CD Reviews

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.
 

Hockey Dad- Dreamin’ EP

Late last year we introduced you to Hockey Dad, the surf-pop rocking, Simpsons-referencing best buds from Wollongong. The first signing to a great new local venture, the lads are now ready to release their debut EP, and we’ve had a sneak peek for you. Hockey Dad are a couple of teenagers – Zach Stevenson and Billy Fleming – who’ve been tearing up the surf together for most of their lives, and now they’re bringing those skills to the Gong’s indie pop...
 

Vid O’ the Week – Billy Fox

Billy Fox is a Sydney based music, writer and producer. I had never heard of him until today when I collided head-on with his track and video to Mystery. Whoa. It had me at 7 seconds. He released his debut track Monuments late last year, and despite being on the other side of the planet, it caused quite a stir in the UK music blog scene. Appealing to those who are fans of stripped back writing with bundles of savvy production, Fox mixes...
 

Charlsey Etheridge - Memories Of Mine

As a music fan, I have to tell you that the more old school the better - as far as I am concerned. That saying that, I know it's not always the easy way to get exposure for your art or airplay, but I love an artist that isn't afraid to show their twangier side - one that hearkens back to the traditional sounds. Georgia-born Charlsey Etheridge is one such artist. She has assembled a collection of songs that have been done time and again, but knows that a great song is always just that.....a great song. She doesn't try to reinvent the wheel on standards...
 

Eric Bibb - Jericho Road

“The title…refers to the road between Jerusalem and Jericho where the Good Samaritan, a traveler of a despised race, stopped to help a stranger in need…Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King urged us to follow the example of the Good Samaritan…If this record has a theme, that’s it in a nutshell - Have a heart,” writes blues/folk artist Eric Bibb in the liner notes of his latest CD, “Jericho Road.” It’s his fourth effort on Stony Plain Records, his 35th...
 

Terry Hanson - Escapade

“There’s never been a better time for independent artists to compete with the major labels or expose their music,” says Country artist Terry Hanson in a 2011 interview with I Am Entertainment. Isn’t that the truth? With a can-do spirit, this Beverly Hills singer/songwriter with a Bakersfield sound has released his second album, “Escapade” – ten songs all self-written, self-produced and recorded in Los Angeles. Looking like the be-leathered and weathered Marlboro...
 

Walter Trout, Mindi Abair, Janiva Magness and Kenny Wayne Shepherd Celebrate The Blues

The blues continue to be relevant thanks to modern-day champions including Walter Trout, Mindi Abair, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Janiva Magness, all of whom have just issued some of the strongest discs of their careers. Artist: Walter Trout. Album: The Blues Came Callin' (Provogue). You might like if you enjoy: Joe Bonamassa, Albert King, John Mayall. Tell me more: No need to relegate blues to a museum. Not as long as proponents such...
 

Nikki Lane - All Or Nothin'

There's a confidence that Nikki Lane tends to exude that makes you realize - not even midway through the opening "Right Time," that she has not only got the stage and vocal swagger to spare - but she's likely had it since she first performed in front of the public. Imagine what Wanda Jackson might have sounded like had she started her career today instead of the 1950s, and you've got it - almost. At times, like on the opening...