In his brand new single “I’ll Never Be Alone Again,” Christian powerhouse Michael Rainwood takes playful acoustic guitars, pendulous percussion, smoky vocals and an endearing message about giving up earthly fears in favor of heavenly support to forge a song that will put a smile on anyone’s face this autumn. To claim that there’s been a shortage of love in the world lately might be the biggest understatement of our time, but Michael Rainwood isn’t giving up on what he knows to be true in his soul just because the going is getting a little tough. He strikes a feverish blow in the gut of despair with his textured vocal delivery, shatters the notion of anxiety and fear with a delicate guitar strumming that eases upon contact, and overwhelms us not with bloated half-barked lyrics about pain and suffering but instead with a comforting drawl spewing words that don’t judge us for seeking some sonic guidance. Rainwood is at the top of his game musically and firmly directing the narrative of his work towards the hopeful light of the new day ahead, which we can all agree is something the whole planet could use a bit more of nowadays. Continue reading ““I’ll Never Be Alone Again” by Michael Rainwood”
In the gallop of “Those Happy Days,” one of eleven amazing new songs found on Rebecca Blasband’s album Here, we follow a bubbly beat that is determined to get us on our feet and swinging to its affectionate rhythm. Bouncing back and forth off of a glowing melody, the grooves get more and more rebellious as we approach the chorus, which explodes in sonic fireworks once given the room. On the flipside, “Gotta Work It Out” transitions from verse to verse in a haze of guitar wallop and bass tizzies that jettison into the atmosphere and create a smokescreen between us and the lyrics. These two tracks give us a taste of what Here has to offer, but they’re hardly the only reasons you’re going to want to pick up the album this fall. Continue reading “Rebecca Blasband’s album Here”
Well-traveled and educated by her worldly experiences, indie pop singer/songwriter Xuan emerges as one of 2018’s standout performers with her debut Have Some Fun, a 12-track treasure chest of modest ballads and striking melodies that will affect even the most discriminating of music fans among us. Xuan utilizes every bit of sonic space she’s afforded in her rookie LP, and whether we’re jamming out to the minimalist rock of “Big Blue Ocean” or the sexy sway of her Prince-inspired juggernaut “Sheila,” she makes certain that her sound touches on every one of our senses. Her lyrics are witty and ironic, but they’re not mean spirited in the least. Using what I can only imagine will become her trademark swagger, she discharges one rich texture after another and asserts herself as a serious contender in contemporary pop music. Continue reading “Xuan releases “Have Sone Fun””
“The Girl With the Rattlesnake Heart,” the new single by Steve Bonham and the Long Roads, is not a recreation of the British folk rock of yesteryear. In this song, audiences and critics alike are brought front and center to witness the deconstruction and reassembly of a band in real time. We listen as the strings find each other and connect within a single verse to form a structure for the track; we’re there as the percussion is born out of sheer intensity and the vocals come to life out of a sterling black void. Steve Bonham and the Long Roads have made some very thoughtful music in recent times, but they tap into a sublimely postmodern side of their collective personality in this single that is as thought provoking as it is spellbinding.
The music exposes itself from the start of the song as being unapologetically raw and unaffected by the trends of modern pop music. The rhythm bleeds through the percussion and is propelled by the stampeding melancholy being produced by the guitar. There’s a nod to the Delta blues in the swing, but it’s restricted by the countrified march of the beat. “The Girl With the Rattlesnake Heart” is as nimble as a snake but as volatile as a lover scorned; the temperamental harmony isn’t as threatening as it could be thanks to Bonham’s tender vocal, thus proving the concept behind the song’s design to be a solid one.
Production-wise, this single is a force to be reckoned with. Using nothing more than a gentle mix, the Long Road makes it possible for even the most analytical of music enthusiasts to appreciate all of the splendid detail within the instrumentation, which is tight and focused to say the least. For being as reckless in tone as it is, “The Girl With the Rattlesnake Heart” is actually very elegant in its presentation. The packaging is slick and the narrative isn’t obscured by the music at all, which isn’t always a sure thing with indie tracks that are as creatively ambitious as this one is.
There’s an insistence in the percussion that makes the pace of the song feel much faster than the tempo really is, but it’s a welcomed shot of adrenaline as far as I’m concerned. The menacing element in this song is its contrasting vocal/guitar dynamic that comes straight out of alternative folk but isn’t directly tied to punk rock or its ethos. The bucolic sway of the strings is destroyed by the beat intentionally, and as a result we end up with a song that is defiantly rock-friendly as opposed to willfully isolated by the boundaries of traditional folk music.
Excitingly volatile is one way to put it, but there’s no getting around the fact that “The Girl With the Rattlesnake Heart” is a seductive slice of experimental folk magic that few acoustic aficionados would disagree with. I simply love the way that Bonham channels the blues in this song without actually washing the track in 12-bar repetitiveness. The maturely crafted lyrics demand a reaction from us just as much as the Long Road’s instrumentation does, which doesn’t just make this track a well-balanced effort – it makes it a fully realized encapsulation of the band’s persona. Steve Bonham continues to assert himself as a master in his medium with this latest single, and I’m impressed by how far he’s come as a recording artist.
