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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Artist Interview: Matt Colligan

MW: Matt Colligan, thank you for being here.

MC: Thank you for having me! I'm happy to be here.

MW: So, I’d like to talk about “The Turnaround” – as a concept, it seems to align with much of America’s desire for change both socially and politically – was that an aspect that inspired the song or is it a coincidence?

MC: It's a coincidence. This was written about a friend who accomplished something that, although I had great confidence in him, the endeavor seemed improbable to him. With that said, I appreciate your observation because I like to write concepts that are general enough to be interpreted in a variety of ways, thus increasing the likelihood that more listeners can connect with the concept on a personal level.

MW: Not all musicians are super comfortable in front of the camera but you seem to have a knack for being center in the music-video. Did you ever do any acting or other prep-work for performing on screen?

MC: Thank you for the kind words! I've done some TV interviews, performances, and an episode of a show on Fuse TV but, aside from that, have not done any acting. I don't have any training, but certainly have a great time with it.

MW: Did country music have an influence on you? If so, could you name a few artists specifically?

MC: To be candid, not really. However, certain artists like Lyle Lovett and Loudon Wainwright have influenced my writing. Both of these artists can also fall into a number of other genres (e.g., folk).

MW: What about other genres you enjoy?

MC: I really love alternative, rock, pop, and folk. I'll be moved by anything of lyrical and melodic substance.

MW: Are you currently touring or doing any other fan outreach? If so, where are you performing?

MC: I'm not touring at the moment, but am playing an intimate show at Rockwood Music Hall in New York on December 4th!

MW: Do you have anything for the future that we should be looking out for?

MC: Yes! I will be releasing another single called, "Burn" in January. In 2017, I'll be releasing a bunch of singles.

MW: Thanks so much for participating!

MC: Thanks again for having me, I really enjoyed it. 

Soft Ledges

Soft Ledges is a duo out with their self-titled album which drops on Nov 18th and if you haven’t heard it yet, you’re honestly missing out. The band consists of the lovely Shelley Miller on vox, guitar, drums, and piano; and Chris Geisler on bass and drums. Together, like a dark and despondent megalith they deliver a heartfelt and deeply passionate studio performance. There are ten songs total on the album and I wanted to highlight several of them.

The album begins with the subtle, jazzy, and smooth “La Nina” – there’s a rock edge to this number that is very satisfying to me - although it is slow, almost insinuating an exhaustion save for the magnificently energetic vocals.

Song number three is “Orion,” starting with piano and high pitched droning. The band gets a huge plus from me for the number of ballads present on this album. Naming all their strengths would take a long time but my biggest compliment for them has to be a sense of melody that is both brilliant in its architecture and daring in the willingness to go places unexpected.

Track number four “Deer Fly Blues” continues with the dark ambiance overlayed with Miller’s voice. The sheer variety of moods present in the delivery is astounding as she is able to instantaneously shift from playful to angry, disgust to acquiescence, and flirtatiousness to disinterest. The band is right behind her as a cacophony of sound props up the vocals as they surge and dissipate; it’s the kind of teamwork that typically only comes after long, long periods of playing together and Soft Ledges seems to have it in spades.


“Long Way to the Ground” is track number six. This one is guitar driven with playful riffs playing a rhythmic accompaniment. The lyrics echo the title of the song in a way that is very poignant. The guitar all of a sudden becomes sad in the context of the lyrics. In a big way, it seems as though the accompaniment is the optimistic part of the ego that says “everything is going to be OK.” Unsurprisingly, the lyrics actually seem to take this direction until the line “you’re never gonna get back up till you come down.”

Soft Ledges seem to be happy to pay tribute to older styles of music – this isn’t to say they are copycats or simply reinventing tracks from 20, 30, or 40 years ago as there is always a profoundly individualistic spin put on the songs. This is evident in the penultimate number titled “Don’t Wait,” it’s a moody and bluesy aural experience that would be very at home on an Aretha Franklin album; however, there is a darkness present which is unmistakably modern.

There is precious little information about these three musicians available on their website. I’m hoping that will change as more folks take notice of them. It would be interesting to read the context of their musical musings. In the meantime, there are a few samples of their release which can be played directly from their homepage. When the album drops, I’ll be more than happy to spend the required dollars to own it. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Artist Interview: NatStar

Hello readers! For this week’s interview, we have hip-hop artist and mobile entrepreneur NatStar. He’s released an Android/iOS app as a means to access his album/videos. The audio version of his newest album, “ANATYMOUS” is out on November 15th.

MW: NatStar, thank you so much for being here.

NS: I appreciate you for having me.

MW: So, the biggest thing I think we’re all curious about is why release an app? Why not just go the traditional route of dropping the album with all the fanfare that way?

NS: I’ve in the past used an app as a means to promoting myself as an artist. I used a company named I remember at the time it allowed me to upload my music and videos to the app so I thought, why not release an album as a mobile app? It allows me to include so much more than just music. It’ll include music videos, live videos, a documentary, album credits, song lyrics, links to merch, itunes download and contact abilities. Also within the app is a blog that allows me to send out direct notifications to those who downloaded the app. In short, its very personal and convenient! go to your app store on your phone to DL or to DL.

MW: I enjoyed listening to your song “Dagga” on your website. There is a quirky quality to the beat, it almost has a vintage sound to it, except for the drums which are really modern. Is that representative of your other music?

NS: For the most part yea it is. However, I mostly adjust to the times but always try to keep an element of musicianship in my music which explains the drum sound selections lol..

MW: Where does the title “ANATYMOUS” come from?

