Francine Honey releases new Single “Stay”

Distant flickering lights give way to black and white images of a small, intimate club and the band that has taken its stage tonight. The bass marches forward with a hesitant hustle, the guitar follows suit in a harmonious groove. The rhythm that the drums are conjuring up frames a passionate vocal from the one and only Francine Honey, who enters the spotlight and immediately commands the attention of everyone in the room with her emotive singing. We’re in the front row for a performance from one of the underground’s most discussed crooners this spring, and she isn’t holding anything back from us in this, her latest single, “Stay.” “Stay” is a song steeped in melancholy and defined by its pristinely melodic pleas, but it’s anything but a self-serving exercise in pop egotism.

OFFICIAL VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCJdNLvukrw

As cinematic as the music video is, the soundtrack is the real star here. There’s a lot of details to be appreciated within the instrumentation, and furthermore, its decadent arrangement amidst the virtuosic verses that Honey lays down effortlessly. Her style is unapologetically show-stealing, but it doesn’t ignore the value of rich tonality as it’s espoused by the glowing guitar parts in this track. The vocal is as soft as a velvet sheet and dripping with honest pain, the likes of which many artists would conceal with platitudes and mundane metaphors, but rather than employing a sonic smokescreen, Honey gets as real as she’s ever been with us in “Stay,” and subsequently dispenses her most relatable and endearing song so far.

France Honey continues to impress discriminating critics and fans like myself with her evolving songcraft and disciplined use of grandiose textures, and I think that, in many ways, this new single encapsulates her identity as a composer and vocalist better than any other that she has released thus far has. She’s a storyteller, a master of homespun harmonies, and most importantly, a soulful singer who knows a thing or two about conveying emotions that are otherwise impossible to express in words alone. I’m going to be keeping tabs on her future output for sure, and once you get a taste of her latest work, I think you will to.

DEEZER: https://www.deezer.com/en/track/544074222?autoplay=true

Kim Muncie

Richard Lynch’s Think I’ll Carry It On.(LP)

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/richardlynchbnd?lang=en

Gently, with a pendulous groove underpinning its immaculate melody, a guitar paints us a picture of a black and white world with kaleidoscopic colors in “Back in 1953,” one of the more patient ballads to behold in Richard Lynch’s Think I’ll Carry It On. It isn’t the lone example of the strings telling us a story of their own in this most recent release from the critically-acclaimed country singer; the sensuous swing of “They Don’t Play ‘Em Like That,” blustery bluegrass harmonies in “Daddy’s Guitar” and minimalist-style “Keyboard Cowboy” exude just as much expression in their instrumental prowess, and while Richard Lynch’s lyrics are a fetching facet of Think I’ll Carry It On, they’re only one component in this rich cocktail of modern country.

Lynch’s soulful drawl gets a lot of the spotlight in his duet with Leona Williams, “Another Honky Tonk Song,” as well as the big-riffing “Fast Times and Easy Money,” “Pray on the Radio” and upbeat “We’re American Proud,” but it never makes the musical backdrop any less captivating of a feature. One of the reasons why I think this album is such a stand out this summer is because of its multidimensional style, which is a bit of an anomaly amidst the output of Lynch’s contemporaries both in and outside of Nashville. He’s not overindulging in any of his most attractive attributes, but there’s definitely an easygoing, freeform fashioning of this material that wasn’t present in his last album, 2017’s addictive Mending Fences.

Some might take it as a disrespectful remark, but I don’t think Richard Lynch would argue with me when I say that Think I’ll Carry It On has virtually nothing in common with the alternative country movement, at least as it currently stands. To me, this is another reason why it’s such a diamond in the rough; with fusions of surrealism and Americana becoming the new “it” thing to play in Nashville, Lynch’s new record is essentially a slab of top quality vintage twang that is unparalleled in today’s increasingly abstract country music climate. It isn’t that he’s trying to live in the past here, but more that he’s living true to the aesthetic of a genre that was built on the foundation of tradition with his latest record.

I only just recently got into Richard Lynch’s music, but I must say that after listening to Think I’ll Carry It On, I’m really excited to see him on stage in the future. As awesome a listen as this record is, I can imagine its contents being ten times more enveloping and engaging live and in-person. This material that was designed to get an entire crowd on their feet, and with summer soon to be in full swing, it makes for an amazing soundtrack to a freewheeling road trip or a night beside a roaring beach bonfire just the same. Think I’ll Carry It On is an aptly titled album that is a testament to the eternal influence of a legendary generation of singer/songwriters, troubadours and cowboys who made America the great nation that it is today.