Steve Bonham’s music has been heard all over the world due to the promotional services offered by Dannie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity. Learn more here – http://www.daniecorteseent.com/
There’s probably no place better to embrace the warm, loving feeling of Christmas than beside a crackling fireplace decorated with stockings awaiting Santa’s arrival. Many an artist have tried to capture this exact moment, this unexplainable happiness that comes with basking in the glow of the holidays, but only a select few have even come close. R&B songsters Norm Adams and Julia Robertson join those exclusive ranks with their new single “My Kinda Christmas,” which grabs listeners by the collar and takes them on a happy go lucky adventure into the heart and soul of the season. Continue reading ““My Kinda Christmas” by Norm Adams and Julia Robertson”
Bill Abernathy’s new album Crossing Willow Creek is a diverse fusion of styles that all share something in common with the fabric of Americana, and fans of his last LP Find A Way will be more than pleased to find the themes of that record greatly expanded upon in this one. Abernathy touches on a lot of ground with this release – from old fashioned country swing to electrified blues rock – but none of it feels forced or artificially tailored for the contemporary market. There’s a natural feel to all eleven tracks that Crossing Willow Creek contains, stemming from a collection of organic lyrics that will make you stop and think about our present state of affairs in America just as much as they will evoke retrospection and self-analysis with their thought provoking verses. Continue reading “Bill Abernathy’s new album Crossing Willow Creek”
In an exploding Mexico City music scene that is developing a lot of really amazing talent right now, Labán sets himself apart as an old fashioned R&B singer in his new single “Dueños de Aquí,” the first from his upcoming album Todos Somos Dueños de Aquí. Designed as a protest song but outfitted with a classy, effervescent groove in the style of light funk, “Dueños de Aquí” isn’t a particularly detailed single but more a physical burst of energy in the form of a song. The melody is as light as a feather, and despite a clunky bassline that gets a bit too heavy for my palate, it finishes strong and on a high note. Continue reading ““Dueños de Aquí” by Labán”
“Depression” figuratively gets the better of Jade Massentoff on the single of the same title, as she eloquently defines it in her own terms on this finely written, arranged and marvelously produced gem. The magnitude of emotions alone is off the charts on what is sure to be a hit song if I were to claim that about any this year. To say I was blown away by it wouldn’t do it enough justice, but you can only glow so bright about something, especially where the serious outweighs the playful for the most part and leaves the rest up to moving you. Continue reading ““Depression” by Jade Massentoff”
New York rockers Skyfactor hold nothing back from us in their new LP A Thousand Sounds, a record that encourages us to shed our inhibitions and follow the passionate groove of its cathartic lyrics. Hand claps give way to a percussive palm muted acoustic guitar that draws us into the majestic vocals of frontman Bob Ziegler; the acoustic sonic ribbonry wraps around us like a warm blanket and stays with us through the hauntingly contemplative “Long Way to Go” and the jagged riffing of “Better for the Moment.” As we work through the tracks it becomes clear that Skyfactor’s latest record is an engaging listening experience that will leave diehard fans of the group more than satisfied and unfamiliar listeners charmed by its simple yet inspiring narratives that touch on rock n’ roll’s more emotional side.
There’s a strong pop sensibility in this album that wasn’t present in Skyfactor’s last LP Signal Strength, but they haven’t sold out their DIY ethos at all. “What We Had” is a retrospective confessional that is as raw and visceral as they come, while “Lost At Sea” boasts an insular mix that magnifies the emotion in Ziegler’s voice. The cosmetics of this record are much more polished than what some might have been expecting, but I don’t think anyone who listens to “Hoboken Lullaby” would have the audacity to suggest that these songs didn’t come from a place of endearing vulnerability. The harmonies are hypnotizing and the verses earnestly hesitant. Slower tracks like “Stay Dear” keep the momentum going not through their tempo but in their utilization of space, which is something you don’t typically find outside of ambient music.
The tonality here is so opulent and magnetizing that it occasionally overshadows the actual play of the band. “Damn the Remote” has the swing of an old fashioned folk rock song with an updated structure to suit the palate of today’s audiences, but its elegant articulation is left untouched. There’s so much feeling and soul in the trickle of notes that we come in contact with during the opening bars of “Run Away” and the chorus of “Better for the Moment” that the familiarity of the lyrics becomes obscured by the experimental nature of the musicality. The minute intricacies in these songs don’t go unnoticed, and I think it’s overwhelmingly obvious that Skyfactor spent a lot of time perfecting the mix before finally clearing the record for release.
With a diverse collection of imagistic tracks that furiously press against the speakers and demand a reaction from listeners, A Thousand Sounds very well could be Skyfactor’s most well-rounded and mature full length album yet. The vitality of previous works is still alive and blossoming in songs like the moving “The Whole World’s Here” and the stylish firebomb “New Day,” but there’s no debating that this is the group at their most centered and agile in the studio. Skyfactor fans have been waiting for an album as grandiose as this one, and the band pulled out all the stops and delivered something that amplifies all of their best qualities and melds them into a single tour de force. I’ll admit that I fell for A Thousand Sounds because of its affectionate melodies, but I got hooked on it because of its cratering emotion, which runs much deeper than any of their quaking rhythms ever could.
Mu’Sonique Records present Dustyy Lane, a band and a duo in one, with a new single, “Now It’s Christmas.” The Dustyy Lane Band spell the name with two y’s, but that could just distinct them from other using the same name. But they’re not just a duo, as pointed out they are also a big stage band. This is a review of their original new hit single together, as they’ve travelled a long road to meet up for what is some of the best music you’ll hear on today’s scene, especially on the west coast where they play a lot. You won’t find Christmas music around that competes very strongly with theirs. Continue reading “Dustyy Lane drops Christmas Single”