Sunday, December 20, 2009

REVIEW: Trick Bag - Hip Shot

Trick Bag, a funky jam band with a little New Orleans thrown in, has indeed pulled quite a creation out of the proverbial hat. With tight grooves that get your body moving and shaking, these guys never disappoint and never miss a beat on their album Hip Shot.

Hip Shot is a collection of grooves and tunes full of impressive syncopation and dynamics. Trick Bag is a band that knows music - well. Never, in my opinion, was there a band that could say so much almost without saying a word.

The eight tracks on Hip Shot include awesome originals by Trick Bag as well as some covers of The Meters, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers. Even though these guys include a few covers on their album, they deserve quite a big applause for making each of these tunes their own with a unique style and flare.

One thing that stands out throughout Hip Shot as a whole, is how each of these four aficionados of music alternate leading and following in each jam without over or under-doing anything. From fat bass lines, grooving guitar solos, jamming keys and multi-rhythmic drums to an all out auditory celebration, one thing is for sure - these guys are all about musical creativity and style.

5 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Trick Bag at

REVIEW: Voice of Addiction - Re-evolution

Illinois band Voice of Addiction has encapsulated energy, poeticism and overall their clear and evident message to the masses with their album Re-evolution. This trio is made up of post-90s punk/ska poster children with a lot to say.

Broken Bones and Broken Homes is the opening track on Re-evolution. Its punk rhythms and highly energetic vocals give this song a Clash meets Sublime kind of vibe.

Got Your Number, the second track, is once again jam-packed with energy - this time Voice of Addiction throws in some 80s hair-metal guitar and dissonant harmonies.

The Walls is a highly politically-charged tune detailing corporate greed, taxes and government cover-ups. This song shouts in the face of government and process.

Right Now continues with a message of plastic buildings and the turmoils of living in a society spoon-fed by mass media and controlled by money.

Grease the Wheel is a much more laid back song. Kind of a breath of fresh air after such emotionally abundant tracks that came before. With a reggae back beat, this tune has a “why can’t we all just get along” message.

The final track, Martyr, polishes off this album with another reggae track that evolves into a dark rock tune and then back again.

At first listen, you wouldn’t expect Voice of Addiction to have such a "tree-hugger" message, but they do - and they pull it off great. For all you hippies out there who just can’t stand jam bands, check out Voice of Addiction and their album Re-evolution.

4 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Voice of Addiction at

REVIEW: Flowers for Lily - A Name Will Come

Australian band Flowers for Lily has created a dark, psychedelic melancholy with their album A Name Will Come. With pockets full of emotion, these troubadours of dark rock have brought to life a powerhouse collection of great songs.

Starting off with Cemetery Forest, the listener really gets a taste dynamically for what Flowers for Lily is all about. This track starts of with a great guitar intro and then switches into full gear.

Brand New Blinded has more of the dark sound of A Perfect Circle with epic overtones not unlike The Who - much darker, of course.

The third track, Cupid, is where this album switches gears. With a more mainstream rock feel, this song seems to have a little Weezer influence thrown into the mix.

Hill of Skulls surprisingly, despite its title, takes the ‘dark’ out of dark rock. This track really shows the diversity that Flowers for Lily has in their music.

Breaking Bread is an epic song that will simply take your breath away. The dynamics in this song especially stand out as they play a key role in building up the energy for the awesome guitar solo towards the end.

Awkwardly, Prelude is the last track on A Name Will Come. This song makes an excellent ending track. It is a calm, acoustic style track to bring you back down to earth.

Flowers for Lily has done a wonderful job with A Name Will Come. It is a well rounded album with a lot to offer musically and lyrically.

4 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Flowers for Lily at

Monday, December 14, 2009

REVIEW: BARDO - Recurring Dream

BARDO, of Los Angeles, CA, is a powerhouse collection of musicians comprised of front woman Leslie King, guitarist Korel Tunador, drummer Dave Johnston and bassist Chuck Bramlet. With their debut album, Recurring Dream, BARDO has created a raw, highly energetic, captivating and consuming work of art.

