CD REVIEW: "The Present" Soundtrack

Surf film sountracks have become a staple in the Brushfire Records catalogue. Jack Johnson's label started by putting out the soundtracks for his films, and began to compile soundtrack albums for many of the films released by Woodshed Films, also owned by Johnson. This latest for Thomas Campbell's film "The Present" is very different from all the other soundtracks on the label so far. Many of the other compilations were heavily weighted in jazz and acoustic rock. This time around there is a comfortable mix between jazz and indie rock music, with a little prog rock thrown in as well. Galaxia Platform (Thomas Campbell's label) artists The Mattson 2 and Tommy Guerrero grace the soundtrack adding their west coast jazz style to the mix, while indie rockers Vetiver, Japanese Motors, and Cass McCombs are also featured with some of their best recordings. Bonnie "Prince" Billy also lends a previously unreleased track to the album and African music gets into the mix with two songs by the Ndabva Kure Band. The album goes from instrumental track to lyrical track and back again, taking you on a journey of sound that is a mirror image of the film it is derived from. The film is a unique and new look at surfing, yet still shot in the old school style that Thomas Campbell is known for. Much like the film, the album is also unique, well constructed, and intriguing and a welcome addition to the Woodshed/Brushfire mix.


New Release Tuesday

New music out today that is worth checking out:
  • Colbie Caillat - Breakthrough
  • Collective Soul - Collective Soul
  • Matt Hires - Take Us To The Start
  • Jet - Shaka Rock
  • Matisyahu - Light
  • Needtobreathe - The Outsiders

NEW TUNES: John Butler Trio

Check out a live recording of "Used To Get High" by John Butler Trio here. It's off the band's new digital release "Live From Lollapalooza" out on Jarrah Records on 09.15.2009.


CD REVIEW: Matt Hires "Take Us To The Start"

Sometimes a singer/songwriter comes along and takes the music world by storm right out of the gate. Matt Hires is poised to do just that. Like some before him (John Mayer, Jason Mraz), his debut album is so fully awesome that you will be hard pressed to find a track that you don't enjoy. The lead off track and first single is "Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song," which Hires gave us a little taste of in the form of an acoustic demo on his "Live From The Hotel Cafe" EP. This is the song that will make him a household name, and should be all over the radio and at the top of the charts in no time at all. Each song is well written and sung beautifully by Matt, who has a voice that truly unique, not a carbon copy of every other singer on the radio. Songs like "State Lines," "You In The End," and "A Perfect Day" are sure to be future singles on the radio, as this album and Matt Hires becomes one of today's best new talents. Hires has put together one of the best debut albums by any singer/songwriter and will be rewarded by well deserved recognition and success.

CD REVIEW: Matisyahu "Light"

When a Hasidic Jewish reggae singer from Brooklyn came onto the scene a few years ago, everyone was in awe of the gimmick. Except, it was no gimmick. Matisyahu is the real deal and performs reggae music just as good as anyone from Jamaica. He's like the Jewish Bob Marley. On the heels of his successful live album and critically acclaimed major label debut, he's back with a new collection of songs that don't just fit in the reggae mold. Some of his best stuff is featured on this disc, which is like a mosaic of musical styles. Rock is fully represented on "So Hi So Lo" and "Motivate," while a softer folksier side is showcased on "I Will Be Light," a track co-written by Trevor Hall that could be one of Matisyahu's best recordings to date. "Smash Lies" and "Struggla" show off his new school reggae chops, blending elements of hip hop and dancehall into his rootsy style. The highlight of the album is "One Day" which is destined to become Matisyahu's "One Love." Unlike his reggae smash hit "King Without A Crown," this first single is less heavy on the reggae, and incredibly heavy on the message. It connects with any and all listeners, and will surely be the song that drives the widespread success of this album. Matisyahu is one of today's prolific musicians, and this album proves that he's no one hit wonder.


