Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heartless Bastards - The Mountain -2009-
(Rock, Indie, Soul)

From: Dayton, Ohio

The driving force behind the music of the Heartless Bastards is without a doubt the voice of lead singer and songwriter Erika Wennerstrom. She possesses a voice that is deep, throaty and loose. Rolling Stone magazine had this to say about Wennerstrom, "she sounds like she s wailing on the shoulders of giants; her sad and angry vocals channeling all the swagger and spit of a young Robert Plant." Combine that unique voice with some really good rocking jams and you get some powerfully enjoyable tunes. The Mountain is the 3rd studio effort from Wennerstrom and her ever rotating band and has enough variety with songs jumping from folk to garage rock to keep you listening time after time. Heartless Bastards have made quite a bit of noise at Austin City Limits and Bonnaroo already this year so be on the lookout for Wennerstrom and her boys.

Heartless Bastards - The Mountain

Heartless Bastards - Out To Sea

Heartless Bastards - Nothing Seems The Same

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Good Old War - Good Old War -2010-
(Indie, Folk, Americana)

From: Philadelphia

Seldom do band members rebound gracefully after their main musical effort falls apart, but Keith Goodwin (vocals/guitar) and Tim Arnold (drums/vocals), members of the once up-and-coming progressive rock band Days Away have managed to do just that, pulling a 180 with their sound in their new acoustic folk project Good Old War. Rounding out the trio is Dan Schwartz (guitar/vocals) from the Americana tinged, Unlikely Cowboy. This self-titled LP is the 2nd full length album from the trio who have seemed to master the three part harmony and have created a group of lively and intricate songs, which at times feel like a throwback to the early days of Folk/Rock. Catch Good Old War touring with Xavier Rudd in August.

Good Old War - My Own Sinking Ship

Good Old War - That's Some Dream

Good Old War - Get Some

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ash Grunwald - Hot Mama Vibes -2010-
(Blues, Rock, Acoustic)

From: Melbourne, Australia

It is too simplistic to describe Ash Grunwald as just a blues musician. While it’s true that his music is steeped in the Delta blues tradition of the legendary acoustic musicians of America’s deep South and the giants of electric blues who shaped rock and roll, it’s the young Aussie’s willingness to combine these influences with grooves and sounds common in contemporary music that sets him apart. Hot Mama Vibes is the follow up record to his successful, ARIA nominated LP Fish Out Of Water and sees Ash continue down an unmarked road of collaboration with some of Australia’s most respected Hip-Hop producers. Hot Mama Vibes is neck-deep in the technological swamp of the 21st Century. It's also the most primal concoction of elemental junkyard soul to stomp through your speakers this year. "Mixing electronica with the blues was always a dream of mine," says Ash. "On the first album I was really trying to strip it back to raw elements, just be as soulful as possible. I guess every album since then has been a gradual move towards this point." This is some gritty and dirty Blues/Rock showcasing the talents of an awesome musician.

Ash Grunwald - Tear The Roof Off

Ash Grunwald - Love Me

Ash Grunwald - Change

Ash Grunwald - Walking

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Surfer Blood - Astro Coast -2010-
(Pop, Indie, Rock)

From: Palm Beach, Florida

This young West Palm Beach group may draw comparisons to Weezer, Pavement and Vampire Weekend, but with this their debut LP Astro Coast these boys have been able to draw from those comparisons...I mean influences and create an indie sound that is uniquely their own. The songs are catchy and the reverb and power hooks of the guitar are great. Astro Coast has all the makings of a classic indie album so look out because I have a feeling we are going to see Surfer Blood all over the place very soon.

Surfer Blood - Floating Vibes

Surfer Blood - Swim

Surfer Blood - Harmonix

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rocky Dawuni - Hymns For The Rebel Soul -2010-
(Reggae, Roots, Afro-Beat)

From: Ghana

Hailed as Ghana's 'Bob Marley' Rocky Dawuni has inspired and will continue to inspire generations of artists and fans alike with his music and diligent support of many social causes. Hymns for the Rebel Soul is Rocky's 5th studio album and has been exclusively released through Whole Foods Market. This new 11 song album was inspired and written over the course of his travels around the world particularly Israel, Finland, Jamaica, U.S. and Ghana in his quest to articulate and craft a record that reflected the common spiritual, political and social aspirations of ordinary folks around the world. Dawuni's music was featured at this year's World Cup and he is also involved in the fantastic Playing For Change which you can see below. Rocky Dawuni’s progressive fusion of Reggae, Soul and traditional African sounds are well displayed on this newest album. Any lover of reggae needs to pick up this eclectic mix.

