Album Reviews

Parker Longbough: Left On Tri

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Submitted by James Olsen

Left On Tri, by Parker Longbough, is the new album on Wilderhood Music, featuring the songwriting of former Uncle Jesse band member Matthew Witthoeft. After leaving that band, he began to perform with various band members under the name Parker Longbough. And the name sticks as is, and the third album has culminated into the best collection of songs PL have recorded to date. There's no denying the chops Witthoeft, from Alaska possesses and these songs are all living proof of his talents. The songs on Left On Tri were written in an Alaskan cabin, which no secret is made of when you hear them.

"RNC 2000"
hits home with any current or former college student any day of the week, making it a must hear for students as much or more as anyone else. But it's easy to relate to if you're educated enough to follow the wisdom and wit of Witthoeft which often goes into some country flavor to mix it up with the other forms of music he sings over.

The lyrics get more attention-worthy on the next track, " Jack Ryan" and you start to see what gas Parker Longbough are cooking with. If you like stories of stars and cocaine, this suits the bill just fine with a track to commemorate it with some deep curiosity covered.

Rory Block Debuts New "Power Women of the Blues" Album Series with Bessie Smith Tribute

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Five-time Blues Music Award winner Rory Block will debut her new "Power Women of the Blues" album series with the July 6 release of A Woman's Soul, a dynamic new CD tribute to the legendary Bessie Smith, on Stony Plain Records.

"Power Women of the Blues is a project that has been simmering in my imagination for 54 years," Rory says. "It has been my longstanding mission to identify, celebrate and honor the early founders-men and women of the blues. This series is dedicated to the music of some of my all-time favorite iconic female blues artists, many of whom were shrouded in mystery during the sixties blues revival, while the recordings of others had simply disappeared."

Rory Block first heard Bessie Smith's life-changing voice in 1964 as a teenager living in New York City. "Filled with grit and incredible vocal prowess, it was the ultimate soulful wail," she recalls. "'I'm wild about his turnip tops, I like the way he warms my chops, and I can't do without my kitchen man …Stay away from my door Mr. Landlord, 'cause I'm down in the dumps!... That's the reason I, got those weepin' willow blues.' So compelling, so honest, so rich with meaning and information about the female soul."

The Twindows: Valkyrie 2.0

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Submitted by Gustave Carlson

Riding desert riffs and Seattle-style fuzz, Pennsylvania's Twindows have crafted an incredibly tight and nimble rock record in Valkyrie 2.0, out now on Amazon and streaming everywhere online music is sold. While some may contend that visceral rock n' roll is a thing of the past, the Twindows completely dismiss any such notion in these 11 blistering new tracks. Not solely reliant on primeval chest beating, there's plenty of self-aware lyrical exploration delivered with a fierce howl from frontwomanAster Grimm. What's more exciting is that, while backed by Kyle "Shaggs" Anderson on bass, guitar and vocals, KouqJ on guitar and bass and drummer Oskar Daoud, the Twindows create plenty of punk rock discord on Valkyrie 2.0 without stumbling into any pretentious scene politics, a feat not easily accomplished these days.

Keith Morris and The Crooked Numbers Psychopaths & Sycophants

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Submitted by Keith Morgan

Out of the underground and into the spotlight, folk singer Keith Morris and his band The Crooked Numbers offer a plethora of deep thinking songs on their latest effort, Psychopaths & Sycophants. The Virginia-based singer/songwriter (not to be confused with alternative icon Keith Morris of Black Flag fame), manages to balance darkness and light in the nine tracks on Psychopaths, although the overwhelming theme of this album speaks to the rebellious nature of the human spirit.

The opening track, "The Future," instantly evokes a Stooges-like blues swing in its swagger, never relenting in its dangerous sensibility. Keith's Dylan style crooning is peppered with organ moans and an able backing choir, whose chants seem to churn us deeper and deeper into Keith's haunting landscape. There are shades of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Nick Cave in his brooding, but none of this feels derivative in nature or style, mostly because of Keith's gritty descriptive lyricism. As he pleads for us to repent during the last stanza, one can't help but feel the ironic rit that brushes against the speakers. "What Happened to the Party" slows down the tempo a bit, but the darkness seems to give way to a foggy surrealism that makes perfect company or the spoken word layered over it. It isn't until "Thousand Mile Stairs" that the light seems to break through the clouds, as this bayou style folk song slinks by like an easy summer afternoon.

Conor Gains Releases “Compass”

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

On his first solo album, "Compass", singer/songwriter Conor Gains proves himself deeply devoted to making uncompromisingly soulful music that transcends all genres. Gains' label debut marks the follow-up to the self-released sophomore album "Run Away With The Night", which sparked interest in the young artist's music. In 2016 Gains' album-closing song "Leave It On The Line" won the Cobalt Prize at the Maple blues awards. This national prize is designed to highlight innovation and creativity in songwriting. This is the impression one gets while listening to The Conor Gains Band. The deep respect of roots, jazz and blues music paired with the soulful, adventurous exploration of contemporary music gives Gains' songs an air of familiarity while listening to something completely unique and transcendental.

Gains has been traveling the world playing concerts in different countries and is ready to share his stories. "This album is my past 3 years of love, growth, travel, smiles and tears reflected in songs. I write to make peace with a situation. Music is my healing and if I can help others by providing a fresh way of looking at something in a different light then I have done my job right and I will sleep well at the end of the night".

Gains has written nearly 100 songs in the past 3 years and has chosen the top songs that fit together for his latest release. "

Compass is now available in stores and online as of this spring along with new music videos, website and tour dates coming soon to a city near you.

