the one we heard on Balcony TV, “If I Can’t be with You.”

Recommendation:  We highly recommend you grab this one while you still can.  Stream it on Spotify and then purchase it from iTunes.

Artist NameEcho Underground

Album NameVows

Label:  Self released

Genre:  Indie Pop

Track Listing:  1.  Have a Little Faith in Love; 2.  Let it Linger; 3.  Fell for You; 4.  Vows; 5.  Find you Again 

Publicist:  None

Review:  Echo Underground is a side project of one of LA’s best rock bands, Sleep Machine.  Composed of vocalist Alisha Zalkin and guitarist/bassist Dan Kalisher, the project is named after Kalisher’s recording studio.  The EP is an acoustic throwback to the music that brought them together, and led to their recent marriage.  It is smartly written, with amazing guitar riffs and perfect harmonies between Zalkin and Kalisher.  It is the ultimate tribute to the power of love, and we adore them for sharing it with us.  Zalkin shines on the first track, while Kalisher shows his stuff on the third track.  It is a wonderful EP to listen to on repeat.

Recommendation: Get it now!  This one is a true keeper and will become one of your most treasured musical memories.

Artist NameBreaking Grass

Album NameWarning Signs

Label:  Mountain Fever Records

Genre:  Bluegrass

Track Listing:  1.  Cold Rain; 2.  Stay; 3.  Nobody Knows; 4.  Sweet Ava; 5.  Warning Signs; 6.  House of Cards; 7.  The One She Adored; 8.  Short Shorts; 9.  Annie; 10.  Taking and Giving; 11.  Waking up with You; 12.  Faith Moved a Mountain 

Publicist:  East Public Relations

Review:  Not since Nickel Creek have we been this excited about a harmony singing bluegrass band.  The young men who make up Breaking Grass include Cody Farrar on guitar and vocals; Britt Sheffield on bass and vocals; Jody Elmore on banjo and vocals; Zach Wooten on mandolin and Tyler White on fiddle.  They are making bluegrass music cool again.  I grew up in Southern Virginia, where I was surrounded by some of the bluegrass greats like Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, The Osborne Brothers and Roy Clark, and Breaking Grass belongs in the same class as these legends.  Their music is an homage to the grand history of bluegrass with a modern twist, and deserve all the accolades that will surely be given their music and talents.  The harmonies are pitch perfect, and the soothing sounds of the fiddle, banjo and mandolin create the perfect musical background for life.  Favorite tracks include “Nobody Knows,” “Sweet Ava,” the title track, “House of Cards,” “The One She Adored,” and “Annie.”

Recommendation:  If you love great music, then this is a no brainer – Definitely Get It!

 

 

HFF17 – see it or skip it (day 5) part 1

After two days of clearing out our storage unit, we hosted the LA Music Critic Awards winners showcase on the Second Stage at the world-famous Hotel Café on Tuesday night.  During that amazing night of indie music, we were treated to performances by Wendy Sweetlove, Elyse Haren, Jon Mullane, Janey Street, Jerad Finck, Lovers & Poets, Katie Costello, The Spider Accomplice and Papermoon Gypsys.   In addition, Janey Street was awarded the 2017 Icon Award.  Kudos to her team at Blue Élan Records, who showed up in force, led by label owner Kirk Pasich, label-mate Cindy Alexander and their publicist, Melissa Dragich-Cordero of MAD Ink PR.  Other notables in attendance included Alexis Keagan, Aleksey Zharinov of Sika, Kris Angelis, Alisha Zalkin and Dan Kalisher of Sleep Machine, Jennifer Lyneis of Ue3 Promotions and Patrick O’Hefferan of LA Musica Radio.  Thanks to everyone who attended.

Moving on to Wednesday, it was time to get fringing again, and we took in three plays which are reviewed below, and topped it off with the Cherry Poppins production of Shakeslesque, which we will review in part 2.

TITLE OF SHOWMagic 8 Ball (My Life with Asperger’s)

VENUE:  Sacred Fools Black Box

REVIEW:  We first learned about this show when he submitted for our Larry Cornwall Award, and we are so thankful he reached out.  This show has got to be one of the hidden gems of HFF 17.  Wonderfully directed by first time directorial team Penni and Crystal Wilson, the show was written and performed by George Steeves, who is also a singer-songwriter with songs available on iTunes.  Needless to say, this was one of the best shows we have seen at Fringe this year.  It is a very personal story of triumph over adversity that was also educational in understanding the struggles of people living on the autism spectrum.

RECOMMENDATION:  If you only have time for a few shows at Fringe, this is a MUST SEE!  We are proud to give Magic 8 Ball one of our highest recommendations.  He still has shows available on June 24 at 4:30 p.m. and June 25 at 2:30 p.m.

TITLE OF SHOW“Lovesick” The Misadventures of a Love-Crazed Maniac

VENUE:  Sacred Fools Black Box

REVIEW:  Lovesick is another show wonderfully directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, and amazingly written and performed by Gabriella DeMarco.  Told through a host of characters, including cats, the story was funny, uplifting and all too universal.    What made it all the more special was that DeMarco has had some personal losses while preparing for Fringe that would have driven most people into a deep state of inactivity and depression.  The fact that she was performing during this turmoil goes to the true professionalism she displayed in her acting, and in sharing her story with the Fringe.

RECOMMENDATION:  This was her final show, but hopefully Combined Artform will pick her up for an extension.  If they do, we highly recommend that you See her show.

TITLE OF SHOWShattered

VENUE:  Sacred Fools Black Box

REVIEW:  Our final drama and one-person show of the day turned out to be Diana Varco‘s amazing production of Shattered, which was also wonderfully directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.  Not since 2010, when Kimleigh Smith rocked the Fringe with her dramatic tale in T-O-T-A-L-L-Y, has such a powerful piece about sexual abuse and its aftermath rocked my Fringe world.   Told through 35 characters, which included many of the emotions that haunt most of us, this show made its mark and earned the distinction of being among our favorite shows of HFF 17.  It was funny, sad, heart-wrenching and hopeful, and left us with a true sense of purpose to becoming the person we were meant to be.  Kudos to Ms. Varco for a true Fringe work of art.

RECOMMENDATION:  We strongly advise you to See the final performance of this show on June 24 at 9:30 p.m.