1. Phish - Fuego
  2. G. Love & Special Sauce - Sugar
  3. John Butler Trio - Flesh & Blood
  4. Angus & Julia Stone - Angus & Julia Stone
  5. moe. - No Guts, No Glory
  6. SOJA - Amid The Noise And Haste
  7. Ray LaMontagne - Supernova
  8. Conor Oberst - Upside Down Mountain
  9. Broken Bells - After The Disco
  10. Beck - Morning Phase
  11. Vance Joy - Dream Your Life Away
  12. Maroon 5 - V
  13. Bahamas - Bahamas Is Afie
  14. Ben Howard - I Forgot Where We Were
  15. Counting Crows - Somewhere Under Wonderland
  16. Coldplay - Ghost Stories
  17. The Black Keys - Turn Blue
  18. Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker
  19. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams
  20. O.A.R. - The Rockville LP
  21. Rebelution - Count Me In
  22. Trevor Hall - Chapter Of The Forest
  23. St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Half The City
  24. Jack White - Lazaretto
  25. Hozier - Hozier
  26. Tweedy - Sukierae
  27. The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
  28. Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways
  29. The Belle Brigade - Just Because
  30. Royal Blood - Royal Blood


#reviewofthweek / Tristan Prettyman - Back To Home

After having been independent and then singing to a label, Tristan Prettyman has decided once again to go it alone and do it herself. As the title of the album suggests, she is returning to her roots, and this time she has a whole lot more in her bag of tricks. Her foundations in surfer folk music coupled with her experiences in the pop rock world combine perfectly on this short independent release that features a great collection of lyric driven tunes. "Who We Are" leads the way as the short album's first single, but it's song like "Waves" and "Perfect Storm" that remind us why Prettyman is a unique songstress and not some cookie cutter pop princess. The bottom line is that Tristan Prettyman has proven that you don't need major label backing. Just with some talent, some appeal, and some guts and you can do it however you want as good or even better than the best.


#reviewoftheweek / Lowell Thompson - Stranger's Advice

Lowell Thompson isn't well know all over the place, but certainly he's a name that many Vermonters and New Englanders know. His latest release is a refreshing bit of folk rock and Americana, that lends itself well to the northeast. You can imagine yourself hearing this music or seeing Thompson perform as a busker in the streets of Boston, MA or Burlington, VT or in small clubs all over the northeast in the aforementioned locations as well as others like Northampton, MA, Albany, NY, and Portland, ME. Envision pine trees, snow covered mountain tops, red plaid flannel shirts and the like in the crowd. His blend of rootsy sensibilities and heritage rock is not something that you hear on pop radio, but can draw comparisons to everyone from Mumford & Sons to Phish to John Mayer. If given the right audience and recognition, Lowell Thompson, with this latest album, could be as recognizable as those artists and surely share the stage with them in years to come.


#reviewoftheweek / Ben Ottewell - Rattlebag

As one of the voices of the British rock back Gomez, Ben Ottewell has experienced some incredible, underground success. But, with such a distinguishing voice, its hard for someone like Ottewell to break away and not sound like his band. On his second solo album, Ben has managed to make sure that the music, regardless of its sound, is his own. After having heard his folky solo music, it makes Gomez sound more like a jam band than an alternative rock group. The music on this album is driven by simplicity and hinges on the lyrics. Ben Ottewell has proven, with this new album, that he is one of his generation's best vocalists, and can stand as a band leader or as a solo musician equally and outstandingly.


BURN THIS / December 2014

  1. Paolo Nutini "Let Me Down Easy"
  2. Madi Diaz "The Other Side"
  3. Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness "High Dive"
  4. Tristan Prettyman "Who We Are"
  5. Allen Stone "Million"
  6. The Staves "Blood I Bled"
  7. Ben Ottewell "Red Dress"
  8. Vance Joy "Georgia"
  9. James Bay "Hold Back The River"
  10. Monica Heldal "Boy From The North"
  11. Joshua Hyslop "Living & Dying"
  12. Beta Radio "East Of Tennessee"
  13. Lowell Thompson "Rose Petals"
  14. The Barr Brothers "Even The Darkness Has Arms"
  15. Sarah Jaffe "Leaving The Planet"
  16. Guster "Endlessly"
  17. Ben Howard "Conrad"
  18. Damien Rice "The Greatest Bastard"
  19. Rocco DeLuca "Colors Of The Cold"
  20. Nathaniel Rateliff "Closer"


#reviewoftheweek / Tommy Guerrero - No Mans Land

Tommy Guerrero is a skater! But he's been making funky and jazzy music for years and years on the side, and is one of the most talented musicians around. This album is a slight departure, but not too far, from his previous releases which feature a more light hearted and breezy sound. You could call what he does as west coast jazz, mostly because you can sit back and close your eyes and imagine yourself surfing or skating or just chilling out in California. The album opens is a bit of a spooky way, drawing a strange comparison to ambient indie rock. The album doesn't feature and vocals, but it doesn't need them, as is proven by the album's best track "The Lone Pisolero" and the second to last track "The Viper." Guerrero also outdoes himself, proving his genius and mastery by playing almost every single instrument you hear on the album. People who are multitalented always amaze, but Tommy Guerrero does it in such a cool way, jealousy is never an option.


#reviewoftheweek / Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

It's been a great while since folkie Damien Rice released new music, and what has been cultivating over that time is magnificent. Now, what helped him break out onto the scene is not what this album is about. This album showcases how he has grown and developed his sound over the years, while maintaining his core as a folk singer. Aided by the production of Rick Rubin (Angus & Julia Stone, Avett Brothers, Ed Sheeran), the singer/songwriter has been able to elevate the sound of his music and heighten the message of his lyrics. The title track and the first single "I Don't Want To Change You" are driven by the lyrics, while still being taken to the next level from a musical standpoint. One of the other major highlights of the album is "The Greatest Bastard." Damien Rice is an old soul, and this album refreshed everyone's memory that he is an important piece and part of the foundation of the current folk music world.


