Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Matty T. Wall “Sidewinder”

Australian musician and singer-songwriter Matty T. Wall became a fan of American Blues music at a young age. The style of music crossed over from America and found a market in Australia where Wall and others then picked it up. He, then, found a band to help bring his music to life. Along with Matty T. Wall, the musicians who help him form a band include Stephen Walker on bass guitar and Ric Whittle on drums. What results from this trio is a musical style that contains a strong Blues base with plenty of energy in the music. Together, that trio has recently put out the second album to be released from Matty T. Wall entitled Sidewinder.

Sidewinder from Matty T. Wall begins with the song “Slideride. “Slideride” is a track that seems to just explode into the air as the track begins. The song features a strong Rock and Roll feel to the music with a hint of Southern Rock to go along with a musical approach that recalls the playing of the guitarist Dick Dale. The energy that comes from the guitar on the instrumental track gives the listener a very strong track that acts like an intro for the rest of the music that is to come.

The album’s title track of the release follows the track “Slideride”. “Sidewinder” contains the same type of energy as the previous track and comes with a driving feel to the music. The energetic feel of the music recalls songs from bands like Aerosmith and other rocking bands in the eighties who would be described as Power Rock. The driving feel of the music is met with the energetic vocal delivery from Matty T. Wall who vocals also feel as if they would have been right at home in the eighties, but would also feel right at home in today’s more upbeat Rock and Roll bands.

The Sidewinder release from Matty T. Wall continues with the song “Something Beautiful”. This track slows the pace of the music down quite a bit. This track also features a stronger Blues-like feel to the music. The slower, more relaxed track allows for Wall’s vocals to shine through as those vocals show off his vocal range as he sings. While the track is quite a bit different than the two tracks that came before it, “Something Beautiful” allows a more Pop feel of the music from Matty T. Wall to come through.

While Matty T. Wall draws from the Blues when writing his music, the new track on the release proves that he also pays attention to other forms of music that also have been rather large influences on Rock and Roll. The track “Change is Gonna Come” takes the music of the album back several decades as the track was originally written by Soul singer Sam Cooke back in the mid-sixties. The Soul influence from the song is definitely felt on the new version from Wall as he and the band create the track with plenty of Soul feel. The use of strings on the track helps to add to that soulful feel. With all the political unrest in the world at the moment, it seems very fitting to revive the track right now. The new version by Matty T. Wall and his band does a good job of paying tribute to the original version from Sam Cooke.

With the track “Can’t Stop Thinkin’,” Matty T. Wall and band bring forth a real Bluesy feel to the music on this track. Paying tribute to both the early Blues musicians like Robert Johnson and the later musicians who had been influenced by them such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, the track “Can’t Stop Thinkin’” falls somewhere in the middle of both eras. The track’s lyrics feature a feel that brings to mind the early writing of the Blues legends while the music of the track contains enough energy that it brings to mind the newer artists who like Matty T. Wall, are creating new Blues tracks today.

For the track “Shake It,” Matty T. Wall and his band perform a track that features a Bluesy Rock and Roll feel to the music. The energetic track with the Blues/Rock feel to the music brings to mind the early days and the later days of the band Great White when that band created tracks that were heavy on the Blues influence. In fact, “Shake It,” much like Great White’s earlier track falls into the Classical Rock vein. If you’re a fan of Classic Rock, this is one track on the Sidewinder release from Matty T. Wall you must check out.

Another track on the new release from Matty T. Wall that features a strong Soul feel like the song “Change is Gonna Come” from earlier in the album is the track “Ain’t That the Truth” It is the guitar work on the track that stands out the most. The overall Soul feel of the music plus the Jazzy feel of the guitar brings to mind the playing style of the American singer-songwriter John Mayer. The way the overall feel of the track blends together with the guitar work on the track, listeners can hear influences from the like of Mayer as the track is slightly reminiscent of tracks from the early days of that musician. In fact, “Ain’t That the Truth” would not feel out of place on Mayer’s 2001 release of Room for Squares.   

