LA Davis – Everything Changed

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LA Davis – Everything Changed

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

Singer/songwriter L.A. Davis was born in the bustle and commune of London’s East End. His spirit and determination to succeed come from an overwhelming ability to understand life from a lesser advantaged view point. As a true ‘Cockney’ Londoner, he centers his lyrics right from the heart…. ‘….it really doesn’t matter what a melody sounds like, if the words aren’t true then listeners are less likely to buy into the ethic of a song.’ he says. Being raised and brought up in London proves to be a true inspiration for this artist, his gravely, yet smoky quality to his voice provides the key distinction between his musical counterpart’s.

The CD kicks right off with Change (Nothing To Lose), and it’s quite an exquisite number indeed, with fabulous background vocals in what is almost a duet that way. This is no flop, it’s a classy track that entices what’s to follow. The female backing vocals make the whole track for me, but Davis himself comes on strong as well, you just feel it’s only the tip of the iceberg though. And that is exactly how it follows, with 10 Round With Tyson. This is another interesting track with talk of dragons. You can call this pop music but it has such a fantastic club blend to it that it’s more of a high society sound. The female vocals are by one Mrs. K, and that is all I know, as researching this artist before reviewing turned up all but very little, unfortunately, which makes it a very daunting task to say the least, being hard to talk about something you haven’t the faintest idea about. But this can also be a good thing, because a little mystery never hurt when researching an artist. More exposure comes to mind, but the music loses nothing. I just have no idea where she comes into the picture.

Set Me On Fire comes at just the right time with nice acoustic guitar lines backing it. This isn’t anywhere near as interesting as the previous two, but the vocals are evenly matched between both singers, keeping that quality going. Ammunition is the next track and it seems to be combo of all of what’s going on here. Another killer track.The melodies are all there with some synth for effect, and it just goes off the charts with beats. Lessons I’ve Learnt is a ballad, but a modern one unlike I’ve heard anywhere. Once again both singer complement each other well, while Davis takes most of the mic on this one, and Mrs. K adding an operatic effect. Behind Closed Doors is a track which finds influences creeping in, most notably to me would be Bruno Mars. This is another cool track carried by a club vibe. These are all killer songs by what is obviously an up and coming star in Davis, and with enough push it could go far, but a much more visible online presence would help. The CD rates very high no matter how you slice it.

Larry Toering

Score: 9/10

David Arn – Walking to Dreamland

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David Arn – Walking to Dreamland

by Reggie Dunham

URL: http://davidarn.com/

David Arn’s music is steeped in Rock, Blues and Alternative Folk. His latest CD “Walking to Dreamland” (2014) embraces the rich heritage of all of the above genres, while holding his own within their deep and versatile musical voice and exuberant writing delivery. All of this and more tie the album together nicely, even as the music skips around and delves into unsuspected territory. This is more than just Blues/Rock folks, I can even hear eerie Folk-Rock woven within the musical fabric. All of the above is a tripped out combination of musical styles no doubt – making for and equal parts musical experience.  Arn start with a solid core structure of the studied and fluid acoustic guitar stylings that remnded me of Pink Floyd and maybe Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan released his music and let the chips fall where they may, Arn kind of takes this approach. The solid and exploratory rhythm guitar, Organ and Piano (David Arn) and the impressive solo guitar work from (Raz Ben Ari) meshed with articulate rhythm section realls sealed the deal for me.  Add in a storytelling vocal swagger – adds a cherry on top of the whole experience. From this core structure there is a revolving door of musicians that round out the David Arn sound, this album is a ‘can’t miss’ for any lover of mind bending music. If you’re looking to broaden your musical horizon with a fresh energetic take on what defines deep Americana today – check out the music of David Arn immediately.

