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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Justin Roeland “Doomed to Bloom”

Ithica, New York-based singer-songwriter Justin Roeland has been and continues to be a rather busy individual. From the various bands that he is part of such as The Fling as well as the band Greater California and Justin Roeland & Nightswimmers to creating his very own solo music, Roeland is constantly writing and creating music. In fact, Roeland is currently celebrating the release of his newest album of original solo material. The newest solo release from Justin Roeland is entitled Doomed to Bloom.

The new release of Doomed to Bloom from Justin Roeland begins with the track “Desolation”. Much like something that would have come from the Louisville, Kentucky band My Morning Jacket, “Desolation” is a track that features an Indie Rock soul but also contains a strong ambient feel to the music. That feel seems to come from the blending of the instrumentation together in order to create one strong sound that revolves around the electric guitar. There is a definite commercial quality to the music but it still has a slight difference that wouldn’t exactly fit on Top 40 radio.

Justin Roeland’s new album continues with the track “In the New Year”. While the previous song of “Desolation” contains some commercial feel to it, “In the New Year” brings a little more Indie Rock quality with it with a slight Oldies flavor. That Indie Rock feel is courtesy of the track’s stronger ambient presence. Not only does the instrumentation have a slight ambient feel to it, the vocals on the track feel as if they come from the vocal groups who were very popular back in the fifties. With the ambient quality to the music and the Oldies feel in the vocal direction, “In the New Year” ultimately has a relaxed musical approach. 

On the track “Seasons of Love,” Justin Roeland creates a track that is Indie Folk as the track is equal parts Indie Rock and Folk. The light percussion in the background of the track helps to create the foundation to the track and gives the song its rather laidback feel and the rest of the instrumentation gives the song a light approach on the Rock and Roll side of things. The track continues at a slow pace with a rather easy feel to the music for the length of the track but the inclusion of the electric guitar nearly halfway in helps add a nice amount of energy to the track.

It is on the track “Underworld” that Justin Roeland creates one of the most commercial tracks on the Doomed to Bloom release. The track has perhaps the strongest Rock and Roll approaches of any track on the release. A strong electric guitar and a strong bassline are two reasons why this track is so strong. While the track still contains a slight ambient quality to it, it’s the Indie Rock influences that come through on this track. The one thing that comes through with this track is that the song seems to suggest a slight Chris Isaak influence as the track has a similar quality to it that Isaak’s “Wicked Game” has…with a slightly more lively feel to the music. “Underworld” is easily one of the strongest moments on the Doomed to Bloom release from Justin Roeland, even if the lyrics about Roeland reacting to his world being ripped out from under might come across as rather dark.

It is on the album’s “title track” of “Dream House” that once again finds Justin Roeland creating a track with a laidback approach to the music. The lyrical content of the track brings back some of the dark quality that was found on the previous song of “Underworld”. With this track, sings of how the house they currently occupy is fine for their current needs, although they are “doomed to bloom,” most likely meaning that they are sure to outgrow the house they are in. Like most of the tracks that are found on the Doomed to Bloom album, the “title track” of “Dream House” comes with a relatively laidback feel.   

Justin Roeland brings his newest solo release to a close with the track “Wide Awake”. As the rest of the album comes with a laidback approach to the music, so it is with the final track of the album. The mainly instrumental track (with the exception of some vocalizing from Roeland) features the sound of several guitars creating a sound that sounds like an instrumental track that may have been created by Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers as there is some Island influence to the music of the track. The easy feel to the music (like with much of this release) brings the album to a close on a gentle note.

Doomed to Bloom from Justin Roeland is a good solo release from a musician that keeps himself busy with the various projects that he juggles. And although the album stays rather mellow throughout the ten tracks that make up the release, those ten tracks have such a similar musical approach that the album feels very solid despite that mellowness. But it is the solidified feel of the album that allows for the listener to simply put the album on and let the music play out. The album almost begs you to put headphones on and just let the music take you away.

 

For the last several months, Justin Roeland has been releasing videos to go along with tracks from the Doomed to Bloom album. Click on the link to check out the video to the “title track” of the Doomed to Bloom album entitled “Dream House“.  

Click on the album cover below to check out the Doomed to Bloom album and the rest of Justin Roeland’s music on his spotify profile:

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Little Tybee “Humorous to Bees”

It is unfortunate that artists like Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, The Squirrel Nut Zippers, Combustible Edison, or even Las Toallitas are few and far between. When someone different comes along we should promote them and not push them down. With that in mind, I want to introduce you to the band Little Tybee and their new release Humorous to Bees.

