2015 Music Reviews



Music Review Archives (since May 2010)




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Sammy Hakim

Sammy Hakim is a young musician from Virginia who first showed musical promise at a young age. She writes her own music, in addition to singing and playing the guitar, piano, ukulele and violin. She released her first EP, "Locked You Out," in October, 2011. As with Locked You Out, her new singles will contain all original material. Sammy's latest singles are Fearless, released May 31, 2012, Mark Me, released September 17, 2012 and This Christmas Love Me, was released November 11, 2012. Her newest single released on 9/17/13 and is titled "Get a Little Closer" and is from her upcoming EP "Sammy" to be released 10/15/13.
With success as a pianist and a singer, coupled with her desire to become a professional songwriter, producer, and musician, Sammy was inspired to study additional instruments including violin, guitar and ukulele. These instruments are highly influential in how Sammy composes and arranges her original music.
Sammy travels and performs live radio shows to promote her song "Get a Little Closer" and her single "Mark Me". Which has been #1 Indie.
Top 40 on NMW Charts,#5 Top 40 Charts and #9 on the Top 100 Indie Song Charts. Her song "Fearless" and "Mark Me" are finalists, in the International Songwriters Competition, Honorable mention in Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and 2nd place for Song Universe.
Listen to Sammy on her website.



Capers Simmons

Capers Simmons is an audio producer, electronics and IT entrepreneur, a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter who has honed his skills through nine years of creating, editing and mixing music and live audio. Musically, his influences vary from Billy Joel and Sam Cooke, to Jim Croce and Enya, to Linkin Park and Metallica. He writes and records songs in a variety of styles, including Pop, New Age, Rock and Adult Contemporary.
Enjoy Capers music on his website.



Jimmie Lee



On his first released single, "Windy (Love In Her Eyes)", Jimmie Lee makes his love for various genres of music known by mixing it up with a little bit of dance, pop, and rock. Jimmie Lee grew up nurturing his love of music by writing lyircs to well known instrumentals as a hobby and then moving on to making music with his mouth (ie. Bobby McFerrin). Today, he's gradually taking the music inside and letting it out by making music at home on his computer. "Windy (Love In Her Eyes)" is the first. Stay tuned for more.
Listen to Jimmie's music on Reverbnation.



Empathy Test


Empathy test, a.k.a singer / songwriter Isaac Howlett and digital composer Adam Relf, have known each other since they were just a couple of kids playing with Star Wars figures in a quarry in Kent, Southeast England. Having relocated to London, they've been making music together on and off for some time, although nothing that sounded quite as good as Empathy Test.
Empathy Test was the result of a conversation about the movie Drive, in which both Adam and Isaac realised that that cold, 80s-tinged electro sound composer Cliff Martinez had showcased with the help of Kavinsky and College, was the perfect starting point for a new collaboration.
They set to work immediately, taking the bare bones of one of Isaac's original acoustic songs and reworking it against a bold, minimalistic framework of punchy electronic beats and icey, 80s synths. With its new coat of paint and a brand new chorus, the track became Losing Touch, and the pair quickly realised they were onto something great.
Over the course of the next few months, Empathy Test picked up their name - borrowed from one of their favourite Sci-Fi films, Blade Runner - and produced a four track EP. They recorded and mixed everything themselves, using Adam's considerable design talents to create their own iconic artwork.
In January 2014 Empathy Test were ready to face the world, and have been picking up fans and critical acclaim with every new play of EP title track, Losing Touch. The EP, which they are self-releasing via Tunecore, will be in all major digital outlets on 28th February 2014.
Listen to Empathy Test on SoundCloud.



The Alonzo Spirit Band


THE ALONZO SPIRIT BAND is comprised of (in our admittedly biased opinion) amazing musicians and singers on the Big Island, all with their own individual and thriving recording and performing careers.
Alan Rosen, a television writer/producer/director back in the 20th Century (anybody remember the 20th Century?) brought these folks together in the studio to record the songs that began to come to him initially through meditation and dreams.
As these songs were a "spiritual gift", the peaceful, positive, and spiritual vibration of the singers and musicians, and of the island itself, is an important part of the vibration in the music.
Through meditation and dreams, dozens of songs began coming through to Alan -- then in early 2011, Chadd introduced Alan to Charlie Recaido and to Charles Brotman at Lava Tracks studio, and the idea of a studio band, "The Alonzo Spirit Band" was born.
Alan is in deep gratitude for the gift of these songs and the magic of these wonderfully talented and spiritual singers and musicians who helped bring these songs to life.
Listen to The Alonzo Spirit Band on their website.


