REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

Emma Constance, Hot Stuff

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August 29, 2014
Emma Constance, Hot Stuff

Don’t panic! If you’re looking for a sassy reworking of the Donna Summer classic ‘Hot Stuff’, Emma Constance has got it covered. Buy – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hot-stuff-single/id906163832 Listen – https://coast2coastmixtapes.com/audiodetail.aspx?audioid=375008 It’s always a little concerning when approaching a cover version of a song that is so embedded in classic pop culture, not least when it’s the...
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Django Mack, Sweet Life

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August 28, 2014
Django Mack, Sweet Life

While it is true many feel the music industry is in disarray, it’s always a breath of fresh air to hear a new band or artist that’s not afraid to take chances with their musical expression. With San Francisco based Django Mack’s latest musical offering “Sweet Life” it’s clear to me he has surpassed...
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Royal Holland, Volume One – The Maze

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August 28, 2014
Royal Holland, Volume One – The Maze

Running the gamut from folk to dance Royal Holland’s “Volume One – The Maze” is a lot of fun. The combination of the radically different styles brings to mind Beck’s early experiments with folk and found sounds. Lyrically the collection ranges from the celebratory into sadder territory. With such a collection Royal Holland is...
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Curious Quail, After The Lights Failed

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August 27, 2014
Curious Quail, After The Lights Failed

“After The Lights Failed” is an album about togetherness. Curious Quail creates a rich warm sound with satisfying buildups. Chamber pop rarely sounds this good. Thanks in part to the immaculate taste of Curious Quail the rock and classical elements play off of each other. Strings sound positively divine as they give the songs...
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Maggie Anderson, Acoustic EP

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August 27, 2014
Maggie Anderson, Acoustic EP

Maggie Anderson’s “Acoustic EP” is soulful. Quite the accomplished singer-songwriter she keeps things remarkably simple. With a stripped-down raw feel to the work her music comes directly from the heart. Exploring different playing styles throughout the three songs she is able to display the subtleties inherent in her voice and in her guitar. The...
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Perry Bonck, Heart of a Cowboy

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August 27, 2014
Perry Bonck, Heart of a Cowboy

Perry Bonck is celebrating his latest release, Heart of a Cowboy. This Louisiana native shows his true colors throughout this entire CD. He boasts with pride about his home town in several tracks and paints melodic pictures of his life and upbringing. Bonck has a vocal styling that is reminiscent of Dwight Yoakum and...
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Christina Gaudet, Wild Things

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August 27, 2014
Christina Gaudet, Wild Things

Christina Gaudet s a hot running artist/band from the New York area. Her latest CD released in 2014 is entitled “Wild Things”. Nowadays making music is so accessible to anyone and being that we have the do it yourself attitude, it just makes sense. Most bands don’t want to sit around just waiting for...
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Stellar, Fight For Love

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August 27, 2014
Stellar, Fight For Love

Positive, upbeat, and filled with sounds that will cheer you up this summer, Stellar’s latest track, ‘Fight For Love’ is one of the happiest electronic pop song’s you’ll hear today. https://soundcloud.com/stellar4u/fight-for-love-singlefree-download It’s easy to be immediately reminded of Cheryl Cole’s similarly titled ‘Fight For This Love’. That song was altogether darker in tone –...
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Ari and the Alibis, Self titled EP

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August 26, 2014
Ari and the Alibis, Self titled EP

Ari and the Alibis are a band out of Sarasota, FL and is making waves in a short period of time. Building quite the following with their worldly sounds fused with jazz, blues and a powerhouse vocal that exudes confidence and is winning their audience over. Listen – https://soundcloud.com/ari-and-the-alibis/sets/ari-and-the-alibis-ep There is a nice Latin...
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Big Apple Blues, Energy

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August 26, 2014
Big Apple Blues, Energy

On “Energy” Big Apple Blues narrates a day in the life of an average New York. Full of kinetic energy the songs refuse to slow down. Rather they move at full speed for there is no slowing down. The band clearly listens and works off each other creating a well-oil machine that effortlessly creates...
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Tommy West, Frequencies of the Sun

