CD Reviews


Don Campbell - The Dust Never Settles

Vince Gill. Celtic Music. Stephen King. Those are three diverse entities that you don't typically think of together. But, in the case of Don Campbell, somehow it all comes together. This disc has the phrase sheer musicianship written all over it. These songs just have a way of flowing off of the speakers, making you tap your feet - to just make you feel good in the process. Songs like "Honeymoon Strong" just....

Various Artists - Classic African American Songsters from Smithsonian Folkways

Smithsonian Folkways has demonstrated a love and respect for the deep musical traditions that have been created in America over the years. So much, in fact, that they have released 22 volumes in their successful "Classic" series. For the 23rd installment, they shine the spotlight on the "Songster." What, you ask, is a songster? According to album co-producer Barry Lee Pearson, a songster is "both a keeper of tradition, disseminating...

Shaky Handz – Sick Later

Last night (early this morning, realistically) I was on eBay looking at musical equipment and after like two hours of mindlessly browsing gumtree and hunting down a teardrop of some sort, I found myself looking at harmonica microphones. I don’t play harmonica, and from what I can remember, I wanted to start a band with super fluffed out distorted vocals. After listening to Shaky Handz latest EP Sick Later, I’ve got a feeling that we should have a chat about vocal gear.

Haeley Vaughn - Hoot 'n' Holler

If one phrase could be used to describe the music of Haeley Vaughn, it would definitely have to be "High Energy." This music is absolutely made for the dance floor. "Lasso," which kicks off this disc loops you in and keeps your attention with all of its pyrotechnics. Of course, the song wouldn't work if Vaughn didn't have the vocal chops to keep your attention, and Vaughn assuredly does that. She also commands...

Celebrated Veterans Return with Ace Efforts

Brian Setzer, Ruthie Foster, Justin Hayward and Dr. John celebrate and expand their legacies on masterful new releases. Artist: Brian Setzer. Title: Rockabilly Riot: All Original (Surfdog Records). You might like if you enjoy: The Stray Cats, Lee Rocker. Tell me more: What’s not to love about Brian Setzer’s blazing return-to-retro-form “Rockabilly Riot: All Original’? From the opening rockabilly blast on “Let’s Shake” to...

Terry Gillespie - Bluesoul

“Bluesoul is in response to the many people who requested that I sit still and make a blues record,” writes Canadian artist Terry Gillespie in the liner notes of his latest album. Recorded live at Ontario’s 2012 Maxville Musicfest in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church with studio overdubs, these 13 tracks feature Gillespie with bandmates Peter Measroch on keys, Lyndell Montgomery on bass and violin, and Wayne Stoute on drums. This is the first all-blues release ...

Leave The Planet – Unreleased Life

Who knows whether it’s from seeing so many cliché music videos or if it’s the fact that music has underlying teleporting powers, but there’s this distinctive imagery that comes into play when listening to certain songs that places you in the front seat of a car with the windows down, your right arm flailing in the wind as you drive along an isolated road with coastal views, not giving a flying fuck about anything or anyone.

Angaleena Presley - American Middle Class

Angaleena Presley - best known (so far) for her being a part of the Pistol Annies - is from the same part of Kentucky that her heroes Loretta Lynn and Patty Loveless are. And, just like those two legendary ladies, she grew up a "Coal Miners' Daughter." That upbringing - and her being a part of the Country supertrio along with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe - lends itself towards saying Presley is a very...

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper - On Down The Line

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper have a certain flair that they perform with. If you need any proof of that statement, just take a listen to "Too Late For Goodbyes," the lead-off cut from their new disc. Whether it be his lead vocals on the cut or the plucking banjo of one Glenn Gibson, there's just a certain amount of pizazz that the band operates with. And, it only gets better from there. Cleveland's fiddle work on "Fiddlin' Joe" will leave...

Steep Ravine - Trampin' On

“We’re all uniquely inspired by different musical styles, but it’s safe to say that we all come together around the genre of “bluegrass,” and we all love it very much,” says Simon Linsteadt, speaking on behalf of his Steep Ravine bandmates, in an interview earlier this year with San Francisco Bay Guardian. This Bay area quartet has released “Trampin’ On” -- their debut album of 11 original songs that blends their bluegrass with folk, jazz and some...

She Keeps Bees - Eight Houses

We’d like to introduce you to killer Brooklyn band She Keeps Bees, and I’ll try to get through it without making any cheap bee-related puns. Bluesy rock from She Keeps Bees is utterly heartbreaking. It will move you, like you’ve never been moved before. The bluesy rock duo formed in 2006 with a rather unorthodox start. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Jessica Larrabee had dabbled in few bands before recording the ...

Radiator Hospital - Torch Song

You know that thing behind the grill of your car that keeps it from overheating? Yeah, your radiator. Radiator Hospital is a place where old, leaking radiators with their tubes falling out go to die. Radiator Hospital have produced some of the finest indie pop / punk / power pop tracks. Some of the best we’ve heard in a while and trust us when we say we listen to this genre a lot. No seriously, it’s an auto body shop in Grand Rapids, but also...

Bloodhounds On My Trail – Keep On Calling

Shoegazing. I was under the misconception that it was an effective way of avoiding conversations with long lost cousins in law and my Uncle Albert. It still is, but it is also a subgenre of rock that emerged out of the UK in the late 1980s. Shoegaze music has recently made a resurgence in trendy back streets and graffitied suburbs amongst boys with dark rimmed glasses and facial hair… but don’t let that put you off! The music produced is ...

Codie Prevost - All Kinds of Crazy

“A lot of hard work goes into making an album, and when it’s finally finished you release it hoping people will like it and respond to it,” writes Canadian Country artist Codie Prevost on his website. This farm town Saskatchewian is referring to his fourth album “All Kinds Of Crazy,” and his hopes have become reality with another CCMA nomination -- this time for 2014 Album of the Year. Produced by Tom McKillip, recorded in Vancouver, BC and released...

The All Seeing Hand – Fog & Debris

You know, thongs, the things you put on your feet? Yeah? Well, New Zealanders call them jandals. We can add this fact to their outrageous accent as two pieces of evidence that all New Zealanders are maniacs. To make it certain, we just need one more piece – and I think I’ve found it. The All Seeing Hand are a three-piece band hailing from Wellington that combine turntablism, throat singing and performing in a giant pink blob. The trio ...
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