BURN THIS / May 2016

  1. The Avett Brothers "Ain't No Man"
  2. The Lumineers "Cleopatra"
  3. Judah & The Lion "Take It All Back"
  4. Needtobreathe "Happiness"
  5. Mat Kearney "Moving On"
  6. Matt Wertz "Smoke"
  7. Dave Barnes "Carry On, San Vicente"
  8. JD Eicher "This Heart"
  9. Robert Francis "Fire Engine Red"
  10. Good Old War "Never Gonna See Me Cry"
  11. Rogue Wave "What It Left To Solve"
  12. Matt Corby "Oh Oh Oh"
  13. Mason Jennings "Two Dollar Man"
  14. White Denim "Had 2 Know (Personal)"
  15. Lake Street Dive "I Don't Care About You"
  16. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals "Shine"
  17. Nahko & Medicine For The People "San Quentin"
  18. The Hip Abduction "Stand Up For Love"
  19. Rebelution "Upper Hand"
  20. The Movement "Wild Time"


#reviewoftheweek / Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals - Call It What It Is

Ben Harper hasn't recorded music with his band the Innocent Criminals in about 10 years. It was almost as if that was a chapter of his musical career that was closed and never was to be revisited. Boy, were we wrong! And it's a goods thing too, because this new collection of songs reminds us just why we fell in love with Harpers music over 20 years ago. The combination of folk, funk, rock, blues, and reggae is unlike any other band touring or recording music these days. It's a throwback kind of sound that feels fresh and new and updated to reflect the changing times, both musically and socially. The title track is a social commentary which is paramount to Harper's lyricism. It's not his first lyrical expression of his opinions but it is one of his best. Straight up rock hits in the form of the lead single "Pink Balloon" and the lead off track "When Sex Was Dirty." The band even has time to throw in an old school reggae track called "Fining My Way," which is a standout all Harper's reggae tracks. One of the best bands and leaders to hit the stage over the past quarter century, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals are back, and hopefully here to stay!


#reviewoftheweek / Greg Laswell - Everyone Thinks I Dodged A Bullet

One of the most solid musicians making music these days is Greg Laswell. You can always be guaranteed to be impressed with each collection of music he puts out. Never one to have broken out into the mainstream, Laswell's music stays just below the radar enough to keep him intriguing and artistic, without having to cater to the demands of the music world. That being said, his latest is raw and insightful, showcasing his signature vocals and storyteller lyricism. The track "Dodged A Bullet" is a perfect display of just that, and other songs like "Out Of Line" use the lyrics as their bedrock. The album's lead single "Lifetime Ago" is the closing thing you'll get to a pop hit on this album, and it's about as close as you'll want to be with Laswell's music. In the truest sense, Greg Laswell is the epitome of a singer/songwriter, and 30 years we may look back at his body of work the way we look at Dylan and Simon and Cash.


#reviewofthweek / Dave Barnes - Carry On, San Vicente

Dave Barnes is one of those artists that you can't seem to get away from. His music is everywhere and he cowrites songs with everyone. It's always nice when he puts out a new collection, so that you can see what he's up to. Not straying too far from his signature pop rock sound, Barnes' new collection is bright and upbeat as usual, focusing on some of the best lyrics he's written. The title tracks is an upbeat fun track that is reminiscent of 80s and 90s soft rock, showcasing a very nostalgic feel. In fact, the entire album feels nostalgic, both in influence and in history, as you can hear elements od each of Dave's releases throughout the collection. Never one to disappoint, Barnes has delivered another stellar album.


#reviewoftheweek / Lissie - My Wild West

My Wild West is a great new album from Lissie. She mixed indie and classic rock sounds for a well rounded album, that showcases more of her excellent lyricism than ever before. She's not the type of chick you mess around with, and you can tell, because she can hold her own with a guitar. Standout tracks on the album include "Daughters," "Hero," and "Don't You Give Up On Me." Being that this is her third album, it seems kind of hard to reproduce the success and sound of her pervious. Lissie does that and more with this collection, showing that going sideways is just as awesome as going forward It's not always about topping yourself, it's about showcasing your many talents.


