Friday, September 23, 2016

Zoe Nutt - Like You



URL: http://www.zoenutt.com/ 

The yearning and aching assortment of songs Zoe Nutt has compiled for his debut album gives her a leg up on nearly all of her peers. These are finely crafted affairs with an almost ornate beauty – Nutt and her collaborating musicians, alike, are patient in their artistry and never substitute energy for consideration. It isn’t to say that this is an entirely languid, leaden affair. There is urgency in many of the songs, but it isn’t the urgency you might be familiar with in pop songs. Instead, the eleven songs on Like You are guided by the urgency of things unsaid, held within, the urgency of grief and heartache threatening to drag us low. Nutt delivers it all with an amazingly elastic voice capable of exploring a number of points in her wide register while never failing to communicate with her audience.

Like You opens with “Nothing I Can Do”, a virtually flawless first song that doesn’t have a single lull vocally or instrumentally. Nutt’s voice and the music alike move in seamless accord despite her upper register longing piercing far deeper into the listener’s heart. The lyrics have a lovely plain spoken poetry that never gets too clever for its own good and remains accessible throughout. “Antique Soda Pop Love” comes from a similar place, but seems more fragile somehow, like a memory recalled. The lyrics, with their mix of the specific and non-specific, seem to underscore this atmosphere and Nutt’s careful, but enormously attentive, enunciation. The introduction of lonesome brass on the bluesy “Look the Other Way” changes things up in a highly creative way and draws from Nutt one of her most inspired vocals yet. The same deliberation in the earlier vocals is present here as well, but heard in this light, it sounds much more sexy than contemplative. The open-heartedness distinguishing many of the album’s songs finds its finest expression on the title cut. This is one of the album’s tightest songs, but yet occupies a relatively small stage. Nutt’s voice and the shimmering acoustic guitar will touch all but the most cynical.  

“Bones” finds Nutt exploring bluesy sounds once again but without any of the R&B or torch song trappings of the earlier song. Instead, “Bones” is ripped straight from the Delta earth and given a slightly twisting through a country prism. It may not announce itself as one of the album’s major songs, but it is nonetheless a deceptively simple work. Her surprising cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” has none of the slickness heard in the Boss’ original and, instead, takes a more distanced, nuanced approach built along the same sonic paradigm powering much of the album. The album’s final moment comes with “Dearest”, the fullest band treatment that any song on Like You receives, and it’s superb construction helps Nutt capitalize on the last of her stylistic shifts. It’s a memorable ending to one of the most interesting efforts to come along in the Americana genre for some time. The album doesn’t fall cleanly into any one camp, but listeners will likely not care. It’s too good to be concerned with appropriate labels. 

9 out of 10 stars 


Bradley Johnson
 
 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dwayna Litz - Counting Your Blessings



Have you ever wondered what is lacking in today’s music? I have. It seems many of today’s best artists lack what they call X-Factor. So what is X-Factor? X-Factor is  that indefinable quality that makes someone very special and unique. Couple this with talent and you have a delay combination for sure. The last big vocalist I felt had talent and X-Factor was Whitney Houston. There is just something missing with today’s popular artists. So where have all the good artists gone to. Actually Singer/Songwriter Dwayna Litz can give us all hope that these types of artists still exist.

“Counting Your Blessings” is her second release and it has much to commend it. Admittedly, there is a whole lot of variety to these catchy arrangements and performances. The CD has many things working in its favor. First: the line up consisting of many solid production folk including Producer Tim Ouimette and the impressive line-up of Top Tiered Musicians. Second: Her look, and overall spirit will no doubt mystify many fans as she possesses a very marketable look
 
Third: Her voice possessing a clear as a bell vibrato via top flight passion play. Yes all of this makes for deadly combination. Even more impressive the music is commercially viable and delivers a modern day Jazz-Pop vibe. I can honestly hear this stuff on the NPR as it possesses a very marketable ambiance in that respect. Amazing with a polished presentation touch and top flight performances, addictive melodies and thick low end dance grooves. What I do like most about the CD is there is no attempt at deliver what I call "over the top pop" with nothing more than a pretty face and some gaudy choreography. Bottom line – Dwayna Litz has talent. She can write, she can produce, she can sing, and she has staying power within the industry - which is more than you can say for 99% of today’ artists. Litz’s has got the X-FACTOR.  She’s got  an impressive persona, look, personality and voice to go along with it. If she wrote all these songs well she could be bigger than any of us realize at the moment - yep she did. Favorite Track: Title Track.

“Counting Your Blessings” get’s things off to a good start for Dwayna Litz in 2012. It's an endearing CD that is powerful and entertaining in it’s overall posture. I could hear this at a party, club or on the radio. I would imagine in time we will hear more from this artist as time unfolds. Time will tell but I can honestly say this is one artist that had allot of potential. Everything about Litz screams professionalism and talent.

