When a musician has been making music during a career that spans two decades, it's a challenge to keep the music new, exciting, inventive, and cutting edge. For G. Love, whether with or without his band Special Sauce, he has managed to do it incredibly well, with each subsequent release. He has mastered the art of his own hip hop soul and freestyle blues, dabbling in everything from funk to reggae to folk to blues to jazz to rock. He is truly a jack of all trades when it comes to making music. On his latest, and one of his most complete ideas to date, G. Love goes back to his roots with some dirty, funky acoustic blues. Enlisting the help of new friends, and folk music extraordinaries, the Avett Brothers, G. Love set out to make an album of music that showcased where his love for music comes from, where his musical roots lie, and the fun that can be had with stripped down music and instrumentation. The album's title track is among the album's best, and being that it is a cover of an obscure blues classic, it's only fitting that G. makes it great. He also take the Paul Simon classic "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" and smothers it with some funky blues as well, breathing new life into an already awesome song. His originals, both old and new, are some of his lyrical best at their simplest and most complex. "Just Fine" is a G. Love classic and "Milk & Sugar" is sure to become a funky live staple for G. Love & Special Sauce on the road. He resurrects his own "Ma Mere," a song about his grandmother, giving it the treatment and audience it deserves. G. lets the Avett boys have a little lead vocal time as well on the track "You've Got To Die" which not only shows off how fun this album is, but also how much fun was had while G. Love and the Avett Brothers made the album. To have two powerhouse performers, both in the studio and live on stage, collaborate on an album together is always one for the ages, and while this is very much a G. Love album, the sound, the energy, and the performance is accentuated by the Avett Brothers. Now all that's left is for the two bands to share the stage as a supergroup and together, bring this album (which sure to be one of the year's best) as well as their own previous recordings to the masses.
Trent Dabbs has been making a music for a long time. He's done it with label backing and on his own, and on his latest independent album, he's finally made his most complete and breathtaking album yet. Rather than just a collection of songs, the entire disc sounds like a complete idea. His quiet folk music takes a back seat for a fuller sound on many songs, including the album's two standouts: "Neil Young" and "Follow Suit." Another great song in the album's lead track "Leave To See" which shows off Dabbs' talents as a songwriter. Trent Dabbs is a warrior when it comes to making music, and although he has has had subtle success throughout his career, it may be this album that finally turns a lot of heads and makes everyone take notice.
On her first album she showcased her folk side and her skills with vocal delivery, and her lyricism was well beyond its years. On her newest album she takes all of that to the next level, adding a jazz and blues element to her repertoire that not only elevates her as a musician but shows off her commitment to making great music. Hooking up once again with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach as producer, she channels the same energy that he brings to his own music and to her first album, blowing away each and every track. "Our Hearts Are Wrong" will become her signature songs, one for which she will be known for during her entire career. But it's not the song on the album that shows off the vibe and energy that is contained within. The lead off track "I'll Be The One You Want Someday" sets the tone for the whole album with it's bluesy feel, and whets the appetite for inventive indie folk and blues rock music. The most surprising track on the album is "Grown Man" which finds itself a little bit in left field with a subtle but evident reggae influence. Jessica Lea Mayfield is a true artist and she takes the singer/songwriter label and crushes it with her ability to think and perform outside of that box.
Ever since the popularity of Sublime peaked in the mid-nineties, tons of bands from all over the country tried to master the art of the So-Cal reggae-punk that Sublime performed so well. Iration is one of those bands, and they are at the forefront of the movement. Not a Sublime cookie cutter band, Iration blends their own blend and influences from other bands and genres to pop-punk-reggae music like few others. Their previous album put them on the map with several great songs, but it's this new EP that solidifies their spot and showcases the group as artists. This time around it's not just about a great pop song, a good beat, or a catchy hook. They pour their heart and soul into creating intricate, yet familiar music, with emphasis on lyrics like never before. "Summer Nights" keeps the band on the same path, but it's songs like "No Letter" and "Work It Out" that show off the growth and maturity of a small band doing big things. Iration can easily rise to the same heights as Sublime.
