Tuesday, September 23, 2008

“Please Call Me, Sanjaya!” by Jackson Garrett (Pop Artist from Los Angeles, California(CA))

Jackson Garrett's "Please Call Me, Sanjaya!" is a blend of a wide variety of musical styles, moods, and influences. This release showcases Garrett's ability to be comfortable and shine in any genre, including blues, jazz, rock, pop, and even Latin-oriented styles. This album is all about versatility, from the Brazilian flavor of "The Wedding Samba" and "Let It Burn," to the straightforward rock of "Champagne Tower." The instrumentation also varies, with the appropriately titled "Cool And Easy" featuring the subtlety of brushes on the drums and a soprano sax providing a melodic solo. This is a well-produced release, focused on creating memorable songs that are easy to listen to. Other notable moments include the catchy, Steely Dan-influenced pop of "You Can't Do That," the funky horn section of "Messin' With The Kid," and the fun swagger of "Easy Strut." If you enjoy easy listening vocals in the jazz-rock style, this album is worth checking out.
-Rodney and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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“I Am the Ghost” by Fools & Horses (Pop Artist from Maryland (MD))

Just one listen to "I Am the Ghost" by the Baltimore based Fools & Horses and you will quickly see what all the buzz surrounding this band is about. Their sound is a highly original blend of classic and modern rock that is polished and radio-ready. The entire album is characterized by strong lead vocals and energetic guitar riffs, coupled with powerful drumming and solid bass lines. The production is raw and simplistic, giving the music a distinct sharpness and edge. The songs are well-written and performed with an enthusiasm and spirit that shines through on each track. "Anna Was the Enemy" is a strong opener, displaying their hard-rocking sound and captivating hooks. "Wide Eyed Wonder" and "Finally Out of My Mind" are also exemplify Fools & Horses' moving lead vocals, spirited guitar work and gifted songwriting. Tracks such as the groove oriented "Selfish" and the acoustic "Maybe I Could" provide depth and variety to the album, showcasing the band's creativity and versatility. "I Am the Ghost" is well worth a listen if you enjoy classic or modern rock, and will have you singing along in no time.
-Rodney and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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“Healing the Heart” by Boon (Rock/Pop Artist from South Africa)

"Healing the Heart" is an exceptional acoustic EP filled with pop rock tunes and heartfelt ballads alike from South African singer/songwriter Boon. Boon's arrangements use solely acoustic instruments – guitar on the first five tracks, piano on the closer – and he skillfully crafts a melodic and full sound. Boon has a unique baritone male vocal ( reminiscent of Peter Murphy) with a strong, emotive delivery that helps fuel the meanings of the songs. The songs on "Healing the Heart" range from positive and promising to lonely and downtrodden lyrics that are both well-phrased and relatable. This EP is well-produced and sounds professional, many of the tracks ready to hit the airwaves. "Secret Island in the Sun" opens the album with a great in-your-face acoustic arrangement that later incorporates hand claps, whistles and catchy, imaginative lyrics with a message. "Oxygen" closes things out with a piano ballad that features an outstanding vocal delivery and great lyrics, including the chorus line "Money isn't everything, but it's the closest thing to oxygen." Overall, "Healing the Heart" is quite the impressive showing from Boon, featuring well-crafted acoustic songs, a unique vocal performance, and thought-provoking lyrics. Fans of acoustic pop rock and talented singer/songwriters, give Boon a listen.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

“One Way Road” by JD (Pop/Rock Artist from United Kingdom)

