Jim Clements “A Failure” (Independent, 2018)

A record titled ‘A Failure’ is hardly likely to be brimful with positivity, however, Canadian singer-songwriter Jim Clements clearly prefers to deal with the darker side of life.  His fourth record is a completely introspective affair, and Clements has had total control over the creative process with this being his first self-produced release. The writing style is almost entirely delivered from a first-person perspective, and Clements adopts various personas over the eight tracks. Continue reading “Jim Clements “A Failure” (Independent, 2018)”

O&O “Truth Comes Out” (Independent, 2018)

‘Truth Comes Out’ is the debut EP from London-based duo O&O. Comprising of Orian Peled and Obadiah Jones. The pair, who originally hail from Israel and Colorado respectively, have an interesting backstory from meeting at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and getting a one-on-one songwriting session with Sir Paul McCartney, through performing on Caribbean cruise ships while they sorted out visa issues, to performing at the O2 Arena in their current home city, Peled and Jones have experienced more in their thus far short existence than most acts experience in their lives. Continue reading “O&O “Truth Comes Out” (Independent, 2018)”

Matt Krahula & The Nightmare River Band “Stormville” (Independent, 2018)

‘Stormville’ is the third release from New York City’s Matt Krahula & The Nightmare River Band. The three-piece already have a diverse back catalogue, having covered punk on their debut ‘Call The Cops!’, before going a tad more melodic on sophomore record ‘Last Goodbye’. Their latest record follows on in the vein of the latter and settles on an alt-folk style with dashings of Americana. Opener ‘Tonight’ stomps into action, delivering a choral singalong chorus. ‘Arkansas To NYC’ is the first real genuine highlight, gradually building before a grandiose chorus featuring a brass section. The horns remain on ‘Hey Now’ which follows, however, do not give the same effect. Let down by a simplistic melody, it is a poor man’s Lumineers. Continue reading “Matt Krahula & The Nightmare River Band “Stormville” (Independent, 2018)”

Kris Gruen “Coast & Refuge” (Mother West, 2018)

‘Coast & Refuge’ is the fourth studio album from Vermont native Kris Gruen, following 2013’s critically-acclaimed ‘New Comics From The Wooded World’. It’s been an eventful few years for the singer-songwriter, sharing stages with the likes of Jesse Malin and Alejandro Escovedo, as well as contributing a track to feature film All These Small Moments, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Continue reading “Kris Gruen “Coast & Refuge” (Mother West, 2018)”

Deep Gold “Deep Gold” (Independent, 2018)

Singer-songwriter Deep Gold already has some reputation to live up to ahead of the release of his self-titled debut record. The former JOAN frontman has received comparisons to a holy trinity of legendary artists – Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The record begins brightly, with the initially upbeat ‘Don’t Worry’, drifting along unassumingly before reaching a grandiose chorus featuring a brass section triumphantly blaring over a hollering chorus. The bluesy stomp of ‘Hot Dogs For Sale’ follows, and is an early highlight. It oozes a dive bar sleaziness, perfectly suiting Deep Gold’s raspy delivery. Continue reading “Deep Gold “Deep Gold” (Independent, 2018)”

Nickel & Rose “Americana” (Independent, 2018)

‘Americana’ is the latest release from Milwaukee duo Nickel & Rose, following on from last year’s acclaimed ‘Oh Sweet Love’ EP. The new record sees the duo follow a more introspective path, which garners some interesting results. The title track sees co-vocalist Carl Nichols questioning where he belongs within the parameters of Americana – being a racially-diverse artist coupled with the love/hate relationship with performing the music that he loves. He sings “I thought this was for everyone, not just the few, but I guess you won’t be satisfied until it all belongs to you” in a stinging tirade against the barriers facing him within the genre. Using art to vent his anger, the track itself is a sonically gorgeous Americana song, with glorious finger-picked guitar, in contrast to the anger which emanates from the lyrics. Proof, if it was ever needed, that race has zero relevance to authenticity within the genre. Continue reading “Nickel & Rose “Americana” (Independent, 2018)”

Treetop Flyers “Treetop Flyers” (Loose Music, 2018)

Londoners, Treetop Flyers, return with their eponymous third album, continuing where they left off with their excellent 2016 release ‘Palamino’.  The decision to make this record self-titled is more than apt, as it is the most confident that Treetop Flyers have sounded in themselves yet, largely following a formula of dreamy, mellow 60s-style melodies interspersed with dashings of psychedelia. Continue reading “Treetop Flyers “Treetop Flyers” (Loose Music, 2018)”

Sarah Streitz “Yesterday’s Child” (Independent, 2017)

‘Yesterday’s Child’ is the sophomore release from Minneapolis singer-songwriter Sarah Streitz. Produced by Greg Schutte, whose previous credits include Ryan Bingham, Streitz looks to build on the reputation garnered from her solid 2015 debut ‘Take One’. What is immediately striking is Streitz’s defiant, piercing vocal. The type of commanding vocal which grabs the listeners attention instantaneously. On the opening ‘Baggage Claim,’ this is complemented by some excellent pedal steel and harmonious backing vocals, getting the record off to a strong start. Continue reading “Sarah Streitz “Yesterday’s Child” (Independent, 2017)”

Low Cut Connie “Dirty Pictures (Part 2)” (Contender Records, 2018)

Philadelphia six-piece Low Cut Connie return with the second of their ‘Dirty Pictures’ records. Where the first primarily centred on the nitty-gritty rock and roll they have become renowned for, this latest instalment is a far more uplifting experience, while still focusing on the unique, oddball characters which they have an incredible knack of exposing through their songs. Continue reading “Low Cut Connie “Dirty Pictures (Part 2)” (Contender Records, 2018)”

Charlie Overbey “Broken Arrow” (Lone Hawk Records, 2018)

California native Charlie Overbey certainly comes with an interesting back story. Involved with the music industry for over twenty years, he has been in punk rock bands, toured the world with the likes of Lemmy and Social Distortion, spent time in prison, and also crafts luxury, vintage cowboy hats, which have recently featured in a Stella McCartney campaign. Seemingly not content with the variety which already consumes his life already, jack-of-all-trades Overbey turns his hand to country, with the release of new record, ‘Broken Arrow’. Continue reading “Charlie Overbey “Broken Arrow” (Lone Hawk Records, 2018)”