#reviewoftheweek / Monica Heldal - Boy From The North

Hailing from Norway, you might expect an artist like Monica Heldal to be in the same vein as some other European folkies like Sondre Lerche and Teitur or even Kings Of Convenience, but you'd be wrong. Heldal harnesses the blues and mixes them firmly with her style of pop and rock. The combination makes for a very unique sound coming from that area of the world. In fact, the most close interpretation of this music came recently from Of Monsters And Men. Heldal embraces her rootsy elements and invokes a style that is equal parts 70's hippie folk and 90's British indie rock mixed with the good old blues. The title track is by far the standout and the song that will get Heldal's music into the ears of the masses, but it's tracks like "Conman Coming" and "Follow You Anywhere" that showcase her true talents as a musician and a songwriter. From start to finish the album is intriguing and interesting. It's a great listen for music fans looking to hear something fresh and new that's not the same old import coming across the pond.


#reviewoftheweek / Meiko - Dear You

Meiko is pure pop. This new album embraces that to its fullest extent, branching out and away from her folky roots. Diving deeper into the pop realm, her newest album embraces heavier production and electronic elements, while still remaining true to her beginnings as a singer/songwriter. Think of the album as a new medium for the same message, an artist graduating from pencils and sketches to paints and canvas and larger, more impactful displays. At the core the album is a group of simply thought out songs, which unfold and develop into grand displays of musicianship. Highlights include the title track, the lead track "Bad Things," and "Be Mine." One of her finest moments on the album is the song that connects her sounds of the past to her sound of the present, "If He Doesn't Love You." This is the song on the album that reminds you of her roots, yet still manages to harness her current musical self. The album hovers somewhere between pop and indie rock, and will have old and new fans equally impressed and satisfied.


BURN THIS / November 2014

  1. Chadwick Stokes "Our Lives Our Time"
  2. Brad Corrigan "Anything New"
  3. Tristan Prettyman "Perfect Storm"
  4. Trevor Hall "Green Mountain State"
  5. Roo Panes "Tiger Striped Sky"
  6. James Bay "Let It Go"
  7. Ben Howard "I Forget Where We Were"
  8. Damien Rice "I Don't Want To Change You"
  9. Angus & Julia Stone "Get Home"
  10. Charlie Mars "Hell Yeah"
  11. Lera Lynn "Standing On The Moon"
  12. Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors "American Beauty"
  13. Gregory Alan Isakov "Amsterdam"
  14. The Head And The Heart "Let's Be Still"
  15. The Lone Bellow "Then The Morning Comes"
  16. The Belle Brigade "Back Where You Began"
  17. The Avett Brothers "Bring Me Your Love"
  18. Trey Anastasio Band "Bounce"
  19. Rebelution "Invasion"
  20. SOJA (featuring Alfred The MC) "Promises & Pills"


#reviewoftheweek / Hozier - Hozier

Hozier is another new singer/songwriter hailing from across the pond, from Ireland. You want to not like his music because, seemingly, before hearing it, you get a sense that this is just another one of the same types of things we've been hearing for years. Sure, he'll draw comparisons to artists like Gotye, Passenger, David Gray, and even Ben Howard, all of whom have recently came out with new music. But, what is striking about Hozier, and his self titled album, is that he's a bit more of a layered artist than a one-note, one-hit kind of musician. His entire album features countless instrumental arrangements, far from the signature acoustic guitar and voice that you might expect. The production is not overly done, which leaves the music more organic in nature. The debut single "Take Me To Church" is a great song and a good introduction to the music, but it's not what the artist or album are about. Take a song like "From Eden" and you've got what you'd expect, but take a song like "Jackie And Wilson" and you forget that this Irishman is even from across the pond, mixing soul and blues into his music like he's straight from the Mississippi delta. It's a hearty album, and clocking in at 13 tracks, it's one of the years longer releases, but it's necessary to get all facets of Hozier into one collection. He's not a one-trick-pony and is sure to be around for a while, showcasing his left of center take on the traditional international import.


#reviewoftheweek / The Barr Brothers - Sleeping Operator

Leaving their jam band roots in the rearview mirror is easier said than done. While artsy and improvisational are virtually non-existent on their latest album, they've embraced the rootsy aspect of their previous musical life and delivered one of the year's subtly great albums. Bluesy roots rock seems to suit the Barr Brothers, who's previous band, the Slip, was rooted in improvisational jazz. "Half Crazy," the lead single from the album, bridges the gap from jam scene to indie rock with ease, showcasing the organic nature of their musical style, while exhibiting a sound that could be straight out of Nashville. "Even The Darkness Has Arms" is a cool introduction to the Barr Brothers' indie sound, but it's the second track on the album, "Love Ain't Enough" which separates their present from their past. It's great that the song is the first on the album to feature vocals (it's track 2) because it sets the stage for an entire album of mystery and excitement, capped off by a feeling of pleasure and joy upon completion. The Barr Brothers' music has transformed by leaps and bounds from their first album, and have proven that songwriting and musical skill go hand in hand when creating an album that combines both artistry and familiarity.


#reviewoftheweek / Lucius - Wildewoman

It's hard to be a band that can do multiple genres, but to be able to make a cohesive album with multiple genres throughout is impressive. Lucius, fronted by a pair of female vocalists, has taken the indie rock genre and turned it on his head, exhibiting their ability to switch from folk to rock to pop from song to song, back to back. "Don't Just Sit There" may be the album's cornerstone, which is eual parts indie and pop, and potentially their most accessible. But, it's songs like "Go Home" and "Turn It Around" which are polar opposites of each other, sitting right next to each other on the tracklist. "Go Home" is Dylanesque, showing off their lyrical subtleties and the band's ability to almost completely strip down and unplug. "Turn It Around" is pure hard hitting indie rock and is the song you'd most likely hear on alternative rock radio. Judging by touring partners Bahamas and Chadwick Stokes, and the fact that he ladies sung backup vocals on Jeff Tweedy's (Wilco) solo album, it's no wonder that Lucius is sitting on the brink of superstardom, without even trying.


