Category: REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

The Bramble Jam, Move Your Boots

The Bramble Jam are introducing their new brand of kids’ music to the world.   Inspired by their own kids, Jason Kern and Jessie Griffiths have decided to create something magically special for ALL to enjoy.   Move Your Boots is fun & inquisitive music for children and families to enjoy for generations to come.…

REO SPEEDWAGON, NOT SO SILENT NIGHT: CHRISTMAS WITH REO SPEEDWAGON

Singer/songwriter Kevin Cronin and the boys have assembled their version of 13 Christmas staples.   Kevin explained that they didn’t realize that Christmas albums have to be recorded in spring/summer months, and that the late start had them rushing to get distribution before December.   They are currently on their Can’t Stop Rocking tour to…

Rick McGuire, Dust and Tears

The first thing to say after listening to Dust and Tears is that Rick McGuire is the man!   This singer/songwriter from Minneapolis has created something here that is so incredibly cool-sounding.   Pop/Rock is the main driving force behind the album, but McGuire adds his suave & edgy vocals to the mix to make…

Ultimate Power Duo, New Normal

Saskatoon isn’t exactly a tourist destination of the highest accord in Canada, but at least acts like Ultimate Power Duo are doing their best to put the province’s musical talents at the forefront. The raw energy of the band’s second full-length, New Normal, is a surprisingly meaty listen for a three-piece, with scuzzy solos laced…

The Balconies, The Balconies

Finding a balance between unrestrained energy and genuine talent can be a tough pill to swallow for young bands. Finding their footing as far as capabilities and limitations is a practice that often takes a few records. Such is not the case for The Balcones. Their self-titled release features three remarkably talented musicians having a…

Rhett Frazier Inc, Escape From Dee-Troyt

The cover art for Los Angeles based Rhett Frazier Inc.’s debut disc Escape From Dee-troyt says plenty. A classic orange muscle car is parked along a street surrounded by a couple of colorful retro-looking buildings.   This picture is a perfect metaphor for the disc’s sound because old time soul and funk and bluesy rock…

BOB DYLAN, CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART

I wonder sometimes if it isn’t tedious being Mr. Bob Dylan, having listened for decades now to people lamenting over his inability to “sing.” Mr. Dylan sings in Christmas in the Heart, his 2009 collection of holiday classics, both secular and pious. He sings well. Yes, Mr. Dylan’s vocal chords are old and abused, beat-up,…

These United States, Everything Touches Everything

The motor is really running at full steam on Everything Touches Everything, the latest from alt-country groove masters These United States. They move with the melodic ease of a rowboat at dusk while still giving a noticeable homage to an unyielding joy that results in some pretty damn catchy rock and roll. If there’s an…

Kill The Lights, Fog Area

Montreal’s Kill The Lights certainly know how to run a gamut of sound. They’ve toiled with various sonic elements for the past few years; often allowing their records to stomp with a definitive brood-rock authority. They’ve even toiled in shoegaze, but the expansive double guitar attack of Joseph Yarmush and Alex Hackett ended up breathing…

Acres and Acres, All Nations

When David Scholten speaks, people ought to listen. The lead singer of Acres and Acres, the harmonic folk duo out of Halifax displays a poignant penchant for expressive his own personal truths on All Nations, their latest full-length. His voices creeps from side to side as a natural, gentle current might, making for some pretty…

The Shells, Written Road

The Shells give their listeners a lot to take in. Listening to Written Road, you’ll find beautiful vocals, stunning 3-part harmonies, empowering lyrics, not to mention the layers of the instrumental side. Yes, these women are country, but don’t let that fool you. They let the country come in as they please, and the rest…

L’illon, Warrior Angel

L’illon is a singer/songwriter based in Washington, D.C. who is about to take the music world by storm with her debut release.   This artist is hitting the indie music scene hard with her vibrantly fresh sound.   L’illon appears to be playing the role of the Warrior & the Angel on this new record.…

