Category: REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

Frank Zappa, The Freak-Out List

On the sleeve of his immortal debut album, Freak Out!,   Frank Zappa listed 179 well-known and obscure artists and bands that acted as a roadmap to his signature style.     The Freak-Out List chronicles some of the more obscure Jazz, Classical, and Doo Wop artists, through a series of interviews and found footage.…

Ron Contour & Factor, Saffron

Is Ron Contour notorious Canadian rapper, and MC Moka Only’s cousin; or just Moka Only wearing a cheap costume shop moustache?   Whatever the case, the moustachioed madman raps “rugged and raw like McGruff the Dog”. “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.” – Winston…

Swade G, Ghetto Life

Get ready for Swade G as he pumps your ears with funky ‘n’ fresh flavor on the new album, Ghetto Life.   Born Wade Kibby, Swade has decided to step out of the shadows to come hard with his debut record.   His older brother is actually “Dirty Walt” Kibby, who is the co-founder of…

Blank Generation, Stars: Richard Hell, Carole Bouquet and Andy Warhol

In 1980, an instantly forgettable film documenting a surreal relationship between Billy (Richard Hell) and Nada (Carole Bouquet) was released.   Inspired by French New Wave cinema,   it features odd transitions, several moments of cinema that leave you puzzled, and things that’ll have you laughing out loud. With its beautiful cinematography of a grimy…

Mac Leaphart, Line, Rope, Etc.

I have got to come clean… I am warming up to country music. Albeit slowly… yes, warming up. Now as a disclaimer that doesn’t include all country. I still have no palate for kitschy twang or play on word, hokey lyrics. But the heartfelt, cut-me-I-bleed country that comes from some deep place within, I can…

No Second Troy, Colors

The first time I heard No Second Troy with the shiny new mp3’s from the guys and gals at Green Light Go, I thought I wasn’t hearing the fire in the music. Soon I realized I had listened to the tracks out of order, and that the crackling was under a surface scratched. More importantly,…

Bob Pressner, Honor Among Thieves

Inspired by the after effects of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, Bob Pressner gives you his own dose of reality.   This singer/songwriter now based in Florida tries to make sense of this crazy, unbalanced world.   Honor Among Thieves is Pressner’s answer to it all as he hopes to smooth matters…

The Kissing Party, The Hate Album

This isn’t your everyday Kissing Party; this is a group of Denver musicians that gives you their Hate Album.   Love ‘em or hate ‘em, The Kissing Party will definitely get your attention.   Coming off their previous release, Rediscover Lovers, from two years ago, this band is ready to set the bar high NOW.…

Deftones, Diamond Eyes

It’s been awhile, Deftones. Four years since their last release, 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist, but more likely it’s been even longer for many. Visions of my late-90s flash through me when I hear this band, mainly because I don’t hear them any more. But that doesn’t comment on what kind of band the Deftones are…

I Am the Dot, Minimal Love

Amidst a Young Coyotes’ hiatus, Zach Tipton donned the moniker I Am the Dot and has since been steady releasing a series of terse EPs. Both strange in arrangement and approach, the EPs are replete with multi-layered tracks that run the musical gamut from eerie to comforting. His latest outing, Minimal Love, stays true to…

The Jim Ivins Band, Self-Titled

Get ready for this pop/rock band from Richmond, Virginia as they set the bar high with their new EP.   The Jim Ivins Band is rich with sound and heavy on the acoustic side.   Whether it’s rock you crave or pop goodness that you desire, this group will satisfy all of your musical needs.…

Martinez FX, Self-Titled

Are you ready for a wild dance record for 2010 & beyond?   If you answered yes, then Martinez FX is your guy.   Techno & electro are displayed in flying colors on this new album.   You’re also getting doses of alternative, electro-rock and shoegaze.   Overall, Martinez FX has put together groupings of…

Christopher Hawley Rollers, Comes Around Again

The Christopher Hawley Rollers are a band you find in a juke joint on the side of Route 62, letting the dust come in and coating bar top, boots and guitar fret boards; playin’ crowd-pleasers ‘til sunrise and going home with enough money in the pocket to come back next week. At least, that’s the…