Rocky Dawuni - Download The Revolution

Rocky Dawuni - Walls Tumblin Down

Rocky Dawuni - Take It Slow (Love Love Love)

Playing For Change - War/No More Trouble

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Green - The Green -2010-

From: Honolulu, Hawaii

Some of the hottest reggae tunes on the islands are coming straight from these guys here. They began making these sweet sounds only last year, but these four friends are making a big splash on the reggae scene. Their music is inspired and drawn from many different sources. The heartbeat and power of reggae drum and bass, the soulful tone in the voices and instruments, the poetic words and the consciousness needed to stand strong as a people and move forward together in these difficult times. The Green is Caleb Keolanui, J.P. Kennedy, Ikaika Antone and Zion Thompson. This is a very good debut album full of sweet island vibes and you catch The Green right now as they tour all over the mainland.

The Green - What Will Be Will Be

The Green - Love I

The Green - Runaway Train

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Robert Randolph and the Family Band - We Walk This Road -2010-
(Blues, Rock, Soul)

From: New Jersey

Let's just start by acknowledging the fact Robert Randolph is a ridiculously good guitar player. The newest studio album that He and the Family Band have made for us is produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett. We Walk This Road continues the Sacred Steel tradition for which Robert Randolph has earned wide praise, including the New York Times, which applauds "his rip-roaring virtuosity and his gift for making his instrument sing without a word." Throughout the recording of We Walk This Road, Randolph and Burnett worked closely together as archivists, discovering songs-decade by decade-from the 20th century American music canon. The songs they uncovered, ranging from blues and rock to field recordings and gospel, serve as the inspiration for the 11 songs on the album. This record is a celebration of African-American music over the past one hundred years and its social messages from the last thirty. Although they cover a whole timeline of different eras on We Walk This Road, what ties these songs together remain their message of hope and their ability to uplift.

Robert Randolph - Shot Of Love

Robert Randolph - If I Had My Way

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Cat Empire - Cinema -2010-
(Reggae, Rock, Jazz, Latin)

From: Melbourne

The Cat Empire's message, on stage and in the studio, has always been about breaking down borders: musical, geographic, lingual. But they have never done it so powerfully as they do on their new album, Cinema. The album serves up a set of tunes which truly captures the melting pot of influences and sounds that The Cat Empire bring to the table and the sheer joy of their live performances, delivered in a format perfect for lounge-rooms, backyard BBQ’s, cafes, road trips and parties all over the world. Cinema, the band's fourth studio album, is a dazzling statement of a band at a peak of its powers, music designed to move the body and the mind. Right from the opening track, this is music that leaps from the speakers. Cinema has been on constant rotation and I can't get enough. Each track is phenomenal and brings something new with each listen. Easily one of the best albums of the year from one of the best BANDS on the planet. Careful though, this is some seriously addicting music. Enjoy!

The Cat Empire - Falling

The Cat Empire - Shoulders

The Cat Empire - Call Me Home

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy -2010-
(Folk, Rock, Country)

From: Brooklyn, New York

Phosphorescent is the solo project of Brooklyn based musician Matthew Houck. Phosphorescent has been kicking around the alt-country universe for quite awhile now, effecting a downbeat mix of plaintive howling and stirring atmospherics which has drawn comparisons from Neil Young to Wilco. Here's To Taking it Easy is Phosphorescent’s first set of original material since 2007’s dark, deeply moving Pride. On Pride, Houck played nearly all of the instruments himself, creating a habitat of a beautiful, loneliness. However, a different mood is present on Here’s To Taking It Easy, as Phosphorescent’s touring band have come on board for the recording, and the influence of boozy classic rock is as apparent as that of forlorn singer-songwriters. This is music for any time and any season.

Phosphorescent - The Mermaid Parade

Phosphorescent - I Don't Care If There's Cursing

Phosphorescent - Los Angeles

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jon Wayne and The Pain - Follow Through -2010-
(Reggae, Ska, Blues)

From: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Follow Through by Jon Wayne and The Pain builds upon the success of the group’s self-titled 2008 debut album, once again showcasing their unique mix of reggae, ska, acoustic blues, and dub. This signature sound, referred to as ‘Redemption Reggae’ by the band and their loyal supporters, is one that continues to gain traction across the U.S. and beyond. Jon Wayne and the Pain are skyrocketing to the top of the reggae/rock genre and are doing it on a purely independent basis. The band is in full control of their recordings and have been exclusively booking and promoting their own tour dates. Fans of Slightly Stoopid and Sublime (whose members join on a few here) will dig the chill vibes, meaningful lyrics and skankin' beats. Listen to the album in full and purchase by clicking the album art above.