#reviewoftheweek / The Beautiful Girls - Dancehall Days

It's quite possible that the Beautiful Girls were never going to make another album. Well, that's no longer true, and this one picks up right where their last one left off. The cool thing about this album is it visits another era in the roots reggae history of the band's influences. If their groundbreaking and critically acclaimed album "Ziggurats" showed off their eighties reggae and heavy Police/Clash influences then this album brings the band's influences firmly into the late 80s and early 90s. There's a lot of synth and piano driven beats mixed with incredible lyricism throughout the entire album. Their love and influence of dancehall reggae is evident, not only by the album name and title track, but by several other songs as well. Aside from the excellence of the title track, the other standout on the album is "Until My Kingdom Comes," which leads off about a minute of piano and keyboard driven instrumental, leading into smooth vocals combined with funky horns. The Beautiful Girls have been breaking the mold since their debut release, and keep reinventing themselves and their sound, keeping fans on the edge of their seats wanting more. This album is both a welcome addition to their catalogue and cool reinvention of their signature sound.


#reviewoftheweek / Medeski Scofield Martin And Wood - Juice

When MMW combine their talents with John Scofield, it's a perfect match. It's amazing that these guys have only collaborated a few times over their careers. The combo is so good, it's almost as if it should become a permanent thing. That being said, this is the best of their collaborations to date, showcasing some funky jazz music that is both creative and mindblowing. Where they shine the best is the cover songs. They do Bob Dylan, Cream, and The Doors, and the songs sound just as good as the originals, but in many ways are not even recognizable as the originals. They have taken music that is heavily driven by the lyrics and translated it into a vocal-free world, allowing their instruments to tell the stories and sing the songs. Cover songs are the best when they aren't copies of the originals and the guys do it terrifically. "Sham Time" is a great funky number (also not an original). Their best original tune is "Juicy Lucy" which blurs genre lines and shows off how great these guys are at jamming out. The track truly shows how well this foursome collaborates. Improvisation is key for this group, and it's hard to showcase that on a studio album, but they are able to get their point across well throughout. This collection of songs is a true gem.

BURN THIS / October 2014

  1. The Beautiful Girls "Dancehall Days"
  2. Angus & Julia Stone "Grizzly Bear"
  3. Bahamas "Waves"
  4. Lucius "Don't Just Sit There"
  5. Jukebox The Ghost "The Great Unknown"
  6. Walk The Moon "Shut Up And Dance"
  7. Guster "Simple Machine"
  8. Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes "Phantoms"
  9. Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness "Cecilia And The Satellite"
  10. Meiko "Be Mine"
  11. Will Dailey "Castle Of Pretending"
  12. The Jason Spooner Band "Fireflies"
  13. Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers "Another Rolling Stone"
  14. St. Paul & The Broken Bones "Half The City"
  15. Ray LaMontagne "She's The One"
  16. Vance Joy "Mess Is Mine"
  17. Judah & The Lion "Scared"
  18. The Barr Brothers "Half Crazy"
  19. Wild Adriatic "Lonely"
  20. Benjamin Booker "Have You Seen My Son?"


#reviewoftheweek / Carbon Leaf - Indian Summer Revisited

Carbon Leaf have been making a name for themselves all over the nation, from their hometown roots to the radio play they've received for a handful of excellent tunes. Now, once again a true independent rock band, they have decided to rerecord, in its entirety, possibly the best album of their 20+ year career. "Indian Summer" was originally released in the summer of 2004 and features the hit single "Life Less Ordinary" which put the band on the mainstream rock map. It was also their first album released by Vanguard Records, who went on to released their next two albums as well. This album also features fan favorites "Let Your Troubles Roll By" and "What About Everything?" and bridged the gap from their roots as a Celtic rock band onto mainstream rock radio. Ten years later finds the band revisiting this classic album, showcasing its bare bones throughout the entire new release, mixing their mainstream sound with their rootsy beginning and indie band vibe. There's nothing new, nothing fresh, and nothing innovative about what they've done here. What this album is about is celebration, reflection, and remembrance. Carbon Leaf are back to their roots, and at a new crossroads as a band. What revisiting this classic album has done is show us that they are exactly who they have always been all along, at every moment throughout their history, and what they will continue to be to countless fans, young and old, new and seasoned.


#reviewoftheweek / The Mattson 2 - Agar

The Mattson 2 are a unique musical act to say the least. First and foremost, they are twin brothers making music together. Secondly, they do so just playing guitar and drums. Last, they entertain us with a style of jazz music that is as every bit classic as it is innovating and modern. Hailing from the west coast, being from the left side of the country really comes through in each song that they perform. This EP is their most recent release and one possibly their edgiest yet. Only 5 songs long, it exhibits their ability to combine their innovative jazz with their indie rock energy. The 9 minute "Peaks Of Yew" showcases their ability to jam out and the best portrayal of their appeal to the masses comes on "Dif Juz." There are no other musical acts out there like these guys. This is a good introduction, but their back catalogue is nothing to be ignored.


#reviewoftheweek / Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker is one of the most exciting and talented new musicians to break onto the scene in recent years. Hailing from New Orleans, Booker blends his soulful roots music with blues and rock, and has drawn comparisons from everyone from B.B. King to The White Stripes. This album is not like what you'd expect from a new artist, and blows the roof off right from the beginning. "Violent Shiver" is the first single that has been making waves all over alternative rock and AAA radio for months. It's blend of simple punk-influenced rock and blues delivery, coupled with killer lyrics and an under three minute runtime, are the perfect recipe for a hit record that is catchy and edgy. Other tracks that define this unique and familiar sound are "Have You Seen My Son?" and "Happy Homes." You can tell throughout the entire album that Booker is both influences by everything from 90's grunge to southern blues and rock. Benjamin Booker, on the merit of this album is sure to be amongst the names mentioned come year end for all kinds of awards, from Best New Artist to Best Rock Song and Album.


