Category Archives: New Artists

Feature: “Songs from the Hive” – Brian Dunne

 

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When Dunne sings that he just wants “to ride easy on the slow train” with steel guitars and piano behind him, you get the feeling he’s more comfortable with the past than the present. You can probably bet he’s not referring to Amtrak in “Slow Train”.  The music found on Songs from the Hive – with shades of Heartbreaker-era Ryan Adams, The Basement Tapes, etc – evokes a version of America that doesn’t really exist anymore.  As such, Dunne’s version of Country is more authentic than anything on Country Radio at the moment.

It shouldn’t come as surprise that Dunne’s influences include Bruce Springsteen, The Band and Bob Dylan.  The quieter and more introspective side of Springsteen hangs over Songs from the Hive like a guiding light: with references to “the promised land, and dark tales over acoustic guitar.  Songs from the Hive is more Nebraska and than Born in the U.S.A.

Much of Songs from the Hive moves along at a crawling pace, leaving plenty of space to draw the listener in. There’s nothing fast or hurried about this set. This is a collection of songs that have been lived in. You can hear the bruises in Dunne’s voice especially on the somber “I Don’t Wanna Lose You.” Even the louder songs – “California (Rock Me Slow)” and “You’re Not Ready” – never really blast off but contain a down-home shuffle that fits the vibe of the rest of the album.

Remarkably, Songs from the Hive sounds neither contemporary nor old. Like the Dunne’s influences it manages to exist of out of time. When you listen to it, you wouldn’t think that these songs were recorded recently, but rather that they’ve always existed in some form and you’ve just now discovered a hidden gem.

For more info on Brian Dunne, check out his web-site and listen to “Born a Fool” below:

Review: True Believer – Michael Cullen

 

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“I asked Leonard Cohen, how lonely does it get?” Michael Cullen wonders on the opening track, “Black Dog” of True Believer. Listening to True Believer, it makes sense that he would ask Cohen about loneliness because it is Cohen’s shadow that hangs over the album. The cold, dense sound recalls some of Cohen’s later records. Like Cohen, Cullen looks for answers about life in past relationships and his own life experiences. And he’s not afraid to throw some of the blame on himself.

Cullen might consider himself lost in the world, but there’s a focus in the songs found on True Believer. The music never overshadows Cullen’s tales of self-doubt and broken relationships, and the moody atmosphere enhances the vibe. The organ flourishes evoke a bit of sadness while also generating sympathy.

Cullen started his career playing in several post-punk bands, and while that influence doesn’t appear sonically, it does so in mood and aesthetics. There are hints of Ian Curtis-style self-loathing. Cullen has also been compared to Nick Cave, but his voice sounds a lot like another singer who dealt with many demons: Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock.

Regret is a running theme on the album, but instead of running away Cullen seems to be embracing his past-life even as he toggles between being pissed off and mournful. “What would I give to kill all these regrets?” He asks on “True Believer”. Cullen faced some health issues between True Believer and his last album, the critically acclaimed Love Transmitter. As a result, he was not able to promote it normally and though he never mentions it explicitly, it’s hard not to think of it when he mentions he’s been crashed and burned but still, “as good as new.”

True Believer is a pretty apt title for an album like this. It’s a kind of musical therapy for Cullen. He may occasionally feel broken, but he’s still here telling his story for those who want to listen. Cohen though, probably isn’t listening. “He didn’t answer,” Cullen declares sounding slightly upset.

 

For more information on Michael Cullen, check out his web-site.

New Music: “Perfectly Flawed” – Marla Joy

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“You know I’m perfectly flawed,” Marla Joy sings in the chorus of her latest song, “Perfectly Flawed”.  That description fits Joy’s soulful singing.  Her voice cracks throughout the song, but it’s the passion behind the voice that captures your attention. In an era when many female singer seem intent on singing all the right notes, Joy counters that by giving a performance that may not be technically perfect, but one you can actually feel.

The song harkens back to the days of 70s R&B. Its a real treat to hear Joy ride the soulful groove of the song.  The band is wise enough to never overshadow Joy, giving her plenty of space to reach deep.

“Perfectly Flawed” is the title track off of Joy’s latest album which is due out in May.  Check out the song below.

http://marlajoy.com

New Music: “Wild Again” – The Bright Smoke

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The Bright Smoke have just released their latest single “Wild Again” which can be found on the group’s latest album, Virgina Et. Al.   The track is trademark Bright Smoke – low key, atmospheric and bluesy.

Check out the “Wild Again” below:

 

For more info on The Bright Smoke, check out their web-site.

New Music: “Gimme Danger” (Stooges Cover) – Anna Rose

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“Gimme Danger” was considered one of two “ballads” off Raw Power.   In the hands of many other bands, “Gimme Danger” would be the loudest track. For her cover of “Gimme Danger”,  Anna Rose takes a cue from “the ballad” label and turns the Stooges’ gritty masterpiece into a slowed down bluesy groove.  Gone are Iggy’s menacing vocals and James Williamson’s blistering guitar.But make no mistake, Rose sounds just as dangerous and wild. Her singing might be softer, but underneath there’s still plenty of darkness.

Check out “Gimme Danger” below:

New Music: “Ides of Fall” – Jared & the Mill

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Arizona’s Jared & the Mill have recently released the video for “Ides of Fall” from Western Expansion.  The video is an emotionally charged video showcasing the band’s interaction with its audience.  Check it out below:

The band have also announced a tour which will see them stop at SXSW.  For more infer on Jared & the Mill check out their Facebook page.

New Music: “Pop Song” – Jazz Mills

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It’s perfectly fitting that Jazz Mills would title her latest single “Pop Song”.  It’s not “pop” in the 2000’s sense, but harkens back to pop hey-day during the early 1960s.  There’s no big sweeping chorus but “Pop Song” is pure ear candy.  Mills’ melodic and chirpy voice over simple drums and piano comes as a welcome relief in an era when pop songs are devoid of life and simple pleasures.

“Pop Song” can be found on Mills’ self-titled EP due out 11/12/13.

 

 

New Music: Preview: “The All of Us EP” – Reggie Williams

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Reggie Williams’ The The All Of Us EP is likely to ease the hearts of John Mayer fans who adore his acoustic-pop early days and scuff at his ventures down the grooves of After the Goldrush.  It’s no coincidence that Williams named EP, The All of US EP.  Togetherness is everywhere throughout the set. Williams wants his listeners to open their hearts and their minds, to love and be loved.  If the sincerity grates on you, just listen to Williams’ soulful crooning.  Even the most cynical of minds could get behind a voice like that.

The All of Us EP will be released on December 2nd.  For more info on Williams, visit his Facebook page.

New Music: “All I Need” – The Racoon Wedding

 

If you like drinking and watching videos on Youtube (and who doesn’t?) then the latest video from The Racoon Wedding is for you.  As the bouncy, down-home song plays in the background, each of the band members take a turn swigging from a very big bottle. Hilarity ensues.  With its mixture of Music From Big Pink-era Band and early Counting Crows, “All I Need” is definitely a song to check out.

“All I Need” can be found on the group’s latest album Dead on the Side of the Road.

For more information, check out the band’s website