While most of the release from Matty T. Wall would be considered fun and relatively easy to listen to, the Australian singer-songwriter brings his new release to a close with the most controversial track on the album- “Mississippi Kkkrossroads”. “Mississippi Kkkrossroads” is the one track on the release that Wall wrote that used the words from Chris Thomas King who tells the tale of a man who is being chased by an angry mob because they simply don’t like him because of who he is. Like the song “Strange Fruit” from Billie Holiday, “Mississippi Kkkrossroads” was written as a way to expose the bad things that were going on in the Deep South here in America. With his version of the song, Matty T. Wall performs his lyrics to his track using rap as the style to bring a lot of the anger out of the lyrics.

Throughout his new album of Sidewinder, Matty T. Wall creates songs that make use of the various musical influences he has acquired over the years. Classic Rock, Soul, Blues and more blends together to make a release that feels rather well-rounded. The inclusion of the various styles ensures that the listener will find something that they will connect with as they listen.

For more information, check out Matty T. Wall’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company.





To check out the music from Matty T. Wall, check out his video to the song “Sidewinder“. 

To find Matty T. Wall on Spotify, click HERE

To check out the album of Sidewinder from Matty T. Wall, click on the album cover below: 


Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: UniversalDice “birth, love, hate, death”

Within the era of Rock and Roll, there have been bands that have taken the idea of the album and made it so much stronger as they created tracks that segue between each other as those tracks combine to create what has been called a Rock Opera. And while the Rock Opera is an idea that has been around for a while, there have only been a relatively few examples of the artform through the era of Rock and Roll when compared to the vast number of releases that have been put out. One band that has taken it upon itself to explore the concept of the Rock Opera is UniversalDice.

A group that calls Long Island, New York home, the band of UniversalDice consists of: Gerry Dantone – vocals, guitars, programming; Bob Barcus – lead guitar; Ed Canova – bass; Walt Sargent – keyboards; Vin Crica – keyboards. These and other musicians who appear on a few of the tracks help to bring the music of UniversalDice to life. Having already releasing four previous albums, the group is celebrating the release of their fifth album, a 2018 album entitled birth, love, hate, death.

UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is a 16-track album that deals with love as it survives even after someone dies. While vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Dantone had the biggest part in writing the album, the entire band helped in many ways to bring the album to life.

As the birth, love, hate, death album from UniversalDice begins, the track called “Welcome to the World” “welcomes” the listener to the release just as the narrator of the track welcomes the newest addition to the family to the world. The track finds the band creating a song that falls solidly into the Rock and Roll genre. The track features 70s-era Rock and Roll that is reminiscent of bands like Badfinger or The Raspberries. While the track begins the 16-track album, the sound of the music and the lyrics contained within are so universal that you could easily imagine the track as the lead-off single for the release.

The next track of “I Wish I Could Tell You This” slows the pace of the music down while still pushing the storyline forward. The track’s lyrics deal with a mother figure as she looks down on her newborn child and the thoughts that go through her mind. “I Wish I Could Tell You This” is a rather sad tale as the mother reveals her innermost feelings and regrets.

With the very next track on the release, the band produces an answer to the previous song as the child explains to his mother the way he is feeling in the same type of song that reveals the growing worry in his mind. “Your Son” is a letter set to music. Like the previous track, Gerry Dantone and the rest of UniversalDice create a track with a gentle pace to the music that seems to go rather well with the somber tone of the lyrics.

The various tracks that make up the birth, love, hate, death album deal with all different areas of life. With the track “I Like It When They Hate It,” the band deals with how people are perceived as they make choices in their lives. On this track, the band takes their music in the direction of eighties pop-rock. The track has a nearly timeless feel to it as it would have easily fit on Top 40 radio back in the eighties as easily as it would fit on radio today. 

