Album Reviews

Ashley J Satisfied

Ashley J Satisfied EP.png

 Submitted by William Elgin

Orlando born and Los Angeles based singer Ashley J is poised to make a deep impact on the pop world with her EP release Satisfied and even a cursory listen illustrates why. She’s invested tremendous emotional capital in the writing and recording of this stunning five-song collection and it doesn’t strike a false note throughout the length of the recording. Ashley made a brief stop in Nashville before relocating to the Los Angeles area and opting to pursue her musical fortunes there, but her ability to inhabit different forms testifies to the flexibility of her vocal talents. She isn’t just some pop chanteuse with a limited shelf life; instead, Ashley J’s EP Satisfied positions her to enjoy the long career deserving for a singer of her immense skills. Satisfied has immense pop appeal, but her substantive talents exhibited on these tracks are more than enough to carry her forward for years to come.

Noble Son Joy of Violence

Noble Son.jpg

Submitted by Laura Dodero

Canadian singer/songwriter Noble Son (aka Adam Kirschner) unleashes his debut album Joy in Violence, a follow-up to the three prior EPs that he released since 2011. It’s been a long journey for the musicians who found himself face to face with his own personal demons and mental struggles in 2017 which kicked off a dedicated songwriting spree that resulted in 8 pieces all of which would be recorded for Joy in Violence. This record is an alien trip through the bleakest, blackest recesses of the human mind as it battle to fight against its own sinister urges and the music on this LP truly gives off that eerie, ethereal vibration.

Monsieur Job Chow Chow eyyy Pow Pow

Monsieur Job.jpg

Submitted by Bradley Johnson

South American based act Monsieur Job has released a memorable single “Chow Chow eyyy Pow Pow” certain to be an enormous hit with Latino listeners, but the quality is so high that’s safe to say this song has a lot of crossover potential begging to be realized. The power of this release is twofold – it lies in the mix of Caribbean/Latino influences with the urban beats now so common in EDM and hip-hop, but given an additional spike in Monsieur Jobs’ hands. The second factor is in how the band’s four members bring a cross-section of influences. Songwriters Toby Holguin and Stan Kolev, alongside other members Charlie Illera and Leo Jaramillo, are well schooled in both DJ style and live music that enables them to bring organic qualities to bear on the largely electronica nature of the music. This is one of the year’s most compelling singles thus far and will likely finish as such. It’s also coupled with a powerful remixed version that will enjoy many admirers as well.

Soja The Mod Club Toronto


Submitted by Lenny Stoute

What with Toronto's deep and longstanding relationship with reggae music, the genre cognoscenti round here can be hard on contemporary acts doing original material. Luckily they were in short supply among a packed house because D.C. based Soja deal in a reggae muchly influenced by the area’s local hip-hop, with alt-rock in its DNA. So there was room aplenty for superbly dreadlocked frontman Jacob Hemphill to show off his shredding chops on songs like "Be Aware" and "Tear It Down".

Ok, so this isn't old school rebel reggae standing up for its rights but it must be nigh near impossible for a black act in Amerika not to have a political thing or two to say. With a name like  Soldiers Of Jah Army it's a downright obligation and Hemphill and crew got right to it, albeit with sparkling horns and uptempo beats. “I Don’t Wanna Wait,” the breakthrough single, had a rap interlude that took issue with both Republicans and Democrats (sample lyrics: “It’s all about money/money”), the fierce and defiant “You Don’t Know Me” and “Bad News” with the grabby chorus “we are the immigrants/Thank you for the bad news.” all kept the socially conscious beat strong.  Hemphill has cited the band's stance thusly“Our goal as a band is to stick up for the human race.

We see the world and we try to make it better in the limited time we have here." and their socially conscious good times mashup does a decent job of keeping it real.

Dru Cutler Bring Closer the Distance

Druc Cutler.png

Submitted by William Elgin

Tampa, Florida native Dru Cutler, now a Brooklyn transplant and a respected member of the Big Apple indie music community, has released a two-song EP sampler previewing his upcoming full-length studio platter Bring Closer the Distance. The two songs, a cover of Leonard Cohen’s lesser known gem “Dance Me to the End of Love” and the original “Oceanside”, are wildly different in some respects. To his credit, Cutler isn’t content with merely aping Cohen’s original as a form of backhanded tribute or whatever else and instead, recasts the song as a whiskey-soaked dancehall number. The rockier strains of “Oceanside” and the personal nature of its lyrical content provide a striking contrast for listeners without ever seeming like an ill-fit. Cutler’s unabashed confidence in tackling material from one of the 20th century’s most respected songwriters gives me kind of a jolt and his willingness to make the tune his own stands in stark difference with his lesser contemporaries who would have pursued the path of least resistance if they bothered to cover the song at all.

