CD REVIEW: Brett Dennen "Loverboy"

Loverboy (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version)
Brett Dennen's fourth album is full of life! Conceptually, it is his most realized and best written complete album to date. The songs on the album are fun, heartfelt, and lyrically robust. He uses his incredible ability to tell stories through song to connect with the listener in ways that only he can manage. "Dancing At A Funeral" is a song that is fun and upbeat about an otherwise depressing subject matter. One of Dennen's best songs ever is "Sydney (I'll Come Running)" which is going to catapult him into a whole new musical bracket. This song is going to do for Brett Dennen what "I'm Yours" did for Jason Mraz. Other highlights are the lead track "Surprise, Surprise," the fun and funky "Make You Fall In Love With Me," and the reggae groove "Can't Stop Thinking." Although Brett Dennen has written and released some incredible songs over the years, he has yet to release an album that is as full and fun as this one. Without changing, he has reinvented himself by giving us a piece of what he loves and bringing us into his world through his music.

CD REVIEW: Matthew Mayfield "Now You're Free"

Now You're Free
Finally, a full length album from Matthew Mayfield graces our ears. Granted Mayfield has bombarded us with killer rock and folk tunes through his EP releases over the past few years, but there's nothing like a fully developed album of great music. Now, the songs contained within the new release are only half new. He has revisited and reinvented some of his past songs, elevating their lyrics and their sound to a whole new level. "Element," a song from his first EP and quite possibly his best lyrics ever, gets the treatment it finally deserves. "Man-Made Machines" and "Fire Escape" shine brighter than ever before, and take great music from Mayfield's catalogue and turn it into what will surely become accessible rock hit songs. The highlight of the album is the title track, which is one of Mayfield's newest. The entire album shows off all of Mayfield's true talents as a performer, songwriter, storyteller and even band leader. Despite the fact that he has relied on his fans and grassroots promotion, Matthew Mayfield's independent album is sure to get a ton of airplay and critical praise.

CD REVIEW: The Low Anthem "Smart Flesh"

Smart Flesh (Deluxe) [+digital booklet]
The Low Anthem is one of the most talented and hardest working in the business. That can onl,y lead to one thing: incredible music. Their newest album is their best yet, showcasing their many facets and developing their unique folk sound so that is is not only more accessible to listeners, but deeper and more profound than on prior releases. "Boeing 737" is the biggest surprise on the album, featuring an almost alternative rock feel, but still showcasing Ben Miller's incredible vocals. Their typical and more traditional folk songs are featured at their greatest on the album's first single "Ghost Woman Blues," which is as haunting as the title suggests, and the acoustic driven tracks "Apothecary Love" and "I'll Take Out Your Ashes." The band has the most fun on the song "Hey, All You Hippies!" is reminiscent of late sixties hippie jam band rock. The Low Anthem may not even be extensively on the radio, have songs in heavy rotation, or sell out huge stadiums, but the lack of these things is what makes the band and their music so special. This is the album that will reach out to fans of recent folk music breakouts such as Mumford & Sons and Ray LaMontagne and help to add the Low Anthem to the short list of current great folk artists.