Category: REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

Tali Dennerstein

Tali Dennerstein’s angelic voice and masterful arrangements are an absolute joy. Her ability to strike a balance between the passionate and contemplative is incredible, as she effortlessly creates a sound that simply soars. Easily the heart and soul of her work are the vocals, which display a poetic quality to them. Rather dreamy the many…

Frank Shiner – ‘Please Come Home for Christmas’

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I know a lot of people who don’t even like holiday tunes. They dislike the hackneyed, clichéd invocations of emotion, the predictable revisiting of familiar tropes divorced from any sort of transforming effect, and how the lyrical content seems to boil down everything into simple-minded emotions. They object to the unrelenting romanticism and sentimentality that…

Jemima James – ‘When You Get Old’

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Jemima James, thanks to some unexpected turns of fate, is able to follow up her debut album At Longview Farm with its successor, When You Get Old, at the same time. The latter is a thirteen song effort that revisits a couple of tracks from At Longview Farm but, otherwise, resolutely puts its best foot…

Magic Music – ‘Self Titled’

Magic Music’s debut album comes forty years after the band first formed. The talented unit first constituted in 1969 failed to release a studio album during their seven year run and didn’t actually begin recording their first release until recent history. The original driving forces behind the project added more members, some died, and they’ve…

Charity Ekeke – ‘She’

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Charity Ekeke’s “She” radiates with hope and light. These joyous arrangements work wonders. Effortlessly bringing together tender melodies, jubilant infectious grooves the entire album is simply stunning. Vocals add to the overall celebratory spirit that dominates the proceedings. Lyrics emphasize a positivity that can help to change a life. Indeed, there is such a great…

Ira Sharma

Prodigies are always impressive to encounter. There are some who come to talent from a long process of practice and instruction. They are born with the necessary gifts, but they are talents requiring a measure of coaxing into development. Other talents, however, are seemingly born fully formed and their skill level outstrips their peers with…

Ricardo Alves – ‘Hope’

Ricardo Alves’ full length ambient album Hope is an evocative fourteen track effort. Despite the fact that it is instrumental, Alves’ compositions are atmospheric but never self-indulgent. They also make excellent use of dynamics and flow nicely from assertive to more quiet passages without ever losing their way. The song titles are instructive about what…

Christine Saadé – Get Together (Ft. Twisted Dee)

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Christine Saadé’s foray into dance pop on her new single “Get Together” features the talents of DJ/producer Twisted Dee and joins the previous recordings from Saadé as among the finest modern examples of how an artist can work serious themes into musical genres long mistaken as exclusively disposable. The aims of dance pop are, typically,…

Professor B and the Army of Love – ‘Tough Times’

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Professor B and the Army of Love create a perfect mellow atmosphere in the chilled-out vibes of “Tough Times”. Lyrics have a strong sense of optimism as they focus on trying to create a better, sweeter world. Sometimes these lyrics emphasize on how bad things are and what can be done to create a sense…

RedBelt – ‘Beautiful Surround’

The Milwaukee based four piece RedBelt seamlessly blends together a number of musical styles into an unique brew. Alternative rock, Americana, some pop punk leanings, and a smattering of classic rock come together over the course of the thirteen songs on their debut Beautiful Surround and fit quite nicely without any rough patches where the…

Martin X. Petz – ‘Broken Man’

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Coming off the heels of a remarkable string of recording successes, Martin X. Petz emerges again with a new release entitled Broken Man that’s sure to continue that run of artistic achievement. There’s nine songs on the new album, including one revisited from a previous effort, and the collection hangs together as an unified lyrical…

Christina Rubino – ‘Godspeed and Guns’

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Christina Rubino’s “Godspeed and Guns” shows off her impeccable storytelling abilities. Over the course of the song she creates a stunning arrangement. With elements of Americana, indie rock, and a hint of the cinematic, the song unfurls quite elegantly. Attention to detail means that the song is filled with an unusual amount of detail, from…

The Other Life – ‘Happiness’