Indie rock music can be boring, stale, and unrefreshing. Fortunately, indie rockers Churchill have not fallen into that trap. They blend the essence of indie rock music with their own take on folk and pop, making for a collection of music that is as interesting as it is entertaining. The highlight of the album is the first single "Miles," a unique take on a new relationship that belongs in heavy rotation on radio all over the country. The dual male/female vocal combination is a rarity, and is one of the features of the band that makes them special, and it shines on the track "Burn It Down." Coming from the budding Colorado music scene, Churchill's music is a thing of beauty and fans, critics, and industry reps should take notice of a talent that needs to not go unrecognized.
The blues are alive and well in the young musicians releasing music these days, but they have never been as beautifully sung as when Bobby Long approaches them. His British roots, coupled with his incredible lyrics and guitar chops make his ATO Records debut album one of the best of the year. He matches the subtlety of the instrumentation with the magic of his heartfelt and emotional lyrics, proving that his experience is well beyond his years. "Who Have You Been Loving" is a masterpiece and songs like "A Passing Tale" and "Penance Fire Blues" show off his rough voice, musical passion, and poignant lyrics. Long is an artist following his own path, not attempting to copy anyone or mimic musical trends, making this album something refreshing and great.
Blues and southern rockers North Mississippi Allstars have returned with their best studio recording since "51 Phantom." "Keys To The Kindgom" is a fun ride through the bands repertoire of blues, southern, and jam rock music, showcasing all of their many musical talents along the way. They are sure to score a radio hit with the first single "This A'Way" which is their most accessible track to date. One of the highlights of the album is a cover of the Bob Dylan classic "Stuck In Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again" which pays tribute to the legend by updating his classic with a NMAS twist. You can close your eyes and imagine that Dylan is joining right in with the band. Other standout tracks are the beautifully lyrical "Ain't No Grave" and the jam rocker "The Meeting," featuring guest vocals by Mavis Staples. NMAS have always been a great band, but for the first time in a long while they have combined their superior live performance with stunning studio production for an incredible album.
Guster's newest member had a life before Guster you know. In fact, he's had quite a career, both as part of his first band Blue Merle and as a solo artist (alternately known as Pictures And Sound). His latest, written, recorded, and released before joining Guster for their latest tour, is an excellent continuation of his poetic catalogue of music. His unique voice combined with his incredible lyricism make for an incredible new album. His tongue-in-cheek lyrics shine the brightest on "Better Off" in which he asks the listener if all the conveniences and comforts in life actually make our lives better and more fulfilled. Tift Merrit and Guster's Ryan Miller make quest appearances on the disc, and with the exposure he will get from the Guster fans, Reynolds' populartiy is surely going to skyrocket as soon as they all get their hands on this disc.
Congratulations to THISisMODERN.net supported artists who won Grammy Awards for 2010. And the winners are:
- Album Of The Year: Arcade Fire "The Suburbs"
- Best Pop Performance By A Duo/Group With Vocals: Train "Hey, Soul Sister (Live)"
- Best Rock Performance By A Duo/Group With Vocals: The Black Keys "Tighten Up"
- Best Alternative Music Album: The Black Keys "Brothers"
- Best Rock Or Rap Gospel Album: Switchfoot "Hello Hurricane"
- Best Contemporary Folk Album: Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs "God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise"
- Best Recording Package: The Black Keys "Brothers"
- Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package: The White Stripes "Under Great White Northern Lights (Limited Edition Boxed Set)"
- Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: John Mayer "Battle Studies"
- Producer Of The Year: Danger Mouse (The Black Keys "Brothers"; Broken Bells "Broken Bells")
Check out a free download of the song "Dancing Shoes" by Green River Ordinance, off of their self released EP "The Morning Passengers," by clicking here. The full EP is available for sale now!
