- Counting Crows - August & Everything After: Live From Town Hall
- Mike Doughty - Yes And Also Yes
- Lenny Kravitz - Black & White America
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
- Luke Temple - Don't Act Like You Don't Care
New music out today worth checking out:
For such a young musician, Trevor Hall has quite the catalogue under his belt. On his latest, he brings together his spiritual outlook and world views under one umbrella for a collection of music that shows off his growth over his career. Trevor makes fun music and is able to connect with listeners on so many different levels. His music is full of spirituality without the burden of being religious. This time around he presents a full disc of new music featuring his signature reggae influenced folk rock while adding in a few left turns for good measure. The reggae is prominent and on songs like "Good Rain" and "The Return" it is what you'd expect. He dabbles in a few deeper cuts of reggae on the rootsy "Different Hunger" and the dancehall-inspired "Fire" which features guest vocalist Cherine Anderson. The first single "Brand New Day" is radio gold and features positive lyrics mixed into the familiar delivery of a folk-pop song. Hall gets deep on "Te Amo" and "The Mountain" as well as including interesting interludes that transport the listener into his musical and spiritual journey. Trevor Hall is one of the most unique musicians out there today, and this new album showcases his uniqueness in a very familiar and accessible way.
For Zee Avi's second album she stays in the same vein as her first, with a slight twist. The maturity of this album is much more elevated than on her debut, which in itself, was excellent. Her lyrics and her music show how much she has grown as a musician, and the prime example of that is the song "Milestone Moon." Her pop rock elements show up at the forefront of the first single "The Book Of Morris Johnson" and the lead track "Swell Window." She is a master of the ukulele and the acoustic guitar, and the simplicity of her music adds to the complexity of her message. Sometimes, doing not much actually does more than you might think. Heavy production, drum machines, and full orchestras are not what you need to make beautiful music. All you need is thought, care, intensity, and heart, and for Zee Avi all of those come together better than ever on her newest release.
Between collaborating with Ben Harper in the early 90's on a folk album and coming full circle with his last release seeing Harper as a collaborator again, that time as a producer, Tom Freund has released a ton of music. His latest release is somewhat of a retrospective look at his career as a musician through a collection of new tunes. You can find every bit of Freund on this album from his early days as an unknown folkie to his more recent life as a new father. Fruend's music tells stories, and that has never been more evident than in this collection of music. He speaks like the local know-it-all, telling about the people he's met, the places he's been, and his local surroundings along with connecting to the listener on familiar relatable topics. "Wounded Surfer Boy" is west coast beach music at it's best, however, it's without the palm trees and sunshine and bonfires that define that style. It's straight up 70's era California folk music. He rocks on tracks like "Cruel Cruel World" and brings vivid imagery into his lyrics on "Daddy's Song" and "Lakeshore Drive (LSD)." Meiko also lends some beautiful backing vocals on the mellow tune "Sweetly Calling My Name." His signature jazz influence is evident throughout while still keeping this very much a folk recording. Tom Fruend is a magical soul, and you truly get let inside his mind and soul throughout this entire new release.
Gary Clark Jr. is an impressive guitarist and on his debut release he showcases this incredible talent. Featuring two studio and two acoustic live tracks, the EP is a taste of what's to come from Clark in the future. His bluesy electric guitar and deep vocals are reminiscent of blues and rock greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, and even John Lee Hooker. His talents as a acoustic guitar player echo the same talent but also showcase a modern approach on musicianship, similar to acoustic offerings from artists like John Mayer and Dave Matthews. Blues and rock have been making a statement in music scene today and with his tunes, Gary Clark Jr. is going to make blues rock important and influential again.
For bands like John Butler Trio, the live show is the essence of their entire existence. The band was born from performing live, and their music grows wings and comes alive at each and every show. The studio albums are just stepping stones between live performances. In their latest live album release John Butler Trio bring us into their performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, a place that saw their largest crowd at a JBT show in the U.S. The setlist that the band put together for this show, and subsequent live album, is like a greatest hits of the John Butler Trio catalogue. Almost every great song that they've recorded together on their last handful of albums gets the live and uninhibited treatment here, including "Zebra," "Funky Tonight," "Better Than," and recent singles "One Way Road" and "Close To You." Fan favorite songs, both new and old, grace he album as well, as John Butler Trio proves they are one of the most exciting, explosive, and talented band touring today. This album, and DVD companion, helps fans get a real sense of the true power of JBT, just in case they can't be there for themselves.
New music out today worth checking out:
- Eli Young Band - Life At Best
- Tom Freund - The Edge Of Venice
- Lex Land - Where My Sweetheart To Go...