#reviewoftheweek / Tauk - Homunculus & Collisions

Tauk's two most recent albums are like part one and part two of the same album. They flow right into each other and can almost be mixed up and played interchangeably, which surely makes for exciting live shows. On the first album "Homunculus" (released in 2013) the bookends of the album are the standout tracks. Both "Dead Signal" and "In The Basement Of The Alamo" showcase the best of their instrumental/lyric-free prog rock that floats right between alternative and jam band music. Both albums are incredibly guitar driven, and in many cases sound like a string of awesome guitar solos. On "Collisions" (released in 2014) the standout tracks are "Mindshift" and "Sweet Revenge" and showcase the band's ability to make vocal free songs sound like radio-ready singles. Much like electronic music, Tauk's instrumentation is driven by rhythm and intricacy, and should wow fans of many different genres. Both albums were recorded in Jack Johnson's Solar Powered Plastic Plant studios, further adding to the organic and creative juices flowing through the album. While mass media and pop and rock radio may never play the songs from these albums, Tauk has solidified themselves as a live music force to be reckoned with.


BURN THIS / September 2014

  1. Angus & Julia Stone "A Heartbreak"
  2. Mike Doughty "Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future"
  3. The Wind And The Wave "Raising Hands Raising Hell Raise 'Em High"
  4. Johnnyswim "Diamonds"
  5. Phillip Phillips (featuring Robert Randolph) "Fly"
  6. Needtobreathe "Brother"
  7. The Wild Feathers "Left My Woman"
  8. Marc Broussard "Man Ain't Supposed To Cry"
  9. Charlie Mars "The Money"
  10. Bahamas "Little Record Girl"
  11. Roadkill Ghost Choir "Slow Knife"
  12. Kina Grannis "Dear River"
  13. Madi Diaz "Stay Together"
  14. Sarah Jaffe "Lover Girl"
  15. The Dirty Heads "Sound Of Change"
  16. SOJA (featuring Anuhea & J Boog) "Easier"
  17. Iration "Burn"
  18. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad "Steady"
  19. Rebelution "More Love"
  20. Nahko & Medicine For The People "Dark As Night"


#reviewoftheweek / SOJA - Amid The Noise And Haste

Reggae has broken into pop and rock music throughout the past few decades, and many artists have made it their trademark sound from as far back as the Police to Sublime in the 90's and 311 over the past two decades. SOJA have been making music for quite some time, and in this very vein, however, this is the album that will surely catapult them to become just as much a household name as the aforementioned bands. Their previous album established them as a force within the genre, but it's this album, with the inclusion of guest artists like Michael Franti and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, that will have SOJA in the mix at pop and alternative rock radio alike. Their blend of reggae and rock, coupled with their powerful and potent lyrics is sure to have music lovers taking notice. The first single "I Believe" (which features Franti and roots/reggae artists Nahko) is a happy song that has a sing-a-long chorus that is very reminiscent of Michael Franti's style of reggae rock. "Your Song" (featuring Marley) blurs more genre lines, emulating Marley's mix of hip hop tinged reggae. Politically charged lyrics and protest-style songs are staples on SOJA releases, and the standout on this one is "Promises And Pills" which at the core is a song about the perils faced by young military veterans being assisted in their reintroduction into society after returning from overseas deployment. SOJA's music is fun and important, and it's that mix that makes them stand out amongst their peers and influences, and why "Amid The Noise And Haste" is possibly the band's best yet.


#reviewoftheweek / Marc Broussard - A Life Worth Living

A very mellow and soulful record, Marc Broussard returns with his signature blues and soul meets pop meets southern rock and country sounds. Now, that's a lot to mix together, but in his gumbo, it all fits and tastes well together. The lead single "Hurricane Heart" actually dips a bit into all of those genres, setting the stage for what's to come on the other eleven tracks. The album takes you up and down through different tempos and moods, but the entire record is as chill and fun and heartfelt as the cover art depicts. It's entirely about life, and living, and a life worth living as the title suggests. Other standout tracks are the very bluesy "Dyin' Man" and the soulful centerpiece of the record "Man Ain't Supposed To Cry." Broussard reminds us on this album why we all gave him a shot as he brought us a very new look at the music that can come from his home state of Louisiana. This entire record is a testament to the state, the soul of the artistry that comes from the bayou, and Broussard's many musical faces.


#reviewoftheweek / Trevor Hall - Chapter Of The Forest

Rooted deep in spirituality, Trevor Hall's newest album picks up right where his last left off. He has the uncanny ability to mix rootsy folk rock with his eastern religious spirituality, delivering catchy and fun, yet poignant tunes. The album's standout track is the mellow "Green Mountain State" which is a virtually stripped down voice and guitar song with heartfelt lyrics. "Wish Man" is the catchiest song on the album, and most likely the one that most listeners will be drawn to this album by. Unlike previous albums, this one is not dipped in pop music, and most likely will stand on it's own as a complete piece, rather than be identified or defined by it's individual songs. Other key tracks include the title track and "Obsidian" which features guest vocals by tourmate Nahko. Hall is a poet that happens to also set his poetry to music. As a listener, it's easy to get lost in the music and words and experience everything on a higher level, and that's a great thing.


#reviewoftheweek / Angus & Julia Stone - Angus & Julia Stone

After having done a few solo albums, the brother/sister duo of Angus & Julia Stone have returned with their biggest album to date. The album was produced by the legendary Rick Rubin who has worked with everyone from Johnny Cash to the Beastie Boys. Marking the first time the duo has written songs together, the two deliver a stunning array of new music that sets itself apart from anything they've done in the past, both together and solo. The album is full of catchy hit-worthy songs that elevate their traditional acoustic folk sound to more of an indie rock feel, while still maintaining their roots. "Grizzly Bear" and "Death Defying Acts" are two standout tracks that could have appeared on any A&JS album in the past. Songs like "A Heartbreak" and "Heart Beats Slow" show off a bit of maturity for the duo, showcasing elevated lyrics and their great ability to play off of each other, sharing lead vocal duties simultaneously, something that was sparse on previous releases. Despite the fact that they hail from Australia, this album has a very distinct Laurel Canyon/Southern California vibe that differs from the beach-ready acoustic stuff they have showcased previously. This is the album that will firmly plan their sound on American soil, and most likely skyrocket their popularity stateside.


