Monday, September 28, 2009

To Kiss You - Tahni Handal

Tahni Handal is a smooth singing songwriter from Texas that has the gift of putting story to song and delivering with excellence. She's removed from the status quo of female acoustic singer/songwriters, and does a great job on her album, To Kiss You.

Her album opener, Shooting for the Moon, is a catchy pop-rock tune that's a perfect road trip song. Well blended backing vocals surround her lead, and the band performs with zeal. On a later track, To Kiss You, she slows things down to pose statements like, "I wish I would have known you were the one." She's got just enough grit in her voice, you know she's real.

On her final track, In The End, Handal softly plays the piano as she eloquently sings of leaving worries behind. Its perhaps her best song on the entire album.

Handal does a fantastic job writing and executing her songs. Be sure to look for her!
RATING: 4.5 of 5 stars

MetemPsychosis - Malnack

Omaha's band, Malnack released their album MetemPhychosis, and it seemed the accolades poured in. It seems that Malnack can't escape people's love for the record. Perhaps its the prog-rock, perhaps its the throwback to Rush. But whatever it is, people are talking.

Late Night is a great example of setting Booth's vocals out to give any Geddy Lee fan a rise. It later features some very tasty synth/organ leads that combines to complete a very nice album opener.

On One Man's Ghost, the dance floor might as well be lit, because this track will bring out the grooves. Its sonically recorded, and captures sounds from classic rock to euro-synth-power-pop. Finally, on tracks like, Lost Again, they surprise again with a more melodic, pop-rock sound. I can imagine it as a television theme song - not in a condescending way - but its just that catchy.

All in all, Malnack knows what goes into the recording process. They've recorded and produced a very nice album.

RATING: 4 of 5 stars

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Almost One - Live @ The Sidewalk

Sitting inside New York's, Side Walk is somewhat entrancing, even without anyone on stage - that is, if you are impressed being in a venue that helped kindle talents of Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, and Regina Spektor.

So it was in late August when I caught a performance by the acoustic-trio, Almost One. The band, with an a-typical roster Marissa Brozier (vocals), Mike Macagnone (percussion), and Steve Carrea (guitars/writing) took stage and performed a short 30 minute set that delivered.

With a standing-room only crowd, Almost One began their set paying homage to Green Day via a simple acoustic strum and lilting vocal on Time of Your Life. They quickly launched into an original tune, The Line, which at times combined the pop influenced writings of Vanessa Carlton and Lisa Loeb. The Line was an easy listening pop-rock tune, featuring harmonies and Carrea's double-strum.

Later they embarked into a haunting rendition of MJ's Billy Jean. Chris Cornel would be proud of Brozier's vocals. This was clearly their highlight - as the crowds response was truly heightened.

Finally, they closed with Standing Still, a smooth piano driven song, that could have been a Coldplay or Fray lullaby, until the pulsing ending, which left the crowd driving and pleased.

In only 30 minutes, Almost One took us on a ride and pleased everyone attending!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Televolution - The Spies

The Spies, encompass the musical collaborations of Leo Francis and Mark Matkevich - both hailing from the LA music scene. On their most recent muscial endeavor, Televolution, they open their album with Bang Bang, a fun, choppy and bluesy track I might imagine from a fun loving Ben Folds.

On Radio Caller, they utilize a mid-tempo melody to drive home a simple Wilco-esque anthem. Paper Trail opens up with overdriven guitars blaring and a rhythm section keeping things simple. It continues to tell a singable story that is workable - giving highlight to multiple vocal lines and harmonies. Its part rant, part exegesis, all truth.

On a later track, Modern Oceans, The Spies unveil a very live sounding track with very solid work under their belts. But perhaps their most solid and best work comes out in Lavender, a softer ballad with a nice lo-fi bent.

The album is complete and I imagine will please fans of rootsy-rockers like, Wilco and Elvis Costello.
RATING: 4 of 5 stars

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Austin's, Defender (Dustin Spillman), is an electro-ambient-rock culmination that sounds like purity and chaos colliding. Its a beautiful mess! Its what music should be. Its emotive, honest, and exploratory.

On songs like, Everytime I Fall, Spillman utilizes beautiful space, electronic beats, and a haunting female vocal that is reminiscent of My Brightest Diamond. A couple tracks later on, The Last Memory of Man, Spillman uses a midtempo soundscape and electronics to drive home a sound ready for any post-apocylaptic scene. Danger on the Bridge has a darker, more ominous sound to it. With distorted spoken words mixed amongst the heavy beat-driven song, Danger on the Bridge succeeds in every way, with a sound much like AptCore.

Spillman clearly has what it takes. He's forward thinking in every way and composes truly chaotic beauty!

RATING: 5 of 5 stars