Category: REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

The Sour Notes, It’s Not Gonna Be Pretty

When The Sour Notes’ fourth release, “It’s Not Gonna Be Pretty”, arrived in my mailbox, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Just reading the title of their band made me chuckle, but as I popped the CD into my walkman (yes, I still own one, and it’s a more than 10-year-old Sony), I was…

Pugwash, Giddy

The mystical charm of Ireland, something that has fascinated those on this side of the Atlantic for quite some time, is heard in spades on Giddy, the latest release from Pugwash. The distinct harmonies, elevated by the subtle folk-pop melodies show off how effortless Walsh makes the whole thing sound. This however, hinders Giddy as…

Matt Pond PA, The Dark Leaves

The shuffling nature of The Dark Leaves, the latest from Matt Pond PA brims with a distinct optimism, if only musically. The manner in which he delivers his warbling lyrics above heartfelt acoustic pop is a little bewildering, but for some reason, when the whole package is delivered together it works with alarming effciency. Tracks…

Aloha, Home Acres

Home Acres, the third and latest release from Aloha takes a leap into some strange and bold new territory for the band; and it’s a leap that may very well pay off for Aloha. Though the amps are still cranked and they’re doing whatever they can to keep their feet planted firmly in the dirt…

You Say Party! We Say Die!, XXXX

Shiny synthesizer melodies mingle with edgy, punk riffs on XXXX the third album by Canadian indie rockers You Say Party! We Say Die! (YSP! WSD!). The band channels the past in the new wave sound yet it is infused with a dose of punk swagger – a fitting rebel yell for the dance floor fiends.…

Sweethead, Sweethead

Initially, Sweethead’s self-titled album evokes neither regret nor awe but a feeling eerily in between.   It feels repetitive, at first, with a steady dissonant bass and indecipherable lyrics muddled into one. But if you have the patience for another go, this album proves more intricate and layered. Sweethead is decadent and dark, and can…

Jasper Coal, 1000 Feet Closer to Hell

Jasper Coal may be based in Birmingham, AL but their hearts belong to Ireland. Breaking out the tin whistle and the bodrhran, these guys wear their ethnic pride on their green sleeves. Their influences are obvious at first blush. Jasper Coal is heavily indebted to groups like The Pouges, Dropkick Murphys and even the more…

Rifoki, Sperm Donor EP

Before the two became renowned for their superstar status in the world of DJs, Steve Aoki and Bobby Rifo of The Bloody Beetroots were your typical hardcore kids. Both have come together to form Rifoki, a new hardcore project that is void of any hint that the two men behind the music are either one…

The Locals, Salt

I’d like to introduce to you a cool alt-pop/rock band from Chicago with so much Midwestern swag.   The Locals are an indie rock band that offer a garage band appeal by way of their raw & stripped down sound.   You’re also hearing heavy guitar parts and solid drumming on the new EP Salt.…

Drive By Truckers’, The Big To-Do

When asked to think of the best band to have originated in Athens, GA, most people would answer R.E.M. because of its enigmatic front man Michael Stipe and its classic sound heard on such classic albums as Murmur, Document, and Automatic for the People. However, now is the time to finally acknowledge another band that…

The Cringe, Play Thing

Right away from the front cover of this CD you see a band of creepy-looking monkey dolls that will just freak you out.   I already sense from the art work that this group is going to play against the grain and who knows may even make you cringe in the process.   One thing…

Iolite, Self-Titled

Iolite is a band surrounded by a deep richness of sound.   There are a number of musicians on this EP that help appeal to the senses by way of a plush & vibrant appearance.   The fullness factor can be contributed to the many talented players on this disc.   This work is undeniably…

The Hi-Nobles, Shake!

