Tag Archives: Scarlett Taylor

Get it or forget it: Maita, Scarlett Taylor, Garrison Starr, Vacant Home

Now that the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017 have been put to bed, we can begin looking at submissions for the second half.  With the exception of Maita’s Waterbearer, these albums will be considered for the second half awards, even though they were technically released in June 2017.  They were unfortunately overlooked in the nearly 100 submissions for the first half, so we are giving them a fresh look now.

Artist NameMaita

Album NameWaterbearer

Label:  Maita Music

Genre:  Folk/Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Kinder Than Most; 2.  Geography; 3.  Too Tired to Love You; 4.  Burned Out Has Been; 5.  Waterbearer

 Publicist:  None

Review:  Maria Maita-Keppeler is one half of the Americana duo The American West, but also is the lead singer of her own band, Maita.  Her short five-song EP is a breath of fresh air in the female singer-songwriter genre, and bodes well for this budding artist.  Her voice is haunting like Gillian Welch and Shannon Hurley, and is perfectly suited to the lyrics she has skillfully written.  All five songs are perfect for a chill afternoon or night, enjoyed with a beer or wine, while the listener contemplates the meaning of life.  Give her a listen and let us know what you think.

Recommendation:  We definitely think this one is a keeper and recommend you Get it for your collection.

Artist NameScarlett Taylor

Album NameIII

Label:  Borderline Musick

Genre:  Alternate Pop

Track Listing:  1.  I can Fly; 2.  Children of the Sun; 3.  Concrete Angels; 4.  Orphan; 5.  Unborn 

Publicist:  None

Review:  We reviewed her second album, Churches, last November.  What we said then still goes, but Taylor continues to work on her style, and the lyrical content has gotten better.  She is still not a radio friendly artist, but her music makes you stop and think about the issues she is addressing, and her unique musical background provides the perfect foundation for her truth.  This album is dedicated to those who suffer from addiction, and the toll it takes on them and those who love them.  She also continues to make interesting music videos that bring out the darkness in her music, and we think that she still has a lot to say.  Our favorite cuts are “Children of the Sun” and “Concrete Angels,” and the music video for the latter is definitely worth checking out.

Recommendation:  If you like your music dark, disturbing but relevant, than you should Get this album.

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Artist NameGarrison Starr

Album NameWhat if There is no Destination

Label:   Self-released

Genre:  Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Track Listing:  1.  Put Your Weapon Down; 2.  Hollow; 3.  Easy Mark; 4.  All About You; 5.  The Lucky One; 6.  Tough Girl

Publicist:  Red Boot PR

Review:  From the opening notes of the powerful protest song, “Put Your Weapon Down,” it becomes quickly apparent that this is no ordinary indie artist.  Starr is a woman on a mission, with a dynamic story to tell and a lesson to teach.  Her voice is throaty and unique, carrying the truth of her words deep into your consciousness.  Her musical background is simple but provides the necessary foundation for these liberating words.  Starr is an indie artist who has come full circle, and is content in her DIY “indieness.”  But that doesn’t mean the world is not taking notice of her music and her message, as indicated by her recent participation as part of Amy Pohler’s Smart Girls.  We love everything on this EP, but especially “Put Your Weapon Down,” which was Starr’s response to the Pulse tragedy in Orlando last June.  Stop and smell the roses while you listen to the wisdom of these songs.

Recommendation:  This one is a total no-brainer.  You NEED to Get it, now!

Photo courtesy of Split Task Media

Artist NameVacant Home

Album NameReflect, Respond

Label:  Mutant League Records

Genre:  Post Hardcore Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Lament; 2.  Bliss; 3.  Inner Peace; 4.  Shiver; 5.  Back Bay; 6.  Reflect Respond; 7.  Heirloom 

Publicist:  Earshot Media

Review:  Vacant Home comes to us from Perth, Australia.  Their music starts out as great indie rock, with stirring guitar riffs and pounding drums, providing a nice musical interlude.  But then the Screamo vocals come in and the serene mood is lost.  This is definitely an album for hard rock lovers.  There are moments when the lyrics are sung, but they are lost amidst the angst and the screams.  It is apparent that this bad is pissed off and wants the world to know it.  Were it not for the screaming of the lyrics, we might actually be able to understand their message.  Nevertheless, their instrumentation is strong, and make it worthy of a closer listen.

