CD Reviews


Violet Swells – Soft Focus

Far out man, Australian psychedelic music is, like, really going off right now. Another week, another wicked homegrown band bravely exploring the psychedelic frontier for the good of humankind. This time, we bring you Tasmanian psych-pop six-piece, Violet Swells. Launching into the cosmos this year, rocketeer Ben Simms began his sonic exploration within his Hobart bedroom. Under the influence of Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett and film scores, he experimented...

NOWON – That Was Then

Sydney has a flair for producing top-notch electronic artists that are able to see beyond the general spectrum. Producing artists like Seekae, Golden Blonde, Cosmo’s Midnight and with Flume finding commercial success in this sound, the city seems to emit wavelengths at a different frequency to everyone else in this generation of laptop cowboys. Now we’ve discovered NOWON, the collaboration of Sydney based producers Owen...

Feral Media - Autumn EP

Once in a while we can appreciate the idea that the less words spoken, the more that can be said. Wordlessness allows for our imagination to take over and for our senses to awaken in a time where we have forgotten how to feel – a lot of music these days are quite explicit in how we are to appreciate them. Our innermost self rises to the challenge of putting meaning to something that simply dumbfounds us. The essence of a creators skills and hidden truths are captured in a...

The Dease & Reese Project - Life In 20

OK. Confession time for just a second. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I actually was listening to as much Pop music as I was Country. One song that I particularly was a fan of during this period was "On The Way Up," a hit for songstress Elisa Fiorillo. The song was rhythmic and sexy, and the vocalist very much fit that description as well. She co-wrote the song with the legendary Prince - whom she has collaborated

Flo Wilson – Music For Dance

And now for something completely ambient. A hop, skip and jump away in New Zealand, vocal experimenter Flo Wilson wants you to dance to her latest EP Music for Dance. By dance I don’t mean whipping your hair back and forth, but theatrical performance type stuff. You know, put on some tights and a mask and mimic a tiger hunting its prey. For those of us who aren’t professional dancers, fear not, this little EP may still be...

Bree - All American Girl

On her debut release, “All American Girl,” Bree takes charge immediately with her signature Gibson Flying V on the bruising opener, “I’m the Boss” The tone is set for a hard charging 40 minutes that will appeal to a demographic ranging from classic rock to thrash metal fans. Most of the material is drawn from her nearly incomprehensible life as a religious cult castaway. J Themes include rebellion (“Dance All Night (with my finger in the air”)), love ...

Mike Valeras - Abbott St.

To be honest with you, it's kind of tough for me to get into instrumental albums. My nature has always been to be more about lyrics- and as of today, I have never played a musical instrument- so it's not anything that I have a total understanding of. That being said, I love what the Boston native has put together on his latest album. On Abbott St., Valeras displays a ton of talent - and a lot of swagger to boot. Stylistically, I am not sure what...

Tape/Off – Chipper

In the time of chimpanzees Beck was a monkey. His words, not mine. What he probably means is that in a time when everyone else seemed to be brushing their hair and combing their minds he was eating Doritos and just generally hanging out; monkeying around; flinging shit rather than giving it. That time was probably at some point pre-93, when he first drawled his momentous anthem for the apathetic outcast, Loser. I say probably because, by ’93, the age of...

Tim Menzies - His Way Of Loving Me

Sometimes, as a writer, one can feel somewhat inadequate. To quote Bill Anderson, this is one of those "Sometimes." I was delighted recently to learn of a new album from Tim Menzies. As "Tim Mensy," the Virginia native recorded some of the most unforgettable music Nashville has ever seen during stints with Columbia and Giant in the 1980s and 1990s - regardless of chart position. As a songwriter, he penned...

Sherpa – Blues and Oranges

Earl Ho is restless. The frontman of Auckland four-piece Sherpa simply can’t sit still. In fact, it’s a trait the four have in common – from absent-minded strums against the seam of a jean leg, to fingers being laced together and quickly unlaced, there’s an air of energy being barely contained that surrounds the group. Despite their collective ADHD we managed an interview. Kind of. They’re excited. Their sophomore album Blues and Oranges...

J Carl Smith - J Carl Smith Project

“All these words and guitar riffs/Swirling ‘round my brain and it’s bliss/Sometimes it won’t stop, I become a slave to it/Many times I would leave but it keeps me like a strung puppet,” sings rock ‘n’ roller J Carl Smith on “Strung Puppet,” a track on his EP “J Carl Smith Project.” The Cincinnati tunesmith presents six solo-penned songs on his Volume I, produced by Michael Dowden along with the artist and recorded at his hometown’s Songwriters Project Studio.

Jimmy Jax Pinchak Band - Make It Better

Rock and roll is alive and well. Looking at a picture of Jimmy Jax Pinchak, though is a little weird. That’s because the music here is so mature. Yet, Pinchak looks so young. One has to wonder how a person so youthful can produce music that sounds this informed and conscious. Whatever the secret, though, Pinchak and his band have produced a fine release here. I can hear the Yardbirds on the riff that starts the album as “There Is More” kicks into gear. The song...

The Shadowboxers - Red Room

“These songs started in a dorm room and ended in the musty sanctuary below our house of three years that we dubbed the Red Room; that’s where this music comes from and where it belongs,” writes Atlanta band The Shadowboxers in the liner notes of their first full-length album “Red Room.” Recorded in Shreveport, Louisiana, produced by Brady Blade and released on Rcam Records, this collection of 14 songs – all written and co-written by...

Breelan Angel - Dirty Little Secrets

Listening to the music of Texas born and bred Breelan Angel, and you instantly realize she's one performer who has an undeniable passion for what she does - and she has a lot o fun doing so. That is evident on up-tempo cuts on this disc as the well-written "Double Standards" and "Workin' On It," which is about a late-night party that had tended to linger a little longer then originally expected. Angel particularly shines on...

Brian Keane - Coming Home

Born in the heart and soul of Gamecocks country, Brian Keane lets his southern pride shine brightly all over his current release. When he talks about the town slowing down to a crawl during his youth on Football Friday nights - and the slow but sure death of the small-town America that he grew up with in the lyrics of the wistful "You Can't Go Home," he evokes a Springsteen-type Rock and Roll spirit that most people will be able to identify with.
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