Jon Wayne and The Pain - Stone Cold Gold

Jon Wayne and The Pain - Follow Through

Jon Wayne and The Pain - Vibes

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kevin Devine - Brother's Blood -2009-
(Indie, Acoustic, Folk)

From: Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Kevin Devine works the familiar emo terrain of spurned lovers, broken hearts and self-loathing, but he’s such a canny writer and careful observer of human
nature that his morose ruminations take on the aura of poetry. A follower of the late Elliott Smith, Devine has mastered Smith’s penchant for lovely melodies that mask desperation, but Kevin Devine is bringing something different to the table a little louder and quite a bit more gritty. Hell, the title track even has a Neil Young/Crazy Horse vibe. Great writing, good music and a real sincerity in each track make Brother's Blood a very nice find. Check it out for only $7.99 by clicking the album art above.

Kevin Devine - All Of Everything, Erased

Kevin Devine - Time To Burn (Another Bag Of Bones)

Kevin Devine - Brother's Blood

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Mojo -2010-
(Rock, Classic Rock, Blues)

From: Gainesville, Florida

Hit-maker extraordinaires Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are back with an essential addition to their discography, Mojo, their first studio album since 2002. After being re-introduced to Petty and the boys on their fantastic live Anthology album last year I was very much anticipating this album. For more than 30 years, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have been one of America's greatest live bands, and they are able to capture the magic of their live show on this latest offering. There seems to be quite a bit of freedom and experimentation within the recording. This is the sound of a band playing together in a room not a studio - facing each other, all singing and playing at the same time. The music is alive, with no overdubs or studio trickery. What you hear is what they created on the spot at that time. Mojo showcases quite a variety of genres from some really rocking rock 'n' roll to blues and even reggae. There may not be any of the instant classic sing along ballads that Petty is most famous for, but this is a solid listen with some incredible musicianship throughout. One thing seems certain, Petty and the Heartbreakers have definitely got their Mojo back.

Tom Petty - The Trip To Pirate's Cove

Tom Petty - I Should Have Known It

Tom Petty - Don't Pull Me Over

Monday, July 5, 2010

Delta Spirit - History From Below -2010-
(Rock, Indie, Americana)

From: San Diego

The raw spirit of indie rock. An amplified, rocking version of ’60s protest folk. The soulful passion of the Violent Femmes and the Waterboys. All of these comparisons have been made in attempts to describe Delta Spirit, the southern California five-piece who according to some might just be one of the most important new bands of the decade. History from Below is the highly anticipated follow-up to Delta Spirit's captivating debut album, Ode To Sunshine, which brought the band thousands upon thousands of passionate fans, along with the kind of critical acclaim most bands dream about. It does not matter if their playing rollicking driving rock or slowed down soulful jams, Delta Spirit does it well. Download album for only $7.99 by clicking the album art above.

Delta Spirit - 911

Delta Spirit - Bushwick Blues

Delta Spirit - Randsom Man

King Kekai - Naha Stone -2007-
(Rap, Reggae, Hawaiian)

From: Hawaii

There are not a lot of better feelings in this world than taking in the beautiful scenery of Hawaii while listening to the laid back tunes of the islands. I heard quite a few tracks while in Hawaii that are now on a pretty consistent rotation on the iPod to replicate that feeling of peace and relaxation. King Kekai is one of those Hawaiian artists that you will hear on local stations and he plays a mix of rap, hip-hop and reggae. While he does have a nice variety of tracks on Naha Stone I will forever remember King Kekai for his track 'Green Bottles'. This song has become the theme song or anthem if you will to both of my vacations to the islands. It is an epic track so give it a listen. It cracks me up and makes me thirsty every time I hear it. Pass me a green bottle already!

King Kekai - Green Bottles

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tanuki Dub - Glad To Be Glad -2009-
(Dub, Reggae, Jazz)

From: Queensland, Australia

Tanuki Dub's 'Glad To Be Glad' is the debut solo offering from PaulieB the versatile bassist of The Beautiful Girls. PaulieB is an Australian music gem, tucked away in his West End studio ‘The Tanuki Lounge’ when he isn’t touring internationally with TBG. 'Glad To Be Glad' is a largely instrumental anthology of striking cinematic world music, sometimes reminiscent of the early Studio One releases, other times like a Tarantino soundtrack remixed by Bill Laswell. This is music born from a single bassline. Starting with a single, simple idea and then overdubbing the accompaniments, each recording featured on this album was conceived and completed within a single studio session - one session a day for 11 days in June 2009. This album showcases dub not only as a style of music, but as a style of audio post production that can be used to explore the spaces within all music. Awesome set of sweet relaxing organic tunes.

Tanuki Dub - Creamtop Dub

Tanuki Dub - Glad To Be Glad

Tanuki Dub - Liquid Dub