Denison Witmer – Denison Witmer

cover“Having a label meant that we could get pretty much any CD that we wanted for free. Denison was the one guy that, when we went to his shows, we would always buy his CD.”
Matt Theissen, lead singer for Relient K and president Mono Vs. Stereo

There’s something special about Denison’s music. Maybe it’s the way he curves and shapes his words with poetic clarity into something anyone can feel. Maybe it’s his clear voice, with just a tinge of urgency, rising above the music. Probably, it’s that, beyond anything else, he strikes the listener as sincere, and sincerely good. That’s a powerful effect when done right, and Denison’s new self-titled album strikes a beautiful chord, clear, gentle, and much deeper than the average singer/songwriter album.

Denison has been added to the esteemed Ashtmatic Kitty label, of which Sufjan Stevens, Mae, and many other songwriters with a cult following have emerged. It’s for good reason, too…after listening to the new album, it’s clear that, although not for everyone, this album has a very powerful voice. It’s hard to listen without being truly moved, and reflective of one’s own choices and decisions.

“Born Without the Words” is a beautiful reflection on both being young, and getting old, and what the two mean the closer and farther you travel. Pushing my way out of the ground, I’m ready for it/I’ve grown too old to die young now, I’m better for it. There’s a definite Sufjan Stevens vibe to this song, but with the quickly accessible, moving lyrics that has highlighted Denison’s career. It’s beautiful, and stands out as one of the best songs of the album. “Constant Muse” is another beauty, and every question that Denison asks himself ends up being asked by the listener about himself.

All of the songs are reflective, and although Denison is honest and clear about weakness and fear, there is a constant and strong undercurrent of love and hope that is beautiful and powerful. Other highlights, “Asa,” a cover dedicated to his new son, and “Right Behind You” is such a sweet love song that it even hurts a little bit. And maybe that’s the point. Good music has a way of slipping between the cracks of our lives, pulling us out of the mediocrity of everyday and allowing us to live in a different, deeper space. And in Denison’s case, it’s a space where we feel hopeful, grateful, and very, very loved.

Get Denison’s album on Itunes today. You won’t regret it.

Rating – 10/10

 

 

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The Brown Edition – Soulpocalypse

SOULThe Brown Edition is an 8-piece Funk/Soul and Jazz Group from Olympia, WA. We are signed to Spectra Jazz Label. We bring that NW Style Funk!!! Soulpocalypse is the latest offering (Spectra Jazz).

The Brown Edition. The group consists of eight members: Lead Vocals & Guitars – Miguel Pineda, Bass & Vocals – Thomas Pell, Guitars – Tarik Bentlemsani, Drums & Vocals – Ivan Gunderson, Congas & Percussion – Miguel Lopez, Sax – Aaron Wolff, Flute – Ninee Wolff.

Straight away it’s clear the album is an imaginative return to the great classic sounding Jazz-Fusion of yesteryear fused with the better music of today. Soulpocalypse presents shades of Thin Lizzy, Santana, and Traffic with a modern sounding aftertaste. Today music has many people feeling of bit of soullessness – how appropriate I get a CD entitled Soulpocalypse. The album begins in storming fashion with the magnificent ‘Sqiggle Buzz” which is a crisp raid on the senses, laden with hooks and amazing chops. The only surprise is that it wasn’t a single, as it is radio friendly of the highest order. ‘Chicken Shack” follows and is a pleasant journey through a Jazz-Fusion Kaleidoscope. The harmonies beautifying what could have been a dance number. ‘My .38” should be a single and is an exceptional pop song showcasing the band as a moving and grooving unit. In the end The Brown Edition are a real breath of Fresh air and a shock to everyday musical system presently in place. In summary ‘Soulpocalypse is a great album and The Brown Edition are a great band (Live or Studio). Out of the whole album, 6 of them are in the category of brilliant, 2 of them are good, and there are only 2 I’d find myself skipping over in future. I hope these guys continue to get the success they so rightfully deserve.

Rating 8.5/10 Stars

Social Links:
FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/TheBrownEdition

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/TheBrownEdition

Clay Burton edited by J.J.McCall
Review comments – johnmccall964@gmail.com

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International Nova – Point of No Return

INMarch 2012 marks the release of International Nova’s new single entitled “Mansions & Audemars” featuring close friend and R&B sensation Tony Sunshine (“shes like the wind”, “100percent “) which has been met by love and admiration by fans and critics around the globe. In August of 2012 International Nova signed a deal with Monarchy records (a division of Spectra Music Group). He will be releasing his much anticipated album “Point Of No Return” in the spring of 2013.“Point Of No Return” has features with such artists as Tony Sunshine, Hussein Fatal of the legendary group The Outlawz (Founded by Tupac Shakur), Platinum artist Sacario and Fred The Godson to name a few. With Monarchy in his corner he is now fully set to crush the industry; International Nova is looking to further stamp his mark on the music scene.

