Category Archives: CD Review

Jon Brooks – The Smiling & Beautiful Countryside

“I’ve already done four albums that inspire: it’s now time to offend,” says Canadian singer/songwriter Jon Brooks about his latest project — “The Smiling & Beautiful Countryside.” Produced and recorded live in the studio by David Travers-Smith, this Borealis Records release is a 10-track acoustic collection of mostly violent, rural crime stories. The long tradition of the …
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Twerps – Range Anxiety

Twerps is one of those artists that create music so genuine and relatable that each song seems to translate perfectly across a wide range of people. Range Anxiety, the band’s second full length release, is a collection of real songs for real people with no commercial bullshit. They document experiences in such a natural way, it’s almost impossible to not have a connection to their music.
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Groundbreaking Artists Shine on New Collections   

The latest album from fingerstyle guitarist Laurence Juber, the second solo acoustic outing from Supertramp guitarist Carl Verheyen, a deluxe edition of Colin Hay’s “Next Year People,” punk rock heroes The Adolescents’ return via “La Vendetta…e un piatto che va servito freddo,” as well as a fantastic Camper Van Beethoven reissue highlight a wealth of recent releases.
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Super Magic Hats – Slowly

There are a lot of great things about Rob Masterton, the man known as Super Magic Hats. For starters, his stage name sounds like a superhero league for people with incredible head gear. Is the Cat in the Hat there? Probably. Moving on past his peculiar name, Super Magic Hats have an uncanny ability to mix vibrant samples and subtle beats to create a wholesome, and…
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Gretchen Peters – Blackbirds

Like many artists, Gretchen Peters turned to music in a time of pain for her eighth studio release, “Blackbirds.” The newly minted Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer penned Martina McBride’s iconic “Independence Day” and Faith Hill’s “The Secret Of Life.” The 11 track collection is a graceful, yet unsubtle take on aging and…
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Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper

Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper – released via Domino Records in January of this year is the fifth studio album of Animal Collective co-founder Panda Bear. Panda Bear is the moniker of American but Portugal based, experimental musician Noah Lennox. The album, which was recorded in Lisbon and co-produced by …
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The Dodos – Individ

Percussive indie rock act The Dodos, consisting of Meric Long (vocals and guitar) and Logan Kroeber (drums and percussion) have recently released their sixth album, Individ. Recorded on the heels of 2013’s Carrier, the record follows the San Francisco duo as they attempt to expand their sound without straying too far from their loved aesthetic. The result being an energetic album filled…
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Puck – Self-Titled

Stoner rock three-piece Puck bring the heavy riffs of the 90s with their self-titled EP. Formed from members of Perth metal outfits and the Novocaines and Hideous Sun Demon the band have been building momentum in the Western Australian music scene and taking out the 2014 WA Music Awards for Best Metal/Heavy Acts.
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Title Fight – Hyperview

Just like a well-loved solid body guitar the Pennsylvania four piece Title Fight’s sound just gets better with age. Their new album Hyperview demonstrates their creative direction as of late and is a far cry from their original sound. The band while only recently establishing themselves as modern emo kings have churned out music since 2003. Back then…
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Donald Ray Johnson – These Blues – The Best of Donald Ray Johnson

I have to admit that I didn’t even know who this guy was when I received this CD. I also have to admit I’m very pleasantly surprised. Donald Ray Johnson was the drummer for A Taste of Honey (remember “Boogie Oogie Oogie”?), the Grammy-winning band that beat Toto and Elvis Costello for the “Best New Artist” award in 1979. Pretty unfair, actually, but that’s how…
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Famed Singer-Songwriters and Bands Showcased on New Collections  

New releases from top-tier artists James McMurtry, Blackberry Smoke, as well as an essential tribute to ’70s soul singer Betty Davis and an inspired tribute to English tunesmith Elvis Costello are worth discovering. James McMurtry. Title: Complicated Game (INGrooves/Fontana). You might like if you enjoy: Warren Zevon, Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp.
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Mike Osborn – In the Dog House

Guitarist / vocalist Mike Osborn tears it up on In the Dog House, a blues-rock guitar fest that channels Billy Gibbons, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa and everyone in between, with an occasional country touch thrown in. Osborn is a decent singer as well, and helps dispel the notion that the only reason that blues-rock lyrics exist is simply to give the guitar player…
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Joe Bonamassa and Mahalia Barnes: Ooh Yea – The Betty Davis Songbook

When people hear the name “Bette Davis,” the iconic American actress comes immediately to mind. But there is also Betty with a “y”. Born Betty Mabry, she married legendary trumpeter Miles Davis in the late ‘60s. She became one of the sassiest, funkiest female vocalists of the era. ”Ooh Yea! – The Betty Davis Songbook” is another Joe Bonamassa…
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Jesse Jones – Shadow In My Mind

This sophomore 12-track outing for veteran songster Jesse Jones is nothing less than country to the core. On the heels of his debut album “One Memory For The Road” in 2013, Jones hits a homerun with his latest release on TEJ Entertainment. “Shadow In My Mind” boasts never released songs penned by the likes of country hit writers Hal Bynum, Don Wayne…
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Bill Maier & The Campfire All Stars – Self-Titled

“Twenty years after our last record, and almost ten years since I moved south, this project was a long overdue excuse to spend some time with ya’ll. (And eat some real pizza),” writes Nashville singer/songwriter Bill Maier, addressing his bandmates in the liner notes of their new album, “Bill Maier & The Campfire All Stars.” Produced by Maier and…
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Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

The indie rock group hailing from Washington State have already had a huge 2015. After releasing their first album in just under a decade, No Cities to Love on January 2 has garnered huge amounts of positive response and really the ladies know no different as Sleater-Kinney has become one of the most critically acclaimed groups in history throughout their colourful…
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Sea Change – Breakage

For me there’s always been something magical about Scandinavia. Such scenery as mountains with their peaks dusted in innocent and untouched snow, the deep green fields which stretch as far as the eye can see and the plunging valley that encapsulate the flowing pure crystal water below. This landscape creates a mystical and majestic feeling that connect…
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Belle and Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

Could there be anything sweeter than a story about a six-year-old French boy named Sébastien and his best dog friend Belle? Well, you guys, there is. Glasgow-based seven-piece Belle and Sebastian and their sweet indie pop music. Named after the children’s book, their music definitely leans on the “twee” side*. But, saying…
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Sarah Lou Richards – The Woman Behind the Curtain

On her third album, The Woman Behind the Curtain, Sarah Lou Richards moves into territory that’s a little different from her first two recordings. It’s not that her songwriting or vocal approach have changed all that much, but with a full band and a new producer in SteelDrivers vocalist Gary Nichols, Richards seems…
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Viet Cong – Self-Titled

Departing from the neo-psychedelia of their 2014 EP Cassette, Canadian post-punk quartet Viet Cong’s self-titled LP infuses bleak post-punk with experimental guitar licks to create an uncompromisingly dark and compelling sonic experience. Since the release of the 2014 EP the band, comprising of Matt Flegel and Mike Wallace (formerly of the Art Rock group…
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