Category: REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

Danielea Castell – ‘Thank You Water’

With a hushed reverence for the natural beauty of the world, Danielea Castell explores a mystical connection on the soothing “Thank You Water”. Arrangements are stripped down to the absolute essentials throughout the album. By far the heart and soul of the album rests with Danielea Castell’s strong assured vocals. Lyricism is highly intricate, detailed,…

Wayne Olivieri – ‘Eclectic Mind’

Wayne Olivieri’s career has saw him opening for some of the music world’s biggest names over the last three decades, fostering long standing friendships with some of the most popular and talented performers popular music has ever seen, while still resolutely remaining true to his muse. This is a performer, likewise, with tremendous character who…

Intrinsic Nature – ‘I.N. Concert With You’

Intrinsic Nature’s music is the product of Milo Keysington’s extensive experience as a musician and his singular creative vision for the band’s music. His compatriots in the band, guitarist Bruno Levy and drummer Steve Myers, are the ideal collaborators for helping Keysington to fill out the five impressive songs on the band’s second release, an…

Sambadi Majumder – ‘Unseen and Beyond’

Sambadi Majumder’s “Unseen and Beyond” is metal at its most malicious. Featuring astounding shredding and brutal percussion, the songs deserve to be blasted as loud as possible. The way that Sambadi Majumder lets the songs sprawl is quite compelling for these are pieces that are built up to become forces of nature. By bringing the…

Race to Neptune – ‘Oh Contraire’

Sounding like a long-lost late 80s darkwave band, Race to Neptune’s “Oh Contraire” is an absolute blast. Volume is a must for these are songs that deserve to be felt and heard. Best taken in a single sitting Race to Neptune conjures up images of Sonic Youth at the peak of their wonders. Quite beautiful…

Daphne Willis – ‘Freaks Like Me’

Daphne Willis creates downright decadent pop confections on “Freaks Like Me”. Neatly bringing together jazz, RnB, with a hint of the theatrical there is something freewheeling throughout the collection. A sense of fun informs the entirety of the album with every song playing off the last. With every song treated as a chapter in a…

Jason Andrew Brown – ‘Jason Andrew Brown’

Sung straight from the heart Jason Andrew Brown’s assured self-titled debut is an absolute joy. Nicely merging elements of funk, indie rock, folk, and hard rock all framed within a pop structure the songs are simply stunning. Front and center is Jason Andrew Brown’s strong confident voice which rings out true. The songs offer small…

Sarantos – “We Kiss In The Shadows”

Sarantos delivers a passionate, romantic work on the defiant spirit of “We Kiss In The Shadows”. Downright glorious, this song is a celebration of true love. Lyrics focus on the way that love can truly transcend. Arrangements are pitch perfect with a catchy dance-rock fusion. With this arrangement Sarantos can add additional power to his…

Matt Hannah – ‘Dreamland’

The second album from Michigan native and Minneapolis based singer/songwriter Matt Hannah, Dreamland, further elaborates on the enormous talent and promise revealed by his 2014 debut Let the Lonely Fade. He’s earned favorable comparisons to Townes Van Zandt and his songwriting is roundly hailed as ranking among the best modern exponents of the singer/songwriter school…

Bongo Boy Records Backroom Blues Vol 4

Delivering a soulful piece is Jim Labos’ opening “The Blues Never Die”. From the organ to the nimble guitar, everything simply works. Tying it all together are the carefully crafted lyrics whose impassioned delivery works wonders. On “Searching For the Truth” Devin Leigh neatly brings classic rock and country into a satisfying whole. Anchored by…

Maiah Wynne – ‘Lights and Shadows’

Maiah Wynne’s “Lights and Shadows” displays a phenomenal range from the darkest of shadows to the brightest light. Stylistically Maiah Wynne runs the gamut from chamber pop to country to even elements of industrial. Tying all of this together is Maiah Wynne’s emotive voice whose expressiveness shines throughout the collection. Attention to detail is of…

Righteous Hillbillies – ‘Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway’

The crucial third and fourth albums. People like to trumpet the all-consuming importance of sophomore albums and they have a point. Bands and performers, after particularly scintillating debuts, can often find themselves groping in darkness attempting to create a worthy follow-up. It’s the third and fourth album, however, that often determines staying power. Once a…

Emish – ‘This Light’

Self described as “high powered rock with an Irish heart”, the four piece Emish stands as one of the most individual and inspired acts working in roots music today. The idea of labeling them, however, will make discerning listeners hesitant. The music transcends labels manifesting a spirit that has nothing to do with genre and,…

Sound of Curves – ‘Gone Gatsby’