Jangly, party-ready strut? Check. Insistent adherence to the aesthetics of their musical heroes? You got it. Husky vocals? It’s all here. Hearing Shake! the debut from the garage and soul-influenced Hi-Nobles will no doubt bring listeners on a musical trip, as the record easily evokes images of rock and roll legends from yesteryear. Things never…

Ghostkeeper, Ghostkeeper

There’s a suspicious feel to Ghostkeeper’s latest full-length. Marrying spooked out blues that would have excited Captain Beefheart with an affinity for 60’s jangle pop sounds like a match made in sonic heaven. And while Ghostkeeper does indeed work very well sonically, there’s moments of restrained way out there psychadelics that litter the record. This…

JIMI HENDRIX, VALLEYS OF NEPTUNE

This is the newest offering by the Hendrix Family/Experience Hendrix of previously unreleased versions of vintage Jimi material. The 12-song release includes a booklet on the origins and history of the songs. The disc includes previously unheard studio versions of Bleeding Heart, and Sunshine Of Your Love. The recordings were done at both The Record…

Funeral in the Mirror, Old Wolf Thoughts

Get ready for electro-rock madness on Old Wolf Thoughts.   Funeral in the Mirror is a duo made up of Joe DeRosa and James Pinkstone.   This record is a true collaboration between DeRosa and Pinkstone as they shared all musical responsibilities.   The two artists came up with the beats, guitar parts, vocals and…

Absinthe Junk, Living Ghosts

What a diversely-ranged piece of work here that offers so much to the listener.   This band hails from the country music capital of the world, Nashville TN, but make no mistake that there is no sign of country twang in their sound.   Absinthe Junk are a world-fused rock group that blends elements of:…

Jason Collett, Rat A Tat Tat

Jason Collett, the dependable and perennial folk-rocker out of Toronto has made his name on his rustic charm and late-night swagger. Members of Broken Social Scene, the revolving door musical collective have labelled Collett as the “Tom Petty of Broken Social Scene.” How appropriate; Collett has resided comfortably slightly below the radar since he began…

Old Man Luedecke, My Hands Are On Fire and other Love Songs

“My hands are on fire, my hands are on fire…” hums Chris Leudecke, again and again throughout the comfortable swing on “The Rear Guard.” He isn’t kidding. Leudecke is something of a renaissance man, picking and strumming his banjo with the passion and fury of blues and countrymen of yesteryear on My Hands Are On…

Gucci Mane, The State vs Radric Davis

I was very anxious to give this new album from Gucci Mane a listen. I have always seen Gucci Mane as an emcee that has what it takes to be taken seriously in hop hop’s higher ranks. His lyrical prowess is not unusually strong but his character & swagger make up for it. One thing…

MegaRex, Recyclable Data

Are you ready to “Get It On” with not T. Rex but with another bandosaur called MegaRex.   MegaRex offers a dino-mite sound with plenty of solid rock for your eardrums.   This Brazilian rock trio brings to you their new CD, Recyclable Data, that you will be able to listen to over and over…

THE RUBINOOS, BIFF-BOFF-BOING

The Rubinoos started out as a California power pop group/garage band formed in the late 60’s while in junior high by guitarists/singers Jon Rubin and Tommy Dunbar.     The guys were hooked up early in their career with the infamous Berserkly Records and eventually producer/whiz Todd Rundgren and his genius cohort Kasim Sultan.  …

Kingsley, Digital Providence

Pop/rock sensibility, nuanced electronica and deep thought, optimistic lyrics come together on Kingsley’s new full-length Digital Providence. Again teaming with producer Jeff Kanan (Madonna, No Doubt), the sophomore release weighs in at a lofty 15-tracks of radio-friendly pop/rock goodness. The album as a whole is reminiscent of 30 Seconds to Mars, The Killers and like…

Dead Confederate, Wrecking Ball

Grunge may be the kind of genre that is still fodder for every jackass critic out there. But there are bands fighting to keep the swampy, uncomprimising attitude of grunge alive. And Dead Confederate, the Athens-based five-piece is one of those very bands. Wrecking Ball, their latest, stomps, swirls and haunts, while still paying close…

Dot Allison, Room 7 ½

In today’s fickle musical climate, it is hard to think of many female Scottish singer-songwriters who have made more than a ripple in the U.S. Sure, KT Tunstall made waves a few years back but she has been quiet lately.   (Mind you, we are not talking about Scottish women known mostly for their vocal…

Year Of The Dragon, Blunt Force Karma

Walter AdamKibby, II AKA Dirty Walt Kibby & Roderick “Rodcore” Palmer make up the core of Year Of The Dragon.   Dirty Walt was actually the co-founder of Fishbone whom he spent 25 years with before starting on this new project.   Another key player toward the origins of YOTD was another Fishbone member/guitarist, Tracy…