You Are Home, Phoneyhome

You Are Home is solely made up of Matthew Dake as bassist, multi-instrumentalist & songwriter and Phoneyhome is his baby.   The creation of this band though goes back to the brain work of Dake and a drummer by the name of Breighton Engeman.   Engeman eventually left the band and in return left it…

Headlights, Wildlife

According to the bio of Wildlife, the latest full-length from Headlights, the record stems from some very troubled beginnings. If that’s the case, it’s worth asking this Illinois foursome exactly what they did to find peace with these troubled beginnings, as Wildlife easily settles in as one of the most endearing records of 2009. Wildlife…

Alec Ounsworth, Mo Beauty

As the frontman of quite possibly the biggest buzz-bands of the 00’s, Alec Ounsworth has seen his career as a songwriter evolve and devolve, from a dorm room in Connecticut College, where he first shared his eclectic brand of songwriting with future Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! bandmate Lee Sargent to the self-distributed release of…

A Place To Bury Strangers, Exploding Head

Exploding Head, the second full-length from A Place To Bury Strangers isn’t so much loud as it is piercing. Sonically, it’s the equivalent of a root canal. There are moments of pain and distrust. But the end result is satisfying; imagine never having the aching pain of a pesky tooth again, or better yet, never…

Fifth Nation, Flight

Fifth Nation is named after a Native American tribe and the band consists of Julia Richardson as singer/songwriter/guitarist & Music Read on drums.   This duo is bringing a style all of their own here that is full of life.   The two members are blending together so many different musical styles such as:  …

Ty Segall, Lemons

Lemons, the second full-length from Ty Segall, calls to mind many genres, including psychedelia and garage punk. Hell, there’s even hints of freak-folk and noise-rock, if you want to get really specific. What doesn’t work in Segall’s favour is how many bands are proliferating knock-off sounds in each of these genres these days, jumping on…

Lake, Let’s Build A Roof

If Let’s Build A Roof, the latest record from Olympia’s Lake is going to be classified as a “Pop” record, then the record may have forged a new genre for eagers ears; patient-pop. From “Breathing,” the budding and rolling opener, one can’t help but envision a young couple in summertime, lying in the cool grass…

The Very Best, Warm Heart of Africa

I’ll admit that I didn’t have the faintest clue what I was getting into before I heard Warm Heart Of Africa, The Very Best’s first official release. Judging by the slight word of mouth I heard, I couldn’t help but wonder: was I for an initiation into the mysterious world of African pop?Well, after hearing…

Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

Change was a very good thing that happened to Lady Gaga. This time last year, we were introduced to a much different Gaga than the “freak b****h”(as she calls herself on “Bad Romance) that we are coming to know her as. Radio stations were blasting her electro-heavy dance singles, “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”, but…

Paramore, brand new eyes

The last two years have been very life-changing for Franklin, Tennessee rockers Paramore, led by fiery-haired femme rocker Hayley Williams. Not only did they settle a permanent spot on the radio with the many singles that spawned from 2007’s Riot!, but holding the official single(“Decode”) for the hugest movie of 2008, Twilight, just made it…

The Wheat Pool, Hauntario

Sombre bands often get backed into a corner. Listeners often feel that their records are only worth being heard on rainy, hungover Sundays. Such is the case with The Wheat Pool and their sophomoric release, the appropriately titled Hauntario. But there’s more to this Western Canadian alt-country outfit than just chugging tales of lost loves…

The Slew, 100%

Admit it: the idea of legendary Canadian Kid Koala teaming up with bassist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett (The original rhythm section of Wolfmother) has you intrigued at the very least. Yet there’s the distincy possibility you’re salivating beyond control. But the intriguing combination that The Slew are, there is the possibility that 100%,…

Castanets, Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts

I first got turned onto the “Freak-folk” genre a few years ago, while touring through a dank little record store instead of attending University classes. Now, the record that turned me onto the movement has faded into obscurity. But I’m quite sure had it been Castanets, also known as the musical stylings of Raymond Raposa…