BURN THIS / August 2014

  1. Guster "Long Night"
  2. The Shins "So Now What"
  3. Bahamas "Stronger Than That"
  4. Brett Dennen "Out Of My Head"
  5. Matt Hires "Heartache Machine"
  6. Grant Harrison "Just A Little More Often"
  7. Phillip Phillips "Unpack Your Heart"
  8. Matt Nathanson (featuring Lolo) "Headphones"
  9. Robert Francis & The Night Tide "Pain"
  10. Angus & Julia Stone "Heart Beats Slow"
  11. The Wind And The Wave "It's A Longer Road To California Than I Thought"
  12. Jon And Roy "Where'd My Light Go"
  13. Trevor Hall "Wish Man"
  14. Rebelution "Count Me In"
  15. Nahko & Medicine For The People "Warrior People"
  16. SOJA (featuring Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley) "Your Song"
  17. The Dirty Heads "Radio"
  18. Pepper "Push"
  19. Matisyahu "Broken Car"
  20. Three Legged Fox "We Are Electric"


#reviewoftheweek / "Wish I Was Here" soundtrack

Zach Braff hasn't directed a ton of movies, but the ones that he has directed have contained killer soundtracks. Case in point: "Garden State," which helped to launch the career of Cary Brothers and bring The Shins into the spotlight in a huge way. The same is to be said for Braff's latest "Wish I Was Here," which is both a drastically different movie and it's soundtrack is a different sounding compilation. This movie and music is very different from Braff's first, imparting a very introspective and somber quality. The soundtrack features two great new tunes by Bon Iver and The Shins as well as a terrific collaboration between Coldplay and indie songstress Cat Power. In addition to the new tunes, Braff digs deep into the archives for classics from Paul Simon, Gary Jules, and Badly Drawn Boy, and even includes Bon Iver's hit "Holocene" as well. Newcomers, Hozier and The Head And The Heart also contribute to the album, with The Head And The Heart's song closing out the album and summing up the compilation in the best way. The only (albeit minor) miss of the compliation is the lack of the inclusion of "Tangled Up In Blue" by Bob Dylan, which appears in the film, but not on the album. Zach Braff knows how to curate music and this album is proof that not only is he a great actor, writer, and director, but has a great ear for music and how it contributes to a film, driving it forward and developing emotion and connection to the visuals on screen.


#reviewoftheweek / Jon And Roy - By My Side

Hailing from north of the border in Canada, Jon And Roy bring their folk sound south mixing elements of the beach and the campfire through their acoustic stylings and sing-a-long storytelling. Their latest release is an abbreviated collection, however, it's packed full of great tunes. From the first single "Where'd My Light Go" to the title track, each song showcases how simplicity can seem complex through straightforward music and lyrics. This album can be both a great introduction to Jon And Roy's music or a welcome addition to their catalogue for the season fan. Either way, Jon And Roy continue to show their talents are at pace with even the most popular artists.


#reviewoftheweek / John Butler Trio - Flesh & Blood

John Butler Trio has always brought a unique twist to rock and roll and folk music since they formed and began putting out music. Their latest incarnation features a new drummer, but they're doing everything fans have come to expect from their music. This time around, however, they've left the harder stuff behind for a more rootsy and folksy sound. Each song tells a story, many from John personal life, while mixing lyrical excellence with some of the funkiest and, at time, mellowest instrumentation. "How You Sleep At Night" and "Spring To Come" are excellent specimens of the lyrically driven folk songs on this album. The funky stuff comes on the form of "Livin' In The City" and the first single "Only One." JBT bring elements of reggae and some killer electric guitar solos together on the album's longest song "Blame It On Me." The album is titled well as the band and it's namesake's flesh and blood are connected to each and every song on the album, and is a solid, and possibly the most connected, set of songs JBT has released to date.


#reviewoftheweek / Conor Oberst - Upside Down Mountain

The Bright Eyes singer is fully involved in his solo career, and this latest album has him transforming into a full blown modern singer/songwriter with roots in indie, folk, and a bit of jam rock. Conor Oberst is not an emo indie kid any more. This new album is a masterpiece in it's own right, drawing influences from his own career of excellent tunes and bring in a bit of rootsy folk rock similar to the likes of bands such as Dawes, The Head And The Heart, and The Lumineers. The best thing about the album is the connection the listener can make to the lyrics, drawing themselves into Oberst's world with his vivid imagery and witty observations. The standouts on the album are the radio-friendly "Zigzagging Towards The Light" and "Hundreds Of Ways" which showcases an excellent horn section. Conor Oberst is all grown up on this album and is securing his place amongst this generations top singer/songwriters. It is truly one of the year's best collections of music with some of the year's best compositions as well.


#reviewoftheweek / Matisyahu - Akeda

After being dubbed the Hasidic reggae superstar, Matisyahu is turning the tables once again. On his latest, he mixes his reggae with everything from sweeping spiritual melodies to hip hop and jam rock. The debut single, "Watch The Walls Melt Down," is sure to become as popular as his previous hit "King Without A Crown," simply because it is catchy and has pop rock reggae energy. There are surprises around every corner including songs like "Broken Car" and "Hard Way" which are less in your face and more in your soul. "Black Heart" and "Surrender" are sure to be great live staples as they showcase every aspect of Matisyahu's live energy in the studio. "Confidence," which features guest vocals from Collie Buddz, is the album's heaviest reggae tune, and reminds us why Matisyahu is who he is in the music world. Matisyahu has proven once and for all on this album that he is the real deal when it comes to his music, and there is certainly nothing gimmicky about it.


