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.