Shaky Deville, Self-Titled

Named after the classic ’76 Cadillac Coupe De Ville, Shaky Deville are revvin’ their engines loud on this one.   Lead singer and guitarist, Matt (M.S.B.) DeVille fittingly enough, actually owned this car thanks to his dad.   “Best car I’ve ever owned” are DeVille’s exact words, but will this album be the best thing…

Bottle Up & Go, These Bones EP

Haven’t we heard enough of blues-punk power duos? If anyone ever asks you that question, ask them if they’ve ever heard These Bones, the debut EP from Brooklyn’s Bottle Up & Go. Sure, whoever you’re engaged in a conversation with might insist that Bottle Up & Go are a two and a half piece band.…

Early Day Miners, The Treatment

It’s a rather remarkable thing when a band like Early Day Miners stays under the radar for so long. Six full-length records into the game and they remain a niche band, whose name rarely gets brought up within indie rock discusssions. Enter The Treatment, the aforementioned sixth full-length. This is where things will probably change…

Parkas, You Should Have Killed Us When You Had The Chance

Say it ain’t so! Yet another young, sweaty rock and roll act, full of energy and promise calls it a day. But rather than lament for the demise of dense barroom rock, listeners should pull a little carpe diem here. You Should Have Killed Us When You Had The Chance, the tongue in cheek final…

Rise For Order, Rip It Up

Rise For Order is a hard rock/metal group based in Toronto.   Four members included are:   Johnny Goltz on lead vocals, Trevor MacLeod on guitar, Mad Choyles on bass and Jorge Pereira on drums.   It’s also worth noting that their producer, Steve Thompson, has worked with Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Korn and Soundgarden.…

Justin Levinson, Predetermined Fate

Why someone from Vermont with a soft, mellow Ben Folds-esque voice would desire to write a country album is beyond me, but something about it just works. Maybe it’s the something different that comes from pop/rock/country composition without the vocal twang. Perhaps Levinson says it best:   “I’ve come supplied with duct tape and a…

Katie Garibaldi, Next Ride Out

Katie Garibaldi is coming strong with her sixth full-length album titled Next Ride Out. At just 25, this young singer/songwriter wrote all the songs on the new record, handled all vocals & acoustic guitars and even came up with the outdoorsy & rustic album design. There are many other talented players on the new release…

Audio-OK, Good Men

Isn’t that what we all want as music connoisseurs is just good-sounding audio for our ears?   Audio-OK are attempting to bring you just that with satisfying music for one to enjoy.   Okay…so don’t worry because Audio-OK has got you covered with their debut album, Good Men.   These Good Men are made up…

Sinatra: New York, Box Set

I will admit that if it was not for my absolute obsession with Mafia movies & shows like Goodfellas, The Godfather, and Sopranos I may not have such a love for the music of the legendary, Frank Sinatra. So when I was pitched to review the brand new box set of CD’s and a DVD…

When Summers Gone, December

The dynamic duo known as When Summers Gone get extremely personal on this debut release titled December.   When Summers Gone is made up of long-time friends Dave Graziani on lead vocals, guitar and piano & Chris Lepri on bass and drums.   Graziani is also the chief songwriter behind this collection of emotionally-charged songs.…

Tegan and Sara, Sainthood

Canada gets shit on for a lot of reasons. As a Canuck, I can’t imagine a lot of people living outside the great white north to understand the cultural importance of Curling and Peter Mansbridge. But we’ve got our heroes. We’ve got saints too, usually of the musical nature. And on Sainthood, the sixth full-length…

Grooms, Rejoicer

Seriously, is Brooklyn the new Seattle? I mean, grunge is dead and gone, but what is it about the New York borough that breeds diverse, eclectic indie bands with unassuming ease. So many of these bands provide thirsty listeners with heightened awareness through potent, fuzzy guitar-heavy jams. Yet so many of these bands quickly fade…

Jay Reatard, Watch Me Fall

Three years after his last full length, Jay Reatard returns with Watch Me Fall, a jubilant twelve tracks that smooth over Reatard’s scuzzy, garage-rock gems with concise production. Many will lament over Reatard’s decision to give into a production-heavy record, but it’s impossible to neglect how the production works in Reatard’s favour. Reatard’s vocals are…