The album starts off with the title track a somewhat intoxicating yet pop yielding rock ballad which is comparable to a welcome mat giving the listener a positive premonition of things to come. All 10 tracks have everything the tile implies dark overtones with a splash of Americana, Blues. Music is cut from the same cloth as O.A.R., Pink Floyd, The Tiger Lilies, Dave Matthews Band, R.E.M, Blues Traveler and Rusted Root. Next up is my favorite track on the set: “Better off Today” gets off the ground smoothly enough. Songs like “Real Time” and “When You Lost Your Situation” making for the strongest territory of the album as a whole. By track 5 this CD hits solid stride and keeps coming at you one track after the next.  Just when you think you got this guy pegged the next few tracks prove you wrong “Rosalina’s Music (Nexus Chokehold” and “Something More Between Us” will stop you in your tracks. Many tracks are mixed with some lighter rock and pop while a few notables are a total riot. Some songs even have a sad but true overtone with a ring of truth to them. Finally ”The Last Word” and “Water Lilies” ends the CD on hopeful, impassioned note.

After listening to “Walking to Dreamland” by David Arn it’s evident to me his talent goes far beyond what I imagined or even expected. David Arn is a great advent to singer/songwriter and he has the voice and the dark-Folkish flair many people across this nation will gravitate towards no doubt. His band is to the same level of his songwriting craft and the combination of vocals, rhythm section and music really brings it all together. David Arn and his latest release “”walking to Dreamland” is collectively something well worth your time in a sea of worthless musical clutter.

David Arn Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/davidarn

Score: 4/5 Stars

Escher’s Enigma For A Moment

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Escher’s Enigma For A Moment

URL: http://www.eschersenigma.com/

Escher’s Enigma is an unique father-son duo hailing from the New York area. Their first full album, For A Moment, has a strong singer-songwriter slant that will appeal listeners seeking interesting textures and inventive approaches. Ultimately, the album plays as an unique synthesis of the band’s personal histories. It’s easy to hear distinct strains of modern and traditional structures in the music and strong production highlights their virtues. Acoustic guitar guides every song, but this isn’t easy listening music. It demands a listener’s complete engagement and rewards it accordingly.

Brian Miller’s vocals on the first track, “Should Have Known”, immediately captured my attention. There is a faint nasal quality to his vocals reminiscent of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson and he twists words in his mouth with an easy confidence. His strong enunciation highlights strong lyrical content. The songwriting takes a layered approach and blends instrumental textures with an almost painterly instinct for feel. A melodic, bluesy guitar solo is brief, but provides the song with a good exclamation point.

The pseudo-classical orchestrations kicking off the improbably titled “Bonfire Rings and Heated Pools” accompanies Miller’s plaintive vocals well. This is a well-written stroll through youthful experiences and has a sharp wit that cuts through any potential sentimentality. A tangible melancholy permeates the piece beneath its pastoral invocation of youthful memory and it leaves a bittersweet aftertaste. Ingenious wordplay largely powers “Hide Behind The Text”, but the wordplay wouldn’t be quite as successful without Brian Miller’s imaginative and playful vocal. Compression is another positive quality. An almost literary compression in their lyrics matches the band’s unerring focus and avoidance of wasted notes. On For A Moment, everything sounds distilled down to its essence and this track is one of the best examples of this technique in action.

A minimalist aesthetic dominates much of “Bixby Canyon Ridge”, but its crescendos revisit the pseudo-classical flare heard in the earlier “Bonfire Rings and Heated Pools” to splendid effect. Those touches add a great deal to this track, but even without them, this is a small but sparkling gem in the band’s portfolio and has much of the same compositional sensitivity distinguishing the rest of this album. “Beauty in the Flames” is a marvelous song accomplishing much through surprising imagery and specific detail. There’s ample humor here as well, particularly from the startling contrasts presented in the lyrics. This is likely too idiosyncratic for the public at large, but those appreciating a fresh take on the well-known “us against the world” song type will recognize the inventiveness here.

