Suburban Vermin - 'TV Head Nation #1'

Similar to its predecessor, ‘Issue #1’ has been released with a rather excellent comic book companion piece. It’s a fairly on-the-nose critique of a post-Trump America, in which the lead characters battle back and forth with an army of evil “TV heads.” This, of course, is a shot across the bow at Trump supporters. In one scuffle, one woman is confirmed as a “sexual deviant,” given two options: “mandatory conversion therapy or execution.” (Who would have thought Mike Pence could fit one of those massive televisions on his equally large head?)

Jana Pochop - 'Lightning'

Pochop, for me, is a special artist. She was one of the first independent musicians that I highlighted on the Independent Spotlight when I began writing it nearly three years ago in July of 2014. This blog has evolved in a variety of new directions, and naturally, Pochop has come quite a ways in that time, too. She sounds more comfortable than ever. Listening back on that first album I reviewed, it remains lovely, but the production of ‘Lightning’ is so much more refined with crystal clear vocals and instrumentation.

Nova Casanova - 'While They Were Dancing'

“Ultra rock” was originally coined by Henry Cowell in 1917 in his book ‘New Musical Resources.’ He argued a genre called “ultra rock” would form that had an emphasis on the second in a musical scale rather than the third. “I use the ninth and sixth which are both seconds in the musical scale,” the artist explains. “Where you would find seventh notes used, I will use the sixth instead.” Casanova’s guitar is tuned to this formula, which he then builds larger in a multi-layered process.

Alan LaBudde - 'Palm Sunday Driver'

First and foremost, there are few things that can win my heart more easily than an artist citing Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bach, Beethoven, and Alan Lomax, amongst others, as primary influences in their work. It’s abundantly obvious that LaBudde is versed in a variety of genres and has an understanding of their lineage and how they work their way into his sound. This makes ‘Palm Sunday Driver’ highly eclectic, even nearly impossible to classify into one specific genre. I adore that.

Strangely Alright - 'Now Is The Time'

Strangely Alright is a refreshing band for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they actually classify themselves aptly. This is fantastic, infectious dream pop that’s absolutely infused with Weezer-esque vibes. ‘Now Is The Time’ could be right off the cutting room floor of Weezer’s ‘White Album’ from last year. The single has a wonderful pop sensibility that’s accented by a strong production and unique instrumentation. That, of course, is the key to quality indie pop that breaks through the endless noise of the genre.

Press Release - Ruskin Clay - June 3, 2017

On May 15, the independent contemporary worship music artist Ruskin Clay released his newest collection of songs, an eclectic record entitled ‘Come Thou Fount and Other Hymns.’ Chock-full of guest appearances from a variety of friends and family, the album can be found under ‘Ruskin and Friends’ on all major digital music streaming and download platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.

Offbeat Odyssey - 'Bottle of Blue'

The single begins with a rather haunting minute of atmospheric meanderings, alluding to Offbeat Odyssey moving, at least stylistically, toward a Radiohead-esque sound. Ghostly vocal echoes slowly rise out of the introduction in a simply stunning way, that is, before the song evolves into a foot-tapping, reggae-infused jam. The reggae influence isn’t just highly unexpected, it’s highly fruitful. Offbeat Odyssey has taken reggae stylings and incorporated them, elegantly into ‘Bottle of Blue,’ which also pulls together pop and rock into its mix.

Press Release - Tangerine Sky - May 26, 2017

This Monday, May 29, the indie roots outfit Tangerine Sky will release their highly anticipated second studio single, ‘You’re On Your Way.’ Available upon release on all major digital music platforms for streaming and download, the track is an early insight into the band’s forthcoming full-length album. The track comes on the heels of the band’s March debut, ‘Now That I’ve Found You.'

Morrow's Memory - 'Take Control'

‘Take Control’ is a succinct EP, one in which every song has its place in the sequence. This in itself is quite refreshing, because indie rock groups have a tendency to add lots of ‘filler’ to their records. There’s none of that here - all these songs are finely tuned and raring to go. ‘Bloodlust,’ the bombastic introduction to the EP, is a sharply orchestrated, passionately performed effort in which lead vocalist Tony Fitchett exhibits himself as an especially powerful frontman.

3Dimensional - Their New Singles

‘Netflicks & Chill’ is the track that 3Dimensional has garnered significant attention for online, and frankly, it’s unsurprising that it’s their most appealing track. It’s radio bubblegum through and through, doused in reverberated dance beats and culturally relevant, modern colloquialisms. If you aren’t a teenager, though, ‘Netflicks & Chill’ will take “cheese” to a whole new level, as the two brothers sing about seducing their date as Netflix plays in the backdrop. But, hey, the song actually has a mention of consent, and that’s really awesome.

Mimic of a Mind - 'Music Destroyed My Life'

At seven tracks in length, ‘Music Destroyed My Life’ centralizes itself around a hip hop style that digs primarily into the negative, frustrating aspects of being an aspiring artist. I often have artists come across my desk with a particularly starry-eyed mentality of their career. That’s wonderful, of course, but often unrealistic, almost to the point of comedy. Mimic of a Mind has opted for a much more brutal, realistic analysis of his artform.

Pauline Frechette - 'Always Lovers'

Her most recent release, ‘Always Lovers,’ features “David,” but doesn’t make a clear distinction of what his contribution is or who he is. I suspect, however, that Frechette’s release includes a collaborative effort with her husband, David Campbell, the famed composer and father of Beck. Campbell has worked extensively on Frechette’s music in the past, too, and the arrangements Frechette’s husband has aided her with have been simply remarkable.

The Governators - 'Punchdrunk & Fisticuffs'

Hailing from Dublin, The Governators are an independent rock outfit who have recently released their debut EP, a six track collection entitled ‘Punchdrunk & Fisticuffs.’ Recorded as a DIY production, the effort was recorded and produced in a home studio, something that The Governators are rather humble about. In reality, however, the short album is remarkably well engineered for a home endeavor. Let’s dig into the six songs... 

Amilia K Spicer - 'Wow and Flutter'

At twelve tracks long, ‘Wow and Flutter’ is a bold statement for an independent artist. While Spicer runs into issues with this on the tail end, the collection is largely very intriguing. Her sound elegantly mixes country and folk with hints of bluegrass and outlaw music. She’s somewhat reminiscent of, perhaps, Holly Williams or Justin Townes Earle. The opening of her new album is also its lead single, ‘Fill Me Up.’

The Highfields - 'She Said'

In this review, we’ll be exploring ‘She Said,’ a six song EP that’s centered around Kaelie’s vocals. ‘He Said’ will soon follow, an EP with a focus on Nate, and ultimately, the two will merge together as  ‘She Said. He Said.’ It’s actually quite a brilliant idea, and reminds me somewhat of She and Him, another duo that toys around with the dichotomy between their genders in their music. The first song on ‘She Said,’ entitled ‘Good Vibes,’ is also the single for the EP.

NowFuture - 'Spy Killer'

The titular track is the EP’s introduction, an explosive jaunt through instrumental punk influence and lyrical metal inspiration. The track slaps the listener in the face from the get-go with heavily distorted, crunchy electric guitar and thunderous percussion. Lead vocalist Pete Moss is intensely aggressive, giving NowFuture’s sound a unique sense of authenticity. They’re leaving everything at the door. This is raw rock and roll. ‘Spy Killer,’ the song, is also an early exhibition of quality production on the EP.