Amber Snider


Amber Snider comes from a musical family and has been writing and performing original material since the age of 4. She has performed as a solo artist as well as with The Amber Snider Band in the San Francisco Bay area.
Over the last few years Amber has released a multitude of songs which were widely received which included solo material as well as a self-titled band EP over the last decade.
December 2013 Amber re-released one original song "Should've Known Better" which is on her debut acoustic CD originally released in 2002. This re-recording was graced with the likes of such musicians as Gawain Mathews of the Mickey Hart Band who also produced the project. It is about realizing how much a person means to you after the love ends and the regrets still live on. Set to a mid tempo, foot stopping beat, Amber tells her tale keeping that bass guitar and that country rhythm in line with a steady back beat and syrupy, strong vocals and harmony. Being one of her first songs she ever recorded, it is a deeply personal one for her. It is similar to taking your most personal thoughts and transforming them into song.
Another recently released single "Let's Make Christmas" was originally released as video for family and friends then made public in November 2013. Gawain Mathews also produced & performed on this original holiday song. "Let's Make Christmas" captures the essence of what the holiday season means to Amber. Family, friends, celebration; in Amber’s life it represents a happier time, more festive overall.
Amber's latest CD project, "The Amber Snider Band" (produced by Gawain Mathews) was released in 2012 with a plethora of songs, each playing a key role in the overall sound & theme of the entire album. Ranging from ho-down-happy to storytelling- sad, Amber and her band mates delivered a slice of their own lyrically catchy, hook driven proverbial country-pop pie.
Prior releases include Still Dreamin' and "Napa City Nights LIVE" in 2010, "A Sleep To Dream" and "Acoustic Color" under the name Amber Estrada.
Amber has opened for Carl Verheyen (Supertramp), Cat Powers, Clink Black and Gretchen Wilson. One of her songs "Chaotic Sanctity" was featured in an Indie Film The Hunting Season with Michael Sorvino in 2011.
Amber has been around music most of her life. She even briefly worked for singer/songwriter/hit maker Diane Warren in Hollywood as her receptionist and gatekeeper.
Listen to Amber on her website.


Jared Costa


Relatively few artists possess the ability to stand out in the music scene-seldom is there a musician who is so clearly distinctive from his or her contemporaries. With evocative storytelling and personal confessions, singer-songwriter Jared Costa has created a unique blend of folk-inspired music. He sets harmonica melodies up against acoustic guitar harmonies, creating a beautiful accompaniment for his deep, soulful voice. From love and joy to despair and gloom, Jared Costa's music runs the gamut of emotions. Moments of brightness counterpoint moments of darkness in his songs, which displays his genuine humanity.
-Nicholas Emmanuel Mariakis
Listen to Jared on his website.


Brain Candy

Brain Candy is an electro-pop band featuring musicians from Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. The group officially formed in 2012 when Salt Lake City-based producer / keyboardest Funky Ike began collaborating with Los Angeles vocalists Carter B and aleXis to create fresh new pop music that reflects today's cutting-edge dance anthems heard in clubs throughout the world. They have released two albums: Brain Candy (2012) and Dance Warriors (2013).
Listen to Brian on CD Baby.

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Denver Doe


It all began for Doe Boy from the basement of his mother's house when he was 19 years of age. He had been in some bands in high school but made the decision to go solo. His style of choice is Southern Blues with a bit of Jazz mix in. Taking the same route as Muddy Waters, B.B. King and other blues artists, Doe Boy began to write what he knew about and he does it like the greats of their time. The wailing from the guitar, the expression of its sound, the screaming of the strings - all cry in harmony. Add in those raw vocals and you have the best Blues I have heard in decades.
Doe Boy is proud to announce the release of his single "Down Right Mad" which is off his yet to be released CD titled "Curtis C. Presents Acoustic Series Blues Vol. 1". Just listening to this single is all you need. It tells a story of having to do without when he was a young man. He learned his lessons the hard way and yet in the end, nothing seemed to have changed. Its motto is being careful the games you choose to play because the game just might win in the end.
What is so unique with his songs is their flow. It is that mellow undertone of hip-hop and R & B that you can hear in the distance while keeping the integrity of the strength of the Blues and Jazz intact. "Curtis C. Presents Acoustic Series Blues Vol. 1" is set for release in the spring of 2012. Pre-releases of singles such as "Down Right Mad" just fuels the desire for music like this. It will be released in digital format and can be purchased at any digital storefront. The physical format is not out of the question. A prior release was an underground record called "Ghetto Blues" which contains two characters; vocals and guitar. Nothing else needed.
Doe Boy works outside the box. He has the belief that people need a new edge to music - a new old style. This reasoning allows Doe Boy to "dig into his roots and step out of the mainstream and give people an alternate choice of just great music", states Doe Boy.



