All posts filed under: CD Reviews

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ALBUM REVIEW: JOSH FARROW, “Trouble Walks With Me”

This fine debut album from East Nashville singer/songwriter Josh Farrow mixes Southern soul, shades of The Band and Leon Russell and is one of the most wonderfully fluid things I’ve listened to as of late.  The playing is tight; the arrangements are stellar and the production suits the album in the right fashion. From the opening notes of “I’ll Be Your Fool” with its Hammond B3 punches and the instant groove, you know your in for some meaty sounds; “Wash Me In The Well” goes for a deeper blues vibe; his vocals punctuate the melody in an on-the-one manner naturally – he’s one singer who doesn’t over-reach his range and it works on this syrupy grind.  “Before You Leave” is slow, sweet, stark and sad – the use of echo on the vocals works to great effect (and there are some chill-inducing harmonies which makes it even better); “Time (Ain’t No Friend Of Mine)” is another soul-groover with a hypnotic riff and a bass line that carries it all together like a river and “Who’s …

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ALBUM REVIEW: LISA SAID, “No Turn Left Behind”

No Turn Left Behind is the debut album from singer/songwriter Lisa Said.  This singer/songwriter/guitarist was born in Cairo (!) and was transplanted first to Memphis (Tennessee, not Egypt!) and then to Chattanooga.  Moving to New York to finish her studies and then to Asheville, North Carolina, her travels took her to D.C. to record the album at the legendary Inner Ear Studios and to have the album co-produced by equally-legendary Inner Ear owner Don Zientara.  This maiden collection of eleven tracks are a wonderful mix of roots-rock, pop and some off-kilter time; her voice is soothing and warm and it’s a perfect balance. Starting with the almost-Zydeco gallup of “Hard To Brake” (nice play on words), this album is off and running, filled with instant likeability; a very capable team of musicians backing her, you get a feeling from Ms. Said that she doesn’t lack confidence in her songs even though this is her first release.  “In Retrospect” has an airiness that has flavors of country/honky tonk and pure pop that works and is a …

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ALBUM REVIEW: JAYMAY, “To Tell The Truth”

Jamie Seerman is the mind and voice of Jaymay; she’s a visual artist and singer/songwriter/performer.  And now, this New York native has just unleashed her 12th overall release (and only 2nd full length album), To Tell The Truth.  A tuneful baker’s dozen of songs that fit the warmth of summer; a quiet evening with your partner – numerous scenarios can be painted as these songs are simply sweet and well-constructed.  Certainly, the playing on this record is full and rich and Ms. Seerman clearly has the goods as a singer and songwriter. “Baby Maybe One Day” is as sweet and embracing as one could ask for in a three minute song; upbeat and charming, it sets the table quickly for the hopeful “I Was Only Lovin’ You”; “I Just Got Over You” is soft, acoustic and shows the skill of the musicians behind this track as they play in a restrained manner, letting the double-tracked vocals be the center of the song and “I Stand Up For Me” is something that harkens back to the …

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ALBUM REVIEW: ALLYSON SECONDS, “Little World”

It should be an immediate moment of sitting up and taking notice of Allyson Seconds’ latest offering, Little World, just by virtue of the names that appear as players on this 11-track offering.  Is it enough to begin with the likes of Colin Moulding, the legendary bass player/singer/songwriter of XTC or the late Scott Miller, the writer/visionary/driver of Game Theory and The Loud Family?  Probably that’s more than enough, but the only reason you should pay attention is because this is simply an excellent album. A second collaboration between Ms. Seconds and producer/multi-instrumentalist Anton Barbeau has delivered these upbeat, thoughtful, catchy, joyful songs and quite frankly, at this particular moment in time, songs like these are sorely needed.  That energy and positivism is immediately felt on the title track, which opens the album; fast, melodic, simple and captivating – and I love her self-harmonies; “Sun Don’t Shine” has a great, heavy duty “garage” riff with some equally heavy guitar punctuations and a damn get-down, dirty sounding solo.  “Dust Beneath My Wings” is a fairly-known song …

