Category: REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

Diana Krall, Live in Rio DVD

It’s not everyday when one comes across a music DVD that is enjoyable from start to finish. That’s the feeling you get from watching and listening to jazz vocalist Diana Krall’s recent DVD release, “Live in Rio.”   A sultry mix of bossa nova, jazz and samba, Krall, who for nearly two decades has smashed…

Groove Kings, Blood Red

Howard Forman jammin’ away on guitar and Irene Marc belting out the vocals make up the heart and soul of Groove Kings.   These two musicians seem to have a special connection when it comes to creating a musical groove.   The combo between Forman’s precision on guitar stacked with Marc’s passion at the mic…

Ronda Matson, Truth Be Told

The CD right away has a real earthy/true-to-heart feel with Ronda Matson smiling away and flowers shown on the back cover.   With the background color of a plain-jane light, brown while showing Matson in a natural state of happiness gives off a vibe of eco-friendly trueness.   This is ideally what Ronda M. represents,…

Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse, Happier Than You

“Happier Than You” brings music out of it’s usual passive attitude. With its earworm worthy infectious pop hooks, and lyrics that are mixed with brilliant spot-on social observations that are often poignant, and heart-felt.               With a voice like Sarah Silverman and music reminiscent of They Might Be Giants,…

Lorraine Leckie and Her Demons, Four Cold Angels

A native of Whitby, Ontario, Canada, Lorraine Leckie is a former world-renowned make-up artist who quit her day job and went on to make music. Since she was young, the music of Hank Williams and Canadian hero Neil Young have played a pivotal role in her life. Bound with her poems influenced by Jean Nicolas…

Chris McLeod, Television Dreams

Chris McLeod is a man with an acoustic guitar and a broken heart. His album Television Dreams is a love letter to the one who got away. It’s very simple and honest, with McLeod playing acoustic guitar chords and singing words that could either be from a letter or a diary. The first track, “Final…

Estrella Cristina, This Is Life

Get your pop rocks on with a slight alternative twist on Estrella Cristina’s newest release, This Is Life.   Having ties and roots to Panama, Trinidad and the U.S., Cristina brings a diverse vibe along with a deep love for music itself.   Being named after a star in Spanish, Estrella, could it be that…

Mastodon, Crack The Skye

The fourth album, Crack The Skye, from heavy metal rockers Mastodon takes you on an epic journey through space and time. The subject matter of their lyrics has always involved a mix of science fiction and myth. The layered and textured guitar chords create a fittingly grandiose soundscape to add emphasis and drama to their…

Passion Pit, Manners

It is clear from the beginning of Passion Pit’s debut full-length album Manners that lead singer and keyboardist Michael Angelakos is the sentimental type. Not surprisingly it was sentimentality that inspired Angelakos to craft the first Passion Pit EP Chunk of Change — that album was a Valentine’s gift for his then girlfriend. Now on…

Years, Years

Curators of alarmingly aware films take note: your next soundtrack is waiting for you with open arms. Years, (Ohad Benchetrit of Do Make Say Think) have crafted one of the most pensive and poignant instrumental records to be heard in, well, years. The self-titled debut mixes delicate finger-picking with rousing melodies in an attempt to…

These United States, Crimes

These United States describe their latest effort as “It’s about crimes – good ones, bad ones, accidental ones, purposeful ones, all the ones people commit. Maybe not all of them – only 12 songs to pack it all in, you know – but a good deal of them. People do some wild things”.    …

Girl in a Coma, Trio B.C.