BURN THIS / July 2014

  1. O.A.R. "The Architect"
  2. Phillip Phillips "Alive Again"
  3. The Wind And The Wave "With Your Two Hands"
  4. Johnnyswim "Home"
  5. Jamestown Revival "Golden Age"
  6. Ben & Ellen Harper "A House Is A Home"
  7. Shovels & Rope "The Devil Is All Around"
  8. Nathaniel Rateliff "Nothing To Show For"
  9. Ray LaMontagne "Drive-In Movies"
  10. St. Paul & The Broken Bones "I'm Torn Up"
  11. Paolo Nutini "Iron Sky"
  12. Will Dailey "Sunken Ship"
  13. William Fitzsimmons "From You"
  14. Bahamas "All The Time"
  15. Matisyahu "Surrender"
  16. Phish "555"
  17. moe. "Annihilation Blues"
  18. White Denim "Come Back"
  19. The Revivalists "When I Die"
  20. G. Love & Special Sauce "Weekend Dance #2"


#reviewoftheweek / Phish - Fuego

After 5 years, Phish have returned with a new collection of studio tracks that is their best complete set of studio tracks since they released "Farmhouse." They have managed to harness the best of their stage show and improvisation, while adding in some excellent concise songwriting to bring it all together. They have obvious hits on their hands with songs like "The Line" and "Sing Monica" which are surprisingly radio ready. They showcase the long jam well with the title track and their quirkiness on "Wombat." The albums standout tracks are "555" which features a funky horn section and the quiet swirling "Waiting All Night" which is probably the best from their live debut of these songs on Halloween 2013. Phish have proven that they can do it live and in the studio time and time again, and like fine wine, they continue to get better with age. Though the road and the radio dial have proven to be a young man's realm, it seems Phish can't bear sit idly by, and "Fuego" is a reminder why they have been doing their thing for over 30 years.


#reviewoftheweek / Phillip Phillips - Behind The Light

The latest album from Phillip Phillips picks right up where the last left off. The album is full of jam rock tunes disguised as pop rock ditties. Phillips knows exactly where his roots lie and the blues and jazz elements of his heroes are evident yet again on his second offering. Despite where he got his start, Phillips is shaping up to be a force in the music world bridging gaps between genres that haven't been mixed together since the early nineties. The album's first single "Raging Fire" could have fit well on his debut, but much of the album is a step up from the cookie cutter tunes of the first album. "Fly" is a fantastic track featuring pedal steel from Robert Randolph, and Phillips' co-writers help him craft some fantastic lyrics, including the tune "Alive Again" which was co-written by David Ryan Harris. All in all, a great second album  that should beat the sophomore slump. This collection of songs should allow Phillips to continue to broaden his music spectrum with each subsequent release.


#reviewoftheweek / O.A.R. - The Rockville LP

O.A.R. have been there and back again. That's just what this album is about. Touring for the better part of the past 20 years, after having formed in high school and come into their own in college, O.A.R. have finally brought it all back to where they began. The album sounds like a band who is writing and recording their first batch of songs, only the difference is, they sound like they're doing it with years of experience. Named for where their roots lie, the album features only 10 new songs to add to the band's extensive catalogue, but some of them are classics in the making. The first single "Peace" is in the same vein as previous singles such as "Shattered" and "Heaven" which are full of pop rock simplicity and radio friendly sing-along lyrics. Other tracks like "We'll Pick Up Where We Left Off" and "So Good So Far" are destined to be crowd pleasing fan favorites. "The Architect," which is arguably the best on the disc, features the band's signature funkiness and is sure to turn into a 10+ minute jam session live on stage. Their reggae roots are prevalent on the album's opener, "Two Hands Up" and "Caroline The Wrecking Ball," which was co-written by friend and touring buddy Stephen Kellogg, is a true O.A.R. storyteller. All in all, the album encompasses elements of each album in the band's history, wrapping up a sound that tells a story and a vision of the journey the band has been on so far.


#reviewoftheweek / Rebelution - Count Me In

Despite the fact that they don't have a major label in their back pocket, reggae rockers Rebelution are becoming the quintessential act of the genre. Spearheaded by the rise of Sublime in the mid-nineties, the sub-genre of rock music has a very distinct sound that combines alternative rock, punk, and reggae, but Rebelution have elevated their game by bringing a bit of jam band quality to heir sound and performances. Their latest album has them venturing further in this direction, which they tried a bit of on their previous release. "De-Stress," "Counterfeit Love," and "Lost In Dreams" are the albums standout tracks, all of which the band debuted online before the release of the album. The title track is also one of the albums highlights, as well as their collaborations with Collie Buddz and Don Carlos. There are plenty of bands out there showcasing this style of music (Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, The Dirty Heads, etc.) but Rebelution continue to elevate their game with each new album, trying to stay fresh and do things a bit differently each time. This album, along with their last, showcases how their musicianship is truly the core of their music.


BURN THIS / June 2014

  1. The Dirty Heads "My Sweet Summer"
  2. Rebelution "Lost In Dreams"
  3. Matisyahu (featuring Collie Buddz) "Confidence"
  4. SOJA (featuring Michael Franti & Nahko) "I Believe"
  5. Pepper "Come And Get Me"
  6. Cris Cab "Liar Liar"
  7. Ed Sheeran "Sing"
  8. Sam Roberts Band "Shapeshifters"
  9. Wild Adriatic "Mess Around"
  10. Benjamin Booker "Violent Shiver"
  11. Old 97's "Let's Get Drunk & Get It On"
  12. The Belle Bridgade "When Everything Was What It Was"
  13. Robert Francis & The Night Tide "Love Is A Chemical"
  14. Ray LaMontagne "No Other Way"
  15. Marc Broussard "Hurricane Heart"
  16. O.A.R. "So Good So Far"
  17. John Butler Trio "How You Sleep At Night"
  18. The Revivalists "Chase's House"
  19. moe. "Some Old Story"
  20. Phish "Waiting All Night"