NS: Anatymous is a play off of the word anonymous basically inserting my name Nat lol. It’s the feeling of being unknown and the drive to fix it.

MW: I take it you produce all your beats; several of the readers of this blog are also interested in production. Would you mind walking us through your creative process?

NS: Of course. It’s different at times depending on what i’m feeling. A lot of times I hear a melody in my head and will create a tempo behind it. I’ll lay a basic drum pattern to at least get the melody down then go back and create mainly around the main melody.

MW: Any favorite pieces of kit you could mention?

NS: I have random kits and so many of them it’s hard to pinpoint specifics lol.

MW: Are you hitting the road to promote your new app/album or do you have something else up your sleeve?

NS: I’ve been on the road touring and will be home in Charlotte, NC next for the next date in mid-November. I’ve recently performed in St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee on the current tour.

MW: Thanks again for taking the time!

NS: Thank You!

Monday, October 24, 2016

JJ McGuigan "Dissociative"

Artist JJ McGuigan has a new EP available titled “Dissociative.” I was able to listen and really loved the track “Desperate Eyes” (number 5 in the lineup). The ambient intro is stirring – when the voice comes in, it’s breathy, almost like a hazy dream in which the person is drifting in and out of sleep. The guitar comes in strumming one note at a time which creates a distant and rhythmic feel. This music feels very at home with bands like “Love Life,” it has a slow but somewhat punkish feel to it which comes together very nicely. Another aspect to this song’s credit is the fact that I love the attitude of the drums; it sounds like sampled machine guns that the vocals just float over.  The entire EP is more than worth a listen and I’m happy about being able to recommend it. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Michael C. Keller "Sunlight and Moonlight"

Sunlight and Moonlight

I think most readers know that I’m a weekend church music director – so when I received a copy of Michael C. Keller’s album titled “Originals and Gospel Standards” I became intrigued. One of the more stand-out tracks was Keller’s song “Sunlight and Moonlight,” a romantic ballad sung over lilted synthetic instrumentation. Keller’s voice is extremely distinct with a mild folky quality and rich in its imperfection – the song is melodically and rhythmically strong, plus its sentiment is really sweet. The accompaniment is a little faint for my taste, but that could just be a genre discrepancy. The song is available on Amazon for download. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cranky George: Nighttime

Cranky George

Los Angeles indie-rock band Cranky George has released a new single titled “Nighttime.” From the opening guitar line, I was reminded of early REM and wafting memories of college-dorm windows open blasting the cerebrally driven sounds. Fans of The Smiths will also appreciate this tune. There are wonderfully mid-range male vocals sung passionately, plus, even a few Italian lyrics in there. The song is upbeat but fantastically slow-dance-oriented, dramatic, and mildly psychedelic. It would be good to take in a show of these guys, should you find yourself in the LA area; I imagine this sound would come off fantastically live. To learn more about Cranky George, please visit their FaceBook page here

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Throwaways: “Vigils & Vignettes"

Throwaways (a wonderful group of whom I’ve just been informed) note themselves on their website as “…an electronic-infused rock/pop trio based out of Jackson, MS.” A seemingly apt description for anyone who hears their music. Made up of Dusty Goff, Michael Perry, and Robert Hansford; the band is out with a new EP titled “Vigils & Vignettes.”

The album begins with one of the toughest bass-parts I think I’ve heard since Cliff Burton’s “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth).” It doesn’t last long, though, the bass catapults the track, titled “Sky,”  into an orchestral-in-your-face wall of sound (very pleasant) and finally some very smooth male vocals. Throwaways gets major points from me for their use of electronic pads and drones in this number.

The next song “Hope + Fear” is much more akin to an 80’s synth-pop track with a sawtooth lead taking the reins; it’s balanced, though, with distorted guitar. This one is upbeat with a driving drum part augmented by arpeggios until it lands on the chorus, which, if it were any more anthem-like, would be mandated by law to be used as soundtrack material in every film’s slow motion scene (I mean that as a compliment, BTW, anthems are tough to write!)  

Track number three is back with the pads (again, big fan!) but this song has an almost religious quality to it in the way the reverbed synths are the accompaniment for solemn vocals. Of course, the lyrics also hint towards something higher “oh, you take the best of me, now take the rest of me… and I’ll die.” Many of you might be thinking of the Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks song “All of Me” popularized by Frank Sinatra – if it is a nod, it’s a subtle one. This song is climactic in a way that is just stunning. Listen to it on great speakers, not crappy laptops.

The EP rounds out with “Your Eyes,” an optimistic and fast song that has an overt sensual character, although, that impression could just be the utter smooth-ness of the vocals. In many ways, it reminds me quite a lot of the other “Your Eyes” by one Peter Gabriel made famous by John Cusack in the film Say Anything. If only someone will hold up a boombox I think we could get that scene together for 2016!

“Vigils & Vignettes” is pure proof of quality over quantity. It’s a lean four tracks, but there aren’t any throwaways (no pun intended) on this album. What the band has given us is a beautiful set of songs that we can enjoy beginning to end. It will be nice; however, to see what these guys release in the future and if they can pull off a full album with the same attention to perfection. In the meantime, make sure to grab yourself a copy of this one. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Artist Interview: Fingermouse and Rubberneck

Hi readers, for this week's interview we have the band Fingermouse and Rubberneck

MW: Hi guys, thanks for being here! I think most of us are first and foremost curious about your name, how did that come about?

F & R: The name does have a story attached but it's long and full of in-jokes involving the hand of fate and old TV shows.

MW: Can you tell us a little bit about the current release, titled the “Samsquantch EP?”