Sarantos


Sarantos unique sound has been best described by industry insiders as "an emotionally powerful vocal style masterfully united with music that is a fusion of classic 80s rock blended with modern soft rock and pop music!"
Sarantos has been writing lyrics since 4th grade and is passionate about the words he puts to the music. Music was always in his blood. Music was always a passion and much more than a hobby. Sarantos has written over 2,000 songs!
Having undergone several personal challenges with Sarantos' father passing away two years ago after a long hard-fought battle with lung cancer, dealing with personal health issues like asthma and allergies which affected his singing style, going thru life's ups & downs, the timing is finally right. Sarantos main motivation, however, is to raise money for charity.
33% of any music related sales are going straight to charity!
The 1st song from the music CD and the 1st music video will be released worldwide on January 2nd 2014. The song is called Not Where I Wanna Be.
Sarantos has always been inclined to help people in need and is proud to launch this CD as a way to donate a portion of proceeds to charity, hopefully inspiring other artists to do the same. The 11 charities chosen for each song include American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Make-a-Wish Foundation, American Heart Association, St Jude's, Hellenic Academy, ASERF, American Red Cross, Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago Medical School, Thanioton Society & the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Please listen to Sarantos and maybe donate something at his website.


Society's Soul

Every once in a while a band comes around that makes you stop and take notice. A band where the words of the lyrics matter. Where the voice of the front-man is one filled with the emotion of the lyrics. Society's Soul presents a refreshing and different type of voice in today's musical landscape. A voice that strives to dig deeper into the psyche of society and humanity. A voice that is brave andcompassionate enough to ask what is going wrong in the world. Taking a stand on the social and environmental issues plaguing the world today, Society's Soul takes on these issues with hard-hitting introspective lyrics that draw the listener in. Even though by its nature some of the subject matter may be bleak in songs such as these, they are always presented with a positive and optimistic faith-based outlook which leaves the listener feeling hopeful and empowered instead. That captures the essence of what this band is about. That is what Mario M., the charismatic founder, songwriter and front-man of Society's Soul, has been known for.
The debut album for Society's Soul titled “Soulscream” will be released on March 25, 2014. It is a concept album with a redemptive story of overcoming adversity and finding faith in a ever scarier and confusing world. The first single off the album titled "Flicker of my soul" was released on January 7, 2014. This introspective song encapsulates the redemptive personal journey that Society's Soul takes the listener on through the album. It is a deeply personal and empowering song that listeners will be able to relate to their lives in various ways. The companion song to "Flicker of my soul" on the physical CD single is the album track "Money is God", a song about the misguided view of money in society where it is thought of as above all else. These two songs are a great introduction to Society's Soul and what its "Society" and "Soul" represents. This is just a sample of the emotional journey the listener will undertake on "Soulscream".
Listen to Society's Soul on their website.


silvia


Silvia was born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay, South America.
Since early chilhood she liked music and music was around her house all the time, since her parents are both music teachers, even though they never worked as that.
She studied piano since age 5 but soon realized that she wanted to do write her own music and did so. By the age of 15, she already had things very clear, she wanted to be a songwriter and had a lot of songs written, unfortunately since they were in English they didn't get any acceptance in her own country. That is why she came to USA to record her first demos and try to make contact in the music industry in New York. After a period of months, she had to return to Uruguay where she kept writing, learning harmony, studying vocals with one of the best teachers there (opera trained) and also attended the university of chemistry. Since she didn't like chemistry as much as music she went to the University of music in Montevideo.
Some time latter, she was accepted at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she ended up studying for some period of months, finally she found a place to study and learn more about songwriting and music business. Anyhow, she went back again, to Uruguay to polish her vocal studies and musical knowledge.
Listen to that music on Jango.




PerTarsha

PerTarsha is an artists from Birmingham, AL. She began to perform at an early age through the art of dance. She is skilled in modern, jazz, hip hop dance. She began to write in 2008. In 02 2013, she officially started to create rough demos of her music. In June 2013, she created a video to the Rough Demo "Come on Everybody." In 2014, plans to make quality music the public can enjoy and solicits support.
I had a great time creating my first video. I can't wait to see the finished product nor can I wait for others to see it. I expect that it will not be perfect- as it was done independently. However, the song is fun! The dancers were great! Latoya Coleman created amazing choreography and really came thru during the week!
Listen to Pertarsha on her website.




