flickr facebook twitter stumbleupon feed

John Allen "Sophomore"

For his upcoming album Sophomore John Allen got the support of almost 200 fans on Startnext. Published August 14 2014.

  by Sabine

In his interview with 50K MUSIC in March this year John Allen revealed the title of his upcoming album. Though it is called Sophomore, it is the work of a very grown-up, smart and talented musician.

He may not be famous for his overconfident state of mind, and it might be in his nature to whinge and moan, like he calls it in Lessons I Have Learned – but in his music, his lyrics and melodies, the singer-songwriter from Hamburg radiates the most positive vibes that I ever heard. I have to explain: When I saw John Allen for the first time, I have had a very bad day. John Allen opened for Frank Turner and came onto the stage like a shy schoolboy with a beard, his voice a bit thin at the first song, but then it gained power with every word he sang. I guess, it was On The Road which made me forget about feeling sad, about the bad day, about everything. All I felt was that life was precious. From on that moment, I was totally in love with John Allen and found out that I can be in love with two guys at the same time – Frank Turner will be The Happy King of Hearts forever.

But back to John Allen and to his second album Sophomore: It starts with the single New Years Eve, a song very easy to dance to, featuring the sparkling sound of a violin. While mocking resolutions and drunken party-people with a lot of humour, he also displays the current direction in his music. Because this time he is not alone anymore; this time John Allen comes along with a bunch of musicians.

Read more: John Allen "Sophomore"

Willie Stratton & The Boarding Party: "Deserter"

Published August 06 2014.

  by Linda

Willie Stratton & The Boarding Party released their new album Deserter on June 23rd 2014. Successfully crowdfunded through Pledgemusic, Deserter is Willie Stratton’s third album. The first album self-titled Willie Stratton, was released in 2011 and his second, The River EP in 2012. Singer/Songwriter Willie Stratton is from a harbour town named Bedford in beautiful picturesque Nova Scotia, Canada. With his musical roots set in American Folk, Willie Stratton’s ‘Deserter’ takes a strong walk more towards that great “in your face” twang and pace of the dirty western and influences of 1960’s melodic singing groups like the Ronettes. This eleven track album will tell you stories of love, loss and fading memories with its ballads, and will make you want to dance, jump and stomp your feet to songs with that great acoustic rockabilly beat.

Dartmouth- heavy acoustics and strong beats intertwined with Willie’s unique strong voice carry you into a story of maybe a relationship lost.

Trinkets- amazing guitar strumming in this face-paced extremely catchy song that makes you want to dance and jump around. A song that screams “can’t you see I Love You!”

The Valley - heavy acoustics accompany this love letter ballad of pain and hurt, hauntingly beautiful.

Read more: Willie Stratton & The Boarding Party: "Deserter"

The Call of a Siren: Delhia de France’s "Suavium"

Published May 27 2014. Photo by Marcel Koehler.

  by Sabrina

In a hypnotizing mix of emotional vocals, pulsating rhythms, and experimental electroacoustic sound, Delhia de France delivers an enigmatic concept album that both challenges the mind and captures the listener with its complex beauty in her latest release Suavium, the first of a three part concept audiovisual EP album trilogy. Lovers of Delhia de France’s haunting voice and intertwining of soft pop and synthesis will find this latest offering strangely satisfying. Newcomers to her style will soon be ensnared by the siren’s impassioned calls.

The opening song "Holy Ghost" presents just a tantalizing taste of the mystical journey to come with a frighteningly fantastical sonic landscape gently massaged by eerie melodies and vocalizations, and while the more radio-friendly "Share a Breath" is short of remarkable save a much too short instrumental harp break by Julia Pritz, sophisticated listeners who crave the electronic uniqueness and sensual voice that is Delhia de France will find their hunger sated by "The Book" and the rhythmically jarring "Unconcealeable".

Throughout Suavium, Delhia de France gently balances between an almost impalpable sensitivity in vocal choice and electronica, occasionally delving wholeheartedly into more recognized musical mainstream stylistic forms. It is this ability to successfully choose between the otherworldly and the familiar that makes Suavium an intriguing listen. There are more than a few musical surprises within the album, though subtlety, repetition, and nuance seem the primary mode. As if waving farewell to the sojourners who have travelled this venture with her, Suavium ends with the simple pure vocal layering in "Boy & The Sea", a final sublime musical gesture.

Read more: The Call of a Siren: Delhia de France’s "Suavium"

The Amount Of Light We Give Off: "List"

A little later than reviews usually come out, but better late than never. Published May 24 2014.

  by Rachel

Early tracks offered by German punk duo The Amount Of Light We Give Off have often pay tribute to the greats that came before them. Their latest release, List, continues with that homage while providing listeners with a fresh sound.

Released on January 22, 2014, List is made up of tracks that will easily pull the listener in. The debut begins with a tantalizing track called “Foreplay”, which properly sets the tone for the entire album. The 59 second intro proves just how important getting your audience ready can be, and that the right tones and sounds can set the stage for better things to come.