F & R: The EP is the result of the two of us having met through a previous project which ended and decided that the creative spark between us was too strong to ignore. We didn't think about the direction of the music at all and just threw ideas at each other, building tracks as we went. The strongest songs made themselves known to us pretty quickly and, to be honest, it was enormous fun! I played some early mixes to an old friend visiting from the US and he told me about the new record label he was launching. He liked the sound of our stuff and asked if we would be his debut release. We're proud to support a venture like Invisible Milk Records. Everyone knows how tough it is to make money out of music these days, so all that's left is the love. We make music because we love it and Rob Quicke supports music because he loves it, simple as that.

MW: How does your creative process usually work?

F & R: Our creative process is wildly eclectic and very much an open platform. We like to establish the groove of a song early on, sometimes using drum loops to put us in the same place rhythmically. The initial idea could come from either one of us but we don't mind which direction it takes- it's a pretty relaxed affair until something catches the ear and we just run with it. Lyrics are sometimes already written and other times written around a theme suggested by the feel of the track.

MW: Are you playing out or touring currently?

F & R: We started this project as a purely creative endeavour in the studio and it's occurred to us that if people like the record they might want to see us play live! We've been jamming together a lot recently, both on these songs and on other projects and it's been fantastic fun and really creative, so who knows?

MW: So, what’s on the horizon for Fingermouse & Rubberneck?

F & R: On the horizon for Fingermouse and Rubberneck is a big question mark. We'll see how the EP does and grab any opportunities that present themselves! Other than that, we continue to play and write and produce music because it's what we love to do.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Heavy Star: "Electric Overdrive"

It’s been a great Summer for reviewing rock here at Current Music Thoughts. In several ways, I’m grateful to be alive in a time where so many bright spots in music history can be explored in a very authentic/contributional fashion. To that end, I’ve just finished listening to Heavy Star’s newest release “Electric Overdrive.” The album is a raucous collection of aggressive hard rock ala late 70’s and 80’s bands. The title track #3 has considerable punch delivered through the wailing guitars of Marco K-Ace and Danny Slade and killer vocals by Albert Fish. Heavy Star is grounded in an established sound, but approaching it in a new and fresh way which merits more than a few listens. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The YeahTones: “What Could I Do”

The YeahTones (with Jake Pinto, Doug Berns, Dillion Treacy, and Michael Harlen) )are out with a new music video and if these cats weren’t busy enough releasing their psychedelic-art-blues-grainy-footage they are also embarking on an upcoming October tour. See below if you can catch them live.

The song “What Could I Do” is really gritty. In some ways, it’s a straight-up blues-rock anthem, in the way that Jimi Hendrix or any of his ilk would tackle the genre. The YeahTones; however, have infused their sound with noise and atonal elements which speaks to something stridently more modern (or at least “current day”). Of course, singer/songwriter Jake Pinto has the right mixture of melody and gruffness to make for a convincingly seasoned sound; at the end of the day, the music really has to speak for itself. “What Could I Do” is a well-crafted, passionate, and driving tune.

October Tour Dates and Locations:
Thursday Oct 13th, 2016 New York City Belle Reve
Friday Oct 14th, 2016 Philadelphia Ortliebs
Saturday October 15, 2016 NYC TBD
Monday October 17, 2016 Baltimore Joe Squared
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 Charlotte TBD
Wed October 19, 2016 Athens or ATL TBD
Thursday October 20, 2016 Orlando Spacebar
Friday October 21, 2016 Sarasota The Starlite Lounge
Saturday, October 22, 2016 Tampa New World Brewery
Sunday October 23, 2016 Sarasota Growlers
Monday October 24, 2016 Savannah TBD
Tuesday October 25, 2016 Richmond TBD
Wed October 26, 2016 Philadelphia TBD
Thursday October 27, 2016 NYC Belle Reve
Saturday October 29, 2016 NYC Rubulad
Monday October 31, 2016 Pittsburgh Spirit Pizza Halloween Party
Tuesday November 1, 2016 Cincinatti TBD
Wed November 2, 2016 Louisville 3rd St Dive
Thursday November 3, 2016 Nashville Foobar
Friday November 4, 2016 Asheville One Spot
Saturday, November 5, 2016 Harrisburg Wolfe St Brewery
Sunday November 6, 2016 NYC Rockwood Music Hall CD Release Show
Thursday, November 3, 2016 Nashville Foobar (Cold Lunch Recording Showcase)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Richard Cowdrey: Little Red House

It formed the basis for Rock n’ Roll and can be heard in canonized songs from “Wipe Out” to Erykah Badu’s “Pick Yo Afro Daddy.” Of course, I am writing about the blues and I always have to tip my hat, at least a bit, to those gifted musicians who are carrying on this great American style. Enter guitarist and composer Richard Cowdrey; he’s here with a stunning track from his EP “Whispering Mind” – the song is titled “Little Red House.” and seems to be a nod (and quite an homage) to the great Jimi Hendrix track “Red House.”

Cowdrey’s guitar playing is elegant, to say the least; he has a delicate touch on the instrument which is pronounced when necessary, but most of the time he lets the melodies speak for themselves. This isn’t to say that there is a lack power as there is plenty of dynamism in his technique. “Little Red House” is a modern take on something uniquely American and it’s more than worth a listen or two. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Srdjan Brankovic: "Expedition: Delta"

A few weeks ago in July Current Music Thoughts reported on one of Srdjan Brankovic’s songs from his newest album “Expedition: Delta.” Both myself and the staff here at CMT loved the album so much, I’m back to talk about it more as I feel the first posting really didn’t do it justice.