With “Better Man,” UniversalDice creates a song that brings to mind the music of someone like The Allman Brothers as the track features Rock and Roll with a bit of a Southern Rock feel to it. The lyrics deal with a man who looks inside himself and decides he can do better. While the slower pace to the track slows things down a little, the song shows a slightly different side to the music from UniversalDice.

As the listener puts this album on, they experience all sorts of different aspects to life within the lyrics of the songs that make up the album. Separately, the various songs create a strong release of well-written tracks that make use of the band’s various musical influences. The creation of songs using different sounds from the Classic Rock era of Rock and Roll means that lovers of that style of Rock will find something to enjoy throughout the entire length of the album. And with the lyrics creating a storyline that tie each song together, the album does something that few very albums today can do: entertain the listener while keeping them wanting to listener all the way through the release. For those who enjoy finding albums that entertain while also tell a story, the Rock Opera of UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is one album to add to your music collection.

To check out the music from UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death release, check out the first track of the album, “Welcome to the World“. To check out the entire album on spotify










For more information, check out UniversalDice’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Whiskey Hollow “Greenhouse”

Back in 2016, singer-songwriter Madeline Finn took songs she had been writing, and after putting together a band, started performing under the moniker of The Whiskey Hollow. With that loosely-bound group of musicians, she took seven of her songs and created a very strong debut release under The Whiskey Hollow moniker. That release was called X Waters. X Waters was a very solid release that found the group blending together a few different genres of music to create a unique sound that put Finn and her band far apart from the rest of the Cleveland, Ohio music scene.

Two years later, Madeline Finn and her band of The Whiskey Hollow are back. This time, however, the band performing behind her has changed. And while still performing under the Whiskey Hollow moniker, the band features a very different line-up, different feel to the music and with that feel, a different sound. This time, The Whiskey Hollow consists of Madeline Finn, Liz Bullock, Griffin Pereksta and Tom Stankiewicz. Together, this lineup features a stronger, more solidified sound that contains a much harder edge to its music. The one thing that hasn’t changed as far as the band’s music is concerned is the talent that had been present in the previous version of the band.

Today’s version of The Whiskey Hollow has recently put out a new EP of material. While the previous release contained a total of seven tracks, this new EP is a six-track EP. The new EP from Cleveland’s band The Whiskey Hollow is entitled Greenhouse.

Greenhouse from The Whiskey Hollow begins with the track “Demon”. The track begins with the sound of a get-together. The party atmosphere at the beginning of the track soon disappears and the track officially begins with Finn and Liz Bullock creating a harmonic vocal approach to the lyrics before the band joins in. A harder version of the band’s old sound helps to launch the EP into motion. Soon enough, however, the band launches into a Hard Rock approach on the music and that Hard Rock approach is what the band uses to take the song to its finale. “Demon” from The Whiskey Hollow is a great track to introduce fans, new and old alike, to the newer sound that now makes up the band’s music. 

Madeline Finn and The Whiskey Hollow continue their new Greenhouse EP with the track “Wristwatch Wishes”. The music of the track finds Finn and the band combining elements of both Alternative Rock and Jazz to create a track with a lighter approach to the energy level of the song while still containing a Modern Rock feel. The easier feel of the music eventually leads to a much harder sound halfway through the track. Together, the track comes together to form a track that ultimately has a rather commercial approach.

While most of the songs from The Whiskey Hollow come from Madeline Finn, this new release features one song that comes from background singer Liz Bullock. That track is entitled “Muddy Water”.

“Muddy Water” takes the music from The Whiskey Hollow and kicks the energy level up a notch or two. The track contains much more of a Blues feel to the music than any other recorded track from the band. And the track also seems to contain a little bit of attitude you might find in today’s Country music from the artists like Martina McBride and Reba McEntire who sing about empowerment. While this is not a Country song, there are definite sentiments of empowerment within the lyrics to “Muddy Water”.