When you play this album, GP Boulevard is the first track you hear. This song starts off with a little whimsical guitar and Leslie King’s sweet sounding voice. By the end of the song, I was blown away by the dynamics and buildup that this track offers. The attitude King portrays in the vocals on this song is anything but sweet.

Ain’t That a Shame, the following track, builds on the energy from the first song. The raw energy and soulful sound of this song just goes to show how much BARDO has going for them.

Beautiful brings it back down a notch in a similar, yet more graceful approach as GP Boulevard. This song brings to mind the songwriting and vocals styles of Fiona Apple.

Run has all of the attitude of a Courtney Love tune, with the musicianship and attention grabbing motives of the Naked Beggars. There is no doubt that this is one of the most intensely rockin’ songs on the whole album.

Don’t Get Me Wrong has an ethereal quality and, once again, is full of powerfully emotional and soulful vocals. It’s amazing how BARDO has a unique ability to keep your adrenaline flowing even when they seem to slow down for a little while.

Free to Go sounds like a mix of the Wallflowers and Alanis Morrisette. With an epic chorus and the signature guitar work found throughout Recurring Dream, BARDO has added the perfect finishing touches to a great album.

Throughout Recurring Dream, the band uses dynamics, fabulous instrumentation, outstanding vocals and an overall honesty and level of real that is bound to leave audiences dumbfounded and speechless.

5 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about BARDO at

Saturday, December 12, 2009

REVIEW: Paulina Logan - If You Try

Californian singer/songwriter Paulina Logan has one of the most natural-sounding styles in the music industry. Her edgy yet peaceful, melodic and powerful voice captures the emotion of her songs with integrity and style on her latest album If You Try. Paulina’s captivating songwriting talents are entirely evident throughout this album as her songs catch your attention and draw you in.

Shut the Door, the first track on If You Try, demonstrates both Paulina’s completely natural and instinctive vocals and introduces the true variety of the album with this driving rock song. The energy and dynamics in this song are absolutely amazing!

L.A., the second track, starts out with a folky feel and evolves into a pop song and then into full out rock n roll complete with electric guitar solo. This is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head all day.

Write You As Song is much slower than the first two tracks, yet Paulina’s haunting voice in this song is mesmerizing and full of emotion. Both melodic and percussive, Write You As Song is
heartfelt and enchanting.

Forever is a catchy song with an islandy sort of feel. Here, Paulina’s voice takes a turn for the softer side and, once again, shows her true diversity as an artist.

Lovely is a powerfully emotional song that showcases both Paulina’s vocals and her talent as a songwriter. And, of course, no album is complete without a remix. At the end of If You Try, you’ll find Lovely (Omen Room Remix). It’s a little funkier than the original, but executed masterfully.

If You Try is a great album in all aspects. With songs that stick with you and evoke such powerful emotions, Paulina Logan has proven herself to be a wonderfully well-rounded musician.

5 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Paulina Logan at

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

REVIEW: Bernee - Late Night Show

Australian band, Bernee has an original style that defies genre and is more entertaining than anything you’d find on mainstream radio. With the musical finesse of Ben Folds and all the attitude of Weezer, these piano-busting wranglers of the entertainment industry have released a catchy and unconventional tour de force with their new album Late Night Show.

The introductory track, Where Do You Want to Go Today? starts out with a memorable piano riff. This song is a personal favorite on the album. The hook will stick in your head all day as the song is perfectly composed and performed with style and enthusiasm.

Spinning Wheel, the second track on Late Night Show, is yet another captivating tune. With a style comparable to that of Spoon, the happy-go-lucky feeling of the track makes it clearly evident that Bernee makes great music.

Miss Busybody gives a glimpse at Bernee’s softer, more mellow side. This track demonstrates a huge dynamic from the first two tracks.

On My Way picks up the energy level a little and adds a little harmonica flare to the album. This song mixes the style from the previous tracks with a little classic rock influence.

With the song Man, Bernee falls right back into the groove of the earlier tracks on the album which is simultaneously a relief and a surprise. These guys are strongest with what they do well, and Man is a track of which that is surely representative.