The first track “Spectacular” has all the trappings of classic metal. It starts off with a high energy guitar part and snare-accented drum part. What’s interesting about this track to me is the unabashed nods to pop and even a bit of Andrew-Lloyd-Webber style melody. I mean this as a compliment as it’s done really successfully.  Of course, I talked quite a bit about “Break the Rules” in a previous review.

“Thank You for the Good Times” is a bit more power-ballad-ish. Here, we have a very heartfelt reminiscence number.  Still, Brankovic relies on his ace in the hole, which is his stellar guitar playing seen in a very virtuosic solo towards the end of the song. For a breakup song – it’s quite a bit of a more masculine take on the idea of letting go, as if saying “it wasn’t all bad, even though something led us to no longer be together.” This is quite the opposite of so many songs dwelling on what might have been.

Track number four, “Fly With Me” takes a much more orchestral approach with guitar anthems answered by synthesizer parts leading into a vicious and tough series of riffs. The vocals come in almost like an opera recitative which just works like crazy under pulsing keyboard parts. This song actually reminds me quite a lot of Japanese rock band “Mr. Children.” Again though, there is a sort of musical theater-esque quality here. Especially as the lyrics are scenario-driven.

“Canis Major” (listed as “Intermezzo by Nevena Zivkovic) is an oddity – It’s a loungy, but somewhat Chopin-like piano solo which is used as both an interlude and introduction to the song “Without You.” This song features a vocalist (the attitude driven Nicola Di Gia). It’s just as upbeat as the rest of the tracks but the addition of Di Gia’s voice makes for enough variety to provide the listener something new.

Next up is “The One Who Lives a Dream,” this song begins in a very optimistic and slower sounding languid guitar and piano line. Here, instead of using a slow intro to catapult into a more aggressive metal driven song, the meditative nature stays throughout although short interjections of guitar solos do appear in the song. “The One Who Lives a Dream” is a late-night, before sleep reflection which is echoed in the title. Like “Fly With Me” there is an orchestral/cinematic quality.

“House of God” and “Don’t Believe” continue in the similar vein of the rest of the album, high-energy, vocal driven and overall optimistic sounding. Of course, we are back with the famous guitarist Bobby Koelble, which is always a treat hearing his stellar playing.

If we don’t count the final bonus track, the album ends of the song “Remember Me.” The long sustain pads make a great underscore for the extremely cello-like guitar line.  If previous tracks weren’t orchestral enough for you, this song has you covered. At the same time there are really interesting blues-inspired interjections.  It’s more than an apt on which to end an album. My only criticism here is that it’s such a beautiful song, I wish it was longer.

Let’s talk about the bonus track: “Connected.” I guess Srdjan Brankovic decided he needed a cadenza for the album. If that sounds like a dig, it’s not – in fact, it is his guitar playing that ties the album together. “Connected” is a beautiful and upbeat way to end what is a very enjoyable experience.

“Expedition Delta” is a substantial work, full of twists and turns, at times sad, usually optimistic, always technically perfect. It offers something quite different to the world of rock – it’s a mature statement about the genre’s ability to tackle a range of issues and emotions and for that reason alone, I feel it should be applauded and enjoyed by a variety of fans. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Artist Interview: Anzi

For this week's interview we have singer/songwriter Anzi who is signed to Chrome City Records. She is out with a new song titled "On My Own." 

MW: Anzi, thank you for being here.

A: Thank you so much for having me on! I’m excited to be able to speak to you about my music.

MW: So, I want to talk about your newest release, “On My Own.” Can you tell us how the song came about?

A: Sure. Pretty much as soon as I got signed onto the label, I told them that I wanted to work on a single. I was very eager to get to work since creating my own single has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Once the label gave me the okay, I was struggling a bit at first about what to write about since I have not had too much experience writing songs. Marc from the label suggested writing a song about the feelings a person has after a break up. I kind of hit the ground running with that idea and used personal experiences from my past to help me write the words. I also got some help from Marc Lotus and Chris Coleman on the label. The song developed into the idea that just because a relationship ends, that’s not the end of you.

MW: The arrangement is really interesting – did you work with someone to create that?

A: I did. Marc Lotus from Chrome City Records and Scot Vanderpool from Double Diamond Records were really the masterminds behind the arrangement. They did a great job.

MW: Probably my favorite thing about your voice is that it seems to navigate that grey space between belt and gentle; have you always been able to do that or was it something you had to develop?

A: I’m so glad you noticed that! Growing up, I would always sing in head voice, especially since I was in several choirs but I was (and still am) a huge lover of musical theater so I went to one of my teachers and told them that “I want to sing like Sutton Foster in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’. I’ve always been told that I have good projection so my teacher told me that I was perfectly capable of doing that with my vocal register. So over time, I just kind of created this mix of belt and gentle.

MW: Was there always music in the home?

A: Yes, my parents have been playing music and singing for as long as I can remember. My grandparents were also very musical- my grandmother had a beautiful voice and sang opera and my mother’s parents would take me to see musicals about every month starting at a young age. This early influence of music definitely impacted me since my parents have told me that I started singing as soon as I learned how to talk.

MW: Did you work with a vocal coach at any point?

A: Oh yes! I really attribute my technique to the many years of vocal coaching that I had. I probably had about 10 or more years of vocal coaching. In college, it was on and off. I was very lucky because after performing in many school shows and choirs, the school music teacher approached my parents and told them that she would like to work privately with me to help me build my voice because she saw something in me. After that, I enjoyed taking vocal lessons so much that I just continued over the years with a few different teachers. I definitely recommend vocal lessons to anyone who has a natural singing talent.

