CD Reviews

Michael-Ann Azoulai - Heavy Load

There's a charm about the voice of Michael-Ann Azoulai that has a certain degree of an old school charm to it. Listen to the first couple of tracks, "Any Day," and the title track, and you hear quite a bit of folk quality about her voice. I mean that with all due respect, as she sounds like she could definitely fit in at different stops along the country way. There's a dramatic flair that Azoulai seems to specialize in - that she pulls off very...
 

Contrast – Less Than Zero EP

The first time I plugged my headphones in to listen to Contrast‘s single Pipe Dreams back in February of this year, I had to turn that shit all the way up. Today, I’m listening to it again as the opening track from their debut EP Less Than Zero and I’ve had to once again hit that Command-F12 to get my jams up to an acceptable drown-out volume. This is music made to induce tinnitus, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Following in the recent trend of...
 

Mink Mussel Creek – They Dated Steadily

Dear old Perth. It’s not often much happens in the sleepy city, but recently it has given us more than enough to start drooling over. Meet Mink Mussel Creek – a small group of guitar shredding psychedelic legends that will get your blood pumping and your body aching for more. With a stellar lineup including Nick Allbrook and Kevin Parker (made famous through their involvement in bothPond and Tame Impala), Mink Mussel...
 

Parker Millsap - Self Titled

Recently nominated for "Emerging Act of the Year" by the Americana Music Association, it's easy to see why Parker Millsap is getting the rave reviews that he has of late. Listen to "The Villain," for example. It's so heartfelt and simple. Millsap's vocal approach brings to mind a little bit of Kristofferson - in that he's got that same rough quality. It goes to show you that this is not for the faint of heart. You've actually got to think...
 

Vancouver Sleep Clinic – Winter EP

Vancouver Sleep Clinic is younger than you, more talented than you and probably has more girlfriends than you. Like 10 or 12 or something. Don’t worry, this isn’t some random recommendation to visit a centre for treating sleep disorders in a coastal Canadian city. If you haven’t heard of Vancouver Sleep Clinic yet, let me enlighten you. The adopted moniker of Brisbane’s Tim Bettinson, is an atmospheric pop project interweaving soaring falsetto vocals...
 

Apollo and the Sun – Just What It Is

Attention class, a quick history lesson in Greek mythology. “But Miss, how is this relevant to cool new music?” I hear you asking. Well you’ll just have to read on to find out. Apollo is the son of Zeus (the God of all things powerful such as lightning, the sky and justice). Like father, like son, he has an impressive repertoire as the god of music, healing, light, and truth. His job is to also drive the sun across the sky. He sounds like a bit of a legend ...
 

Rascal Flatts - Rewind

In speaking with Rascal Flatts about the making of their latest disc, the guys each expressed a willingness - and a desire to go where they had never gone before on a musical level. Henceforth, the band's attitude on this album was they wanted to simply hear the best that songwriters had to offer them this go round - whether the tune sounded like a Rascal Flatts song or not. And, the band did take some musical chances...
 

Tiny Ruins – Brightly Painted One

What did Gulliver say when he stomped down the diminutive cities of the Lilliputians? Hey look, Tiny Ruins! But casting jests asunder, this band means business. Auckland, New Zealand is the base camp for this three headed act. They play a delicate mix downbeat of folk and blues, in short brilliant soulful music. Hollie Fullbrook started Tiny Ruins as a solo project back in ’09. Cass Basil (bassist) and Alexander Freer (drummer) are now included under the wings of the band.
 

Sounds of the '70s Celebrated via Toto, Little Feat, Milk Carton Kids and 'Festival Express'

This year has seen a burgeoning interest in the sounds and styles of the 1970s. Look no further than the burgeoning interest in Toto and Little Feat, the reissue of "Festival Express" as well as the popularity of the retro-mining folk duo Milk Carton Kids. Artist: Toto. Title: 35th Anniversary Tour - Live in Poland (Eagle Rock Entertainment). You might like if you enjoy: Toto, ASIA. Tell me more: Toto knew the perfect place to celebrate...
 

Marshall Dane - One Of These Days

Take one look at Marshall Dane, and you might want to label him a Southern Rocker. That would be kind of interesting to do, as Dane is from Ontario. But, he definitely has that long-haired look and approaches his craft the uber-confidence. Rather, Dane has a pretty traditional sheen to his music - which shows on the opening cut "Take You Home To Mama," as well as the instrumentally sharp "Till I Get To You," which has...
 

Thief – Closer EP

Back home and fresh off of his UK tour to celebrate the launch of EP Closer is Sydney-based solo act Thief. It’s strange to think that the man behind it all, PJ Wolf, originally intended his musical work under the guise of Thief to be part of just an experimental side-project. Well… I guess you could say that it turned out okay for PJ. Thief’s music sees an expert balance of infectious electronic sound paired with genuine emotion behind the lyrics.
 

Tyler Barham - Don't Cage This Heart

Over the past few years, Montana native Tyler Barham has built one of the strongest social media followings out there. He YouTube video postings have all become huge hits, but the singer has reached a crossroad. With the release of this, his most recent EP - he demonstrates that he is just as good - if not better - doing his own material as opposed to that of other artists. Any of these five cuts on this sampler are worthy to get the...
 

Charlie Gradon – Hiss EP

There was once a simpler time for the bleeding-heart bedroom poet. A time when guts were spilled into hiss-and-click tape recorders, crystalized on cassettes spangled with Sharpie hearts, and slipped like sacred contraband through ultimately indifferent mail slots. Something like a lovelorn poem posted from the frontline of emotional bedlam; a pebble on the windowpane and a message of yearning burned into the lawn. It was a...
 

Balsam Range - Five

When Buddy Melton of Balsam Range gets cooking on an uptempo track, as he does on the thrilling "Moon Over Memphis," there's a definite sense of swagger about his vocal that brings to mind that confidence that John Cowan exuded as lead singer of New Grass Revival back in the 1980s. Melton leaves nothing to chance vocally, and you know at once you are dealing with a force of nature. But, it's not all uptempo...
 

The Livesays - Faith, Hope, and Love

The Livesays are a Rock & Roll band from Miami that love to turn up the volume and the tempo. That being said, the group also has another strength - strong lyrics. So, not only do you get some eloquent melodies on this disc, but you also get some thought-provoking material that will no doubt make an impact on you as a listener. That is apparent from the start of Faith, Hope, and Love - with the Springsteen-ish "You Don't Know Me." Call it Rock Music for the Thinking Man. We just prefer to call it dang good. Other top-drawer moments include the blues-laden "Hit Parade," which will knock you right between the eyes with its' dramatic flair - and then, there's the poppy sheen of "Endless Summer," which