Past Reviews

Thursday, April 20, 2017

[ Album Review ] Hooyoosay - Mountain Air EP

Artist: Hooyoosay
Album: Mountain Air EP

     Don’t be surprised if you feel inspired to quit what you’re doing and take a crack at that thing you never thought was possible before. Hooyoosay has brought together a fascinating arrangement of styles into something entertaining, and unique.

Track by Track

Mountain Air - The first song of any EP is important. And this album opener is no exception. It sets a clear expectation for the musical journey that’s to come. Fun synth beats, with layered harmonies, and surf-like guitar lines shining between the verses. Vivid imagery of a peaceful mountain retreat, fresh air, camping, mountain biking, and basking in all the glory of what nature has to offer.

My Lucky Dream Day - This instrumental interlude combines sounds you thought you forgot about, and turns them into into a masterpiece you’d never expect. The song title says it all, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about a tropical paradise, probably in 8-bit Nintendo graphics.

Done Our Best - The music that backs the lyrics of this song is the type of tune that will get these words stuck in your head. And good thing too, most people need the sort of encouragement found in the articulation of this score. Smooth synth pads, percussion, electric guitar, and strong male and female vocals sing in perfect harmony, creating a utopia of pleasant melodies.

Complicated - Originally written by Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards, Hooyoosay pays homage to a classic tune about a complicated woman. What would an album be without a ballad? Keeping true to their quirky, electric, folky, sophisticated sound; this finale brings you right where you want to be, after a journey through sounds unlike anything you’ve heard, it’s nice to come down with a soft spoken reality that’s familiar, but still echoes the vibes of the new.

Make sure to pick up / listen to Mountain Air EP here: 
Contributing Writers: Matt S., Jeanette B.
Spring 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

[ New Music ] QUEEN WOLF releases new album "Unsung Monsters" 4.14.17

Album: Unsung Monsters
Official Website

New album Unsung Monsters comes out 4.14.17 on CD, tape, and digital!

     The new QUEEN WOLF album can be summed up in one word... "Epic".
     Chaotic in all the right ways, Unsung Monsters will take you on a voyage across an ocean on fire and back. While prominently a band focused on writing metal songs that will melt your face off, they also have an ace up their sleeve... the ability to switch gears at the drop of a dime and play in-your-face punk, hopelessly hopeful grunge, guttural thrash metal, and jazz infused noise if you listen closely.
     This wolf-pack has influences ranging from Queens Of The Stone Age, and Converge, to artists like Fiona Apple, and every aspect of musical theater. Over the years there have been some lineup changes, but I think it's safe to say QUEEN WOLF has found it's fantastic 5 with Mike Walls on guitar/vocals, Chuck Hannan on drums, Tyler Merchant on bass, Sarah "Flash" Gorman on lead vocals, and Christie Macdonald tearing it up on lead guitar.

Let's dig in...

On the first track "We Don't Grow Up" , "We don't have dreams we just have envy, we're underwhelmed and unprepared". Adulting at it's finest, by not adulting. Nothing screams punk more than refusing to grow up, and gang vocals over thrashy guitars and wailing cymbals.
     Leading us into the next song "Taking On Water" ,"Taking on water through holes in the floor...". Picture yourself out at sea, with stormy waters whipping waves up against your sinking wooden boat searching for weaknesses. The boat begins to plunge, and you're left with your own frantic thoughts...  Lots of clever wordplay and imagery describe a scene of drowning, and being dragged down with the ship. "Scratching at the surface gasping for reasons, and grasping at air".
     On the third track "Pets" it's hard not to visualize an uprising of domesticated household animals strapping leashes on their humans, and throwing some scraps on the floor as they leave for work."Don't forget that i'm a predator just like you" The screaming growls of "discipline discipline!" and distorted vocals later in the song are a nice touch.
     Next up is "Carrie Buck Will Have Her Revenge On The Commonwealth Of Virginia"
The title reminds me of a track from Nirvana's In Utero album "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle’ Mike Walls and Sarah Gorman sing in haunting harmonies "Don't try me I'm frightening, I'm lightning, one strike and you're frying before you even realize"
     Enter into the smoke lounge, and open up your lungs for the jazzy calm chill out beginnings "Clovesmoker" "Show me the light, I want to know whose grave i'm dancing on, and if it's mine...".
"Eris" layers in with chugging guitar riffs, a distorted lead guitar, bass and drums flourish and build throughout the song into a fiery last chorus tying all the pieces together,
"Things that are brighter in the dark, rarely ever show up, things I thought I couldn't see, are still there".
     On the triumphant song, "Black Box" we're painted a picture of a winged goddess, soaring up and over any obstacle life throws her way. "Close our eyes, feel her glory, when she flies... and you'll never see her fall"
     As musicians life can seem like a series of stages and bars, green rooms and gear stacked in corners. On "Curtain To Curtain" we are reassured that even when if you lose faith, you may find humanity. "Words I didn't write falling out of my mouth like prayers, curtain to curtain to curtain to death". A melodic power punk anthem with a message of perseverance.
     Last but certainly not least, From Dusk Til Dawn is the perfect closing track for this wild ride.
A slow burn, the calm before the beautiful gust of wind that tears through your town, leaving it upside down and desecrated. Or at least that's what a breakup / heartbreak songs looks like to me. Vocals begin with a duet between Mike and Sarah, "I think i'm past the point of redemption", then burst into harmonies that swell and sway in perfect time, "Just gotta make it through the night, if we can make it through to sunrise I think we'll be alright"These unsung monsters singing their forlorn melodies as we catch a restful nights sleep beneath our sheets... "In vain we hide under our beds like monsters in a story".