MW: I noticed you were also reviewed by Brett Stewart over on his site. He had some very good things to say about you; also your label has you number one on their landing page, not to mention a very successful FaceBook following (all at the ripe old age of 26). I’m curious if you are adjusting OK to all the attention. 

A: All the support that I have been receiving so far from “On My Own” has been incredible. We worked so hard on this song (it took about eight months in the making) so the fact that people are enjoying it makes me so happy. I haven’t really felt any different with the coverage that my song has been getting. I think that if it were ever to get to the point where people stopped and recognized me- that might take some getting used to (laughing). 

MW: Many of the readers here are young musicians themselves. Care to offer them any words of wisdom?

A: The best piece of advice that I would give them is the old saying “don’t give up”. There was a period in my life where I was getting rejected from every singing audition. I wasn’t landing any gigs and it was because I would go into auditions so nervous that they would not like the way I sing. After that, I decided to stop singing for about three years. I didn’t want to deal with the rejection anymore. I missed singing so much and one day, I finally came to the realization that I was just going to sing for the joy of singing and that I honestly did not really care if people liked it or not. After that, Chrome City Records and I found each other and the rest is history. So after sharing this long personal story, my words of wisdom would be to work on music for the love of music. You can tell the difference when someone is singing a song with passion rather than just doing it for a paycheck.

MW: Thanks so much for talking with me!

A: Of course! It was such a pleasure to be able to speak with you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ed Roman: I am Love

So, it’s no secret that we here at CMT are great appreciators of Ed Roman. There’s just something about his head-forward and fearless way of approaching songwriting that is wildly appealing. He’s out with a new song “I am Love” accompanied by a music video with an intro that can only be described as “trippy.” The music video itself features a band of Ed playing bass, guitar, drums, organ (props for the sitar on the organ by the way), and of course, singing.

The song is upbeat and energetic packed with Roman’s signature positivity, tempered with a healthy dose of revolutionary spirit. It’s got a killer groove which seems to be a perfectly appropriate vehicle for Ed’s words. Sometimes the profound can mix easily with the danceable. 

Lily Lambert: "I Forgive You"

The folk world is a hard one to pin down these days. Fifty years ago everyone had a clear image in their mind when mentioning that genre; currently, it’s not so easy. However, I feel this is actually a positive development in the music world, it means that folk is a living/breathing tradition that evolves and changes as time progresses. Enter Lily Lambert with her newest release “moving on” – a series of songs dealing with loss and acceptance (topically, that is, there is a lot more to the songs and the music than just overcoming grief).

One of the standout tracks, “I Forgive you” is thematically very familiar, but there is a uniqueness and raw quality to Lambert’s voice which honors the folk tradition, especially that of Shirley Collins, brilliantly. While Lambert’s singing is no doubt beautiful, it (thankfully) lacks to cold/pristine sheen heard in so many digital recordings out in the market. The song starts out simply with gentle piano chords and a simple declarative melody, towards the end though, it builds to a truly wonderful climax which seems to parallel, to some degree, the evolution of folk music itself. In this respect Lily Lambert’s “Moving On” seems to be not only a personal journey but an ode to the genre she obviously loves so much. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Leafy Satori Risk: The White Dress

So, outside of the sensual and laid-back quality of Leafy Satori Risk’s new song “The White Dress” it comes accompanied by a beautiful music video (which is really more of a short film). The picture goes through the story of a couple of young men pursuing two lovely young ladies (I can’t blame these guys either). The song is smooth and has a very erotic, almost like the soundtrack for a clothing-optional weekend for two. 

Fans of Stereolab or South American Jazz will feel really at home with Leafy Satori Risk. The style is artistic, mellow, and very sexy. I had a cursory look at their YT channel (currently with four videos) and their other tracks are equally interesting. Stop by and say “hi” to them. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Srdjan Brankovic: Break the Rules

This week I had the privilege of being an author to receive a promo copy of Srdjan Brankovic’s newest album “Expedition: Delta.” Immediately I turned my Groove player to track number two “Break the Rules.”

Let me just say from the onset, that fans of 1970’s prog-rock will not be disappointed. Right down to the wailing vocals of guest artist Bobby Koelble (this guy has some of the best intonation I’ve ever heard in a rock singer) the song will take you back. Of course, the main actor in this audio-feature is Brankovic’s guitar, as it should be, there are beautiful and tasteful harmonies in the lines but at the same time very virtuosic. Plan on buying this one when it’s out folks, you’ll be glad you did!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Richard Lynch: A Better Place

In listening to Richard Lynch’s “A Better Place,” it’s easy to spot why this song is currently number one on the New Music Weekly am/fm Country Chart. In some ways it’s a simple narrative of a man who discovers his lover is unfaithful (fairly standard country/blues premise), then takes a dramatic turn where the main character is delivering his chorus from the afterlife. Quite a twist on tragedy.

In fact, there is a bittersweet quality to Lynch’s song. On one hand, his distraught lady is justifiably grieving and there is a bit of justice involved in that portion of the lyrics, on the other, there is the redemptive quality that most religious people hope waits for them in the hereafter. Richard Lynch sings a beautiful song beautifully and the music video is very moving!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Artist Interview: Prairials

Hello CMT Readers! For this week’s interview, we have  the Toronto Indie-Rock band “Prairials.”

MW: Thanks so much for being here!

Our pleasure, thanks for having us!

MW: First thing I’m interested in is the name, who came up with “prairials” as a band name?

JR: I’m not even sure which one of us came across the word, but we were kicking around ideas and when someone had suggested Prairials, it seemed to the perfect fit. Prairial used to be a month in the French Revolutionary calendar. It’s a little out there, ties to our roots and comes with a little history lesson ha!

