Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CD Review: Amazing New Indie-Music From The Heart Of Texas

From Austin, TX comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Brian Pounds entitled "Strikes And Gutters." His songwriting shows a maturity as he pours his heart into the lead performance of "Somewhere, Maybe Carolina." The country vibe of the lead song carries on through the new five-song EP. His voice really soars on "Hold My Head High," while he gets his groove going with a little R&B flavor added to "Keep My Hands To Myself." The album closes with the smooth country flow of "Jesus, Don't Let Me Die." To find out more about Brian Pounds, please visit brianpounds.com.

The new album from Phoebe Hunt and The Gatherers entitled "Walk With Me" was released last week and features a band on the verge of stardom. The new eleven-song release features The Gatherers mixing together country music, jazz and pop to accentuate Hunt's wonderful vocals. Beginning with jazz/swing of "Darkness," you feel as if you are in for a treat as the music is irresistible. At times, Phoebe Hunt sound like the second coming of Norah Jones as her vocals become the spotlight of songs like "Song For Jacquelyn" and "Before I'm Done." The band goes pure country with "Walk Of Angeline," which could easily be mistaken for classic era country hit from Dolly Parton or Tanya Tucker. The album closes with the gentle piano flow of the heartfelt lyrics of "Send Out Your Love." To find out more about Phoebe Hunt and The Gatherers, please visit phoebehuntmusic.com.

Coming September 9th is the new four-song EP "Good As Gold B-Sides" from Texas soul band The Nightowls. Their music has been praised in Austin as "contemporary-vintage" along with "smooth Detroit stylishness." Right from the start of "The Feel Good," you feel like getting out of your seat and grooving to the funk supplied by The Nightowls. The song "Nobody Ever Wants To Leave" has that classic R&B appeal and is also featured at the official theme song of Austin. TX as commissioned by the Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau. The all too short album closes with the smooth sound of the seventies feel of "Either Way." To find out more about The Nightowls, please visit wearenightowls.com.

Finally, we get to the new album from Foxtrot Uniform entitled "Cisco," which will be released on September 2nd. This album follows the local critical success of their 2012 debut "Huj! Huj! Hajrah!." The band combines the  psychedelic blues rock of "Cold Heart, Hot Hands" and "Bad Whiskey" with the Americana feel of "Honey Bee" to showcase the diversity in their sound. They travel back to the sixties music heyday with "Not Alone" as vocalist Katie Robertson takes the reigns. They plug in for the slow burning of "Empty Parking Lot," before closing with acoustic folk styling of "Dirty Lips." To find out more about Foxtrot Uniform, please visit foxtrotuniformmusic.com.

Monday, September 1, 2014

CD Review: Rey Cabrera Brings The Music Of Cuba To American Ears

Cuban singer/guitarist Rey Cabrera is one of the few leaders of traditional Cuban style music called "son cubano" and one of the last to master the tres, a Cuban style guitar. He released his latest album "Controversia" on August 5th through Goldenlane Records in association with Cleopatra Records.

The new ten-song release carries the traditional Cuban vibe as the music places you in the center of the Caribbean. While you may not understand the lyrics, unless you can speak Spanish, the music and the flow of his vocals on "Mi Nina Mari" makes it catchy to the average listener. The Latin flair of "Le Canto Al Palenque" will have you moving your feet and shaking your hips as Cabrera is joined by Roberto Carrion, while the tango of "Cuando Nace El Sol" will put your mind at ease with Cabrera's skills with the tres. The jazz-like feel of "Canto A Bruselas, 10 Anos Despues" is refreshing as a Latin-lounge gem. The album finishes with a return to the island flavor of "El Fuiki Fuiki" as Rey Cabrera still sounds amazing at the age of  71. To find out more about the this latest release from Rey Cabrera, please visit cleorecs.com.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

CD Review: Russia's MKRV Show Us The "W.A.Y." With Their New Release

The Russian duo of Dima Mokrov and Narek Arutyunyants, known as MKRV, self-released their full-length debut album "W.A.Y." on August 26th. After producing two EPs in Russia, the duo added a third member Bob Erin to help flesh out the music with his guitar talents and he also mix, mastered and produced the album. As a trio, their music has a modern alternative folk appeal that is soft and relaxing as the vocals look to soothe your troubles away.