San Antonio based four piece Sound of Curves’ third album, Gone Gatsby, should solidify their standing as one of the vanguard bands working in alternative rock today. The melting pot of influences, however, encompasses much more than recasting rock music’s premier form of the 1990’s and beyond in their image. Southern styled rock guitar with…

Angie and the Deserters – ’17 Days’

It’s difficult to imagine how the luscious blues-soaked yowl of Angie Bruyere’s voice hailing from upstate New York, but this Southern California transplant and her band the Deserters play gutsy and rough-hewn blues rock with the skill and sincerity needed to make it work in 2017. Her latest single from the album You, “17 Days”,…

Tony Levitas & the Levitations – “Feel Good Now”

With a true sense of the blues, Tony Levita’s sound has a rambunctious timeless quality to them. Opting for such a classic approach works wonders for the songs as the way they unfold is quite compelling. The heart and soul of the approach comes from Tony Levitas’ stylish vocals alongside the insightful lyricism that permeates…

Michel Griffin – ‘Feel my Love: Bob Dylan’s Finest Lovesongs’

Michel Griffin treats Bob Dylan’s vast body of work with the utmost of care on the tender “Feel my Love: Bob Dylan’s Finest Lovesongs”. With careful delicate arrangements, the songs positively shimmer and shine. Vocals serve front and center as they should, with Michel Griffin’s voice imbuing the songs with a sense of intimacy. The…

Amery Rey Tuesta – ‘Latinoameryca’

Fiery passionate reigns supreme on Amery Rey Tuesta’s “Latinoameryca”. Tapping into classic rock’s strong and steady roots, the songs are absolute blasts of sound. Stylistically Amery Rey Tuesta goes for a full-on sound, one that represents the power of community. Over the course of the album they bring together a wide variety of flourishes into…

Doc La – ‘Look What They Did’

This is a star-making moment. Doc La’s single “Look What They Did” is charting in Billboard at a number four position already and announces the arrival of an astonishing presence on the rap/hip hop scene. This is a laudable feat for any performer, any genre, but for a debut artist to chart so high marks…

Mark Reitenga – ‘Unsung’

Sung with a sense of intimacy Mark Reitenga’s “Unsung” rings with truth. Over the course of the collection Mark Reitenga touches upon relationships, passion, and social issues that have no easy answers. Arrangements possess a delicate nature to them with every nuance delivered with great vigor. By far the heart and soul of the songs…

Marty McKay – “New York City Dreams”

Marty McKay sings for all those searching for freedom and meaning on the celebratory spirit of “New York City Dreams”. Downright glorious the songs are pure pop perfection. Volume reigns supreme for these songs are meant to be felt. Every song adds to the album’s narrative, one that embodies the hope that many pin to…

Les Fradkin – ‘Reflections Of Love’

New Age is a type of genre, that has been heard of but maybe only heard once or twice for its genre. When it comes to Les Fradkin whose new song turned single “Reflections Of Love” off his new album “The New Age” set for release sometime this Spring, via Bongo Boy Records, Les Fradkin’s…

Dave’s Neck – ‘The Girl with the Neck Tattoo’

With a furious fiery attitude Dave’s Neck “The Girl with the Neck Tattoo” goes for the jugular. Colossal in scope these are songs that deserve to be blasted. Physicality reigns supreme over the collection as drums have almost a tribal quality to them. Rhythms sprawl themselves out moving as fast as they possibly can. The…

Charles Parker – ‘Bring Back The Sun’

Sunny and optimistic Charles Parker’s “Bring Back the Sun” is an absolute delightful. Offering the best of alternative rock the songs are full of catchy hooks and infectious rhythms. Arrangements are downright exuberant while they help support the impassioned vocals that grace the sound. Lyrics serve as the front and center of the sound for…

Daisy Jopling – ‘The Awakening’

Daisy Jopling’s “The Awakening” offers a sense of hope throughout these finely tailored eclectic arrangements. With strong roots in chamber pop, Daisy Jopling incorporates a wide variety of stylistic choices throughout the album. Classical, rock, pop, infused with a clear love of the theatrical make their way into the mix. Attention to detail is profound…

Tripp Denom – ‘Coupe Life’

Tripp Denom’s “Coupe Life” glides by on chill vibes. With an all-encompassing lush sound the arrangement feels perfect. Percussion hits all the right notes, kept stripped down but still fully in force. Synthesizers sprawl out into luxurious textures letting the multi-layered kaleidoscopic rush of color. By far the heart and soul of the sound comes…

Nick Black – ‘Deep Blue’