MW: So, your album drops on August 1st – how long did it take to put all the songs together?

JR: We’ve been working on putting this album together since our last member came down from Saskatchewan about four months ago. There’s a couple songs that me and Jacob have been sitting on for a little while longer than that, but it wasn’t until we could add the upright bass to them that were really complete!

MW: Does anyone have a favorite track from the album?

JR: Wooden Gun is the last track we had wrote and recorded for the album, I’d say that’s probably the winner. I think it’s a culmination of everything we’d been working on and a good representation of our current sound.

MW: I hope you don’t mind if I say the music video for “Wooden Gun” is charming. How did that production come about?

JR: We shoot all our videos ourselves so we have a lot of freedom when it comes to that. The song is about John Dillinger, a notorious bank robber from 1930’s, so we wanted to shoot something loosely based on that. We came up with the idea of a robbery/get away shoot where the viewer didn’t know what was in the burlap sack, but we wanted the video to end on a slightly different note than money being stolen.

MW: Have you been (or are you going to) tour in support of the album? If so, where?

JR: We’re going to be touring across the country in support of the album. We’re playing our a c.d release show here in Toronto on July 30th then spending all of August on the road, everywhere between Montreal and Vancouver before coming back on the 4th of September for one last show in Toronto. You can find all our dates

MW: Any closing words for our readers?

JR: Our second album “The Strange Folk” is going to be available worldwide on August 1st on almost every online distributor (iTunes, Amazon, Tidal, Spotify etc.) and we’ll be travelling across the country for the entire month to share our songs with everybody.  We can’t wait for y’all to hear it!

Friday, July 8, 2016

JRS3: Coffee

Thumping bass with squealing synths that are so dance-driven there’s not a chance you can sit still is usually the kind of description you’d give to current trance, house, or trap tracks. However, the song listed below is from Hip-Hop crossover artist JRS3 (I write “crossover” only because I have no real idea what genre to stick this guy in – score one for uniqueness!) It’s a beautiful anthem to something that none of us could function without: coffee.

This song is a follow up to his very popular song/video “Red White Blue,” a thematically very different, but still equally as innovative track. While JRS3 is able to create incredibly catchy material and it looks like success is in the cards, we can still see that this is a developing artist. I for one, will be on the lookout for future numbers to see where he goes next!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Glass Mansions: Matches

South Carolina rock band Glass Mansions is hard at work this summer bringing hard hitting music to audiences in the South Eastern United States. Not only do they have an incredible tour (starting in August of 2016) lined up, they also have a new song and music video that just dropped a few weeks ago titled “Matches,” and it’s awesome!

Vocalist Jayna Doyle comes correct with attitude and a very catchy hook that will stay with you after the song is done. The rest of the band (Blake Arambula, Patrick Beardsley, and Rodney Liles) kick ass at holding down the rhythm (seriously, the accompaniment is aggressive and driving).  If you’re living (or visiting) the South East this summer, do yourselves a favor and take in one of these shows!

Tour Dates:
8/11 - Myrtle Beach, SC - Island Bar
8/12 - Columbia, SC - Art Bar
8/13 - Greenville, SC - Radio Room
8/14 - Nashville, TN - East Room
8/15 - Memphis, TN - Cove Bar
8/16 - St. Louis, MO - The Firebird
8/17 - Fayetteville, AR - Nomad’s
8/18 - Dallas, TX - Prophet Bar
8/19 - Austin, TX - Sidewinder
8/20 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s
8/21 - Lafayette, LA - Feed N’ Seed
8/22 - Mobile, AL - The Merry Widow
8/23 - Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbit’s
8/24 - Savannah, GA - The Wormhole
8/25-8/28 - Charleston, SC - New Music Confab

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Artist Interview: Phillip Foxley

For this week’s interview, we have guitarist/songwriter/composer Phillip Foxley with us. Phillip’s Sound Cloud channel is alive and thriving with tons of listens and the comments crowd each one of his tracks.

MW: Phillip, thank you for being here!

PF: Thanks for the opportunity and great to meet up here.

MW: So, right off the bat, the first thing I notice about your tracks is that whether they are vocal or instrumental, there is such an outstanding melodicism to the songs. Is that something you consciously aim to achieve or does it just come naturally?

PF:  Thanks for that awesome comment. Any melodicism is entirely natural – so natural, I didn’t notice it lol. I just put simple melodies together whilst running through random chord sequences. The songs come together almost from nothing really.

MW: You’ve worked with some amazing singers; how do you go about selecting your vocalists?

PF: Well, I listen to a lot of unsigned music and I’m stunned at the genuine talent out there. In fact, the talent pool is so good I actually questioned what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. In the end, I put it down to the sheer enjoyment of creating and producing original tracks that I’m actually proud of. I digress … sometimes I hear a great vocalist and approach them directly, other times I get approached myself. It’s a bit ‘hit and miss’ but it seems to work out.

MW: Personally, my favorite tracks of yours feature Anna Yanova-Cattoor; can you speak about how you got hooked up with her as a collaborator?

PF: Anna is a gift from heaven. She is such a great vocalist with a real emotional depth that you can hear on each of the three tracks. Her natural talent really brings my simple tracks to life in a way I didn’t think possible.  Anna is one half of a professional duo called 'Two Cities One World' and we actually collaborated via the Fiverr website.

MW: I noticed in your bio that you also do film and TV scoring. Do you find that you have to compartmentalize your music creation between songwriting and scoring or do you have a similar approach for both?