GET A COPY: https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/RichardLynch2

Kim Muncie

Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush releases new LP

Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush are a band out of Seattle, Washington, with a unique take on the current state of United States politics. Rather than taking the traditional dystopian approach – this four-piece rock band combines folk, disjointed rhythms and harmonies to create a sometimes wistful, but trippy collection of songs in their seven-track album, MAABA (Making America All Better Again).


FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/thestardustcrush/

Out of the gate is “Alien Anthem”, a just over two minute garbled, static concoction. It has electronic burps mixed with a science fiction-like flare. The ending of the tune is the sound of crickets along with helicopter chops. It’s very strange, but perhaps that’s the point. It seems to set the stage for a very bizarre encounter, just as the state of affairs the world is currently in.  

The title track is trippy. Still, it has a memorable guitar riff – very bright and melodic. The guitar work also has an underlying sadness. The lyrics “put the Cheeseburger in me/ put Fox News on the TV …oh poor me…,” seem to paint this idea that the fast food nation has given a 99-cent menu item on liberty and the United States’ constitution. What is surprising is the distorted sounds and creative sound effects. This song, taken out of context, might be a very happy tune. It’s not dark and dreary.

“Mrs. Liberty” has some real soul to it and really stands out on MAABA. Beautiful, female backing vocals culminate on the chorus: “Tell me now what I should do, Mrs. Liberty / what should I do / do you have a place for me?” It’s wonderful harmony.

“Thoughts and Prayers for the N.R.A”, “Vote For Change” and “Pink Hat” all have similar vibes and points of inspiration. The final song “Golden Hair and the Ghost of Christmas Future” celebrates the quirkiness and artistic platform Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush seem to excel. According to their bio, influences like R.E.M. and Bob Dylan inspired their foundation. These are especially evident in “Pink Hat” and “Golden Hair.”

So what does all this mean? It means a band like Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush amplify the anxieties and the uncertainties in the year 2019, and capture the spirit of American artists giving the symbolic middle finger to what’s happening in Washington D.C. It means they are a band that stands for something and more than creatively tells a story that it’s not okay what’s happening and that it’s something that if you’re not paying attention, then you better.

REVERBNATION: https://www.reverbnation.com/chill76

Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush’s MAABA doesn’t fit into a formula. They are a boundless band and could easily fit alongside a punk band, a spoken word festival or even a world music concert event. They have a voice. It’s a strong voice and while some might be turned off by the political nature, it’s worth listening to songs like “Mrs. Liberty” and “Pink Hat” at the very least for interesting percussion twists, exceptional harmonies and a whole lot of musical firsts.

Kim Muncie

Plants – Fervent Devise

On Fervent Devise, Plants are able to call back to the rock of the 1960s and 1970s. Infectious guitar lines, charismatic vocals, and shuffling drums laid down by Alex unite to make something tremendously cohesive. With just a hint of 1990s alternative included in the mix, Plants are able to make an effort wholly unique while reverent of influences preceding the act. With the swagger of 1970s-Steven Tyler or Emotional Rescue-era Mick Jagger, Plants are able to craft a song that will stick with listeners long after the song ceases to play. Few acts are able to create such a cohesive sound with a single track; Fervent Devise is an early favorite for this summer.

Plants – Fervent Devise / Soundcloud / Bandcamp

Bat! – Bat Music For Bat People

Does the world really need another psychobilly supergroup?

Turns out, that yeah, we kind of do. The Bats, a trio made up of members from Nekromantix, The Brains, Rezurez and Stellar Corpses, churn through 20 (20!) songs on their debut, Bat Music For Bat People and the music manages to be catchy enough that hardly a moment drags here. Yes, they dig up the old genre tropes (“Graveyard Girl,” “Cemetery Man,”), but with a rhythm section that would make The Stray Cats sit up and pay attention, the band actually sound like they’re enjoying themselves as they churn through a mix of originals and covers. From the 1960s comic inspired album cover to the bat-shaped masks the band wear at all times, Bat! is certainly not half-assing it on the image front either.  

 Among the covers here are a mix of some obvious ones (Danzig’s “Mother,” The Damned’s “Love Song” and Dick Dale’s “Misirlou), and two left of center tracks (Gloria Jones’ “tainted Love” and Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still”) that work unbelievable well in part because the band manages to completely make the songs their own.

After a 20-song intro it may be asking a lot, but here’s hoping Bat! is more than a one-off side project and a taste of more to come.