"One Way Road" is the impressive solo alternative rock debut from UK artist JD that features rocking arrangements and poppy vocals. JD is musician David O'Flynn, and he's got a vocal range that sells and is reminiscent of Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, The Academy Is…, and the now-defunct Stars Hide Fire. Musically, JD veers away from this comparison with darker alternative rock arrangements rather than pop punk, in turn creating something original. The songs are upbeat and melodic, and you'll find yourself singing along in no time. "One Way Road" is well-produced, sounds clean and is ready for the mainstream. "When Lovers Attack" opens with some excellent drum and guitar work, maintained as a motif throughout, and is an upbeat track with a catchy chorus. "Something About Your Tears" is a love song with catchy lyrics and great vocal layering, featuring more nice guitar and drum work. Overall, "One Way Road" is an impressive solo debut from JD that, through poppy vocals and great alternative rock arrangements, could very well be his breakthrough. Fans of alternative rock and Fall Out Boy-esque vocal performances should pick this one up.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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“Reflection” by Jennie Mortimer (Pop/Easy Listening Artist from Australia)

"Reflection" is the impressive adult contemporary/easy listening debut that features the outstanding vocals of Melbourne, Australia's own Jennie Mortimer. A student of vocal styling, Mortimer has a well disciplined voice great for Broadway and even Disney - in short, she sounds fantastic. This album features mostly easy listening and theatrical classics, with the exception of the improbable closer, a great easy listening variation on Evanescence's "My Immortal." The arrangements are either reshaped into, or replicated as great classical, big band, and jazz compositions that perfectly match Mortimer's adult contemporary and musical theatre vocals. "Reflection" is well-recorded, and the entire album sounds nothing but professional. "You Took Advantage of Me" is a great take on a classic featuring great big band horns, jazz piano and drum, a smooth sax solo, and a great vocal performance. "Luck Be a Lady" pays respect to the Guys & Dolls classic with an over the top theatrical arrangement, a nice beat, and another great vocal performance. "Reflection" is really about the stunning vocals of Jennie Mortimer and while her tributes are great, she could sing just about anything and dazzle her audience. Fans of adult contemporary, easy listening, and great female vocalists should definitely look into this album.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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“Intention” by Claire Hayek (Pop Artist from Québec, Canada)

"Intention" is the impressive solo pop/rock debut from Canadian singer/songwriter Claire Hayek. These songs are fueled by nice acoustic and electric guitar work, great drum beats, and an excellent vocal performance from Hayek reminiscent of Paula Cole and Alanis Morissette. Hayek's songs convey a variety of emotions, and the arrangements seem to correspond with this, ranging from happy upbeat songs to heartbreaking acoustic tracks and everything in between. Her lyrics are intelligent, inspired, socially aware, and she sings with purpose. "Intention" was self-produced in Hayek's home-based studio, and it sounds clean and professional. "Charmer" opens with a Middle Eastern sound maintained in the background throughout, then introduces a great drum beat and features great cynical lyrics and a superb, catchy vocal performance. "Baby Girl" is an upbeat track you can dance to with a great arrangement and a catchy chorus. Displaying her intelligent and emotive lyrics and fantastic vocal range, "Intention" could very easily boost Claire Hayek's career and find her some radio play. Fans of pop rock and great female singer/songwriters should pick this one up.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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“Stars to Sail By” by Shelby Nelson (Pop/Rock Artist from Ontario, Canada)

"Stars to Sail By" is an impressive British pop rock album from singer/songwriter Shelby Nelson. This album is organic by nature and combines an acoustic sound with electric, and elements of electronic. Put it all together and the album displays a great musical layering with the ambience often complimenting the solid arrangements. What's more is that Nelson plays all of the instruments on the album, so you also have the pleasure of appreciating the talents of a multi-talented individual. Nelson made this album with commercial interest, and this album ought to do it. His great song writing and catchy choruses have made "Stars to Sail By" ready for mainstream attention. His vocals are good, with a great Brit pop feel that you'll feel like singing along to. Nelson also produced "Stars to Sail By," and it sounds cleans and, again, ready for the mainstream. "Ever Reborn" has a great arrangement with acoustic and electric guitars, drums, and electronic keyboard work in the background and nice accompanying lyrics. "T.L.D." has a great beat, nice guitar and keyboard work, heartfelt lyrics, and a catchy chorus. With his do-it-yourself attitude, Shelby Nelson has created an admirable album with a great organic sound. Fans of British pop rock should definitely look into this album.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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“A Bucket of Joy” by Charlie Vaughn & the Daily Routine (Pop/Rock from California (CA))

