Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Blue Heaven" by Todd Bailey, Jean Claude Guillem and Celine Guillem (Blues Artists from New York City, New York(NY))

What do you get when you cross blues with rock? An interesting CD called "Blue Heaven" by the talented trio, Todd Bailey, Jean Claude Guillem, & Celine Guillem. This group offers a nice array of tunes with likable melodies and catchy beats. Kicking off the CD, "Just A Little" powers up with solid vocals, flavorful guitar, and a catchy bass riff. The strong and powerful guitar on "Master Fender" sounds as if it's really "singing" the blues with a soulful attitude. The female vocals on "Je Par En Voyage" and "J'AVAIS Mis De Cote" are beautifully soft and silky and provide highlights of the CD, as they are well-complemented by the impressive skills of this group of musicians. Take a flashback to the '70's with "Guitar Disco" with its funky beats and grooving guitars. "Blue Heaven" is splashed with a lively collection of bluesy rock and is well worth hearing.

-Diane and the Reviewer Team
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

"The Lyre Speaketh" by PAS (Post Abortion Stress) (Electronic Artist from New York City, New York(NY))

"The Lyre Speaketh," is a new experimental album by PAS (Post Abortion Stress) that's doused with sounds both familiar and bizarre. The track, "Otherworldly Magic in County Kirkahan" is driven by a fast paced sub-bass and hand percussion while metallic sheets are scratched as an ambient layering. "Chorus of Cats" is another song where you can feel its pulse, but the emphasis is on the soundscape of distorted elements reflecting in a cave or dungeon (as one may imagine). The appeal to this CD is not a hook or killer beat, but rather exposing yourself to unique sounds that create a new musical palette. There are moments of dissonance but before long, a shimmering light seeps through, revealing a charm behind the shadows. Expand your horizons by hearing "The Lyre Speaketh," where there are endless possibilities to the depths of music.

-Max B. and the Reviewer Team
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Be Who You Are" by Emilio Palame Band (R&B Artist from Los Angeles, California(CA))

Urbane and sophisticated, Emilio Palame Band's "Be Who You Are" CD is a smart collection of contemporary R&B trading funk grooves with interludes of traditional jazz piano spread over 23 tracks of pure musicality. Boasting influences that range from the lyricism of Billy Strayhorn to the dynamism of Earth, Wind & Fire; "Be Who You Are" is a throwback to an era when musical prowess trumped the constraints of genres and target audiences. On "Runaway" the Palame band invokes a subtle Latin vibe that recalls Chicago (the group), while the brilliant pianism on "Emily's Dancing Eyes" is but a backdrop to an R&B workout showcasing the bands elastic and nuanced dexterity. Where "Piano Prelude to We Are Love" finds pianist Palame beautifully exploring the richness of Bill Evans-like jazz piano, the electric keys of the full-band version of "We Are Love" swing it in a Stevie Wonder-like direction that smoothly melds the background chorus in grand harmonic convergence. The charged and dynamic "New Day" gives this amazing band a chance to flex its considerable muscle revealing, if nothing else, how the 1-2 punch of great charts in the hands of polished musicians can unlock the oft-hidden depths a song contains. But whether it's straight-up funk, '70's-grounded R&B, or the classically melodic jazz at the heart of Emilio Palame's artistry, "Be Who You Are" is a CD that succeeds because it pays tribute to its influences by invigorating the artistry that fueled them.

-Rice B. and the Reviewer Team
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Sonata Love Crime of Opera" by Sonata (Classical Artist from New York City, New York(NY))

Mix elements of opera with Broadway tunes and R&B and you will get the debut disc, "Sonata Love Crime of Opera" by the talented young classical singer, Sonata. As an opera vocalist, she displays spectacular control over her voice with richness and power. "Habanera" and "O mio babbino caro" are performed in their original language, allowing listeners to appreciate the details and subtleties of Sonata's sophisticated musical maturity. Sonata shows her vocal versatility when she switches genres to R&B style on songs such as "Love Crime" or "Notice Me." Even though this is quite a change from opera, her voice still carries a smooth and silky sound. Sonata has quite a selection of material on this innovative album and listeners will find her voice to be expressive and articulate, no matter what she sings. New fans as well as old will be smitten by the exquisite and refined performances of Sonata on her album "Sonata Love Crime of Opera."