Finishing off with Roll On, a melodic folk-style ballad, piano and strings back up Nicole Weeper’s vocals. This song is extremely well written and a great conclusion to a great album.

From start to finish, Bernee has done a wonderful job at defining their own original style and going further to develop it into several sub genres that fit together perfectly to form an extremely entertaining artistic creation that is Late Night Show.

4 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Bernee at

REVIEW: Mirek Kwiek - Forever With You

Mirek Kwiek started the band Sekta Fzhut in Tarnow, Poland in the 1970s. Since then, he’s moved to Illinois and has been discovering new sounds in the world of rock and roll. Mirek’s lateset album, Forever with You, is a collection of original classic rock-style songs with the Polish singer’s twist on the legends from whom he is influenced.

The opening track, Rock and Roll Show, is a hard-hitting rock song where Mirek captures all of the emotion of a concert gearing up and the massive party that will ensue. One thing is evident in this track and that’s how well Mirek knows his way around the fret board of an electric guitar.

The next track, Journey of My Life, is rock ballad about passing time and waiting for love. It is touching with energy and, supporting the emotion, a dissonance in the music that will capture your attention. Like most of Mirek’s songs on this album, you’ll find an epic guitar solo about halfway through.

Missing You is an electric guitar-driven instrumental where Mirek is really able to showcase his lead guitar skills.

The title track, Forever With You, has a similar feel to Journey of My Life in that it is another rock ballad about love. Mirek doesn’t try to avoid rock cliches, but that’s ok because he pulls them off with his own original style.

The album finishes off with as much energy as when it began with New Sensation. This track has vibes of 80s metal. Mirek definitely shows his ability once again as a composer and guitar player.

Overall, Forever With You is a pretty entertaining album. One can surely tell by listening that Mirek has been influenced by great groups like Deep Purple, The Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin and probably even a little Kansas. While Mirek may not be the next American Idol, he seems to have the attitude and chops to brush it all off and just get down to rock and roll!

3.5 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Mirek Kwiek at

Sunday, December 6, 2009

REVIEW: Linda Basso - Night Hub

Linda Basso is a bilingual singer/songwriter from Canada. Her wonderful voice and songwriting skills have won her several recognitions including Honorable Mention in the VH-1 Song of the Year Contest. On her CD, Night Hub, Linda’s musical style covers a few niche genres including Adult Contemporary, Jazz, Pop and Blues while her voice has more of a folky attitude.

Night Hub opens up with the Adult Contemporary tune, Another Dragon. With a laid-back beat and a stellar vocal performance, this track is great for sitting back and sipping a glass of wine.
Magical Night is a jazz song that has the ability to take you swimming through the seas of time in this lounge style tune with spectacular horn accompaniment.
No Shame shows Linda’s more mainstream side as classic rock/pop song and solidifying the songwriter’s diverse talents.
Payback Time, co-written by Bob Lewis, is real, crude blues tune executed with all of soul and emotion that you’d expect from the blues.

Night Hub concludes with Follement en Amour, the French version of Magical Night, showcasing Linda’s talent as a bilingual songwriter and appeals to a more a diverse audience.

Overall this album is a delightfully relaxed listen and brings the smooth vibes of a lounge straight to your living room.

4 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Linda Basso at

REVIEW: The Jacob Conspiracy - Self Titled

Forming in Luxembourg in November of 2008, The Jacob Conspiracy has taken Europe by storm. The four-piece band has recently recorded a demo album at Charles Stoltz’ studio in Luxembourg-city. Their signature rock/pop sound is derived from a variety of rock influence ranging from Led Zeppelin to Incubus.

The Jacob Conspiracy’s self titled demo opens up with No Reason, a progressive rock song that shows the more punk side of the group. This track has driving drums and bass with a catchy chorus.

The second track, Cigarette and a Drink, has a more alternative feel complete with tons of emotion. Cigarette and a Drink shows The Jacob Conspiracy’s similarities to bands like Jet and Third Eye Blind.

