Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Man + Water - The Orchid Riot

The Orchid Riot is a tight alternative/rock band from Colorado, spanning from ambiance to euro-pop-rock. On their E.P.'s opener, The Scene, it gives the listener plenty of space to get into the voice before being lifted by the simple grooves that come later. Its reminiscent of Jeff Buckley mixed with a sense of My Morning Jacket.

On Grace in Room 101, an infusion of euro-pop flows over a raw indie style. Its an angular song that comes out chaotic and looming. Get Out While You Can! is more straight-forward indie rock in the feel of Franz Ferdinand whereas Mother, Will You Be Okay?, begins like a child's music box. Its quite possibly their best effort. Quiet and ambient - a vivid story!

Check them out if you find yourself in the Colorado area...

RATING: 3.5 of 5 stars

I'm Not Goin' Nowhere - Leah

It's no surprise that Leah keeps climbing the musical ladder with song placement on hit tv shows and licensing deals to make aspiring musicians jealous. Her e.p., I'm Not Goin' Nowhere, jumps from the first beat of Runaway. The driving energy of drums and guitars explode as her gritty pop-voice is brought to the forefront. Her singing is believable as she screams "lets lose ourselves."

On Stay Here, she shows off a bit more of her vocals. There's more space, but the chunky guitars continue the drive. On Here's To You My Friend, the band grooves around her vocals, setting Leah in the proper place - out front. The chorus excels with percussive hooks and crushing lead-guitar lines.

This album has everything you'd expect from a national pop-rock release. These songs are executed with pop perfect hooks and instrumentation I would imagine Butch Walker becoming jealous. Pick the album up if you get a chance!
RATING: 4.5 of 5 stars

Monday, August 17, 2009

Staffer...in the rain

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dianna Cristaldi

Kick your shoes off, ease back in a comfy chair, and turn the stereo up to experience a throwback to easier times. You'll be singing along soon enough as you ride through a rootsy/folk record timed perfectly with homage being paid to those that came before.

Dianna Cristaldi's self-titled album are a culmination of 15 truths she transcribes into song. Her songs are both sassy and accurate; combining folk, bluegrass, motown, and bluesy elements that rise and fall with ease.

Songs like Why Can't We Love Each Other and Radiant Love have a pulsing drive and a true and seamless Nashville sound, while Temptations holds on more tightly to a bluegrass genre while bringing in seductive backing vocals to bridge fans of Motown.

On Far Away and Mountains Majesty, Dianna would put a huge grin on the likes of Joni Mitchell and Allison Krauss. Both are honest stories woven into soundscapes to match.

All in all, Dianna Cristaldi does a fantastic job writing with emotion and translating her emotions into songs. The recordings and production are stellar. If you're in New York, be sure to catch a performance!

RATING: 4 of 5 stars