The sensitive acoustic stylings of “Beginnings” promises more intimate fare than earlier songs and delivers. There isn’t any pomp or pop flourishes found during this brief track – just lyrical acoustic guitar and Brian Miller’s strong, if not a little unusual, voice confidently moving through another thoughtfully crafted lyric. Escher’s Enigma closes things with a nearly unrecognizable cover of the Guns n Roses classic “Sweet Child ‘o Mine”. Giving a virtual standard an acoustic setting isn’t shocking, but slowing down and stressing its melodic strengths in this fashion is a minor revelation for such a familiar song. Revelations abound on this album. It’s eye-opening to find two musicians so sympathetic to each other’s aims and willing to craft such distinctly unique music and, when the duo defer to commercial expectations like the final song, they carry it off with such identifiable grace that one cannot help but admire their skill.

I-TUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/cy/artist/eschers-enigma/id691200893

Jason Hillenberg

10/10 Stars

Anjali Ray

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Anjali Ray

URL: http://www.anjaliray.com/

Anjali Ray’s album Indigo offers something more than listening pleasure. It’s a spiritual experience. This isn’t too surprising as she comes from a Hindi background, infusing her music with a Western hemisphere, Asian-fusion sound all her own. There is a warmth to her soothing vocals, both uplifting and seductive. It takes more than one listen to Indigo to truly appreciate the messages in her lyric-driven record. Give the album a first listen for the production alone as well as her haunting voice. Allow the second go to value Anjali’s honest portrayals of heartache, fears, and optimism.

While set worlds apart – or at least hemispheres – this East meets West sophistication is elevated by universal themes that folks from every corner of the vast globe can recognize. In a social media-important society and age, not only do human want to feel connected to those on other side of the planet but we’d like to be more recognized than them. “Immortalize Me” understands the fear of death while leaving our accomplishments behind to be savored. We are fame seekers and we know it. “Kiss me while I ask of you, what only you can do, hold me in everlasting size, immortalize me.” It’s like the apprehension of dying comes second to the fear of being forgotten.

And speaking of fear, the eclectic album showcasing jazz, pop, and blues all over the map shows Anjali at her strongest vocally with “Fear.” Slow and melodic and altogether haunting, Anjali expresses: “I never rattled the chains on my soul, pulling me under, I can’t see the show…Broken, repentant, the mind twists and turns, the ashes still smolder with lessons I’ve learned.” Whatever she means, her vivid imagery take you on an almost cinematic journey of expression.

“21” evokes a nostalgic view of that oh so transitional age. “We climbed aboard,” Anjali begins of a train station memory. “Bound for the stars, you can’t believe that your looks holding out this far” She further sings it’s “too beautiful to explain,” just as this song is too pretty to write about. “So Long” is Anjali’s best written song and radio-friendly track on Indigo. It has a timeless feel that could have been written in the 70’s or 80’s or 90’s or even today. It’s poignant and tragic rolled in one about trying one’s best to love someone with all that she can before having to give up. It’s worth repeated listens.

Anjali’s Indigo is a different spin on what should be considered mainstream. Here, the Indian singer hits all the right notes, taking the listener on a train ride across the world with themes, genre, and emotional flight.

YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRY0ngVmFySgYAIFYHPBwGg

Colin Smith

Tony Lucca

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Tony Lucca

URL: http://www.tonylucca.com/

At the ripe old age of 12, Tony Lucca had his first paying gig as a musician at a Jr. High School dance and by the age of 15, he parlayed his childhood rock-n-roll fantasy into a legitimate career, getting cast among an extraordinary group of newcomers on The All New Mickey Mouse Club, along with Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Britney Spears.

Lucca pulls inspiration from the heroes he heard on the radio growing up, from Tom Petty, Billy Squier to AC/DC’s Angus Young, tapping into a sense of timelessness he places somewhere between The Black Crowes and the Black Keys.