Sam Amidon, I See the Sign

On April 20th, Sam Amidon’s forth solo effort I See the Sign is released on Iceland-based Bedroom Community. Dealing with themes of redemption and featuring religious themes, this modern day Nick Drake’s album is bound to leave you feeling moved.             It’s non-polished “dirty sound” with its sweeping orchestration leaves…

Mighty Sam McClain, Betcha Didn’t Know

Sam McClain has led a storied career. At age thirteen he ran away from his abusive stepfather and joined “Little Melvin” Underwood, and this lead through a life with lots of ups and downs (from concerts around the world to selling plasma and living on a park bench) that just led credibility to Sam’s powerful…

Mishka, Talk About

A gentle perusing of one’s CD collection typically will render at least one Reggae album, usually the ubiquitous ones, like Marley’s Legend or anything Peter Tosh. Further still one may find an obscure Yellowman or a long forgotten Burning Spear, but it seems that few of the CD generation went untouched by the feel-good vibes…

Gin Wigmore, Holy Smoke

Last year, I reviewed a Lucy Woodward album and made a heartfelt confession. I am about to make another one. I have a Kiwi crush on New Zealand songbird Gin Wigmore. Now, the reasoning behind my amorous affections doesn’t revolve around her Aguilera-esque looks or her heavily tattooed right arm (although those would certainly be…

Vitamin-D, Bridge

Get ready to get a full dose of Vitamin-D as you travel along a well-balanced, musical Bridge.   Dennis Cronin is the brains of the operation as he played the role of: composer, producer, engineer, vocalist, trumpeter, bassist, accordionist & vibraphonist.   Following him are: Konrad Meissner on drums & percussion, Adam Gold on guitar,…

Carmen Tosca, Wind

Carmen Tosca attempts to blow you away with her new album, Wind.   The CD consists of 11 tracks that are in the realm of electronic/new-age/ambient.   The disc also displays classical moments and comes across as being extremely intercontinental.   This record oozes with creativity where Tosca makes good use of sounds, sound effects…

Lake Of Stew, Sweet As Pie

If records like Sweet As Pie the latest release from Lake Of Stew don’t put you in a good mood, then there’s simply no helping you. Though this hootenaney-ready, banjo laden dustbowl of a listen is tinged with some dark undertones, there’s no stopping the overwhelming sense of prosperity that keeps this gem of a…

April Smith And The Great Picture Show, Songs For A Sinking Ship

There’s a clever edge to “Songs For A Sinking Ship,” the debut full-length from April Smith and the Great Picture Show. Perhaps it’s the fine touches that litter “Songs For A Sinking Ship.” Nothing is laid on too thick; Smith and her bandmates never rely too heavily on banjos, organs, mellotrons and the like. In…

1986, Everybody Is Whatever I Think They Are

1986, the branchild of Giorgio Angelini and Cully Symington isn’t a band to take lightly. Everybody Is Whatever I Think They Are is a weighty, emotional listen, burgeoning with a swampy and often melancholic grunge edge. It’s a potent listen, particularly on swerving rock and roll beasts like “Habit,” which clamour at the edge of…

Peasant, Shady Retreat

Obviously artists vary in terms of the complexity and simplicity of their music. Some tend to blend a myriad of instrumentation that equates to a “sum of the parts” aural assault. Others tend to lean on a “less is more” approach and allow the music to stand on its own merit. Pennsylvania’s Peasant leans on…

Blake Shelton, Hillbilly Bone

Country crooner Blake Shelton has released a recession-buster of an album in “Six Pak” fashion–a six-track EP that will reach store shelves with an appropriate $6 price tag. The first of two planned releases, appropriately named Hillbilly Bone, is a collection of Southern stereotypes all sung through the contemporary country vein of kitschy-meets-clever lyrics. Title…

Buck Brothers, We Are Merely Filters

Guinness World Record holding (Most gigs in a 12 hour period) London-based punk powerhouses Buck Brothers are the greatest thing to come out of a Buddhist Disco since pacifist whack-a-mole. Their sophomore effort “We Are Merely Filters” has the same infectious hook-driven melodies with hilarious lyrics filled with far-spanning references and witty wordplay that was…