-Diane and the reviewer team
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Perfect Chaos" by Sue Quigley (Rock Artist from Washington(WA))

"Perfect Chaos," Sue Quigley's latest CD, is a polished continuation of this fine Seattle-bred singer-songwriter's exploration of traditional and classic female rock forms. This time around, though, the acoustic guitars are a little more pronounced and the rhythms less insistent, but the hooks are no less engaging and Quigley's resonant voice still squeezes every last drop of blood from her songs' intricate veins. And rich veins they are. "Fallen World" masterfully blends a syncopated rhythm to a sonorous cello in a moving bid for hope and redemption, while the melodic "Paper Tiger" languorous vocal belies the rage smoldering barely under the surface. "Picture in a Drawer" and "She's Not Talking to You" are nifty mid-tempo numbers reminiscent of female rock forebears like Johnette Napolitano, Sass Jordan, or Patty Smyth. But on the album's stripped down ballads - such as the closer, "How It's Going to Be," with it's demo-like vocal and acoustic guitar-only performance – or the moving "Yours to Say," Quigley reveals the softer edges of a fiercely independent artist to best effect. All told, "Perfect Chaos" is a terrific alternative pop/rock-oriented CD and a fine addition to Sue Quigley's growing and noteworthy canon.

- Rice B. and the Reviewer Team
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"Chocolate Brides Theme Song" by Skip Mahoney and the Casuals (R&B Artist from Maryland(MD))

Layered, smooth-as-chocolate-silk harmonies are the order of the day on Skip Mahoney and the Casuals' 5-track CD, "Chocolate Brides Theme Song," an impeccable R&B ballad as old school as it is modern. Romantic and affirmative, and timeless in its celebration of love and marriage, "Chocolate Brides" is - as its name implies, a unique and soulful paean to the 21st century African-American bride. Delivering five different remixes, Skip Mahoney & the Casuals offer one performance specifically tailored to the old school crowd, another featuring the vocal group S.O.L.E. that's geared to the contemporary R&B fan, one with S.O.L.E.'s neo-soul flourishes, plus two instrumental versions perfect for the dance floor. On all three of the vocal renditions, however, Mahoney's splendid tenor and flights of falsetto proves the perfect foil for group harmonies that recall such R&B stalwarts as The O'Jays or The Spinners. As each generation produces its own particular wedding songs, Skip Mahoney and the Casuals' CD, "Chocolate Brides Theme Song," just might be the perfect wedding disc for the contemporary African-American couple wanting to add a special – chocolate – flavor to their nuptials.

-Rice B. and the Reviewer Team
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Distant Thunder" by Karl Stephen Brunig (Spiritual Artist from Texas(TX))

Karl Stephen Brunig reaches well beyond the roots of Gospel music with his latest album of finely written songs on "Distant Thunder." Brunig has taken the traditional style of Gospel music and has spun a new twist with the genres of rock and blues with inspirational appeal. The lyrics and artistic arrangements will move you with uplifting attraction. The title track "Distant Thunder" kicks off the album with driving beats and edgy guitar riffs. Brunig's vocals are quite similar to Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen as you can hear on songs such as "Hiding Place" or "Nehemiah Man." Taking the tempo down a bit to more of easy listening tempo, "What a Beautiful You" and "Silent Tears" are nicely performed with a sweet piano accompaniment. This album offers a selection of tempos and styles that draws you into wanting to hear more. Karl Stephen Brunig's "Distant Thunder" is an enjoyable gospel album and will charm listeners who like more of a rock/blues feel.

-Diane and the reviewer team
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"Songs of Ascent" by Ellen M. Wilson (Spiritual Artist from Texas(TX))

Metrical Middle Eastern melodies and rich vocals are what Ellen M. Wilson finely crafts on her disc, "Songs of Ascent." Wilson has a sweet and rich voice that brings the listener to a relaxing frame of mind. As you listen to the first track, "Modah Ani," a sense of serenity fills the air with attributes not only from the vocals but the instruments as well. Another song, "Lo Yisa Goy," is complemented with an array of soothing instrumentation and once again the vocals are clean, crisp, and emotive. Not only is the piano gracefully accompanying the lead vocals on "Pitchu Li," but the harmonies are smooth and elegant adding to the ambiance of this beautiful song. Although most songs are sung in the Hebrew language, Wilson gives an exquisite performance while singing in English on "Healing Song," with lyrics that are sung from the heart. The Hebrew melodies of Ellen M. Wilson's "Songs of Ascent" are a wonderful compilation of spiritual music that will uplift your inner being and will leave you with a sense of total tranquility.