Everything’s bigger in Texas. So it’s no wonder that Girl in a Coma has big influences, a big resume, and a big sound. The girls behind the band got together in junior high and played their first gigs in high school, and now they’ve released their second album, Trio B.C., with tours with Cyndi Lauper…

People, The Cliché

Either come with it to rock out or just simply go home should be this LA-based band’s motto.   People is the name of the group and a heavy, rock-driven record is the premise of The Cliché.   People is composed of front-man/guitarist/songwriter–Jimmy Young, Matty O on drums and featuring new bassist–Matt Powers.   Powers…

Desillusion, Blasphaesthetic

Desillusion is a 3-piece band made up of: Westin Halvorson on lead vocals & guitar, Jay Keller on bass and Galen Waling on drums.   These men pack one hell-of-a-freakin’ punch, which is amazing considering there are only three members.   This Seattle-based industrial-metal group definitely does not personify your typical Seattle “Grunge” Rock band.…

The Friday Night Boys, Off The Deep End

Starting parties with their pop and dance fused songs since 2006, The Friday Night Boys is made up of Andrew Goldstein(vocals), Robby Dallas Reider(bass), Mike Toohey(guitar), and Chris Barret(drums). Up until now, the four have been on a long and hard journey to where they are now, touring with popular acts such as All TIme…

SWAY, Let It Roll

Singer/Songwriters, Gina Quartaro & Perry Martin are fully responsible for the contemporary country band known as SWAY.   The founding members along with their backing band bring you their debut album, Let It Roll.   One amazing concept is the fact that this record is a debut because of its incredibly professional sound.   SWAY…

Gaucho, Deep Night

There are various feelings that are sprung from listening to Gaucho’s “Deep Night,” but one thing is for sure — it is music that definitely brings you to your feet.   A mixture of jazz with a twist of New Orleans swing, Gaucho is known as a “gypsy jazz sextet,” with the members of the…

Jared McCloud, Romance of the Atlantic

Jared McCloud’s sophomore album, “Romance of the Atlantic,” offers a look into his story — one of working towards stardom, as well as the difficult journey of a musician who has to hit the road and leave a loved one behind. A combination of acoustic and light rock, this disc is smooth and soothing. In…

Jennifer Logue, Pretty

Jennifer Logue is bringing infectious attitude & sound on her new EP, Pretty.   The NYC-based singer/songwriter offers up a little rock/pop/folk mixed with country influences, but delivered in such a pleasant fashion.   Logue has seven new refreshing tracks that are so ready for human consumption. Logue’s upbeat and pretty persona is picked up…

Kava Kava, Forwards

Much in the vein of The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method and Moby, Kava Kava toe the line between electronica and live instrumentation and meld the two into interwoven electro-rock tracks that range from agro alt to electronic-induced groove. The final product is a 10-track hybrid testament to that fact that Kava Kava know where…

The Black Crowes, Warpaint Live

Often the main benefit of the live album is its ability to capture a dynamic that is either lost in post-production studio work or overlooked all together. The raw, organic sound, the tendency for improvisation and the extended play times of the tracks are live disc staples and none are lost on The Black Crowes…

Years, Years

Curators of alarmingly aware films take note: your next soundtrack is waiting for you with open arms. Years, (Ohad Benchetrit of Do Make Say Think) have crafted one of the most pensive and poignant instrumental records to be heard in, well, years. The self-titled debut mixes delicate finger-picking with rousing melodies in an attempt to…

Lee Villaire, Blonde Intuition & Other Good Voodoo

To first set the record straight, the artist formerly known as Lee Villenueve now goes by Lee Villaire.   For Villaire, the new name just has a better ring to it and is a lot easier to pronounce.   The new record features 13 songs that are solely written by Villaire herself with the exception…

Lucia Seas, Keep The Drive Alive

Lucia Seas is coming from the land of The Bronx Bombers with a new studio release titled Keep The Drive Alive.   The new record caters to ALL people and stresses positivity even during hard times.   Besides Keeping The Drive Alive, Keep The Hope Alive & Keep The Dreams Alive are also underlying themes…

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz!

