CD Reviews

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Jim Lauderdale - I'm A Song

Since the late 1980s, the vocal and writing style of one Jim Lauderdale has been one that is one of the most identifiable sounds in Country or Americana music. Simply put, when you hear him sing - or hear one of his songs recorded by another artist - you know exactly who it is. Lauderdale's compositions have been recorded by names like Strait, Loveless, Jones, and Womack - as well as himself! For his latest album, the...
 
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Duncan Street - Baptised By The Blues

Duncan Street’s Baptized By The Blues is just what the doctor ordered – a powerful album laid out with the basic instrumentation and high emotional expression of a blues standard. Dave Duncan has been at it for many years, not only composing for numerous blues and country artists, but also for his solo albums, which have featured the likes of Delbert McClinton. Together with Stan Street, it’s no wonder that the duo has put out such an enjoyable album.
 
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Sasha Mercedes - Painful Part Of Love

Minnesota native Sasha Mercedes definitely qualifies as a vocalist. Her vocal style is one that is very much capable of captivating you and moving you emotionally at the same time. That was the case with her last project, and she continues to only get stronger with this - her latest release. This five-cut EP begins with the rolling and rollicking "Turn It Loose," which gives her a chance to show just what she can do with a tempo...
 
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V. Rose - Forever After

Admittedly, EDM isn't one of my strong suits. But, when I put the latest CD from V. Rose into the system, two things became apparent rather quickly. There's quite a bit of attention paid to vocals, as the songstress shows a great deal of range and personality. It's not all about the technical bells and whistles, and the songwriting here is nothing short of first-rate. These lyrics are snappy, to the point, memorable...
 
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Amanda Homi - Till I Reach Bombay

“She’s been evolved since time began / Throw down your guns and stop your war / Let’s work it out on the dance floor,” sings New York artist Amanda Homi, celebrating the healing power of women on “Dancing Girls” – the middle eastern-flavored opening track of her latest album, “Till I Reach Bombay.” Produced and arranged by Graham Hawthorne, and released on the Drumgirl label, this eclectic pop/world-fused collection of her 11 solo-penned and co-penned...
 
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Willie Nelson - Band Of Brothers

It's a testament to the never-ending popularity of Willie Nelson that this disc has already made a little bit of musical history this week - with its' debut atop the Billboard Country Albums chart, marking the first time Nelson has been at the top of the list since 1986. Nelson has always been an artist that you absolutely love - or one that drives you crazy with his unique phrasing. And, that's not a bad thing. It's a mark of his...
 
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Bugs – Home, Alone

As advanced recording and music production technology becomes easier to access (anyone with an internet connection, a recent model computer and a knowledge of torrents can use Ableton), the impulse for producers to look backwards grows stronger. There grows an almost cultish obsession among musicians and music listeners for more unwanted crackles, distressing compression, and an altogether noisy experience.
 
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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...
 
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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...
 
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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...
 
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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
 
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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...
 
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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 ...
 
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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...
 
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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...
 
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