Bat! – Bat Music For Bat People/20 tracks/Cleopatra/2019 / Bandcamp / Facebook /

Dane Maxwell makes it look all too easy

A debut single can be the hardest track that an artist will ever record, but Dane Maxwell makes it look all too easy in his rookie release, the anti-bullying ballad “Where I’m Seen.” Maxwell steps up to the microphone with an unrehearsed confidence that could become a signature element in his sound if he learns to harness all of its multilayered potential. His words dance against the silky string section without creating any discord; everything meshes together so well, and yet there’s a sense of improvisation here that makes the song seem even more heartfelt and honest than it originally would have been. Dane Maxwell is still getting his stripes as a solo performer, but in “Where I’m Seen,” he shrugs off the typical complaints that one would most frequently hear about virgin singles by doing what it would seem he was born to do – sing. This man has a voice that could turn the nutrition facts on the back of your cereal box into nuanced melodic glitter, and what’s even better is that he’s using his skills to do some real good for the world in this deeply moving debut track.

Maxwell’s devoted a significant part of his life to charitable work, and there’s no debating that his ideals bleed into every aspect of his music. “Where I’m Seen” doesn’t try to butter up the subject of bullying with any pithy, unfelt dialogue about social issues in general. Our leading man cuts through the nonsensical part of “the conversation,” as it’s been dubbed by the media, and gets right down to business here, and that’s definitely one of the more commendable acts I’ve seen in music lately. There are a lot of bandwagon artists making music about everything from abuse to environmental awareness right now, but I don’t feel like Maxwell is trying to cash in on our emotions with “Where I’m Seen.” Contrarily, if pressed for my opinion, I think that he’s more invested in this subject than the better part of his contemporaries in pop music are at the moment. Words like these don’t come from an A&R department executive’s pen; they come from life experiences that have now forged a formidable songwriter in Dane Maxwell.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/DaneMaxwell/

There are more than enough artists committed to their craft in 2019, but by contrast, there really aren’t that many as committed to the substance of their content as Mr. Dane Maxwell is, and that’s why I think that his debut single is such a strong contender for mainstream attention. He’s got the independent ethos that it takes to make a clean, uncorrupted piece of music with “Where I’m Seen,” and furthermore, he’s got the wit and wisdom of a well-traveled young man who will do whatever he has to do in order to make a difference in the world around him.

The combination is going to bring him a lot of credibility with both fans and critics that are even harder to please than I am, and render future recordings highly anticipated by anybody who can relate to the poetic content that fills his songs with so much love, kinship and solidarity. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ll be staying tuned indefinitely.

Kim Muncie

The music of DANE MAXWELL has been heard all over the world due to the promotional services offered by Danie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity. Learn more here – http://www.daniecorteseent.com/

Wreckless Eric – Transience (Southern Domestic Records)

Over the course of the past four decades, Wreckless Eric has evolved from being that quirky Stiff Records signing  – who managed to brilliantly bridge the distance between labelmates The Damned and Elvis Costello, with his punk rock ethos slathered in strong poppy hooks – to being a reliably poignant songwriter turning in one album after the next filled with smartly written-stories steeped in nostalgia and keen observations.

Transience is no different, picking up perfectly where last year’s Construction Time & Destruction left off. He’s joined by wife Amy Rigby on piano and backing vocals, Cheap Trick bassist Tom Peterson and drummer Steve Goulding, formerly with Graham Parker’s band The Rumour, along with others for this eight-song outing. While the bulk of the album hues to the standard 2-4 minute pop song structure, two of the tracks here stretch out over seven minutes, “the Half of It” and “California/Handyman,” and only the latter seems to go on too long.

Like most of his work over the past decade or so, it’s a pretty lo-fi affair, reminiscent at times of Willie Nelson’s career as of late – record what you want, when you want with no need for excessive studio polish or unnecessary flourish and there will be an audience to embrace it. You can’t argue with the results here.       

Wreckless Eric – Transience/8 tracks/Southern Domestic Records/2019 / Bandcamp / Domain /

NeuFutur’s last coverage of Wreckless Eric was all the way back in 2008, during his time promoting Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby.

W.C. Beck releases self titled LP

Like a gentle breeze rustling the branches of an old willow tree, “The Long Way Home” has a way of dispelling all of the tension that would normally sully a perfect summer afternoon, and as I recently discovered, it isn’t the only song capable of such mysticism in W.C. Beck’s third album, First Flight, a deceptively titled record that sees its composer executing one flawless ascent into the sonic heavens after another. Beck sounds more in his element and relaxed than he ever has before right now, and while he’s become a favorite of critics like myself in the last few years, I don’t think that there’s room for debating whether or not this is the most accomplished and refined release of his career.

