#reviewoftheweek / Lettuce - Crush

This album is quite possibly the best instrumental album released in 2015 (despite having a few tracks featuring vocals). That being said, Lettuce has never been better. What is essentially a fun side project for the members of the band that have other gigs, this band knows how to blow it up. The horn driver album features a fun party vibe that doesn't stop from end to end. Killer tracks like "The Force" and "The Lobbyist" and just fun and funky and danceable. "Sounds Like A Party" and "He Made A Woman Out Of Me" are the two vocal tracks on that album, but the band doesn't take a back seat to the guest at all. Songs like "Chief" and "Get Greasy" mimic 70's funk and have a kind of cop show feel to the music. "The New Reel" sounds like it came straight from a spy thriller soundtrack. The album doesn't quit from beginning to end, and these guys show how much fun it is to play this music, and it's the next best thing to seeing them do their thing live on stage.


#reviewoftheweek / Jon And Roy - Riverside

Hailing from the great white north (Canada), this duo has just released their sixth album (Jon released 3 solo albums as well), and this one is just as good as all the rest. The secret is not messing with a tried and true formula. Sure, when you are a duo and you stamp your names across the front of all your albums, you've got to be able to back it up with some killer music. That has always been the case for these guys, and their latest is no different. Hitting the acoustic folk (that at times sounds like it should come from the coast of California or shores of some island paradise), songs that stand out from this release are "Come Again" and "Light Me Up." The title track is another beauty, and the duo show they can go the distance on the 7+ minute "Quatro." All in all, its the consistency that counts, and with Jon And Roy, you can never go wrong.


#reviewoftheweek / Trey Anastasio - Paper Wheels

This album has been a long time come, with Trey busy with his day job (Phish) and his side job (playing guitar with the Grateful Dead during their Fair Thee Well concert run). But, despite the album having been percolating for almost a year, it was well worth the wait. It is quite possibly Trey's best solo release, and highlights the best of the sound of the solo career combined with his experience from filling the Jerry Garcia void in the first have of 2015. He hit us with 3 songs early on to hold the fans over ("Bounce," "Speak To Me," and "Never") which are 3 of the best on the album. But the gems are the jammy lead track "Sometime After Sunset," the radio-friendly single "The Song," and the mellow psychedelic groove "Lever Boy." All the tracks are sure to wow during Trey's live set. And the album doesn't sound like a Phish disc, due to the fact that Trey's band has a funky horn section that really rounds out the loose feel-good vibe of the album. Trey just keeps getting better with age and experience, and it all has paid off in the form of one of the year's best recordings.


#reviewoftheweek / Silversun Pickups - Better Nature

It seems like every generation has the artists, bands, musicians, etc. that play a specific role and fit into a specific spot in the musical spectrum. Silversun Pickups are one of those bands that occupy the space once held prominently by the Smashing Pumpkins. Fuzzy and ethereal at the same time, Silversun Pickups' music defines alternative rock. The coolest part about their music, and especially this album, is that it doesn't pigeonhole the band in one era of alternative music. There are songs in this collection that could stand up during each of the last 3 decades of rock music, but also sound as fresh and new as they need to be. The lead single "Nightlight" may be the catchiest, but not since their debut album has the band put out compositions like "Latchkey Kid" and "Friendly Fires," both of which are destined to become fan favorites. On their fourth album, it's awesome that Silversun Pickups can still be inventive and relevant in a time when the one-hit-wonder is making a comeback.


BURN THIS / November 2015

  1. Stephen Kellogg "Last Man Standing"
  2. Chadwick Stokes "Indiana Fall"
  3. Jon And Roy "Come Again"
  4. Trevor Hall "You Can't Rush Your Healing"
  5. Koa "So Many Times"
  6. Trey Anastasio "Lever Boy"
  7. ALO "Strange Days"
  8. The Revivalists "Amber"
  9. Gary Clark Jr. "Church"
  10. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats "Howling At Nothing"
  11. Jay Nash "Where To Start"
  12. Matt Corby "Monday"
  13. Jarryd James "Sure Love"
  14. Jose Gonzalez "Let It Carry You"
  15. Matt Costa "Seven Sins"
  16. Joshua Hyslop "Gone"
  17. The Lone Bellow "To The Woods"
  18. Dawes "All Your Favorite Bands"
  19. Matt Nathanson "Bill Murray"
  20. Greg Holden "Boys In The Street"