Recommendation:  This is another artist that is not radio friendly.  However, if you can understand the screaming, and like that kind of music, then this is a strong effort.  For the rest of us, just Forget it.

 

Get it or Forget it: Scarlett Taylor, McDougall, Michael Hornbuckle

Hard to believe but this is our 17th article in this review series – that’s 51 CD reviews since our first one back on September 7.  Indie artists have truly been hard at work in 2016.  I can hardly wait to see what 2017 holds.

scarlett-taylor

Artist NameScarlett Taylor

Album NameChurches

Label:  Borderline Musick

Genre:  Alternative pop/dream pop

Track Listing: 1.  Fucked up; 2.  Crazy; 3.  Imprisoned; 4.  Vacancy; 5.  Off; 6.  Confessional; 7.  Ignite; 8.  Velvet; 9.  Without You; 10.  Christmas Eve; 11.  Shampoo; 12.  Cutting 

Publicist:  none

Review:  Scarlett Taylor is a fresh indie artist with a style that sets her apart from the pack.  She is an incredible lyricist who uses a musical style totally different from her peers to present her message.  Listening to Churches, her second studio album, it appears that she has had some bad experiences in her religious pursuit, and she tells her listeners the painful truths about her life.  The music is airy, spectral and intriguing, drawing her listeners in with something different.   We believe this artist has a lot to say, both in her current project and in the future, and recommend that you check her out.  We have a feeling that you’ll be hearing a lot more from this gifted artist.  Best track is “Ignite.”  Most provocative tracks include “Fucked Up,” “Imprisoned” (featuring Zay from The Truants), “Confessional,” “Velvet,” and “Cutting.”

Recommendation:  If you only like radio friendly music, then this is definitely not the disc for you.  But if you are eclectic in your musical tastes, and not easily offended, then we think you should definitely Get this album.

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Artist NameMcDougall

Album NameReaching for Some Light

Label:  None

Genre:  Folk Rock

Track Listing: 1.  Roads; 2.  Stranger on the Prairie; 3.  Shaken; 4.  Ten Speed; 5.  Cut Loose; 6.  Pitcher on the Train; 7.  Make it Right; 8.  Story of the Gray Man; 9.  Barely Holding On; 10.  Watercolor; 11.  Moving Mountains 

Publicist:  In Music we Trust

Review:  With a voice somewhere between Tom Waits and Tom Petty, McDougall brings his folk rock stylings to his latest project, Reaching for Some Light.  It’s chock full of great story songs full of hope and the overcoming of obstacles.  Unlike his previous recordings, McDougall broke his long-time premise that if he couldn’t play it live, he wouldn’t record it.  What follows is a great disc of music where McDougall still plays almost all of the instrumentation, but recorded in a way that brings these songs to life.   Always a great lyricist, McDougall’s words are the backbone of these songs, but with this record, he allows himself the luxury of providing the musical background they deserve.  Every song on the album is worthy of your attention, especially “Shaken,” “Ten Speed,” “Cut Loose,” “Make it Right,” and “Watercolor,” which features the amazing violin work of Anna Tivel.

Recommendation:  If you like good music with a message of hope and love, then this is definitely the disc for you.  Get off your comfortable couch and Get It.

hornbuckle

Artist NameMichael Hornbuckle

Album NameSoul Repo

Label:  None

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Candle for Mary; 2.  Risin Sun; 3.  Hit me Up; 4.  Angel; 5.  Baby Rock; 6.  Back Seat Blues; 7.  Me and Melody; 8. One Night; 9.  Soul Repo; 10.  Sweat; 11.  Wishin’ Well

 Publicist:  Doug Deutsch Publicity Services

Review:  Michael Hornbuckle has a legacy in the blues world, but he does not rest on those laurels on his latest release, Soul Repo.  From the first notes of “Candle for Mary,” Hornbuckle redefines the blues with this amazing collection of songs.  Of all the artists we have recently reviewed, this is the one we would love to see perform live.  His guitar licks are what memories are made of, and his sweet voice brings the songs home.  Best tracks include “Hit me Up,” “Angel,” “Baby Rock,” “Back Seat Blues,” “Me and Melody,” and the title track, although there is not a weak song among the bunch.

Recommendation:  Hornbuckle personifies the blues.  If you only get one new album this holiday season, then this is the one you want.  Get out and Get It now!