Category: REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

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…

Golden Bloom, Fan The Flames

Golden Bloom, the power-pop force sounds like a thousand waves crashing in ferocious union on “Fan The Flames.” It should come as a mighty surprise then, that Golden Bloom, which can easily rival acts like The New Pornographers in their power pop capabilities is just one dude. Shawn Fogel cranks out nine pieces of pop…

Stricken City, Songs About People I Know

Talk about groovy. Stricken City’s latest full-length, “Songs About People I Know” is ripe with enough insanely bombastic, electronically-infused melodies that you may feel a little exhausted after your first spin of the record. Rebekah Raa belts out 80’s influenced notes in a suitably hyper manner, and while this London act can come across as…

Edward Rogers, Sparkle Lane

Originally of Birmingham England, Edward Rogers is a New York based singer-songwriter who’s latest solo effort Sparkle Lane (named after a street his grandmother lived on that was paved with concrete and bits of broken glass whose sparkle sums up how Edward felt as a child) deals with the loss of innocence, and stories of…

Balmorhea, Constellations

“Constellations,” the latest from Austin’s architects of aural density, Balmorhea is one damn freaky listen. Whether or not this five-piece intended on scaring the shit out of listeners, it happens, repeatedly on “Constellations.” It’s such a simplistic record, sparse in every manner of the word, that little more than a pluck of a banjo, a…

Pants Yell!, Received Pronunciation

It`s been widely reported that “Received Pronunciation” will be the last release from Boston trio Pants Yell! And that’s a shame. This isn’t just the passing of another three piece, but the passing of a language of sorts. At nine songs and twenty-seven minutes long, “Received Pronunciation” creates a warm resonance. Each three minute slice…

The Rebellion, Time

When commonality and diversity meld, the result is typically something quite dynamic. And in a world that is too often wrought with the maxims “similarity breeds contempt” and “difference causes conflict” it is a breath of fresh air when the opposite is achieved. Enter The Rebellion. Two native Canadians, a multi-instrumentalist from Romania and a…

The Jardines, Self-Titled

It looks like there’s more going on in Vancouver this year than just the 2010 Winter Olympics like that isn’t enough!   Coming from Richmond BC Canada, I present to you the mother-daughter act of Cherelle and Ajaye as The Jardines.   This brand new act was even lucky enough to land a spot on…

Mel Flannery Trucking Co., You Know What To Do

Mel Flannery and her band known as the Trucking Co. are ready to hit the roads and travel a long way with their new release You Know What Do.   This disc is an advance promotional-only EP with five cuts from the forthcoming record, As It Turns Out.   The NY-based group consists of chief…

Alphanaut, Out Of Orbit

Singer/Songwriter, Marc Alan is the man known as Alphanaut.   This artist is ready for lift off with his latest album, Out Of Orbit.   Alphanaut gives you space jams for 2010 and beyond!   T minus 9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…BLAST OFF!!! This new record is electro pop madness that will literally blow your mind!   You get…

Holopaw, Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness

Holopaw’s relaxed and melodical approach isn’t exactly synonymous with Gainesville, Florida. Energetic punk rockers like Against Me! come to mind, but that shouldn’t lead to any infused doubt over Holopaw’s third full-length, Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness. This is a record that is thick with a precious attention to melodies and slow, growing deceit. Each of…

Zeus, Say Us

Although a relative newcomer on the Canadian indie scene, Zeus, a Toronto foursome are one hell of a classically trained act. Their debut EP, Sounds Like Zeus garnered rave reviews, not the least of which for their rollicking cover of the Genesis hit, “That’s All.” What’s more, these four spirited, harmonious dudes cut their teeth…

Ryan Bonner and The Dearly Beloved, Monsters In The Hallway

Naturally, the story within a song belongs to the person who penned the lyrics. And interpretations within said lyrics tend to vary greatly from writer to listener. However, I have long found it impressive when a songwriter can package a story and “give” it to a listener by allowing the lyrical content to stand on…

The Silent Boys, One Step Closer

Sombre and   meandering as it may be, One Step Closer, the third release from The Silent Boys is a potent mix of English pop and melodically-charged indie pop. Jangles litter the album, including on the lighthearted “Tin Heart,” which rolls along like the Irish hills that seem to have gave birth to not only…

Yeasayer, Odd Blood

While many indie fans waited in eager anticipation for Yeasayer’s   second full length, Odd Blood. And it’s safe to say that after a few spins of Odd Blood, listeners will have their work cut out for them. No, it`s not as if Odd Blood is a particularly challenging listen. In fact, the experimental psych-popppers…

Hot Chip, One Life Stand

Everyone’s favorite British party boys, Hot Chip, have come a long way since their simplistic tunes on their debut record Coming On Strong. Since its release, the band has delivered rich dance-floor anthems dotted with melancholic love songs. On the band’s latest release One Life Stand the sentimental side becomes more pronounced. If 2008’s Made…

Ash Gray And The Girls, This Could Be A Wild Night

One guy and four girls creating a full ‘n’ flavorful sound—genius idea here!   The richness of the vocal arrangements & harmonies is right on point.   Ash Gray sings up front while his Girls sing along in a most powerful fashion.   Gray and his ladies are takin’ you back in time with the…

VICTOR WAINWRIGHT AND THE WILDROOTS, BEALE STREET TO THE BAYOU

The four-piece group featuring Victor on piano (or Piana as he describes it) blends some boogie with some Cajun and blues.   A capable cast of “Extended Roots Members” supports the disc.   The bulk of the songwriting goes to bassist Stephen Dees and Victor.   The 14-track release has some Dr. John feel to…