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE MONKEES, “Monkees 50”

Time and time again, compilations of certain artists are released that never seem to do that artist complete justice.  I can think of a handful – if that many – that worked and worked right, but they are few and far between.  Until now, the aptly-titled Monkees 50.  This 3-CD set comprises all The Monkees’ hit singles, non-hit singles and a host of beloved album tracks spanning their 50-year career and this one is about as near perfect as one could get or hope for.  Sure, there are a few songs I personally would have loved to see on there, but as a lifelong fan, the fact that “Love Is Only Sleeping”, “Tapioca Tundra” and “Tear Drop City” are on there is enough for my money.  Again – that’s a personal perspective (along with my typical grousing of “why didn’t they include “The Door Into Summer” or Nesmith’s vocal version of “I Don’t Think You Know Me”” – no tracks from any of the wonderful Missing Links series are here BUT they DID include “You …

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE CONNELLS, “Stone Cold Yesterday – The Best Of The Connells”

I can remember those days – the tail end of college and my first job right after graduation – overseeing Roadrunner Records’ “alternative” label.  The radio was always tuned to 106.3 from Eatontown, New Jersey and The Connells were a staple of the rotation between ’90 and ’91.  I even had the chance to see and meet them when one of my label’s bands opened up for them at The Fast Lane in Asbury Park – very nice, kind people all.  Plus, the album Ring was instrumental in helping me get through a very rough break up period in early ’94.  So The Connells’ music, indeed, holds a very special place in my heart and mind. Happy to say that although TVT Records is long-defunct, the suddenly-rising-to-the-fore Concord Bicycle Musical Group has now gained the band’s back catalog and the old albums (including the classics Boylan Heights, One Simple Word and Ring) are now available again in the digital format.  And the band, after a break, is back and on the road, which – and …

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ALBUM REVIEW: LOVELAND DUREN, “Next”

When I introduced you to Loveland Duren and Bloody Cupid in 2013, I’d heard a debut album so strong, so sophisticated and yet soulful that I felt that as a debut, it was as good as gold.  I’m happy to report that Vicki Loveland and Van Duren, the two Memphis legends, are back with their sophomore effort, the aptly titled Next.  I love the whole presentation – the simple, stark cover, the photo inside and the stripped down technical credits.  Where Bloody Cupid was, as I said, sophisticated, colorful and detailed, Next is more stripped down, bare bones or “all meat – no fat”.  The playing is tighter than tight;  the vibes are strong and the performances are even more confident with gutsy, gritty arrangements.  In short, an even greater triumph than before. “Not Allowed In The House Anymore” kicks things off with a socio-political lyrical observation, a hearty, punchy vocal from Vicki Loveland (easily one of my favorite voices around), some beefy horns and clean, crisp guitars.  First track out of the gate sets …

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ALBUM REVIEW: ERIC AMBEL, “Lakeside”

Ten tracks, gifted songwriters and killer performances – what more can be said about Lakeside, the first new album from guitar legend Eric “Roscoe” Ambel in eleven years?  A lot actually.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Mr. Ambel – one of the nicest human beings you’ll ever meet, a studio whiz, an incredible guitarist and an all around great guy.  And he has quite a fine gathering assisting him on this no-frills, top notch collection of songs.  And, as I would have expected, it sounds amazing, having been recorded at Roscoe’s own Cowboy Technical Services Recording Rig in Brooklyn (anything recorded there has an amazing vibe/feel). Starting with “Here Comes My Love”, written by Scott Kempner, the equally legendary guitarist of The Dictators and Roscoe’s bandmate in The (almighty) Del Lords, this song just flat-out kicks. as Mr. Ambel is aided and abetted by Jimbo Mathus on guitar (who also produced the album), Keith Christopher on bass and Phil Cimino on drums – a damned good start.  Which takes you right …