#reviewoftheweek / Moon Taxi - Daybreaker

This band's latest album has them transitioning from jam rockers to more of an alternative sounding band, while still retaining their core identity. Never ones to conform to any specific sound, their uniqueness comes in their crafting of original tunes that hit on several levels from their signature instrumentation to their singer's instantly identifiable voice to the stunning lyrical composition of their songs. The album is spearheaded by the two lead singles "All Day All Night" and "Year Zero" both of which could find themselves on the top of the charts at alt-rock radio alongside bands like Incubus and Death Cab For Cutie. However, the sound is night quite centered, and that makes them equally able to perform with the likes of bands like Galactic, The Revivalists, and Trey Anastasio. Other songs showcasing their ability to harness live energy in an alt-jam rock studio session are "Savannah," "Domino," and "Make Your Mind Up." You can even hear elements and influences of 80's and 90's rock music throughout the disc, showing off a variety of probable influences. The magic of this band has always been their live sets, and they manage to deliver a great arrangement of new tunes showcasing just how great these guys can perform, even inside the studio.


#reviewoftheweek / Matt Nathanson - Show Me Your Fangs

The latest album from Matt Nathanson is too short! Only ten songs long, at the end it leaves you wanting more. That's because Nathanson has crafted a new collection of excellent pop songs, that from end to end, showcases his incredible songwriting abilities. "Gold In The Summertime" is the most fun song on the album, making you feel the sunshine sonically. On the other end of the spectrum, one of the most cleverly written on the album is "Bill Murray," which explains a dream that Nathanson had in which he and the actor were friends. It's one of the few slow songs on the album, making is stand out, not just for it's incredible lyrics. Other standout tracks are "Adrenaline," "Giants," and "Headphones." For die hard Matt Nathanson fans, this album is a welcome addition to his songbook and for listeners just being introduced to this underrated singer/songwriter, the album offers a good jumping off point to dive into his back catalogue.


#reviewoftheweek / Collective Soul - See What You Started By Continuing

Collective Soul have been on a bit of a break in recent years, with the members of the band doing their own things, both musical and not. Now they've returned with a new album that picks up right where they left off. The music is both familiar and refreshingly new. They know how to make new songs sound new, yet stick to the formulas that made their previous releases so great. You could close your eyes and imagine yourself listening to this music in the mid-90's just as much as in the past decade or now. Songs that stand out on the album and "AYTA," "This," and "Hurricane." Sure, there's no gimmicks and no innovation, but that's what makes it great. It's on of the best straight-forward rock records in the past few years. Collective Soul are one of the most consistent bands to have released music in the last 20 years, and their latest doesn't disappoint.


#reviewoftheweek / Chris Trapper - Symphonies Of Dirt & Dust

Chris Trapper has got to be the most underappreciated songwriter in music today. He is probably one of the best storytelling songwriters of his generation, and with mild success dating all the way back to the late 90's, it's a wonder that Trapper hasn't earned more recognition for his incredible abilities. That being said, he continues to churn out incredible compositions and collections of music that are introspective, accessible, and poignant. His natural ability to paint pictures through song and transport listeners into his world through his lyrics is a gift that many could only dream of possessing. On his latest he does just that through songs like "Everything Was Possible" and "Not The End Of The World." One of the most striking and beautiful songs on the album is the closer, "Boston Strong." It's a lush instrumental that, through sound along, invokes emotion and connection to a city that is at the heart of Trapper's musical life and one that has been tested and shown resolve for hundreds of years. His tongue-in-cheek lyricism is ever present in songs like "F#*t It" and reminds us that Trapper, although serious and creative, loves to have fun with his music. Despite going at it for a few decades and having success at varying levels, Trapper still deserves to be recognized for his songwriting at a higher level (like the Grammys). Let's hope his latest has his peers lining up to write songs with and for them, taking him to newer, more deserving, heights.


#reviewoftheweek / The White Buffalo - Love And The Death Of Damnation

Folk, country, and rock all combine to define the White Buffalo's sound, and for years, he's been delivering his Johnny Cash-esque music to us. His latest showcases more of just that. He's a storyteller, and his gritty vocals connect with the listener, providing a truth that many musicians cannot deliver. His subject matter ca"n live in dark places, and his voice and delivery match each of his lyrics. "Modern Times" is the album's first single, and it is an upbeat rocker that echoes several of his previous releases, bringing the listener into familiar territory. "I Got You" features guest vocals from Audra Mae, and showcases his ability to blur genre lines, attaching himself to a variety of musical styles. At the core, the White Buffalo is a folk singer, and what he can do with his voice, clever and poignant lyrics, and an acoustic guitar is a thing of beauty, and virtually unmatched in music today. He's an old soul and a throwback to when music was pure and raw, and this album showcases that incredibly well.