Each of the 12 songs on “Tony Lucca” are deeply personal. The first thing I noticed as the CD opens with Old Girl, is the searing guitar bite in this track that hopefully continues. And continue it does on My Confession and the rest, I’m happy to report. They both have a slight country-ish ring as well. And track 3 delivers the brilliance of Delilah with its more delicate but astonishing approach. And then it actually picks up more steam on Imagination, which is already one of my picks for best track. This is a hit song if I ever heard one, to which there exists a lyric promo video. But it starts to lose some power after the likes of Cherry, but not before it does the business as usual. And this is where the songwriting gets even craftier and his crooner side comes pouring out. I like how it sooths everything down to a mellower set of songs, but there is still the occasional bursts of energy, it’s just that the songs get better with me the more serious they become. The guitar begins to take more of a back seat with the exception of the great acoustics on Never Make It Out Alive, which does still have its share of energy. But this gives the keys some room to breathe, especially on the big ballad, North Star, which is where the disc essentially peaks, and serves to prove Lucca’s strong point. I also like Sweat It Out and the excellent Paint A Picture, as I find them to be two of the most enjoyable tracks.

This is a seriously good album with two sides to it, both with something for lovers of singer-songwriter and rock with a bit of soul to top it off.  The production is second to none and the tracks all first rate pop, rock and soul. Just listen to Right On Time and Smoke ‘Em, for the divine contrast to be found throughout this killer title.

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

SP Clarke

Score: 8/10

Andrea Nardello – Echo

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Andrea Nardello – Echo

URL: http://www.andreanardello.com/

For those who have dealt with writer´s block knows that it happens all the sudden, the day you less expect –most of the time when you are under pressure-, but the good thing is that inspiration can come from anywhere. You just have to let it grow in you or wait for it. That´s the case of Andrea Nardello´s new record Echo where a simple love song she wrote for her girlfriend heralded a new era of emboldened self-identity and reinvigorated creativity and where she claims it showcase a new side fans haven´t heard and where she found her own voice.

The album kicks off with ¨Beautiful Girls¨ where armed with an acoustic guitar and simple drum lines are enough to create a song that slowly but firmly grows into an inspiring track where she takes a stand on self-esteem and encourage people to overcome their problems. ¨I Am The Water¨ is a metaphor where the water represents the fans that love every minute of their shows. As you listen through the record there´s no doubt that this is like a diary in audiobook format, so to speak. She pours her heart into every song; you really feel this is not someone else speaking through her as many mainstream artists do now in days where someone writes the lyrics for them and the artists only work as a vehicle/performer but is Andrea speaking. The production work is something else that stands out even though it´s really simple, I really like that intimate vibe that gives you the impression you are actually sitting at the studio or a live performance and she´s there, singing in front of you; she´s not far away but closer than what you may think (it´s a metaphor, if you really see her in your room or seated next to you in your car you are either a friend or need to call your doctor or perhaps start taking your pills again, just saying).

I seriously can´t think of any bad comment. Overall, Nordello is far away from being an artist and so damn close to be a genuine singer-songwriter and storyteller. Throughout the album you can hear the clear echoes of someone who´s not in the scene to be rich or famous nor for the music sake, I really believe if we had to label her, it will be ¨storyteller¨. You would not dance your problems away and just as alcohol, forget about them for a while but as a rehab, they will go away (slowly but certainly).

Purchase Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/echo/id824111094

by RJ Frometa

Neven-K

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Neven-K 

YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/nevenkaensiberia 

Reminiscent of iconic and groundbreaking metal acts as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, Neven-K’s music might be in a different language but you can still feel the anger and like they say, awesomeness knows no barriers.

Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Neven-K’s songs like “Huevos eran los de Antes” starts with an eerie symphonic intro that soon turns into this heavy song filled with incredible guitar riffs and songs against the hypocrite and always changing society. Lyrics of rebellion, protest, religion and more can be heard throughout their songs and the vocals reminiscent of Enrique Bunbury, it´s melodic and fits so well with classic and original metal sound of the band. 

I have to say their videos are pretty cool and entertaining but sometimes have scenes that give it a low budget look. Despite that, the production work and music arrangements are done well. 

In the end, this is a band that has a lot of potential in playing in big festivals and becoming big in the scene. Seriously – in a time where Metal is losing its essence and the scene is full of posers and screamers that don´t know the difference between Metal and Hardcore music, Neven-K is aware of that and is getting back to the music´s roots. If you are an old school metal fan, I am sure you will dig this band and become a fan. 