-Diane T. and the Reviewer Team
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"Another Level" by Kishane (Electronic Artist from New Jersey (NJ))

Kishane's new album, "Another Level" is electronica done right. The CD is comprised of 7 tracks, each with a new and seductive marriage of soul, funk, and electronic elements. The opening song "Sweat" starts strong with an enticing house pulse that is immediately engaging. Although the four-on-the-floor rhythm makes a mark on the album, songs like "Way Out" establish Kishane's chill tone that lends a tasteful balance to the mix. The influences here are broad, yet the result is a seamless and smooth blend of both moods and flavor. For fans of funk, hip-hop, and R&B, this solid electronica album will deliver and delight.

-Max B. and the Reviewer Team
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Featured Single

LACHI: Ugly BeautifulBand Name: Lachi
Featured Single: We Can Fly
Album: Ugly Beautiful
Genre: Alternative Rock

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Open" by Northern Sound (Pop Artist from Denmark)

Northern Sound gives the listeners a delightful taste of what is yet to come on their newly released single, "Open." Breaking away from their tribute disc to Joni Mitchell, this duo has decided to collaborate on original compositions. The self-titled song "Open" is a wonderful sample of folk music with sweet, harmonious guitar. The melodic vocals are crisp and polished and balance well with the supporting instruments. The lyrics are thoughtful and capture the relaxed easy listening feeling. This fresh beginning of a new name and style will have all listeners of folk/pop wanting more. Fans of Joni Mitchell won't want to miss hearing "Open" and don't forget to keep a watch out for their full length album.

-Diane and the reviewer team
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"Soul Complete" by Cagle & Nash (R&B Artist from North Carolina(NC))

Cagle & Nash serve up some delightful, easy listening R&B/jazz songs on their newest release "Soul Complete." This delectable disc features a collection of well written lyrics of love lost and found while showcasing lead vocals that are solid and well polished. The music flows with style and never falters while delivering the sounds of blues and the relaxing, fresh touch of R&B. An outstanding horn riff highlights "December" while the flute adds a soft and graceful touch. Another track which emphasizes the horn is "Information" as the solo is clean and crisp. Take note of the smooth and dynamic balance of harmonies with guest female vocalists on songs such as "Anywhere You Wanna Go" or "And Suddenly." If you like the songs of Steely Dan or Michael Buble, then "Soul Complete" is the next album you will want to hear.

-Diane and the reviewer team
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Lucky Guy" by Roy Jay (Folk Artist from Florida(FL))

Who said you can't judge a book or CD by its cover? Roy Jay's debut album "Lucky Guy" embodies the relaxed beach tone feeling depicted in his cover artwork. There are twists on this traditional upbeat folk music throughout this disc with tracks like "In and Out of Dreams" where hand-percussion and acoustic guitar are complimented by harmonious background vocals with sing along style. Although mostly leaning towards lighter atmospheres, "Time's Page," takes a ballad approach where subtlety and style come into play nicely. The musicianship is sophisticated and mature, but Jay doesn't take himself too seriously during "Prettiest Girl in Wal-Mart" with a comical trip to the super-store. Get out your sun block as "Lucky Guy" is Americana wrapped up in a beach towel and ready to hit the sand.

-Max B. and the Reviewer Team
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Jesus Never Fails" by George A. Jackson SR (Spiritual Artist from Maryland(MD))

Gospel artist George A. Jackson SR will inspire listeners with songs of faith and encouragement on his album "Jesus Never Fails." Jackson's vocals are soulful and full, which embellish the melodies with style and grace. The title track, "Jesus Never Fails," motivates the listener with uplifting lyrics and a touch of soul. Get on your feet and clap your hands and let your spirit move you to the rhythmic bluesy feel of "Thank You Lord." Turning to a different vocal style, "God Is Waiting on You" features Jackson telling a story with spoken words. His words flow with an appealing sensitivity while there is a nice balance within the supporting instruments. "Jesus Never Fails" by George A. Jackson SR is an inspirational gospel album brimming with thoughtful lyrics and inspiring character and is well worth listening to.