The new eleven-song release begins with the acoustic strumming of "All This Time" that has a country feel as Bob's solo gives the song a bit of a pulse. They head into the soft rock of "Your Way Back Home" that definitely has the right elements in place for a radio hit, while "On The Road" has a Coldplay-type vibe. MKRV continue to play it safe, without straying from their formula with the gentle acoustics of "Never Look Back," before closing with rough recording of "You Are" as if it was taken from a vinyl recording with all the crackle and pops included. To find out more about MKRV, please visit mkrvmusic.com.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

CD Review: Enuff Z'nuff Reaches For "Gold" with New Covers Album

It has been thirty years since glam rockers Enuff Z'nuff came onto the music scene and twenty-five years since the release of their best selling debut album. The band is known in the U.S. for the MTV video hits "New Thing" and "Fly High Michelle," but have had a consistent growth in Japan over the last fifteen years. Recently it has become the formula for bands from the "hair metal" days to release a covers album to give praise to the bands and songs they admired as well as showcase their talents with songs that the general public may know to remind the fans how good these band still are.

Enuff Z'nuff's latest album is entitled "Covered In Gold" and features a dozen cover songs that the band feel a connection with in recording. Beginning a cover of Cheap Trick's "Everything Works If You Let It," which sounds as if could have been an addition to their debut album. It has that classic Enuff Z'nuff psychedelic metal appeal of their early days. They turn the "Greatest American Hero" theme song ""Believe It Or Not" into pop/rock magic that should be a radio comeback hit for the band. They seem to have fun with The Beatles' "Run For Your Life" as the band's sound loose and relaxed on this gem. Some of the songs that don't work as well is their spot on cover of Nirvana's "All Apologies" as more could have been done with this song. Another one that misses its mark is their cover of David Lee Roth's "Yankee Rose." It's more to display guitarist Johnny Monaco's skills then it is to add any depth to the band's sound. One of the surprise covers that works so well is Prince's "When Doves Cry" as the band turn it into a smoldering metal magic as everyone is in fine form. The album adds a couple of bonus songs, including an acoustic cover of The Beatles' "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" and a live unplugged version of their hit single "New Thing."

The new album "Covered In Gold" was released on August 19th through Dead Line Music in association with Cleopatra Records. Enuff Z'nuff have a few live dates left on their calendar, to find out more, please visit enuffznuff.com.

Friday, August 29, 2014

CD Review: New Independent Music Comes Rising To The Top

First from San Jose, CA comes the new release from Curious Quail entitled "After The Lights Failed." It was released back in May and showcases the band's talents perfectly as the music draws influences from folk, Americana and alternative rock to create some exceptional songs. The new ten song release begins with the title song which builds with instrumentation until its abrupt end. They have a modern alternative vibe going with "Instant Gratification," before moving on to the "Moon + Stars," which sounds like a lost Coldplay song. The band plugs in to rock out on "The Villian," then allows the acoustics to flow through "Heavy Rain." The album closes with the uptempo, energetic feel of the Americana sounding "Reconstruction." To find out more about Curious Quail, please visit curiousquail.com.
 
Next, from Cincinnati, OH comes the debut album from singer/songwriter Royal Holland. The new five song EP entitled "Volume One -- The Maze" was produced by Grammy award winning producer Brian Olive (The Greenhornes). Beginning with "Devil's Night," Holland's vocals float on top of the beat heavy rhythm, while the gentleness of "Statues" sounds like a song still in the development stages. The EP closes with the country sway of "Twin Rivers," featuring Margaret Darling on vocals. To find out more about Royal Holland, please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/royalhollandsongs.
 
Last, but not least, we get the self-titled debut album from rising folk artist, Maggie Anderson. As a former member of the School of Rock, Maggie has perfected her vocal and guitar talents and has put them on display performing live along the east coast and even at the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock concert held at the National Mall in Washington D.C. Her new three-song EP begins with the reflection of a relationship gone bad in "It's All Pretend." She draws you in with her sweet voice in "You'll Be Around," before closing with "These Are The Nights" as her talents continue to grow and amaze. To find out more about Maggie Anderson, please visit maggieandersonmusic.com.