Join QUEEN WOLF in Baltimore at The Windup Space / 4.14.17 for the "Unsung Monsters" album release show: SHOW DETAILS / TIX

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

[ Album Review ] Kelly Vaughn - 10,000 Charms

Artist: Kelly Vaughn
Album: 10,000 Charms
Official Website
Twitter / Instagram

     Kelly Vaughn delivers a satisfying collection of contemporary Christian songs on his latest record "10,000 Charms". With a sound described as "pop-rock with a positive message and great blues solos", we couldn't agree more. Musically the album flows between uplifting rock n' roll,  and reflective bluesy ballads. Simply brilliant blues guitar lines peppered in left and right, along with a dynamic band and great production quality. If you listen closely you can hear influences of gritty soulful artists like Rob Thomas, and Santana. While also keeping up with contemporary pop and modern day music similar to John Mayer and Maroon 5.

     Vaughn's voice shines on the single "1,000 Times Before", with harmonies that tug at your heart strings. "You are my light, you'll save my soul, you'll be my guide when I come to you like I've done 1,000 times before".
     On his song "You're No Good" Kelly sings about a love that went awry. Reflecting on someone who turned out not to be a good influence in his life. Emotive guitar lines in the musical break speak volumes "I took all your pictures off the wall, just to help me get over you, but I've got something you can't touch, I've got my pride, and I've got my six string".
     Vaughn really shows off his guitar chops on "All Nite Long, starting off with a piano, bass, and drums blues groove, with lead guitar sliding through the mix; like butter melting on a hot buttered roll.
     We are brought back down on the last track "Hold Me Close", Kelly takes us to a warm and compelling place, asking someone special in your life to stick around. "Hold me close don't let me go"

All in all "10,000 Charms" is a poignant, uplifting, and thoughtful collection of songs from Kelly Vaughn. With a new band line up, and this album in hand, he's sure to take 2017 by storm.

Make sure to follow Kelly on Reverbnation, and Facebook for upcoming performances and releases!

Monday, April 3, 2017

[ Album Review ] Avarice - Words and Sounds EP

Artist: Avarice
Album: Words and Sounds EP
Itunes / Spotify

Elias-Omar, aka "Avarice" is a hip hop artist based out of Danbury, CT. He is also a member of the group 'No Definition', which consists of Lord Lucky Leftfield, and Divine Lava. Avarice is also a fraction of the conglomerate of artists known as 'The S.I.N.'. Avarice blends his unique voice with elements of jazz, ambient, and contemporary sounds.

On his latest release "Words and Sounds" we are taken on a journey through the struggles of being an independent artist, climbing above adversity and the negativity that surrounds us; while also digging deep and analyzing the controversial nature of police brutality and racism. Intriguing, thought provoking, and well produced, we introduce "Words and Sounds":

Track by Track

Anomaly 2.0

The word "Anomaly" is defined as "something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected." The perfect title for the unique blend of sounds Avarice has created on this track. Industrial beats mesh seamlessly with a cavalcade of smooth flowing lyrics. One thought blending into the next over top of an eerie bass and synth groove. Lead guitar, organs, and jazz piano playing wistfully in the background. "I bless 'em when their souls needed a medic, so I wash my hands, prepping for surgery"

Fallen Angels

Emotive saxophone kicks things off, sweeping high over softly played piano and ambient strings. A fragmented drum beat creates a unique collision of rhythmic lyrics and atmospheric background sounds. Fallen Angels rings true, telling a story of staying true to yourself. Reflecting on what life could be like if music had not become a facet of everyday life.  "happy song" when it doesn't come naturally. The track fades out into the jazzy intro saxophone rising and swelling with the choppy intro beat. "Trust me, no matter what, we gonna elevate"


A driving drum beat, matched with strong straightforward lyrics "...and all I see is liars and deceivers, it ain't no surprise" commenting on how easy it could be to fall into the negativity of your environment and friends circle. "For years i recorded the battle within, my love, my lies, and all my sins", "caught up in the prison of the mind, systematic lies..." A true testament to the daily conflicts we all face, trapped within the confines of one's thoughts; Avarice finds a creative outlet to express the battles within and find peace through music.