- Jason Reeves - The Lovesick
- Fionn Regan - 100 Acres Of Sycamore
- Shwayze & Cisco - Island In The Sun
- Three Legged Fox - Always Anyway
O.A.R. takes making music more seriously than any other band in the business and that is never more evident than on their newest album. The defining piece is that the album sounds like an O.A.R. live show. It hasn't been this evident that O.A.R. was having fun in the studio since the release of "In Between Now And Then." The album is full of hit songs, although they may not be radio ready hits. "Heaven" is a song that could potentially have the band getting award recognition, but it's not a song that is truly the essence of the album. Songs like "Are You Low?," "Taking On The World Today," and "Dangerous Connection" are performed like they have been part of the O.A.R. arsenal since their earliest days. These songs are instant sing-a-longs and feature some instrumental parts that are destined to become insane live solos. The sweet spots on the album are the three interlude tracks thrown in to showcase their spontaneous nature and jam quality, and "We Made It" is one of the funkiest ditties that O.A.R. has ever recorded. The fun never stops and "The Last Time," "Not For Me," and "Gotta Live" prove that point. After two or three plays the songs on this album are as familiar as "Hey Girl" and "That Was a Crazy Game Of Poker." O.A.R. have outdone all expectations for this album and has set the bar pretty high. Once these guys take these songs out on the road, this album is going to reach a whole new level of awesomeness.
Way back in the day, Guster would release their b-sides to their die hard fans (called reps) by way of a series of EPs known as "The Pasty Tapes." Recently, with the onset of the digital music revolution, Guster has found it in their hearts to grace all fans with the music that didn't quite make the cut on their full length albums. Bonus tracks and other EPs brought us the missing links from Guster's studio sessions. This EP is the latest to feature some Guster rarities, and showcases the radio edit of one of their best new songs from last year's "Easy Wonderful." The gems on the EP are the b-sides, the horn filled "Big White Bed" and Joe Pisapia led "Every Moment." They are both classic Guster and a welcome treat for both die hard and fair weather fans. The disc also features two live tracks from a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and an indie-electronic remix of the song "This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart." Guster can never release enough music, and it is wonderful that they are sharing their craft with the world, even if it comes in little doses.
Lots of musicians like to participate in side projects. Many start new bands. Supergroups are a popular thing to try. Others go solo, trying out new music on their own. Release The Sunbird is a bit of all of those. The brainchild of Zach Rogue (lead singer of indie rockers Rouge Wave), this band is every bit of folk and indie that each member brings. The collection is essentially a solo album for Zach Rogue, as it is his music through a different venue. This is music that most likely could not have been executed with as much grace and gentleness by Rogue Wave. "Always Like The Sun" and "No Light" are indie folk gems, and cornerstones of the album. The brightest spot, however, is the album's title track, which updates a 60's California folk sound better than any other indie folk act around these days. Zach's unique voice coupled with female backing vocals is a thing of beauty. While this may be a one off and Zach might not venture down this path with this music again, it's a welcome detour from his day job that his fans benefit from.
Matt Nathanson is one of those veteran musicians that doesn't always get the recognition that he deserves. Grammy awards are not something ever to grace him and his music, and excessive radio airplay is sparse at best. His latest album is about to change all of that. On the heels of his most successful single, Matt Nathanson harnessed the best parts of himself and his music from his entire career and jam packed that energy and creativity into his best and most complete album yet. Matt, as a storyteller, comes across as a true genius. His words aren't incredible poetic, but his messages and his imagery is honest and comes from a place that is actual and real, allowing the listeners to feel and live his music. "Faster" is a hit, and with the radio play it has and will continue to receive it is the song that is the foundation of the album. His recent friendship and collaborations with the country band Sugarland has spawned a new song that is worthy of a Grammy nomination and is sure to become the biggest hit on the album, across several radio formats. "Run" is a beautiful duet sung with Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and it is just plain amazing. The title track along with the songs "Kept" and "Drop To Hold You" are both classic Nathanson and updated to showcase his age, growth, and maturity. Matt Nathanson is as underrated as he is magnificent, and finally an album will breath extra life into an already incredible career.
New music out today worth checking out:
- Fountains Of Wayne - Sky Full Of Holes
- Guster - On The Ocean EP
- Mat Kearney - Young Love
- O.A.R. - King
- Ximena Sariñana - Ximena Sariñana
- Zee Avi "The Book Of Morris Johnson"
- Release The Sunbird "Come Back To Us"
- Tom Freund "Wounded Surfer Boy"
- Brett Dennen "Can't Stop Thinking"
- Matt Nathanson "Modern Love"
- Jesse Harris "The Secret Sun"
- Jessica Lea Mayfield "Blue Skies Again"
- Lissie "Little Lovin'"
- Dawes "Coming Back To A Man"
- The Alternate Routes "Kiss Me"
- Sam Roberts Band "Let It In"
- Dispatch "Con Man"
- Bag Of Toys "That's The Girl"
- Two Spot Gobi "Light On"
- Ed Sheeran "You Need Me, I Don't Need You"
- Lex Land "Havana"
- Cara Salimando "Dust"
- Parachute "You & Me"
- Andy Grammer "Keep Your Head Up"
- Gym Class Heroes (featuring Adam Levine) "Stereo Hearts"