Monday, July 27, 2009

Arrival - Nadia

Canadian artist, Nadia is doing something very special on her record, Arrival. She's got a soulful blend of pop and singer/songwriter that eases the world around you. Songs like Mother, are nicely written, recorded, and produced. It's not a stereotypical track you might expect from a pop-rock female artist. Its part Adelea, part Feist, and part Norah Jones; but unique enough to be its own.

Arrival takes on a neat Motown quality. Simply defined percussion and beats, with a vintage pop vocal sound and backing vocals give the album some real throwback. Tyranny of the Heart then gets raw and more rock. Nadia unleashes her chords in a real and provocative way. Imagine Lenny Kravitz as a woman and you have Nadia on this track!

Nadia has the promise to be another Canadian gold mine.

RATING: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Blackout Project EP

An eclectic sound that a list of cross-genres won't do justice...that's The Blackout Project. To limit these guys to rock, hip hop, alternative, and funk, you'll imagine nothing more that Kid Rock, and The Blackout Project is so much more than the status quo. Opener, Sew the Seams, rocks an acoustic strum with tight beats and lyrical flow that will have you rolling the windows down, turning the stereo up and wailing with the vocals on the chorus - and the honkey tonk piano is just an added perk!

Future Celebrity was the song that first turned me onto these guys. Its a catchy rap tune with tight rock/r&b electric guitar riffs complements of Maroon5 or Pomeroy. They also pose some noteworthy questions, "how am I supposed to get with Jessica Alba?" Songs like this just don't happen every day. The instrumental interplay is impressive and the vocal quality is pristine.

To understand the next track, What We've Become, close your eyes and imagine acoustic instrumentation reminiscent of a Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds jam tune. Mix that with groove and angst rap and you have it. Its unique and perfectly mixed!

All in all, this EP is one of the best I've heard in a good while. Do yourself a huge favor and pickup a copy of this EP in the very near future!

RATING: 5 of 5 stars

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Americaville - The Bludlows

The Bludlows 2009 CD release, Americaville, jumps at you from the very first track. The opener and title track is reminiscent of early Pearl Jam mixed with a raw punk edge - its gritty and real. The CD immediately takes on a more garage/punk feel with Command Her Boogie. The guitars clearly hold this song with catchy grooves and hooks, while the vocals take a more bluesy approach.

On a more poppy track, Blockade combines sounds of contemporaries, Cold War Kids and mixes melodies I could imagine Adam Duritz writing. Perhaps their most well crafted song however is the album closer, Point of Reference. Its a grungy/atmospheric tune held together with wailing guitar lines and jams, tight grooves (bass and drums), and growling vocals.

The band seems to work together the best in their final track, but all in all, the CD is a success in combining competing genres of grunge, garage rock, pop, and punk, while not seeming too angular and indecisive. Watch for these guys!

RATING: 4 of 5 stars

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Simple Things EP - Ross Riskin

Ross Riskin, 18 year old singer/songwriter from CT easily strums his guitar as his voice lulls you into a dream-state. On his Simple Things EP, he begins with an easy listening song, The City. There's not a whole lot of movement to it melodically, but somehow its just involved enough to work. Break Me Down begins again with the acoustic strum and his vocals beg your echo, "I've been moving at the speed of sound."

Perhaps his best song is My Mind. Its a catchy acoustic riff working a vocal pattern that will please any Dashboard or Plain White T's fan. The EP is extremely minimal; but done in a way that gives you the feel of a home performance. I think the sound will continue to mature with age - its well under way!
RATING: 4 of 5 stars

magik+mayhem - Area27

If Adam Levine became a woman, this is the sexy voice and sound he'd be creating. Area27 is the California based electro-pop-rock outfit that tours the west coast.

Songs like Black Sun and Circles bring the groove based rock while lifting Shalien's vocals in the mix to its proper place. Other works like Wild Card play out like a Radiohead track mixed with breathy and haunting vocals.

All in all, the production quality of magik+mayhem is stellar. The seductive vocals are magical and work seamlessly in their writing. Two big thumbs up!

RATING: 4.5 of 5 stars