CD REVIEW: Still Time "See America"

Reviews don't usually start out with a critique of the album art, however, this album art is excellent and intriguing and some of the best the has recently come around. That being said, the album should be expected to live up to the same expectations. Well, it does! On this album, Still Time, a young, regionally popular, roots rock band from northern California, delivers some of the best blues and soul infused rock of any independent act today. The album and band's sound can draw comparisons to Blues Traveler (especially the harmonica player) and DMB, and on this album they showcase the same type of energy that helped those bands achieve the success they currently enjoy. On songs like "Come Alive" and "Old Soul" you can feel the vibe and energy that is present in the early independent recordings or O.A.R. and Virginia Coalition, both having received national fame as a result. The lead singer sounds a lot like Will Hoge, and at times even a little like John Popper, while still remaining himself. Other standout tracks include the title track and "The Great Sea." With this album, the national stage is set for this up-and-coming band, and they could be one of the leaders of the next generation of great roots rock and jam bands.

CD REVIEW: Lowell Thompson & Crown Pilot "Lowell Thompson & Crown Pilot"

This bright young talent from Vermont is the real deal. On his second self titled album (this one features the name of his backing band) he delivers an incredible collection of tunes that depict the heart and soul ov American rock music. The disc has a bit of an alt-country feel, reminiscent of Ryan Adams and Wilco. Fellow Vermonter, Page McConnell of Phish lends his keyboard prowess to a few tracks, including the standout "The Love You Had." Another VT musician, the lovely Grace Potter, also lends vocals to a few of Lowell's beautifully crafted songs. Thompson is poised to make quite a name for himself in the music world, with this album acting as his springboard.


CD REVIEW: Trevor Hall "Trevor Hall"

Spirituality is something that may popular musicians try to stay away from in order to not alienate the mass public. Many times, music that has a spiritual tinge will be mashed up in the "Christian Rock" genre and won't get the recognition it deserves as accessible music. Trevor Hall doesn't have a problem putting his spirituality out there in his music and delivering a new, full length album of heartfelt and personal songs. It is self titled for a reason, because Hall wears his heart, his spirituality, and his world view right there on his sleeve and depicts his outlook through each and every song on the album. Veteran producer Marshall Altman worked the knobs on this release which included guest appearance by Matisyahu, who co-wrote a version the lead single "Unity," and Colbie Caillat who appears on a revamped, chilled out version of the Trevor's classic "The Lime Tree." Other highlights include "Who You Gonna Turn To," "Origami Crane," and "Where's The Love." To date, it's Hall's best, but it's surely not his last.

CD REVIEW: Rebelution "Bright Side Of Life"

Rebelution gained so much success on the heels of their previous album that it is hard to wonder if they could follow up with an equally good effort. Well, the wait is over, and surely Rebelution has delivered. This album has more of what the last broguht in terms of the reggae rock sound, however it is more polished and seems to be more musical. Their roots rock vibe is still evident and you can tell by the way they play their instruments that their sound is born of live music and their studio recordings showcase their live feel well. It's fair to say that there are more radio friendly tracks on this album, and could help the band gain more widespread success in the alternative community. They are not quite as alternative as 311, harder edged and less punk than Sublime, and certainly a lot more high energy than Bob Marley. But, the mix of some of the best elements of all three of those artists will help this album gain the steam it needs and recognition it deserves to make Rebelution as popular.

CD REVIEW: Chase McBride "From The Mountains To The Sea"

The world can become suffocated with the sameness of the singer/songwriter, but Chase McBride won't allow himself to fall into that trap. His music is fresh and organic. His voice is not indistinguishable and he doesn't try to emulate any other musicians. Sure you can draw comparisons to many laid back artists that are out there but there's just something about McBride that is one step ahead of the norm. With only 5 tracks on his debut EP, he certainly whets the whistle for more. Fans of Dispatch and State Radio will surely see the comparison to Chad Urmston's vocal prowess and fans of acoustic surf music ala Jack & Donavon will certainly be instant fans. Key tracks include "1937" and "When The Wicked Go To Sleep"

CD REVIEW: Gregory Alan Isakov "This Empty Northern Hemisphere"

This album will put Gregory Alan Isakov on the indie folk map. He has always been kind of under the radar, but with this new album, which features a guest appearance by Brandi Carlile (who appears on a cover of "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong"), he has elevated his game. Musically it is much more full than his previous releases, without alienating the core of his sound which is acoustic folk. The mellowness and slowness of the songs are still there. He has not turned into a pop star by any means, but several of the songs on this album can be considered to be much more accessible to a mass audience than his previous releases. Isakov poured his heart and soul into this work, once again, and has delivered a solid collection from beginning to end. Some tracks to take note of are "Evelyn" and "That Moon Song."