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With a strong sense of play, the Other Life’s “Happiness” harks back to the halcyon days of early house. Layer upon layer of sound are expertly arranged to create a vast sea of sound. Aptly named the song permeates with a sense of exploration and wonder with the world. Over the course of the track…

Django Mack – ‘Round’ Christmas

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San Francisco based singer/songwriter Django Mack has drawn praise from virtually every quarter for his deft mix of traditional Americana music, imaginative arrangements, and powerful lyrical content. His latest release, “’Round Christmas”, paired with an accompanying B-side “Big Black Dog”, might initially strike listeners as typical Yuletide themed fare. Even a single listen will demonstrate,…

Jemima James – ‘At Longview Farm’

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Great granddaughter of noted American spiritualist William James and great grand-niece of American novelist Henry James, Jemima James certainly has always possessed an impeccable artistic pedigree, but the story of how she has finally arrived on the scene is far more remarkable than her lineage. Team Love, a record label formed by songwriter Conor Oberst…

Kelly McGrath – ‘You and Me Today’

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The first single from Kelly McGrath’s pending fourth studio release, “You and Me Today”, continues the ongoing blossoming that McGrath’s songwriting has underwent since her 2007 debut release Fingerprints. This song tackles the weightiest subject of all – death and our response to the loss of a close family member. McGrath doesn’t betray a hint…

Souleye – ‘Follow Your Heart’

One of the most important genre-crossing talents in the hip hop scene for some years now, Souleye has earned a much deserved reputation as one of the most forward thinking lyricists and performers working in hip-hop today. His latest single release, “Follow Your Heart”, continues building on the virtues of his earlier work without any…

Morgan Wilson – ‘Fine’

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Morgan Wilson’s “Fine” is poetic in its poignancy. Lyrically the song explores the sadness that can befall the end of a relationship, the small features that linger with a person long after parting. Over the course of the track Morgan Wilson reveals a true talent for form as elements of chamber pop, classical, with a…

John Hickman – ‘Remnants’

The debut full-length release from keyboardist and songwriter John Hickman, Remnants, is an eclectic collection of twelve songs with a unity of style and sound. After a successful career as an aerospace engineer, Hickman decided to retire and pursue his long deferred passion for music in earnest. Since his 2011 emergence, Hickman has released singles…

Lee Williams – ‘Crank Up the Rock n Roll’

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“Crank Up the Rock n Roll” shows off the undeniable chops that Lee Williams possesses in spades. Downright physical in its approach the song has a raw, live feeling to it. Adhering to the song’s message to crank it up is in fact the best way to experience it for this is a song that…

Fallen Asunder – ‘Fallen Asunder’

Delivered with a sense of urgency, Fallen Asunder’s self-titled album is a cinematic sweeping work. Fallen Asunder screams out to the heavens as the vocals soar above the colossal riffs and driving rhythms. Over the course of the album they create a vast tapestry of sound one that swims through seas of guitar distortion, unstoppable…

Leo Harmonay – ‘The Blink of an Eye’

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Based out of the New York City area and its surrounding environs, Leo Harmonay isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel with his second full length release The Blink of an Eye. This singer/songwriter, instead, takes apparent aim at refurbishing and strengthening traditional songwriting and musicianship with his individual experiences and skills. Despite the relative familiarity…

Tripp Denom feat. K-Buck – ‘Bright Lights Fast Living’

With a sly groove and a luxurious style, Tripp Denom feat. K-Buck’s “Bright Lights Fast Living” is an enthralling intoxicating piece of finely crafted pop. The flow is impeccable as his lyrical content is profound, nicely offering a snapshot of what it means to be alive in this exact moment. Opting for a seize the…

Electra Day – ‘Quiet Hours’

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With a hushed reverence for the world, Electra Day’s “Quiet Hours” represents the finest kind of folk. Electra Day opts for a naturalistic, poetic take on her articulate, highly thoughtful lyrics. Stripped down to the absolute essence of sound these songs have an autumnal quality to them, one that results in striking a perfect blend…

One Track Minds – ‘A price to be paid’