-Diane and the reviewer team
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Television" by Monkey Bones (Classic Rock Artist from Oklahoma(OK))

Monkey Bones and their debut CD, "Television" is an all-out rock attack of blazing guitars, impassioned vocals, biting lyrics, and the rock-solid kind of playing to bring it all home. Buoyed by a big beat-infused rhythm section firing on all cylinders, "Television" features 12 original songs that rarely let up. But despite an almost relentless fury, The Monkey Bones deftly balance many of their riff-heavy songs with effective and at times, subtle background vocals that add dimension and nuance to a style not always noted for such attributes. Notably, "Sunny Rays" shows the band can deliver the arena rock ballad as needed while "Hammer Comin' Down" offers up a rich vein of Southern Rock swagger. Delivered with a snarl & bravado as fitting as it is emblematic, the casually thrown out line "it's all fair in love and rock & roll" in the CD's closer, "Cross-Eyed," is more than a fair summary of "Television," it's a veritable battle cry.

-Rice B. and the Reviewer Team
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"Oriana's Opohany" by Oriana LaRusso (Pop Artist from New York(NY))

"Oriana's Opiphany," the second released CD from Oriana LaRusso, is a smart and contemporary collection of dance-pop tunes by a young singer with the poise and polish of a seasoned vet. LaRusso's sometimes sultry and smoky voice plays off a synth and beat-laden soundtrack in a way that is often original and compelling. On the ballad, "More Time," she shows remarkable control at the lower register of her voice while on the R&B-drenched "Not Anymore" she commands the middle register like a love-weary chanteuse. The bulk of the CD sports a predominantly Urban / Top 40 dance feel with LaRusso not only up to the material but leading it with a heady confidence. If at times you hear echoes of Madonna ("Pass Me By") or Shakira ("Watch Me"), or even J-Lo ("Standing Still in Love"), one realizes the lofty aspirations the singer has set for herself. To its credit, "Oriana's Opiphany" is a fine showcase for a singer with not only ambition, but talent as well.

-Rice B. and the Reviewer Team
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"You'll Like It" by Cardona (Pop Artist from New York City, New York(NY))

Cardona's CD, "You'll Like It" employs synthesizer, echo, some propulsive drumming and, on the opening title track, a jazzy dollop of electric piano, to push the dance-centric and uptown-leaning musical agenda of Brooklyn performer, Joe Cardona. This three song disc verily smacks of unbuttoned satin shirts, garish medallions, and dance floors ablaze under flashing club lights as Cardona croons in an almost drone-like and atonal - but loosely melodic, voice about the everyday "give and take" that is modern urban life. Eschewing deeply meaningful or profound lyrics, "You'll Like It" boasts the kinds of street-tough brashness of a testosterone-fueled Brooklyn club-crawler. For instance, on the title track, Cardona warbles, "the more you lick, the more you'll taste…and the more you'll like it," while on the unsentimental "Shut Up Baby," he refuses to pull any punches, singing "shut up, shut up, baby." Made for the dance floor by an artist with the milieu that fires his muse, the CD "You'll Like It" is a well played, well produced, multi-sonic exploration of the urban experience that is sure to inspire more than just booty-shaking.

-Rice B. and the Reviewer Team
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"30 Years Later" by 5 Track Mind (Classsic Rock Artist from New Jersey(NJ))

5 Track Mind's CD, "30 Years Later" is an assembly of talented musicians from around the globe who began playing together…30 years ago. It's with this experience they achieve a sound that transcends fads and incorporates refined skills such as three part vocal harmonies and catchy, lyrical melodies. In the song "Signs" the tight vocal layering carries the track with smooth flowing ease, perhaps making even David Crosby take notice. "Stranger In The House" is an eerie ballad with Pink Floyd tendencies featuring striking guitar riffs and solid piano chords. There are allusions to the music that shares the bands history but with an advantage of hindsight. "30 Years Later" is a recommended album for those who wish to re-embark on classic rock music with a fresh perspective.

-Max B. and the Reviewer Team
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