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ALBUM REVIEW: SETH SWIRSKY, “Circles And Squares”

Sometimes you don’t need hyperbole or over-analysis to sum up an album.  This new album from Seth Swirsky, a 30-plus year veteran of MANY elements in the music industry, Circles And Squares can be summed up in one word: exquisite.  It’s that simple – considering the music is so detailed, intricate and complex.  Imagine all the best elements of what you love in pop:  Brian Wilson during that period from Pet Sounds to Sunflower; The Beatles from Rubber Soul and Revolver and most of Todd Rundgren from Something/Anything to Hermit Of Mink Hollow, plus everything by Emmit Rhodes for good measure.  I know that’s one hell of a build-up and you’re probably thinking “no way, no how”.  Well, it fucking is. Just from the first piano bars of “Shine”, with the most perfect sound and arrangement – you know where it’s going and it’s only going to be more glorious; the title track is this wonderful, slightly quirky meld of Beatles and Beach Boys and the playing through the different movements of the song is …

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ALBUM REVIEW: CAMILLE BLOOM, “Pieces Of Me”

The first word that comes to mind when listening to Camille Bloom and her new album Pieces Of Me is “warmth”.  The sweetness of her voice; the understated manner of the instrumental arrangements and the calm, stillwater manner in which the songs are performed are powerful and easy to embrace. Starting with “Lift Me Up”, with its soft guitar patterns, emotionally potent strings and harmonies, you can’t help but close your eyes and drift; the title track, “Pieces Of Me” is something of a romp, but yet controlled, with its tight harmonies, galloping bass and zesty mandolin; “Hit The Road” is a country kicker with a propulsive rhythm section and spot-on guitar lines and “Turn Back To You” is another quiet, stripped down piece with guitar, a very restrained drum shuffle pattern, bass, mandolin and delightful harmonies.  “Everywhere But Here” is possibly the most dramatic track on the album with piano, strings and an overall mournful feel; “Novocaine” is powerful yet calm (the recurring theme of these performances) and “In Another Life” is minimalism at …

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ALBUM REVIEW: NICK PIUNTI, “Trust Your Instincts”

You want “immediate classic”?  Well, that’s what you get with this new album from Detroit-area power-pop legend (the classification suits him to a “T”) Nick Piunti on his latest album, Trust Your Instincts.  Take all the best elements of what your interpretation of power-pop is and he mixes it all into one very fine stew that ROCKS.  You can hear the influences all in one place – Cheap Trick, Badfinger, The Buzzcocks, The Beatles, The Raspberries and so on.  The sound/production is wide and crisp; the playing is with an endless amount of firepower and the harmonies are completely (not surprisingly) on-the-one. Starting with the title track, this album goes from 0 to 100 m.p.h. in the blink of an eye; catchy, upbeat, POP with a capital “P” and the perfect (really, only) way to start the collection; “One Hit Wonder” has that Posies/Teenage Fanclub flavor (and a somewhat tongue in cheek message); “Dumb It Down” takes on a Dwight Twilley/Phil Seymour/Shoes vibe with the sweetest harmonies (they’re everywhere on this album) and “Fade Out” …

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ALBUM REVIEW: HUNGER, “For Love”

This Vienna, Austria-based trio firmly have their roots in the synth pop of the early-to-mid ’80’s,  but that doesn’t necessarily make them revivalists or that it’s a bad thing.  On For Love, their debut release, while most of the make-up is, indeed, synth-pop, there’s also a certain amount of “current” sounds – enough to keep the listener’s attention.  The key to this album is simply this – synthesized or not, these songs have melody and structure. Yes, the opening track, “Amused” instantly takes you back to 1982 (and for me, the halcyon days of WLIR radio, here in New York).  Close your eyes and you can hear it wedged between The Teardrop Explodes and China Crisis; it’s something that certainly tugs at my nostalgic side and the fact that it has a catchy chorus only sweetens the listening.  “Gold” sounds like a bit more now, with a strong dance groove and some nice harmonies – it should be noted that vocalist Lucas Fendrich is a very good singer; strong and confident sounding.  “Evermore” has a …