The new Greenhouse EP from The Whiskey Hollow continues with the track “Slowmotion”. The track combines a little Ska flavor with an otherwise straight-out Rock and Roll approach. That combination creates a track that would easily fit onto Top 40 radio formats. The rather commercial flavor to the track makes “Slowmotion” one of the most listener-friendly tracks on the six-song EP.

On the next track, The Whiskey Hollow slows things down with the track “In the Wings”. The slower pace of the music, as well as the easier feel to that music creates a more relaxed song that contains a rather gentle feel to it. That gentleness goes along well with lyrics that contain a romantic flavor to them. As the song continues, the band ups the intensity in the music but still holds onto the gentle approach on the music until the track comes to an end. “In the Wings” gives the listener just a hint at another side to the music that comes from The Whiskey Hollow.

Madeline Finn and The Whiskey Hollow bring their 2018 release of Greenhouse to a close with the track “Swampy”. This track shows off a very different side to Finn and the rest of the band as the track features more of a Southern Rock approach to the music. While the track is much different than other songs created by the band, it does show the versatility of the band members.

Greenhouse from The Whiskey Hollow is a solid release from the first track. While it does not truly feel like the band’s previous release of X Waters, the new EP from the band shows the creative process at work as Madeline Finn and the rest of the band show how they have gelled as a unit. The new sound for the band may be different than the previous direction, but the group is still solid and the Greenhouse EP proves that with the six tracks of Rock and Roll.

For a taste of the music from Madeline Finn and The Whiskey Hollow, check out the band’s track “Demon“. 

To check out the Greenhouse EP from The Whiskey Hollow, click on the album cover below: 



Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Lazy J and the Dirty Shuffle S/T

Austin, Texas-based Lazy J and the Dirty Shuffle is a band that is headed by JK Grover on Guitar and Vocals. The rest of the band currently consists of Greg Birmingham on Bass and Mike Prosser on Drums and Percussion. Together, their sound merges the style of the Blues with the energy of Rock And Roll. The band’s Blues-Rock would fit alongside artists like Stevie ray Vaughn, ZZ Top and other artists that take the Blues to the next level by adding that Rock feel to it. Having already released a CD entitled Bone to Pick in 2008; Lazy J and the Dirty Shuffle are back in 2015 with a new four-song self-titled release.

The four-song self-titled release from Lazy J and the Dirty Shuffle begins with the track “Let Me Come Home”. The lyrics of the song find the singer trying to come to grips with being thrown out of the house after a fight. The sadness in the lyrics brings the Blues to life. The music of the track begins with a very strong drum and bass beat. When the guitar from JK Grover adds to the mix, the song really comes together. The resulting track feels a lot more upbeat than the lyrics would suggest, but that just makes the song that much more enjoyable to listen to. The song and its lyrics will easily have the listener joining in as the band sings the refrain to the song. For having such a depressing concept as being thrown out of the house, “Let Me Come Home” is a rather fun way to begin the band’s new release.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Trash the Brand S/T

Trash the BrandScotty Austin, Scott Anthony Little and Steven Pulley are three musicians that have many sides to their personalities; that is most true with both Austin and Little as they are musicians who take turns playing almost anything. Together, multi-instrumentalists Austin and Little along with drummer Pulley create the Tennessee-based band called Trash the Brand.

Trash the Band is a trio that creates their own version of Rock And Roll as they combine genres such as rock, rockabilly and other styles to create something they call “swamp-a-billy”. The resulting music gives the band a sound that is fresh and different from most of the “cookie cutter” bands that seem to just fall in line and make the same music as everybody else. With Trash the Brand, each song they create is a unique take on rock and roll.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: John Gaar “Brighter Side of Maybe”

Austin, Texas-based musician-turned-singer/songwriter John Gaar is a musician that got his start as a guitarist at an early age. After doing some time backing up people like his own brother, Burton Gaar, John decided it was time to start writing his own material.