CD REVIEW: Trey Lockerbie "Hummingbird EP"

Perhaps this EP is just a tease for bigger, better things. Trey Lockerbie's debut solo effort is truly a masterpiece and definitely deserves a listen. It's a shame that it's only 3 songs long. Trey has spent many years helping out his friends by playing in their live bands and on their albums and it's about time that he shows what he's really made of. Hopefully with more to come, Lockerbie's debut EP is just a prelude to a wonderful career as a front man. Standout tracks include the title track and "Criminal."

New Release Tuesday

New music out today that is worth checking out:

  • Mutemath - Armistice
  • Sister Hazel - Release
  • Third Eye Blind - Ursa Major


Welcome to the new THISisMODERN.net

It's almost been 9 years since THISisMODERN.net first went live on the web. In that time the site has gone through several changes and upgrades, most of the time for the better. Welcome to the newest and best version yet: THISisMODERN.net is now a fully functional blog. This new format allows for the site to be more easily updated, and will allow for more content to be added much more frequently. Expect the same great features from past versions of the site, as well as new features like links to free downloads and first listens of new music and information on the best newly released albums and EPs. Also be sure to check out the essential artist links on the right side of the blog, as well as additional links to other great blogs and sites listed below. Here's to another 9 years of exciting, groundbreaking, and the best underground new music.

New Release Tuesday

New music out today that is worth checking out:
  • Keller Williams - Odd

NEW TUNES: Greg Laswell

Check out Greg Laswell's recording of Kate Bush's "Your Ghost" here, which is off of his forthcoming EP entitled "Covers" out on Vanguard Records on October 6th.


The history of THISisMODERN.net

The site was formed on September 25, 2000 by Tony Gisondi, a Mass Media Communications student at Plattsburgh State University. Tony thought it would be a great idea to use his college radio show "THIS is MODERN" to promote his favorite unsigned and unknown bands. Many of the bands he first contacted about the show jumped on board enthusiastically and began supporting the show the fullest extent. With the support of the musicians he was promoting, the show was a hit and the website grew around it. Soon the site featured artist profiles, CD reviews, and top 30 charts, and fans were able to help program the show. During the time the show was running, Tony was able to meet several musicians including Guster, John Mayer, and Jason Mraz. By the end of Tony's college career, countless musicians, record labels, publicity firms, music industry reps, and fans had grown to love the site. When Tony graduated from PSU in December 2001, rather than let the site fall by the wayside, he kept it alive, with the effortless and selfless help of the musicians and record labels it supports. The site became a point for fans and the music industry to collide in such a way that has only brought upon a wider interest in unsigned musicians and the unknown side of the music world. In fact, THISisMODERN.net was the first place that many fans were turned onto musicians like Mason Jennings, Matt Nathanson, Howie Day, Gavin DeGraw, and Norah Jones.

The mission of the site is simple: to help music fans of all types find out about the new and exciting music that is out there, that they may not have otherwise heard about. The site promotes both well known and underground, independent, and unsigned artists. By connecting the site's visitors to this wide array of artists, it allows them to make their own choices and assumptions based on the information set forth before them. You will never find a negative review on the site, nor will an artist be listed here if they hadn't sparked the interest of the site's creator.

The site has gone through 4 redesigns over the course of its existence, the most recent being this blog format. Each time the site was revamped, it became more streamlined, filled with new and exciting features, and sparked much more interest in the music world. THISisMODERN.net is ever-changing and always moving forward towards the common goal of getting great music into the ears of eager listeners. Now, as a blog, all of the information is contained in one spot, organized chronologically, based on when the information was added. The main feature is the blog, which contains CD and live show reviews, compilation tracklists, and other information pertaining to the music the site supports.

The site does not gain any profit at all. It is run completely free on the ambition of its creator in his spare time. It continues to let countless fans, musicians, and industry representatives in on the best kept secrets in the music world. Many musicians, record labels, and publicity firms already use THISisMODERN.net as a great, free promotional tool for all of their artists. The feedback is always great, and continues to flood the email inboxes at THISisMODERN.net. Enjoy!