The second full length album from Nick Black, Deep Blue, is a ten song collection following up his 2012 debut The Soul Diaries. It combines the same incendiary guitar work, vocal excellence, and polished songwriting distinguishing the first album while exhibiting growing maturity. Delving into a longstanding musical genres like soul and blues music isn’t…

Richard Scott – ‘Keeper of My Heart’

A veteran’s touch is always distinctive. There’s a certainty and understated swagger surrounding their songwriting that never beats its chest or ballyhoos its presence. Instead, the fundamentals just come through, confidence never wavers, and the artist’s command of their particular skill set is steady. Richard Scott has been involved with music throughout his adult life…

Brian Lee Robinson – ‘The Texas Side Of Nashville’

Brian Lee Robinson sings the tried and truest of country on the Americana blues of “The Texas Side Of Nashville”. Arrangements are done just right with the perfect twang, a gentle kind of rhythm that helps to guide the songs forward. Easily the highlight of the collection are the highly articulate lyrics which show off…

Satellite Gods – ‘Marker 7-58’

Passionate and pure, Satellite Gods creates compelling finely crafted stories on the adventurous “Marker 7-58”. Lyrics rest front and center of each piece. Stories, mere snapshots of a life lived fully, are told with the utmost poignancy. Arrangements add to this power ranging from full-on rock with influences of folk, country, and even elements of…

Jonathan Cavier – ‘Comes a Moment’

The latest single from Jonathan Cavier’s album Premier, “Comes a Moment”, delivers another musically and lyrically satisfying platter for listeners. His compositional slant, as a songwriter, leans towards layered tracks heavy on dynamics while never sacrificing melody The lyrical sophistication he shows off on songs like this is easy to underestimate – it might be…

Dave Vargo – ‘Burning Through’

Burning Through, the first solo album from Dave Vargo, a longtime live and session guitarist for artists as varied as Whitney Houston and Rupert Holmes, is an eleven song collection leaning more towards the acoustic side of the ledger but incorporating enough edginess and rock and roll attitude that it never sounds one note or…

Downie Streahl – ‘Run Away With You’

Grand Rapids, Michigan based singer/songwriter Downie Streahl has returned with her latest single, “Run Away With You”. It follows up on the success of earlier charting singles like “Now” and “Unavailable” with the same dynamic style that allows her to freely move between multiple genres without losing anything off her presentation. There’s a lot of…

Poetically Contagious – ‘Toss Him Aside’

Hailing from the Binghamton, New York area, Poetically Contagious formed in the early months of 2010 as a performance group who made early appearances at university shows in the area before transitioning into a recording act. The quality of the duo’s material vaulted them into the finals of New York City recording and performances contests…

West of Mabou – ‘West of Mabou’

Delivered with the utmost of passion is the spirited performance of West of Mabou’s self-titled album. With a distinctly Celtic flair the songs teem with life and vigor. Fiddles, bagpipes, and guitars come together to create such a compelling perfectly formed sound. The way the songs ebb and flow gives them a naturalistic hue. By…

Fellow American – ‘From Me to Shore’

Fellow American creates a bright summery sound with the optimistic pop of “From Me to Shore”. Sung with a sense of play and tenderness the vocals are by far the highlight of the collection. Quite honeyed in scope the choral arrangements at times recall the joy that marks the best of the Beach Boys. The…

Rev Peter Unger – ‘Love Is What I’ll Do’

Rev Peter Unger’s “Love Is What I’ll Do” is an uplifting love ballad full of joy and wonder with the world. The arrangements are simple yet effective. Shimmering acoustic guitar serves as a second singer of sorts, as it appears to nicely emphasize his strong message. Far off in the distance is the twang of…

Natalie Jean – “Red Room” – The Remix

Positively giddy with energy is the EDM remix of Natalie Jean’s “Red Room”. The remix keeps Natalie Jean’s sultry vocals intact. With every additional layer the sound grows ever more mysterious. Lyrics allude to this cryptic quality. Over the course of the song the sound grows in scope. Building up the entirety of the sound…

Brent Daniels – ‘Every Road Has A Turn’

Brent Daniels, like many great musicians, fell in love with music at an early age. Subsequent turns in his journey led him away from music for many years, but his debut album Every Road Has a Turn burns with the same passion to perform powering his youthful desires. Respected producer Robyn Robins heard Daniels through…

Nick Dakota – ‘Vision’

The debut album from Michigan native Nick Dakota, entitled Vision, is a fun and often quite soulful collection. He’s drafted some of Nashville’s elite sidemen to contribute to the twelve songs on Vision and the wide skill set possessed by talented professionals like Steve Hinson, longtime steel guitarist for Randy Travis, and Eric Church’s bass…