Haroula Rose's new album is going to make her a household name. After releasing a short EP of heartfelt acoustic driven tunes, her latest album is a welcome step in the right direction. Full of lyrically driven songs, Rose showcases both her incredible songwriting and her beautiful voice throughout the entire album. Two songs from her debut EP ("Love Will Follow" and "The Leaving Song") get a reworking , elevating their already great qualities to an even higher level. Lyrically, "Love Will Follow" is one of the best on the entire album, as well as "Simple Time" and "Free To Be Me." The song that is sure to make people take notice and catapult Rose to success is the lead track "Brand New Start" which will surely make waves at AAA radio soon enough. The biggest surprise on the album is her cover of the obscure Mason Jennings song "Duluth," taking an already classic Jennings fan favorite and translating for a whole new fanbase. Despite her incredible lyrics, the performance of "Duluth" is quite possible the best of the entire disc. Haroula Rose is magical and special, and now that she has a few releases under her belt, the world can finally understand just how great her music is.
This New Orleans based band has been making music for quite some time, and their latest release, put out just before announcing a hiatus, is something of a greatest hits collection with a twist. Benjy and his band have taken a handful of their classic tracks from all of their previous release, as well as an excellent new song, and performed them in a stripped down way to showcase their true musical essence. The lyrics and the simplicity of Benjy Davis Project's music is the star of this entire album and songs like "Sweet Southern Moon" and "Send Your Love Down" are prime examples. The band have included a new take on their hit song "Stay With Me" as well as showcasing the new song "Crashes" in an incredibly pure form. Benjy Davis Project have left us with quite an appetite for new music upon announcing their hiatus. Hopefully during their time away, the creative juices will produce more music as awesome as the tunes in this collection.
Independent bands that spawn side projects are a rarity, but it does happen. Sometimes the members of a band need to branch out on their own during breaks in the action to let their own personal creative juices flow. Steve Cowgill of Bag Of Toys has done just that on his debut solo release. Not an incredible departure from the stuff he puts out with Bag Of Toys, his solo collection is a happy and fun, sunsoaked collection of tunes that fans new and old will enjoy. Cowgill is an incredible songwriter as is evident on songs like "Cool Breeze" and the title track. The inclusion of horns on a handful of tracks brings out the party vibe that Bag Of Toys is known for, and the quieter acoustic guitar driven songs bring Cowgill's artistry to the forefront. Bag Of Toys certainly is an excellent band, but Steve Cowgill and his debut album have shown that a band's success is definitely attributed the creativity and talents of its members.
Urbanites are a Midwestern band that are poised to be a huge success in the year to come. Their debut EP is an outstanding collection of alternative pop rock that is both familiar and inventive. Their indie release features music that easily draws comparisons to and is as good as stuff we've heard from the likes of The Fray, OneRepublic, and Snow Patrol. The song "Information" is certainly a song that could reach the tops of pop and alternative rock charts, giving seasoned veterans of the genre a run for their money. Coupled with a "making of" DVD, the indie EP is an outstanding first effort from a band that knows exactly how to make exciting and accessible music.
- Brett Dennen "Sydney (I'll Come Running)"
- Steve Cowgill "Everyone We Know"
- Donavon Frankenreiter "Keeping Me Away From You"
- Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors "Someday"
- Matt Wertz "Feels So Right"
- The Heyday "Fools Go Fallin'"
- Luke Reynolds "Better Off"
- Trent Dabbs "Follow Suit"
- Mat Kearney "Head Of Your Heart"
- Trent Hancock "Zale"
- Ari Hest "How Would I Know"
- Sara Bareilles "Uncharted"
- Stacy Clark "Not Enough"
- Kina Grannis "Valentine"
- Haroula Rose "Love Will Follow"
- George Stanford (featuring Lissie) "Don't Be The One"
- The White Buffalo "Love Song #2"
- Julia Stone "This Love"
- Jessica Lea Mayfield "Our Hearts Are Wrong"
- Bobby Long "Who Have You Been Loving"
New music out today worth checking out:
- Tina Dico - Welcome Back Colour
- Bobby Long - A Winter Tale
- Matisyahu - Live At Stubb's, Vol. 2
- North Mississippi Allstars - Keys To The Kingdom