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August 26, 2014
Tommy West, Frequencies of the Sun

Tommy West’s “Frequencies of the Sun” is a real trip. Over the course of eleven songs Tommy West displays his considerable chops. “Frequencies of the Sun” is a remarkable album with the uncanny ability to show off talent while remaining well attuned to the necessity of melodic progression. His penchant for 70s rock is...
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THE EMPTY HEARTS, THE EMPTY HEARTS

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August 25, 2014
THE EMPTY HEARTS, THE EMPTY HEARTS

The Empty Hearts are another super group of sorts, where successful members of past bands (The Cars, Blondie, The Romantics and The Chesterfield Kings) get together to collaborate. This group is made up of Elliot Easton (Cars) on lead guitar, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Clem Burke (Blondie) on drums, Wally Palmar...
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VANDENBERG’S MOONKINGS

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August 25, 2014
VANDENBERG’S MOONKINGS

This Dutch group is made up of former Whitesnake guitarist and songwriter Adrian Vandenberg, Jan Hoving on vocals, Sem Christoffel on bass, and Mart Nijen Es on drums. Jan has a Robert Plant quality with the range and delivery that fits the songs here. The vocal duties would have also been right in Sammy...
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Phillip Brandon, Debut EP

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August 25, 2014
Phillip Brandon, Debut EP

Phillip Brandon’s homespun blend of roots rock, Americana, and Soul is captured in his new EP/album which goes by the same name. With just the right mix of sweetness and grit, the music is packed with the lowdown, roots soul that will make you groove and smile. Straight away I discovered Brandon to have...
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Rick Parma, Piece of Heaven

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August 25, 2014
Rick Parma, Piece of Heaven

This CD “Piece of Heaven” by Southern California’s own Rick Parma is probably destined to be remembered as one of the classic good timing Smooth-Jazz CD’s of recent time. I’m an experienced listener of the Jazz standard – and always skeptical as my standards set relatively high. This is not really Jazz mind you...
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The Midnight Slander, Long Way Home

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August 19, 2014
The Midnight Slander, Long Way Home

From Cleveland, Ohio comes rockers The Midnight Slander who just released their latest CD entitled “Long Way Home” in 2014 (Spectra Records). TMS are Dave Conner (Guitar/Vocals), Mike Gray (Bass/Piano/Organ), Al Rodriguez (Bass/Drums). Right from the start of Track 1 “Shattered” it might be easy to just categorize these 3 as a straight ahead...
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Able Danger, Escape

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August 19, 2014
Able Danger, Escape

Dayton, Ohio can claim a new force to hit the music scene and its name is Able Danger. Able Danger is a new progressive rock band that had its first gig back in November of 2013. Less than a year in existence, Able Danger is already makin’ a lot of noise. The group has...
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Darren Lawrence, Need To Change

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August 19, 2014
Darren Lawrence, Need To Change

As the former lead singer for Ruby Tigers who had a decent run followed by some commercial success, Darren Lawrence now steps into the spotlight as a solo artist. Darren’s latest single, “Need To Change”, is off of his debut solo EP titled ‘Enemies & Autumn Leaves’. I don’t know Darren personally, so not...
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Northern National, Young & In Love

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August 19, 2014
Northern National, Young & In Love

Northern National’s “Young & In Love” defines the phrase “the importance of being earnest”. Such energetic fully felt songs adorn the collection. The songs work together to create a tapestry of sounds. Each one evolves in its own peculiar way. With a full-fledged committed band working together the group manages to show a lot...
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Ian & The Dream, California Cauliflower

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August 19, 2014
Ian & The Dream, California Cauliflower

Ian & The Dream’s “California Cauliflower” sounds like summertime. Remarkably sunny the songs are full of optimism. The poppy nature of the songs is undeniable as they are full of wonderful hooks. Lyrically the songs have plenty of hope in them as they sync up perfect with lush instrumentation. With a true sense of...
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Kristopher James, Movement 1

