CD Reviews

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No Refund Band - Current State of Blue

The Texas-based No Refund Band is back with its second album, Current State of Blue, which is about two-thirds originals, mostly written by lead singer and lead guitarist Ricky Jackson, as well as some guitar-based covers from the classic rock era. What makes this band stand out from so many other guitar-based, sometimes-dinosaurish blues bands is the addition of horns, and the fact that they...
 
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Furrs - More Furrs

Brisbane five-piece Furrs return to serve up bluesy psych pop on their second EP More Furrs. Spun out of a songwriting partnership between Gabriella Cohen and Jim Griffin, the band released debut their self-titled EP in 2013. In 2014 the band drew a lot of attention featuring on Triple J and FBI radio as well as running in second as Triple J Unearthed’s best...
 
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Amy McCarley - Jet Engines

“Pretty much everything you hear on the record is live. [Recording] was magical. We just went in there and went for it,” says alt-country artist Amy McCarley in an interview with The Huntsville Times, discussing the making of her sophomore album “Jet Engines.” “We” refers to the cast of solid musicians led by the producer ...
 
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Pearls - Pretend You’re Mine

Despite the delicate kittens-and-bubblegum aesthetic that Melbourne three-piece Pearls portray, their debut LP is nine tracks of brooding swagger, dream-like soundscapes and disco-ball melodies. Since signing to Dot Dash/Remote Control late last year, Pretend You’re Mine will be the first release from the band since their 2012 self-titled...
 
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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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