#reviewoftheweek / Current Swell - Ulysses

Current Swell could be labeled as the "little band that could." They keep on plugging along, churning out awesome folk and roots rock albums with little to no popular recognition. Well, with the release of their latest "Ulysses" they are poised to change all that. With the popular music landscape changing and radio formats such as AAA gaining steam, Current Swell's music is at the right crossroads to make a splash. "Rollin'" and "Keys To The Kingdom," both of which the band released prior to the album, are two tracks that would fit well along side the current songs spinning on the airwaves by artists like Brett Dennen, John Butler Trio, and even The Black Keys. They blend elements of rooty folk rock (in the vein of Jack Johnson and G. Love) with blues rock elements (in the vein of Ben Harper and Ray LaMontagne) that should ultimately gain them fans from every corner of the roots music landscape. Other standouts include "Gunshots" and "Man Of Maps." The surprise track of the album is "Sideways" which seems like a throwback from the mid-90's with it's crunchy and heavy guitar riffs. All in all, Current Swell showcase elements of their entire career on the album and prove that they too deserve a shot in the spotlight currently being occupied by the aforementioned Black Keys, and others like the Luminees and Mumford & Sons.


#reviewoftheweek / Wild Adriatic - Big Suspicious

Hailing from the capital district of upstate New York, Wild Adriatic are a ferocious new band playing blues rock with a soulful, yet gritty feel. Their most relent release "Big Suspicious" is, front to back, one of the best collections of songs released independently by any band in recent years. With the onset of the digital age, it's hard for new and independent bands to make a name for themselves, but it's not going to be long before Wild Adriatic is on rock radio everywhere. "Mess Around" and "Lonely" are radio ready hits that fit somewhere between The White Stripes and Ben Harper and should be getting airplay right now. But's it's songs like "Holding You" that show off that these guys can write incredible lyrically driven tunes as well. Their blend of blues rock is not overly saturated with blues or rock in either direction and has just the right amount of soul. The album is the perfect mix and the type of collection you can listen to over and over again without getting tired of it. And judging by what you hear in your speakers, it's a given that their live shows pack just as much energy and excitement.


#reviewoftheweek / Ray LaMontagne - Supernova

Now that Ray LaMontagne has solidified himself as a force in popular music, showcasing his brilliant throwback folk, it became time to branch out and add new layers into his sound. Enter produce Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Auerbach helped LaMontagne really dive deep into the 60's and 70's folk sound that his music is rooted in, delivering an outstanding new collection of songs. This album doesn't have the same full live band feel of the last, however it stands out as possibly his best collection of songs since his debut. The title track is phenomenal and a great pop rock crossover tune, but it's songs like "Ojai," "Airwaves," and "No Other Way" that show off the true character of the album. He certainly has outdone himself with this one, and LaMontagne has proven that old is new again and it sounds just as good as ever.


#reviewoftheweek / The Bamboos - Fever In The Road

Australian funk outfit, The Bamboos, have just released their newest album stateside, and this should have everyone stopping to pay attention (if they haven't been already for some years). Funk is not something that is mainstream, but the party feel of the music on this disc showcases just how much fun it is and how much pop music actually owes to this genre. Sure, a lot of it is just instrumental music, but when you add some lyrics and a soulful songstress it changes the game. The album's lead single is "Avenger" and this showcases just that theory. The fun live energy of the band comes right out of the speakers and transports the listener to a whole new level of musical entertainment. Other standouts include "Your Lovin' Is Easy" and "Rats." This is truly a masterpiece and is going enlighten a whole new group of fans like never before.


BURN THIS / May 2014

  1. Mat McHugh "More Money"
  2. Ozomatli (featuring Dave Stewart) "Brighter"
  3. Rebelution "De-Stress"
  4. Matisyahu "Watch The Walls Melt Down"
  5. The Revivalists "Criminal"
  6. John Butler Trio "Blame It On Me"
  7. Current Swell "Rollin'"
  8. Sam Roberts Band "Human Heat"
  9. Reuben And The Dark "Rolling Stone"
  10. Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes "Sun Goes Out"
  11. Kina Grannis "The Fire"
  12. Dan Wilson "A Song Can Be About Anything"
  13. Matt Hires "Heartache Machine"
  14. Eric Hutchinson "Forever"
  15. Augustana "Love In The Air"
  16. Dave Barnes "Good"
  17. Needtobreathe "Difference Maker"
  18. The Belle Brigade "Metropolis"
  19. Ray LaMontagne "Airwaves"
  20. Ben & Ellen Harper "Learn It Again Tomorrow"


#reviewoftheweek / G. Love & Special Sauce - Sugar

After making music for 20 years, you'd think a band would still struggle to keep it fresh and new. Well, when keeping it fresh and new means bringing back the old and familiar, G. Love & Special Sauce have done it right. Returning to their original lineup, the band has crafted new material that could have been released on any of the band's albums over the past 20 years. "Nothing Else Quite Like Home" is a funky blues rocker which features a little help from Ben Harper. "Come Up Man" is a throwback and a great way to kick off the album and the closer, "Bad Girl Baby Blues," featured G. Love on his guitar all by himself showcasing the core of what makes his music awesome. Other standouts include "Too Much Month" and "Windshield Wipers." With interesting collaborations, jazzy bass guitar, and funk and blues permeating through the entire disc, G. Love and his cohorts have made one of the years best albums so far.


#reviewoftheweek / Jessica Lea Mayfield - Make My Head Sing...

This album is an incredible departure from the country twang and folk of her previous two albums. The last album, having been produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach showcased what JLM was capable of when venturing more into the indie folk and alternative rock side of things, but no one could have predicted that she was capable of this album. The initial sound of the album is that of a mid-nineties college rock band, and draws comparisons to the likes of PJ Harvey and early Liz Phair. That's probably what Mayfield was going for and surely where much of the influence for this album came from. The sound is updated, however, still reminding us of the songwriter that she is, with storytelling and lyrically driven songs. Minimalism and a folk approach has been taken within each composition and the standouts are "Standing In The Sun," "Party Drugs," and "Oblivious." The album's highlight is it's debut single, "I Wanna Love You," which is will transport you back twenty years when alternative and indie rock was just a seedling in the music world. JLM has surely upped her game with this one and proven that you can't pigeonhole creativity.


