I’m not a paid reviewer. And while I have some musical inclinations and a little bit of training, I’m not really a musician either. I can read a little music; I can even write a little. I’ve had as many Rock Star ambitions as the next guy. But I can be an enthusiast.
Below you will find quick reviews of albums from some bands I’ve come across recently that I think are exceptional. I don’t do negative reviews. If a band is here, it’s because I wholeheartedly endorse them.
So. Sit back. Enjoy some very quick reviews. If you’re in a band or know of one that needs the tiny boost I can give it by penning a ‘Quicky Review’ for them, please, please let me know. And then we can all see if we can make this thing grow.
Pared down instrumentation with a soulful voice somewhere between Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan with a more direct and emotionally engaging lyrical style, David Ramirez succeeds at breaking your heart and patching it up in his 2012 album “Apologies.” Available everywhere you find digital or physical media (itunes, amazon, google play, etc) he has recently released the full album to Noisetrade.com, where it can be downloaded for free (with the opportunity to donate to the artist or his favorite cause.)
Ramirez seems to exude a certain spirituality in this album which marries religion and reality – acknowledging the existence of answers out there – he might have even found a few – but lamenting and hoping simultaneously that he hasn’t yet found them/is going to find them.
The Noisetrade link can be found here.
DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS
Drew Holcomb’s voice is mellow and sweet, somewhere on a spectrum between Bono and Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons). Their music is tight, and technically brilliant, a forceful blend of folk and rock, standing out in a genre that is quickly becoming over-populated. If “The Edge” of U2 had a child with Winston Marshall (also of Mumford & Sons) that offspring would play like the band’s lead guitarist.
I recently caught the tail end of their live act at the Mohegan Sun and regretted not having shown up earlier. Although I only caught the last four songs, they were rousing and emotional.
Although their albums have charted fairly well recently and several of their songs have been featured on a number of prominent television shows, I had never heard of them. Now that I have, I won’t be forgetting them any time soon.
In addition to being excellent musicians, they are also very generous with their music. Check them out on NoiseTrade, where they off a pair of EPs for download and tip generously!
THE DIRTY GUV’NAHS
Somewhere in the vicinity of John Mayer and Hootie and the Blowfish, with a sliver of CCR and Lynard Skynard, the Dirty Guv’nah’s have roots rock down to a science. My only complaint about this album after a quick listen is that it sounds a little low fi. I’m not sure if that’s intentional. It is an effect some bands prefer, but not one I prefer. It’s sort of like putting fake scratchiness on new ‘old’ films or using instagram to make your 2013 picture look like 1972.
This album can be downloaded at noisetrade.com at no cost by using the following link. http://noisetrade.com/thedirtyguvnahs/somewhere-beneath-these-southern It’s well worth the listen, even if you’ve never heard of the group (as I hadn’t) and an excellent example of some of the reasons why the internet age can occasionally spin out a gem in the middle of all that dross.