Red Black Red Resettlement

Red Black Red Resettlement.jpg

Submitted by Scott Wigley

There’s a lot of fire and fury released over the course of Red Black Red’s debut, Resettlement, but the album’s eight songs are full of intelligence and thoughtfulness as well. The clear strands of alternative rock and electronica coloring the release is masterfully orchestrated from song to song and Enrico Fernando’s songwriting and performances alike can rarely be accused of repeating itself. He gives the audience a different look, virtually every time out on Resettlement without ever stretching too far and overextending listener’s credibility. The lyrical work going into this album is a, perhaps, surprisingly successful component in Resettlement’s mix and the songwriting is often inspired by the immigrant experience in the United States and the challenges many of those individuals and families face in modern America. The treatment, however, is never too ponderous and the production frames Fernando’s message in the polished, professional light.

Union Duke Announce Spring Tour Dates

Union Duke.jpg

Submitted to Cashbox Canada

In the summer of 2016, Toronto folk quintet, Union Duke, released their infectious third album, Golden Days. They toured relentlessly around the release and are still showing no signs of slowing down – now announcing a run of Canadian tour dates this spring! Kicking off this Friday (March 2) in Kitchener, ON, the band will head across Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, through March and April (details listed below).

"We're really excited to hit up some of our favorite venues, see a bunch of familiar faces, and explore some new towns and theatres across the West," says Jim McDonald.

Golden Days was released on August 5th, 2016, and is the perfect fit for the heatwave of the dance hall or the cool breeze of the park. The album showcases the band’s signature soulful indie rock sound mixed with bluegrass and country, along with their soaring harmonies with three, four, and even five voices. Recorded live off the floor to capture the raw, joyful energy of their concerts, Golden Days was mixed with Grammy award-winning engineer, Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire, Basia Bulat, Timbre Timber) to help bring the tracks to life.

Severine Down the Rivers

Severine Down the Rivers.jpg

Submitted by Raymond Burris

The second single from an untested solo artist is often a proving ground if the performer or band has legs to make it for the long haul. If that assertion harbors any truth, Severine’s future is in excellent hands on the basis of her second single “Down the Rivers”, a stirring successor to her first mass release, “Not Obsessed”. The first single is also the title cut from her soon to be released solo debut. If anyone wonders, however, about how seriously this young songwriter would treat this song in comparison to the first single and title song to her first solo EP, wonder no longer. “Down the Rivers” matches the standard she set with the first single and her chief collaborator, producer Anthony Gallo, understands Severine’s strengths and accentuates them without ever allowing the stitching to show. There’s no wasted motion, as well, with this release and the song breezes confidently past listeners and seems over before you know it even with its nearly three and a half minute running time. “Down the Rivers” gives us a glimpse into her heart and ranks among the year’s best single releases.

Kim DiVine Broken Bird

Kim DiVine.png

Submitted by Larry Toering

Kim DiVine, along with talented producer Klvr Grl, come together on “Broken Bird (Klvr Grl Remix).” This comes after a series of highs and lows that forced her to take a hiatus from music, but not before releasing her latest EP – This Time Around, from which “Broken Bird” is originally featured. Kim DiVine has an extensive background with a lot of her songs being featured in Film and TV. After dealing with personal losses, she’s now back up and running with this incredible Remix.

Without giving away too much about the original album version, it’s best to hear it first in order to appreciate the Klvr Grl Remix, because for the sake of the song it’s great to hear it both ways. The tune itself is beat-driven but also contains a very melancholy vocal, which essentially carries the song all by itself, to begin with. The added bells and whistles of the Remix serve to bring it up a notch in energy, which gives it another reason to enjoy it all-the-more. But you can start with either version to get to the other, as it plays just as well in reverse. Klvr Grl just takes what is already great to another level.

Lowpines In Silver Halides


Submitted by William Elgin

Lowpines, aka English born producer and songwriter Oil Deakin, doesn’t like to show all of their musical cards at once. The nine songs on Lowpines’ first full-length studio album In Silver Halides build their effects over time rather than exhausting their musical mystery within the first minute or two and the performances develop in such a way that listeners are compelled to pay attention. Deakin’s effort on these songs is further complemented by contributions from his drummer brother, respected producer IggyB (Spirtiualized, The Duke Spirit, John Grant), and flute playing from Jesse Chandler, but the beating heart of In Silver Halides is Oil Deakin and his vivid, highly individualistic songwriting point of view. This is unmistakably his own work and whatever influences exerted their hold over his imagination during the conception and recording of the material is so thoroughly subsumed into Deakin’s writing as to be rendered unrecognizable.

Syndicate content