CD Reviews


Lexi Larsen - Good Memories

Growing up in the American heartland of Nebraska, you get the feeling that when stunning songstress Lexi Larsen sings about "Good People" in this album's energetic title cut, she knows what she's talking about. Moreover, when you hear her bouncy and energetic take on the song, you also get the idea that she's one herself - just a small town girl with a dream that is quickly becoming a reality. Artists that...

Saintseneca – Dark Arc

Named after a first-century Roman philosopher, fronted by a lean ginger Nietzsche (as rich in lip-hair as meditative wit), and knee-deep in the theses of Descartes and Sartre, Saintseneca splash around in something of a metaphysical melting pot. The Ohian quartet walk ponderously down that trail blazed by bands like Modest Mouse and Okkervil River, crafting lyrical and meticulous folk songs that are as much melon-scratchers as foot-stompers. In so many words, these dudes have a hard...

Katey Laurel - Periscope

“I chose this collection of songs because they represent some picture of the struggle and the hope that is life,” says Denver artist Katey Laurel about her latest release “Periscope” on Roaring Twenties Records. This is the third, full-length studio album for the folk pop singer/songwriter, who wrote or co-wrote all ten of the featured tracks. Produced by Warren Huart and Adam Newcomb, it was recorded in four major hubs: Toronto, Nashville, Denver and Hollywood, California.

The Smoke Wagon Blues Band - Live In Hamilton

A lot of acts sing Blues Music. That's evident by the number of CD's that come across this desk through an average week.But, in the case of The Smoke Wagon Blues Band, they perform the blues - like nobody else out there! On this live collection, the musical thrills are many, kicking off with a wailing version of the Bill Withers classic "Ain't No Sunshine,"and continuing on with the churning "Hen House Hopping," which benefits from...

Lanks – Knife and Spear

Melbourne has always produced next level music and Lanks is absolutely no exception. The solo side project of Will Cuming, who also fronts seven piece band Farrow, has only just begun to emerge from the murky city’s music scene but holds a lot of promise in its synthesized magic. With a debut EP due sometime this year, Lanks has already begun to drop tracks from the forthcoming release and it has my taste buds tingling. Knife and Spear is the latest taste of the new...

North Arm – Hollow Days

North Arm comes from a place north of Sydney, called North Arm Cove. It’s in Port Stevens, where the man behind the project, Rod Smith, spent important years of his childhood. Those who are familiar with North Arm’s Thought Lines EP, released last year though Spunk Records, will know of it’s nostalgic qualities. From the EP cover, which is an early 80′s snap of a freckly Rod, taken by his dad, to the accompanying video clips, to the songs themselves, each piece of work ...

Luke Howard – Night, Cloud

The wonder days of piano geniuses (may they rest in peace and not turn in dusty graves) who haunted the courts of the rich and super-swanky, have long since been supplanted by a million different genres of electronic music. With its army of synths, it is all the rage right now. This bit of information could mislead you into being presumptuous and could even push you into making cocky suppositions about the piano being passé, but then you run into a guy who...

Old 97's, Keb' Mo', The Clash and Stevie Ray Vaughan Legacies Soar On New Titles

The latest LP releases from alt-country rock heroes Old 97's and bluesman Keb' Mo', and several must-see DVD titles highlighting the lasting influence of The Clash and blues and soul legends including the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bo Diddley and Billy Preston are featured this week. Artist: Old 97's. Album: Most Messed Up (ATO Records). You might like if you enjoy: Wilco, Rhett Miller, Drive-By Truckers. Tell me more: Twenty years...

Robert Ellis - The Lights From The Chemical Plant

Judging from yesterday's announcement of the Americana Honors nominees, Robert Ellis is on the right track with his music these days. The singer-songwriter notched three nominations for the upcoming September awards, and just like many of his fellow nominees, Ellis doesn't stay confined to one musical style or lyrical slant. Kicking off with "TV Song," Ellis starts on a roll, and only gets better. The lyrics are about how...

Jesse Terry – Stay Here With Me

“…I was maybe chasing stuff that wasn’t me…I learned over the years that I needed to be 100 percent who I was, and the money and other things would…always come to me after I’d written from a place of truth and not a place like, ‘Let me get a big old cut by Kenny Chesney,’” says indie artist Jesse Terry during his January 2014 Pollstar interview. The Berklee-educated, award-winning singer/songwriter (John Lennon Songwriting Contest; NSAI/CMT Song Contest) walked the...

Steven Padilla - Good At Goodbye

A native of Hoover, Alabama, the word "Real" is very important to Steven Padilla. That commitment comes through when you listen to the first singe, "Peaches & Pines." It's a perfectly Country cut, complete with a very traditional arrangement. The lyrics have a spiritual overtone about it that evokes some of the latter day work of Johnny Cash. He can also take you on an emotional journey through your life as well. I don't know if...

North 40 - Sing Your Own Song

I've got a confession to make to you. Since meeting the duo known as North 40 at CRS, I have become smitten. And, who wouldn't be? They are talented, beautiful women who know what 8-tracks are! But, in talking to them or listening to them, you get this sense that they are comfortable in their own skin - and with life itself. The reference to North 40 here is to many aspects of their life - including their age. They have lived through some...

SWRLS – Definition

Did someone say all-Australian indie dance supergroup? SWRLS make songs with one part sinister, two parts sugar and three parts sex. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word ‘swirls’ is soft serve cones, rainbow swirl lollipops, pretty much anything sweet with a swirly pattern. So when you tell me there’s a group called SWRLS (phonetically swirls) I naturally have high expectations of a sweet sounding band. Although they are delectable in every way, they also...

Sherpa – Quittime

New Zealand’s favourite rainbow boys, Sherpa, will release their sophomore album Blues & Oranges on May 16th. Here is a lil’ taste to whet the palate. Sherpa first planted their musical seed back in 2006, which seems like a real long time ago considering today’s high-speed band turnover. Rest assured, these guys were built to last. In 2012, they released their self-funded, self-produced and self-released debut album, Lesser Flamingo. New Zealand music...

Tearjerker – You Can

So this week’s zine has been a mix of jjjcore, electro-indie (isn’t that dead yet?), some floaty, shroomy psychedelia, dolewave and guitar-blues-rock stuff. What is missing… what is missing… oh yeah! It wouldn’t be quite right if it didn’t include some face meltingly fuzzed out effect pedal worshipers of the lowest fidelity possible, now would it? Now I know how you guys like stuff that isn’t too alienating, things with major chords and acoustic guitars and long haired...
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