REVERBNATION: http://www.reverbnation.com/playlist/view_playlist/-4?page_object=artist_2930536 

– RJ Frometa

The Mailman’s Children

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The Mailman’s Children

URL: http://www.themailmanschildren.com/

The Mailman’s Children (TMC) bring a unique brand of Can-American acoustic-electric rock to the table. Known for smooth, passionate vocals, driving bass and drums, sonic guitar interplay and thought-provoking lyrics, The Mailman’s Children are visionaries with a fresh sound who somehow incorporate memorable hints of the 80s and 90s. Coined a North American-based rock band, The Mailman’s Children is stationed out of both Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and Helena, Montana, USA. Front man Eric Labossiere currently resides in Helena but is very often in Winnipeg rehearsing and recording with the other members, where he was born and raised. This is their 4th studio release – an EP called “The Spiders We Eat” was recorded in May of 2014 and is slated for a 2015 release.  I like all of the songs here to begin with but it is track 1, Ride In Your Mind, and track 2, Private Room which have most of my attention. These are killer tracks, starting with the opener which contains some fantastic lyrics, and ending with the fabulous accomplishment any song would die for. There is some epic territory explored on the following track Off To Work, but it comes close to losing the listener a bit with talk of addiction before getting back on track with the much more positive work on Humility, a number that is chock full of anecdotes concerning ones look at themselves. This is a fabulously crafted song with massive energy spurts. I think it’s a product that is balanced very well at this point but could use at least one more track to keep it more interesting, as it all seems to peak with only one track left. It’s so intriguing it just begs for that little something more in the shape of another track to top it off. But there is one left, an acoustic showing of the opening track, Ride In Your Mindacoustic, with a melancholy touch that gives the disc a chance to breathe before it’s all over. My top pick by far from “The Spiders We Eat” would have to be the great Private Room. In closing, if you like to get trapped in “happier places,” these songs will take you there, I enjoyed how they blend without too much contrast to set them apart and make for a title with complimenting similarities throughout. It only veers slightly from the script one time (but being only an EP) that speaks volumes for its consistency.

I-TUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-spiders-we-eat-ep/id957864135

Cory Frye

Score: 8/10

Bullyheart – Antigravity

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Bullyheart – Antigravity

URL: http://www.bullyheart.com/home.html

Bullyheart is the brainchild of recording artist Holly Long. It is home for her rebel-heart which pulses with intense ambivalence about living life as a complex woman. Love and anger- disdain and awe- humility and power, all co-exist in harmony within this voice. Over the past two years, deep in the den alongside her fellow feral musical beasts, David Boucher and Kevin Harp, Holly birthed a home for the Bullyheart voice within the project, “ANTIGRAVITY” paying homage to her love and appreciation for early 80’s rock and roll. The result is clean, raw-edged record which sounds urgent and alive on first listen.

The group is made up of Holly Long – Guitar/Keys/Vocals David Boucher/Bram Inscore – bass Kevin Harp/Eric Gardner – drums Eric Sampson/Clint Walsh/Brett Farkas – guitars. But this is more or less Holly Long’s new project on Skim Milk Records. It’s modeled a lot after sounds of the 80s, most notably that being the likes of Chrissie Hynde, The Cars and even Tom Petty. The cover art could be nicer but I digress because we’re obviously both wolf lovers. The CD kicks off with the fabulous title track, ANTIGRAVITY , with an awesome resemblance to The Pretenders but a sound all their own. This tune simply rocks, no question about it, an undeniably killer opener. Track 2, Thin Air, continues with such a degree of sass you’ll sware you’ve heard it before. Man alive this is a classic ballad with a beautiful vocal performance. This has it all including orchestration bits to dazzle it up, as it is a slower number with a lingual delivery that competes with the best of ‘em. Do I liken this to stuff from Chrissie like “I’ll Stand By You” and others? No, it stands on its own two feet and simply competes on that level. But that changes the other way on No Pleasing You, which is a title that fits that of a position to see things getting a little too close to The Pretenders for comfort, and the only point of the disc I can fault, which is a pretty small flaw. I’m not saying the song resembles any of theirs it’s just that they sound so much like them you can’t help but wonder if this one might be a cover. This is of course rectified on the much more original sound of How Was I To Know, which finds a slight country vibe creeping in, and it’s a nice touch at this point. Holly Long really comes alive and you just want more from here out, and another ballad it is with Lost My Nerve which basically follows the vocal pattern of Sinatra’s “My Way,” as it croons away just like him. This isn’t the best track on offer but it’s a nevertheless hauntingly beautiful vocal. The nod to Chrissie Hynde continues on the playful Panic Attack, and then take a different turn on the massively hypnotic The Pendulum, another haunting number.