#reviewoftheweek / The Glitch Mob - Love Death Immortality

Electronic music is at the forefront of popular music these days and the EDM moniker is getting thrown around to describe any music that has electronic qualities these days. However, The Glitch Mob have done it right on their latest album and created a sound that is more rooted in rock and traditional electronic music similar to the 90's sounds that make the style so accessible. "Can't Kill Us" is a badass tune that could fit well on any action movie soundtrack and has already popped up on at least one movie trailer. The album's standout track is "Beauty Of The Unhidden Heart" which is lyrically driven and showcases their more mellow side. "Carry The Sun," "Skytoucher," and "Becoming Harmonious" are all excellent tracks as well showing of different facets of their sound. This music will wow fans of every genre of music from the psychedelic sounds of jam rock to the dancefloor drops of EDM. The Glitch Mob have proven that electronic music is no gimmick and when done right the results are mind blowing.


#reviewoftheweek / Kongos - Lunatic

Alternative rock music can be very monotonous and it's always nice when a band comes along to shake things up. Kongos is just that injection that alt-rock radio needs to freshen its sound and entice listeners to believe in the state of music. The most unorthodox thing about the band is that they have an accordion player! That's right, just as DMB shook things up in the mid-nineties by coming onto the scene with a violin player, Kongos is showcasing that music and sound are more interesting when you are doing things differently. "Come With Me Now" is all over the airwaves, and rightfully so, due to the fact that it is incredibly catchy and well-written and an all around great rock tune. Other highlights on the album include "I'm Only Joking" and "Escape." These guys and this album have already blow up huge in the UK and they have proven that they have what it takes to be huge. Now the US can and should embrace this band, album, and creative sound.


#reviewoftheweek / St. Paul And The Broken Bones - Half The City

Throwback music is the way to go these days, but it's hard not to be gimmicky or clich├ęd. St. Paul And The Broken Bones are the real deal and are going to most likely reap the benefits of their sound and style much like Alabama Shakes did before. "Call Me," the album's first single, is sure to be the breakout hit of the year. It's equal parts old soul and indie rock and is sure to wow the ears of listeners from hipsters to hippies, and translate incredibly well to the live stage, and rightfully so at these guys are sure to blow up this summer once fans get a taste of the live show. The title track is also a standout, but any of the songs are sure to draw you in and hook you. It's refreshing to hear a band that is taking a classic sound and making it new again, and straying away from the normalcy of the current pop and rock scenes. Big things are on the horizon for this band and this album is just the catalyst to start it all.


BURN THIS / April 2014

  1. Ray LaMontagne "Supernova"
  2. The Revivalists "Navigate Below"
  3. Augustana "Ash And Ember"
  4. Phillip Phillips "Raging Fire"
  5. Current Swell "Keys To The Kingdom"
  6. John Butler Trio "Livin' In The City"
  7. Galactic (featuring JJ Grey) "Higher And Higher"
  8. St. Paul And The Broken Bones "Call Me"
  9. Paolo Nutini "Scream (Funk My Life Up)"
  10. Dave Barnes "Twenty Three"
  11. Eric Hutchinson "A Little More"
  12. Elizabeth & The Catapult "Shoelaces"
  13. Jessica Lea Mayfield "I Wanna Love You"
  14. Priscilla Ahn "Diana"
  15. Justin Nozuka "Right By You"
  16. James Vincent McMorrow "Red Dust"
  17. The Belle Brigade "Likely To Use Something"
  18. The Avett Brothers "Morning Song"
  19. Luther Dickinson "Blood 'n Guts"
  20. moe. "Blond Hair And Blue Eyes"


#reviewoftheweek / The Revivalists - City Of Sound

Being an album that was originally released almost 2 years ago, the fact that it is gracing the ears of the masses only now, proves that The Revivalists are way ahead of the curve. This new rock album from the New Orleans natives straddles the line between so many genres it's hard to place the sound in just one. The entire album feels like is rooted in Americana, funk, and blues while having a jam rock quality that whets the appetite for experience the music live. Fortunately this reissue of the album features a second disc of live tracks that does just that (without having to actually get to show). "When I'm Able" leads off the disc and immediately draws you in. It's a fine introduction to the band and the sound, but acts almost as a gateway drug for the sounds that follow. Some are going to draw comparisons to bands like DMB and O.A.R., but the Revivalists will stand on their own, showcasing that their sound may cater to the same fans, but is in no way the same sound. Other tracks like "Navigate Below" and "Upright" are sure to entice music lovers to actually become Revivalists fans. Some might think that a reissue of old music an easy way to break down walls, but it really just shows that music professionals and fans alike really just missed the boat on a great thing years ago. It's a good thing this band and this album isn't going unnoticed and unappreciated and finally getting the recognition and exposure that is deserved.


#reviewoftheweek / Karl Denson's Tiny Universe - New Ammo

KDTU are back and delivering potentially their best release to date. Karl Denson has released music with many backing bands, but it's this incarnation of his Tiny Universe that seems to deliver the best yet. Starting off, they have the uncanny ability to present new takes on great songs, and on this album they take on three great alternative songs. Their renditions of the Beastie Boys' "Sure Shot," the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," and the Cold War Kids' "Hang Me Up To Dry" showcase how much of a party bad they are, while also solidifying themselves as great musicians at the same time. The album rocks from beginning to end just like a live show and has danceable moments throughout. Styles from funk to reggae are represented throughout the collection and are highlighted on tracks like "Three Trials Of Strength" and the title track. The hands down stand out on the album is the jam rock and blues influenced track "My Baby" which features vocals by Denson and Nicki Bluhm. These songs will surely translate well to the live stage, but if you can't make it out to a show, pumping these jams out of your stereo will surely transport you there in spirit.