The CD kicks things off with the title track a prelude of sorts that’s set’s the stage rather well for this catalogue of songs with it’s theatrical musical build, apocalyptic groove and striking musical flow. This song leads you head first into impressive ”Into my Own Zone” . This track hits hard with no holes barred rap delivery from Nova that’s in your face and doesn’t back down. Track 3 “Hey Girl” dishes out a melodic yet hypnotic rap groove with well placed harmonies, solid low end vibe against a grand slam chorus. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many rap influences reminiscent of classic Bone Thugs in Harmony, ASAP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Tyler the Creator, Futur and even Crooked I. Along the way I can also hear influences from Flo-rida and Rick Ross. You can’t help but notice a lot of impressive musical soundscapes layered in the music. The mixing is effective and very marketable packed to the hilt with things like impressive sound effects, well placed keyboard and synthesizer accents, percussive elements, and top tiered sampling and beats that make their point. The beats are thick as a brick providing solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. You will find everything from clever rhymes, addictive melodies, lyrics that are thought provoking and rap flows that are masterful. Now turning out attention to International Nova he is a marquee talent and should be treated as such. The thing I like the most about his vocal performances is how well Nova handles himself within each song demonstrating a wide latitude of personality. Equally as impressive is his X-Factor as he dabbles in several menacing alter egos within each piece. From infectious Mansions and Audemars” to hard hitting “Fuck up the Party” to grooving “Hush” to hypnotic “Drink” to melodic Photogenic” to my personal favorite “Finally Made It” to heartfelt “We Can Make It” and The Reason” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 17 “It’s my time” the perfect finale statement for an EP of this caliber.

All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.

Song for song, pound for pound Point of No Return from International Nova is a rock solid CD. Like a heavy weight fighter this CD goes the full 12 rounds and never lets its guard down. It has everything from raw intensify, clever lyrics, to songs that are well crafted that hold your attention span perfectly. As a whole this CD possesses a lot of variety and musical versatility. It delivers the typical in your face urban swagger you would expect from a top flight rap release but what’s more impressive is the strong production value, infectious rap grooves and arsenal of personality International Nova brings to the table. Need I say more?

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Sara Petrella – “Summer” EP

SP2Sarah’s opening song “Summer” gets right down to business, it’s a breezy and upbeat pop rock number that truly embodies the warm sunshine haze of a Summer Vacation driving down the coast. Produced by legendary “Bitch” [Meredith Brooks] producer Geza X Gedeon, this could be a hit, just in time for the season.

The second track is “Time Stands Still” and begins with a brief mandolin intro, adding a tasteful touch of accordian with a 3/4 beat and this song is where Sarah really seems to hit her stride. Part Ballad, part European, part Country… seemlessly blending with her soaring vocals. This song captures Ms. Petrella’s singing prowess [hello, American Idol?] and shows real potential as an American singer/songwriter.

The third and final song on the e.p. is a cover of Pearl Jam’s “Daughter”, an unusual choice for someone with such a wide ranging vocal talent. The song stays pretty true to the original with a slightly more acoustic and country twang, with violins and a guitar solo to boot. I think this is probably a ‘live’ staple in her repetoire, showing her ability to do justice to other artists as well as write her own material.

All in all, Sarah Petrella’s “Summer” is quite pleasant and diverse, without alienating the listener, all the while keeping her vocals up front and center, right where they should be. Definitely an artist to watch, I suspect we’ll be hearing alot more of her in the near future.

Guest writer Markus Druery
Send review comments to marktheshark972@gmail.com

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Bulletproof Snow – Punished for My Innocence

BS7

Band: Bulletproof Snow
EP: Punished for my Innocence
REVERBNATION page: http://www.reverbnation.com/bulletproofsnow

BAD/FAIR/GOOD/EXCELLENT/AMAZING/LEGENDARY

From the Motor City comes Alternative rock band Bulletproof Snow who just released
their latest EP effort entitled “Punished for my Innocence” in 2013. Right from the start it might be easy to just categorize these guys as straight ahead rockers, and write them off as the newest trending thing around the Detroit area. It wouldn’t be wise,
though. Sure, if you listen to some of their more catchier tunes within this 4 song line-
up (Useless Cover Up) (This Emptiness) that’s the impression you would likely get.
However there is a method to their madness. T

here are some really good songs on this EP that really present a very marketable sound overall. There are a few tracks that go against the grain a bit and as a result really open up the album for me as well. This enhances the listening experience rather than limit it for me. Bulletproof Snow is obviously experienced at performing and writing music, but it’s the combination of all of the above that makes them so deadly. There is nothing here that really seems all that original or fresh but perhaps that is why Bulletproof Snow is on our radar screens in the first place. Forgive me if I’m talking in circles – but some bands can deliver music that’s pretty straight forward, conservative and painfully simple yet brilliant in scope. In lieu of the amazing string of songs Bulletproof Snow delivers on Punished for my Innocence it almost feels as if they are really on to something. It’s a one of a kind EP that’s closely tied to classic punk rock, but has a more modern alt- rock sound that’s hits hard.

I hate to pigeonhole but I can hear Death Cab for Cutie, All American Rejects, Postal Service and The President of the United States of America. Bulletproof Snow will please a wide range of musical personalities in the process. Sure it’s possible that future releases will demonstrate more musical molding or identity developing. Many bands start off sounding like another act in a non-descript way only to develop their trademark sound later. But when this EP is finally over one walks away feeling Bulletproof Snow is something special.

Bulletproof Snow is a red hot band lighting things up on the live circuit and are a band
to watch as far as I’m concerned. They are also not to be underestimated. Like so many
bands before them they make it look easy. One must never forget it’s never as easy as it
looks or sounds. Let’s leave all that to the experienced professionals shall we.

Review by Joseph Chowder edited by Janne Zawa

Review comments: jannezawa@gmail.com

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Track Review: Genna & Jesse – Tumbleweed and Tonic

GennaPop/folk duo Genna & Jesse come out with joy, soul, and a little bit of edge in their new track “Tumbleweed and Tonic.” It’s a fun, light, friendly song that showcases Genna’s beautiful, haunting, crystal-clear vocals, and great production coming from Jesse.

The lyrics start out light but deepen as the song progresses, telling a story of the ebb and flow of a relationship. The smoke curls out of the fire, and that’s how I feel/Something rising and black and heavy and real. It’s a complicated song about complicated relationships. Which is usually how it goes in real life. Background vocals and various production choices swirl in and out of the audio landscape, adding color and character to the many pauses in between lyric lines. Its reggae beat is catchy and has the perfect little bit of funk.

Listen to the track over at http://www.gennaandjesse.com , and follow their pursuits – they travel the nation and might be heading your way soon!

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Kayla Stockert – Castles in the Sand

KS7Review by Mary Angela Tobin

One might expect a fifteen year old girl to sing with a voice that is rather child-like. There’s a real maturity and experience to both Stockert’s vocals and her songwriting. Yes, this music and these songs are pop. But, they are rooted in the deeper tradition of pop music that has been around in similar form for decades. While everything here is good, and it all covers a pretty wide range, a few tracks stand out from the rest.

“Don’t Go Messing with My Heart” is one of those. While the opening has some processing on the vocals, somehow this has a more organic texture as it continues. This is definitely a modern example of the type of music that has been a staple of pop culture for a long time. It is very catchy and quite compelling. It’s a great tune.

Another of the highlights is “What They Say.” It’s got plenty of cool guitar riffing, but it’s still built on modern pop idioms. Stockert’s voice is the real star of the piece as it clearly shines. Listening to this song with no information on the artist, it would be hard to believe that she was less than twenty years of age. There’s a real strength and confidence to her voice.

“Your Love” really shines because it doesn’t feel like a studio creation at all. It’s got a definite live vibe to it. It’s also a bit of rocker. The song is constructed well so that instruments and voices support each other with the goal of creating an inventive and powerful song.

There are other musical ideas presented here ranging from ballad-like to Doo-Wop and reggae. It’s all well-suited for pop audiences and it’s all strong. Expect great things from this young lady because she’s just getting started. There is obviously an audience out there just waiting for the kind of music she does.

8 of 10

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Dog Society – Emerge

DS

Band: Dog Society

Album:  Emerge

Official URL: http://dogsociety.bandcamp.com/album/emerge

I think if you have already read some of my reviews, you will have noticed I am a man of sound. What catches my attention is not so much the lyrics as the background that fills the track. Speaking of which, here’s a group that knows perfectly how to deliver their feelings and message in a way that makes everyone pay attention.

Emerge by New Yorkers Dog Society kicks off with “Being Here,”  a song that can rival Oasis, Smashing Pumpkins, or The Pixies. It starts with this riff that both starts and finishes the record. These sort of retro vocals, like Beatles mixed with 90s and cool drums and great bass lines are the ingredients to the coolest music meal of our lives. The second track, “A Good Friend,” on the other hand, goes for something more alternative, more like Everclear, shall we say. Once again, the drums know what to do, alongside simple guitar hooks and riffs and bass lines that have a kind of bossanova, jazzy vibe. A little of this can be felt too on the third track, “The Fuse Before,” especially on the melodic and altern side.“Shade Grown” and the eleventh track “Spaceboots” have some of the essence we’ve been hearing throughout the record, curious elements and sound. Simple chords, distorted vocals, drums and bass lines are more and more the stars of this interesting and catchy track. However,it isn’t until the seventh track, “Suffer Smile,” thatwe encounter that energy, that light heaviness, those cool lyrics and riffs that will be hard to forget due to their simplicity but yetwith the power to not let you out. This time as well, we can appreciate what looks to be a country/folk type of vibe, especially on the eighth track “Spoken Word.”

“Salt” goes for something more Oasis and pop combined with a little of some cool country type of riffs. It’s not the way they started, but the end gives some justice to the record.

In conclusion, this is an album that takes us back to the 90s in more than one way. Everything in this album, from production to the band sound, makes you almost think that you aren’t listening to a record from our days, but rather from the last period of the past century.

Rating: 4/5

Review by RJ Frometa edited by Marion Lougheed and Cyrus Rhodes

Review comments: rhodesm@wavecable.com

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Skalle – Contrasistema

SKALLEBand: Skalle
CD: Contrasistema

Overall Rating: 8/10

 

 

 

 

This is the latest release from a electronica/techno/rock band Skalle that hails Monterey Mexico.
Band members include: David Adrian (Producer, Drummer, Sampler) and Carlos-X (Vocals/MC).
What does an artist like The Black Dog, Attrition or Aphex Twin have that Skalle don’t? Not much
if you ask me save the multi million dollar promotional machines and major record label support.
In this overly saturated genera/market a plethora of artists coming out of the woodwork, armed
with nothing more than a PC, Microphone, a guitar and nothing really special to offer the world.
They manage push their music out to the masses and much of it do I dare say is substandard
and very forgetful to say the least. Skalle breaks the mold with music in the vein of Rocking
Atmospheric Ambience with a upbeat-care-free vibe. Musical overtones that will remind you of
acts like Proem, Mum, and Boards of Canada. But on the other end of the sonic spectrum I can
even hear influences like Pink Floyd, Likae, and Alpha Wave Movement. Musical styles presented:
upbeat, Ambient, Atmospheric, Rock elements with brief tidbits of Electrinoca and Techno and
stimulating high-energy mod Music. All in all a well rounded CD that has much to offer the
listener.

Top tracks: “Sleepwalker and title track

I can’t help but wonder what more instrumentation or solos in general would sound like in
meshed into the overall sound. Electronic drums, percussion, solo guitar, additional vocal effects,
electronic sound effects, sampling, moog, horn, saxophone, flute would take the edge of this well.

Skalle stands out from other Indie-Composers within this saturated market. Their answer to
mundane sonic ambience is to deliver something unique with a unique signature sound to call his
own. The strong suit of Contrasistema is the deep seeded creativity, solid writing and production
instincts, and extremely thought provoking melodies. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye
on Skalle over the years to come.

More Skalle links:

Official URL: http://davidadrianmusic.com/

Skalle’s You Tube channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/SkalleMusic

By Rory Richardson edited by Markus Druery

Review comments: marktheshark972@gmail.com

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Barton – Falling Out

barton2Written by Joshua Beach, edited by Mindy McCall

URL – https://www.facebook.com/kenneth.barton.52

 

Over the years we’ve seen rock, pop, and even hard rock slowly erode into over-commercialized, corporate puppet shows providing music that is extremely sing songy, predictable, popish and highly corporate. I hereby call this new breed of music “Poser Rock” and I want to personally thank all the corporate giants for successfully transforming “Sex Drugs & Rock n’ Roll” into “Yoga, Vitamins and Nikelback” Of course millions of musical lemmings don’t know the difference and trust me when I say  not everyone is entertained. Talking to many music fans out there the response is overwhelming. Give me something new, something fresh, something real. So across my desk slides the new 15 songs CD by Portland based Alternative Rock Singer/Songwriter Barton (a/k/a Kenneth Barton) entitled “falling Out”. What I heard literally put a smile on my face. Finally – a  rock solid record that delivers solid songwriting with a nice rocked out foundation.. Barton reminded me of a modern day Sonic Youth with a classic Ventures guitar groove. You will also hear a side of Alternative Rock, and Punk along the way. If you like the above bands you should definitely check out this CD. My favorite track is probably “Sweet Sincerely” and “The Crowd”. This latest CD is invigorating. Invigorating in the sense that it will lift your spirits, and give you a sense of hope that rock is not officially pronounced dead yet. The overall sound quality is somewhat lacking but I like the live jagged edge feel it gives off – almost as if your watching a band play live.

I like everything about Barton!. This CD is in fact a solid release with many solid grooves with a guitar driven sound and entertaining vibe.

Joshua Beach edited by Mindy McCall

Official Rating: 7.5/10

Buy CD – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/barton22

Review comments: indiemindymccall@gmail.com

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