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August 18, 2014
Kristopher James, Movement 1

Kristopher James conjures up wintery landscapes for “Movement 1”. There is warmth within these tracks of a house waiting to let someone in from the cold. His voice confirms this as the rest of the world appears to be kept at bay with a few basic instruments intended to bring great comfort. Outside of...
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Perfect Mark, Flesh & Voice

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August 18, 2014
Perfect Mark, Flesh & Voice

Perfect Mark’s blend of pop rock balances smooth vocals with a good helping of grit. Listen: http://perfectmark.bandcamp.com ‘Footprints’ kicks things off sounding like classic R.E.M. with its jangling guitars and thundering bass, it’s a confident opener and a strong piece of rock that sets out Perfect Mark’s stall in a way that shows what...
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Dalal, Suddenly

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August 15, 2014
Dalal, Suddenly

Dalal’s “Suddenly” starts off in full force. The sound is lush, lean and pristine. Every aspect of it is pure perfection from the beat to the hypnotic repetition that reveals greater nuance with more listens. Her voice is the beating heart of the piece. For all the production (which is incredibly enjoyable) it is...
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Creation Mind, The Crimson Sun

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August 14, 2014
Creation Mind, The Crimson Sun

Creation Mind’s “The Crimson Sun” is a fine homage to classic rock. With such big dreams Creation Mind covers all with its ceaseless sunlight. The music covers all classic rock variations: from the brilliantly brash album opener and title track “The Crimson Sun” to the quiet “My Lover and My Dream”. Even the track...
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Bonnie Finken, Fairy Tales/Love Affairs

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August 14, 2014
Bonnie Finken, Fairy Tales/Love Affairs

A native of the Iowa Singer Bonne Finken just released a ground breaking 14 song CD entitled “Fairy Tales/Love Affairs” in 2014. On the heels of a new single and music video for the robust pop anthem “Step Back Baby,” audiences are getting a sense of the new direction for Finken’s third studio album,...
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Skymonk, Skymonk

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August 14, 2014
Skymonk, Skymonk

From the opening bars of Skymonk’s self titled EP, a confident wash of smoky blues tinged indie rock launches itself forward, paving the way for ten minutes of solid tunes. Listen - http://skymonk.bandcamp.com Opener ‘Stop Looking At Me’ manages to set the bar high, with a sultry, hazy rock riff that perfectly underpins the...
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Heylel, Nebulae

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August 13, 2014
Heylel, Nebulae

Heylel’s “Nebulae” shows the evolution of progressive rock. With a well-placed King Crimson cover thrown into the mix (I Talk to the Wind) Heylel displays progressive rock influences and progressive rock’s future. Ana Batista’s vocals appear to be the unifying force throughout the collection. Such a strong distinctive voice helps to bond the many...
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Jelani Lateef, Manhood Talk

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August 13, 2014
Jelani Lateef, Manhood Talk

Jelani Lateef’s “Manhood Talk” is aural optimism. The rhythm of the piece feels incredibly colorful. Samples are carefully selected and lightly manipulated to fit with the overall positivity that emanates from the sound. Over the course of the piece Jelani Lateef manages to convey the image of someone who is slowly realizing their purpose...
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Amen Alibi, Addicted

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August 13, 2014
Amen Alibi, Addicted

Amen Alibi could well be time travellers, bringing their instruments with them from forty years ago to make use of the modern recording technology that is now so readily available. Their latest release, Addicted, brings together a whole host of influences and ideas from the classic prog/psych rock era, and delivers it with a...
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Clouds and Clocks, Aliantha

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August 13, 2014
Clouds and Clocks, Aliantha

Clouds and Clocks creates a truly surprisingly piece with “Aliantha”. With many different twists and turns the piece manages to be full of life and full of influences. Many of the sounds are those that otherwise would never meet. The juxtaposition of the varying styles works surprisingly well. Few groups have ever tried merging...
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Benn Bacot, 4Love of Abbey! (VOLUME I)

