#reviewoftheweek / My Morning Jacket - The Waterfall

Somehow you never know what to expect from My Morning Jacket, but at the same time you end up getting exactly what is expected. Their latest album is a masterpiece of dreamy, ethereal, and other-worldly indie jam rock. They are walking the tightrope between hippie and hipster so well, that you never know exactly who their target audience is. And that is exactly why MMJ are awesome. The album's centerpiece has to be "Compound Fracture" which is also probably the hardest rocker of the bunch. "Big Decisions" which was the album's first single and "Spring (Among The Living)" are two of the more accessible tracks on the album, which will probably see the most radio play. But the mastery of this album won't truly be understood until these songs are let loose live on stage. You can hear the nuances in each and every track and know just when the band will break out into a jam session or change it up or be sporadic within each song. The best part about it all is that the sound is complete organic, and it doesn't sound overly produced or manipulated. It's going to garner lots of praise and most likely get nominated for a bunch of awards, because it truly is one of the year's best releases.


#reviewoftheweek / Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers - Loved Wild Lost

Finally getting recognized for the incredible music that they put out, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers have really connected with their listeners on their latest release. With this being Nicki's 3rd album you'd expect a departure or even something innovative. You don't get that. What you do get is a collection of songs that showcase the band's ability to both connect with the listener and display a sonic connection to their roots. They come from northern California and on this album, more than ever before, you can feel that through their music. They are a fun jam band type group, but in actually they are more of a folk act. You can tell throughout each song that having fun is just as important as being thoughtful and introspective. Standouts include the radio-ready "Waiting On Love" and sweet "High Neck Lace." Aside from those, the tracks where the band shines the brightest are "Only Always," "Mr. Saturday Night," and "Love Your Loved Ones." You're not going to hear them on top 40 radio or see them on the cover of Rolling Stone, but with the surging popularity of rootsy, organic, and folk music, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers are poised to become a household name on the heels of this record.


BURN THIS / May 2015

  1. Ryan Montbleau Band "Pacing Like Prince"
  2. Bhi Bhiman "Moving To Brussels"
  3. Allen Stone "Upside"
  4. Leon Bridges "Coming Home"
  5. Tom Freund (featuring Ben Harper) "Angel Eyes"
  6. Jose Gonzalez "Open Book"
  7. The Lone Bellow "Watch Over Us"
  8. Good Old War "Tell Me What You Want From Me"
  9. Rhett Miller "Kiss Me On The Fire Escape"
  10. Bob Schneider "Han Solo"
  11. Hollis Brown "3 Shots"
  12. Elenowen "Desert Days"
  13. JD McPherson "Head Over Heels"
  14. Grace Potter "Alive Tonight"
  15. Keller Williams "Mantra"
  16. Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers "Waiting On Love"
  17. Dawes "Things Happen"
  18. Alabama Shakes "Future People"
  19. My Morning Jacket "Spring (Among The Living)"
  20. Sam Roberts Band "Counting The Days"


#reviewoftheweek / Keller Williams - Vape

Keller Williams has released his 20th album and it still sound like he's having just as much fun as the first one. His blend of jamming and pop rock, clever lyrics, and innovative delivery style is both impressive and cutting edge. Still, even though he's been doing it for so long, it sounds new and fresh. Songs like "Mantra" and "Donuts" display some excellent vocal delivery and showcase how much Williams doesn't take himself too seriously. He solicits the help of a few friends for the albums instrumentation, but mostly he takes on the responsibilities himself (as usual). For good measure he throws in a few instrumental tracks, showing off his mastery with an acoustic guitar. These songs are a welcome addition to the catalogue, and this album is a perfect way to mark the next chapter in Keller Williams' career. For starters, we can probably expect another 20 albums.


#reviewoftheweek / Will Hoge - Small Town Dreams

Will Hoge has recently been embraced by the country music scene, but that still doesn't mean that he's country. His music just connects well on so many different levels and with both country and rock music fans. Sure, some of his songs have been sung and popularized by country artists, but he's still a rocker from Tennessee. His latest album takes us into his life even more so than previous releases, with a full collection of story songs that bring vivid imagery, memorable characters, and Hoge's history to life. The first single "Middle Of America" is a song that remind you that most of the USA is rural small town America, and not big city lights and fancy dreams. It's the type of song that most of his fans (and for that matter any American) can connect to. "Guitar Or A Gun" is a poignant and relevant rocker that showcases the tough choices that the youth have to make through a simple story about a pawn shop purchase. "Growing Up Around Here" and "Little Bitty Dreams" are two more tracks, that like many of the songs on the album, are really just about home. Within each song you are instantly transported to the small town Hoge speaks of the in the title and are able to connect with the stories and characters and emotions that each lyric delivers.


