CD REVIEW: Ari Hest "Sunset Over Hope Street"

Sunset Over Hope Street (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+digital booklet]
It's been quite a long career for Ari Hest who has seen ups and downs on his way to make a name for himself. Ari has always had quite a following and his grassroots efforts in the early stages of his career led to national recognition. Now, he's going indie once again with his latest album, which sees him sitting more behind a piano than slinging his signature acoustic guitar. The lead single, "How Would I Know" is classic Hest, showcasing his storytelling lyrics and his incredible ability to transform the subeject of love and relationships into poetry set to song. The title track is another classic that is sure to drive the albums recongition. Other songs like "One Track Mind" and "Down The Mountain" show off Hest's adventurous side, with songs don't sound like his typical repertoire. Ari Hest's music has always been compared to mega stars like Dave Matthews and John Mayer, but his newest album shows off his artistry, songwriting, and musicianship like never before.

CD REVIEW: Chamberlin "Bitter Blood"

Bitter Blood
Where indie rock and southern rock meet, you will usually find My Morning Jacket. Well, Chamberlin and their debut album have joined MMJ on that streetcorner and are staking their claim at this underapprecaited and unique genre. MMJ has always been known as the Radiohead of southern rock and Chamberlain takes its cures from both bands while also adding their unique blues driven rock element to the mix. The song "Dust" is classic indie rock, with sweeping vocals, big blues guitar, and an ambient quality that makes the song magical. The most intriguing and funkiest of the mix is "Paper Crown" which highlights the excellent production of the album, the best of the band's indie rock, and funky vocals that rival both Prince and Jim James. Chamberlin are one of the most talented new bands to hit the scene, and have the chops to create huge success by reaching out to fans of a variety of styles of music.

CD REVIEW: Bright Eyes "The People's Key"

The People's Key
Conor Oberst's original ego has returned after a hiatus, bringing back the classic indie rock that Bright Eyes in known for, with a bit of a twist. Having departed towards an Americana sound (and two of the best albums of the last few years), Oberst left behind the Bright Eyes sound, shelving it for future use. Amping up the traditional acoustic driven sound, Bright Eyes' newest album reminds us that indie rock is alive and well. Partnering again with Mike Mogis, the new album features, for the first time in a while, radio ready hit songs. "Shell Games:" has the makings of a chart topper, and "Haile Selassie" is poised to be a sleeper success on the charts. The core of Bright Eyes music is evident throughout, with the maturity of Oberst gained through extensive travel, solo albums, and just plain growing up shining at every turn of the album. This may be Bright Eyes' most accessible album to date, while still remaining osbcure enough to stay true to the musical roots that have been previously planted. The musical climate has changed in the past few years, and "The People's Key" has come at a time when the band and the music that it creates will be truly appreciated.