Damon, Song of a Gypsy

The summer of 1969 saw Woodstock, where hippies abounded, love was in the air and the brown acid was not recommended. That year also marked the release of Song of a Gypsy, the debut album from artist, Damon. The record reflected much of the sentiment and culture of the times, namely love, deep emotion and…

Lisa Bell, Dancing On The Moon

Lisa Bell is ready to ring in the summer with her delightfully exquisite new record, Dancing On The Moon.   This singer/songwriter from Colorado has an incredible vocal presence on this new album.   Bell digs down deep to bring you spellbinding lyrics and an emotionally-drenched performance that will leave you wanting more.   Full…

Carney, Mr. Green Volume 1

Carney are parading their goods in all the right ways. They look like a rock band, they sound like a rock band, and they’re probably just as cool as your typical, young LA rockers. Laid back and carefree, despite some melancholic vocals delivered in the most tragic and withering way possible, watching these guys perform…

Remaindermen, Border States

Formerly known as Trio in Stereo, Remaindermen is their new name and playing fresh music is their game.   This five-man crew has come a long way from playing college parties while attending Indiana University in Bloomington.   The band now resides in the Windy City as they bring to you Border States under their…

Trans Am, Thing

What?! There’s no vocals in post-rock! —But Captain, these voices aren’t human, they’re… something else. Trans Am have trapped you in a Tron-like universe and Thing is the robot in a business suit sent to save you. On closer inspection, the real concept of the record isn’t quite what I imagined–humbug–but it’s just as spacey.…

Steve Poltz, Dreamhouse

The comfortable, seemingly nonchalant sway of Steve Poltz’s latest, Dreamhouse may very well be a nod to East Coast singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett, long one of Canada’s undiscovered strumming charmers. After all, not only did Plaskett produce Dreamhouse, he played six different instruments and provided backing vocals. But maybe Plaskett simply adds fuel to Poltz’s fire.…

Robin Stone, Bad Girl

Get ready for Robin Stone as she brings you her new album full of so much good flavor.   Bad Girl proves that Stone is a gifted singer/songwriter and a force to be reckoned with in this business.   If I had to use one phrase to describe this record’s overall sound I would call…

MaryBeth Maes, Just Like Me

As one that holds classic blues-rock close to heart, it came as a great surprise just how difficult it was to listen through the entirety of MaryBeth Maes’ debut original album, Just Like Me. It’s perplexing as Maes succeeds in every fundamental aspect— a voice with great range and pitch, solid acoustic accompaniment, and great…

Lyrical Eye, Lyrical Eye

I recently received this demo of four songs and was curious to find out just who this Lyrical Eye person was.   Turns out his real name is Stefan Eliades and was born in the small island of Cyprus.   This artist/songwriter has also lived in the United Kingdom where his music career really started…

Duc’n it Easy, October

This six-song set from Duc’n it Easy will excite your senses and get you all fixed up with some feel-good tunes.   October features a mellow rock approach with a jam band feel that also incorporates elements of country from time to time.   The overall vibe is extremely cool with a laid-back demeanor and…

The Radio Dept., Clinging To A Scheme

In today’s musical landscape, four years is basically an eternity for a band to follow up an album with another. This obviously doesn’t matter to the Swedish electronic pop band The Radio Dept. as their newly released album Clinging To A Scheme comes on the heels of the well-regarded Pet Grief record which dropped way…

Ayler Young, Back In The City

For many musicians based out of New York City, it is easy to write about life in the Big Apple but it is much harder to make it sound fresh and compelling. Ayler Young, a 30-year-old songwriter influenced by both classical and rock music, doesn’t seem to have that problem though as his just released…

Italian Japanese, The Lush, Romantic Weirdness

Sometimes, you can get a real feel for a certain group right off the bat.   That is exactly the case here with Italian Japanese and The Lush, Romantic Weirdness.   I can sense right away that this band has something special and that they will definitely be a smash hit within the music scene.…

The Royal Heist, Midnight In The Garden of Evil

With the precision of a bullet in the chamber, The Royal Heist are corked in to deliver–and that’s just how they start their debut spin, Midnight In The Garden of Evil, released digitally April 20th. The record is produced by the band and Max Coane, the same man behind the sound of recent punk legends…