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ALBUM REVIEW: BIG EYES, “Stake My Claim”

This Brooklyn-born band, led by singer-guitarist Kait Eldridge has a punchy, crisp sound, full of high energy, guitar driven pop in that classic late ’70’s/early ’80’s post-punk vein.  Good production and a tight rhythm section give Stake My Claim, their third effort, a great feel.  It also helps that the songs are well-constructed and catchy. The title track kicks off the collection and is 100 m.p.h. before it comes to a quick and sudden stop, going into “Behind Your Eyes” which is infectious – and it has to be said, Ms. Eldridge’s vocals are warm and embracing (think of a less-raw Joan Jett) and her guitar sound has a great crunch to it; “Just Not Right” is a little slower but again, an instantly catchy number that goes into full throttle in the middle – she certainly knows how to write a song and also to keep it in economic time.  “Leave This Town” is a “visual” track – you can imaging a movie in your mind to the lyrics; “When You Were 25” is …

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ALBUM REVIEW: WAITING FOR HENRY, “Town Called Patience”

This sophomore effort from Waiting For Henry is the perfect elixir to a hot, uninspiring summer – breezy, melodic and guitar-laden end-to-end.  The New York/New Jersey-rooted band has hit stride and helping to give the songs even greater impact is the production work of the legendary Mitch Easter, as it was recorded down at Easter’s Fidelitorium in Kernersville, North Carolina and has the mark of some of Easter’s best know and most acclaimed work (especially Reckoning). The wall of guitar sound gets proceedings underway with the heavy but gripping “Musconetcong”; aside from the fiery solo, the delicious acoustic guitars can be not only felt but heard along with some very well-placed harmonies; “Gutterball” sounds like a manic, runaway train revisitation of “Driver 8” that goes at breakneck speed but leaves you beating out the rhythm along the track; “Flipclock” is more sedate and subdued but has a feel that makes this one of the album’s standouts – and listen for those multiple harmonies and “Palms” is simple, down-home new country – the right amount of …

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE MONOCHROME SET, “Cosmonaut”

The long and storied career of The Monochrome Set, which first began in 1978 has been rejuvenated/reactivated several times, most recently in 2010 and have been releasing new music since – which leads us to the latest, Cosmonaut.  There’s never been an accurate description (or really, pigeon-holing) for their sound, although rather than label them, I’d look at them as artistic contemporaries of Wire, The Fall and so on).  Sometimes New Wave, sometimes neo-psychedelic, sometimes moody and abstract, The Monochrome Set have always simply defied terms. This thirteenth album opens with an eerie theramin intro to the title track, with a very ’60’s soundtrack throttle and familiar Rickenbacker 12-string riff; “Suddenly, Last Autumn” has – again – a very ’60’s feel (think “Secret Agent Man”) with roller-rink organ punches, “Squirrel In A Hat” is very Stranglers-like – quasi-psychedelic with its organ and jazzy guitar and “Put It On The Altar” is a mix of pop and soulfulness, with female backing vocals and has “radio friendly” written all over it.  “Tigress” has a lazy, summery feel …

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ALBUM REVIEW: RUBY DEE & THE SNAKEHANDLERS, “Little Black Heart”

This Seattle-based band has been at it for 14 years and this new album from Ruby Dee & The Snakehandlers, Little Black Heart, is a definitive statement.  Aside from the sheer joyfulness, sexiness and bawdiness of their rockabilly-meets-Memphis-meets-Americana-meets Western swing, et al twang, it’s got its serious side, as this is an album born of a near tragedy.  Eight years ago, Ruby Dee had a devastating scooter accident that caused significant brain injury and trauma; she was, in many ways, forced to almost start over from scratch.  It’s a testimony to her courage and willfulness to be able to regain the ability to write songs (let alone do everything else that was crucial to her life) and resume her “other” career (she’s been a successful restauranteur in Seattle as well).  Recorded in Austin and kicking hard, this album sounds as raw as it feels in a great, natural way. “Not For Long” announces the band with a drum roll that, indeed, kicks in a classic swing style, complete with sax punches, Gretsch-sounding reverbed twang, slap …