Scant Regard: Skipping Over Damaged Area

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Submitted by Eileen Shapiro
Photo Thomas Triton

An orgasmic display of futuristic industrial insanity audaciously encompasses Scant Regard's new release about to be unleashed on April 30th, to a world filled with vacant pride, screaming for musical salvation, only to encounter a brush with planetary doom. "Skipping Over Damaged Area", might just be that redemption, or that aspect of destruction. A powerful exhibit of sonic genius, mastermind of Scant Regard, Will Crewdson soulfully crafted this album with elements of emotional guitar riffs, frenzied funk, and electronic bliss.

Scant Regard is an extension of Will Crewdson, however, there is so much more to the unique lead guitarist. A part of cooler British bands than anyone on the planet, Will is the guitarist for the iconic Adam Ant, the globally popular ska band, The Selecter, pop/punk band, Rachel Stamp, Goth magistrates Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and two of his own projects, She Made Me Do It, and Scant Regard. He has also played with Bow Wow Wow, Cheap Trick, Iggy Pop, No Doubt, Bryan Ferry, Celine Dion, Tom Jones, and a host of others.

Becky Buller: Crêpe Paper Heart

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Submitted by Mike Tabor

St. James, Minnesota’s, Becky Buller came to prominence in the acoustic music world as a songwriter, with cuts by some of the industry’s finest, including Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Special Consensus, and The Infamous Stringdusters. It has also been published that Buller made bluegrass music history by becoming the first person to win in both instrumental and vocal categories at the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards. Her skills prove most astounding on her great new release - Crêpe Paper Heart, a full-length set of remarkable bluegrass numbers.

Becky Buller Band are musicians of the finest order they come in any music genre today. Buller herself is a superior writer, player and vocalist, and all her players are world class at what they do. Even if you don’t like bluegrass you will still find them a musical force to reckon with, just as bluegrass lovers won’t deny, and when “Another Love Gone Wrong” blesses your ears, you can’t turn back for the rest of the disc. Buller describes this as a song she had worked on while attending University at Tennessee State, reminding her to never throw song ideas away.

Jiggley Jones Not Your Typical Day Out

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Submitted by James Olsen

Previously charting on the Roots music report, New Music Weekly Internet Country Charts, and many others with previous records, -Not Your Typical Day Out, by Jiggly Jones is destined to repeat that success and much more. Already spawning 70,000 streams on Spotify, the record is rapidly gaining major radio and music media interest day by day. Jiggley Jones epitomizes the spirit and talent of a true artist. And that’s just some of the press surrounding this fine album full of modern crossover and traditional folk and Americana songs.

“Danger Island” opens-up this recommended full-length album with a very hard to follow cut. This song is in the upper standings of the album for sure, with its jubilant delivery from Jones. The percussive intro reminds of hooves walking up a trail and you get the feeling wildlife is on the agenda. But you don’t get the full dose of the adventure until the third verse runs into the smooth vocals that fly over the words in just the right parts. The use of multi-instruments on this whole collection is worth noting, and they come on strong from the get-go and win you over before the second song even starts.

Doug McCurry Doug McCurry & The Verticals II

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Submitted by Leeland Casper

If there’s one thing about North Carolina music, it’s quirky.

Exhibit A: Squirrel Nut Zippers

Exhibit B: Ben Folds Five

Exhibit C: Mipso

And, add to that list, Charlotte’s alt-rocker, Doug McCurry. His sophomore album, Doug McCurry & The Verticals II is a 10-track collection ripe with fun, weathered guitars and sing-a-long opportunities.

Kicking off the album is “She’s Running.” It’s a perfect choice for track one, as this Elvis Costello meets The Psychedelic Furs song holds your attention with sweet guitar riffs juxtaposed with earthy or even oaky sounding guitar riffs. The lyrics fall into place nicely. This track is ready for radio and the masses.

Pretty Eyes on Fire” has a different brightness to the guitar – McCurry’s channels some gunky guitar riffs, almost a bluesy-squelched sound. His steady-pace vocals sing “I wanna know who did it…who set your pretty eyes on fire.” His voice is easy to handle and as in “She’s Running” he has this Elvis Costello-esque thing going on. After the bridge, the guitar gets tinnier, where it nearly creates a whole different vibe. Strangely enough, the latter part of this song made me think of Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio.”

Hub Reynolds Jr: Hell I'm Just Me

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Submitted by Addison Coleman

Cool dude! "Hell I'm Just Me".... who the hell is Hub Reynolds Jr.....aside from the country artist who recently released his first hit single? After doing some research I've come to learn that the artist is an inventor of a leather marijuana holder, has lived in a box for 6 years in the parking lots of Walmart and Home Depot, without water or electric, befriended Hell's Angels, was stuck by Lightning, and can write and sing a song with the best of them.

"Hell I'm Just Me" is the first single from this unique soul. The track is an audacious and vibrant, captivating country song, probably a bit autobiographic, definitely catchy, and filled with inspiration. It's fun, it's light hearted, and radio friendly. This guy is going to make it just on spunk alone. The song is accompanied by a video just as magical and filled with energy as the song. His presence is addictive and I have no doubt there are many more songs from this artist that we are about to hear.

Despite the fact this artist was homeless for six years, he uses this as a vehicle to write his story. He's gone from a multi-millionaire in his own construction business, to several failed marriages, to living in a literal box to the height of believe it or not musical country and western journey. This is an artist to watch for, and a download to celebrate.

Check out Hub Reynolds Hit Single “Hell I’m Just Me” on Reverbnation Here:
reverbnation.com/hubreynoldsjr

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