Devil’s Smoke is kind of a biker, hard rock, jam song that surprisingly brings to mind such acts as the B-52s, Blind Melon and The White Stripes.

The CD finishes off with Turn the Page, which has more of a 90s-era rock feel. Kind of a mix between the styles of The Stone Temple Pilots and The Goo Goo Dolls.

Overall, this is quite an enjoyable demo. I only hope to hear a full length album from these guys in the near future. Make sure to check out The Jacob Conspiracy live if you’re in the neighborhood of Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands or France.

3.5 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about The Jacob Conspiracy at

Saturday, December 5, 2009

REVIEW: Guitardogs - Dog Years

Pennsylvania band, The Guitardogs have been rocking the Keystone state since 1988. Having gone through a couple of lineup changes over the years, The Guitardogs have developed their sound into an awesome classic rock experience with their ‘best of’ album, Dog Years.

Dog Years is a collection of great memories the band has had through the years all on a two-disc set. This album is great because it shows the diversity the band has as a whole - ranging from Allman Brothers-style classic rock to traditional bluesy jams. The Guitardogs is a group of songwriters as well as performers. This shows as each of the writers has a unique style that they have masterfully crafted together to form a diverse and eclectic sound.

From blues, to classic rock and even a little metal influence, Dog Years is packed with great lyrics and melodies, jams and, of course, epic guitar solos from start to finish.

Dog Years also includes plenty of live recordings for fans. These tracks, according to the band, are from some of their most memorable performances over the years. One thing is for sure, The Guitardogs are in no short supply of rhythm, blues and a whole lot of rock-n-roll!

4.5 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about The Guitardogs at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

REVIEW: The Blackberry Blues Band - Self-Titled

For all of you looking for soulful blues with a funky rock twist, The Blackberry Blues Band is what you’ve been waiting for. These guys have been around the block in the music world and it shows. One of the things that stands out with this band is how well they play together. Each part accents the others and makes way to the forefront at precisely the right moments.

Combining blues, rock and even a little funk, The Blackberry Blues Band has created a collection of songs that are memorable and hit straight to your soul.

Fronted by the vocals of Pamela Moore, The Blackberry Blues Band sounds like a mix of Blondie and The Talking Heads paired with the powerfully soulful blues of the Allman Brothers Band that will take your breath away.

There’s no argument that this band is overflowing with talent. This is very well demonstrated with tracks such as One Good Reason to Believe and How Can You Do This Thing to Me. Every note is spot-on and the instrumental sections will leave you lost in the music.

Fred Scribner’s guitar playing is also worth noting. He takes a unique approach to traditional blues leads by mixing in some psychedelic overtones. This paired with the thumping bass lines laid down by David Meyers, the powerful rhythms of drummer Jim Verdi and the graceful keyboard skills provided by George Meyer give The Blackberry Blues Band a very well-rounded and full sound.

Covering not only the blues, but also some rock, country and even gospel influences makes The Blackberry Blues Band a wonderful listen for music fans across several genres.

4 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about The Blackberry Blues Band at

REVIEW: Jon Davidson - Perfect Cliché

Hailing from Portland, OR, Jon Davidson is an awesome new voice in the alternative rock scene. As a very talented multi-instrumentalist, Davidson plays all the parts, writes the songs and leaves audiences spellbound with his latest album Perfect Cliché. Davidson has performed in 5 countries and over 35 states, so it’s not an understatement to say that he may be taking over the world of alternative rock right before our eyes.

The diversity on this album is definitely worth noting. Davidson demonstrates his talent through many genres from soft acoustic rock to grungier hard rock, and it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that his musical influences cover an even wider spectrum.

It Won’t Be Long is a track that sticks out as very radio friendly. Energy paired with powerful imagery gives this track a very mainstream feel and exemplifies the success that lies ahead for Jon.

Perfect Cliché, the title track is a little more laid back with an epic chorus that easily portrays why this track takes the title of the album. Once again, lyrically this song is off the charts.