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ALBUM REVIEW: MICHAEL LOGEN, “New Medicine”

This new release from Lewisburg, Pennsyvania native Michael Logen is, to say the least, quite impressive.  New Medicine is filled with serious, thoughtful lyrics and lush musical structure that makes it an album to be listened to and savored as a whole.  As his upbringing was in the Mennonite community, Logen’s use of spirituality and religious imagery comes into play as does the feeling of introspection and solitude; in many ways, this is a lonely person’s kind of album. Opening with the piano-based “St. Christopher”, its story is that of someone on the road who, indeed, needs the guidance of the patron saint of travelers.  A powerful start to this collection, which leads into the album’s first single, “Ready Or Not”, which is immensely catchy and is seen as a “sing-along redemption story”.  “Breaking Your Own Heart,” written by Logen and his friend, Jennifer Hanson, was recorded by Kelly Clarkson on her album, Stronger.  That album went on to win a Grammy for “Pop Album Of The Year” but here, you hear a stripped-down acoustic …

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ALBUM REVIEW: KELSEY WALDON, “I’ve Got A Way”

This is just too good.  Pure country magnificence in the grand traditional sense, with lyrical firepower and vocal skill – Kelsey Waldon, if you haven’t heard her before, is something special.  I’ve Got A Way, her sophomore effort, is filled with songs about life, love and one’s own quest for solidity within one’s self and in the outside world.  Eleven tracks with two nods to the greats by way of covering Bill Monroe and the Gosdins, this album sparkles. The opening track, “Dirty Old Town” just brings you right to the joyful sounds of pedal steel runs and delightful twang with an upbeat number and her voice, which is indescribably sweet.  “All By Myself”, the video (included here) and centerpiece is about strength and stands out as a thesis statement for the rest of the album, if not for life in general. In Ms. Waldron’s own words, it’s not about her, “it’s about everyone, and isn’t a lecture or sermon, but a statement: power is inside of each of us.”  “False King” is just a …

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ALBUM REVIEW: BIRDSONG AT MORNING, “A Slight Departure”

These Massachusetts based visionaries have created a compelling and expansive sound that is sure to broaden their fanbase.  Their interesting past and present day gigs (record producer, session musician, public broadcasting Internet director, COO of a multi-national tea import/export company) further adds to their intrigue.  Quite a heady resume for a band, no?  But indeed, this ensemble has crafted a serious, ponderous and lush piece of work that will make you stop in your tracks and pay very careful attention.  Add to the impressiveness surrounding the band that A Slight Departure was engineered by the very wonderful and talented David Minehan (he of the mighty and legendary Neighborhoods, one of my favorite bands of yore and a joy to have worked with in my other life at record labels).  While this album was initially released last year, it has now been given a 5.1 surround sound remix/reissue along with a Blu-ray disc of the corresponding videos and mni-documentary describing each song.  Alan Williams, who is the mastermind of Birdsong At Morning saw this album as …

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ALBUM REVIEW: DON GALLARDO, “Hickory”

California native and current Nashville resident Don Gallardo bows his newest album, Hickory, in the U.S., an album that drew praise when it was released in England in 2015 (four stars in Mojo) – and why we’re always late to the game with some incredibly fine music is always a mystery to me.  The songwriting and performances on this collection is stellar; a gathering of songs that goes right to the soul and mind, simultaneously. “Midnight Sounds” and its mournful organ and sax framing kicks the album off in fine, warm style; Mr. Gallardo’s voice is equally weary yet hopeful and immediately embraces you; “Banks Of The Mississippi” again employs the sound of the Hammond B3 with violin and has a slightly more sinister feel, telling tales of love gone awry (“…so much for love…”) and “Ophelia, We Cry” is an old-timey piano driven classic honky-tonk stroll – one noticeable thing is that Don Gallarrdo knows how to balance the storytelling of modern Americana and the feel, the emotion of more traditional country arrangements. “A …