Little Tybee makes its home in Atlanta, Georgia. The core band is made of five members (at least for this album): Multi-talented singer-songwriter Brock Scott who also plays guitar and keys, guitarist Josh Martin, bassist Ryan Donald, violinist Nirvana Kelly and drummer Pat Brooks. The core members are only some of the musicians that make up the bigger ensemble known as Little Tybee. For this album alone, the total band of musicians number 14 members. These additional musicians help create a sound that is unlike a lot of bands that are currently in the music industry.

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Artists and Bands

Nicole Atkins on her new album, band and recent wardrobe malfunction (yes!)

Nicole Atkins’ latest album, Mondo Amore, won’t be released until February 8, but it’s already garnering rave reviews left, right and center. This talented singer-songwriter from New Jersey has drawn comparisons to the likes of Janis Joplin and Etta James, and she recently took time to talk with our very own Aaron Kupferberg about her new album, band and recent wardrobe malfunction (yes!). Be sure to catch Nicole and her band, The Black Sea, on their 19-city tour in February. Dates and more info here.

Q: Mondo Amore has some great tracks on it. Tell me a little bit about the process of bringing this album together…

A: Well, after I left Columbia [Records], I went with my friend Phil Paulozolo, who co-produced the record and recorded it. We decided to to do this record without a label during the process of making it, so we just kinda hunkered down from January ’till June at the Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn and I just called on a bunch of my friends; the old members of my band The Sea and the new members that are currently with me [now called The Black Sea], and a bunch of friends from other Brooklyn bands.

We sat in the studio for a few months and made the record, and after it was all done, we took it to a few labels and showed it to them and Razor and Tie seemed like the best bet.

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Reviews and Suggestions

Man Called Noon Tell You What Time It Is

Man Called Noon – Broke and Beaten Down
Self Released

Though I know very little about the band itself, the imagery Man Called Noon uses in their name is very interesting to me. That it comes off sounding something like a reference to character in a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western almost makes sense as the band’s music has the defiant air of rebellion about it that I like while retaining a coolness which is sure to draw people to their music. I am guessing the title may refer to the picture on the CD of a down and out man playing guitar in an alley, While it seems to have little to do with the music, there are undercurrents in every song regarding the struggles of the everyman to succeed in life, in love and to find happiness while still retaining a healthy self-image and not succumbing to the temptations and problems life throws at you. As someone like Bruce Springsteen sings of the life of the everyman so do the musicians behind Man Called Noon, albeit in their own way. Led by Tony Giamichael (lead vocals, guitar) and Brian Sonnek, (lead guitar, background vocals) the band boasts a solid one-man rhythm section in producer/engineer Mike Burns (drums/bass). The trio is bolstered by Katie Dingle who adds some atmospheric cello to a couple of tracks.

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Reviews and Suggestions

Imitation May Be The sincerest Form of Flattery, But To My Ears It’s Assault and Battery!

erickearnsEric Kearns – Voices of Legends: Love Songs
Self released

While listening to Eric Kearns’ new album, I was sort of reminded of Las Vegas, the city of glitz and glamour, and the places where fortunes are made and lost on an hourly basis. If you’ve ever been in a casino there, you know about those lounges off to the sides of the main gambling rooms where you can take a breather to count what’s left of your money or cry about the money you’ve lost. Every casino has one, and there’s always an entertainer there, singing the songs of yesteryear and trying to make people forget about how much money they’ve just lost. I was lucky enough to go to Vegas a few years ago when the Vegas power-brokers were just starting to abandon their ideas about Vegas being this great family destination. In fact, it was just about the time that “What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas” started to take hold as a catchphrase to commemorate the fact that sin was back in and family values had been told to go back to wherever they came from as they were no longer welcome in Vegas. Not sure why they wanted to become some sort of Disneyland anyway. Vegas is inherently designed for adults. The city’s casinos are open all night long, the entertainment can be okay for kids but is primarily focused on adults and Kearns is the perfect example. More an impersonator than an artist, Kearns’ act is to sing the songs of legendary singers while impersonating their voices and singing styles. Think Rich Little singing Frank Sinatra and you get the idea of what Kearns is doing. I mean, let’s face it, there ain’t gonna be any White Stripes or My Morning Jacket songs on this CD, okay?