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August 12, 2014
Benn Bacot, 4Love of Abbey! (VOLUME I)

This CD 4Love of Abbey! (VOLUME I) is the latest release from San Francisco based Jazz Vocalist Benn Bacot. A CD of standards, some classics, of the American Songbook. Old blues from 1895 to 60′s vocalese this CD showcases the many layers of a voice not often heard in today’s music. No tenor or...
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Eric Frisch, “Mary Ann”

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August 12, 2014
Eric Frisch, “Mary Ann”

Country is as country does right here with Eric Frisch’s ‘Mary Ann’. Stream the single: https://soundcloud.com/ericfrisch/mary-ann Cracking out some classic blues riffs and laying down some serious square dance fodder, this is one of those tracks that ain’t going to be for everyone. Writing as a Brit, it’s not one of those genres that...
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Azwel, From Now On

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August 12, 2014
Azwel, From Now On

Azwel’s “From Now On” is studious, well-crafted pop made perfect. “From Now On” sounds remarkably similar to Jon Brion’s soundtrack work. Azwel’s casual songwriting approach and vocal style make it surprisingly tender with a warm, well lived-in sound. Much of the album has a cinematic feel to it that allows the songs to gain...
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Devyn Rose, Falling 4 U

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August 12, 2014
Devyn Rose, Falling 4 U

“As if Rihanna and Labyrinth decided to turn to diamond theft, only to give up halfway through the heist and head to a club instead without bothering to change out of their cat burglar outfits.” Loaded with emotion, yearning, and the ache of new love, Devyn Rose’s ‘Falling 4 U’ is a rich and...
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Mesa Jane, Level

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August 12, 2014
Mesa Jane, Level

The new “Level” CD from Pennsylvania based Mesa Jane is an exceptional 10 Track release and is very multi-dimensional to say the least. It also however possesses an undeniable Alternative Rock-Pop core sound accessible by all listeners – even old school Singer/Songwriter, 80’s, 90’s Pop fans. Does all of this sound a bit over...
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Jambalaya Brass Band, On the funky Side (2012)

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August 11, 2014
Jambalaya Brass Band, On the funky Side (2012)

On the funky Side (2012) is the latest album available by New York based Jambalaya Brass Band and their red hot Creole Soul sound. First a bit about the band: The Jambalaya Brass Band is a group of seasoned musical pros from a variety of impressive previous musical settings as diverse as the Duke...
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A Light Within, Preface (EP)

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August 11, 2014
A Light Within, Preface (EP)

Patient, refined, with enough space for the ultimate crescendo, the three pieces on “Preface (EP)” build off of each other. Together they work to create a series of fascinating dark territories. Outside of the obvious debt to Post-Rock they have a number of particularly well selected moments. From their focus on constant change the...
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BEEMA, Scuse Me

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August 11, 2014
BEEMA, Scuse Me

Ft. Pierce, Florida is the home to BEEMA, a female rap artist who knows how to work her hooks and flows into epic tunes at every turn. Citing T.I, Lauren Hill, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Lil “Queen Bee” Kim, and Nas as her influences, BEEMA is known as THE BOSS OF THE...
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Jacob Acosta, For the People by the People

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August 11, 2014
Jacob Acosta, For the People by the People

One of the greatest things a music-lover can experiences is the discovery of a new artist so exciting, so invigorating it makes the listener want to “really” write about it. Though I don’t write reviews under false pretenses I will admit many times I find myself writing reviews based on music that is to...
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Gone By Sunrise, Gone By Sunrise

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August 7, 2014
Gone By Sunrise, Gone By Sunrise

Gone By Sunrise makes the perfect weekend soundtrack. These are casual songs in the best way possible creating a relaxed atmosphere. Utilizing a myriad of stylistic choices from straight-up rockers to acoustic-centered pieces, they manage to nestle themselves into the mind. Everything comes together nicely. Perfectly balanced they are full-bodied, fully formed pieces with...
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