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE CHORDAES, “Touch The Ground”

A bright and vibrant production; not-easy-to-pinpoint influences but hooks, structure, melodies and harmonies galore, this debut album from New York City’s The Chordaes, Touch The Ground, sounds like a very seasoned band who are studio veterans. The title track is a sophisticated, radio-friendly (which is what most of these tracks, indeed, are) song in several movements and you can hear fragments of styles ranging from The Beatles, Todd Rundgren and Van Duren with modern touches; “Get The Feeling” has a ’70’s A.M. radio feel, while musically reminiscent of The Wallflowers and is as catchy as the day is long and “Losing Control” has a very lush, almost prog-rock feel.  “One” is uptempo and textured with a neat, slightly askew piano riff; “She” is also not in standard chord structure – it almost sounds like two songs playing over each other, yet manage to make it work convincingly and “Baby Goodnight” has a big sound, with delicious acoustic guitars side by side with a subtle piano riff which yields to a 12-string Ric-sounding guitar companion. One …

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ALBUM REVIEW: VELVET CRUSH, “Pre-Teen Symphonies”

It’s another of those beautiful moments when the very fine people at Omnivore Recordings unleash another labor of love, because that’s what they do – everything they release has a personal touch and meaning.  And I’m not going to bullshit you – I loved Velvet Crush.  They had that thing – you know, the power-pop drive that’s sustained me for most of my musical life.  They wrote and executed great songs; were a powerhouse live, sounded great and they did one of the pivotal albums of the ugly ’90’s, the classic Teenage Symphonies To God (you know the origin of the title; I’m not going to get cutesy here). This release from Omnivore is the genesis of that album – Pre-Teen Symphonies.  And it’s a wonderful companion piece to the “actual” article.  16 tracks total – 8 demos for the album and 8 live performances.  And those demos sound just as explosive as the released versions – in some cases, maybe a bit livelier.  Case and point, the classic “Hold Me Up” is beefy and …

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE VALERY TRAILS, “Chameleon Bones”

This third album was made over two continents and there’s been a lot of living from the three members that make up The Valery Trails.  Originally based in Brisbane, Australia, lead singer/guitarist Andrew Bower pulled up stakes and moved to Houston, Texas.  Somehow, the band has soldiered on and this new nine-track collection is the result.  Reminiscent in many ways of the late ’80’s sound of Fender Jazzmasters and some fuzz (think a toned-down My Bloody Valentine or a poppier Dinosaur Jr.), it’s a crisp gathering of songs that have melody and throttle. “OK” is just that – tuneful, catchy and wholly memorable; “Cordless” is that perfect balance between the popsmithy and the noisy, but is a controlled chaos and the title track, “Chameleon Bones” is one of those delightful curiosities – slower, poppy, radio friendly and slightly enigmatic.  “Fall Around” is another in that classic, sludge-y vein with heavy rhythm guitar but swirling riffs – a not-as-tidy Teenage Fanclub; “Hide (Cannot)” is a wonderful acoustic-bodied piece with some emotionally charged synth lines and “Change …

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ALBUM REVIEW: ARVIDSON & BUTTERFLIES, s/t

Rife with the twang of 12-string Rickenbackers galore, harmonies, melody and swinging beats – this is the embodiment of Arvidson & Butterflies and their self-titled debut album.  What makes this a bit more interesting is that this six-piece band hails from Gothenburg, Sweden, where Roger Arvidson is a veteran of the scene there for many years (most notably, having been with The Remains – no, not that Remains!); here, he showcases his knack for writing clean, crisp and flawlessly hummable power-pop anthems and his crack bandmates are as deft at fleshing out these songs as he is at writing them.  Picture a mix of The Byrds, Petty, Twilley, a little Big Star/Teenage Fanclub and you’ve got it.  Interestingly, amongst his influences include The Who, Paul Weller and The Undertones (scores major points with me, unsurprisingly). “Tired Of Running” opens the album at a frantic pace – 2:29 of shimmering Ric riffs, tight harmonies and a 1966-kind of vibe, with delicious fills of guitar and Hammond B3; “Lights Go Out” has that kind of pop sweetness …