“Foreplay” transitions smoothly into “Relationships”, a track that forces the listener to remember the great Punk sounds of old. With well executed electronics and a hypnotizing rhythm, “Relationships” is worth a second listen before moving on.

Perhaps the most addicting track on the album, “Together Apart” showcases the duo's lyrical and emotional talents. It is a track that easily reminds you of how great true punk once was, and how great it could still be.

The next tracks “At the Verge of Nothing” and “Another Place” continue to guide listeners through the emotional and musical journey that List so clearly represents. The album continues with “Bone on Bone”, which only further proves that The Amount Of Light We Give Off deserves a larger platform than they already have.

The album closes strong with "Heads and Tails", and cements the idea that great punk albums can still be created. It is refreshing to know that a true punk scene that is respectful of tried and true techniques still exists. The infusion of strong base beats and electronic tones, mixed with classic punk vocals and a better lyrical base, is what makes List so addicting.

You’ll find that not pressing the repeat button continuously can be harder than you ever imagined.

Spectators "Paranoia"

Spectators released their debut at the beginning of April. Rachel gave it a listen. Published April 17 2014.

  by Rachel

Out of Chicago, IL, the Spectators have a unique sound that makes it hard to place the band in one particular genre. The Chicago-based band consists of Josiah Viland (lead vocals), Chris Ford (bass and vocals) Aaron Viland (synthesizer, guitar, monotron, and vocals), and Walter Halliwell (guitar, synthesizer, and vocals). Their sound and style flow throughout their debut album Paranoia. The album, released on April 5, 2014, features carefully honed vocals, and a sound that merges futuristic tones with familiar rock themes.

The album kicks off with Live Fast, which sets the unique tone of the album. This particular track is quick to catch the listener’s attention with a catchy chorus and intriguing rifts. Live Fast is the perfect introduction to their edgier tunes, which includes Cross the Line, The Start, Next to Me, and Drift.

Though most of the album features edgier, more funky sounds, Spectators have also proven that they can successfully create tunes with a softer side. I Don’t Mind, in particular, tends to stand out against the crowd of up=tempo tracks on the album. The song showcases lead singer Josiah’s unique voice. His raspy, yet soulful, voice is quick to grab ones attention. Josiah’s voice, coupled with an impressive arrangement, is reason enough to purchase the entire album.

Read more: Spectators "Paranoia"

Oskar Schuster "Sneeuwland"

Oskar Schuster has released his album "Sneeuwland" about one week ago. Our Linda has reviewed it. Btw, she's unveiled that this is her first album review - great job Linda :-) Published March 29 2014.

  by Linda

Oskar Schuster is an extremely talented composer and musician from Berlin, Germany. With his newly released full length album “Sneeuwland”, successfully croudfunded on Sellaband, Oskar takes us on a journey of “Wunder”. This is Oskar’s second album, his first, “Dear Utopia” was released in 2011, followed by the piano solo EP “Les Valses Invisibles” in 2012. Only one track on “Sneeuwland” features the artist Possimiste, which is his second collaboration with her voice, the first song being “Stjernen”.

“Sneeuwland” is a twelve track piano composition, where Oskar creates and evolves his sound with multiple layered piano tracks as the main element and adding in beats and sounds of Glockenspiels, music boxes, old cameras and typewriters. This unique album takes the listener away to far off lands, long forgotten memories and fantastical dreams. Creating visuals through sound is definitely where Oskar takes you with “Sneeuwland”.

Read more: Oskar Schuster "Sneeuwland"

Jana G. "Mixed Signals"

Thanks to Rick Calhoun for writing this review. Published March 07 2014.

  by Rick

"So what if I'm shy?" That's how Chicagoan Jana G. introduces herself on her Facebook page. After listening to her new EP, "Mixed Signals", released February 24, you get a sense of what she might mean. This is not an apology, folks, it's a double dog dare you challenge. Jana delivers that line with clinched fists on hips and narrowed eyes. Shy doesn't mean weak, feminine doesn't equal sissy. Jana G. is not going to let you see her cry.

"Mixed Signals" is a joyous, four track celebration of a strong woman dealing with love and life on her terms. She lists as her influences boyfriends and breakups. This reflects the subject matter here and also for her 2012 release "I Am Jana". But this is no needy, clinging girlfriend waiting by the phone. The driving, danceable beat throughout propels Mathew Giliberto's guitar and piano, which are sometimes crunchy, sometimes shimmering. Jana's vocal ascends on top of it all, assisted by Shana Petrone's well matched background vocals. One of the most pleasing things about this project is the growth of Jana's singing technique. She has a more rounded sound than "I Am Jana", more expressive and versatile. The whole production seems cleaner and less cluttered, without losing any of the energy and punch. This is likely due in part to the skillful touch of Timothy Flynn at AudioWall Studios working his digital magic.

Read more: Jana G. "Mixed Signals"