Three years since their last album, the lovable trio, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, have returned with ‘It’s Blitz!’, and synths. Zero, the lead single off the awaited album, was the first hearing of the “new” sound that had been talked out. Before Karen O calmy comes in, the song begins with a barrage of synths,…

Kaleo Futuristo, The Future Is Now

Kaleo stands for “The Voice, The Music and The Song” in the Hawaiian language.   This futuristic kat is bringin’ all three elements to this record and then some.   Futuristo’s unique brand of rock/hip-hop/pop appeals to both a national and international audience.   The Future Is Now not just for Kaleo Futuristo, but for…

MVD Visual, Kill The Record Labels

There is a war going and it is putting hip hop artists against the music industry. This newest DVD offering from MVD Visual explores a side of hip hop that most are not familiar with. Directors Charles Rand & T. Thomas set out to expose & research various issues that are hurting the hip hop…

Joe Parillo Trio with Jay Hoggard, Segments

As Segments begins, you have no idea where you are. Perhaps you have been transplanted into a fantasy sequence of a movie? The first 30 seconds of the opening track, “Intro/Clouds,” definitely inspire this mystical feeling, with a small orchestra playing a theme that segues into a beautiful piano/vibraphone duet. The vibraphone is a pretty…

Mike Clinco, Neon

Composer and jazz guitar extraordinaire Mike Clinco certainly has a passion for melodies, which is evident throughout all of the tracks on Neon. An impressive musician in his own right, he assembled an extraordinary band for this project that transforms smooth, often deceptively simple melodies into a treat for the ear. Regardless of whether or…

La Forza, Dance Music for Your Mind Vol. 1

La Forza is an instrumental duo made up of Divina Klein and Douglas Mackar.   Klein is a classically trained pianist who has a certain expertise with electronic music while Mackar is an underground hip-hop producer with drums/percussion as his forte.   With completely different backgrounds in music, Divina and Douglas mesh it all together…

Straw Dogs, Love And Then Hope

Singer/songwriters & guitarists Dave von Beck and Darren Smith make up the core of Straw Dogs.   Bassist, Eric Bryson and drummer, Casey Miller have been the driving force on rhythm for the last six years.   Love and then Hope also features many guest musicians that contribute their talents on the following: vocals, acoustic…

Evan Spade, Evan Spade

Within the bounds of the music industry, the Internet has emerged as the paramount vehicle of choice for up and coming as well as established artists. The sheer breadth and scope of the net’s reach is virtually limitless, and no one knows this better perhaps than Dallas-based pop rockers Evan Spade. And the pairing of…

Van Atta High, Doin’ Somethin’ Right

I posit that as a music journalist, you aren’t working these days unless you are writing about the proliferation of Pop-Punk bands. For this music journalist, it proves that I am not immune to the generation gap; rather a victim of it. My generation’s vantage point saw Punk as fringe and never intended for mass…

RANDOM STABBINGS & ARTLESS CRITIQUE, MAY 2009

Sweet, Action: The Sweet Anthology (Shout Factory   Records) With one purchase you can become a true 70s-arena-rock know-it-all instead of some underwear-fouling young poseur looking for attention from your hopelessly distracted parents.   Riding a rail between prog and glam at the height of their fame, Sweet (or “The Sweet” if you have nothing…

Jean-Pierre Simons, Sentimentally…To Africa

The multi-cultural and multi-dimensional artist known as Jean-Pierre Simons brings us one diverse piece of work.   The title track “Sentimentally…To Africa” brings it all back to Simons’ roots as a young man growing up in Cameroon.   He says during the song, “Everything is bringing me back to Africa” and you really feel his…

Beyond From Within, Beyond From Within

The record industry has without a doubt become an industry in flux. The standard formula for making a record, marketing that product and reaping the benefits of its sale still apply, it’s just that these days it isn’t the only formula out there. Steve Andrews, the one-man entity behind Pennsylvania’s Beyond From Within, is testament…

Kicksville, The Singles – Season 1

Welcome to Kicksville. Your tour will last roughly an hour and will consist of an episodic journey into a genre-bending society. Before diving into Kicksville’s The Singles — Season 1, take a look at the art inside the CD booklet. Each track has a corresponding cover by illustrator Andy Ewen, with the recurring themes of…

RANDOM STABBINGS & ARTLESS CRITIQUE, APRIL 2009

Bell X1, Blue Lights on the Runway (Yep Roc Records) You know you’re in for a flurry of dishwasher-safe accountant-rock when an album’s first single (“The Great Defector”) uses Doors organ as its major weapon, but this Irish crew do have bigger plans than stealing a few fans away from Broken Social Scene. Note that…