Good Evening

Layered synth pads, a chill out beat, with ambient background chatter. People talking in a bar or large work space. "Rinse away drama in the moonlight", time to kick back and relax, Avarice reflects and analyzes his environment, the streetlights that light the night streets. Pouring some drinks, ridding yourself of stress and try to just enjoy life. "Whatever happens happens just enjoy the evening"
(See lyric video below)

Hands Up  

Aggressive and direct, "Hands Up" touches on the controversial nature of police brutality and racism happening currently in the United States."Ready to risk it all in just a second, and my crime? self-preservation..." The sad reality of the political climate we live in. Where "Self-preservation" could get a person thrown in jail, or shot by those sworn to protect and serve. Pulsing bass, and synth leads ring out as the drums crash in with explosive vocals, echoing the anger and outrage. Halfway through the song you can hear sound-bytes of gunshots and distant yelling.

Final Destination

"Most find joy in your struggle...sit there laughing while you handle your grind". Beautiful piano in a bright room sets up this hopeful, reflective song. Accompanied by bass and layered percussion, the song builds into each section. Flowing lyrics twist and tug at your thoughts, creating imagery and provoke warm uplifting feelings. Make sure your have your headphones in for this one, gotta hear that bass groove with the drums. "The duration of your dedication is in direct relation to your final destination, your final destination" A poignant commentary on perseverance and focusing on what's important to you in life, trusting that it will take you where you want to go.

Make sure to check out "Words and Sounds" on Spotify, and Itunes. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

[ Album Review ] Moo You - #IAMMOOYOU

Artist: Moo - You

     Moo-You is a hip hop artist, songwriter, and producer from the longhorn state, Texas. On his latest album "#IAMMOOYOU" we go on a journey through heartbreak, reinvention, and the never-ending climb to success with art.

     His songs range in emotion from angry and bitter, to proud and determined. A strong powerful voice pushing through the struggles of everyday life and relationships with women and the fighting to stay positive when surrounded by negativity.

     Mixing deep snare and hi-hat patterns, over ambient piano, and synth tracks, Moo- You blends trap with smooth r&b music. Vocals sing sweetly in unison to create big catchy hooks in the chorus's of "Feeling You", and "Such a Beautiful Thing".

     On the last track of #IAMMOOYOU we are left with an overwhelming feeling that things are looking up for Moo-You as he sings about not letting anyone get you down. " know what they say about apples, and how they don't fall from the tree? Started out a product of my environment, now my environment is a product of me".

Make sure to listen to #IAMMOOYOU in full below and follow Moo-You on twitter @iammooyou

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

[ Album Review ] Beech Hill - Midwinter EP

Artist: Beech Hill
Album: Midwinter EP

     Beech Hill have crafted a sound similar to folk legends The Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, and the indie folk band Bon Iver. Blending crisp sweet vocals with haunting distant harmonies, over top handpicked acoustic guitars. 

     The band hails from Nova Scotia, taking in inspiration from the beautiful, and rugged coastline surroundings of  Cape Breton Island. They sing of endless starry nights, watching concerts in the grass, and on the song "Annie, Were You Waiting?", showcase their knack for writing catchy love songs. 

     Sailing effortlessly through the emotions of everyday life, getting older, appreciating nature, and the trials and tribulations of love everyone can relate to. 

     Beech Hill consists of members Neil MacQuarrie, Jesse Fraser, Jessie Ryan and Peter MacInnis. Acoustic Guitar, Smooth bass lines, steady drums, gorgeous harmonies and a few bluegrass instruments sprinkled in here and there combine to make a full sounding acoustic EP that will definitely get you through the Midwinter blues. 

Make sure to like the Beech Hill Facebook page, and listen to Midwinter EP in full below: 

[ Album Review ] ZGRT - HARD POWER

Artist: ZGRT

HARD POWER is the latest LP by Brooklyn based Dance / EDM group ZGRT. It's here to cast a hypnotizing groove spell on you, while also opening your eyes to the state of politics in the US.

Songwriter and producer Zachery Allan Starkey, and his latest musical project ZGRT are making waves in the underground electronic music scene in Brooklyn.

In late 2014, ZGRT came to life after an opportunity to use the personal recording studio and equipment of DFA's Gavin Russom was offered to Starkey. (Gavin Russom: Black Meteoric Star/LCD Soundsystem/DFA Records).

Combining elements of Dance, techno, and electronic music, Starkey blends striking lyrical imagery, with hard hitting techno beats and pulsating bass and synth grooves. ZGRT's HARD POWER LP is 8 tracks of pure EDM gold.

Starkey's vocals range from dreamy and observational on tracks "Kiss the Camera" and "Technocrat", but then quickly escalate to powerful and aggressive on "Black Angel", and the album's title track "Hard Power".  Starkey wastes no time shaking through feelings of political complacency while also raising his voice to challenge the way America portrays beauty and obedience through the media and government.

Bass Lines drive each song, powerful and direct, pulsing like the heart of a sprinting gazelle.
The rhythms are kept strong and simple with deep snare hits, and layered with fast hi hat patterns.
Combining elements of Trap, Synth hop, and dungeon vibes, you might have a hard time not dancing listening to these songs.
His lyrics go deep into the current political climate, commenting on America's stance among other nations, and the heavy hands that deal the blows to the American people, and constant surveillance.

"Kiss the camera for me baby, you're going to be a star".

Listen to ZGRT's "HARD POWER" LP, and make sure to follow him on Facebook: