Album Reviews

That Summer (vol.1) Compilation “Packing My Bags” Luna Keller

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Submitted by Trace Whittaker

When I first sat down to write this review for Luna Keller’s new summer single “Packing My Bags,” I couldn’t really make up my mind whether or not Keller reminds me more of Dean Ween or Bob Dylan. Sure, she has all of the giddy eccentricity of Ween, along with his stylishly creative guitar licks, but there’s a distinctive hostility in her voice that is a lot like Dylan’s trademark irreverent rebelliousness. But then I came to the right conclusion; Keller takes a little bit from both and adds a uniquely 21st-century urban spin to this postmodern variety of indie stylized folk rock, and it’s better than anything I could have asked for as a music fan going into this summer.

Allen Stone Releases New Single “Warriors”

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Shervin Lainez

Washington state R&B/soul singer-songwriter Allen Stone has released a new single, "Warriors", today via ATO Records - share the lyric video via YouTube - in advance of a performance of the track this Sunday, July 1 on ABC's broadcast of the Special Olympics opening ceremony in Seattle - Stone will be backed during the performance by a 2000 member choir. The single, produced by Jamie Lidell, will be featured on an as-yet-to-be-announced full-length album, which Stone has been putting the finishing touches on.

Discussing the song, Allen stated, "This song came in a period of struggle. Inspiration hadn't come through to visit for a while. I had felt like I was just pushing a big rock up a hill while wearing flip-flops. I was reminded at that moment that true success comes when you face adversity head on and push through those moments of hardship. Walk tall like Warriors even when terrified."

Rayland Baxter Unveils "79 Shiny Revolvers" From 'Wide Awake'

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Less than two weeks before the release of his album Wide Awake (July 13/ATO), Rayland Baxter has offered a new song from the Butch Walker-produced project. "79 Shiny Revolvers" was the first song Rayland wrote during his three-month-long isolation quest at Franklin, Kentucky's secluded Thunder Sound Studios. He composed fifty songs there, ten of which eventually became Wide Awake.

"79 Shiny Revolvers" is, in Rayland's own estimation, one of the most important songs he's ever written. Its lyrics burst with irony and cutting humor to interrogate our nation's fixation on guns: "You really wanna save the world, man / well, I wanna save it too / we can blow em away / the American way."

Says Rayland, "'79 Shiny Revolvers' is a satirical and sensitive song about the shortcomings of our human race. I watch and I write, not only as an onlooker but as a participant. As the world continues to swing around the sun, I cannot help but notice that we are good people. However, our shortcomings have been highlighted by a long line of imperfect decisions. Leonard Cohen died the day I wrote this song."

Listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6VKdDcDCBY

Scott Smith Band: I Will Love You

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Submitted by G.E Williams

San Francisco based singer/songwriter Scott Smith builds on the success of his EP release Igniting the Flame with a double-sided single featuring songs “I Will Love You” and “Spinning Round”. His country rock sound is shepherded by Igniting the Flame producer Julie Wolf and she invests two essentially romantic tunes with the sort of sonic atmospherics both songs require to realize their potential. Smith has sacrificed nothing from his memorable debut and, if anything, this new release, however brief, reveals another subtle shade in his songwriting color. His vocal chops elevate the package to another level and deliver every ounce of meaning he can to its lyrics without becoming overwrought. There’s a classic tilt to the way he attacks a song, it's phrasing, and relationship to the other instruments recalling icons of the past while still writing and recording songs that never sound like museum pieces.

Scott Smith I Will Love You

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Submitted by Thomas Patton, III

“Let me take you to a place that’s true, let me show you where it is, leave your thoughts behind, whatever’s on your mind, let me take you there” Scott Smith sings to us in “I Will Love You,” alerting us to the impending sonic and lyrical journey that he’s taking us on in this captivating new ballad from the California-based singer/songwriter. With an uplifting, gentle rhythm that recalls some of the shinier gems in 1960’s folk/pop, “I Will Love You” is one of the cheerier songs I’ve reviewed this year, and it’s a stark contrast from much of the dreary and frim content on Top 40 radio right now.

Scott Smith isn’t singing about sex and drugs or fame and excess, he’s singing about being in love, making the life that we want, and living every day like it’s our last. And I have got to say, this is probably the most important message that needs to get out to the American masses this summer. How tumultuous of a year has this been for our country, and moreover, our culture? We’ve seen such an outpouring of hatred, discord and division among what a lot of us once believed to be an unbreakable strong nation. There is so much violence and disruption to our everyday attempts to live in peace, and now more than ever we need something from the stronger members of our artistic community to get us through all of this mayhem and into much better days ahead.

D.L. Byron Satori

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Submitted by Blaine Calhoun

Exploding into the spectrum of modern pop music is the legendary D.L. Byron, a songwriter that many young Millennials might not be very familiar with but should definitely be introduced to. One of the quintessential figures of 1980’s pop/rock, Byron is back and better than ever in his new extended play Satori, which is quickly becoming one of the most talked about indie rock records of 2018. I must say, I don’t know what I was expecting when I first listened to Satori, but it was a far cry from the awesomeness that I ended up being treated to.

Cathy Hutch Free Wheelin’

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Submitted by Randy Jones

Brendan McMahon About Joe

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Submitted by Thomas Patton, III

Lately some of my friends who aren’t in the music industry have been asking me why some music feels so much better suited to alternative formats of radio, i.e. college radio, specialty, satellite, online etc. over what standard commercial FM stations play, and for the most part I’ve been giving them the same answer: corporate nonsense. Well, I use a word other than nonsense but my publisher probably wouldn’t print it. The point is, through college radio and similarly independent means, blue collar, grassroots indie artists are given a platform to express heartfelt music that doesn’t fit into the big label boxes and marketing expectations created by an A&R department. Because it’s all about the music, not the endorsements or sponsored content that gets attached to it in the mainstream.

One of the best examples of a college radio superstar is Australian rocker Brendan McMahon, who is currently on a massive campaign to dominate both sides of the Pacific rim indie scene with his hot new extended play, About Joe, which is available everywhere music is sold this summer. McMahon might be a stranger to casual music fans who rarely venture left of the dial, but in the underground, he’s quickly becoming one of the most revered names and faces in the game, and making a strong case for breaking through to a more widespread audience and tackling all of the stresses and pressures that come with it.

Cat Dail Fight For Love

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Submitted by Kim Muncie

Human beings have a way of overly complicating their interpersonal relationships the same way that a lot of artists and music snobs have a way of over-complicating something as simple and divine as a song. Sometimes when we’re in love, we forget how to just shut up and enjoy each other’s little looks and come hither gestures that brought us together in the first place. And sometimes when a performer goes into the studio, for whatever reason, they forget that they’re doing something that they’re passionate about, that they’d ultimately do for free, instead of a job. Critics like myself are so ridiculously removed from the realities of the art world that our ridiculing seems a little trite when you juxtapose it with the blood and sweat that goes into actually creating something. Cat Dail is committed to breaking through all of the jabbering back and forth between the talking heads that act like a steel jacket over the ever-spirited freewheeling nature of the musicians themselves. Her new record Fight For Love throws a big middle finger to those in the indie media who have suggested that you can’t merge harmonies from R&B, folk and rock to create something fresh without inevitably coming off like a cheap hybrid. This record is for the haters, but more importantly, it’s for an audience that just might be ready to take in her aesthetic in its fully realized form.

Black Label Society Debuts Trampled Down Below

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 Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Justin Reich

Black Label Society, led by American guitar icon, Zakk Wylde, has released another new music video today, this time for the single, Trampled Down Below. The video was directed by Dan Sturgess, and filmed at the world famous Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington, London during the band's tour there earlier this year.

Black Label Society recently soared into the charts with their new LP, Grimmest Hits, via Entertainment One (eOne). The LP landed at #4 on the Billboard Current Charts, the highest charting LP since Order Of The Back released back in 2009. Grimmest Hits reached #1 on the Billboard Hard Music, #1 Independent, and #2 Rock Charts.

Black Label Society will resume their headline tour through North America this summer with Corrosion of Conformity beginning next month through the end of August, with stops in Toronto and Montreal in August. Support on select dates will come from Eyehategod. Tickets are on sale now. See below for a complete routing.

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