CD Reviews


Ark Patrol – Voyager

Its not often an artist can take a genre and bring it back to its roots whilst still enabling room for experimentation and layering. Ark Patrol has definitely hit the nail on the head with his new debut album,Voyager. Born in Oahu, Hawaii, the nineteen-year-old producer has a real passion and drive for music. Just completing his first year in the Berkley College of Music with...

Craig Bickhardt - The More I Wonder

“I may begin from a point of darkness, but I usually end up writing towards the light because, for me, hope is the thing worth singing about,” states singer/songwriter Craig Bickhardt on his website. This writer of four #1 country hits left Music City for his native Pennsylvania, returning to his lyrical folk roots, as well, on his third solo studio album “The More I Wonder.” Recorded...

Sia – Revisiting Healing Is Difficult

“I think I’ll write about…me!” echoes the ponderous voice of a little girl on Insidiously, the closing track on Sia‘s sophomore album Healing Is Difficult. The guest vocals of the young girl appear frequently throughout the album, spouting innocent albeit seemingly random lines. But then in the final moments of the album this one line gives all of these vocal...

Catching Up with Stellar 2014 Releases   

Before 2014 is fully relegated to history, I want to highlight a wide range of amazing titles I've been enjoying over the past month or so. Title: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Watertower Music). Composer: Howard Shore. You might like if you enjoy: Howard Shore's "Lord of the Rings" soundtracks... Tell me more: While readers know me best as a music writer, I actually began my fledgling writing career in college writing about both music and film

Pluto Jonze – Sucker

Unlike most artist names, the name Pluto Jonze is surprisingly descriptive of the music you’re going to hear from this particular Sydney three-piece, fronted and brainchild-ed by Lachlan Nicolson. It’s poppy, it’s a little bit psychedelic, it’s peppy as hell, and if you don’t get down with it, you’re definitely in the minority. Following on from his cogently composed debut...

Ben Abraham – Sirens

Are you having trouble sleeping? Is inspiration lacking? Is there love in the air that needs some affirming? Do you need some clarity in this troublesome world you live in? This folk artist will help you alleviate the boxes you’ve ticked ‘yes’ to in the questionnaire, or if you’re like me and this is the sort of music you sleep or run, cry or smile to, then you will be...

The Mission in Motion – Self-Titled LP

Back in the days when I thought Triple J had some relevance, Sydney’s The Mission in Motion had a single, Control, being played on low rotation. I actually preferred another track of theirs at the time, New Skin, which I played on high rotation. It would have been easy to pigeon-hole their sound as “Pop-Punk” (Oh no, I know, a dirty word…) but what isn’t there to like about that?

Mindy Miller - Let It Burn

“Baby, stay a little longer/’Til I don’t want you any longer/And that should take at least a billion years or more,” sings contemporary Country artist Mindy Miller, in the chorus of her co-written romantic final track of her 2014 “Let It Burn” album. This Kansas-born, Margdon Records power vocalist’s second full-length album features ten songs ...

Meghan Shanley – Ready for Love

With her genuine warmth and dynamic stage presence, Meghan Shanley blends beloved standards with a delightful taste of jazz and soul to deliver a compelling performance every time she steps up to the microphone. Meghan also shares unique that harken back to a classic area, as well on her debut release. This is a sleek and groovy effort that sounds like she’s been recording all ...

Sounds Inspire On New Releases

An eagerly-awaited return, two serendipitous reissues and several titles available on DVD and Blu-ray are among the first notable music releases of 2015. Jim Ed Brown. Titles: In Style Again (Plowboy Records). You might like if you enjoy: The Browns, Ray Price. Tell me more: On the title track of his eagerly-awaited return, country music legend Jim Ed...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying - Hoozier and the Legacy of Big Star

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week TJ and Robert look at the debut release by Hoozier and the legacy of Big Star.

Jim Ed Brown – In Style Again

There aren’t many of them left, country artists who ruled the airwaves from the 1950s through the 1970s, singers who may have changed horses as the decades passed but who never really left the corral. Singers like Ray Price, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins…they’re mostly gone now. But Jim Ed Brown is still around, and he continues to carry the traditional country torch...

The Grates – Dream Team

In November, The Grates once again graced the Australian music scene with Dream Team. The Grates have evolved and changed shapes and sounds over the years of being together. Two of their founding members, John and Patience still continue to make music together and recently welcomed a newcomer, Ritchie Daniell to join in making catchy...

Kacey Jones - Amen for Old Friends

“I have several friends represented on this album who have either left or are facing serious challenges. This is my chance to honor them,” says singer/songwriter Kacey Jones, discussing the motivation for her first album in five years: “Amen for Old Friends.” Produced by the artist and Duane Sciacqua on her IGO Records label, it’s not a typical record for...

Winchester Revival – eyes in the canopy

“The more you look out / The less you can see/Blue trees are flaming,” sings David Rosenheim, frontman of alt-rock band Winchester Revival on “Chemical Yellow.” The hooky and equally melodic psychedelic opening track on this Oakland-area band’s four-song debut EP sets the tone for what this reviewer imagines as a concept...
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