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One Track Minds creates well-worn, lived-in sound on the welcoming spirit of “A price to be paid”. Rather lush with their arrangements the songs possess a sense of reassurance. Hope is woven within the many pieces. A gentle mixture of Americana, indie rock, dream pop nicely tied together with a psychedelic hue the songs shimmer…

OSOG – ‘OSOG’

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OSOG’s self-titled album gives a big band feel to the intimacy of folk. Every sound positively shimmers with a sense of celebration. Vocals at times feel reminiscent of Modest Mouse’s earlier work. Attention to detail means that everything is taken into account, from the levels of fidelity to how the band interacts. By taking on…

Jamie Kent – ‘All American Mutt’

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The third full length studio release from Jamie Kent is a major step forward in the development of one of the most promising talents working in the Americana/modern country. There’s a tangible strain of rock and roll coloring a number of the tracks that owes much to artists like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, but…

A Bad Think – ‘The Tragic End Of A Dreamer’

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A Bad Think’s “The Tragic End Of A Dreamer” is a glorious sea of sound. Merging together a wide variety of styles from dream pop to shoegaze nicely anchored by an alternative rock structure, the songs teem with life. Over the course of the album a narrative begins to form, with each song representing yet…

THREE MILES FROM AVALON, DAVY KNOWLES

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Davy formerly a member of the group Back Door Slam, has performed as Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam, and now under just the name Davy Knowles. This is his ninth album under his three performing versions. In addition to Davy on guitar/vocals, the main players on this are Bryan Doherty on bass/vocals, Andrew Toombs…

SHINE ON, MATTHEW CURRY

This, his third release features a sort of blues/rock style. Matt is one of the new young guitar slingers on the scene. In addition to playing, he broke into acting by actually playing the part of Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant in the David Spade movie Joe Dirt 2. This features Tim Brickner on bass, Mark…

THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVUE

This group obviously has some Godsmack influence, in that guitarist Tony Rombola, and drummer Shannon Larkin were members. More importantly, it features their earlier blues influences. The band is rounded out by Ray Cerbone on vocals, and Brian Carpenter on bass. Everybody shared in the songwriting chores. Eric Gales provided some guitar work on The…

Hennessy Jones – “Human Being”/”Concepts” Singles Review

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Couple new singles in review today from Hennessy Jones…”Concepts” which was released about four-months back and “Human Being” which is still right out of the wrapper and not even a month old yet. Both tracks feature collaborative efforts and the talents of Elluna alongside Kirsin assisting on “Concepts” and Luxo on “Human Being.” With the…

Alessandro Coli – ‘I Betcha’

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Italian pop star Alessandro Coli solidifies his American standing with the release of his latest single “I Betcha”. His European career is distinguished by the sudden and stunning success of his 2011 single “Sento Che” which topped Italian radio charts in a little more than a week and remained in the Top 30 for over…

Phantom Phunk – ‘Arboles Ossific’

Begun in 2014 as a songwriting partnership between friends Hector Alexander and Sasha Cheine, Phantom Phunk soon evolved into a four piece who woodsheded their blossoming material for a year before entering the studio to record their debut album. The result of those efforts, Arboles Ossific, is a ten song debut due to hit the…

Michael Resin – ‘Praying For a Miracle’

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Michael Resin’s “Praying For a Miracle” is a dark brooding and oftentimes beautiful album. Softly sung narratives permeate the album as they have a compelling sense of tragedy that ties them together. Quite stylish in nature Michael Resin draws from a vast variety of genres from synthpop to hard rock all nicely anchored with a…

Chrissy – ‘Me Without You’

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Chrissy’s “Me Without You” is a song of self-confidence. Offering a nice twist on the breakup song, here Chrissy displays how much better off she is without them. The exploration of a negative relationship presents the possibilities that exist once a person leaves. Lyrics are the heart of the song as everything else revolves around…

Joett – ‘Got U On My Mind’

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Sung with the utmost of passion, Joett’s “Got U On My Mind” is a tender beautiful love ballad. By keeping the sound to the absolute essentials the song has an intimate, welcoming nature to it. The guitar work in particular is rather lovely as the nimble strumming and finger-picking works wonders in giving the entirety…

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

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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…