"A Bucket of Joy" is a great college rock album with elements of alt-country, folk, blues, and pop rock from Charlie Vaughn & the Daily Routine. This group is fully capable of jumping from genre to genre without losing the fullness and solidity of their sound, delivering great melodic arrangements with nice guitar work in an experimental gem with "Where the Hell is Frank?" Charlie Vaughn's vocals are clean with a great range, and he sounds like a mix between Ryan Adams and John Mayer. The lyrics are great from the beginning when Vaughn sings "Tom left town like a broken jaw," and the rest of the album is filled with excellent storytelling and imagery through Vaughn's intelligent and socially aware song writing. The production quality for "A Bucket of Joy" is great for the sound the band is trying to create, in that it nicely combines a clean recording with their raw sound. "Bad Habits" is a nice blues rock track with a catchy hook, a great arrangement featuring solid guitar work and hand claps, clean vocals, and a catchy chorus. "I Hope My Mother Wasn't Wrong" is an antiwar track that begins with a stripped down acoustic guitar and drum sound, then moves into a great alt-country arrangement, and features thought-provoking lyrics throughout. Overall, "A Bucket of Joy" is, well, a bucket of joy that should be given a whirl by any college rock fan.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

“Bittersweet Byway” by Manilla Green (Pop Artist from Australia)

"Bittersweet Byway" is the excellent debut EP from Australia's Manilla Green that spans a variety of rock-based genres. In a mere six songs, Manilla Green moves the listener from folk to alt-country to indie pop, and old school punk to rock & roll, laying down memorable tracks in each genre. Incorporating sound effects, children's voices, whistles, hand claps, harmonica, and piano into the arrangements, Manilla Green provide melodic, incredibly catchy toe-tapping songs you'll find yourself singing along to. At his most natural, the lead singer's poppy vocals sound like an alt-country version of Phantom Planet, but for the rock & roll and old school punk tracks he seems to channel the likes of Billy Bragg and Johnny Rotten. "Bittersweet Byway" was produced by acclaimed producer Jonathan Burnside, and it sounds excellent and ready for airplay, both in Australia and the rest of the world. "Lady Of The Scene" has a slower arrangement with piano, shakers, drums, guitar, featuring great heartfelt lyrics and a catchy chorus. "Giving It Away" has an excellent toe-tapping arrangement with both acoustic and electric guitar, a nice bass line, a great drum beat, and more great lyrics. "Bittersweet Byway" is a superb introduction to a talented, up-and-coming band with tons of potential. Fans of a variety of rock genres and great indie rock, check out Manilla Green.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Review Team
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“Vida Alerta” by Inopartners (Pop Artist from Serbia)

"Vida Alerta" is a great eclectic album featuring music derived from a variety of world genres created by the collaborative effort of six Serbian musicians collectively known as Inopartners. Inopartners draw from reggae, Latin, funk, soul, electro, jazz, pop, rock. The group also sings in five different languages – English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Serbian, creating one of the most musically diverse albums of all time. The common bond of all these tracks are the great rhythms that drive them. The arrangements also feature interesting sound effects, great percussive beats, nice guitar work, and driving bass lines. The vocals deliver, as all six members of Inopartners lend their vocals to the album, singing about love and aspects of society. "Vida Alerta" is well-produced, so that all of the diverse sounds are brought fully to life. "So Nice" opens with wave sound effects, moves into a funky soul track with English lyrics and a great arrangement, then later moves to a quickly-delivered Spanish reggae sound. "Aqua de Coco" begins with more water sound effects, features Latin guitar, a great vocal delivery and instrumentation that makes the track catchy regardless of your native tongue. Inopartners should be praised for their successful cultural meshing that uniquely brings a variety of world genres together on one twelve-track album. Fans of eclectic world music, alerta su vida to this one.
-Chris & the RadioIndy.com Review Team
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