Bill Reveles



Bill Reveles is a native Los Angeles songwriter / singer / producer / arranger / guitarist. Recently, Bill landed a song on the HBO show "True Blood" in 2013, and signed with Recording Artist Guild so his music can be heard on over 350 internet radio stations. He re-signed a contract with Sony Music for his song on "Dawson's Creek". Also, one of Bill's songs and two of his arrangements were covered by Bonnie Pointer on her latest CD, "Like a Picasso".
Bill's awards include Best Male Artist at the Southern California Music Awards and Best Male Adult Contemporary Artist at the Los Angeles Music Awards. He has performed twice at Austin's SXSW , music festivals in Cincinnati and Memphis, and various clubs in Los Angeles, including the Viper Room, the Roxy, the Whiskey, and the Troubadour.
Bill has 4 solo albums, including the critically acclaimed "Inside Gospel Garage" and "It's Complicated" (available on iTunes). He works with LA's best session players, including band members from Lucinda Williams, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor.
With over 50 placements, you can also hear his music on TV shows, such as "King of the Hill", "Beverly Hills 90210", "Dawson's Creek", "Melrose Place", and "VIP", as well as in ABC, NBC, & CBS Movies of the Week, the Paramount feature film "Nobody's Fool" with Paul Newman, and Disney's "Adventures in Dinosaur City" which was sung by Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos and arranged and performed by the Phoenix Symphony.
Listen to Bill on ReverbNation.







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Bill Parton Trio


Bill Parton Trio are William Parton (Vocals & Piano), Jeremy Martin (Bass) and Andrew Partington (Drums). The band hails from the city of Adelaide, South Australia. While there is no clear box to define the trio's unique genre and sound, the lads classify their music as 'Piano Pop-Rock'. To paint a picture, try and imagine the simplicity and catchiness of The Beatles, combined with Coldplay-like chords and melodies, the impressionism of Jeff Buckley and Radio Head, along with a dash of the relaxed chilled-out mood and atmosphere that Zero 7 are notorious for being able to create.
The trio are very proud to have released their self titled debut EP on Friday 2nd August 2013. The EP follows the successful release of singles 'Going Away' and 'Falling For You Again' which are featured on the EP. 'Going Away' debuted at No.10 on Amrap AirIt's Great Southern Charts, qualified as a semi finalist in the 2013 Unsigned Only Global Songwriting Competition and spent six weeks in the Westsidewill.com Unsigned Artist Top Ten. 'Falling For You Again' was featured on Home Brew Radio, made the Three D Radio Top 20+1 and won best new track in Sonya Feldhoff's 'new music' competition on 891 ABC Adelaide. The video clips for both singles have been nominated as finalists for the 2013 MusicOz Awards and between the two of them have accumulated over 95,000 YouTube views! The EP itself since being released has received incredibly generous amounts of community radio and street press support, has been playlisted nationally on ABC stations and charted as high has No.8 (so far) on the Three D Radio Top 20+1.
To celebrate the release of the record, Bill Parton Trio hit the road to embark on a 10x show Australian national tour with Melbourne band Artist Proof and Sydney soloist Nathan Leigh Jones throughout August – September 2013. The tour provided a platform for the trio to put their dynamic, flawless and epic 'stadium-esk' live show on display in front of the nation. After both 'wow-ing' and gracing the audiences across the country with their tunes, it comes as no surprise that tour was a huge success.
Listen to the Bill Parton Trio on their website.