Rating: 5/5

URL – http://www.dwaynalitz.com/
CD can be purchased @ CD BABY - http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dwaynalitz4

Mindy McCall
April, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Frostbite - Valentine and Other Stories of Hope


Music can be pretty predictable. Predictable in the sense of band after band releasing album after album, year after year only to get pigeonholed into their applicable genera slot or typical “other artist” comparisons. It’s true that over the years we’ve seen bands come and go, but every once in a great while we see an artist break this mold by releasing music that is fresh. This can also be done by methodically  combining genera’s.  Atlanta based “Frostbite” fronted by musical mastermind Chrs Compton should be classified as one of these bands.

“Valentine and Other Stories of Hope” is his latest CD and it has much to commend it. Admittedly there is a whole lot of variety to these arrangements. In fact “Frostbite” could be classified as a 4 genera project or band: Alternative Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive Metal and even spaced out Orchestral-Rock. Yes - I can even hear this music featured in a Feature Film, TV Show or a Prime Time Movie. It’s rare to hear a band walk a fine line between Power, Passion and Darkness. Compton elects to share with up a very personal shapshot of what’s going on behind his two eyes of his. This is one artist that has way too much precision and clarity to live in the shadows with a poetic splendor. Indeed this is clearly evident in songs like “…of my Heart” and “The Metro” which methodically ups the ante to a very respectable level of catchy-rock musical craftsmanship from a Berlin cover song. As a result the music is commercially viable with a fresh sound with a dark-progressive aftertaste. In a nutshell this is Tool meets Chevelle or Marilyn Manson meets Slipknot. Not every square inch is filled with progressive math rock delivered under duress either, but rather musical space the allows the music to breathe.  This is music that is not so easy to pin down during the first listen, but rather a CD blessed with a wide variety of taste and thought provoking musical exuberance.

I would imagine in time we will hear more from this amazing artist. No doubt “Frostbite” has carved a very marketable niche for themselves and are set up well for success in 2012.

Rating: 4/5


Mindy McCall
May, 2012


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Richard Anthony - Love is the Power


Have you listed to the Radio lately, really have you? Is it me or is something horribly wrong with today's music. Do you remember when music actually had really instruments in them with real people playing them? No kidding. How about good songwriting performed by artists that not only wrote the music but poured their heats and souls into the performances - holding nothing back. Why? Because they meant every word of the lyrics they wrote. Now when one listens to the radio what do you hera: a pretty face, cookie cutter songwriting, crafted via a microphone, some fancy sampling and a overly loud mix that sounds more like a commercial than a song. Yes the magic is all but gone from modern-day music, and people are wondering why. Well I Will tell you. Because to many artists are not being true to themselves when it comes to their  musical expression, that’s why. More artists need to be themselves - actually kind of like Illinois based Physics teacher Richard Anthony.   
 
“Love is the Power” is his latest release and it has much to commend it. Admittedly, there is a whole lot of variety to these arrangements and performances: The line up consisting of many mainly Anthony. He’s got an infectious voice and a rock solid band musicians and Top Flight Sampling and Programming backing him up. Second: The songwriting: just cuts to the chase and delivers via compelling lyrics and an emotional vocal front. Yes all of this makes for deadly combination. Even more impressive are the overall message: powerful, genuine, passionate, inspirational are some words I would use to describe them. The songs are heavy, yet commercially viable delivering music that's very melodic, and catchy with a Techno-Pop edge. Yes - I honestly can hear this stuff on the Radio.  Amazing tunes with hooky melodies and a thick low end dance grooves, but more importantly lyrics that cut right to the core of what Love is - yes. What I like most about the CD is there is no attempt at deliver what I call over the top flashy rock with a big beat and an overcompensating commercial sound. Favorite Track: “We Belong” and the title track.

“Love is the Power” is an endearing CD that is powerful and entertaining in it’s posture. I could hear this at a party, club or on the radio.  I would imagine in time we will hear more from this amazing artist as 2012 unfolds. Time will tell but I can honestly say this is one artist that had much in the way of potential, and fills the modern day musical void quite well with music that is – well genuine, powerful and above all full of love. 

Rating: 5/5 
CD can be purchased via CD UNIVERSE –

Mindy McCall
May, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Robert O'Connor - Resistance (EP)


You get that feeling sometimes when you hear a song. That feeling when you realize that the song or artist goes a lot deeper than the next Independent Artist. Irelands Robert O’Connor is one of those artists.  

“Resistance” is one EP that goes deeper than the next Indie Artist and is mostly the work of one man – Robert O’Connor who is based out of Dublin, Ireland. The result though is far from a self-indulgent ego trip for it, instead, is a moving and elegiac artistic statement from start to finish. This is not dark-trippy rock, or overly predictable pop, instead Mr. O’Connor could be classed as one artist that has way too much precision and clarity to live in the shadows of poetic splendor. This is clearly evident in songs like “Older” and "Over” and the invigorating "Too Late.” These songs and more methodically up the ante to a very respectable level of artistic craftsmanship, brilliant creativity and an X-Factor that’s off the charts. Equally as imperative the music is commercially viable, hearfelt and appealing with a fresh sound with a passionate view on reality.

