CD REVIEW: Haroula Rose "These Open Roads"

These Open Roads
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.

CD REVIEW: Benjy Davis Project "Sincerely"

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.

CD REVIEW: Steve Cowgill "Everyone We Know"

Everyone We Know [Explicit]
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.

CD REVIEW: Urbanites "The Years"

The Years
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.