PF: Good question – I actually treat them both the same, in fact, this came about almost by accident. To explain; When I re-started writing music after a long hiatus, one of my main concerns was that, because I write songs ‘on the fly’ and therefore anything or any style of music  can come out, it became pretty obvious that I didn’t fit into any specific genre. I perceived this initially as a huge ‘career’ weakness. In other words, where would any fan base come from if I constantly chopped from one genre to another?  This still haunts me today! The answer (for me) was to pitch my music to film & tv opportunities where musical variety is welcomed – in fact, encouraged (and you get paid by the second J).

MW: Can you tell us about some of your early influences?

PF: How long have we got? My influences vary greatly – just like my music. From Zal Cleminson (Sensational Alex Harvey Band), Yngwie Malmsteen (in small doses), Mick Ronson and David Gilmour etc.

MW: Is there anyone out now who you really enjoy?

PF: There are a couple of superb local artists/bands that I really enjoy listening to. First is the ‘Jamie Porter Band’, the second is an acoustic artist called ‘Daniel Williamson’. Both write excellent, original music and are at the top of their game right now.

MW: Where can people go to hear more of your music?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

David Bremner: Gentle Healing

Scottish singer and songwriter David Bremner has a fantastic new release titled “Gentle Healing,” if you haven’t heard this one yet, let me assure you it is a lovely ballad. The song has such a soul-searching quality, something that I desperately relate to at this stage of my life (I’m always on the lookout for sympathetic music and this one doesn’t disappoint). The strummed guitar and ethereal background are perfect backdrops for the slide guitar that cuts through the mix. It reminds me a little bit of the dissonances in Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” – something so pure and empathic but still there is pain we can hear. Of course, Mr. Bremner’s voice is powerfully emotional, it’s mature and strong yet so wonderfully capable of delivering the gentleness for which the song calls.

For anyone interested (and you should be) you can preview and purchase the song through

Serge Bulat: Queuelbum

If you read the introduction to a project and you find these words describing it, you're bound to be intrigued:

…a shifting realm of sound, visual art and philosophy; your ultimate race against time and limitations. The experience requires maximum involvement: challenge your imagination and be willing to break the rules of logic. Use your imagination - this is the only force that fuels evolution. Get ready for the journey!

The above passage is the artist Serge Bulat’s remarks about his newest release titled “Queuelbum,” and it is absolute sonic genius. It’s a large work which clocks in at eleven tracks. Many of them are odd and beautiful soundscapes which take a somewhat minimalistic approach but in the best possible way. It’s strange, but tastefully and incitingly strange.

My piece of choice from the album would have to be number six “Interqueue,” a very cinematic piano-scape that transforms into stunning sound design (almost like the kind you’d hear in the background of David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” but way more beautiful – although still pretty creepy). Of course, although this is my favorite, all the other tracks measure up just as well.

I strongly recommend you check out Serge Bulat’s website and read about this wonderful project, you won’t be disappointed!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Francis Bowie: Superblind Forever Free

All of my friends who know me well, know that I love quirky. Other things I love: synths, abstract lyrics, instrumental intros, and distinct singing voices. Frances Bowie has all of these and more; the new album titled “Superblind Forever Free” is a psychedelic-synthy romp through worlds of desperate sonic reality. The themes are catchy and the mood is futuristic and still so familiar.

The album begins with the instrumental track “Are You Hungry?” it’s a sort of electro-prelude featuring a semi-orchestral approach to synth composition. It’s part electric-light-parade and part vintage indie-rock. Probably its biggest strength is the subtle evolving nature of the track, it’s very cohesive but at the same time never boring.

“It’s in the Way” is next up – octave voices soar over thin synth lines. Melodically, it seems like it could be right at home with a late 1950’s early 1960’s slow dance scene from a movie. On the other hand, the drums and instrumentation make it decidedly modern.

The third track is “Fit In” (also featured in the above music video) is a song with a very slick guitar line accompanied by whistling. These vocals are way more rock-belty a la the “other” bowie. A song about not being accepted is nothing new to indie music, but again, the instrumentation and arrangement makes for an extremely original sound. A Hammond organ is also featured prominently in this number which scores big points with me.

“Cathedral” has probably the most orchestral intro of the whole album. To me, it is reminiscent of The Blue Nile’s song “The Downtown Lights” (a song I adore by the way) in the way the chord progression is simple but very lush. This stands in contrast to “Forever” with a piano loop along with what sounds like a found-sound drum loop. The vocals soar in this one; they are dreamy, reverbed and beautiful. The chorus employs a little more of that 1950’s flavor which seems like a minor theme in this album.

I’m skipping over the track “The Idea is Always Free” (not that it’s not great – it’s got a lot of spoken word qualities – which is cool) only because I love the title track “Superblind” so much which is next.

Sad and upbeat is tricky to pull off well, I think no one did this quality better than The Flaming Lips, but Francis Bowie makes a pretty strong play for equality with those guys. The piano in "Superblind" is played beautifully and with background vocals are so ethereal it sounds very cinematic. All of this serves as a soundbed for the aforementioned dreamy vocals. The chorus sounds an anthem of “Leave your things behind, trust the superblind” is about as catchy as I can write. 

Tracks 8, 9, and 10 offer a lot to round out the sound of the album “Don’t Fucking Tell Me” is just aggressive enough to be sympathetic if you are feeling irritated. “Alea Lacta Est” lets me use my college-Latin for once in my life (the die is cast), it’s a very short track but makes for a nice interlude. “Fuck Education” has much the same mood as “Don’t Fucking Tell Me” but it takes quite a bolder stance in a “damn the man” type mentality. As a college professor, I really wish they had been more specific with the chorus sounding “fuck formal education” but the syllables probably wouldn’t work that way.