The Lions, New Rise of the FootSoldier

Get ready for an incredibly loud roar from The Lions.   Not real lions of course but a band of wild musicians from Calgary, Alberta Canda that call themselves The Lions.   This group plays with ferocious intensity with pure rock at the core of everything.   Give way to these new rock soldiers as…

Mongrel Mix, Self-Titled

Mongrel Mix is an eclectic blend of unique styles where it seems music is coming from all directions.   You’re not just getting chocolate or vanilla from this group; you have a wide variety of flavors to choose from.   Everything from straight rock to classic rock to roots & folk; you’re getting a little…

Sonic Rebellion, Heads We Win…Tails You Lose

Are you ready for a rebellion full of hard rock and jaw-dropping energy?   If so, it’s time to get on board with Sonic Rebellion and their new record, Heads We Win…Tails You Lose.   This NYC-based band brings to you a sound that is revved up, amped up and I would even say electrifying.…

White Denim, Fits

This one should come as no surprise: it’s another genre-bending and altogether righteous rock and roll band out of Austin. Seriously, what are they putting in the water there? And why does it take so long for the rest of the world to get hip to these acts? White Denim, a dynamic three-piece that are…

My Silent Bravery, Are You Prepared?

Formerly known as the Matt Shwachman Band, this group decided to get a complete makeover.   The new image is now My Silent Bravery and the sound is more appealing than ever.   New name and fresh start for Shwachman & company as they have you asking yourself Are You Prepared?   I hope that…

Bulletproof Messenger, Arm Yourself

Prepare yourself for a fistful of heavy rock joints that will leave a lasting impression on you.   Bulletproof Messenger (BPM) are setting aim to explode amongst the music community.   This rock band asks you, the listeners, to Arm Yourself with good music and solid knowledge.   Not too much to ask I think…

The Echo Falls, The Echo Falls

The Echo Falls swoon with the kind of classic pop sensibilities that you can’t help but find endearing. In small doses. After all, overplaying The Echo Falls is a weighty risk. Too much exposure to surefire acoustic gems like “Hummingbird” is a threat to the track’s honest and precious sentiment. There’s no shortage of romantic…

Sonarpilot, Mothership

Are you ready for a futuristic sound explosion for 2010 & beyond???   Well get ready because Sonarpilot and the new double CD, Mothership, are about to blast off!   Sonarpilot is your captain and Mothership is your transportation, so strap yourself in and prepare yourself for one incredible ride full of wonder & excitement.…

The Dimes, The King Can Drink The Harbour Dry

The King Can Drink The Habour Dry, the latest release from Portland’s rising folk-poppers The Dimes isn’t so much a concept record as it is an homage. Lyrically and musically, this seven piece band are clearly students of history. Sounding like a cross between a mellow and pratical Beach Boys and a slightly exuberant Elliot…

The Great Affairs, The Great Affairs

Before we get this started, realize I approach hanging a yoke around the necks of The Great Affairs with much trepidation. I really don’t know how to begin to classify the Nashville outfit except to say they toe several lines in terms of genre. After several listens to their 2009 self-titled, my conclusion is: it’s…

Mary J. Blige, Stronger with Each Tear

Mary J. Blige has every right to be deemed “Queen of Hip Hop Soul”, when she has received multi-platinum status on just about every album she has released since 1992 and has sold more than 49 million records to date. Since her “Real Love” days of her debut album, “What’s the 411?”, to her current…

Curbstone Beauty, Who Needs Luv

Good music is definitely hard to find these days, and that can be said for all genres of music across the board –hip hop, country, rock, etc. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a band like Curbstone Beauty, which brings back some original sound, especially one that reminds me of what I’ll call…

Lori Diamond, Mystery

I introduce to you 1-of-A-Kind–Lori Diamond from Boston.   This singer/songwriter/pianist has such a pure & genuine quality to her voice.   Not to mention, this talented artist throws in stellar piano playing to complete the entire Mystery.   It is no surprise that this Bostonian sings & plays from the heart at all times…