#reviewoftheweek / Josh Rouse - The Embers Of Time

As time goes on, musicians change, and this latest album is a testament to the growth and evolution of a musician. Rouse began his career as an a singer/songwriter who embraced the alt-country movement, helping to bring college radio musicians to the mainstream. As his subsequent albums moved along, he got a bit more pop driven and much of his music became a bit more upbeat. Later on his music took on a bit more of a beachy, light-hearted folk feel, and now he's come full circle, taking all of his past and molding it into his excellent new collection of songs. The album's first single "Some Days I'm Golden All Night" embraces his pop side, showing off the breezy folk sounds he's know for and clever lyricism. "New Young" showcases his alt-country roots and harnesses the power of the true folk singer inside him, drawing on influences that must include everyone from Bob Dylan to Willie Nelson. All in all, he's a true storyteller, and much of the album takes you along on a journey with Rouse. It's not an accident that it's 17 years since his first release and he's still churning out relevant, complete, and impressive albums.


#reviewoftheweek / Tom Freund - Two Moons

Tom Freund is one of those musicians that, every time you hear his music, you are amazed that he not more famous or popular. But, the music suits the type of musician he is. Freund is a true west coast folk singer/songwriter and transports you on his journey through every lyric. On the first track, "Angel Eyes," he reteams with friend and collaborator Ben Harper, for one of the album's best songs. The album also features appearances by Serena Ryder on "Lemme Be Who I Wanna Be" and Brett Dennen on "Weekend Guy." The album is like listening to an old soul or a friend you've know for years. His music is personal, yet allows the listener to be inside each story, and essentially a part of Freund's life. "Happy Days Lunch Box" is a clever lyrically, and "Same Old Shit Different Day" is both comedic and poignant. Tom Freund is a diamond in the rough, but that's one of the reasons all his music, especially this album, is so awesome.


#reviewoftheweek / Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad - Steady

GPGDS is back with their newest album, and best to date. This album is full on reggae glory. The band has brought their live performing jam friendly attitude to the studio, and developed a great collection of reggae jams. The album leads off with "Whatever Cost" which hooks you right away for the journey that you are about to take. You feel like you've just stepped off an airplane in Jamaica at times, especially on tracks like "Take Your Place" and the title track. There's no way you'd ever know these guys were from upstate NY. "Mr. Cop" and "Not The Fool" are both fun old school style reggae songs. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad have come into their own on this album, and are poised to become one of the powerhouses on the jam and reggae scene.

BURN THIS / April 2015

  1. Trey Anastasio Band "Never"
  2. Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers "High Neck Lace"
  3. Andrew Combs "Pearl"
  4. Brandi Carlile "Murder In The City"
  5. Joe Pug "If Still It Can't Be Found"
  6. Josh Rouse "New Young"
  7. Taylor Berrett "Those Days"
  8. Mat Kearney "Billion"
  9. SOJA "Shadow"
  10. Xavier Rudd & The United Nations "Come People"
  11. Trevor Hall "Unpack Your Memories"
  12. Chadwick Stokes "I Want You Like A Seatbelt"
  13. My Morning Jacket "Big Decisions"
  14. Alabama Shakes "Gimme All Your Love"
  15. Kopecky "Quarterback"
  16. Milo Greene "Lonely Eyes"
  17. Death Cab For Cutie "No Room In Frame"
  18. Lord Huron "The World Ender"
  19. Jose Gonzalez "Leaf Off/The Cave"
  20. Jarryd James "Do You Remember"


#reviewoftheweek / Gill Landry - Gill Landry

Although this album is not his first as a solo musician, it may be the one that makes him a household name. He is best know as a member of the famed bluegrass band Old Crow Medicine Show, but he showcases his individual talents incredibly on his new self titled album. An equal combination of rock and country, Landry tries to distance himself from OCMS and show that he's not a one trick pony. Combining elements of indie rock throughout, the album even features guest vocals from Laura Marling on the track "Take This Body," one of the album's best. AAA radio is going to eat this album up, and Landry might find himself with a secondary career if OCMS ever hangs it all up. "Just Like You" may be the most radio-friendly track on the album, but songs like "Fennario" and "Funeral In My Heart" are also great, showing off Landry's songwriting. Going solo while still maintaining being a member of a band at the same time is tough, but Landry's solo voice needed to be heard, and this vessel is superb.