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Brick + Mortar – Bangs EP review

Brick + Mortar are a duo from Ashbury Park New Jersey on an uphill battle and gaining traction in the large and ever-changing  music industry. Long time friends Brandon Asraf and John Tacon, who have been writing and playing music together since middle school, officially joined forces in 2008. Asraf leads the duo with his unique vocals and aggressive bass lines, while Tacon fills in the details with drums, samples and back up vocals. They started off by playing up and down the coast of New Jersey, gaining a considerable amount of…

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The Leisure Society – Alone Aboard the Ark album review

At what point will the masses turn on ukulele wielding troubadours like they did on disco music that day at the ballpark on Disco Demolition Night in Chicago? Can we trick them all into thinking they’re playing the halftime show of the Super Bowl and then drunkenly throw our bottles of rye at them? Thankfully The Leisure Society isn’t all ukulele but there is enough entry level piano and banjo music playing to get you steamed; especially in the Alone Aboard the Ark opener, Another Psalm Sunday, which has a…

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Cody Simpson – Surfers Paradise album review

General industry knowledge and cultural observation suggests a short career for a musician who begins at age eleven. Long term success does not, by any practical reasoning, seem possible with such an early start date. Eleven is formative, an age meant for arcade games and laser tag not technical sound mixing and editing.  The exception, of course, is true motivation—the real stuff, not the brand you see on TV—the kind Cody Simpson appears to be full of. Simpson’s story is candy coated, it’s the one you tell your parents to…

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London Grammar – Metal & Dust album review

With only an EP spanning four tracks (one of which is a remix), the London-based trio appropriately named, London Grammar, have already made wavelengths through the internet and have even reached billboard charts in Australia and the U.K. Not bad for having barely over 10 minutes of recorded material. Metal & Dust is their first release and in a very short amount of time, received great praise and garnered much viral popularity. The group’s sound is subtle, offering hints of varying samples and sounds that add up to their overall…

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The Love Language – Ruby Red album review

The low-fi sound is a tricky one to master. On the one hand, it has the potential to be a unique, almost haunting listening experience. On the other, it often runs the risk of being dazed and slow, creating tracks that seem endless in the worst kind of way. It’s a struggle that, for better or worse, manifests itself clearly on The Love Language’s latest album, Ruby Red. The band, which started as a one-man show for lead singer Stuart McLamb, is back with its third studio release. They’ve kept…

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Sarah Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest album review

Sarah Bareilles delivers a very strong selection of songs on her new album The Blessed Unrest. While we have grown to expect greatness from the critically acclaimed, Grammy nominated pop star, The Blessed Unrest stretches the artist’s horizons, proving her studio work can be an enhancement to her well established singing and songwriting skills. On album opener and lead single “Brave,” Sarah Bareilles sings an uplifting melody with conviction over roaring piano chords. Songwriter Jack Antonoff of the band Fun co-wrote this song and the result is a bold anthem…

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Hunx and His Punx – Street Punk album review

We’ve been hearing it for decades now; almost from the outset of punk rock itself came the battle cry, ‘punk is dead!’ By now, it’s practically a marketing slogan. And while its generally acknowledged that yes, punk as a movement has been dead for several decades now, punk as a genre, just like any genre, can never really die. All that is needed is for one band to work in the same vein, and if all the ingredients come together just right, instant resurrection is obtained. Easier said than done,…

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Weekend – Jinx album review

The powers to be (a.k.a. the internet…) describes San Franciscan group, Weekend, as lo-fi shoegaze. I guess that means that while listening to their new album one might be most compelled to sway their shoulders side to side with chin against chest and eyes at the ground. Do not let the genre classification be the only basis of what to expect from new album, Jinx. Instead of head down swaying, this album demands a little more motion. With high energy and resounding soundscapes, Jinx is definitely a great production. Its sound can fill…

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros album review

When Rick Ross’s “100 Black Coffins” came flooding through movie theater sound systems during screenings of Django Unchained, drowning us in bravado and grunted foreshadowing, there’s a reason we didn’t laugh. Ross, an ex-correctional officer who reinvented himself as a rapper under an alias lifted from a real life drug trafficker, is able to sell us on a song like the bloody “Coffins” because his character was built to devour any doubt. This is why we rarely call bullshit on his fabrication of reality, and it’s the same reasons we…

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Gregory Alan Isakov – The Weatherman album review

For proof that the ‘Americana’ style of music has nothing to do with being ‘American’, here is Gregory Alan Isakov, native of South Africa. For evidence related to this proof, listen to ‘Time Will Tell’, with the banjos, acoustic guitars, and whistle effects that are kind of reminiscent of a musical saw. Isakov is an accomplished songwriter who manages to convey a type of intimacy through his music. There is a story-telling quality to his singer-songwriter vibe, which turns the songs into images of existence. The songs generally unfold at…

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