Recently, John Gaar released his second album entitled Brighter Side of Maybe. This release follows his previous album Bittersweet Success. When Gaar was creating this new release with his producer Ron D’Argenio, the two started with a rock base to the songs and then added different elements to each track to produce songs that had the variety to keep the album fresh from the first note to the last.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Sandi Thom “Merchants and Thieves”

 Sandi Thom is an indie folk pop singer from the north Eastern side of Scotland who moved to London, England in 2004 to pursue songwriting. Her musical journey began  with 2006’s Smile It Confuses People. Sandi Thom began her way to stardom with the single “I Wish I was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)”. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure to listen to her 2010 album Merchants & Thieves. Her sound is a mixture of Blues, Bluegrass, and American Southern Rock.

            The title track, “Merchants & Thieves,” is a nice instrumental. The music reminds me of driving on the beautiful countryside during the sunset. Although Sandi Thom has a nice voice, I’d say singing would have ruined it. I love the way it gradually grows and fades off like waking from a dream at the end. This is my favourite track from the album.

            On the deluxe version of the album, the two mixes of “The Ol’ World (Featuring- Joe Bonamassa)” are equally amazing. I’m astonished how the way the sound is mixed gives the song a different feel. The first mix of the song is strong and powerful. I get the feeling of a woman who has had it… with this ol’ world. The Sunset Marquis Version has the feeling of the band jamming together for fun.

            “The Sadness,” track number four, is one that is true and dear. The song sings about missing “my man.” I feel she is singing about making a mistake and her man leaving her. Don’t we all have this feeling? If I was this woman, my man better damn well forgive me or else. LOL. In all seriousness, I love the sad sultry voice and beat of this lovely song to listen to.

            “Belly of the Blues.”  We all have them. We all were down this road. We all feel the need to take people down with us when we are blue. I feel this when I hear this track number 7. I imagine this how one feels when they have hit rock bottom. This is the epitome of a blues song plain and simple. I recently was reminded of a heart that has no forgiveness. That is the bluest of the blue and is the message I get when I listen to this powerful and somber track.

            I sense the legendary spirit of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughn in Sandi Thom’s music. Merchants & Thieves is a must have in your music collection. I can write and write about all the tracks, instead you have to listen and make the judgment on your own. I am very excited to see her future albums on her musical journey..


RockAngel’s Weekly Radar – Dirty Sweet

Dirty SweetThis week, RockAngel’s Weekly Radar brings you the classic southern-sounding rockers Dirty Sweet, hailing from San Diego, CA.   They’ve made numerous appearances at daytime music festivals around the area, but definitely have the sound of a sweaty dive bar written all over them.

You  may recognize their single “Hey Delilah” as it received some airplay, but somehow they’ve managed to slide under the radar, Their sound falls between The Black Keys and Wolfmother with a heavy pour of Lynyrd Skynrd.

Dirty Sweet
is the kind of band that you can just imagine playing in a hot southern bar to a bunch of 30-something women with cut off jean shorts and cropped tops, dancing around and singing all the words in order to seduce a bunch of bikers.   If that picture isn’t really your scene, you can remove the southern bikers and replace them with the San Diego rockers who have welcomed them as a main staple in most of the big music festivals.

The great thing about their album is that they won’t grab you with one catchy song and use the rest as filler.  Dirty Sweet’s latest full length album …Of Monarchs and Beggars starts off strong with “Baby Come Home” in which a steady drumbeat gets your toes tapping and Ryan Koontz’s vocals just makes you want to rock out all over the place.   They move through steady rockin’ beats with all the seduction of rock and roll and all the nostalgia of classic southern rock.   If you’re looking for a video to video to get your interest piqued, check out “Marionette” on their website.  The twist on the classic Western is a perfect representation of what you can expect from Dirty Sweet.  It’s dirty rock without frills, but somehow goes down so sweet…like a shot of smooth aged whiskey.

Dirty Sweet on Myspace

…keep rockin’…