For Davidson’s softer side, take a listen to What Can I Say?. The wide spectrum of Davidson’s music is demonstrated with this acoustic love song. Davidson paints a picture of love, obsession and a loss for words. It’s songs like this that show how Jon Davidson rivals all songwriters of the modern era.

The album also includes a couple of remixes, giving it a very well rounded appeal for play in all atmospheres for fans of all genres in music. The dynamics Davidson has at play on this album go from monstrously powerful, emotional, heartfelt powerhouse songs down to almost a whisper. Perfect Cliché is a musical masterpiece that is sure to be the source your next favorite song.

5 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Jon Davidson at

REVIEW: Lloyd MacHardy - 4 Door Hardtop

Canadian singer/songwriter Lloyd MacHardy has been performing his rare variety of humorous and charming folk songs for the past 28 years. Playing a variety of coffee houses, benefits and festivals around Nova Scotia, Lloyd has made a name for himself across Canada, The United States and much of Europe. His album 4 Door Hardtop is an eclectic collection of folk songs from Lloyd’s heart with a little goofy humor scattered in here and there.

The album starts out with And The Children Came, a traditional folk tune with a storyteller vibe. Lloyd’s voice and instrumentation in this songs gives rise to imagery of sitting next to a campfire with eager ears.

MacHardy goes on to detail his love of the sea and denounces the land in the catchy tune That Dirty Old River, a song about a dirty river that runs through town to the sea.

I Guess Nothing Stays the Same is a funny song where Lloyd jokes about nothing staying the same. With a catchy melody, he goes through the changes in life even including a sex change operation.

4 Door Hardtop continues on with more timeless folk tunes including I’m a Busy Beauracrat and Oh Those Union Dues. Lloyd MacHardy has a unique way of taking adjusting traditional folk music to his own perspective and bringing the genre up to date with modern times.

3 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Lloyd MacHardy at Sonicbids

REVIEW: Dan Rio - Listen to the Rain

Dan Rio is a perfect balance of singer/songwriter and guitar player. With his album Listen to the Rain, this is clearly evident through his thoughtful lyrics and spectacular guitar solos. Rio’s soulful voice and instrumental talents give rise to a plethora of emotions with music that really touches you on a personal level.

First and foremost, Dan Rio is a great songwriter. And with influences like James Taylor and Eric Clapton, you’d expect nothing less. Listen to the Rain is a great demonstration of Rio’s talents as a singer and songwriter with descriptive imagery and ambient vocals that will capture your attention and leave you dumbfounded.

Dan’s skills at singing and composing are only part of what makes this album great. Tucked in cleverly throughout the CD, you’ll find great lead guitar solos that rival Clapton at his best.

One track that sticks out in particular is the title track, Listen to the Rain. This is a killer song to say the least. This is the kind of song that you’d hear overplayed on the radio and not mind because it never gets old.

For fans of all genres, check out Dan Rio’s Listen to the Rain. Rio has proven, with this album, that he is a force to be reckoned with in the world of contemporary soft rock.

4.5 stars out of 5

You can learn more about Dan Rio at

REVIEW: Person X - Wreck the Flow

Person X, based out of Saint Louis, MO, brings highly energetic, politically-infused, genre re-defining hip hop to the the stage with their album Wreck The Flow. Person X, formed four years ago on the south side of St Louis, have captured audience with their intelligent lyrics and wild electronic soundscapes.

You can get a good feel for this group from the first track on Wreck The Flow, Mr. President (Chief Culture Thief) with their perspective on the current political zeitgeist.

Person X took a unique approach to a title track by splitting it into Wreck the Flow Parts 1 & 2. Wreck the Flow Part 1 gives you a glimpse more at the electronic side of the group while Wreck the Flow Parts 2 is more geared toward their hip hop side.

To the Gods We Serve is nothing less than an epic, emotional journey questioning faith and the status quo.

Wreck the Flow is jam-packed with thoughtful lyrics and strong opinions on the thoughts of the times. With well executed rhymes layered with electronic instrumentals, Person X has created a roller coaster ride throughout the entire album - never with a dull moment.

4 out of 5 stars

You can learn more about Person X at