Paul Rudd

DJ, Label Owner, Producer and artist; with 9 singles and an album under his belt, 2013 is looking like another busy year for Paul Rudd who is recognised as one of the most creative producers and remixers on the UK House music scene.
Paul started out remixing for Mastermix and quickly knocked up an impressive list including Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta, Michael Jackson, Alexander O'Neil, Daft Punk and David Grey to name a few.
His first official chart release, X-Me, was with US actress Kelly-Anne Lyons on vocals in early 2011. He followed this up with two more dance floor fillers. Egotastic, a massive summer anthem across Europe and More Amore feat Vivi which was released in November of that year and went on to be shortlisted in the final of the One to Watch category of MTV's Brand New for 2012 competition.
His debut album 'The Sound of London' was released in November 2012 and then his next single 'Trust In Me' featured "The Voice of World Dance' Amanda Wilson. The single went No1 in the US Fusion Radio Charts twice on 2 separate weeks, peeked at No6 in the UK Club Charts, No9 in the UK Commercial Pop Charts and TOP 40 in the European Club/Dance charts in 17 countries.
Following on from this massive success Paul remixed for the Freemasons 'Bring It Back' with a worldwide release on their label Freemaison. Paul is also in talks with his US Actor namesake on collaboration after the Hollywood A-Lister made it known in an interview with the BBC that he would be keen for them to make a single together.
Paul's last single with Sam Calver - Wake The World Tonight was released in July 2013 and had support from the likes of Gareth Emery, Dave Pearce, Seb Fontaine, Andi Durrant, Markus Shultz to name a few.
Paul is currently appearing on selected international DJ gigs with a tour in the US planned for this year. He is always locked up in the studio, experimenting with new sounds in order to bring out original cool tracks.
Paul will be releasing his brand new single 'Searching' featuring the vocal talents of Chloe Mills on Feb 3rd 2014. This single is already knocking up a large set of rave reviews.
Listen to Paul on his website.








Zana Messia


World history books remind us that the mountainous region of Eastern Europe known as the Balkans has endured countless wars and upheavals. Yet there is an enduring sense of joy in the traditional music of these countries that transcends political strife and has the ability to cross cultures, unite people of all origins and races and offer hope of a better world. On her beautifully romantic new album Balkan Soul, Zana Messia - a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina who now lives in Los Angeles-joins forces with an ensemble of top L.A. musicians (The Balkan Soul Orchestra) to share a unique musical journey that combines her lifelong love of traditional jazz with the spirit of the Balkan Roma music that first captivated her as a child.
The exotic and sensual, genre-defying collection was executive produced by Harvey Mason, who has been the backbone of contemporary jazz group Fourplay for over 20 years; the legendary jazz drummer also plays drums, percussion, marimba on vibes on most of the ten tracks. Drawing on a rich array of influences and creating a multi-colored blend of world fusion sounds that stay true to Messia's deep Balkan roots, the Balkan Soul Orchestra features multi-instrumentalist Dan Weinstein (tuba, trombone, viola, violin, trumpet), master accordionist Nick Ariondo, pianist Theo Saunders, Balkan guitarist Almer Imamovic, upright bassist Ben Shepherd and tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis. Several years before the current release of Balkan Soul, Messia placed one of its songs, the gently swaying, folk-influenced closer "If You're Wondering," in the 2009 independent film "The Lightkeepers" starring Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner. Her most recent placement is in the 2010 film "Flying Lessons."
The timeless quality of Balkan Soul is evident from the first seductive moments of "My Invention of You," a dreamy and exotic reflection on the way even the truest love can change over time. Messia's sultry voice is complemented by Lewis' soulful sax solo. The emotions heat up on "This Is How I Get," which pits Messia's breathy sultriness against a colorful backdrop of a trombone-driven harmony line, with sax and acoustic guitar sweetening. The confessional song ponders the human propensity to sabotage relationships that are at a crossroads, instead of sticking them out. Inspired by Messia's love for the music of the Buena Vista Social Club (which came back to pop culture prominence in the late 90s), "On The Radio" is a hypnotic, smoldering Afro-Cuban romp that ponders a former lover one day hearing her songs being played on the air. The accordion-laced, increasingly percussive dance song "Red Shoes" is one of Messia's favorites because "it's written from a man's perspective, about a middle aged man longing for a woman." She adds that it was inspired by the music of Tom Waits.
This woman has so much depth and musical creativity that she trully stirs the soul.-Marcus Walton,editor
Listen to her on her website.



Aron Lyrd


Aron Lyrd is a hip new Alternative Rock singer/song writer, whose style is reminiscent of a mix between a young Mick Jagger and a 35 year old Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, with a heavy dosage of Matchbox 20s front man Rob Thomas thrown in for good measure. While Lyrd's heavy mix of guitar riffs, lead vocals, smothered with drums within backing/supporting vocals and a music synthesizer plus turn tables balancing the sound out would be tricky for most, Lyrd does this approach with poise and charisma.
In 2013-2014 and Lyrd has quickly become a dramatic force in the rock scene. One song that shows Aron Lyrd's outstanding writing, vocal, and instrumental ability is titled: Hey, Hey. It starts off with an upbeat easy going rhythm and melody, and a lyric that we have all felt before. Aron Lyrd has a voice that transforms to fit the role of his many different song styles, and is not to be looked over. Aron Lyrd is the real deal - a full package musician with a bright future ahead of him in the music industry.
Listen to Aron on Sonicbids.












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