CD Reviews


Kandia Crazy Horse - Stampede

Kandia Crazy Horse is an East Coast music critic who decided to make records herself, and, unlike so many critics, she can really sing. Though her sound is all over the map, she never takes on more than she can handle, as she (and her producer, who worked with Shakira) understands what so many styles of music are about, and does a great job of singing them all and blending them into something that sounds like, well, Kandia Crazy Horse. And she has good...

Steve Bucci – Streetlight on 5th Avenue

“…at my bedroom window was this ultra-bright streetlight that would keep me up for a while every night. All I would do is think about music, drums, drums, music…and my bike,” says Montreal country rocker Steve Bucci in a recent interview, looking back at his childhood alternative to counting sheep. After a long career as a sideman drummer to a number of Canadian performers, he has released his debut recording, “Streetlight on 5th Avenue” – his “homage to that little boy and his...

Rob Nance - Lost Souls And Locked Doors

Spruce Pine, North Carolina may be the feldspar-mining capital of the world, but it’s really a mere wisp of a town – home to 2,175 people – tucked between a river and a mountain in the Blue Ridge range. This is where blue grass music, country, folk and Americana meet and blend into the scenery; a place where singer/songwriter Rob Nance grew up; a place where he says, “Doc Watson’s shadow looms large.” This folk rock artist has released “Lost Souls And Locked Doors...

Jeff Jensen – Road Worn and Ragged

“When I think about my life, I can’t pretend blues isn’t as much a part of me as my own skin,” says blues guitarist Jeff Jensen on his website, as he beckons like-wired working musicians to donate to the Raise the Roof campaign to benefit the Blues Hall of Fame. The recent Memphis transplant further explores his genetic make-up on his latest Swingsuit Records project, “road worn and ragged.” Produced by Jensen along with pianist Victor Wainwright, the album features...

Phil Celia - Circus Town

Americana artists often offer listeners something that is very genuine and can be awe-inspiring. Los Angeles based singer / songwriter Phil Celia fits well into this category with his latest release entitled Circus Town (Dark Moon Records). In his own words: For me the journey keeps on and the passion remains. I am grateful for all the support of my friends, family and the fans I’ve made along the way. I truly feel, the best is yet to come”. His rather simplistic, under bearing...

The Black Moods - Self-Titled

Most would agree most popular artists out there have something truly special to give to their fans. This goes above the typical attributes like raw talent, amazing songs, nice voice, or even a very marketable look, sound and image. There's something truly infectious at the core of these artists that simply makes us feel good when we listen to them. Whatever "it" is - they all seem to have "it". Today I listened to the latest self titled CD from The Black Moods who hail from...

Miniatures – DIS

While originally hailing from the town of Christchurch on the other side of the Tasman, classical post-dreamgaze quartet Miniatures relocated to Melbourne some time ago – which is lucky because otherwise I wouldn’t get to cover them here on Happy*. They spent 2013 recording some songs in a bedroom – the result of which is the luscious four track noise retrospective that is DIS. I’m not sure how to approach DIS - should I review it track by track...

French For Rabbits - Claimed by the Sea

My morning started with a splitting headache, the product of a night spent drinking out of necessity rather than out of enjoyment. We all know vodka goes off after you open it, right? This means that today’s article won’t be about a shoegaze band, nor will there be any fuzz pedals, drum rolls or squealing vocals. The impaired physical state that my brain is in has turned me inevitably to music’s answer to wearing a cardigan in summer and ordering tea at a coffee shop – dream folk.

Nakagin – Apathy

Overcast, breezy summer days. Whenever there’s not much to do, outside or inside, you stay inside and just do nothing except hear the rain patter, if there is any, and sit on the couch, vegetating, eating some toast, or whatever lonely remnants of last weeks shopping is left in the fridge, wondering, really, what have I been doing for the past two weeks? They seem to be one lazy blur of day and night. Don’t feel guilty and get up and feel like you should be filling your time or doing...

Shock Radar - The Purist

For bands that still use traditional instruments and vintage recording modules, there aren’t many worth investigating in the city of New York anymore. But there is one band that’s consistent in their releases and never fails to impress- Shock Radar. Their newest: “The Purist” was recorded at various studios and is now up for digital download. Mixing an assortment of genres and above all, rocks as heavy as anything, “The Purist” goes in new directions sonically and lyrically. Without...

Shantell Ogden - Better At Goodbye

If you want to be a lawyer, Harvard University would be a great place to learn your craft. If medicine is more your line of thought, you could do a lot worse than John Hopkins or Stanford. From a musical standpoint, Berklee is about as renowned as it gets -and last we heard, they are just a little picky. You have to have a great bit of musical talent...

Louis London – The Big Deep

Louis London is made up of five beautiful young Sydney guys who really know how to make a sweet indie rock tune. They’ve just released their second EP The Big Deep and it is absolutely killer. If I were to list all of the separate parts of Louis London that work together to form their effortless magic then I would be here all day – they really are quite wonderful. It’s no surprise that these guys have packed out a multitude of local venues and have supported artists such as Rufus...

Richie Onori - In The Name Of Freedom

Too often today, Rock and Roll has gone the way of Pop music. While bubble-gum definitely sounds good on the radio, and blaring out our MP3 players, you sometimes wonder if music can still have a message. Enter into the picture one Richie Onori. A California native, Onori grew up in an era where the music and the lyrics mattered. Best remembered for his time spent with the group The Sweet, Onori showcases his...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: Joan Jett Unvarnished and Toad The Wet Sprocket New Constellation

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs.. This week we discuss Unvarnished by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and New Constellation by Toad The West Sprocket.

Mike Zito & The Wheel – Gone To Texas

“I took off on a Greyhound bus and got off in Texas…Texas is where I confronted my problems and made a change that has saved my life…So, this is my Texas album. My story of Texas,” says roots singer/songwriter and guitarist Mike Zito. The Beaumont artist has honored this journey to his adopted homeland with his solo, label debut album “Gone To Texas,” which he has deftly produced, recorded in Louisiana (no apologies there) and released on Ruf Records. This founding...
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