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE WAY DOWN WANDERERS, s/t

  For a band that’s only been together since 2013, this first full-length album from The Way Down Wanderers belies the brief nature of their existence.  An album filled with the richness of American music on numerous levels, I would have said on a guess that this was the work of seasoned players from the Grand Ole Opry. The exhilarating fiddle fills and banjo runs on the opening cut, “Dead Birds” is just a fragment of what makes this album an instant eye opener. The vocal harmonies can induce chills; the upbeat nature of the melody makes you pay attention and you know this is bound to be more than just pretty good; subsequently, “Sweet Morning Vision” is a little more subdued but has a classic country feel, although it does pick up tempo and bursts into country pop (NOT in the modern sense, thankfully) and “Circles” is in the same vein – classic country melodies, lyrics that are painted by longing and loss, dramatic yet hopeful – a high point of this album (and …

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ALBUM REVIEW: JONAS MARTIN, “The Color Scheme”

This sophomore solo effort from Dallas native Jonas Martin is an interesting melding of pop, blues-y vibes, classic rock and groove – and it’s a good mix.  The Color Scheme is highly-tuneful, carefully constructed so that the different styles mesh and flow; really, a well-thought out piece of coherent work. The complexity of “Design A Better Yesterday” made this, for me, the album’s standout track – a slow groove of world-weariness, a strong melody and hook and various movements; “Life Obsessed” is an inspired album opener with its claustrophobic rhythm, hypnotic keyboard pattern and funkability and “Because Love” has a modernized Harry Nilssson/George Harrison feel with the frenetic piano body and that flanged Harrisonized guitar sound after the first chorus.  It’s the clever nuances that make this album so meaty – there’s a lot to pick out of the recipe. “Wannabe”, which we’ve included here, is the lead track before the album’s release and has that classic piano-boogie-rock vibe, but very sparse (piano, bass, drum, acoustic guitar and very subdued, production-wise) until the song’s mid-point, …

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POPDOSE EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT, “White Bear”

Popdose presents the premiere of the full album by the U.K’s The Temperance Movement, White Bear.  This is the band’s sophomore effort; 9 new tracks played with a lot of firepower and gusto – heavy, yet melodic and driving. If letting you hear this album in all its glory isn’t enough, we’ve also added the Popdose premiere of the video for the title track, “White Bear”. So give yourself a chance to be drawn into the world of The Temperance Movement. White Bear will be released Friday, July 15th, 2016 www.thetemperancemovement.com

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE STRAY BIRDS, “Magic Fire”

This fifth album from Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Stray Birds is aptly titled Magic Fire – it  has that certain something special about it.  From the moment the opening notes hit your ear, you know this band hit the golden “thing” – the un-defineable quality/timing/vibe that artists can never accurately describe – you only know that they offered a piece of themselves that will now be part of you onward.  The warming combination of heavenly vocal harmonies, soulful melodies and pure American instrumentation makes this album an instant play-on-repeat for me. Starting with the gospel-like “Shining In The Distance” and the gorgeous vocals, you can’t help but feel uplifted; “Third Day In A Row” is a child-of-Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, with the arrangement and occasional 12-string Ric-sounding punctuations; “Sabrina” is a dynamic hoedown with a tasty, propulsive acoustic guitar riff running  through the verses and “Radio” has that very ’70’s (what else?) radio-friendly feel – that summery, laid-back kind of Southern/gentle California sound that permeated the airwaves as you drove through the heat.  “Hands Of Man” …