BURN THIS / April 2016

  1. Brett Dennen "What's The Secret?"
  2. Jon And Roy "When I Rise"
  3. Roo Panes "Where I Want To Go"
  4. Mason Jennings "Heaven"
  5. Lissie "Daughters"
  6. Judah & The Lion "Graffiti Dreams"
  7. Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes "Get Mine"
  8. White Denim "Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)"
  9. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals "Call It What It Is"
  10. JJ Grey & Mofro "Brave Lil' Fighter"
  11. Green River Ordinance "Red Fire Night"
  12. Griffin House "Yesterday Lies"
  13. Graham Colton "Life Is What You Make It"
  14. The Hunts "Just For A While"
  15. Escondido "Try"
  16. Greg Laswell "Out Of Line"
  17. Rogue Wave "California Bride"
  18. Good Old War "Small World"
  19. The River Arkansas "Golden Light"
  20. Jose Gonzalez "With The Ink Of A Ghost"


#reviewoftheweek / Mason Jennings - Wild Dark Metal

Contrary to what the title sounds like, this album is not full of heavy metal music sung by Mason Jennings, one of our generations prolific folk-rockers. However, the album is a little heavier and darker than what we are used to from the Minnesota singer/songwriter, similar to his 2009 release "Blood Of Man." Mason's voice is instantly identifiable and he branches out, away from his traditional acoustic folky sound to get a little more raw and rock 'n roll. Crunchy guitars are a signature of songs like "Arma" and "Two Dollar Man" while the lyrics are the star of songs like "Heaven" and "Death Grips." The bones of the music are typical Mason Jennings, but the sound is a bit edgier than we are used to. It's nice to see singers branch out and give us something different than the norm, and Mason Jennings is one of the best at doing that while still keeping true to his roots and his influences.


#reviewoftheweek / Matt Corby - Telluric

Matt Corby was a virtual unknown until about 10 years ago when he appeared on season 5 of "Australian Idol" (the down under version of the hit US TV show) where he finished as runner up. Fast forward about 10 years and Corby has been making music and making waves in his native country, churning out a handful of critically acclaimed singles and EPs, some of which have been released stateside. Now, he's finally released his first proper album and has broken down the barriers of what you'd expect from a reality show contestant. Indie rock and folk rock collide to create a sound unlike anything you'd hear on the radio these days. His voice is almost gospel like and the instrumentation mixes funky with ambient in a way that can only be described as unique. Incredible songs like "Monday," "Knife Edge," and "Sooth Lady Wine" could have legs on US airwaves if given the right exposure. From start to finish, the entire album is adventurous and proves that the genius of a musician comes out when the musician has full control of their vision. Corby made sure this album, a work in progress for years, was exactly what it needed to be before unleashing it on the world. And, thankfully and expectedly, the music was well worth the wait.


#reviewoftheweek / Roo Panes - Paperweights

The debut album from Roo Panes is a thing of wonder. This up-and-coming singer/songwriter is going to spearhead a new generation of mellow folkies that is going to take the world by storm. Just as musicians like David Gray and Damien Rice, Panes is bringing straightforward mellow acoustic music across the pond. The airwaves have been dominated by poppy singers with acoustic guitars and folky balladeers, but Panes is different. His voice is an instrument equally as much as any actual instruments on the disc. Highlights on the album include "The Original" and "Where I Want To Go." This is the type of music you can listen to while falling asleep, going on an adventure, or chilling by the pool. It's different and familiar at the same time and accessible by fans of all genres. One of this year's true gems, this album is destined to be among the year's best come December.


#reviewoftheweek / The Hunts - Those Younger Days

It's hard enough to imagine what's it's like to be in a band that features 7 members. It's another thing all together to imagine what's it's like to be one of 7 siblings. The Hunts are a new folk band that features 7 siblings ranging from 16 to 24 years old, that are all incredible singers and multi-instrumentalists. Their performances are mindblowing, and that is because this album is mindblowing. Featuring every instrument you can think of from banjos and mandolins all the way to violins, their mini string orchestra coupled with the talents of their main singers (both male and female) show just how exciting folk music can be. The entire album has an underlying pop feel but lives squarely in the new folk movement, similar to bands like The Lumineers, The Lone Bellow, and Houndmouth. Songs on the album that showcase the best of their best are "Illuminate," "Make This Leap," and "Just For A While." You will never hear a band have more fun making music on a studio album, but it is evident that this family band loves what they do and does what they love.