Shaken is another solid track to wind down to, sticking to a more original vibe.

This is a band to keep an eye on, as they could rise above the pitfalls and into stardom with Holly up front, she’s of that iconic female singer ilk. There isn’t one bad track to be had here, just check out There Goes My Man for the huge talent that is Holly Long and Bullyheart.

I-TUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/holly-long/id30881925

Larry Toering

Score: 10/10

Amarachi

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Artist: Amarachi

EP: All or Nothing

REVERBNATION: http://www.reverbnation.com/amarachimusic317

While it is true many feel the music industry is in disarray it’s always a breath of fresh air to hear a new band or artist that’s not afraid to take chances with their musical expression. With Amarachi who resides between Texas and New York (originally from Nigeria) and her latest6 piece musical teaser

“All or Nothing” it’s clear to me she have surpassed what many consider to be the a-typical musical release. Emerging as a formidable artist these past few years in NY Ultra-Hip Hop scene, singer/songwriter, entertainer Amarachi currently performs as a professional model. She possesses a flair and showcases true roots of African music, Amarachi is a talent rich with experience and the gift of creating wonderful music. Gaining experience from the ultra-hip New York modeling scene, this dynamic artist is a sucker for a chick flick, and the earthy strum of an acoustic guitar. Influenced by the songs of Amy Winehouse and a grave admirer of Craig David’s Voice; she began singing at the age of 9. Nominated for 12 Brit awards, Craig David is absolutely a prime influence and indicator for how far Amarachi’s talents will reach over the coming days and months. This new album “All or Nothing” is the product of her recent hard work and resonating beauty. From the beginning of “Certified Criminal” to the end “Bye, Bye, Goodbye” this EP gives you a musical love/life anthem with a string of catchy songs and hooky vibe that will keep the listener entertained. Also present are messages that are uplifting and a vibe that is unmistakably, well Amarachi. Amarachi and her music combine many impressive musical styles: like retro Pop of the 70’s and even Folk, Pop, Indie-Rock, traditional Soul Rock and contemporary Singer/Songwriter. Some pieces I really like are the title track and “Certified Criminal” and “I’ll Be OK” with its amazing message, and “Killing Me Softly” which expands the possibilities as a possible radio hit in the making. The production is top notch and the playing from all other band members just hits the spot. Amarachi creates a sound that will make virtually any listener feel right at home. As a vocalist she delivers a gifted vocal timber that glides with precision. In the end she provides and a warm and captivating vocal timber overall. If you like Tweet, Gabrielle, Lelis and Sade to Solange you will like Dina Velenz. Much of this goes beyond traditional playing and songwriting. Lyrics are also an important component for me whenever I listen and review music. In this aspect Amarachi paints an impressive visual between the spoken word with messages of hope, love and the love of life itself.

Beware – “All or Nothing’ Has a slightly tragic side. Amarachi is love and “All or Nothing” delivers breathtaking music for the senses that has no boundaries – very much like love itself.

Download Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/all-or-nothing-ep/id921762390

Rating 4.5/5 Stars

Reviewed by: Curtis Winn