To me, the winner in the last half of the album (other than the title track) is number 13, “Rollercoaster” a quick song featuring hard hitting pop rhythms, a terrific electro-funk bass line, and a catchy melody. I think fans of late Sneaker Pimps would appreciate this song greatly.  Like so many other songs in “Superblind Forever Free” the vocals are helped along by a doubling at the octave – something that is pulled off expertly on this album.

Overall I can say honestly that in my 5-7 listenings of Francis Bowie’s newest release I was able to hear something new and beautiful each time. It’s a remarkable work of indie sounds and I’ll probably have it in rotation for a while still. I’ll look forward to the next release, in the meantime, you should check out “Superblid Forever Free” on Spotify and hop over to the website here:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Janna Pelle: Key Change

In what is quite possibly the most wonderful exploration of keyboard instruments since the famous "Switched on Bach" by Wendy Carlos, Janna Pelle has given us yet another reason to love the ivory and ebonies. Her new (ambitious) 2016 album titled "Key Change" is a grand tour of keyboard instruments including the Harpsichord, Wurlitzer Organ, Piano, and many others. Luckily for the audience, there are also a series of videos exploring the individual instruments - such as the one below featuring the Harpsichord. 

It's nice to know that in our current time of limitless keyboard opportunities for sound (though sampling and synthesis) there are artists keeping alive the tradition of acoustic instruments thought not to have a place in the recording world. For that reason, we can all applaud Janna Pelle. To learn more (as well as hear samples of music) please visit her website at

Monday, May 16, 2016

Gotham Theory: Why'd You Break Up With Me?

Sometimes it’s just got to be noisy. Rock n’ roll (especially the kind that traces itself back to the blues) ought to be gritty, loud, and beautifully unkempt. This is how I feel anyway, and it’s good to know that Baltimore boys “Gotham Theory” agree with me. Direct from the bio section of their website they note firsthand:

Gotham Theory is jumping on the train to strip rock back down to the basics. Mixing big riffs and bluesy solos is a sound that may seem familiar based on their influences, but with groovy rhythm section Gotham Theory evolves from those influences to craft a unique sound.

I would add that there is an artistic sensibility present in the music as well. Maybe it’s the pop-art cover (reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein) of their newest studio album “Why’d You Break Up With Me?” (which may be ordered at the band's website that indicates there is going to be a lot of meat on this intellectual bone. The album clocks in at 11 tracks and while the sound is distinct to each number, there is a common thread of time-tested ruggedness that runs through each song (two of which: “Angry Boy” and “Stepping Out” can be heard on their website).

“Angry Boy” pays homage to distorted guitar blues from the rifts right down to the story-oriented lyrics. It hits the ground running with in-your-face repeating melodies and doesn’t let up for the duration. The vocals are fantastically melodic and yet, they are gruff and scream-oriented which is not an easy nuance to pull off, but here it is done masterfully. “Angry Boy” is not only a declamation of a life gone wrong – it is a sympathetic call to the audience which says “feel this with me!”

“Stepping Out” is no less aggressive than “Angry Boy” but it is quite a bit more optimistic in its sound. At its best, it has an almost disco-quality, that is, if disco could be played with only distorted guitar, drums, and bass (ahhh, I’m missing the slide drums). The lyrics couldn’t be any better, a song about proud cheating is so wonderfully assertive with masculine energy. In a world populated by emasculated betas trying desperately to downplay their testosterone, it is good to know that we can still enjoy art not catering to the modern political climate.

Visiting their YouTube channel is also worthwhile for the acoustic covers - only one up right now, but it's a performance which demonstrates this is a live band (no disrespect to their studio work which is incredible). Here in this cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” we get to see Sam Brewer belt passionately while Josh Sunderlin strums beautifully in support. It’s an incredible rendition of a great song – hopefully, we’ll see more of these in the future.

I think if John Lee Hooker could have developed precognition and been able to see down the generations to acts like Gotham Theory, he’d be happy. It’s nice to know that younger musicians are maintaining a strength of character, writing engaging lyrics, and just playing the shit out of their instruments for the sake of rock. The band, made up of Sam Brewer on drums and lead vocals, Stu DePoy on Bass, Zach Mason on guitar, and Josh Sunderlin on guitar and lead vocals make for a very powerful sonic quad. Do yourself a favor while you’re downloading “Why’d You Break Up With Me?” – make sure you also listen to it with a pair of headphones just to get every lyric and grungy guitar chord. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Winner: Phil Joseph for Best International Artist

We are pleased to announce our first winner in the category of Best International Artist: Mr. Phil Joseph!

An ambition of ours here at Current Music Thoughts was to bring to our readers excellence in music making within the independent world - and I'm sure you know how many artists there are to hear. That being said, there are individuals who are making music that just jumps out and screams to be acknowledged. Such an artist is London-based Phil Joseph and his unique, tasteful, and masterful rendition of the classic Ben King tune "Stand by Me." It has upbeat dance and reggae elements which breathe new life into the track as if giving it a second-wind during the midnight of the original's popularity. 

Featuring the rapper Malik on the verses it is original and yet at the same time such a beautiful homage to classic American music. This reason, more than any other, is merit enough for the award as in a period of waning interest in the USA Mr. Joseph gives us a positive nod. It's a love song - but at the same time we're all wondering if there is a dual meaning saying "stand by me and everything is going to be OK" and from this side of the pond, we appreciate it. Congratulations Mr. Joseph on an outstanding achievement, we will be anxiously awaiting many more tunes!