In a nutshell this is Jack Johnson Galvin Degraw. Not every square inch is filled with a vocal delivery under duress – but musical space the allows the music to breathe. This is music is comparable to a musical vacation of sorts for the mind, body and soul, with music that can be described as musical exuberance. To be honest I wish the experience only lasted longer.
I would imagine in time we will hear more from this Irish composer. Robert O’Connor is one artist that clearly gives you a musical snapshot that is highly original, unique, uplifting and dare I say infectiously sexy.

CD can be purchased @ AMAZON - http://www.amazon.com/Resistance/dp/B006YDD0AY

Mindy McCall
May, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Smalltime - Self Titled (EP)


Have you listed to the Radio lately, really have you? Is it me or is something going horribly wrong with music these days. Do you remember when music actually had really instruments in them with real people playing them? How about good songwriting performed by artists that not only wrote the music but also poured their heat and soul into the performances - holding nothing back. Why? Because they meant every word of it. Now when one listens to the radio what do we find: a pretty face, cookie cutter songwriting, crafted via a microphone, some fancy sampling and a overly loud mix that sounds more like a commercial than a song. Yes the magic is all but gone from modern-day music, and people are wondering why. Because to many artists are not being true to themselves with respect to their musical expression that’s why. More artists need to be themselves. Kind of like a 4 piece Christian Rock band from Southern California that goes by the name of Smalltime.    
 
“Smalltime” is their debut self titled release and it has much to commend it. Admittedly, there is a whole lot of variety to these arrangements and performances: The line up consisting of many Top Tiered musicians headed up by Danny Van on guitar and vocals. He’s got an infectious voice and a rock solid band backing him up. Second: The songwriting: just cuts to the chase and delivers via compelling lyrics and an emotional vocal front. Yes all of this makes for deadly combination. Even more impressive are the message: powerful, shocking, and inspirational are some words I would use to describe them. The songs are heavy, yet commercially viable delivering music that's very melodic, and catchy with a hard rocking edge. Yes - I honestly can hear this stuff on the Radio.  Amazing tunes with hooky melodies and a thick low end rock groove, but more importantly lyrics that cut right to the core of who you are - yes. What I like most about the CD is there is no attempt at deliver what I call over the top flashy rock with a big guitar sound and an overcompensating shock rock sound. Favorite Track: “Dead on Arrival.” What kind of Christian band has a song named “Dead on Arrival”? Exactly!

“Smalltime” is an endearing EP that is powerful and entertaining in it’s posture. I could hear this at a party, club or on the radio.  I would imagine in time we will hear more from these 4 guys as 2012 unfolds. Time will tell but I can honestly say this is one band that had much in the way of potential, and fills the modern day musical void quite well with music that is – well genuine, powerful and above all real.  

Rating: 5/5 
URL – http://www.smalltimerock.com/
CD can be purchased via REVEBNATION –

Mindy McCall
May, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Myles Marcus - Haunting Me (SINGLE)


Have you ever wondered how many pop stars it takes to change a light bulb? The answer, in case you are wondering, is that it doesn’t matter as there will never be a shortage of pop stars. Of course, being a Pop Star isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you are actually capable of delivering something unique and special. Actually New Jersey based Myles Marcus does just that via his latest single "Haunting Me” (2012).
 
This is not the first we’ve heard from Marcus, you may recall “Jump“ in 2010? However this latest single have much to commend them. Admittedly, there’s a whole lot of variety to this arrangement and performance. Both songs have many things working in their favor. First: the line up consisting of many solid production folks including legendary Roy Hamilton III (RH3) and Frank Dona for starters. Second: His sound, look and spirit will no doubt mystify many. Third: His voice possessing a clear as bell vibrato via top flight passion play. Let’s be honest for a second – this genera is not known for its amazing vocal performances. But Myles Marcus smashes through that mold with both these singles His voice  has power, raw emotion and a smooth as silk timber. All of the above make for very deadly combination. Even more impressive is the music itself which is commercially viable, delivering a nice modern day dance vibe. I honestly can hear this song on the Radio this Summer. This piece is amazing with a polished sounding production touch via top flight sampling, addictive beats and a thick low end dance groove. I like  how there is no attempt to deliver what I call over the top pop with nothing more than a boy band face and fancy choreography. That ship has sailed, now it’stime for something new.

“Haunting Me” is an endearing song from MArcus that is powerful, striking and entertaining alla t the same time. Yes - I could hear this at a party, club or on the radio today. Yes – I could go on all day about this guy. So what are we waiting for? Good question – Myles Marcus that’s who. He’s what we’ve all been waiting for.
MUSIC can be purchased via JANGO – http://www.jango.com/music/Myles+Marcus?l=0

Mindy McCall
April, 2012