BANDCAMP: https://wcbeck.bandcamp.com/album/first-flight

“Powder Blue” and “Cathy Jo,” two of my favorite songs from First Flight, use completely opposing designs to ultimately achieve the same goal; bringing us closer to Beck’s point of view through little more than a simple string arrangement and some straightforward lyricism that leaves the frills on the sidelines. “Powder Blue” is the more riff-happy of the two, but even with its distorted fever pitch, it sounds as organic and poetic as the tender crooning of “Cathy Jo” does.

The understated guitar grooving in “A Place to Land” and “Unknown Bust,” along with the rampant riff assault of “Among the Waves,” are three excellent examples of Beck’s string play stealing the show in First Flight, and being a bit of six-string geek myself, I must say that this is some of the most aesthetically-pleasing tonality I’ve heard on an alternative country record in years. One is inclined to think of Drive-By Truckers’ A Blessing and a Curse when taking in the stray melodies occupying “Grey” and “(Holding on) To a Coast,” but at the same time I think that the comparison might be a bit dismissive of how original a sound all of this material possesses.

As far as the master mix goes, First Flight has a pretty muscular tracklist (acoustic ballads included), but I think it’s worth pointing out that the bottom-end, nor the treble, ever become aggressive. The slightly-scooped EQ brings all of the subtle color in the harmonies to the forefront of any given song, and subsequently makes it all the easier for us to appreciate the full-scope of W.C. Beck’s incredible sonic skillset. He’s got so much depth to his sound, and unlike many of his streamlined contemporaries in the industrialized Nashville scene, he isn’t afraid to exploit that depth for everything that it’s worth.

TWITTER: https://www.instagram.com/wcbeckmusic/

I’ve been following W.C. Beck for a while now, but I’ve found myself addicted to the music that he’s shared with us in First Flight in a way that I never would have expected. An artist of his stature demands respect whenever a new release bearing his name hits record store shelves, and for everything that I anticipated when I sat down to review this piece for the very first time, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that I was beyond impressed with what I heard. First Flight is a must-listen for longtime fans and newcomers alike – it presents us with an unfiltered examination of its creator like none other we’ve ever heard before.

Kim Muncie

Chris Eves And The New Normal – Find Your Way

Remember to Forget is a track that ties together the jam-band sound of Umphrey’s McGee and Gov’t Mule with a more contemplative, Collective Souls meets Wallflowers sort of sounds. The instrumentation that brings fans into Find Your Way stands up to repeat plays, while the passion and range of Chris’s vocals will keep fans firmly focused into the music that is to follow on the band’s latest, Find Your Way.

Walking on a Wire is a track that goes back to the halcyon days of the late-1990s with nods to the Dave Matthews Band and Rich Hardesty in the band’s light-hearted and bouncy approach to rock. By bringing in just a hint of the 1970s Apple Records sound, Chris Eves and The New Normal are able to add a fullness to the resulting song.

Find Your Way brings in a sizzling guitar line to the mix. When coupled with the hopeful vox laid down by Chris, what results is a track that will have listeners’ toes tapping. Just a hint of 1970s rock can be discerned here, further adding to the honest sound that the band promotes through the entirety of the disc.

The Chains You Wear comes at fans with a fair amount of swamp rock (think Every Mother’s Nightmare, Jackyl, or Seven Mary Three); When the Stars Start Falling is the other side of the coin with a much more celestial sort of sound. The gradual increase in the band’s momentum through this track makes for a late-album track that absolutely sparkles. Bigger Than the Two of Us is a fun track that calls back to the late-1970s output of Aerosmith, blended all up with Boulevard of Broken Dreams-era Green Day.

Top Tracks: Walking on a Wire, When the Stars Start Falling, Bigger Than the Two of Us

Rating: 8.2/10

Chris Eves And The New Normal – Find Your Way / 2019 Self Released / Domain / Facebook /

Zāna “Nah”

On Nah, Zāna is able to blend equal parts Jennifer Lopez and Shakira into a song of female self empowerment, all while blending in an international flair to pop music. The track is able to establish a chiaroscuro of loud / quiet in a fashion to successfully capture the attention of listeners. The backing beat is on-point, providing a formidable canvas upon which Zāna is able to add her own unparalleled vocals and charisma to. Nah is a track that works as well in 2019 as it would have in 1999; this timeless sound is a fantastic way to get familiarized with the performer. What do you think about Nah?

Zāna “Nah” / Domain / Facebook /